2015 Cleveland Marathon

299800_197946262_XLargeMy training and motivation have been in the pits lately, I’m over 100 miles behind on my target miles for 2,015 miles in 2015, and I just generally don’t want to be out there. I have some REALLY big ultra marathon races coming up that I need to be REALLY spending time on feet for. The Cleveland Marathon is supposed to help me in the motivation department by being a short term goal.

Now, because my training has been poor, I had no plans on breaking the sub-4 hour wall. I figured if I broke my PR of 4 hours 19 minutes I’d be really happy, and satisfied with breaking 4.5 hours. Ha! How many of you runners have walked into a race with that mindset? “Okay, I’m not gonna race this really hard.” Famous last words…

We arrived in Cleveland Saturday. My Zanesville running mates Bob, Jim and Bill were all entered in the half-marathon, Bill wanting to break 1:30 with a current PR of 1:34. Must be nice to still be that young *lol*. RoseMary and I had a fun afternoon checking in at the race expo and spending time at the Cleveland Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, looking at all the guitars and outfits, watching a film of concert clips of inductees and generally having a good laugh. The 5 of us all got together for dinner although only three of us ate due to the weird schedules of driving to Cleveland. I slept well and didn’t forget anything, which is always good.

Slightly (cough) filtered pre race group

I didn’t get the shirt memo.

The morning arrives, we drive downtown and get nice and close parking. I picked up a yogurt, orange juice and a banana from the hotel lobby. We walk to the starting line and I start looking for a water source to fill my hydration pack for my Tailwind. None to be found. I headed into the sports arena with a bunch of runners who were looking for toilets but all we found were dead ends. Hmmm, I might have to run the first few miles dry and fill up at the first aid station. No, wait, here’s another opening into the stadium and toilets and water fountains abound. Whew.

There were apparently 20,000 people taking part in the races today. That’s a whole lot of folks. I was in D corral with the 4-4.5 hour runners, right where I should be. I fidgeted around in the crowd waiting for the start, there was a very nice rendition of the Star Spangled Banner sang, the gun went off, and I shuffled for three minutes until we crossed the starting line and were able to break into a trot.

Where's Wally, er, Myles?

Where’s Wally, er, Myles?

It was a well organised race, some nice suburban scenery along the way. Not very hilly (although looking back at the data there appears to be some hill in the middle I don’t really remember). Funny thing, Strava.com reported my total elevation as 2,850′ (869 meters). It certainly didn’t seem that hilly to me, so checking with MovesCount.com, it showed 1,644′ of elevation (501 meters). Going back to Strava and poking around I find a way for Strava to recalculate based on the barometric readings of my Ambit3, and it comes back and says “So sorry I was wrong the first time, it’s actually 607′ (185 meters)”. So take your pick :)

299800_197905340_XLargeI was feeling really good and figured I’d hang around the 9 minute mile mark (about 5:30/km). After a few miles I caught up to the 4 hour pacer group and ran with them a bit only to leave them behind at an aid station. Hey! Maybe I’ll break four hours after all! The first 10k were spot on at 9:07/mile (9:09/mile will get you 4 hours). For some reason I started picking up speed after that. Between 10k and 13.1 miles (half marathon) I averaged 8:57/mile with an overall average of 9:01/mile. That doesn’t sound like a lot of difference, but it can be, although perhaps what happened later was inevitable either way.

Around mile 16 the wheels started to wobble. I dropped into a walk/run and my times started decreasing. I passed the time doing the math in my head of what I needed to still PR and it was looking good.

Then came the glitch.

The last three miles of the race were on Interstate 2. Three miles of steady uphill (except, of course, for the odd level patch that looked like the top of the hill until you got there and saw even more hill beyond). Four lanes wide of hot, uphill cement. It was hell. Depending on who you speak to, I was either dancing to the YMCA song to keep my spirits up or suffering heat stroke. Me, I’ll go for the optimists dance. (And it obviously amused the photographers, lol)

299800_198024283_Medium

299800_197979803_MediumC 299800_197979805_Medium

I had picked up a young lady named Stephanie who had just finished medical school and was running her first marathon. She was walking and looking sore and sad. By trying to motivate her,  I forced myself into a position of having to push myself as well. We were aiming for that 4:15. Ah the vagaries of youth, with only a mile left to go she leaves me in the dust. Kids these days *shaking my head*. I ran the final 3/4 mile with an increase in speed that only somebody who has run that far and hurts that much can understand. A triumphant sprint across the finish line at a clock time of 4:25:20 and a net time of 4:22:36 line to line, 24 seconds slower than my PR net time. Strava trimmed down my time to an even 26.2 (I registered 26.5 miles which is probably one of the closest I’ve ever had) at 4:20:09, less than a minute over my PR.

Flat Myles, post race

Flat Myles, post race

Crossing the line

Crossing the line

So my overall findings…. The race was well presented and organised. There was music every couple of miles blasting from speakers, as befitting the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The swag was good, although as usual I didn’t participate in the after party which was supposed to be rockin’. The only part of the course I disliked was the last 3 uphill miles of interstate, but from speaking to others who have run the race before on the old route, it was a small trade-off for not having to run through the concrete jungles of East Cleveland.

Training: Poor. A lack of motivation and the poor training showed in my crash and burn at the end. I also can blame that on trying to maintain too fast a pace.

Health: No blisters or toenail issues. No chafing thanks to liberal applications of run goo all over my body.

Nutrition/Hydration: Once again I relied solely on Tailwind and it didn’t let me down. No hunger/cramps/wall/stomach issues. I can’t praise this stuff enough.

Would I run it again? Definitely. It’s a fast, fun course if only I’d been in a position to take advantage of that.

Next up, my first 50 mile trail race. GULP!

Keep running,

-Myles

Losing My Ultra Cherry – The Gorge Waterfalls 50k

2015 is to be my (bum-bum-BAAAH!) Year of the Ultra (with accompanying timpani, cymbals and drum rolls). Late last year I decided if I was going to do it, I would do it right. And ‘right’ means aim for the Grand-Daddy of distances, the hundred miler, picking up 50k, 50 miles and 100k along the way. Recognizing the amount of training required for this audacious undertaking, I also decided it would just be this once (I mean, I  deserve a life, too!). Some might say aiming for a hundred miler right off the bat is crazy, but this is the guy who decided he could do a full marathon based on only four months of running. And we know how that turned out *lol*

My training started in December 2014, my hundred miler to be in November 2015. I have a LOT of work on my endurance ahead of me.

I trained fairly well over the winter up until March where for some reason my motivation has gone all to Detroit. In fact, my monthly total for March was 55 miles short of plan, a good 25% missing.

