Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Monday, November 4, 2013
Monday, October 28, 2013
Friday, October 11, 2013
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Another guy breaks the Marathon World Record. How crazy is that?. There have been already hundreds of analysis of the race, I liked this one I like the chart breaking the race into 5k splits and eigths or quarters.
The chart got me thinking on my own performance. The idea of breaking races into chunks is not new, and I have had a few races planned like that.
The problem is the implementation of the strategies come race day. If it is a triathlon, there's always the chance that the plans go out de window due to blowing up on the swim, or too early on the bike. On one occasion I went all as per plan, only to find myself getting hypothermic during the run and not been able to execute what I wanted. Another time it was the weather.
If it is a run race, there's the issue of having the competition dictate the pace and forgetting about listening to my own breathing. A few weeks ago I turned into a 18k trail run. I wasn't meant to be there, but someone offered me a spot and I would not refuse a chance to get out with the wife and friends. As it turns out, the early pace was set by guys that slowly disappeared and I found myself sitting somewhere in the front of the field following a very good climber up a hill. I soon realized that a wall was going to be hitting me at a very high speed. Then I slowed, gathered some strength and hit the last 4k's like a ton of bricks (sub 3:45 pace). It took me a while, but I passed the good climber, and I ran out of field to catch the guy ahead (15 seconds anyone?).
Back to the marathon, it takes a lot of self confidence to slow down in order to break the record. But being such a complete athlete, Kipsang knew that it would be all within reach. And the two sub 2:50min/km pace made up the 15 seconds of light between his glory and the former record. It is very small margins, and nailing it as he did is a commendable thing.
What's up in life? Uni finishing soon. Tri sieason starting soon. Sea swim season starting soon. Ultra run in 3 weeks!... with my hands full at the moment.
Monday, August 26, 2013
Monday, June 10, 2013
Last weekend I got to visit one of New Zealand’s premier multisport locations for a ½ marathon trail run. It was the usual NZ bush run in a great super-scenic setting .
I didn’t have any ambitions, as it was at the end of a busy week. We travelled 200 odd kilometers on the day, which meant a 4:30am start. We didn’t have a lot of time for stretching or warming up. But it didn’t matter, it was good to be out in the trail ready for a bit of action. I’ve been unable to go out of the city for over a month and was keen to get back in the soft surface.
The heart rate slowly raising, the muscles tensed and alert. The breathing getting lighter and the head thinking on the past weeks training and how every session was clinically placed to produce what would be today’s outcome. The eyes scan for the competition, look for familiar faces and the ones that look to make the front pack. The chest broadens and the arms get into swing.
And then we’re off.
A shot of adrenaline shoots through the muscles, we all go hard for 100/200 metres and then harder, sorting the field as we advance. The mind gets focused on the road ahead, any obstacles and a check of form, of the self and the people around. The eyes move 5 to 7 metres ahead and start looking at clean paths that the body will follow.
It is not aggression, is the alertness, determination and synch of it all that makes the turning of the race switch an exhilarating experience.
The fun continues for a few minutes and then is back to business, another check of the form, tactics, banter and the other more mundane aspects of racing.
As for the race itself it was a great result, 3rd overall. I paid for my lack of climbing, but I was proud to hang on to the two tough guys that beat me. I was even prouder of my downhill running.
It is good to be reminded of another reason why I race. I race to turn the race switch. And what a great feeling that is.
Stay safe out there, and get muddy.
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Stride for success running race (5x2km loops up and down):
Start: Why is it not going that far this time around? Shall you stay with the front pack? Shall you hurry the front pack up? Will you hang on to the this front pack for the rest of the 5 loops?
Lap 2.5: Ooops, eat a gel or hang on to front pack? Catch the pack or wait in no-man’s land?
Lap 4: catch the guy in the front up the hill or run him down the hill? Pass him or stay?
Lap 5: long drag or sit and wait for the sprint?
Cycle for life cyle race (1x107km lap)
Pre race: have you done enough hill training? Have you done enough interval training? You sure you want to race in the elite group?
Start: can you hang on to this fast pace and the upcoming hill? Can you catch the peloton 200m ahead down the hill? Are you able to time trial your way back to the bunch or will you wait for the next bunch?
Middle: do you really want to risk a fall in this rain and wind? Are you able to sustain this rate of exertion for another couple of hours? Have you eaten enough? Do you have enough water till the end?
End: do you want to sit and wait for the sprint or make this peloton work hard? Will you let those guys go or catch them up the next hill?
Races keep throwing us questions and the answers open a series of paths that one can’t return from. If the front pack is gone… it’s gone, there’s no way back. Similarly, if one commits to a hill 100%, then it’s useless to stop ¾ of the way there because the damage is already done, the ticker will be at a high work rate already. Interestingly, though , the mental answers to the questions and the ability to physically back up the replies with action depends a lot on the way we prepared for the race, how we rested, what we ate, what we drunk et cetera.
Another race to go in a bit over a week and then into hibernation, exams and who knows… maybe a bit of mountain action.
Monday, April 29, 2013
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
The experience was fun, great views, nice scenery and good climbs. It all came down pronto when I had to go into a singletrack grade 2 hill and lost any ability to coordinate the descend. I overshoot one corner, slipped and hit my privates with the bike’s seat. Then I got too tense to even try and keep a good balance. Hated it for some time.
I went a bit more comfortable on round 2, but still not OK.
Then it was time for me to park the bike, and follow my make while he went for a couple of more shots. I could run the same speed up and down the technical descents, so overall it was still very good training.
But not my thing.
I just couldn’t see the point on purposely putting myself in danger of falling over trees or roots to go down a hill and not even going fast or going point to point. I’m unsure about the fitness or bike-specific gains for me.
It felt a bit of a pointless exercise.
But hang on a minute?
What about bike or running hill reps?
Or swimming up and down a 25m pool 150 times three times a week?
Or running like a madman for 5km down a hill to a point where stopping is not guaranteed?
Or waking up and going to work every day to have money to pay the bills to continue to live to go to work everyday to have money to pay the bills
It is another case of “a matter of perspective”.
|This is how I felt|
|This is what I wouldn't mind|
Moral of the story for me?
Always try something new, but don’t stick to it if you don’t like it.
And moral number 2:
Close the ‘new hobbies’ account for a few months and get great marks at Uni.
A few days on the mountain should come handy. Stay dry out there
Monday, April 15, 2013
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
A common treat of these endurance mutations is the moments of solitude and isolation (even when around a lot of people) and the moments of lots of laughs in good company. I don’t remember feeling more alone than when racing against 3000 others in Budapest, a day to remember for the wrong reasons. Both extremes (solitude and great company) are the backdrop of some learnings I took from these 5 years. On the one side, I’ve learnt a lot about self reliance and resilience, backing myself to achieve a given goal. On the other side, I’ve enjoyed many winters with great people with common goals and great races with lots of camaraderie.
Someone said that the only thing constant is change. And while I continue to enjoy change, I’ll enjoy these endurance mutations.
This is comeback 3.0
I guess comebacks are another constant too : )
Stay safe out there.
Friday, March 22, 2013
|making sure it's all going to be allright|
|Nat being briefed about the race ahed|
|Finishing in style|