Saturday, April 24, 2010

I race like Ryan Hall

The Boston Marathon was run late Monday night our time. A couple of online mates of mine were running — Flo and Robert. Both ran great times. I followed the elite race coverage after the fact on The women's race resulted in an exciting finish as Tatyana Pushkareva came from behind to almost run down breakaway leader Teyba Erkesso. In the men's race, Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot and Deriba Merga traded second-half surges until Cheruiyot eventually despatched the pretenders to win in a course record of 2:05:52. Ryan Hall employed an even-pacing strategy which saw him dropping off the lead pack when surges were applied, then suddenly appearing at the front of the pack when they slowed. He eventually finished fourth in 2:08:41.

It has occurred to me that I race like Ryan Hall — at least in long races, which I'll classify as 15k or longer. I try and run an even pace throughout the race, which is the proven best way to run a record time — in my case, a personal best. The thing is, I'm not actually racing! I'm running a glorified time-trial with other runners for company. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? I'm not sure. I think I'd like to RACE! You know, sit on a rival's shoulder before throwing in a mid-race surge to break their spirit. Or run quietly with the pack (that's the local pack of runners I know who are near my ability) for a few kilometres before running a fast 2k split to get away, then surviving until the finish. This is the tactic Ismael Kirui used in the 5000 metres at the Stuttgart World Championships. He jumped away from a pack which included Haile Gebrselassie by running a 4-minute mile, then survived the chasers to win in 13:02.75.

My next major goal race is the "21k" at the Gold Coast. It's actually run over a distance of 21.0975 kilometres (13.109416 miles), but apparently the correct distance is too long to fit on the T-shirt. I'll be trying to run an M50 PB — 1:40:47 or faster, and probably use the Ryan Hall even-pacing method. There will be shorter races before then, both on the track and over the country. I'd like to be game enough to sometimes try Kirui, Merga, Steve Prefontaine, or Ron Clarke tactics in those races. In the next days and weeks various on and off-line friends will be running marathons in London, California, Oregon, Kentucky, New Zealand, the Netherlands and Canberra. Good luck to all!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Running and Watching

I've decided not to run the Christchurch Marathon. Rinus said I could run a marathon "for fun", and that's true enough, but I'd like to attempt a respectable time for my next marathon. If I do run one, it'll be later in the year. Until then I'll keep trying to improve my times from 3k to the half marathon.

I thought I'd show you one of the places where I run. It's the track at Calwell. If I had a dollar for every kilometre I've run down there I'd be rich enough to shout the bar many times over at Scott's Bar & Grill. Late on Thursday afternoon I ran 3000 metres at tempo pace and felt the best I have since Six Foot.

On Saturday morning I ran 16.7k down by the lake with my mates — felt fine for that one too — then this morning marshalled near a bridge and had the pleasure of watching 1000 or so women and girls participating in a 5k fun run. It was a good weekend!