Despite this, the day for my first official ultra-marathon (I had done my own 50k for a lark in the Perth hills in January 2014) quickly came upon me. As I knew I wasn’t aiming for anything but completing the race, there were no real pre-race jitters.  I had chosen The Gorge Waterfalls 50k as my first ultra. The website showed a beautiful course, inundated with waterfalls and greenery. It was so amazing looking that my brain didn’t even take in the 6,000′ of elevation gain over the course.

When I originally announced my intention, my online Google Plus friend Mark Stone, who lives in Washington, said it was a race he’d always wanted to enter as well and since I was making the effort to fly out from Ohio to Oregon, he would join me and we would share our first ultra.

Saturday was spent courtesy of Southwest Airlines, making our way across the country. When we arrived in Portland, Mark and his lovely wife Karen were at the airport to greet us and whisked us off to dinner in a quirky part of Oregon that reminded me of Fremantle in Western Australia. A great taco dinner at Cruzroom. I think my favorite was The Green Meanie. Carb-loading was completed by ice cream at Salt & Straw, which was worth the (apparently shorter than usual) line of 30 minutes out the door.

Sunday morning I breakfasted on yogurt, bananas and orange juice. A fairly typical race morning meal for me. We had to arrive early as RoseMary was acting as a volunteer at the race (very kind of her, it allowed me to bypass the lottery for race entry) checking in runners pre-race. Karen also gracefully volunteered to ensure Mark’s entry, but had an afternoon shift prepping food for hungry runners returning across the finish line. While RoseMary checked in people (some from as far away as France, Portugal and Australia) Mark and I took a warm-up walk and got to see the beautiful Multnomah Falls at sunrise.

Starting LineEverything was fairly well organised. As the 50k route was only one half of the 100k out and back that had been run the previous day, we were bused out to the starting line 32 miles away in yellow school buses. It’s a long time since I rode on a school bus! At the starting point, the Race Director James Varner pointed us in the direction of the few toilets to be found with only a short time to get over 300 people through them for last minute “prep”. Inevitably, the bushes were full of nervous racers shedding those last minute ounces.

With a rather laid back “Follow me through the campground” by James, he led us through the start of the race and we were off. There was no chip timing in the race. Mark and I fell back, not wanting to hold others up and not planning on finishing in under 8 hours. A comfortable pace, walking some of the single trail switchbacks as we climbed. Very pretty scenery, trees, ferns and streams with occasional views of the Columbia river.  Gorge Waterfalls 50k

The first aid station was supposedly at 9.3 miles, although I showed 10.5. I grabbed half a PB&J although I’d been sucking on my Tailwind regularly along the way. As we left the aid station, the Station Captain commented that we would have to hustle to stay ahead of cutoff. This concerned me, I didn’t think we’d been moving slowly, and our time was on track to actually finish in about 7 hours at our current pace. This just goes to show how ignorance about the trail can be detrimental. That last mountain is a doozy.

Gorge Waterfalls 50kLots of pretty scenery. At one point we broke out of the trees to a stunning view of the Columbia river. A woman followed us out and started hooting and hollering about how awesome it looked and I got a chuckle out of Mark when I leaned forward and said “She’s looking at my butt, isn’t she?”

At the second aid station at mile 18, we were only 12 minutes ahead of cutoff. Mark and I were both under the impression that the third aid station was about 2/3 the way up the big hill. And we had two hours and twelve minutes to get 7.5 miles. Normally not a problem, but if we’re walking 20-22 minute miles up steep Gorge Waterfalls 50kswitchbacks, it becomes a problem. I refilled my hydration vest with tailwind and said to Mark we would have to hustle to stay ahead of cutoff. When he replied “I can only do what I can do” I got concerned. All I could do was set the tempo we needed to stay ahead of cutoff and hope he could keep up. It didn’t take long though, and he was falling back. I felt really bad as I’d wanted us to do this together, but I knew Mark would want me to finish if I could.

But then something strange happened. I got to aid station 3. And it was a whole 40 minutes ahead of cutoff. I hadn’t started climbing the big hill yet at all. Mark could still do this! I texted him, hoping he would receive it, hoping he would be motivated by it. I had two hours to do 6 miles, how hard could that be?

gorge elevation


Gorge Waterfalls 50k

 

Gorge Waterfalls 50k

I passed quite a few people heading up the last big hill. THANK YOU treadmill incline work! But the one thing treadmills don’t train you for is downhill, and there I did dismally, getting passed back by all the people I had passed.I finally reached the bottom of the mountain but they had one last cruel trick up their sleeve as I hit the road. The trail headed back up into the hills again. As I neared the Multnomah Falls visitor center, I saw Mark heading up the trail towards me. It felt good to have him run the last mile and a bit in with me.

Finish Line

 

One of the cool things about the race was that Race Director James was there to greet every finisher of the race.

So here’s my overall findings:

The Course: Well organised and well marked (although we missed one turn). A tough trail race. Not one I would suggest for a newbie (like me!). Many gorgeous sections of trail, but there was quite a bit of running 100-150 feet off the main highway as well. My watch showed the distance as 34.11 miles. One data stat that confuses me is that my moving time was almost an hour less than my race time. I can’t see how I lost an hour taking pictures and aid stations? The cutoff times also make this not newbie friendly. The race is not chip timed.

Training: The best thing I did was regular treadmill sessions of 4-8 miles, 10-15% incline, at 3-4 miles an hour (a brisk walk). This let me take on the uphills with strength. Winter didn’t allow me to get in trail training as I would have wished. I need to learn how to run downhill without trashing my quads or walking too slowly.

Race Prep: I taped my forefeet with athletic tape, then lathered my feet with Run Goo. I also applied it to any other possible chafing areas on my body (nipples, groin). I suffered no blisters or chafing from the race, and only one new black toenail.

Nutrition/Hydration: One word. Tailwind.

Bling: You had the option of buying a t-shirt, and I got a nice quality long sleeve technical shirt. I was very disappointed to find that there was no finishers awards of any kind. The race placers received a beer glass.

After-Race: They put on quite a spread. Free beer and pizza and all kinds of foods. Unfortunately, by the time I made it in most of the food and all of the beer was gone. I guess I just need to be faster.

Dos Amigos

Gorge 50k

“Cross-Training” or “How To Get Naked In Front Of 800 Of Your Closest Friends”

Running isn’t just about pounding your feet on the pavement. It’s also about pushing your body and mind outside it’s comfort zone. Going places and doing things you never thought you could.

Which brings us to last Sunday.

I’ve always been fairly comfortable with my body, not because it’s any great body or anything, but because I’m that kind of easy going kind of guy. In my mind, I’ve often thought I could do public nudity, but the question has always been there, “Buff or bluff?” So I finally had the opportunity to combine nudity with a scheduled marathon training rest/cross-train day ocean swim, AND support a worthwhile charity at the same time.

naked and naturalThe Naked Fig Café sponsored a Guinness Book of World Records attempt for the most skinny dippers at one time last Sunday, March 30th 2014. There was a $35 entry fee, all profits going to The Butterfly Foundation to support positive body imaging. The current record was set by the Kiwis with 744 skinny dippers. Perth HAD to be able to better that!

