Monday, January 21, 2008

A near PB at Chiba Marine Half Marathon

So anyway, as I was saying, after returning to Japan the first two days of training involved a short, slow and fairly painful run on Tuesday (later in the day after we arrived home) followed by an easy 18 km on Wednesday evening catching up with my mate Colin. These must have been a good couple of recovery runs because on the Thursday night I headed out with no particular plans but ended up warming into a fairly solid 16 km, a large proportion of which was at sub 4:10 and for a while verging on 4:00 flat pace. I then took Friday off and, with Chiba Marine half Marathon scheduled for Sunday, just had two very easy 4-km runs on Saturday to and from my brewing partner's place to bottle a tripel we had brewed before my trip.

So Chiba Marine. It is a mostly flat, mostly straight course and the conditions were ideal: cool and calm. But after a period of not particularly encouraging training, I had just about given up on my goal of snagging a PB in this race and was preparing to relax a bit and just run it as a solid workout for Tokyo. But with a couple of easy days before the race and lacing up the flats, I went out at a good pace and realized after a few km that if I wanted to suffer a bit later in the race that a PB might be on. I decided to hold what I was doing (about 3:55 to 4:00 per km) until 16 km and then see how hard I could race the last 5 km. A really good last 5km would give me a PB. While I worked very hard over the last 1 or 2 km, I did not pick up much more pace -- the climb up and over bridge between 18 and 19 km did not help my cause, but I suppose you pick up on the down what you lose on the up.

My gun time of 1:23:16 was only ten seconds slower than my Kanagawa PB gun time from two years ago. Close, but no banana. But when I looked at my splits last night, I discovered that it took me 41 seconds to get from the 21 km mark to the finish timing mat, a pace of 6:50 min/km, yet I was just about sprinting. Huh? A time of 20 seconds, 3:25/km, would have been more likely. If the course really was long by 100 m, I was denied a gun time PB. Bugger! Still, I am extremely happy to have run so evenly at that pace and been strong enough to finish hard. The fact I wasn't faster from 15 to 20 km, despite pushing hard, suggests I got the pacing about right and did not go too slow in the early part of the race. Splits were:
0-5k 0:19:37 0:03:55
5-10k 0:19:50 0:03:58
10-15k 0:19:42 0:03:56
15-20k 0:19:46 0:03:57
20-21k 0:03:40 0:03:40
last 100 m 0:00:41 0:06:50 ????

Hmmm...creates a bit of a dilemma for how to approach Kanagawa Half in two weeks. A marathon-pace supported training run or an aggressive tilt at a new PB?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Dusting off the cobwebs

Well, it has been a while between entries hasn't it. Once we left Sydney it was a bit difficult to find enough time to write blog posts even though I did have access to a computer. Anyway, last time I checked in I mentioned the run with Ewen. He subsequently documented his thoughts on it here, with pretty pictures and all. I think that the commenter called I Hate Toast made the most profound comment. The only thing is I think I am a bit uneasy about the sections of Sydney in which such a calendar might be a hit.

We spent a few more days in Sydney and I had some runs down to Lane Cove National Park from Chatswood and basically enjoyed the hills and birdlife. After Sydney we spent a night on the Central Coast at Macmasters Beach and I had a nice run that was about 3 km on road, 2 km on nice even fire trail, then down to a beach and back up the coast via a very rugged little trail. For a total of 11 or 12 km in an hour 15, it was a truly tough little run.

Then it was a night in Newcastle and a day off running before moving on to Coffs Harbour for 9 nights with my brother and parents all leading into the parents' 60th wedding anniversary on the 10th and party on the 12th. All five of my siblings were able to come together and many of my parents' grandchildren as well. So it was very special occasion and an emotional farewell.

I didn't really enjoy the running in Coffs so much, though I got a fair bit done. It was very steamy and at times warm. Running courses were not particularly obvious, though there was one section of bicycle path for 6 km from Coffs to Sawtell. The most enjoyable run I had was one morning when I drove to the boat harbour, ran to Sawtell (Toormina actually) and back and then had a dip in the Harbour before driving home again.

My eldest son, Tatsuya, who is now back with us, is nagging me to give him a massage for his sore legs from soccer yesterday. is impossible to find enough time to blog properly, so that will have to do for now.