Friday, July 11, 2014

2 Red Balloons at the Gold Coast Half

I'm back in cold, windy Canberra after a short holiday to warm, sunny Surfers Paradise. My excuse for the holiday was to race in the 'Gold Coast Asics Half Marathon', held last Sunday. I would have preferred to race in Saturday's 10k but couldn't get a flight until mid-morning Saturday. My weekly 'long' runs over winter have been around 12k with weekly mileage at about 60k so my enthusiasm for racing a hard half marathon was rather lacking!

I knew there'd be a split-timing mat at 10k so I decided in advance to race hard to 10k (hopefully running around 48 minutes), then jog/walk my way to the finish and collect my 'finisher's shirt' and medal. It was cool (about 9C) and calm on Sunday morning as I walked the 2k from my unit to Southport for the 6AM start. The road was already crowded and loud (inspirational?) music blared from speakers adjacent to the start. The City-to-Surf-like crush of bodies kept me from moving forward so I started not too far from the 'red balloon' (1:50) man. I abandoned my idea of running a fast 10k and decided to run at 1:50 pace for as long as I could.

One minute after six and we were off. Exciting! Once past the start mat I was able to run fairly freely and didn't have too much trouble keeping with the 1:50 group. As is my habit I ran the race not looking once at the Garmin and felt after the 5k marker that we were running a little quick. Post-race splits showed the story: 5:22, 5:05, 5:08, 5:03, and 5:02. The red balloon man was averaging 1:48 pace. Ouch! Anyway, I kept running, feeling comfortable. Enjoyed watching the leaders coming back at the far turn — Reuben Kosgei way out in front (1:04:56) with Milly Clark leading the women (1:14:03). I passed the 10k timing mat (my split would be 51:34) feeling okay (especially my breathing) but 1k later my legs were getting sore. I'd also dropped 100 metres off red balloon man. I decided to stop running at 12k and walk for a while. The walk had lasted about 1.5k when I saw Tesso run past on white 2-hour balloon pacing duty.

I started running again with a spur of the moment 'B goal' of breaking 2 hours (thinking of Karla and her life-time goal of breaking 2). My stride became smoother again and I managed to get into a rhythm of clicking over ks around 5:30. Before I knew it the 18k marker came up, then over the little bridge and 20k. Nearly there! Into the park, past the grandstands in the finish straight and under the clock. 1:58:32 on the clock ended up being a net 1:56:59. Pretty happy with that! Met Jonathon after the finish (he'd run a season's best of 1:49) and walked back to my unit at Main Beach. Then down to the course at 28k to watch the marathoners come past. Saw the leader Silah Limo looking sublime and smooth, racing to a 2:09:14 win, the fastest marathon ever in Australia. After a while 2:09 man Lee Troop came by, finishing his last marathon in Australia (2:27:23). Well done Troopy! Then the female winner Asami Kato (2:28:51). I was sorry to miss recognising the legendary Yoshihisa Hosaka who won the 65-69 age-group 'by a mile' in 2:52:13.

The next morning I ventured out for a jog up to the delightful sandy trail at The Spit — tentatively at first. My legs didn't feel too bad. I could run! Over the next two days I managed a couple more easy runs and a 45k mountain bike ride with Roger (4:04 in the marathon). A happy finish to the short holiday.

Speedygeese shirt produces a season's best half marathon

Post-race jog on the delightful trail north of Main Beach


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well done Ewen! Great run (in the famous shirt), and a really good account of it also! {Miranda}

3:53 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Miranda. The shirt provided some extra motivation!

9:12 pm  
Blogger trailblazer777 said...

Legendary effort!!! Lots in the tank for longer races IMO if you set your mind to it. That trail in the north there looks good, will have to go looking for that, if I get there again next year. Fantastic part of Australia to be in at this time of the year especially. Represented the Speedygeese well.

11:11 am  
Blogger trailblazer777 said...

That Reuben Kosgei is a blast from the past was the Sydney Olympics steeple champion Good to see a Six foot hat too, wonder what year that one is from?

11:15 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Jonathon. Yes, good to see Kosgei win - saw him race at the Sydney Olympics (Steeple is my favourite event). The Six Foot cap is from 2010, my last year (6:40:05) - missed 2011 and became unqualified.

2:39 pm  
Blogger Mark Watson said...

Well done you. A solid and gutsy effort my friend. I gotta ask ... why two watches? Yeah, Yoshihisa is quite the legend. I read somewhere that he's a chef in Japan. Runs 30K a day, 10 before work and 20 after. The only other workout for the week being 3 x 1000m repeats at better than 10K pace.

3:06 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Mark. Left watch is my old Casio 30-lapper which I use for time of day! (And a back-up if my ancient Gamin carks it.)
I have that article about Hosaka - he ran 2:36 when he'd just turned 60. I'm wondering if he still does the same daily repetitive training now that he's 65? No 'long' runs, which is unique for a marathoner.

3:55 pm  
Blogger Black Knight said...

Good job, now another half is under your belt and another medal on your "wall of fame".
I miss the "smell" of the competition. Have a good week end.

5:44 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well done. GC offers a delightful winter break.

It is interesting to read about the elites, especially Hosaka. In the interview before last years Toronto Waterfront marathon (reported in RW), Hosaka acknowledged that he was finding it harder to maintain his daily interval sessions, and was considering a change, perhaps even trying Ed Whitlock’s high volume, low intensity approach. In 2013, Hosaka missed the M64 world record (after capturing M59, 60, 61, 63 world records in the previous five years). I think that the nearest he got to the M64 record was his 2:46:xx at GC last year. It is interesting to speculate that he might be beginning to experience the accelerating deterioration that often begins in the mid to late sixties, but only time will tell. Whitlock had also shown slight hints of deterioration in the late 60’s but then came back with a massive improvement in his early 70’s to achieve 2:54 at age 73. So it will be very interesting to see how well Hosaka can hold his form over the next few years, and in particular, to see whether or not he moves to lower intensity long training runs. But the records that Ed set in his early 70’s are going to be very hard to beat.

10:04 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Stefano. Hope you get the "smell" back before too long, even if your competition is easy running.

Canute, that's interesting about Hosaka considering a change from his legendary 'day-after-day' training. I think Bob said he's going after the M65 marathon world record at Toronto later this year.

8:36 am  
Blogger Jog Blog said...

Nice run Ewen - well done! But .... there's a few of us (should I name names? Yes! ie, Ruth, Cathy, me et al)who would have been keen to come along for a running/coffee/shopping reunion @ GC if we'd known you were going :(. Next year okay?????? :)

9:29 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

You bet Liz. It's in the diary already!

6:28 pm  
Blogger Karla Bruning said...

Well done on a great race! And thanks for the shout-out! Love that you bailed on your race plans and just went with what moved you. Having been in that position where you let one group of balloons go, then find another sneaking up on you, it's really admirable that you hung on with the second group. Now it's time for me to finally get that sub-2!

6:31 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thank you Karla. No worries. Find the right course/weather and I'm SURE you'll get the sub-2!

10:57 am  
Blogger Jog Blog said...

Let's compare diaries to be sure!

8:23 pm  

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