The morning started out a little chaotic. People not taking public transport were asked to park at Challenge Stadium where a bus would ferry us to the event. Parking was supposed to be $5 but the guy at the gate a) didn’t arrive until 8:15, when we were all supposed to be there by, so people were parking in the wrong place and had to move their vehicles and b) was charging $5 per person in the vehicle. That all eventually got sorted out though and we boarded our bus and headed off. I had struck up a conversation with a gentleman by the name of Hedley, who is the secretary for the Perth chapter of The Phoenix Nudist Club and we talked about the oil & gas industry that he had recently retired from and how he’d grown up in South Africa running around naked as a child with all the locals.

On arriving at the event and standing in line chatting with people, it was obvious that this was a very happy, very friendly crowd of people. Which makes sense! How many grumpy people are going to go out and take off their kit in front of hundreds of strangers? I immediately felt comfortable around these folks. We were given a sarong and assigned a “group” of 50. I was part of the “Juicy Juicy Mangoes”, and there were groups of “Prickly Pineapples” and “Marvelous Melons” and other fruity somewhat risque names. I headed over to the changing tents and changed into my sarong, leaving my bag of clothes in a secure storage area. I had a towel with me, which was good, because there was quite a cool breeze coming off the ocean so I had it wrapped around my shoulders.

It was still quite early, a good hour and a half before the event start time, so I wandered around listening to the band they had playing and checking out what kind of people would attend such an event. I was quite surprised! I expected mostly older and a larger percentage of male than female, and while the mean age probably ran somewhere around the mid 40’s there were older and younger there as well with an almost even split of male and female and all sorts of body shapes and types. The Facebook Event page has some photos of people here. Most people came in groups or couples, not a lot of single people like myself, which I suppose put me in the possible ‘perv’ category, but I behaved myself.

Which brings me to a good point. What is good skinny dipping etiquette? WikiHow.com actually has an article on it. They state:

“Know the difference between admiring and leering. Looking appreciatively at the physiques of other skinny dippers is harmless, but try to stop yourself from staring. A prolonged look will come off as creepy and rude.”

This was good information to have as I’m a people watcher by nature normally and was a little concerned at what was acceptable when the clothing hit the deck. Eventually we reached the “call-to-arms” and formed up in our groups, having to walk single file through a maze like area so we could be counted and filmed for the world record proof (we still had our sarongs on!!)

We lined up in our groups facing the water, the exhibitionists immediately dropping their sarongs, the nervous ones waiting until the last possible moment, and I was somewhere in the middle. I will make a few observations at this point. 1) Maybe it was just this crowd, but I didn’t realise that shaving/waxing of the pubes was quite as prolific as this among both men and women, 2) Some people crave attention a little too much (yes, I’m talking to you, man with the bright silver ring in your dingle) and 3) It really wasn’t all that terrifying! I suppose the fact that I’m convinced I was invisible helped *lol*

They blew the whistle and everyone dashed for the water!

Skinny-dipping-1200breakersThe first batch of people were immediately picked up by a 5-6 foot wave and thrown back into the crowd behind them. Arms and legs, t and a flying everywhere. It was quite funny to watch. We eventually got the hang of the wave pattern (a big one every 6 or so waves) and people swam out beyond the swell. Now in order to get the record, we needed more than 744 people in the water, at least waist deep, at the same time for 5 minutes.

After braving the waves you had forgotten all about being naked and we were now all just heads bobbing in the water. We looked back and there were probably about 100 people still standing on the sand, not comfortable with the idea of braving the surf. And considering that the “waist deep” area was just about perfectly where the waves came crashing down, this is understandable. Not everyone was going to be a great swimmer. All in all I’ve probably been in the water about 10 minutes at this point and we notice the organisers waving everyone back in without the 5 minute sirens going off as planned. It was just too rough to safely get everyone in the water, and fair enough. I did my best to find a wave to body-surf in to the beach, but got sucked into a big washing-machine wave. I immediately just curled into a ball, bounced off the bottom a couple times, did a couple somersaults, and was found on the sand in a fetal position as the water retreated around me. It was fun!

I dried off and got back to the secure storage area as quickly as I could, rightly guessing it was going to be a zoo. The 40 people in front of me turned into a line behind me that I couldn’t see the end of. I decided using the changing tents was unnecessary at this point (I mean, seriously!) and got back into my clothes standing next to the line of people waiting to retrieve theirs.

I felt really really good! I had truly enjoyed the experience and the people and the atmosphere. I would do this again in a heartbeat.

A quick bus ride back to my car, talking to a New Zealand born lady who had flown out from Melbourne to take part in this event, and then I was off to Clancy’s Fish Bar to have lunch with my running partner Mike and his lovely girlfriend Emma. A wonderful end to a wonderful morning.

And no, we didn’t get the record, apparently we were 76 people short in the water, but they’re holding the event again next year and possibly a little earlier/warmer/calmer.

Unabashedly,

-Myles

swanbourne

Mohican Trail Marathon Pre-Game Show

Well, after a dismal February with only two 10km runs, six 8km runs and twenty very short runs (what can I say, I was TIRED towards the end of my 100 day run streak :) ), and March not looking much better with only 3 runs to date since my streak ended on the 5th, it was time to find some motivation.

Mohican RiverI was pointed towards the Mohican Trail Marathon which will be held on June 21st in Loudenville, Ohio, and it seemed a good idea. Far enough away to train for, and a reason to train. Now training isn’t going to be easy! I’ll be moving countries, bumming around for a couple weeks on holiday, it will be easy to find excuses not to run, so I’ll have to keep my big boy pants on and focus on the race ahead.

Mohican Trail 1Some interesting facts about the race, they have a 100 mile, 50 mile, and for wimps like me a mere marathon distance race, all run on the same day. The 100 mile race (MO100) has been around 25 years now and is apparently the fifth oldest running ultra in the US. And all of this organised by, get this, the Ohio Mountain Bike Championship!

So I need a training plan. My first marathon distance was run on a Runners World plan, because hey, it said I would be ready in 12 weeks for a marathon, forget the fact I’d never run further than 12km in my life.

My next two were with the assistance of a “personal trainer” who wrote me up a nice training schedule for last year, but I didn’t find him particularly helpful for answering questions or giving advice.

So this time, I took out my recently purchased (and autographed) copy of Greg McMillan’s “You, only faster“. This is an excellent primer for learning how to design and modify your own training plan. Lots of great advice, maybe too much to take in the first time, but I can only improve, hey?you only faster

I chose a 5-6 day per week plan. My logic was that I don’t feel I’ve lived up to my marathon potential in my previous races on a 3-4 day per week schedule. My 5k, 10k and half marathon times all fit into the race predictor calculators, but my marathon times are about a half hour slower than they should be based on other races. So I wanted time on feet.

