It’s been a busy week, so apologies for the delay in posting.
Last week’s Run Melbourne half-marathon was the first race since we started training 14 weeks ago. Having not concentrated on any serious running yet, I set myself three goals (an A-goal, B-goal and C-goal) to avoid any harsh disappointments:
C-Goal: to beat last year’s finish time (1:52:29)
B-Goal: to finish sub 1:45:00
A-Goal: to finish sub 1:40:00
One of my running club buddies from work (Freddo Frog Dave) was aiming to run sub 1:35, but without a GPS watch, I offered to pace him to 4:30mins/km for as long as I could keep up with him, to help him on his way. As it turned out, we started running and maintained 4:20k’s for much longer than we anticipated. In fact, we managed to maintain an average pace of 4:25min/km for the whole race.
This was a huge shock to me, and I crossed the finish line in 1:34:01.
Smashing my A-goal by 6 minutes was unbelievable. I am still shocked. I finished 15th in the F18-29 age group, and was the 35th female overall, and 420th out of a total 6345 runners. I have no idea how I maintained that pace for so long (thanks, obviously, to Dave, as had I have been on my own I definitely would have slowed into my comfort zone. But instead we made sure we pushed each other to maintain the pace). But biggest thanks to our super-coach, who seems to have worked his training magic without us even realising; I feel as though we haven’t even begun any significant run training yet, and I had only done one run over 16km since last year’s half-marathon (that was our long run two weeks ago). Perhaps the conclusion is that riding your bike up hills makes you a faster runner…?
Aside from this huge milestone for running times, I also had my biggest swim ever this week, and managed 4km in the pool. Easy for most triathletes, but if you’re familiar with my history, you’ll already know that I swim like a prawn. But I’ve worked a lot on my technique and efficiency this past couple of weeks, and have been trying to use swimming as a bit of a meditation. Previously, I had been thrashing at the water like an aquatic-Rambo, based on the irregular logic that the more violently I fight against sinking, the better I will get at swimming. With that technique achieving nothing but a chlorine-lined stomach, my slowed-down meditative approach seems to have transformed my swimming, literally overnight. We have a 1km time trial this week, so I’ll keep you posted as to my time. But to get an idea: when I started a few months ago, it was taking me over 30mins, and I had to stop at the end of every lap to catch my breath. On Wednesday, in the middle of the 4km, I timed myself for 1km, and I think it came in at just under 20mins. Still no Stephanie Rice, but a gigantic improvement on where I began. And the best thing was that it felt amazing. I think I’ve fallen in love a little bit with swimming…
In other training news: this was a recovery week, so we took it very easy (perhaps too easy). It also got a little boozy, with a glass of wine on Monday, then a beer tour of Melbourne on Thursday followed by a beer-fuelled charity auction, two glasses of wine followed by The Dark Knight Rises on Friday, and a beer-fuelled day at the football followed by a London friends reunion on Saturday. So unfortunately, recovery week was accompanied by a bit too much decadence.
No matter, tomorrow marks the start of the next three-month phase of training. Within which there will be little time for decadence of any kind. Our super-coach email this week contained the line:
From reading 3 autobiographies of pro-cyclists over the last 2 weeks I’ve learnt 2 things that are key to success: Diet, and the amount you are prepared to suffer.
Ominous for two reasons: firstly, because it means no more visits to Snack Island, and secondly because the next phase of training will probably introduce me to the outer-perimeter of my limits. But that’s ok, I’ve been waiting to visit them for some time.
I’m going to head off now to watch Bradley Wiggins. What an incredible night for British sport.