Last year at the Dublin marathon expo I spoke to a lot of runners about what we do in the “Run injury free” workshops. One question that kept coming up was “will it make me faster”. At the time, I wasn’t able to say (I was never meant to work in sales, I am completely unable to embellish the truth).
Fast forward to 13th January 2013 and I have finally gotten my answer. Does running as we are meant to run make you faster? Yes – one whole minute off my former PB – and using those conversion charts to compare against all my previous times, I’m significantly faster – there can be no doubt but I’m able to run at a different level than I was before.
This is even more surprising given that I am only at the start of my training cycle and all the work I’ve done over the past year (since my injury last January) has been to learn to run with a new technique. Initially, I suppose as with any new skill, I had to go back to basics and learn to run slowly again. It was a long process as I love to run and race and not being able to do my usual volume was frustrating at times but it finally seemed worth it after the race last Sunday.
Ferrycarrig – a five mile to keep
To be fair to the organisers of the Ferrycarrig 5 mile road race, it was a super race, a fast course, perfect weather conditions and just enough other runners for me to be pulled along and motivated without ever having to worry about crowds. The only tiny negative mark I could give the race was the number of cars on the last two miles of the race. I know getting roads closed is not a simple task but for the 30 mins of this race, it would have made the race and the course just perfect.
I didn’t feel confident lining up on the start line. I hadn’t raced in almost a year (with the exception of a few random outings); and I did the typical rookie mistake of going out too hard. When I noticed the leading pack of women, who I know to be in a class above me, passing me out after 600m, followed by René and Jeff about 200m later, I realised that I might have gone out a little too fast. Still the first mile of the race had a slight downhill bias, or so I consoled myself as my watch beeped 1 mile at 6.02. I eased the pace down a bit then (despite being passed by another girl at that point, I let her go on ahead, deciding that I had to race my watch instead of competitors, just this once), clocking the second mile at a more comfortable 6.17. At that stage I stopped looking at my watch and enjoyed picking off the runners in front of me, unfortunately not that girl, who remained 200m ahead.
Turning off the N11 at Kyle Cross, I still felt too comfortable, but as I have discovered before on Lydiard training, when I
am not doing any anaerobic training, in the aerobic phase, I can run very strongly and comfortably at a decent pace but I seem to miss the ability to push myself into the pain levels I used to experience in every race. Where this race differed in that from previous races during my aerobic phase, is that my body didn’t hurt either, I had no leg pains, no aching calves. I was comfortable both in my breathing and my body which made me feel like I really wasn’t trying at all.
Approaching the last mile, I had bonded with the runner beside me. We had both tried earlier to shake each other off but at this stage he asked did I want to pick off the man ahead (in the hat); to which I responded could we catch that girl instead and he kindly didn’t tell me that I was delusional and worked with me. He let me know when we had 800m to go but unfortunately my target also seemed aware of this and she also pushed on (blissfully unaware, I’m sure that I was trying so hard to catch her). Entering the Wexford Youths complex, we had to run the driveway again, which seemed so much longer this time than on the way out. My new friend stayed with me, encouraging me to stay with him and sprint to the finish. I did my best and he let me cross the finish line ahead of him. I didn’t see him afterwards and never caught his name but to my pacer and “encourager” – thanks so much – I’m looking for a similar pace in the Enniscorthy 10k so if you’re around, consider yourself hired;-)
I forgot to stop my watch so I didn’t know the official time ’til the next day but I worked out that 31.10 was the worst I could have done (turns out that is my recorded time) which I knew was faster than my previous best (again I was unsure what this was but I knew it was 32 something). It wasn’t until driving home that evening that I worked out that at that pace, I should easily break my long standing hurdle of a sub-40 min 10k. And on so little training, I was so excited to be back racing and to feel so good after it and to do it with good posture and without aching muscles. Thank you to Tony Riddle and to Rene for making me take this journey. Its only one race but hopefully its also only the start.
Colds and superstitions
I’m writing this after a week of only running 30 mins! By Tuesday I was a nasty mess with a head cold and I’ve ended up taking the week off to recover. Not the type of week I was expecting to roll out in front of me after my wonderful race on Sunday. Now we’re surrounded by snow and I refuse to go running in it as I have a superstition dating from a bad injury a number of years ago that started when I insisted in doing a long run in the snow.
Back to the Ferrycarrig 5 mile though and the list of PBs it produced. My latest training partner, who is signed up to the Champions Everywhere coaching regime, Alex did himself proud coming in in 33:52; my good friend and club mate Dee did 32:59; my sister in her very first race did 46: 33; my other sister, who’s done a few races did 42:37; my brother-in-law did 60:56 and my mother who walked it with her friend Julie didn’t bother walking all the way to the finish line but stopped into the club house instead for the tea and cakes!!
Top marks to the Ferrycarrig 5 mile road race organising committee for a very good race; for catering both to club runners and for inspiring first timers to take part. I believe they were very happy with the money raised – going towards a cause that must be dear to every runners heart – the development of a community sports complex.