Thursday, November 27, 2008

A race!!

My comeback from Achilles injury continued with my first race since March (or was it April?). It was the 10 km event at Ohtawara, where I have run the full marathon the previous five years in a row. When I applied for this race, the Achilles still wasn't great and I thought I might just be jogging around. However in the past two or three weeks it has been giving no trouble at all and I'd been doing 10 to 12 km runs at a steady pace fairly regularly. The Wednesday before the race (which was on Sunday 23rd), I joined our club's track workout and managed some respectable times over 1600 m to 400 m, so I resolved to give it my best in the race. It was a beautiful day in Ohtawara. Fine, no wind, about 12 to 14 degrees. I ran with a heart rate monitor and decided to go out at 160 and bring it home over the last few km at 170 and see what kind of time that gave me. This turned out to be pretty much the right strategy except that I actually did 165 on the way out and was at 174 over the closing stages. So it wasn't a jog in the park! I didn't see any km markers until 8 km whereupon I discovered I needed to make up 5 seconds if I was to beat 40 minutes. I was already going very hard, so this was quite a throwing down of the gauntlet by the running gods. So I really gritted my teeth and pushed into the light headwind. At the 1 km to go marker I had made up only 1 second. Uggghh ... really had to dig in. The race finished with the last 200 m on a running track ... I went in the gate needing to run the last 200 m in 40 seconds ... oh dear! Well, I gave it what for, and as I was sprinting down the last straight like Usain Bolt (or so I imagined) I could see the clock closing in on 40 minutes ... 39:55, 56, uggh, 57 ahhh, 58, 59, eeeeghhh, and I crossed the line. I wasn't sure if I had registered a 39:59 or 40:00, but later when I checked the official results it was 40:00! Although three minutes slower than my PB, I was actually extremely pleased with that as I thought that a time around 42:00 would have been more than acceptable at this stage of the come back.


Christian said...

and welcome back!

Robert Song said...

That is a great come back performance.

Hope you pull up Ok and that the injury is now behind you.

Ewen said...

That's a fantastic come-back race Steve. Actually, 40:00 is better than sub-40. The club of 40:00 10k runners is very exclusive, just like the club of runners who've run 4:00.0 for the mile.

Lucky you didn't break 40 or I imagine you would have done the Bolt "lightening bolt" in celebration!

Joachim said...

great performance, Steve.
If your Achilles improves even further you surely can get sub 1:25 in the HM next spring!

Tesso said...

Yeeha!! Well done Steve.

Been wondering how you are going. Now I know :) Onwards and upwards!

zihuatanejo said...

Okaeri---Otouchan, & congratulation on your great race!
You were so fast.

Scott Brown said...

Hey Stephen

I saw some recent photos of you on your running club's web site and was thinking you must be about due for a comeback.

That 10K was a great start. All the best for an injury free year in 2009

As for what you said about me struggling to pull off sub 3:20 marathon times in the past, it was true, and I was wondering myself if I could ever get my times down for a sub 3 hour marathon.

But what I didn't know and stupidly didn't pick up until 8 months ago was I was never going to run a sub 3 on 40 to 60 kms a week, with injuries, and being 5 to 10kgs overweight, optimal running weight. Actually I wonder now how I ever broke 3:20 with the condition I was in and the weak build ups I went into the marathons with.

Anyways, I think that if I can drop my weight another 4kgs, have no injuries and manage a 12 week build up on between 120 and 150k a week, I will know my full potential. I'm yet to come close to that, but I'am going to try in the next few years.

Thanks for your thoughtful words about the situation with Eddie. I have taken this hard but I'm determined not the get too gloomy. There are people that need me/us. And I'm all for increasing the intensity, as you said.

Luckylegs said...

A very happy & successful 2009, Steve!