And time on feet I got. My Runners World training plan was obviously tailored for beginners (which I probably didn’t qualify for that high a level of!) with the long runs increasing every week. In the McMillan plan, I start at a 16 mile long run my first week, up to 20 miles long run by week 5 and a massive 24 miles in week 10. Overall weekly mileage doesn’t change all that much in this plan, which is fine as I feel I have a halfway decent base built already, especially after my run streak. The schedule will probably  net me about 60km per week (which also happens to be what I need to do from here on out to hit 3,000km for 2014).

So here is my initial training plan:

Date Workout Amount
30-Mar Rest or Cross Train  
31-Mar Progression Run 1:20:00
1-Apr Easy Run 1:00:00
2-Apr Fartlek 10-12×1 min w/ 1 min jog 0:24:00
3-Apr Rest, Cross Train or Short Run 0:45:00
4-Apr Easy Run 1:15:00
5-Apr Long Run 16 miles
6-Apr Rest or Cross Train  
7-Apr Leg Speed 8-10×25 sec w/ 1 min jog 0:15:00
8-Apr Easy Run 1:00:00
9-Apr Fartlek 5×2 min on, 1 min off 0:15:00
10-Apr Rest, Cross Train or Short Run 0:45:00
11-Apr Easy Run 1:15:00
12-Apr Long Run 18 miles
13-Apr Rest or Cross Train  
14-Apr Easy Run 1:30:00
15-Apr Easy Run 1:00:00
16-Apr Cruise Intervals 6-8x 1km w/ 200m jog 9.6km
17-Apr Rest, Cross Train or Short Run 0:45:00
18-Apr Easy Run 1:15:00
19-Apr 3rds Progression Run 1:30:00
20-Apr Rest or Cross Train  
21-Apr Fartlek 12-15×1 min w/ 1 min jog 0:30:00
22-Apr Easy Run 1:00:00
23-Apr Tempo Intervals 4-5x 2km w/ 400m jog 12km
24-Apr Rest, Cross Train or Short Run 0:45:00
25-Apr Easy Run 1:15:00
26-Apr Long Run 20 miles
27-Apr Rest or Cross Train  
28-Apr Easy Run 1:45:00
29-Apr Easy Run 1:00:00
30-Apr Yasso 800’s 6-8x800m w/400m jog 7.6km
1-May Rest, Cross Train or Short Run 0:45:00
2-May Easy Run 1:15:00
3-May Long Run 20 miles
4-May Rest or Cross Train  
5-May Fartlek 12-15×1 min w/ 1 min jog 0:30:00
6-May Easy Run 1:00:00
7-May Tempo Run 5 miles
8-May Rest, Cross Train or Short Run 0:45:00
9-May Easy Run 1:15:00
10-May Long Run 18 miles
11-May Rest or Cross Train  
12-May Easy Run 1:45:00
13-May Easy Run 1:00:00
14-May Tempo Intervals 3×2 miles w/4 min jog 7 miles
15-May Rest, Cross Train or Short Run 0:45:00
16-May Easy Run 1:15:00
17-May Long Run 20 miles
18-May Rest or Cross Train  
19-May Fartlek 12-15×1 min w/ 1 min jog 0:30:00
20-May Easy Run 1:00:00
21-May Yasso 800’s 10x800m w/400m jog 12km
22-May Rest, Cross Train or Short Run 0:45:00
23-May Easy Run 1:15:00
24-May Long Run 16 miles
25-May Rest or Cross Train  
26-May Easy Run 1:45:00
27-May Easy Run 1:00:00
28-May Tempo Run 5-7 miles 7 miles
29-May Rest, Cross Train or Short Run 0:45:00
30-May Easy Run 1:15:00
31-May Long Run 24 miles
1-Jun Rest or Cross Train  
2-Jun Fartlek 12-15×1 min w/ 1 min jog 0:30:00
3-Jun Easy Run 1:00:00
4-Jun Fartlek 6-8×2 min w/1 min jog 0:24:00
5-Jun Rest, Cross Train or Short Run 0:45:00
6-Jun Easy Run 1:15:00
7-Jun Long Run 18 miles
8-Jun Rest or Cross Train  
9-Jun Fartlek 8-10×1 min w/1 min jog 0:20:00
10-Jun Easy Run 0:40:00
11-Jun Tempo Intervals 3×2 miles w/4 min jog 7.2km
12-Jun Rest, Cross Train or Short Run 0:45:00
13-Jun Easy Run 0:50:00
14-Jun Long Run 12 miles
15-Jun Rest or Cross Train  
16-Jun Leg Speed 10×25 sec w/ 1 min jog 0:15:00
17-Jun Cruise Intervals 5x1km w/200m jog 6km
18-Jun Easy Run 0:45:00
19-Jun Rest, Cross Train or Short Run 0:45:00
20-Jun Easy Run 0:30:00
21-Jun RACE: Mohican Marathon (Trail)  

I’m thinking that will keep me out of mischief for a while.

I’ll probably still make changes to it, throw in some hill intervals etc, and I need to make sure a number of my long runs are on trails, as I haven’t done any trail running yet really. This part should be interesting, as I’m not always the most coordinated individual on the planet, but what doesn’t kill me should make me better balanced.mo2

My plan is also to do weekly training updates here in blogville. Of course, that’s easier said than done, but I’ll try my best and I’m sure I’ll have mishaps and funny stories to share (although it might be tough to beat my friend Mark Stone’s recent story of a very funny trail run he shared on Google+).

See you on the trails!

-Myles

Myles’ 100 Day Run Streak

I blame Runners World.

runstreakbadge300Runners World had a holiday challenge they were promoting. Run every day, at least one mile a day, from Thanksgiving (November 28th) to New Years Day. It sounded like a good thing to do. It would keep my busy over what is sometimes an iffy part of the year for me, my races were all done for the year, I’d been slacking off in November, and it would be good for my planned base building for the coming year. On top of that it might help me get through a very food and drink oriented time of the year without taking me off my goal weight that I’ve happily reached.

Now up to this point, my goal was 50 km/week. In October I did 197.5 km, slightly below my target. November, as I mentioned, was very slack, with only 176.9 km for the month. My biggest month ever had been August with 228.77 km. April and May also exceeded 200 km.

The official start date of the Holiday Running Challenge was November 28th, but I’d run the two days prior to that as well. In hindsight, not decreasing my daily mileage was probably a bit of a mistake. But I had another challenge coming up in January with one of my Google+ groups where I set a pretty lofty goal of wanting to hit 300 miles (483 km) for the month, so I ramped up my December running to work my way up to this.

