Zatopek 2014 – Race Report

Firstly, I’m sorry about the tardiness of this blog. It’s been a very hectic few weeks that I haven’t had the time. It’s at times like this I realise what benefits being a professional athlete would give me: time to blog. I guess another contributing factor was that my race was a bit ‘meh’. I mean it wasn’t awful – and signs of improvements were there – but it’s impossible not to compare it to the same event 2 years prior where I ran 50 seconds faster.

Anyway, the race. I was prepared to be caught in two minds early on in this race. Mind 1 was to go out with the lead group, and perhaps suffer the harsh pace I wasn’t in the shape to go with. Mind 2 was sit in the 2nd group, and feel like I was being a bit soft, but probably a better reflection of my form. So as I expected, I got caught between the 2 for the first 3k. The pace of the lead group quickly felt a bit uncomfortable and so I was basically waiting for group 2 to catch me up so I wasn’t too exposed.

2 laps in

2 laps in

The pace shouldn’t have felt too hot at the front though – I went through 3k in about 8.50 and at that stage didn’t think I’d even break 30mins. I didn’t feel good at all. When the 2nd group caught me I let training partner Brad Milosevic lead for a few laps so I could sit in and regroup. We hit 5k in about 14.50 and I felt a bit better, but the pace was slowing. I shared a few laps, and then Brad also did. No-one else in the group showed any inclination to do any work at all. You know who you are…

I felt bad for Brad doing the pacing – and he had more chance of a PB than me so I took to the front with 7 laps to go and tried to push things on a bit. I was actually starting to feel a bit better and the pace picked up from 71/72s to 69-70s. With 2k to go I was starting to get a gap on the group behind me and had a couple casualties from the lead group to chase. My 24th lap was a 66, but still had about 3 guys within a few secs of me, including Steve Dineen who I had just overtaken. A 64 last lap held them off and I finished in 8th in 29.30.

Given how I felt at 5k, this wasn’t a bad result. I was hoping for 29.15ish so I wasn’t too far away, so I guess I’m happyish with the race, just not too happy with my general shape at the moment.

It was great to see another training partner James Nipperess execute on his good training form and pop out a 28.54.

Zatopek 2014 Results

Zatopek Week 9 – Good Sessions, some Theatre, busy work week

The last full week before Zatopek and it’s starting to come together a bit. Sessions were decent again. Had a pretty tough work week also with 2 days of all day training, which meant some early starts but no real problems.

Cyrano De Bergerac

Other highlights this week were 2 trips to the theatre to see Switzerland and Cyrano de Bergerac. This makes me sound very cultured so I am writing about it so you get that perception of me. The backstory is that myself and Amelia get a season ticket to the Sydney Theatre Company each year which includes 6 plays and we had 2 this week. You sort it at the start of every year then just go to the plays when they come round. Most of the ones we’ve seen have been good, although Waiting for Godot tested my patience…

Anyway, here’s the running I did this week:

Monday – 66 mins home from work at 6.37/mile. Felt reasonable (10)

Tuesday – AM – 38 mins easy at 7.01/mile and 136 bpm (5.5)

PM – 3 x (4 laps @ 72s, lap in 1.45, 2 laps hard) off 5mins. 4.45, 2.09; 4.48, 2.08; 4.46, 2.05. I was pleased I could do each final 800 faster each time – didn’t think I had much more after the first one. Shared efforts with Yugi – Nipper a few secs ahead on the 800s.  (10)

Wednesday – 91 mins easy/steady. Had to do in the morning again as has an all day work training programme with ‘bonding’ drinks afterwards. 7.07/mile (13)

Thursday – AM – 39 mins easy into work at 7.11/mile (5.5)

PM – 10 miler home from work with 10min pick-up (5.25/mile) around the Domain.  143bpm and 6.14/mile (10)

Friday – AM – Pilates.

