Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Melbourne Marathon 10k: A good race, but not perfect

Of all the active running blogs that I read, Bob's, Geoff's, Joe's and Liz's would be the only ones that could answer the following question: Did you run to your absolute physical potential when you ran your PB time for a certain race distance? My own answer to that question would be "No" for most lifetime PBs that I've run. All of the other blogs that I read are written by runners who can still run faster. My PB that came closest to 'as good as it gets' was the 9:56.3 I ran for 3000 metres at age 34 (which happens to be the speed one needs to run to finish a marathon in under 2 hours 20 minutes). After finishing that race I remember thinking that given perfect training and weather conditions, it wouldn't be long before I'd run 3k in 9:45.

In Melbourne on 18 October I raced a good 10k, but not perfect. My time was 47:39 (a minute slower than the time I ran in 2008). My legs felt good during the race but not totally energised and fresh. My pacing was pretty much spot-on — the effort felt even (the course is undulating, so dead-even splits aren't going to happen) and I finished strongly over the last 2k with a sprint for the final 200 metres. Executing a perfect race would have seen 47:00 on the finishing clock in the M.C.G.

I enjoyed Melbourne, in spite of not having run the perfect race. Lunch with Liz, Bev and Al on Friday had been fun, so too the pre-race dinner on Saturday evening. I was pretty satisfied with the whole long weekend. But still (as a competitive runner) I wasn't super-satisfied or ecstatic with my race performance. I guess this whole post is a roundabout way of saying that one never knows at the time it happens, that a PB will never be improved upon. One always has optimistic expectations to run faster. Because the perfect race is a very rare thing indeed. If you happen to be in the perfect race (and have the awareness to realise this as it's happening), then give it everything you've got. Everything.
I'm behind in reading blogs (and running) as I've been holidaying in the U.S. Here I am practising my discus technique. Everything is big in America.

8 Comments:

Blogger TokyoRacer said...

Good advice!

10:43 pm  
OpenID canute1 said...

Good racing. A decrement of only 1 minute in 7 years is impressive.

I reality, it is rare that one’s life-time PB feels like it at the time. No matter how well it went, you always expect that you will do even better in the future.

But in retrospect I think my 10,000m PB (indeed only 10,000m) was as near perfect as possible. At the time, I did not recognise it as a likely PB. I had the very unusual experience of being in total control throughout the race, and immediately afterwards I thought I might have gone faster if I had been pushed. In more distant retrospect, I think that the total confidence lifted me to a higher level than I could have achieved with tough competition. The following week I ran my best ever 5,000m but it was not as good as the 10,000m. I was running strongly as I took the lead at the bell but I was challenged by a stronger runner along the back straight and over-taken. Maybe if I had been even a little stronger, the 5000m would have been my best ever track performance, but if you really are running near your utmost limit, I think confidence can be more potent than tough competition.

It looks as if you are enjoying the challenge of coping with the magnitude of the US

10:45 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Bob.

Canute, it's interesting to read about those races. I thought of including you in my list of runners 'qualified' to comment, but I knew your early running 'career' was relatively short and that you may not have been running through your peak years for distance running (which these days seems to be 30-37 or so). Yes, having a good time in the US although I feel my fitness is gradually declining and perhaps my weight gradually increasing (food is also BIG in America).

10:44 am  
Blogger Jog Blog said...

I'm so far behind with reading my mates' running blogs because work, running, home & uni have all been so hectic that I've only just caught up on yours Ewen.

In answer to your PB question, I certainly maxed out when I ran both my PB marathon (2.59) and my PB half marathon (86 min). I felt like I was going to explode in both. It was then that I seriously asked myself "could I ever go any faster than this over these distances?" and the answer has been "no". I never have. And I don't think that is because I set myself a self fulfilling prophesy. I think it was that on those PB days I reaped the benefit of super hard training/preparation and perfect race conditions. It all just came together. That being the case makes me very satisfied in retrospect that I managed to achieve what I did. Now it is all about age-gender relative performances when I choose to "race" and pure running enjoyment the rest of the time.

Melb was a super weekend. I think we need to make it an annual event. Mum (Bev) & Al really enjoyed catching up with you. Next time though we need to add another couple of days for more shopping and coffee :)

Hope you are having an awesome time in the US and running in some interesting places.

5:33 pm  
Blogger trailblazer777 said...

My marathon PB of 3.49 (Melbourne 2012) was probably close to the best I could do that day looking back, but at the same time I was pretty sick that day, and if I had not have been wiping my nose for the last 70% of the race, I suspect it could have been a very different story. Very interesting thoughts. I am not often too disappointed with my effort level, but I often identify areas where I made tactical mistakes, or errors in training or race day logistics, that could have been done better to result in the optimum time on the day. I was very disappointed in Melbourne 2015, so the next day I retraced my steps to the start line (5km from where I was staying), and went through the Anderson St part of the Tan on the way, to try and think through what went went wrong in the last few days, (maybe even race morning) weeks before the race. On your PB list it says your 3000m PB was done at age 30 but in your post it says age 34. All the best in the U S of A... fantastic opportunity. I have had very limited internet access most of this year, so my blogging forays have been very sporadic, but got internet back at home last week so expect to be online a lot more from here on and interacting with blogs again if things continue to stabilise...

12:54 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Liz - I know how busy you've been this year. Crazy lady! Don't know how you do it. That's interesting about your marathon and half PBs. I vaguely remember you saying the full was after many sub-3 attempts. I raced the 3000 many times, so know I was close to my best, but think in retrospect that my training wasn't perfect in those days. Yes, Melbourne as an annual event, with more shopping and coffee days!

TB, I recall that 3:49 and you had a great day. You should be happy. I guess I'm like you in analising races (and training leading in) thoroughly afterwards and always finding areas that could be improved. I reckon you'd benefit greatly if you could arrive a couple of days early (Friday?) so you could do your last jog that day and just put your feet up Saturday. Wow, thanks for picking up that error - I did run a 9:56.5 at 30 (in Sydney) and the 56.3 at 34. I'll change that. I broke 10 minutes 3 times - also ran a 9:57, 10-flat once and quite a few sub-10:10s. I was always trying to break 10 back in those days. Now it's 13 minutes..

7:40 am  
Blogger Grellan said...

Great running Ewen. You're the only one (I know) in the eastern hemisphere running decent 10ks at the moment. Hope the other two take a leaf out of your book ;-)

1:21 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Ha ha Grellan! You've still got it mate - well done.

5:53 am  

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