Saturday, 19 September 2009

Aths vic tan relays

Legs still aren't recovered properly. So far this week I've only gotten out twice: once on Wednesday to test out my new shoes (more on that later); and this morning's relay race round the Melbourne botanical gardens.

I was feeling very dead legged; unmotivated; and tired before the start of the race, but some stunning performances (three guys around 12 minutes for the 3.827k course!) from my team mates guilted me into having a go at it. When the third leg runner tagged me, I set off feeling surprisingly good. He'd obviously tried to stay with a few guys around him, so I started at the same time as three other runners. Two of them were in Division 1 (the div above us), so trying to stay with them was probably a bit foolhardy, but it meant I got dragged along much faster than I would've managed on my own.

The first 800m felt great. The effort level was so low I couldn't believe it when I looked down at my garmin and saw 3:15/k. Of course that rapidly changed when we hit the Anderson st hill. I tried to keep up, but for once, it was my heart and lungs that couldn't handle the incline rather than my legs. Luckily they hadn't put too much of a gap on me and I was able to catch up really easily as I swooped down the downhill that follows Anderson St. The group of four had split up by then and I let the intensity drop a little as I drafted off one of the Div 1 guys. In a race this short, you have to be hurting the whole time to do well, but I hung back, sure that he'd ramp up the pace soon. With 1.5k to go, we were still only doing 3:35/k and I realised I was going to have to launch off on my own, with no-one around me. I was quite proud with my effort: I really pushed it for the last k; averaging 3:15 and just missing out on beating a Nunawading runner (my club's arch rivals!). Finish time was 13:31, which is probably about a 2 minute PB for me (hadn't run the tan since high school!). Obviously didn't give it everything though because I'd gotten my breath back within fifteen seconds and was soon out on a recovery run with Matt Morris. The guys finishing around 12 minutes could be seen collapsed on the grass afterwards, absolutely spent. Shows I need to learn how to hurt myself!

My legs had felt fine during the race, but 500 m into the cooldown jog, I could feel my achilles and was really wishing I hadn't locked myself into doing another 3.8k lap. By the end, my calves and right hip flexor were hurting as well. Not a good sign.. The Dingley Dozen race tomorrow is definitely out. I'll take a few more days off and then try to do a few really short, slow jogs. I'd really like to do the De Castella 15k run next Sunday, but will only do so if I've managed to do a painfree 8k run before then.

Despite the lack of running, my training volume has been high again this week thanks to long periods spent on the wind trainer. I'm really seeing the benefits from this. It's essentially a strength workout for the arms and legs that also gets the HR up pretty high. I only really started using the trainer in the last four weeks, and the difference has been amazing. My 20k commute into work has become about 15 minutes faster! I find that I'm able to push much higher gears and actually get my HR up to a reasonable intensity instead of just spinning along like I used to do.

Not only that, but my upper body strength has improved dramatically. I work as a Kitchen hand on Tuesday mornings and part of my job is to carry a big pot of chai tea from the kitchen about 50m away to the cafe, where I have to empty it into an urn. This used to be a huge struggle for me, and I wasn't actually able to just pour it straight in (instead I'd bail it out using a milk jug:P). The last two weeks though, it's felt light as a feather (definitely the same volume of chai though!) and I've had no difficulties pouring it straight in.

It's great to see strength improvements coming at the same time as I'm cutting down excess fat. My power to weight ratio must be going through the roof:)

New shoes:

Two pairs of Brooks Adrenaline GTS 9s. Tried and tested. These will be used in my long runs.

One pair of Zoot Advantages
These zoots looked pretty cool (designed for triathletes, so waterproof; no laces; super easy to slip on) and they were cheap, so I gave em a shot. Haven't run in them yet, but they feel awesome!

One pair of Adidas Adizero Manas. Couldn't get Brooks ST Racers in my size so I settled for these. Unfortunately they aren't really wide enough for my foot. They're probably still ok for runs shorter than 10k, but anything longer than that would almost certainly result in nasty blisters and/or my toe poking a hole in the fabric!

I have way too many shoes at the moment lol. Probably won't actually use any of these ones for a while, but I was getting foot pain recently which is almost certainly traceable back to doing long runs in some racing flats with more than 500k in them. It means I can now almost have a weekly rotation cycle even when doing doubles!

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