Now normal (a word that is seldom applied to me) consensus is that a runner should increase their mileage no more than 10% per week. My December total was 359.93 km. Over a 50% increase. But if I could keep this up through January, I was going to make the fabled 300 miler club.

It didn’t happen.

I ran pretty much 80 km/week in December with the final week at 88 km. On New Years Day I completed my Runners World Holiday Run Streak challenge, beginning my January distance challenge and deciding to go for 100 consecutive days to claim the www.strava.com 100 Day badge. I could now claim the two days prior to Thanksgiving into my totals. And I wasn’t alone. My good google+ friends +Jeremy Murphy and +Beth Crea were also streaking, even if Beth was running for the evil girls team in the January comp :) Beth had started streaking on the same day I did, and Jeremy was a week ahead of us.

109 km/week was my target to hit my January challenge. The first week clocked in at 106.62 km, but I just couldn’t sustain that. I’d like to blame my change of job in that period for part of it, when you work 12 hours or more a day it makes it difficult to get a lot of long runs in, especially if you have to make the mess hall by 8pm to get your dinner (I can’t run with a full stomach, although it’s a great way for me to diet *lol*), but in all honesty, my body was tired and needed a rest.

I ran 83.77 km for the second week in January and 81.29 for the third. I realised I couldn’t hit my goal but still wanted to do the best I could for the January challenge. Week four came in at only 55.10 km. I wanted to put in a big push for the end of the month and pulled my first 50 km (50.72 km) “run” from somewhere out of my nether regions on the 31st. I ran this just on my own, and I wasn’t looking for time, which is a good thing because I didn’t have it in me *laughing* My total moving time was 6:46:31, just over eight minutes a kilometre, and that doesn’t include the hour or so of rest breaks along the way where I paused the watch. I walked all of the last 9 or so kilometers, but I did it! And I feel confident that, with some proper distance appropriate training and some rested legs that I could complete a 50 km race in under 5:30:00. January closed out at 388.59 km or 241.64 miles.

RunningAhead2013

By the time February hit, I was toast. Streaking is one thing, but two months of running 50% further than my body was used to was breaking me. My total for February was 141.8 km. Valentines Day I was at the beach with my friend Matthew and some his family for a BBQ. It’s the same beach I run Christmas Day with my son. The sidewalks getting to the sand were so hot I burned a huge blister into the pad of my right foot cutting a 10 km run down to 3. The next day I ran with blister pads and sports tape, but very fortunately the blister subsided in time for my run the day after that.

March brought on a spur of the moment trip to Bali, where I ran along the paths of Sanur Beach, dodging scooters, children, dogs and tourists. I marveled at the Balinese jogging along barefoot, the callouses on their feet so thick they looked like shoe soles. Some jogging in plastic rain coats and sometimes rain pants as well, I assume for losing weight by sweating it off because it wasn’t even threatening to rain. If I was still on the path after 8am I certainly knew about it, as the humidity and heat climbed. A sure sign that I was ready to have my run streak over was how upset I got about not being able to get a proper sports massage on my legs, something I’d been really looking forward to. Everyone kept performing reflexology on my feet despite my requests, and not even touching the backs of my legs. I’d had a bad nights sleep the night before the second massage, tossing and turning, my body sore from sleeping on the sheet covered pile of construction rubble they called a bed and had to bite my tongue hard to keep from tearing the poor girls head off. As they say, a sign of over training is grouchiness and irritability, and I had it in spades! I did some, comparatively speaking, long runs (12.5 km, normally a medium run back when I had legs that worked) to make sure I hit my goal of 1,000 km for the streak. I then exported my runs from Garmin and ran them through a spreadsheet to find out I was actually about 8 km further than I had thought, a mistake in my day to day adding somewhere.

I got back to Perth in time to fly back to work the next morning, and that evening on site I ran my last and final run of my 100 day streak. It was only 2 km, and in speaking with friends I referred to it as going out with a whimper, but then I realised I was being totally unfair on myself. I had accomplished something major, in my books at least, and it was wrong to belittle it that way. So instead I now refer to it as my victory lap, and deservedly so. smashrun 100

So I did it. 100 consecutive days of running. Whether I wanted to or not, whether I was well or not, whether I was on holiday or not. I ran over Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. I’ve lost count of how many runs were begun between 11 and 11:45pm because I hadn’t wanted to or hadn’t had a chance to run yet that day. I ran my first 50 km distance. I’ve run AFTER my first 50 km run. I’ve run with blisters bigger than any I’ve had in my whole life. I’ve run in heat over 110F. I’ve run full of alcohol after going away parties leaving my last job. But I’ve run.

I’m no elite athlete. In fact, I’ve been anything BUT an athlete my entire life. But I did this. Not through any genetic advantage, but through sheer stubbornness and willpower. And if I can do this, anybody can.

My last day in Bali I finished reading Tracks, by Robyn Davidson. She says:

“The two most important things I did learn were that you are as powerful and strong as you allow yourself to be, and that the most difficult part of any endeavour is taking the first step, making the first decision.”

Take that step, make that decision, pull a Nike and “Just Do It”, in life, love and running.

Ken’s #100DayRunStreak
Day 100: 2.16km
Total: 1,010.46km
http://connect.garmin.com/activity/455475531
http://smashrun.com/kenludt/badges/1/20

hamster-wheel

Wearily but proudly,

-Myles

Fremantle Half Marathon 2013

freo half logo

This was my last long race of the year. My ‘A’ races were over with and I’ve been over-all happy with my performance for the year. So there were no nerves, no stress, no big expectations for this race. My PR for the half marathon is 1:52:16 (for exactly 21.1km) and I would be really pleased to break 1:50.

It’s a beautiful morning in Fremantle, which is always a gorgeous place to be anyway. The sun is shining, it was about 15C (or 60F) and the only thing niggling at me was the breeze off the ocean. The breeze was cool enough I found a place to sit behind some bushes to hide from it. I did some stretching and decided to brave the porta-potty lines for one last pee before the race.

Twenty minutes later, I’m finally in the porta-potty, feeling greatly relieved, when I hear a chanting outside. “Ten, nine, eight, seven…” Oh no! It’s starting! I dash out of the plastic box, tying the drawstring on my running shorts as I go. The gun goes off before I get there, but I shouldn’t have worried. I joined the slowly shuffling crowd across the start line almost two minutes after the gun went off (1:48) and still we shuffled. I was the 802nd person past the start line. There were over a thousand people in this race and immediately after the start line we were funnelled into a 2-3 person wide bike path with thick high bushes on both sides. My goal pace was 5:13/km and here I am shuffling along at a 6:30 pace for the first 600 meters before I could finally break away from the throng. Not happy, Jan! (reference to an Australian Yellow Pages Ad). I fairly sprinted once freed but still clocked 5:49 for the first kilometre.

