Sunday, February 14, 2010

Aging Disgracefully

I ran 45:57.54 in the 10,000 last Thursday evening — 1:03 away from an M50 PB. I'm at peace with the result. The race plan went well — started with 1:48 for the first lap, 4:28 for the first kilo. Kept up that effort throughout the race and ran the last kilometre in 4:29. Unfortunately the weather decided to put on a show more suitable for outdoor dining at midnight, rather than one for racing 25 laps of the track. It was 27 degrees when we ran (81 Fahrenheit), and humid. The sweat was pouring out of me. I'm a generous sweater, so don't run next to me on a training run in summer! Deek once said that the marathon should be held during the Winter Olympics. I'll add the 10,000 to that request.

For the first few laps I ran behind the group of John, Roger and Bronwyn. I overtook Bronwyn but John and Roger gradually got away — they were running too fast for me. The rest of my race was pretty lonely. I just concentrated on keeping the effort constant. Took one drink from the table set up on the back straight, but could have taken more. With 10 laps to go I saw the distance between myself and John shrinking from the 100 metres he'd built up. I managed to pass him with 2 laps to go, then calculated I'd need a quick last lap to break 46 minutes — did this with 1:40 for the last lap.

I've been thinking that I haven't aged gracefully. Like the motorcycle club I'm a member of, I've grown old disgracefully. If I were to run 45 minutes for 10k (on a cool day), the age-grade tables say that's worth 39:45 for a whipper-snapper. I'd need to be running 41:30 now to be "as graceful" as I was back in '91. Anyway, I'm having as much fun with running as I was back then, so that's the main thing. With running, it pays to have a sense of humour. If you can't laugh, you won't survive the pain inherent in running to the best of your ability. That's why I run with funny people — like the Speedygeese, or the Wednesday arvo runners — pictured below doing their best Wiggles impersonation on the front porch of Parliament House.

10k splits: 4:28, 4:32, 4:35, 4:33, 4:34 (22:42), 4:37, 4:41, 4:43, 4:45, 4:29 (23:15).

I run with escapees from Shutter IslandRunning is less painful when you run with funny people


jen said...

Well done on the race Ewen! Sounds like a really strong performance. I am envious of all your fun running buddies- pretty cool. :) great pic too!

Em said...

I am full of admiration for anyone who runs 10,000, 5000 is my running in circles limit!

Thomas said...

Well, the title of the post made me chuckle and others finished slower than you did, so it could have been a lot worse.

There's always next time!

strewth said...

I agree, running can be fun with excellent company and lots of laughter. Glad I am included as one of the "funny" people who keep you company on your runs!! :)

Toasty said...

you got to enjoy it!

TokyoRacer said...

Good time for 27 degrees. Definitely worth well under 45:00 on a cool day.
I like Deek's comment.
By the way, Jeff Hunt is the new Deek. I wish you could have seen that race he ran at Beppu. It was awesome!

Girl In Motion said...

81 degrees? No WAY you could run that one gracefully! Nothing to do with age, that's just killer weather. How I'd love to send some snow drifts your way.

Funny people are a beautiful thing, congrats for finding like-minded crazies who share your running problem and know how laugh.

Grellan said...

Not bad splits at all Ewen considering the heat/humidity and you propensity for sweating buckets. You hit the nail on the head with "i'm hving so much fun with running". That's what ti's all about.

I think you'll have to travel to more temperate climes to get that PB.


Keep :]

Joe Garland said...

I was afraid to open this given the headline, but I'm glad I did. A fine race. The heat really sucks things out on the track, although my longest hot track race was a mere 5000.

Looks like a nice even race, accounting for a bit of slowdown in for 8K and 9K given the heat.

Love2Run said...

Speaking from experience, running partners who crack jokes make you forget where you are and sometimes where you are going. Brutal 10k running conditions must have cost you at least 1 minute!

Janene said...

I'm with Scott, TR, GIM, Grellan, & JG on this one. Considering the conditions, that is a very good time. Remember Ewen, you are tall and bigger than the 'typical' runner, not well designed for efficient thermoregulation! Awesome effort and I bet you'll easily knock off more than the required time to beat the M50 PB in cooler conditions! (yes I did copy and paste this from another location ;-) )

Samurai Running said...

"Aging Disgracefully" is a good title for a blog post. I don't know why but I first read that "Saging Disgracefully" and I thought it was going to be a post about you giving someone bad advice!!!

Ewen said...

Thanks Jen. I'm not so sure about my running buddies - they're so embarrassing ;)

Em, I know what you mean. Luckily we don't have to run 5000s on an indoor 200m banked track!

Thomas, you're right. It could have gone badly pear-shaped if I'd started more aggressively. I must have the marathoners gene as I'm already looking forward to next time.

Strewth, that's right. You should have heard the jokes Jen was telling tonight at your expense ;)

Toasty, thanks. I also enjoyed it when I finished!

Thanks Bob. Deek would have won gold in '84 if the marathon was in the Winter Olympics. Yes, Jeff Hunt came from a long way back - and to run with those 2:07 guys! I saw the post-race video interview.

Flo, if you could send us some snow drifts I'll race the next 10,000 in wind pants.

Grellan, we only get about three 10,000s a year, so its a matter of fluking good weather. Not sure I'd travel to one as the weather can be hot anywhere in Aus during the track season.

Thanks Rick!

