Sunday, September 21, 2008

Progression – 1980 to 2008

The lazy hazy days of summer are beckoning. I enjoyed a fragrant long run (and the company of other ACT Masters) around and over Mount Stromlo this morning. We covered 14 kilometres, at times savouring superb views of a distant city and lake — views that before the 2003 bushfires, were obscured by towering Radiata Pines.

I'm still plugging away with my training, confident in chipping some time from the M50 3000 metre PB. I'm not confident it will be a 51-second chip. A chunk of wood that size would require a massive axe, and a broad-shouldered swing — a swing that I fear is beyond my 2008 puny-muscled ability.

Nancy and Jason are devotees of spreadsheets, so I've compiled the one below for their (and other number-nerds') viewing pleasure. It follows on from 'Progression – 1992 to 2007', and shows my best track-race and half marathon performances for each year since I started running. From 1980 to 1982 I was blissfully unaware of the esoteric pleasure and elbow-bumping challenge of track racing. I can remember one road race from 1979. It was my first — the 9k Wagga Wagga City to Lake Fun Run, in which I placed 418th. Funnily enough, I conveniently fail to remember the time on the finish-line clock!

Year800m1500m3000m5000m10,000m1/2 M
20042:42.495:32.5912:23.020:54.942:20 (r)1:38:40
20032:40.75:28.712:02.721:48.1844:14 (r)1:42:39
20002:33.75:09.111:32.8-39:16 (r)1:37:39
19992:29.25:11.911:19.420:04.041:15 (r)1:36:55
19982:31.45:08.111:21.319:46 (r)41:09 (r)1:39:26
19972:24.64:58.910:53.7-38:51 (r)1:33:22
19962:27.94:59.410:34.218:58.439:33 (r)1:25:18
19952:19.84:56.410:31.818:36.538:17 (r)1:23:31
19932:22.24:49.110:16.417:59.839:39 (r)1:25:25
19922:20.24:50.99:56.918:17.537:57 (r)1:24:01
19902:20.54:52.010:27.617:51.036:55 (r)1:23:06
19892:18.34:40.210:0417:35.237:31 (r)1:21:47
19882:21.05:07 #9:56.617:37.436:25 (r)1:23:33
19872:18.54:48.99:56.517:5037:12 (r)1:24:58
19862:15.064:41.110:2718:0136:46 (r)1:22:15
19852:15.24:43.010:2418:3138:31 (r)1:25:55
1982----44:00 **-
1981----41:363:28:28 *
1980----36:35 (9k)-
(r) = 10k time run on a certified road course.
* Marathon. ** Canberra Times 9.6k. # Mile.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

800 the Movie

I ran another M50 PB last Sunday — for 800 metres. I was racing in the slowest of four heats at the ACTA High Noon meeting. I'm not as rapturous as I'd normally be about a PB as it was my first ever 800 in the 50+ age-group! It had been over two years since I'd savoured the exquisite pain that is the 800 metres. In January 2006 my time was 2:55.70. Last Sunday I ran 2:48.55.

I thought about titling this post "Laurent Yves St Claire-Monfrere's revenge". As fortune would have it, I was racing my adversary from the 3000 metres on 27 July, Lily du Maurier-Passante. If you recall, young Lily accompanied me for the whole race and steadfastly refused to be overtaken — surging like Tirunesh Dibaba every time I dragged my ponderous body to her side.

This time I fashioned a tactic to thwart Lily's surging style. At the sound of the gun, I sprinted hard from the curved starting line and positioned myself ahead of Lily as we ran up the back straight for the first time. The race was being led by one of the three adults in the race — another master, somewhat younger than myself. In second and third place, running side-by-side were U14 runners Caitlin and Corey. I sat behind these two and ran through the first 200 metres of the race in 40 seconds.

I steeled myself to accelerate should young Lily try to overtake. Luckily she didn't, and I was happy to follow C&C through the first 400 metres in 84 seconds. Then I ran as fast as possible for the next lap, arms pumping and throat burning. C&C sprinted with 100 metres to go, whilst I was already at maximum speed and starting to get that lactic-arms feeling. The finish line couldn't come soon enough. I safely held my fourth place, with Lily finishing fifth, just over a second behind.

In one respect, the 800 metres is very similar to the marathon. A couple of days later, I'd forgotten the pain and was already planning how to improve in my next race. Madness? This is the 800! Runners... Prepare for glory!

I love the grass at Stromlo AND the track!Racing 12k on the grass at Stromlo is less painful than the 800!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

300s and the 3000 metres

I'm sorry if I bamboozled some readers with a surplus of numbers in my last post. I'm prone to an obsession with numbers — is this obsession stranger than my buddy Susan's fascination with torture and closets? Another blogging friend (and fast marathoner), Bill, commented that I appear to be attempting some reverse-aging sort of thing. Ah Bill, if only that were possible!

I'm blessed in that all my runs these days feel exactly the same as they did 20 or more years ago. Every single one! The long runs, the tempo runs, the track sessions, the easy runs, the races, the dawdle through the bush runs, the run 'til you drop then crawl home runs. They all feel exactly the same, and I love every one of them! The only difference these days is the numbers. Give me feeling over numbers anytime!

Two decades ago I was a Sydneyite and habitually ran track sessions on the exquisite grass that is Rotary Field, Chatswood. My favourite session was "300s". I liked the simplicity — simple is as simple does. I ran 300 metres of the 400 metre track fast, then walked 100 metres to recover, repeating this ten times. I'd start a fast 300 every 2 minutes, which gave me a little over a minute for the 100 metre recovery walk.

Another thing I liked about this session, is that it gave a fairly accurate indication of what time I might run for a 3000 metre race. If the total time of my ten 300s added up to 9 minutes (54 seconds for each 300), I could expect to race 3000 metres in around 10 minutes. So I'm running 300s again.

I've produced a table which predicts my 3000 metre race time from a session of 10 x 300 metre repeats. Try a session of ten 300s if you like and let me know how you go. Don't cheat on the recovery time! The formula I've used to calculate the recovery time is '300 time x 1.222 = recovery time' (54 seconds x 1.222 = 66 seconds). The formula for the 3000 metre race time is '300 time in seconds x 0.185185 = 3000 metre time in minutes' (54 seconds x 0.185185 = 10 minutes).

10 x 300m predicts 3000m race time
300m timeKm paceMile paceRecovery3000m race

Sunset over Lake Burley Griffin from the BoathouseSunset over Lake Burley Griffin from the Boathouse — 3 September 2008