Thursday, November 27, 2008
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.