Sunday, May 31, 2015

The rival who is hard to beat

Half Marathon Eve 5k Race

I'd been looking forward to the Canberra Half Marathon Eve 5k as an event I'd try to peak for and run as fast as possible. My expectations crashed on the Monday prior to the Saturday, 23 May race date. I was warming up for a Speedygeese session at Parliament House when I tripped on the most minuscule step from grass to a concrete path. Down I went, landing heavily on my left hip and knee (but  being aware enough to keep my Garmin hand from smashing into the ground).

No running for two days (stiff and sore) then still bothered during a treadmill run on the Thursday. My confidence was shot well before jogging a short warm-up on Saturday afternoon. I started next to Brian Wenn, a rival of mine who has always been very hard to beat. When I was in my twenties it was virtually impossible — Brian was a sub-35 10k runner when I was running 37 minutes. As we aged, the performance gap narrowed (helped by Brian's injury-prone stop/start training leading to him spending more time on the golf course and less on the running tracks and trails). Brian is 66, so more experienced than myself to the tune of eight years. Is that why he's so good? His recent form was a little intimidating — 22:14 for the Stromlo 5k in March.

We raced off, together for the first 400 metres, in (distant) pursuit of the fast starting Jim (who would split 4:17 for the first kilometre). Brian gradually edged ahead, metre by metre. I was running ragged, feeling close to my limit. After 1k I found myself closing on a couple of kids and Jim. Woohoo, he's slowing! But not Brian! The third k up the little hill past the Yacht Club was my slowest, but I was now holding the gap to Brian. On the return journey there was nothing I could do to close in, even though I passed a slowing young boy. This race is hard! Even though I was unaware of time splits, I felt we were running quickly — faster than the "I'll be happy with 23" Brian declared on the start line. The last k was a slog but I still 'sprinted' the grass finish straight. 29th place (out of 56 finishers) and 22:55, with Brian running 22:46. Another 'loss', but it had been good fun. Love racing!

Afterwards, the Garmin showed my splits: 4:32, 4:34, 4:49, 4:34 and 4:24. It had been a lovely warm, late autumn afternoon race (more to my liking than the freezing Parkrun early morning starts). A week later, my hip and knee are feeling normal and I'm looking forward to more battles with Brian — hoping we can both edge down to a sub-22 5k.

 Myself (yellow shirt) and Brian (blue) shortly after the start of the 5k

Passing Jim between 1 and 2k. Brian's gone!

Brian finishes 9 seconds ahead, with Jim in the distance. [David Appleby photos]


Blogger Janene said...

A good race report ET! Sorry to hear about your fall. Well done taking care of the Garmin. I have to admit I did the same yesterday. I took a tumble and was more concerned about the Garmin than myself. Unlike yourself I did not fall badly, just a few scrapes and most importantly the Garmin was okay! Keep up the good work, that sub 22 can't be too far away :-).

4:07 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Janene. I cracked the screen early on in my old Garmin's life. Still worked, but really annoying looking at that crack for all those years! Hence the automatic desperation to save the 910XT even if it meant a more awkward roll ;-)

7:15 pm  
Blogger TokyoRacer said...

Tripping on little steps! more injury cause to worry about.

8:38 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Haha Bob - no need to worry - it was dark and I was running without a headlamp. I'm sure you're too smart to do that ;-)

6:02 pm  
Blogger Mark Watson said...

I reckon with a little more experience you could take Brian easily. The injury to your pride earlier in the week wouldn't have helped things. By the way, I hope no one was looking! Just imagining it makes me want to laugh my (you know what) off. Does that make me a bad person? A super time and yet again a well written, entertaining race report.

6:39 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Mark - yes I'm banking on the experience I gain over the next eight years. You would have to bring that up! Yes, I was in a line of runners and received heaps of sympathy. I couldn't see if anybody was smiling (it was dark).

8:09 pm  
Blogger Black Knight said...

Congrats on another fast 5k. Glad you recovered in fast time.

9:53 pm  
Blogger Thomas said...

Most of all I'm glad to hear that the Garmin survived your crash without issues. I mean, who cares about a hip or so, at least you got those priorities right!

11:14 pm  
Blogger Scott Brown said...

I really like those shots. You really are moving these days. Stay on your feet you don't want to waste this good run of form you've been having.

7:52 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Stefano :)

Thomas, totally agree. My hip and knee are now 100% - if I'd smashed the Garmin I'd still be annoyed!

Thanks young Scott. Keeping a run of good form going is a difficult task. I'm not sure whether to ramp things up a tad, back off a bit, or keep doing the same thing.

8:03 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The mixture of running and cycling is keeping you in pretty good shape, with minimal risk of injury (apart from tripping over small steps). Keep it up and you will overhaul Brian in the not too distant future

7:01 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Canute. I hope so!

7:51 pm  

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