Sunday, 26 April 2009

First HM of the season: 93 flat

Well I didn't quite follow my race strategy. Instead of starting out slow and picking it up, I went out hard and slowed down dramatically:P After being the last one off the line (had to tie up my shoelaces), I attacked the first downhill and found myself closing in on the leading pack with ease. They were only going 3:50/k or so, so I decided to stick with them for a while and see what would happen. Within 500m, the pack had fragmented and I moved up to fourth, still feeling allright, but very aware that I wasn't going to be able to hold the pace for 21.1k. It was a very hilly course and I made up another two places by maintaining pace uphill and absolutely caning it down the other side.

It levelled off a bit after that and I found myself dropping back, unable to stay with the second placed runner, who was looking very strong. Going round the first turnaround, he was about 5om in front and not really moving away from me anymore, but I noticed with dismay that there were a whole bunch of people within striking distance behind me. Pretty soon I started hearing footsteps and was relegated to fourth and then fifth place as my tired legs started to struggle with the hills. I went through the five km marker in 19:25, which was way too fast and gradually started to bleed time all the way back to the start of the loop.

Turning back for another lap, I noticed that the first woman/4th placed runner wasn't too far in front. After another competitor conspiratorially whispered at me to 'go get her' (and a race marshall had said the same thing earlier on, such chauvanists!:P), I lassoed the elastic band that I always carry in my short pockets around her and reeled her in a bit too rapidly. I caught her up the top of a hill and put about fifty metres between us straight away as I rocketed back down. Running at sub 4:00/k, I was a bit surprised when I heard footsteps coming up on me again. Surely she couldn't have caught me up already. Refusing to turn around and see who it was, I put the engine into gear up the next big hill and then got promptly passed at the top anyway. It turned out to be Stuart, a very good runner I know from previous VRR events. In a brief chat before I completely died and got overtaken by both Stuart and the first woman, he told me that he was going a bit slower than usual today because he'd done 38km the day before! Completely nuts! Not many people would run anywhere near 38km in the marathon buildup (though personally I think it's a very good idea), let alone go out and run a HM in 1:27 (spoke to him after the race) the day after.

I'd almost reached the 13.5k turnaround at this point and was really starting to feel the km in the legs. Five or six guys passed me in rapid succession and I couldn't do anything about it. The race was over for me now as far as I was concerned and it was just a matter of jogging it in.

Two very slow km (5:30/k!) later, I got passed again just as we were getting to a downhill. Zoom, that was it, I was back in racing mode. My form had really slipped from the 13k mark and I was struggling big time with the hills, but after that I reminded myself to stay relaxed and consciously lifted my knees and found myself able to maintain a decent (4:30/k) pace again.

Almost precisely at the 18k mark I got a stitch, which I wasn't surprised or annoyed about. After all, that was as far as I had run in training so far this season, so it was going to hurt until the finish line. In spite of that, I actually felt pretty good for the last 3k. My legs stopped hurting and I had a bit of a duel with the guy who had passed me back at the start of the downhill. It looked like he'd get me for sure because he had a 100m lead on me with 2k to go, but a tow truck came along in the form of the guy who had called out to me to pass that girl. Working together, we caught up to my opponent at the base of a massive hill and then suddenly finding another gear, I left them both behind, running flat out up this 500m hill on the balls of my feet and then screaming downhill to the finishing line, putting a good 35 seconds on them in the space of a km.

My time was around 1:33:00, which I was really happy with. I honestly did not expect to run any faster than 1:40:00 considering my non-existent taper and my under-trained legs. I was buggered at the end though, probably because of my sprint finish, and experienced the dizziness, blurred vision and nausea that had marked the end of R4TK. Not too pleasant, but I'm over it now.

I'd planned on going for an easy ride today with some friends, but it's raining quite vigorously out there and the wind wouldn't be very pleasant on Beach rd either. A nice relaxed day involving some study and perhaps a stint on the cross trainer would be more in order I think:)

1 comment:

natasha said...
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