Monday, 11 July 2011

Parkhauslauf Allee Center Hamm

This is not the usual run, for one its not out in the countryside, rather its in the parking decks of the local shopping center, the course looped around the top deck, went down one level looped around the second deck which was nice and cool, and then down one of the access ramps to the ground level entrance before climbing back up the ramp to the 4th floor to complete the loop.

The loop is advertised as 1.6km although bassed on my end result im a bit sceptical and think it might be more like 1.55-1.57 either way its the same loop theyve run each year.

I only entered this one because my youngest son (age 7)  wanted to run in the kids race which was one loop. The kids race was run with all age groups in a single event, 7yo's to 16yo's which knowing my son would spur him onto an even bigger effort as he tries to keep up with the older kids. He positioned himself in the second or thrid row, and waited for the start gun, then he's off. He got away about midpack. The start of these kids races is usually pretty fast and furious, but he's learnt to not worry too much about his position in the first few hundred meters ... then they disappeared down the ramp and the waiting begins.

Not surprisingly it was the 16yo boys that emerged first, with a loacl lad running in to better his route record. but we only had a minute to wait for the little speedster to top the ramp and head for the finish line, in the end sprint he had a head to head race with a boy in front, he pulled back 3m to close on him and pass before the boy realised and responded with an end sprint of his own to finish 3/10ths of a second ahead. My youngest still ran in 11th overall, and took the win in his age group.

I went into the race with no serious ambitions at all, I even decided to run in a brand new pair of shoes that id picked up in the end of season sales the day before. Id been warned that in the parkhaus my garmin wouldnt be much help but i wore it anyway. I got away to a pretty good start and with plenty of room was able to settle into a comfortable pace almost straight away. The field thinned out and i found myself running just a tad slower than the runner ahead... but this time i resisted the urge to try and hold with him... instead allowing him to slowly pull ahead.

On my third lap i ran into the first back runners, but with a wide course they didnt hold me up at all. on lap 3 i realised that the gap to the guy in front had stopped growing, so when we go into the shaded deck i picked up the pace a little to close up slowly on him... we also picked up a few younger runners that had gone out too fast in the begining. I used my evil passing technique of sitting on their shoulder for 20 seconds before putting in a short burst to pull past and open a gap and then return to my regular pace.

The running down the ramp was really starting to take its toll on me, i found the steepness and the constant cornering quite tough. but i guess anyone that was going fast had the same. as i approached the start fininsh line to start my final lap i was passed by the leaders running in, two lads from the same athletic club running side by side...  out the otherside of the start area i finally managed to catch the guy that was in front of me. I pulled past on the short downhill going into the shaded deck and kept the pace on to ensure id pulled clear. by the time we got to the ramp down to ground level i had 10m.

I let myself open up down the ramp, and dug in climpbing back up to the 4th floor deck before putting in a bit of a sprint to the finish line. The new shoes were really good, no problems at all, I even managed a pretty quick time if the distance was really 9.6k... to top it all off i got myself a 2nd in my age group, and the first actual prize thats worth something, a gif voucher for the running shop in the shopping center.

Even better still the race entry came with a goody bag with a towel and magazine, and the race number entitled you to a free bowl of pasta, and there was a 'tombola' ticket for every finisher with all sorts of great prizes... the kids got a guaranteed prize, my son got a new football, but thats where my luck ran put i drew a null when i was eyeing up the mini kegs of beer. still there is allways next year, and i will be doing this curious little race again if possible.

Roruper HalbMarathon

Last year it was 33*c at the start of this race, i only did the 10k that time, This year it wasnt quite so warm, it had been cloudy and we even got a few rain showers in the morning, but the afternoon cleared up and the thermometer was siting around 25*c at the start.

The Roruper Abendlauf is a great little event. Really well organised, with a route running through the rolling hills of munsterland. Plenty of drink stations, and lots of support from the crowd. The half marathon starts 10 mins before the 10k both run along more or less the same course with the half having a slightly longer first loop then repeating the course.

