Saturday, 4 October 2014

Harvest Half Marathon. Ow.

There are times when that sneaky feeling that all is not well in the engine room is accurate. Starting to read a book about a different training program a couple of weeks before a race is a bit of a clue too. 
I'm reading the book that always seems to have Rich (above left) race ready, Run Less Run Faster. A second training cycle in a year of Hanson's 6 days a week is not for me, now I've learned. Left achilles, right hamstring, and in the past few days, right groin had all been stiff or sore or both. Not in a good way either. 
Still, race day is race day and what a beautiful day it was. At least there would be some nice images from the camera. 
The start was delayed as quite a few were still waiting for the portapotties. People were, er, backed up. 
This has happened the past few years, and I'm starting to think that the runners leaving it to the last minute are more to blame than any shortage of facilities. How's "start late or nip it!" for a slogan? 
Camera on backwards for the 1st k, got some great shots.

There I am, trailing foot sideways again. 
Just after the first turn, my right groin started to tighten. "Sh!t, is my race over?" Form check, a few more minutes and it settled down. 
At and just after the first hill at 2.5k, I could tell I didn't have the power to get anywhere close to a PB. Just enjoy the show, as I've done every year since 2009. 
Just before one of the best parts of the course, the roller coaster entry into Fish Creek Park, I put the camera on backwards for some more excellent views. Perhaps I should do the entire race like that? Or 2 cameras? Or a drone camera following me?

At the bottom hairpin, Rich looked up to see me already quite far behind him and gave me a wave to encourage me to catch up. Ok, I'll try to gradually close the gap.

Does the Brit run in the woods?
An open meadow between pine and birch sections, then another exciting plunge. My descents were rather uncontrolled, another bad sign. 

I felt a distinct lack of power on inclines too. How was this race going to finish? I changed my goal to 1:30 or under. I was 2 minutes ahead of that at the halfway point, and tried to enjoy the elegance of the autumn colours and sunrise. And the birds and the trees. 
Having closed the gap to Rich, I backed off at about the 12k mark. No exciting battle today. 
This race gets few spectators, though one was a cyclist fixing a flat (above), and there were 3 hi-fiving kids (below). Just make sure not to make it an adult-strength hi-five. 

Sikome Hill, at 17.5k. I felt pretty lethargic here, and was passed by 2 runners. I held my pace back, trying to keep some energy for the end. 
Nice and slow, but by the 20k sign I was at zero seconds to spare, I'd have to finish at exactly 90 minute pace. 
The inside of my head sounded just like one of the lesser known exchanges in Hunt For Red October: "Captain, engine room reports 110% on the reactor possible, but not recommended." 
"Go to 110% on the reactor." 
4:15/km is usually no problem at all, but risky this time. A minor twinge of the right hamstring about 500 metres out, so I slowed, then sped up again as I figured I was close enough that I might be able to swan-dive over the line to avoid a 90+ finish time. 

Rich, who may have done some rodeo in the past, had been at the finish for over a minute and a half and gave me some flamboyant encouragement. 

The finish line clock display wasn't working, so I was relieved and amused that my watch said 1:30:00. More laughter when the official result confirmed it. Destiny? 
A guy on a bike (I think the course bike) and a volunteer said how nice the park must've been for a race. "Oh, it is glorious, that's why my streak is up to 6."
Looking back, I most likely had a case of overtraining syndrome and had probably been losing energy, speed and strength for a couple of months. 
Another side of running I love though: analysis, recovery, adjustment and the comeback. There's a half on November 9, and if the weather's good, "to run or not to run" won't even be a question.


  1. I vote for the drone camera! Ha ha Do you run on trails at all? Maybe it would be a good break for your bones :) Great job of pushing it through and getting it done!

    1. Thanks! Seen the video? Korean reggae!

  2. Great time for an 'overtrained' half Peter! I'm focusing on recovery after my fall marathon, that's for sure. I think I'm going to do MAF for a couple months and only run slow and easy goes it. Trails are also awesome for a break!

  3. 1:30:00 on the button! Love the race commentary, they're always entertaining. See you on the pathways!