Monday, March 10, 2008

a bittersweet 10k PB

I start straight from the end: in yesterday's "Shatin 10k Race" I "crushed my old 10K PB, improving 26 seconds from the last race to a whopping (for me) 33'36" ... all great
but it was at the same time also very sour to lose out for the victory for few steps after a breathless long sprint (see picture taken maybe 100m from the finish line).
A consolation was to win the "Masters" category and also the Team Race, but losing out for so little was pretty painful, especially on my "home course" (most of my runs in HK are done on the same cycle track used for the race).

Anyway ...

going back to start ...
For some unknown reason, the top 4 runners in Hk were absent from this classical race that attracts a large starting field and marks also the end of the "cooler" season (we raced anyway at 17C, 80% Rh). Their absence paved the way for a very close race among many "2nd tier" runners.
The race started out very fast, we passed the 1k in 3'15" and very soon we were a trio leading while the course contoured the ShingMun river on a mostly flat cycle path.
Unfortunately, in HK, 99% of the races are NOT on closed road, so you must always watch out for pedestrian, bikes or dogs. Luckily it was still pretty quiet in early morning, so we could run quite smooth and hit the turnaround point at 5k in 16'45".
Personally I did not feel very smooth right from the start. Either I was tired, either the loss of training during the holiday period, either the quick pace, but my stride was pretty heavy already from 3K...
The return route was with face wind, so we slowed down a bit and this gave me a 2k of "breath", and at the 8k mark, M.J. dropped out of the pace, so it was left to me and to my teammate M.K. to dispute the victory and we started a Km long sprint, but my legs were really heavy ... I was losing 2 meters and than sprint back to hang a little more... since my kick is better than his, I was trying to arrive at least at a 200m sprint together, but actually I was too optimistic... at 200m I was a "dead fish"... and not in condition to sprint further...

I do not know what to think about this dramatic improvement of PB in such a short time. I actually did some hill charges and also some faster pace workouts, but I think it is mainly due to dropping the Orthotics and having stronger feet, with a better push on the ground.
Now I must decide where to head from this improvement and how to base a further improvement (if possible)

5 comments:

Dovy said...

Having read your blog for quite some time (I learnt from The Science of Sport blog), I was thrilled to see you in the race yesterday while I was taking photos. I am interested in what you mentioned about putting aside your Orthotics and having stronger feet. How long have you done so before you find the improvement? I have tried wearing shoes with thinner mid-sole and ran once last week. My calf muscles were very tired afterwards. Maybe I need to do it gradually.

running faster with the ALIEN LIZARD said...

WELL DONE ON THE NEW P.B.
I NOTICE FROM READING YOUR BLOG IN THE PAST THAT YOU'VE BEEN THROUGH A FEW INJURIES AND I WONDERED IF YOU HAVE EVERY TRIED CHI RUNNING, I FRIEND OF MINE LENT MY THE BOOK BY DANNY DREYER, AND AM VERY IMPRESSED!
I PUT A FEW LINKS AND INFO ON 'CHI RUNNING' ON MY BLOG SITE, IF YOU WANT TO LEARN MORE.

Eric said...

Congratulations on your 10K PB! A very good improvement.

Mark said...

Nice PR! Love the photo, your running pretty good these days.

by7 said...

thanks everybody for the compliments. The PB improvement is actually huge in such a short time, I am the first to be surprised.
I guess that I got a good benefit from making some hill charges workouts while I was in Europe and by running for the win, rather than checking split, HR, etc.
This time I raced without HRM, did not take care of the splits, etc. I just wanted to stick to the head of the race and try to win ...
So maybe I was free from mental constraints of running according to some target pace, etc.

to DOVY:
your pics are really great, right in the middle of the action.
I started to use more often lightweight trainers and gained a better foot strength.
I started in December by simply using the lighweight trainers for all the "faster" workouts that before I was running wearing normal trainer.
At the end of January I also stopped using orthotics (apart from a heel lift to correct my leg length difference).
Now I also use racing flats when I run on treadmill and I can see a good benefit, with a lighter stride on the treadmill.
I can recommend you to use the lightweight trainer starting with the faster workouts, where the stride is more efficient. having the sore calves at the beginning should be normal but add some calves stretching at the end of each run and should improve.
Gradually you can also use the lightweight trainers also in medium runs and long runs.
So I think that in 4 weeks, you should get pretty much used to it, provided you stretch regularly AFTER the run (as you know, stretching before the run is very often counterproductive)