Friday, May 22, 2009

Red Deer Half Marathon

Red Deer Half Marathon
It was an early start to the day, was around 5:00am to give me a enough time to make it down to Red Deer and have a little time to warm up for the Half Marathon. Since I’ve never driven down to Red Deer, I didn’t know which exit to take and ended up driving a little further than I should have. I had heard good things about this race and it lived up to expectations. Lots of support, friendly volunteers and then lots of food after the race.

Newton shoes
Today I wore my Newton Distancia race shoes for the first time in a race, which can sometimes be a little worrying as you don’t know what to expect, have I tied the shoes tight enough? Should I have put more training miles in the shoes before using them in the race? But I have to say these shoes performed greatly. Running in the shoes felt very easy, so much so that I had to keep checking my watch to make sure I was keeping on pace and running hard. This is probably the biggest difference that I’ve noticed between these shoes and traditional running shoes you just don’t feel beat up after running in them, I’ve done long runs of two hours in these shoes and not felt beat up or done afterwards compared to runs of ninety minutes to two hours in traditional shoes and have felt wiped afterwards. The other difference that I’ve noticed is that you don’t feel the road as much as you would in a race flat, this is most likely due to the actuators on the soles of the shoes which again is why it feels like you’re going easier than you actually are, which leads to not being as beat up as you normally would. I only wish I had the fitness to have done them justice.

The Race
The Half marathon is a race that I guess I haven’t figured out completely yet due to the fact that I still haven’t quite gotten the pacing down. I started out near the front of the pack because it’s one of the safest places to be, you don’t end up trying to run around people or getting impeded by anyone but at the same time if you’re going to start at the front you have to be able to run as fast as everyone around you, otherwise you just look foolish (This reminds me a great joke told by Tommy Tiernan about his friend Declan who started the London Marathon). We went through the first kilometre mark in around 3:30 which was a little fast for me so I backed off a little as I was hoping to run in or around 3:45 – 3:50 pace for the entire race.

From a spectator view point it must’ve looked good as there was 3 or 4 of us from the FastTrax team in the front pack with Brian Torrance leading the way in the Half Marathon and Jack Cook leading the Marathon with myself somewhere inbetween, running in about fifth or sixth spot for most of the race. I went through the first 7km in a shade over 26 minutes. I was feeling good and was thinking that I could hold this pace for the entire race which would end up giving me a PB for the distance. But I think it was around the 10K point when Matt Normington flew past me, and left me for dust. Matt is a 2:20ish Marathon guy so he passing me would’ve looked like a sports car passing a diesel truck on the highway.

As the course went on it got a little bit more twisty and hillier so I guess I slowed down a little as I then went through 14K in 53:30, it was at this point that I got some company as I was joined by one other guy and both of us ran together for almost the rest of the race. We caught one of the early leaders around the 18/19K mark. The split from 14K to the finish was roughly around the same as it took the same time as the middle 7K, however just as we hit the 20K mark we hit the hill.... I was done, I couldn’t pick it up at all and started to drop back a little, luckily at the top of the hill it was all down to the finish and I could hear another racer come up behind me. I tried holding him off but I ended up getting passed with probably 2 or 3 yards to go which sucked. But what sucked more for me is the fact that I haven’t been able to get under 1:20 for this distance, today’s race was the closest that I’d come for a number of seasons.

The race was a mixture of Happy with how the shoes performed, Happy with getting a faster time than the last Half Marathon that I ran in Phoenix. But I was not happy with losing 2 places in the last K or so and definitely not happy about the finishing time. Hopefully as I build up to the Dublin City Marathon in October my training will help me get under this time.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

January - May 2009
So far this year, things have not gone exactly as planned. I hoped to be fitter than I actually am, but that’s ok as my A race is not until October, where I’ll be taking part in the Dublin City Marathon.

I started out the year with a sprained Ankle, but still managed to run a good (for me) Half Marathon down at the Phoenix Rock and Roll Marathon. Things where pretty quite then until March when I ran the Provincial indoor Championships 3k race, which I won the over 35’s event. In April I had one race which went alright, it was the St. Albert 10 Mile Road Race I managed to pull out a PB for the distance and get under the hour.

I’ve been trying to get control of a nagging injury that just doesn’t want to go away, since I’ve been battling this since the beginning of April. Tight Calf muscles, it started out in my right leg but now it feels like it has crept into both legs. I’ve gone to the Physio and had IMS needling done to my legs and I’ve had it taped, I started using “The Stick” as well as using a Foam Roller, I’ve started to stretch more and have recently gone back to Yoga classes as well as incorporating massage into my recovery. Some days I don’t feel it and other days I very aware of it, with all of the work done so far, it has loosened up a little as it doesn’t hurt to walk anymore. I have found that “The Stick” is very good at getting the calf to loosen up compared to the Foam Roller which I find just makes a sore Calf worse However when using the Stick its best to have something between your skin and the stick, unless of course you shave your legs. I’ve also started to use “The Strassburg Sock” which works like an ankle splint except that it’s less cumbersome, apart from it being pretty odd looking it’s not very comfortable to sleep with it the whole night.

I had this crop up on me while building up to the Kelowna Marathon last season, where I got IMS work done on it, It was suggested to me that I use orthotics as my feet/ankles roll way too much to the inside however this same Physio (six months) later is now telling me that I should do ALL of my running in race flats. In doing so I would be building the strength in my feet and helping the ankle gain stability. While I have read that this will help there are a lot of problems to the process. Interestingly enough I did start running in Newton running shoes, and yes my Calves hurt initially but I have gotten used to the shoes. Now I find that when I go back to regular running shoes without the Ortho that the calf tightness really becomes an issue.

If anyone does in fact read this: Has anyone ever tried to run a Marathon in very light race flats with their Ortho in the shoe? – I read somewhere that Ryan Hall raced the Boston Marathon with shoes that only weigh 4oz’s.

So this is how I plan to keep on top of it.

1. Go back to using my Ortho’s on a semi regular basis
2. Run barefoot for 5 – 10 minutes daily
3. Do some Yoga after running daily
4. Get in at least 1 Yoga class a week
5. Use “The Stick” in the evenings
6. Get a massage every couple of weeks
So what’s up next? My next race will be the Half Marathon in Red Deer and then I think it will be the 10k at the Big Run.

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Thanks for reading