Saturday, August 21, 2010

One hundred k in a day

I flew to Melbourne with Ruth last weekend to "crew" for Liz in her first 100k ultramarathon. It was quite an experience — I now have some understanding about what lures seemingly sane runners to push themselves over such incredible distances. Sunday passed surprisingly quickly (for us!) as we watched Liz and friends complete 26 laps (plus 500 metres) of The Tan — Melbourne's famous and popular running track.

The track is a 3.827k loop with most of the surface being compressed gravel. There's one hill — the not insignificant Anderson Street, an asphalt footpath. The unofficial one-lap course record is held by Craig Mottram at 10:08. At the end of the day, Liz was the first female to finish. She passed the early leader not long after 50k and pushed on to run 9:47:30. She was amazing! One hundred kilometres in not much more time than a regular working day. Also running in the 100 were two other friends from Canberra, Steve and Nick. Steve finished in 11:38, but Nick had to retire at 54k.

In conjunction with the 100k there was a 53.5k "fun run" starting at 9:00 AM, 2 hours after the 100k. We got to cheer on a couple of trail-running friends — John and Di. We also managed a little shopping, eating and coffee drinking over the weekend. It was good fun.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Still Red

I raced the City to Surf on Sunday — my 27th trip from Sydney city to Bondi Beach. On the face of it my time looks slow, but I must say I'm very happy with the result and how I ran. Finished in a chip-timed 72:04 for the 14k, which is 5:09 per km pace (8:17 miles). Significantly, this was safely under the 75 minutes needed to start in the Red Group (first corral to start) next time. I also enjoyed a great weekend spending quality time with my friends from Canberra.

I used my disliked Ryan Hall race strategy — running an even effort throughout — dropping down a gear on the uphills and staying off the brakes on the downs. I avoided racing until the last kilometre, when I tried to kick-down with a couple of teenage girls wearing tutus. I lost that race!

Speaking of Ryan, I was reading Rick's blog and saw an article by Ryan's wife Sarah. It came from the Master The Shift Facebook page (under the 'Ryan' tab). Sarah contends that there are two types of runners — those who train to race and those who train to train. She places herself in the first category and Ryan in the second. Sarah races about 20 times a year and Ryan 4 to 5 (of which one or two will be marathons). I was wondering where people lie on this running spectrum. I myself am more Sarah than Sarah, having raced 18 times already this year. This might seem like too much racing, but in my "PB year" of 1991 I raced 41 times. I like racing! However, when you end up running like a dog that's been beat too much, you don't look forward to racing. The results from a blood test will be back on Tuesday — I'm hoping a simple iron deficiency (rather than working too many 11-hour days) is the cause of my poor recent form.

Fast City to Surf Beard
With my fast beard and mate Gordon — weekend of the '98 City to Surf