Foolishly I tried to make up for the time lost right away, rather than over the length of the course, which would have been the smart way to do it. My second kilometre was 4:57 and my third even faster at 4:55, certainly not sustainable paces for me! Seven to nine seconds per kilometre faster than my 10 km PR.

2013 Fremantle Half Marathon

I managed to reign myself back, and except for a halfway point “rest” on the 11th kilometre of 5:18/km I kept the 4th through 20th kilometres between 5:00 and 5:13, well below target pace. At the halfway point I’d moved from 802nd to 479th. Halfway time was 56:50.

One other thing I was unhappy with the course about was that we did two laps each of two overlapping paths. So at one point the marshalls are standing there shouting “First lap to the right, second lap to the left”, “Second lap to the left, third lap to the right”, “Third lap to the right, finishers to the left”. I wonder how many people ran short of distance going the wrong way. In their defence, there was a last minute course change due to storm damage along the beach path.

Late in the 19th km I started to feel myself get woozy and dizzy again, like I did late in the City to Surf Marathon. Fortunately, thanks to my knowledgeable friends in my Google+ running communities, I now know this is due to glycogen depletion and didn’t freak out about it this time. I did, however, mentally play with the image of my passing out and hitting the path, but forced my body through the last couple k’s.

The 21st kilometre came in at a speedy 4:57 again and the last half kilometre of the 21.5 km my Garmin logged an amazing 4:50/km pace.

Possibly another reason (or additional reason) for feeling so woozy and dizzy at the end was my heart rate. I’ve done a couple of treadmill max heart rate tests, increasing grade and speed until you can’t do any more, and consistently hit 182 bpm. My AVERAGE heart rate for the 20th km came in at 180 bpm, 21st at 184, and the final 500 metres averaged 186 bpm! I think it’s fairly safe to say I had nothing else left to give at the end.

I stumbled through the finish line and milling crowds where I found a patch of grass with my name on it. No messing around with active cool downs for me, I laid back on the grass until my head cleared. I finished 361st overall and 277th for the males (no age groupings given). My official time for the second half was 55:17.

after freo half

My official time was 1:50:18 for 21.5 km. Strava.com parced it down to 1:48:13 for 21.1 km. And I’m VERY happy with that.

freo half overall stats

Post race, my legs are tired, but only muscle tired. No knee, ankle, hip, or back pains at all. Now all I have left on my calendar for the year are a 10 km mid-November and an 8 km mid-December. So I’ll work on my speed for a while, and then come January build up the base again for next year.

Happy Running!!!

-Myles

Thoughts…

Howdy All!

I was sitting here browsing through running blogs and it got me thinking.

The last couple months I’ve been cutting back on my running, just life getting in the way plus a bit of lack of motivation. And I started to get down on myself about it.

But then I looked at the big picture.

I’m 51 years old. 15 months ago, I couldn’t even run 5km without stopping to walk. Sometimes I had to stop for a walk break within the first kilometre! My cholesterol levels may not have been huge, but they were high.

Joe Friel, who I follow closely as the man knows his shi… er, stuff, said in his blog today “You aren’t old until age becomes your excuse.”

Amen, brother.

So I set myself a goal in August of 2012, A full marathon by the end of the year. And in typical Myles OCD (CDO, because it HAS to be alphabetical!) fashion, I not only reached my goal of a full marathon after only 16 weeks of training, I’ve run three full marathons within 12 months. Sometimes I need to sit back and remember that there are many people who take years to reach that stage!

This isn't sweat, it's liquid awesome

Am I compulsive? Probably. Is that a bad thing? Not as long as I’m being sensible and not injuring myself. And outside of experiencing the fatigue and grouchiness of over-training before my first marathon (and now knowing what it’s like, and what to avoid, and to embrace rest days, and not to run every run like I’m being chased by an angry pack of Justin Bieber fans), I haven’t injured myself. No sprains, no shin splints, no icing my knees, no back problems, no tendon issues, nothing.

I’m realistic. I’m a middle of the pack runner. I look at some guys my age running marathons at 4:20/km pace and shake my head in awe. I know the only way I’ll ever podium is to keep running long enough to be the only one in my age group. But it’s not about beating others or coming first, it’s about being the best me I can. I’m healthy, I’m happy, and I don’t spend all my time in front of my computer like I would if I wasn’t running. I’m even trying to start/keep up cross-training to get some upper body strength. I watch what I eat, and while I’m not anal about healthy eating, I’ve improved while still enjoying my food. My cholesterol levels have all come down to well within normal limits after only 12 months.  I’ve made some great ‘runner’ friends in the Google+ running community, some of whom I’ve met in person, and many which I will make a valiant effort at meeting and possibly running with.

But by far the biggest benefit has been how I feel about myself. I’m a stronger person, a better person, for running. When my insecurities come up to nibble at me, I can sneer at them and say “I’m a RUNNER!”. So yeah, I can accept not hitting my 50 km’s per week every week. I’m still on track for over 2013 km’s for 2013. And while I’ve dropped to third place in my dailyburn.com most kilometres for 2013 challenge, I’m only 30 km’s down from the leader.

Okay, maybe I’m a ‘little’ competitive. *laughing*

RUN!

-Myles

Perth City to Surf Full Marathon 2013 – But it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.

Well, here it is. My ‘A’ race of the year. The one I’ve been waiting for and training for.

C2S Logo
12km startStart of the 2013 City to Surf 12km race. 15,078 people in this race alone, over 48,000 people in all events.

It was one year ago, having just turned the big FIVE-OH and wanting to prove myself that I’m not old, I entered the 2012 Perth City to Surf 12km Fun Run after a few desultory weeks of training.

I sucked.

Following the race, chatting on the train with a rather out of shape looking guy wearing a half-marathon bib, I made the decision that if he could do it, I could too, and to train “for next year’s half-marathon”. This would be the first time in my life I started to truly train for a long distance race.

And did I hit my goal of training for this years half-marathon?

Nope.

No, in typical “Myles” fashion, 12 months later, instead of a half marathon I ran my third FULL marathon in 8 months (of the, um, let’s see, oh yeah, THREE marathons I’ve run in my life).

