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RACING AND TRAINING: A WINNING COMBINATION IN THE DARK

September 21, 2014

In my last blog I managed to provide some sort of outline that I was hoping to follow prior to the Melbourne Marathon. Sadly (but not surprisingly) these plans were interrupted by illness a weekend ago, subsequently meaning that preparations are now well behind. But there’s no point in altering the plan now, not only is it too close to the event for rash decisions, it also didn’t affect me too much to prevent me from racing yesterday in Brisbane which was always in my original planning.

You may remember in March that I combined football and running to compete in the Twilight Run at St.Lucia (https://mhjeffrey027running.com/2014/03/28/this-guns-for-hire-even-if-its-just-running-in-the-dark/). The event this time is a sister event, located in the Brisbane Bayside suburb of Wynnum. Timing for the event was similar, with the Half Marathon commencing at 5PM and finishing at night, and the similarities continued with the course format comprising of 2 loops plus an additional loop on lap 2 to make up the 21km.

Getting to the race though was an exercise in patience. In their infinite wisdom Queensland Rail scheduled track works for that weekend, so shuttle buses ferried passengers and runners for part of the journey. Everything was going alright on the bus, I even managed a little shut eye on the back seat, until we met our connecting train at of all places Murarrie. The last time I arrived at Murarrie was for last year’s Bridge to Brisbane, where the train filled to the brim almost caused everyone to miss the start of the race. This time it was the fact that the train was stationary for close to 20 minutes having to wait for an extra 6-7 passengers from another 2 buses before departing for Wynnum Central station. It still was a kilometre until we reached the race precinct, which was bad luck for those wanting to do the 5km race and caused much disruption to the routine.

At least those at the race precinct were fantastically prepared for rapid movement of the line to get preparations on track. Sometimes line waiting could take forever, but within 5 minutes I had what I needed (including the singlet that I was going to run in, an attraction to the event as it’s not every day a good quality item of training gear is included in the price). Even the toilet queue moved at a rapid rate, leaving me long enough to get into the start area.

Once again the 10km racers and the half marathoners started at the same time, which was more of an annoyance than anything. I understand that the timetable is relatively short and that other events need to get started as well, but maybe they could find a way to separate the runners at the start line so that the squeeze in the start area (let alone at the start line) would be eased. Apart from that it was rather smooth sailing, the walkers on the road giving room for the runners and the marshals and volunteers around the course providing clear direction. Kudos especially to one fellow on a narrow corner before/after the bridge over Wynnum Creek where it would have been easy for runners from opposite directions to cannon into each other, and also to another worker at the top end of the course for having the radio cranked with the footy (AFL, Australian Rules Football for those wondering) so at least I knew the scores.

I may have finished the race in 1:51, but to me that wasn’t as important as it might have otherwise been. Any thoughts of a rapid time for me were virtually gone after the illness (I still struggle with coughing fits occasionally, although this to me is at least manageable), and were 100% eliminated with the head winds dominating the return parts of the loop. There’s not much that can be done to eliminate this, you can’t complain about something you can’t control. At least I did manage 2 goals, which were to go at a pace that would compliment my Melbourne Marathon plan of covering 11km per hour, and to make it back prior to the 7PM fireworks display, which can also be an advantage of starting events in the afternoon as opposed to the usual morning starts.

The whole point of the exercise in any case was to test out race plans and preparation in race conditions before taking on the challenge of the Melbourne Marathon in 3 weeks time. Arguably the hardest part of training for long distance events is running long distances, it does bring an intimidation factor that many cannot overcome. So what better way to train for events than to do an event with decent distances to mix training up? That’s not to say that the event would be a target in itself, many would have set themselves to go the distance or to get a decent time. All that I’m pointing out is that there are other goals on the agenda for me later on, and this is a stepping stone for those goals.

 

There are now 21 days before I hit the start line on home turf in Melbourne. After getting home this evening another training run is scheduled a few hours later, and the grind of the next week and a half is as important now as it was before hearing the starting command for the run this weekend.

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One Comment
  1. Tom G permalink

    Good on you Mick.

    I’m proud of you turning your health around. You’re an inspiration to all around you.

    -Tommy Granleese

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