PM – 42 mins easy at 6.58/mile and 132bpm – (6)

Saturday – AM – 6 x Long Hill/Short Hill. Didn’t time the hills but 25.53 for full 6 sets with jogs. Was better than a few weeks ago – just behind Nipper (10)

PM- 46 mins easy at 7.21/mile. Had a nap and felt veeeery sluggish when I woke up! (6.5)

Sunday – 1.48 long run at 6.42/mile and 142bpm average. Glad it was only a shorter one – felt a bit battered by hills! (16)

92.5 miles. Decent sessions again – I should be at least coming into Zatopek on the up!

Zatopek Week 8 – Sessions of the Greats will make me Great. Maybe

Gammoudi beating “Pre”

This week was a tough one – 3 hard sessions crammed in and two which mimicked legends of the past – one is Mohammed Gammoudi who won the Gold in the 5000m at the ’68 Olympics. He would apparently do sessions where he started quite slow and ramped up and up through a rep of 3k or so. The session is tough as trying to run fast off about 10k pace, in a long rep, is pretty challenging, but great race simulation.

Steve with hair

The other was the classic Mona fartlek – a staple of Steve Moneghetti – an Australian marathon icon. For anyone that doesn’t know this session, it’s a 20 minute continuous effort with subtle pace changes over shortening time periods starting at 90secs on/off and ending at 30sec on/off efforts. It simulates surging mid race and pushes up your aerobic threshold as you practise a slight surge and then settling into a pace that is still pretty quick. This session is as hard as you make it really, so a good one in a hard week.

A tiring week but more progress.

Monday – 66 mins home from work at 6.33/mile. Felt pretty good (10)

Tuesday – AM – 36 mins easy at 7.05/mile (5.5)

PM – “Gammoudi’ session. This is 3 sets of 6 laps of the track at 80,80,70,70,2 laps fast. 5 mins between sets. I’d never done this before and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. 7.12 (2.12), 7.12 (2.09), 7.10 (2.09). A decent session again. (10)

Wednesday – AM – 87 mins easy/steady. Another AM Wednesday – these are supposed to be evenings really but circumstance dictated an early start. 6.52/mile. Felt pretty dead. (13)

Thursday – AM – 37 mins easy into work. (5.5)

PM – Dobroyd Hills – 2 x 6 x hill off 5mins. This felt awful. I don’t know if it was Tuesday in my legs, or the shock of 2 sessions in 3 days or what, but I knew from rep 1 this was going to be a struggle. Ranged 1.53-1.57, which reflects this! A few others also struggled. (11)

Friday – AM – Pilates.

PM – 56 mins easy at 7.14/mile – (8)

Saturday – AM – Mona fartlek – 4.03 miles in 20mins. Yugi and Nipper got away in 2nd half but a decent session at the end of a tired week. (9.5)

Sunday – 2.15 long run. Started early to try and beat the heat but it still bit! Last 30 mins was a struggle. 6.25/mile. (21)

93.5 miles. Another solid week and an improvement bar the tiredness!

Zatopek Week 6 with NSW State 3,000m Champs

Hi all,

Sorry this is a week late, but y’know, I’m busy and a bit lazy, and I figured you weren’t all desperate to hear about my 13th place at the NSW StateNSW state 3k 2014 3k Champs. My comments on the race will be kept reasonably brief. Basically, I’m not fully fit, and 3,000m is too short for me without a few track sessions under my belt. I figured if I ran close to 8.15, I’ve done pretty well, but after 400m when I saw the lap split of 66 and how quick that felt, that I was going to struggle to achieve this. The lead group was already pulling away and would go on to run 8.03-8.09. My km splits went 2.45, 2.48, 2.51 and I struggled my way round to 13th place in 8.24. In previous years I have run 8.02 for 2nd (when fully track fit) and 8.09 for a win 3 weeks before my marathon PB in Fukuoka.

However, with the benefit of hindsight writing this blog 1 week late, this race has helped me and I’ve felt much more comfortable in sessions this week and I expect I’d be much closer to 8.10 if we ran it again. A real rustbuster and shows that racing can really help move things along, even though the result may not be pleasing.