So in the last year I’ve entered the following races (and one unofficial marathon):

[mantra-multi][mantra-column width=”1/4″]Date [/mantra-column] [mantra-column width=”1/4″]Event[/mantra-column] [mantra-column width=”1/4″] Strava.com Time[/mantra-column][mantra-column width=”1/4″] Pace/km[/mantra-column]
[mantra-column width=”1/4″]26 August 2012 [/mantra-column] [mantra-column width=”1/4″]City to Surf 12km[/mantra-column] [mantra-column width=”1/4″]1:09:55[/mantra-column] [mantra-column width=”1/4″]5:48/km [/mantra-column]
[mantra-column width=”1/4″]23 December 2012 [/mantra-column] [mantra-column width=”1/4″]Unofficial Full Marathon[/mantra-column] [mantra-column width=”1/4″]4:52:09 [/mantra-column] [mantra-column width=”1/4″] 6:55/km[/mantra-column]
[mantra-column width=”1/4″]07 April 2013 [/mantra-column] [mantra-column width=”1/4″]ASICS Bridges 10km[/mantra-column] [mantra-column width=”1/4″] 51:27[/mantra-column] [mantra-column width=”1/4″] 5:09/km[/mantra-column]
[mantra-column width=”1/4″]19 May 2013 [/mantra-column] [mantra-column width=”1/4″]Joondalup Half Marathon[/mantra-column] [mantra-column width=”1/4″]1:52:16 [/mantra-column] [mantra-column width=”1/4″] 5:19/km[/mantra-column]
[mantra-column width=”1/4″]16 June 2013 [/mantra-column] [mantra-column width=”1/4″]Perth Full Marathon[/mantra-column] [mantra-column width=”1/4″] 4:25:12 [/mantra-column] [mantra-column width=”1/4″] 6:20/km[/mantra-column]
[mantra-column width=”1/4″]28 July 2013 [/mantra-column] [mantra-column width=”1/4″]Fremantle Fun Run 10km[/mantra-column] [mantra-column width=”1/4″] 50:07[/mantra-column] [mantra-column width=”1/4″]5:04/km [/mantra-column]
[mantra-column width=”1/4″]11 August 2013 [/mantra-column] [mantra-column width=”1/4″]Perth Half Marathon[/mantra-column] [mantra-column width=”1/4″] 1:50:44 [/mantra-column] [mantra-column width=”1/4″] 5:15/km[/mantra-column][/mantra-multi]
Strava.com will strip a race down to it’s proper length and base times on that.

Late July and August have been incredibly busy, race wise, with an event every one of my R&R weekends. And I meant to treat them as training runs for today’s race, honestly I did! And while the PRs fell and felt good, I was quite concerned about my ability to pace myself for the marathon.

Both my previous marathon distances have been along the Perth Swan River foreshore, a flat path with only a bridge here and there to break it up. The City to Surf harbours no such niceties. The first half marathon is fairly flat, but after that it’s a climb to the top of Kings Park not once, but TWICE (note the sharpness of the initial climb halfway through), plus the always challenging Oceanic Drive.

Elevation Chart

Race Route

Before the race (and an obnoxious 6am start!!), I had my usual smoothie, actually pre-made the night before so I wasn’t setting the blender off at 4am and waking my housemates, as well as a banana. I never actually sat down and worked out a fueling plan for my race, and when I went to grab some Gu’s I found I only had two left. I was hoping for 4 or 5. But I put them on my new SPI belt with the gel and race bib holders, and put a bag of jelly beans in the pocket of it.

The first 20km went fairly well to plan. With the exception of a 5:38 kilometer for the second km of the race, the other 19 were all fairly evenly paced from 5:45/km to my goal 6:00/km. I tried to remember to eat a half dozen jelly beans every couple of km. They handed out Gu gels at the 5.5km point (foul tasting blackberry) which was a bit early for them in my opinion, but I sucked one down anyway. I tried to alternate water and sports drink at the aid stations. The weather was cool with a bit of a drizzle, which was fine with me, even if my shoes were getting a little soggy.

I was only at about 8kms, along an out and back section of the race, when four Kenyans in tight formation came flying past me in the other direction at about the 16km point (the race leaders). It must have been at least 5 minutes before I saw anyone else at all heading that way. These guys are pros, with the eventual winner, Chilemo Kipkemoi winning the $20,000 purse for the third year in a row, running a course record time of 2:13:15. It’s a thrill to even be entered into a race with guys of this calibre.

A slight climb along the 21st kilometer slowed me to a 6:05 but I made up for it on the 22nd along the flattish St. Georges Terrace with a 5:45.

Then we hit Kings Park.

Look at the elevation chart above and the steepness of the first bit at the halfway point. (It’s a shame my Garmin program shows it in miles). But, while slowing, I didn’t walk any of the hills. I took it nice and easy with my times through the middle Kings Park section of the race ranging 6:04/km to 6:45/km and I was happy with my performance there, knowing the dreaded 32km wall was looming ahead. I still felt pretty good although the legs were feeling the effects of my efforts.

C2S mid-race

Now for the final 9km stretch, Underwood Ave, Perry Lake Park and Oceanic Drive to the City Beach finish line. An undulating series of roads with one fairly nasty hill at about the 37km point. I did my best to ignore the 32nd kilometer marker going past. This has been the point where I’ve fallen apart in both my previous attempts and I didn’t want to think about the bonk. And while I was noticeably slowing, I didn’t feel like I needed to walk! If nothing else, making it past this point was probably the highlight of the run for me. They handed out another Gu at the 36.5km aid station. I never did use the ones on my belt!

I’m pretty worn out by this stage as I force myself up the last big hill. A young lady in her 20’s is running about 2-3 meters to the side of me as I focus on making the legs keep moving, and she pulls out her cell-phone about 2/3’s of the way up the hill and starts chatting away sounding like she was just kicking back on her couch!! “Hey! …Yeah, I have about 5km left. I probably could have started out faster… blah blah blah”

I wanted to trip her.

Over the crest and in the last home stretch. My times along this section averaged 6:15/km which included a 6:49 up the hill at 37. But coming up to kilometer 40, I found myself feeling woozy, dizzy, like I wanted to pass out. In hindsight, I had probably stopped eating my jelly beans, but at the time  I was concerned because I’d never felt this during a run before. So at 40.5km I finally dropped to a walk to let my head clear, walking about 500 meters. My time for the 41st kilometer was a dismal 8:48.

“But,” I told myself, “that’s gonna be it for the walking.”

A series of cramps in my left leg did cause me to drop to a hobble a couple of times over the next kilometer, but another runner kept pushing me to run it out, so run it out I did. The cattle chute at the end was about 400 meters long and I thought it would never end! Just before the finish line, a woman I was about to pass suddenly saw the photographers and must have decided she wanted a picture come hell or high water, because she cut across in front of me at a 45 degree angle heading straight for the camera-man, causing me to have to take evasive actions! But eventually I made it over the line.

rt20x30-XXXX9073

[mantra-multi][mantra-column width=”1/4″]25 August 2013[/mantra-column][mantra-column width=”1/4″]City to Surf Full Marathon[/mantra-column] [mantra-column width=”1/4″] 4:19:08[/mantra-column] [mantra-column width=”1/4″]6:09/km [/mantra-column] [/mantra-multi]
Again, this is a Strava.com time for exactly 42.195km. Gun time was 4:22:12 and Garmin time only a second slower at 4:22:11 for 42.66km.

It would have been nice to have someone waiting at the finish line for me, but that can’t always happen.