There were some 280 entrants for the half marathon and 400 for the 10k. I paid attention to my warmup for this race, In particular doing some running at near race pace, before stopping 10mins before the start, I waited int he shade until we formed up and got a place in the second row. The gun went and we were off. There was the usual jostle for the first 500m as the course was relativly narrow (1 car width) but i got away pretty good.

Actually i probably got away a little too good, because i found myself running at the back of a group of runners ticking over at 4:15 pace. And although id decided to try running at 4:23-4:25 i let myself be suckered into sticking with them. It wasnt a problem for the first 2km where there was a slight downhill. but from km 2-6 it was a gentle rise all the way with a pretty decent headwind as well. I should have let them go and run my own race, but i didnt. and by km 6 i was starting to pay the price.

Shortly after that we rejoined the main loop for the 10k race, which meant that i was faced with weaving through a fair amount of slower traffic. I managed to hook onto the back of one of the first female runners and follow her through most of the worst of it, before she stretched out on the downhill a bit more than i could and opened up a gap before eventually pulling away.

The middle of the race was my worst section, where i was struggling to clear my legs of the lactate debt id built up in the first few kms where id gone out to fast. I lost about half a dozen places. The heat was really starting to take an effect and i had started splashing the rest of my drink water over my legs to help cool them. the gel i took at km10 didnt sit to well either.

Still along the flat sections i was still pulling off 4:30's but on the hills it was 4:45's on the last hill a runner that had just been footsteps behind me finally pulled up along side me, we exchanged a few words, mostly along the lines of, 'hot eh?' 'yeah', and 'damn fool thing to be doing on a day like today'  It allowed me to stick with him untill the top of the hill, from there i knew it was either a gentle down hill over the last 4-5 km or flat.... so i dug deep, and held onto him for the next 2 km...

then i drew along side him, and we even picked up a few places overtaking some guys who were really struggling with the heat, with about 1.5 km to go we came to the last drink station, I didnt stop for a drink, took the corners really tight and let the party atmosphere push me through a tad quicker. I dont know if he stopped for a drink but it let me open up a 10m gap... and so i dug deep and decided to make my run to the finish I was running at 4:20 pace and though id be able to hold it until the finish, but with about 250m to go my legs were shot, I was running on rubber and there was nothing i could do to even hold the pace, I slowed but didnt loose any places to cross the line in 1:35:39

Its the first time since ive started running that ive not run a new PB, my current PB (1:34:55) was set earlier in the year in perfect conditions on a pancake flat course. Perhapes if id followed my original pace plan to the letter i would have been able to beat it. but im still pretty happy with the result. Ive also learnt some valuable lessons, in particular to be a lot more rigerous about sticking to my own race plan especially in the early part of the race.  Im also fairly certain that if race day temperatures in M√ľnster are around the same ball park as this run then I will not be able to run under 3:10, and it will be beter to take it a bit easier and save the big effort for one of the alternative autumn marathons.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Reading Roundup

Ive been doing a little less reading and a bit morevid watching lately, So this reading roundup is going to be a collection of video documentaries that ive watched recently.

The first the Nova marathon Challenge took a group of couch potatoes and managed to get 12 of 13 to the finish line of the boston marathon. 

The next Spirit of the Marathon is more about what drives us to run them, and tells the story of amaters right through to professionals on the path to the chicago marathon. Its broken up into 10 uploads but if your looking insiration for an upcoming marathon worth the effort to watch.

Given weve just had the latest Western State then the following documentary called A Race for the Soul is appropriate, its an interesting look at what drives people to run ultra's and follows a group of runners on their quest for a Western State Belt Buckle. Its uploaded in 6 parts

And while were on the theme of Ultra's then we may as well look at what is claimed to be the toughest of the lot. The Badwater 135. this 11 part upload of the documentary Running on the Sun follows runners during their races.