Thursday, July 28, 2016

Back racing, and loving it!

My slow and steady comeback to running continues to go well. I've been competing in short races (around the 5k distance) and in doing these, I realise how much I miss the thrill of racing. I possess a very strong competitive gene! The unknown Formula One driver Jean Behra once said, "Life is racing, the rest is waiting." Yes, a seemingly extreme life philosophy, but one that applies to my own running. Don't get me wrong — I do enjoy the simple act of running (the movement; being in nature; the camaraderie of runners), but I love racing.

An unexpected upside of this return from injury is being taken back to my running roots as a 23-year-old enthusiastic newbie. Every couple of days I can feel my fitness improving (and the data from the Garmin backs that up). The graph is steadily pointing skyward. This is exciting, but I have the knowledge that the graph will eventually flatten. A truth that my naive 20-something self didn't think would happen until I was running 30 minutes for 10 kilometres. Sounds crazy, but I had no coach and no idea. In reality I reached my peak as a 37-minute 10k runner.

On the 17th of July I ran in a race where, for a few kilometres, I was thinking 'wow, I'm flying along, passing runners, blasting along this muddy trail, feeling young again!' The race was the Sri Chinmoy Gungahlin Gallop 10k Trail Race — up on a muddy single-track to the top of this bloody big hill and back down again. I finished in the middle of the pack (probably towards the rear of the middle!) and my time of 75 minutes was woefully slow for a 10k, but my body and mind were for once co-existing in a place familiar to all runners. Greedy I know, but I want more of that.

Racing down the hill (recalling my days as a steeplechaser) in the Gungahlin Gallop 10k [John Harding photo]

My video, mostly showing runners in the 30k

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

A month of tentative running done

This coming back business is a slow process! I ran the Lake Stakes 6k today — really it was a 5k run as the first kilometre was my warm-up walk. 5k in 31:45 with an average heart rate of 137 (well over MAF HR) for 870 heart beats per kilometre. My calf was good, but I'm still being ever so careful, shuffling along, with very little force being applied to the ground. I felt a twinge in the upper calf (not the original injury area) last Thursday and had three days rest from running.

I've run 76 kilometres over the past 4 weeks, most of that being gentle treadmill running, accustoming the legs to the running movement and gradually building up some leg strength. It's been going well until that twinge last week. I raced a 5k cross country event at Stromlo on 25 June finishing 3rd last in 28:21. Average heart rate for that race was 138 for 782 heart beats per kilometre, so today's race was a small slip on the game of snakes and ladders.

The plan for the next couple of months is to continue building the mileage and run Parkrun 5ks and races at racing HR effort (145ish) for my only hard weekly session. My eventual goal for weekly running volume is 6 hours per week, supplemented by cycling mileage. If I was a fast runner I'd be covering over 90k in 6 hours, which is sufficient volume to run well. For me it will be around 60k, so all I've got to do is get from 20 to 60! Phew!

Organiser Peter with his '300 runs' shirt at the Lake Stakes today. [P Thommo photo]