1,187 people completed the marathon race in times of 2:13:15 to 6:27:09, and it’s those people who take over 6 hours to complete the marathon that I really tip my hat to. These are the people that aren’t necessarily as young or as fit as the others, but they slog it out, and six and a half hours is a LONG time to keep pushing yourself! I placed 778th overall, 642nd amongst the males, and 104th for my male 45-54 category.

I walked through the marathoners tent grabbing up a muffin, banana and yoghurt and found a place to sit down in the grass, whereupon my left leg once again cramped up causing me to fly straight back up in the air hurling many an epitaph despite the young children around me. Eventually I was able to sit and even lay on the grass, and once rested I hobbled over to the buses to get back to the city and a cold, rainy, 1km walk to my car (that felt like 5!)

While my time for this race wasn’t all that much faster than my previous marathon, I was still infinitely happier with it having battled and defeated the dreaded bonk monster, and over a much more difficult course. I can now run my races KNOWING that I’m capable of running the distance.

And who knows, maybe one day I’ll run that ultra-marathon I keep toying with in the back of my mind (because there always has to be another windmill to tilt, right?). But first, a sub 4 hour marathon.

Thanks for reading, thanks for your support, thanks for being there.

-Myles the Marathoner

More of Myles Mooooving Adventures

After Sunday’s bipolar race (happy I PR’d, sad I ran faster than I wanted), my training this week was geared towards practicing my marathon 6:00/km pace so I could have a non-bonking event.

Thursday evening finds me running on my own along the roads of my Yandicoogina mine site. The weather is cool, the wind is still, and I have a beautiful sunset to watch as the light filters through the red outback dust.

The mine site is actually located on a cattle station. a BIG cattle station. So we often get cattle around the mine since there is lots of water and green vegetation (comparatively speaking).

So as I jog along at an even 6:00/km, I notice there are quite a few cattle out around the road this evening. This fluorescent green creature coming towards them seems very out of the ordinary and therefore something not to be trusted. I chuckle to myself as they move in tiny counter-clockwise steps like a watch with the battery reversed, so that they are always facing me.

I turn around at 5km and start to head back to the village. As I near the village, there is a group of four cows and a bull on the side of the road. On MY side of the road!

I continue running towards them and one of the cows gets spooked and starts to run away, which sets the others off as well, and we run along with me looking like some kind of hi-vis cattle dog mustering the livestock.

The thought crosses my mind that this can’t end well.

Suddenly a thought (most likely a rare one) crosses the bull’s mind, and I can see it happen. “Hey! I’m bigger than this brightly coloured weird thing chasing us. I should stand my ground!”

So he does.

And the four cows gather behind him to provide solidarity.

Not looking good.

At about 20 feet from the bovine bullies (hehe – “bull-ies”) I stop, because they aren’t moving at all. We stare at each other, the horned bull and his four cows against me. I hear spaghetti-western music a-la “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly” in my head, and trying to decide which of the three I am.

The town goes quiet as we try to outstare each other.

They don’t move.

So I try to settle this diplomatically. I explained to the animals in a calm, confident voice, that all they need to do is head off the road into the bushes, I can run past, and nobody get’s hurt. Especially me.

Still they stare at me. I wait to be “bull-dozed”.

Eventually, my words sank through their thick muddled skulls and they turned as one and walk into the bush. I ran past and to the village.

Whew.

Diplomatically,

-Myles

Perth Half Marathon 2013

Well, my 10km race last R&R went really well, and I’m really getting excited about my full marathon in another two weeks time. So today’s half marathon was all about pacing in preparation for my full. No PR goals, nothing fancy, just run a simple 6 minutes/km to train myself for the upcoming City to Surf 42.2km.

It’s a shame holding back on this race, though. This race is perfect for setting PRs, very flat except for the odd bridge over the river, and even that isn’t a huge climb. In fact, the elevation climb for the whole race, according to my Garmin, is 133m. And I know this area, it’s my favourite place to run in Perth.

PerthHalfMarathonMap2013

 

As an added bonus, the race even had a reasonable start time of 8am!

Started off with (one!) fruit, chia and almond milk smoothie at 6am. No banana this time. And I didn’t bring any Gu gels or hydration electrolytes with me, this was just going to be a training run.

The gun went off with me starting fairly close to the front, I think there were about 1,100 people between the half marathon and 5k, with separate starts for the two races. Off we go, and surprise surprise, I run my first kilometer in 5:05 trying to figure out what part of “six minute kilometers” I can’t seem to understand.

Trying my best to slow myself down, I ran the second, third and fourth kilometers in 5:16, 5:14 and 5:13. I let people pass me without worrying the least little bit about it. It STILL wasn’t six minute kilometers though and it was about this point I figured there was no sense in fighting it any longer.

The fifth flew past in 5:04.2, my fastest for the whole race. And obviously too fast for me to maintain so I backed it down closer to, but still faster than, my previous best half marathon pace of 5:20/km with 5:12 through 5:18 for the sixth through tenth.

The 11th kilometer was over a bridge, turn around and back over it again, so it slowed me down to a veritable snails pace of 5:21 as I got past the halfway point *laughing*. I’m trying not to think about my time, because I know I’m doing really well, and if I concentrate on it I’ll talk myself into being tired. The twelfth kilometer was back down under 5:10 at 5:09.5

My legs are starting to get heavy now. While I skipped a couple drink stations in the first half, I’m trying not to now. Times start slipping a little with times of 5:14 through 5:25 for the thirteenth through twentieth, an average of 5:19.3 over this section.

By now the finish line is in site, so it’s time to turn it on and I run the twenty-first kilometer in my second fastest split of the race with 5:04.3. My garmin shows the race going 21.35km and the final 350 meters was at a 5:07 pace, so obviously there wasn’t much left in the tank.

All in all I was really happy with my time, although it was offset by frustration at being unable to pace myself as per my original plan. Because if I CAN’T pace myself in the full, it will be bonk-ville again and I’ll wind up walking the end of the race… AGAIN. I really, really, really want to finish a marathon without bonking and walking.

Gun time: 1:52:04
Garmin time: 1:52:03
Strava.com 21.1 adjusted: 1:50:44

Average pace: 5:15
Average Heartrate: 170bpm
Shoes: Saucony Mirage 2 (green)

Perth Half Marathon 2013 course photo

 

So the big question is, have I pushed too hard for next fortnight? I want to train hard, but I want to be rested and recovered as well. I’m thinking it will be a bit of a balancing act, so we will see.

Racing off,

-Myles

(PS: On a side note, due to my slight tapering this week for the race, I wasn’t going to hit my weekly 50km goal. So half an hour after the race I put my bib in the car and hobbled and limped through two VERY painful kilometers to end the week at 51.5km. I must have been a funny sight, because I certainly didn’t FEEL graceful and gazelle-like *lol*)