Screen Shot 2014-11-16 at 16.45.43

Here was my training leading into the race – glad I didn’t taper for it!

Monday – 66 mins steady home from work at 6.31/mile (10)

Tuesday – AM – 35 mins easy (5.5)

PM – 3 x (4 x 400) off 30secs for set 1, 45secs, 60secs. 5 mins between sets. The track was ROCK HARD and I tried wearing spikes. I fear my already complaining calves won’t be happy. 65, 64, 64, 64,  64, 63, 63, 64,  63, 63, 63, 61 (10)

Wednesday – AM – Pilates

PM – 90 mins steady at 6.45/mile. Sore calves. (13.5)

Thursday – AM – 38 mins easy. VERY sore calves. Not painful, just so incredibly tender.  5.5)

PM – 40 mins easy (5.5)

Friday – 30 mins easy. Calves a bit better. Race tomorrow should be ok. (4)

Saturday – NSW State 3k – 8.24 (9)

Sunday – 2.15 Long Run at 6.23/mile. Took my frustration out on the run a bit. (21.5)

84.5 miles. Race wasn’t brilliant but a decent week otherwise.

Zatopek Week 5 with Noosa Bolt 5k

I guess I could be working while everyone else is at the Melbourne Cup, but seeing as productivity in Australia has ground to a halt, and I’ve already done a couple of Sporcle quizzes today then I shall use my time to write a blog on some running I did last week.

The plan for last week was to do an almost full week of training and then race the Noosa Bolt 5k at the end of it. I’ve missed too much time to have an easy week and so I need to cram in all the training I can.beach

The Noosa Bolt 5k itself was really cool. It’s a sideshow compared to the Triathlon festival that goes on in Noosa that weekend. It’s the largest triathlon event in the Southern hemisphere apparently and the usually quiet, small beach resort-town of Noosa was rammed with athletes and had a great atmosphere

 

The race itself is 4-and-a-bit laps of a 1200m circuit that’s really just 600m out, around a cone, and then back again. this makes it great for spectators, but also leads to lots of slowing as you navigate the hairpin turns. I knew I wasn’t going to set the world alight here but was hoping to be in the mix with my 4 training partners who were running. I started off reasonably steadily in about 15th place, and moved through the Racefield as the race went on. I probably shouldn’t have let Roffy and Jeff get away from me early on, as this isolated me a bit and meant I got the full breeze in my face for half of the loop. As things turned out, I moved into 8th place and was slowly gaining on Roffy and Jeff but couldn’t get close enough to challenge them. 8th place was where I finished, in 14.57. My Sydney Running Academy teammates all ran to form really – Nipper had a strong run for 2nd and young Jack Stapleton challenged well for 4th. Jeff, Roffy and myself all need a bit more training in our legs. Still, 5 in the top 8 for this Asics sponsored race makes the sponsors happy.

results

 

The biggest disappointment for me was that I wasn’t on the warm-down party that got lost and saw an echidna in the national park. I’m yet to view one of these prickly little chaps and so that would have been excellent.

Anyway, here’s last week’s running:

Monday – 68 mins very easy. Felt really dead after the hot long run the day before, so just kept it slow – 6.48/mile (10)

Tuesday – AM – 38 mins easy (5.5)

PM – Quarters on the track – 14.25. Averaged 68-69 for the 400s, and 38-39 for the 200s. Felt tired still. (8)

Wednesday – 90 mins very easy. Felt tired again…. 7.20/mile (13)

Thursday – Am – 42mins easy (6)

PM – 43 mins easy (6.5)

Friday – 38 mins easy (5.5)

Saturday – Noosa Bolt 5k (9)

Sunday – 2hrs 15 around the National park and Noosa coast. Started off with a few wrong turns – sand, steps, hills. I found the last 15 mins really tough as the humidity caught up with me. But again, got it done. Pace hard to tell as Garmin got lost in the woods. (20)

83.5 miles. Calf threatened to get sore after track and race but held up ok. Just got to get the training done and hope things start to click soon.

whiskyAt the end of it Amelia had booked lunch at a very nice Japanese restaurant called Wasabi. Here’s some sort of glass decanter they keep their whisky in.

