Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Shortest Hour

Sliding Doors is a movie I remember seeing on a flight to Canada in '98 with friends Gordon and Maggie. It's about the life of Helen (Gwyneth Paltrow) and follows her through two parallel universes after she's fired from her job. The movie made me think about what might happen to my life if I opened a different door; followed an unfamiliar trail; was active instead of passive; became a 'yes man' instead of a 'no man'.

What has all this philosophising got to do with running? On Thursday I was set to race 1500 metres on the track. The previous day I felt confident of running a season's best. Maybe sub-5:50 if all went well. I did a slow warm-up jog and all the while my legs were saying "We don't want to be here! We feel second-hand and sluggish!" I listened to my argumentative legs and decided to miss the 1500. I'd take lap splits for some of the Speedygeese and jog 4 or 5 k for an easy running day. I had also arranged to lap-score for a friend in the annual one hour race. Fifteen minutes prior to the start my friend still hadn't arrived, so I said 'what the heck', and decided to run the one hour race myself for 'training kilometres'.

The race went sublimely well! It was a warm evening (around 27°C), and as luck would have it, I guessed the correct pace by feel from the first lap. I gradually caught up to Bronwyn, then as the race went on, others who had started too fast — Roger, Dale and Susan. I had an amazing run! Sped up just prior to 10k so I'd break 47 minutes, but apart from that, ran very evenly. Finished with 12,811 metres and felt afterwards that I could have run another 10 laps at that pace (4:41 per km). If I'd gone through the sliding door of the 1500 I'd have never run this race. Yesterday morning I ran 'long' through the bush of Mount Ainslie and around the lake with Michelle, Brett and Nadine. 22.6k, with 14k of 'good' and 8.6k of 'less than good'. Starting fast on a long run is a sure way to find one's limits!

2k splits and average HR: 9:18 (139) 9:23 (148) 9:29 (148) 9:28 (148) 9:21 (150) 9:27 (151) + 3:34 for 811 metres (152).


speedygeoff said...

Not only are you running well, you are starting to get some consistency. I think twentyten will be a good year for our training group, you included. One of the things that helps is the mutual encouragement and in that regard we all appreciate you timing 1500m laps before your hour run, for example. Keep up the good work, keep joining various members of the speedygeese for training runs and helping them as well as yourself, and we will all have a fantastic year. Bring on a new decade of fantastic running in Canberra!

TokyoRacer said...

Wow, that was a very good run, Ewen. Congratulations. And right after a long day, too!

Samurai Running said...

Makes me want to move to Canberra!

It's great the way you guys encourage eachother. I don't know what it is about runners but they are certainly different than the surfers I use to hangout with.

When a wave was at stake or someone dropped in you'd just as likely get a board in the back.

I've never seen someone attack another with running spikes and just as well ;)

jojo said...

yay, great run! i haaaaaaaaaaaaaave to do a 1500 this week, and we all know theyre not my fave.

strewth said...

Good decision - that was a fantastic result. I agree with speedycoach, keep running with 'various' members of the speedygeese and we may all improve - fingers crossed!

Girl In Motion said...

Great run, Yes Man! Wow, your posts are changing in tone, good running stuff happening, it's so fun to witness. Any decisions on a marathon yet? And in SmallWorldsville, I also saw Sliding Doors on a flight to somewhere. One of those movies I'd never have seen otherwise but it wasn't bad.

Grellan said...

When there's no pressure beforehnd and you decide to enter a race at the last minute with a "what the hell" attitude (like when we were kids)you tend to be pleasantly surprised with the result. Good 1 hour test which bodes well for your marathon preparation. Don't chang anything and just enjoy running.


last week traveling home from work in the pouring rain and near gale force winds on my motor scooter, I came up to a roubdabout I go through ever day, normaly i go straight across but this morning i decided to turn right and take a more sheltered route home. i was half way round the roundabout turning right when I saw a car coming at me at speed [ he'd gone straight through the give way sign at maybe 40 mph and I had right of way] I decked my bike down to the right and he missed me by inch, I don't thibk he even saw me, if I'd gone my normal way straight across I'm sure he would have hit me side on!!!
I can look on that event as a negatibe thing that he almost killed me or I can be positive and think 'man I was lucky', I choose positive ever time mow, it's a better way to live your life.
you made your decision and you got a positive outcome, keep moving the way that feels right for you ;]

Anonymous said...

Well done. Getting the pace right at the beginning makes racing a lot more enjoyable. Maybe it was best to let your Prefontaine alter-ego disappear through the sliding door.

Joe Garland said...

Rather impressive evenness. You know what the Python boys say.

jen said...

Great job! Sounds like you made the right decision on that race. :)

Trevor said...

Hi Ewen,

Your running trends seem to be heading in a very positive direction. Looking forward to your future posts, especially as they pertain to marathon training.

