Sunday, November 25, 2012

When I grow up I want to be like Luckylegs

I'm happy with my running this week. This morning's 11k included 3 x 1000 metres on the cross country course at Stromlo. Had the company of Geoff, Miranda and Andy (not marathon man Andy!) — I ran a little conservatively for times of 4:24, 4:19 and 4:15. These times are close to my hoped for 5k race-pace. My right calf has been a little tender since the YCRC 5k cross country race on Tuesday. While warming up with Geoff I felt a sudden cramp in the calf. Massaged it out and completed the race without further complications.

The race itself was interesting. I eased my way into it, letting Geoff streak off ahead, thinking to myself 'can he hold that pace?' — 'he's coming back from injury and was well behind last week.' I gradually got into a smooth stride but only made small inroads into the 75 metres or so gap. It was a 3-lap course and my splits were 7:53, 7:40 and 7:42 — a total of 23:15. Last year on the same course I'd run 24:05 (although I hadn't tried quite as hard), so an encouraging result. Equally encouraging is the fact that Geoff ran 21:52 for 5k on the track two days later! Perhaps I'm not far away from that sort of time.

On Thursday night I ventured out to the AIS track for the combined Open/Vets meet. We had a special guest competing in the 5000 metres — Norma Wallett (known to her friends as 'Luckylegs') from Mittagong. It was her first outing on the track for quite a few years and she smashed the Australian record in her age-group. She's 83 years old! Ran an amazing 31:11.58, which works out to be 6:14 per km pace (10:02 mile pace). I ran behind Norma while counting her laps. There were (surprisingly) so many starters that runners in the combined 3/5k event were told to count their own laps. She recorded an age-group percentage of 95.0 while breaking the existing Ausralian record by almost 5 minutes. When I grow up I want to be like her. What an inspirational lady!

Friends Ruth and Luckylegs after the Australian Record

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Unforgiving Hour

I've had three races since the 22:17 track 5000. Tuesday November 6 was a 5k with the YCRC runners on Stromlo's lovely grass. I ran 22:43 for that and noted in the diary that the legs were still sore from the previous day's Speedygeese relay sprints. On November 13 I ran the YCRC Barrenjoey Drive 5k in 23:07. That was a fairly uneventful race — ran evenly 'by feel' again and caught up to a few fast-starting runners in the third lap. Although slower than last year (22:22), I was encouraged as I hadn't 'busted a gut' to run the time (it was more of a tempo run than an all-out race). Average heart-rate was 143 (compared to last year's 152) — so 680 heart-beats per km last year verses a 'fitter' 661 this year. Two days later I raced for an hour on the track. Strange race that one! I ran round and round. And round... trying to put in an effort something akin to half-marathon race-pace. Ended up with 12,575 metres in the hour — 4:46 per km at an ave HR of 144.

Running hard for an hour on the track isn't easy! Especially as our Mondo surface is over 10 years old — feels like running on concrete covered by a thread-bare kitchen carpet. My shins were complaining for the last 20 minutes. I ran by feel again, dropping back from Roger early (he stretched out the 'lead' to 40 metres). After about 6k I caught up rather quickly and moved ahead. With about 8 minutes to run he appeared on the track just in front of me following a porta-loo stop! Passed him again, then for a bit of fun after Steve and Helen lapped me (for the second time) tried to keep them from getting more than 200 metres ahead (1k for the race). Successful with that — also with running a 'huge' 7 metres further than last year. Average heart-rate was 2 beats/minute lower so I think I'm marginally fitter than I was at this time last year.

Immediate plans are to continue racing on the track, do the YCRC events as tempo runs, Speedygeese sessions for speed/strength and Stromlo interval sessions for speed-endurance/race-pace muscular co-ordination. If it all holds together I hope to be in M50 PB form by the new year. Good luck to all who are racing (or coming back from injury or trying to run!) — enjoy it if you're running well — if not, keep trying!

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Flying to a faster 5000

As I type this I'm listening to Scott and Kevin talking about Running in Japan. They ramble on a times (is that a Canadian thing?) but it's worth a listen. Scott recommended the Hosaka session of running fast downhill for a kilometre and jogging back up for the recovery. He does this six times. I could run such a session on the grass cross country course at Stromlo, using the first km of the 2000 metre loop. I ran there this morning with Geoff, Yelena, Andy and Joel — it was a perfect Spring day. As part of a 12k jog I ran 3 x 600 metres (200 of which is downhill), creaky at first but smoothing out to a last one at 4:15 per km pace.

On Thursday evening I raced another 5000 on the track. 22:17.48, so about a 54 second improvement on last time but less exceptional in terms of splits. The kms went: 4:24, 4:26, 4:30, 4:31 and 4:26. Average heart-rate was 149. I was really happy with the time, less so with the race. I didn't take my usual couple of easy days prior to the race — in fact, I've been returning my training to a more 'normal' volume (70k) this week. On Monday I ran hill loops and drills with the The Speedygeese; Tuesday my '17 hills' 10k course; Wednesday a steady 10k run. So to finish a 5000 just 47 seconds slower than my M50 PB took me to a happy place.

As a race though, it was rather sad. There were just five of us on the line, three of whom ran the 3000! Where are all the Masters track distance runners these days? So I came 2nd — running the whole thing pretty much as a solo time-trial. Lance was completing an easy 3k (he would run a PB the following evening of 9:54), but even so he was a little too quick. After 2 laps of 'sticking' I was by myself, running round and round and round. Craig was way up ahead on his way to a 20:27 PB. I want some competition (and fun)! To get this I'll switch to racing 3000s for a while — perhaps doing the earlier and more popular 6pm race.

Perfecting my 'both feet in the air' running style