Joe, thanks. 5000s can be bad in the heat. 1500 is doable if it's hot, but not fun.

Mike, at least my running partners' jokes are funny ;)

Janene, yes, I'm taller than Ruth, and she's 'typical'. I'll run with an ice-vest next time. And marathoners like yourself are known for being repetitive ;)

Thanks Scott. I'll save that title for another post. I've been giving you bad advice for years and you still run PBs. Bastard!

Unknown said...

I'm with you Ewen and find it hard to run well in the heat. So I reckon you've run a pretty good time. More importantly, you're having a good time!

Andrew said...

You'd fit right in with our group Ewen! Except for your ability to run in the heat. I can't run in the heat at all and would have suffered in that race. Plus I've never raced on a track so I don't even know how to do that. (No track clubs up here). Great attitude! You've got to laugh at yourself and at others to really appreciate the joy of running. It is a joy but only when we're trying our best and are willing to accept our ups and downs. Hope to see you when you make your trip to the States (or Atlantic Canada - which is only stone's throw away... for fun I try to hit Mike's house)

Anonymous said...

Ewen, Well done. I retain my confidence that you can achieve comfortably under 45 min under normal circumstances– but I accept that 81F and high humidity doesn’t count as normal.

The question of how well one can expect to maintain position relative to age grading is an interesting one. The top level performances in each age group are the performances of individuals who happen to have peaked at that age. I suspect that the degree of wear and tear on the body from the training required to produce top level performances makes it almost impossible to remain at the very top for more than a few years.

But I think if one is just a little more conservative, it is possible to remain in the upper ranks of the age grading for many years – though one probably needs to address issues such as loss of strength and flexibility. I will be very interested to see what effect that the drills that you are doing at present have on your performances in the near future. I think it is reasonable to expect that over the next year or two you will claw back at least a few percentage points on the age grading. Whether or not this proves to be the case, I think it is great to keep experimenting with various strategies to find a way to confound the predictions of those tables. And of course continue to have fun along the way.

jojo said...

so where do you get the age gradings from? is my 2.34.99 at 37 better than my 2.34.1 when i was not to be self centred or anything.... but well i am
id struggle to break 46 on the track..its frickin boring!
give me a fast halfer(isnt that what you guys call an 8) ive always been a metric gal!

Anonymous said...

Jojo, There are several different websites that provide calculators. As far as I am aware, most use the same version of tables (derived under the auspices of the World Masters Association), though different versions of age tables do exist so different sites might not all give exactly the same answer.
The sites differ in the ease with which you can enter and read the information. I like the following site:

trailblazer777 said...

excellent photo! well done on a top class 10,000m, the humidity can be a big issue. better conditions, but most importantly maintaining the training and racing momentum, and that M50 PR/PB should be yours pretty soon. Well done! persist! Remember PRE!

Ali said...

running buddies who make you laugh are priceless. Hang on to them. I lost mine to alcohol and gym memberships. Maybe I'll move to Oz ... I'd have to get fast to run with your bunch.

Ewen said...

Paul, thanks. Now all I need to do is have fun and run M50 PBs ;)

Andrew, you have my sympathy for having never 'enjoyed' racing 10,000 on the track. I'm with you on having fun and doing one's best. Hope to be within a stone's throw of Mike's house in mid-2011.

Canute, I've wondered about wear and tear on the body. The only master I know who's continued at top age-grade level is Steve Moneghetti at 47. Don't know if he'll still be there at 67! I'd love to claw back a few % points over the coming years.

Jojo, yes the page Canute mentioned is good. I also like this one. Note that 800m is a sprint! If you run 2:36:00 at age 39, that's worth 2:33 at "10". I'd say better though, as 10-year-old girls have pretty much the same physical ability as 10-year-old boys (they haven't gained the attributes that make them attractive to 13-year-old boys, and slow them down as teenage runners).

TB thanks! I really want to "run like Pre" in some races this winter - especially the shorter ones.

Ali, you'd fit in well with our bunch - and there's no need for gym memberships in our snow-free climate ;)

Robert James Reese said...

I'm glad to hear you were able to make peace with it. Having fun really is the most important part for us non-elites.

And, I totally agree that the marathon should be a winter olympic sport.

Jaymee said...

Not sure how you pull off a decent 10k in the heat like that--around a track no less. I love the title of this post, and the picture.

Runner Susan said...

The Wiggles are a wee bit scary. Much like me at mile 19 of a marathon.

Your times are great Ewen, for any age. I'd be happy with your speed.

Stephen Lacey said...

I see no reason why we have to enjoy the aging process. I for one am feeling very niggly with the niggles. But there is no point getting angst-ridden either, huh. We do what we can and are grateful for it, but there are still times when we should be able to kick the clods of dirt, I reckon. You'll nail this with some kinder weather, I'm sure.

speedygeoff said...

Runner Susan, you say you would be happy with Ewen's speed, but would you be happy with Ewen's body?

Ewen said...

Robert, one of my goals is to keep having fun - that and not hitting the wall 8 miles into a marathon ;)

Jaymee, I'm not sure either, but give me the cold wind of Spokane any day.

Susan, they are scary - that's why I run behind them ;)

Steve, I'm only angst-ridden because I'll never beat your marathon PB ;) I'll have to arrange a June 10,000 on the track.

Speedygeoff, all I can say to that is I wouldn't be happy with Susan's body, but I wouldn't mind her 400m speed!