Here is a link I found interesting, about a Masters runner not far from your corner of the world. You may already be aware of her:

Ali said...

Well done! Great choice.

I remember that movie (I want her Gywneth's hair)

Thomas said...

Maybe that's not the best time to say that I absolutely hated that film ....

Your race report, on the other hand, I loved. More of that, please!

Runner Susan said...

I love that movie and I like her hair long and short. It's the small dilemma's in life that boggle me. I'm gonna be thinking about what to do with my hair all day long now. Thanks.

Great job on the 1500, Ewen. If I win the lottery with my lucky fortune cookie numbers, I'll come run one with you soon.

Sling Runner said...

Great running with pretty even pacing. Very steady HR, looks like the effort was under threshold.

Robert said...

Nice. Very true about being able to find your limits by starting fast on a longer run. As I play with my weekly routines, I'm coming to the conclusion that a hard, fast long run is more important than just about anything else.

rinusrunning said...

Thats a good run whit friends!.
And thinking about the past is a nice thing to do!.
It is hot were you run and cold here in Holland...
I give you some cold and you some heat ;-).
Run whit fun.

R2B said...

Well done Ewen i can totally understand what your talking about.In fact i can explain it out loud myself now you have put it into words!


Jaymee said...

Nice work, Ewen. I like the idea of seeing how far you can run in an hour. Sounds like you nailed the pace from the gun.

Andrew said...

This was a great post!

Ewen said...

Speedygeoff, I think you're right. Twentyten will be the year of the Speedygeese, demonstrated again at the Vets' Handicap this morning!
Bob, thanks for your encouragement. I'll have a short day (or rest) before the 10,000.

Scott, if you moved to Canberra, you'd be one of the best in the 32 to 59 age-group ;)
Jojo, thanks. Wish my 1500s were as good as yours!

Strewth, you're right. Running with the speedygeese is the best -- when we don't get lost ;)
Flo, no decision yet on a marathon. There's one in May and one in June that I'm considering.

Grellan, entering at the last minute calms the pre-race nerves, but I think I'll enter a tad earlier than that for the marathon ;)
Rick, you were lucky, and that was a good sliding door to go through -- you're still alive!

Canute, yes, getting the pace right makes all the difference. I might save 'Pre' for the end of races.
Joe, thanks. I don't know what they say, but I hope it's clean.

Jen, thanks. And thanks for having the best smile :)
Trevor, yes I remember Bernie from when she was in the open ranks -- she's a great runner.

Ali, thanks. I don't remember her hair ;)
Thomas, I didn't say it was the greatest movie. In fact, I might have nodded off at one stage ;)

Susan, your hair is good because Michelle is the best hairdresser in all of Texas.
Sling, it felt under threshold. I'd like to do that for the first half of the 10,000.

Robert, I'm coming to a similar conclusion about the fast long run.
Rinus, that's a deal! I'll swap you 10 degrees Celsius.

Adrian, thanks. Hope to see you at some event this year. Happy running!
Jaymee, yes it's an interesting event. Not easy for your lapscorer though who has to run after you on the last lap and mark your last step at 60 minutes.

Andrew, thanks. I'm looking forward to your eventual marathon post!

Anonymous said...

You should try this product!

It's been a BIG HIT with marathon runners--thought I'd share.

Id love to get your thoughts!

trailblazer777 said...

sliding into a very good hour of running there...going well. Sounds very helped out the speedygeese and then got a quality hour done...worked out really well.
could be a big year!

Anonymous said...

Good luck for the 10,000m on Thursday. I hope I do not jinx it by making predictions but your recent form suggests a time comfortbaly under 45 min. You report that your legs felt heavy during the 1K repeats on Sunday, but maybe that was not surprising on wet grass after a 23Km run on Saturday. You have a good fitness base for 10K. The main thing now is ensuring you have some spring in your legs and fire in your belly on Thursday. I find that a few easy days and then a relaxed aerobic session of around 6-8K ending with a few stride-outs the day before works best for me, but I note that you tend to race best after several 10-13Km low aerobic sessions so I will be interested to see what you do in the next few days.

Anonymous said...

wannabe said:

Time for another post Ewen. Perhaps you are waiting for the standard 30+ comments before your next ramble?

Ewen said...

Anonymous, thanks for telling me about your product. I'm not a marathon runner, so probably not the best person to ask for thoughts.

Jonathon, thanks - I hope it's a big year!

Canute, thanks for your thoughts about the next few days. I'd like to be under 45 minutes but my confidence isn't great. I need to freshen up, so won't overdo things. I'll include some stride-outs the day before.

Wannabe, no, that's not the reason for my quietness. I have something to write about but was flat-chat on the weekend entertaining my brother and his family. Hopefully I'll post something in a day or so.

Samurai Running said...

Glad to hear your OK Ewen. I thought maybe something had happened, like you walked through the back veranda's glass "sliding door" in a lamb chop and wine induced stupor!!!