Thursday, September 24, 2015

Harbour Bridge run, Sprint Duathlon and a 5k

Last Sunday I competed in the Blackmores' Sydney Harbour Bridge run and the Sunday before, the Stromlo ACT Sprint Duathlon. The duathlon was lot of fun — I think the result is further proof that these days my running and cycling are equally strong. Interesting, as when I was dabbling in triathlons in the mid-1990s, the run was by far my strongest leg, followed some way back by the bike with the swim a 'finally we can pack up the swim course' third. This race was a 5k run, 20k road ride, 2.5k run duathlon and my places for all three legs were similar — 61st, 57th and 58th. My place for the race was 55th (out of 83 finishers) and 2nd in the 55-59 age-group.

My plan for the Sydney Harbour Bridge run was to enjoy myself, not bust a gut, and recover quickly to resume my normal training. In the end, all went to plan and I actually ran a 20 second course PB. Very surprised at that! I started mid-pack in the A-group and as per usual, spent the first kilometre up onto the bridge weaving around people who started too fast. Luckily the bridge is nice and wide, providing plenty of overtaking room. I'd forgotten to pack my Garmin so used my trusty Casio to record splits for later analysis. I ran at a steady (hard tempo) pace for the first 5k, then got motoring, smiling inwardly as I overtook people for the next 4.23k. I was running this section pretty much all out, but there were times when it was simply impossible to run as fast as one would like, due to the crowded nature of the out/back section down to Mrs Macquarie's Chair. My final time was 45:03 (4:53 per km), for 790th place out of 11,481 finishers.

The 5k race was the Customs Handicap lunch run on the Friday before Sydney. The 'Floriade' course is a flat double out/back with only the two U-turns (and wandering tourists) slowing things down. I ran with my mate Jim for the first kilometre, feeling very easy. I then accelerated, pushing quite hard with a rough goal of breaking 23 minutes. Only just made it! 22:58, with my average heart-rate being 144. Kilometre splits had been 4:38, 4:29, 4:32, 4:45 and 4:34. I was most happy with how I felt during the run which gives me confidence that averaging under 4:30 per k for a 5k race isn't far off. This coming Sunday I'm racing the in ACT Duathlon Championships (10k/40k/5k), with no goals besides enjoyment and not crashing.

Helmet on after the first run leg (had a good race with the lady in purple), and there are still bikes in the transition area! Thanks Ruth for the photos.

Balance test, putting on my cycling shoes. Not sitting down!

Finally out on my trusty 14-speed 'Aluminum' racer, chasing down cyclists for 20k :)


Blogger allrounder said...

woot, I didn't think you were going to do the "standard" duathlon...should be fun!! (I am looking at getting a faster bike in the next few months though)

9:21 pm  
Blogger TokyoRacer said...

Nice that you've got some fun races to do. And nice that you beat your goal time.

12:25 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

AR, the first 5k of the 40k bike will be fun. I think it'll feel like an Ironman in comparison to the last one! Fast bike means you're serious -- next it'll be an aero helmet ;-)

Thanks Bob -- the duathlons are a fun distraction from running races. But I still like running races the best.

8:01 am  
Blogger Jog Blog said...

Looks like you are making excellent use of your Long Service Leave :). Perhaps you should come along to our girls' brekkie on Thurs?

3:30 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Sounds good Liz - I've always wondered what goes on at your girls' brekkie.

7:49 pm  
Blogger Lize Brittin said...

Nice job! I don't know how you can handle the wobbly bike legs on the last leg of running. Maybe it's just me, but it takes forever to get my land legs back after being on the bike. Congrats on racing so well!

12:05 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Lize! I remember being like that (wobbly legs) when I was doing triathlons. A friend of mine who used to coach triathlons, Jim, gave me a tip to spin the legs in a low gear for the last bit of the bike leg, which helped a lot.

9:55 pm  
Blogger Mark Watson said...

Throw me a Casio these days and I'd struggle to turn the thing on let alone capture splits. You'd have to be pleased with those consistent results. It all points to even better times ahead. Good on ya mate. All the best for Sunday.

8:49 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Ha ha Mark. Luckily I hadn't stopped using it all these years or I'd need to go online to find instructions ;-) Thanks - the race went well - I'll write a bit about it next post.

2:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are racing well. It is interesting that you are now achieving a similar standard on bike and run, in contrast to your earlier triathlon experiences, despite a preponderance of running for most of the intervening years. I suspect that this might reflect the fact that running is quite hard on the body. You present mix of bike and run appears to suit you well.

9:18 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Canute. I'd agree that cycling is easier on the body. My theory about the 'equality' of my running and cycling these days would include the idea that younger runners get a 'free ride' from springy muscles/tendons (this springiness makes up for underdeveloped aerobic power). For older cyclists, a lack of such springiness isn't a significant factor in how fast one can ride, as producing power on a bike is a circular motion for the leg muscles.

2:15 pm  

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