2014 Zatopek Week 4

The good news this week is that the calf hasn’t been a problem and I got a full week of running in. I didn’t lose too much fitness with the 10 day calf issue but I still have work to do to get back to full fitness. Noosa Bolt 5k next week will give me a good idea of where I am…

Monday – 10 miles back from work at 6.20/mile. No pain in calf (10)

Tuesday – skipped AM run just to be cautious

PM – 2 x 6 x Dobroyd hills with group. Set 1 was 1.51-1.53. Set 2 was 1.51-1.54, but clearly switched off on the penultimate one with a 1.56. Didn’t sprint the last one too hard so as not to get on toes too much. (11)

Wednesday – Physio session in AM with some dry needling and 90 mins after work at 6.20/mile. That needling really made the calves sore but was fine when I was running (14)

Thursday – AM – 43mins easy. (6)

PM – 10miles home from work with 2 mile tempo (10)

Friday – Pilates in AM 40 mins easy (6)

Saturday – 3.1k loop, 6 x Long hills. Loop in 9.30, 5 mins recovery then hills in 97secs down to 91secs for last one. Was in the mix with the group for most of it. (11)

PM – 43mins easy in the Blue Mountains. Hot day! (6)

Sunday – 2hr15 on a very hot Sydney day. My longest run for about 3-4 months and chose the hottest day in ages for it…. I got it done but felt pretty awful afterwards. Average 6.19/mile and was under 6 min miling for last 8 miles or so (22)

96 miles. A good week, and no calf problems. Got a couple decent sessions in, as well as a good long run. Not sure how Noosa 5k will go next week – I’m definitely lacking in speed so I may well find it tough!

2014 Zatopek Week 3 with Trail Race debut!

This week was largely about getting rid of this calf injury and building up the running again. I was pleased it healed very suddenly towards the end of the week and I could do the trail run on Sunday – albeit only the 20km, and not the 30km option I had initially intended to do. Hopefully now I can push on and train properly again!

Monday – 35 mins easy. Calf wasn’t too sore, but uncomfortable. Probably a 3-4/10 on the pain scale but was starting to get slightly worse towards the end.

Tuesday – REST. Gave the calf another day to recover.

Wednesday – 35 mins easy. A slight improvement on Monday. Didn’t get worse as run went on. 3/10 for pain.

Thursday – 35 mins easy to compare to yesterday. Exactly the same, so not getting worse.

Friday – 45mins easy. No pain! All of a sudden it seems to have pretty much disappeared. Could even run close to 6min miling towards the end feeling fine.

Saturday – 65mins steady. Zero pain again. Excellent!

Sunday – Botany Bay 20km. Amelia was running this race so I thought I’d do it as my Sunday run, which I was going to try 90mins for today anyway. Initially I would have done the 30km run, but with the calf issue I scaled it back. The run starts out and back along the beach and I let a few go as I eased into the run, and I ran at about 6min milling so wasn’t anything that would hurt the calf. After 8km or so I was at the front with one other guy, and we ascended onto the sandy narrow trails, and some slightly rocky sections on the coast. The running was quite slow

Running along the Sandy Trails of Botany Bay!

Running along the Sandy Trails of Botany Bay!

along here, as it was so narrow, and slightly uneven underfoot. There was a pretty tough section up a sand dune but after that it was pretty good going. I didn’t push the pace and just focussed on following the pink tape in the bushes, which wasn’t always easy to spot! I got a bit of a gap as the race went on, but lost almost all of it as I followed someone from the 30km race which started before me who had gone the wrong way right at the end of the loop and so I actually ran straight past the finish line! I think I did an extra 800m or so but managed to just finish in front, gaining $200 for a narrow 20 second victory. The calf gave me no problems at all which is the important thing and Amelia outsprinted an old man which was exciting to watch!

Weekly mileage: 55 miles. Time to crack on!