Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Canberra Ultra Marathon 50k 2013

I love racing on the road. There is something about the rhythm, the consistency and the smoothness of the road that makes me feel at home. It is like coming home and getting into a warm bed. If feels very natural for me to run to a rhythm and tune out.

But it is probably a good thing I don't train or race on the road very often. I know too well that these things can soon become the very things that can turn you off road running and overuse injuries can occur if you do all your training on the road. Not can...will. But I still like flirting with the road; sometimes I pick up and sometimes I get rejected. Today I picked up!

On Friday night I cruised down after work and got to my brother-in-law and sister's place on the outskirts of Canberra. They are both starting to get a liking for running and we agreed to go to the Ginninderra parkrun the next morning to run the beautiful 5km course there. I was also meeting up with Paul, a client I coach who was attempting to run his maiden sub 3 marathon on Sunday...(BTW...he nailed it, and so did Stevo and mys sister who picked up big PB's!)

With my brother-in-law Stevo at Ginninderra parkrun
Although my plan was to just go for a jog to stretch the legs before the big run the next day, like always, I got caught up in the moment and raced it. I ended up winning and setting a new 5km road PB. There were lots of Canberran runners there I knew and I love the parkrun concept. Brad Hatheria and his team do a wonderful job hosting this parkrun.

I was invited down to the Australian Running Festival by Keith 'Buzz' Hong as an ambassador for the Ultra Marathon event. Unfortunately the pasta party/seminar where I was to be a panelist was canned but I still would have gone down anyhow, I really like this marathon and it's always a great opportunity for me to catch up with many relatives who live in Canberra, and of course all my running buddies.

I've raced the Canberra marathon itself 3 times previously, and each time I've thought I would do the Ultra add on. Every time I've gone into the race saying to myself 'I'm going to run a fast marathon then hang on and do the extra 8km' for the ultra. A couple of times I've even tricked myself into thinking the 'extra 8 is just a marathon cool down'...Well let me tell you were that kind of thinking got me in the past...

Marthon Time
Ultra Headspace
Ultra Time
Ultra Pain
20082:49:49 "I'll just keep going after the marathon" DNS DNS, Not one step more!
2009 2:51:14As above..."No repeat of last year" 3:30:41 Struggle Street, hurt like hell, pride got me home!
2011 2:43:22I want the best of both worlds" DNF Pulled out 1km into Ultra
2012 2:33:51 "I'm here to run the 50K" 3:05:01Felt great the whole way

"Come to me all barefooters!"
So, I think the moral of this little story is that for me to run a good 50K time, I had to go into it with the headspace that I was racing the 50k only. Believe me this is hard! Watching the marathoners sail off into the distance was no easy thing early on. I was being careful with my pace and had to rein it in constantly.

In the end though, and it just goes to show, that even with this conservative pacing strategy, it was probably not far off the best pacing strategy I could have done for the marathon! In fact, when I passed under the marathon finish line, I was only 7 seconds outside my marathon PB! But I'm not disappointed by this at all. I was there to race the 50k and I'm glad I didn't break my marathon PB...I want to save this for a stand alone marathon and then I hopefully won't be breaking it by seconds but by minutes and achieving a life goal of going sub 2:30. I know I have it in me, I just have to pick a race and schedule a block of training around it.

These shoes are freaking fast!
The runs of the day belong to Rowan Walker for winning the marathon; allowing Vlad to take a massive lead in the marathon and trusting himself to finish over the top of him, and also Alex Matthews's run in the marathon/50k was superb...he almost did get the best of both world's...pulling in many of the faster bunnies in the marathon to finish 3rd and then almost pulling in Vlad on the Ultra. Vlad also had a great day; although he may be a little disappointed about the marathon result, he showed he is a force to be reckoned with in the ultra scene with a victory in the 50k. Watch out for Vlad to set the TNF50 course alight this year.

My race was pretty damn consistent and I have to be happy with how the day panned out. Although I was holding myself back, this is the way to race distance events, and was pleased to pass a few marathoners before the 35km mark and also gaining one spot on the ultra leg to put myself on the podium. It was a great day for barefootinc, with a trifecta of their athletes on the mens 50k podium.

My time was a massive 9 minute 50k PB, and I pretty much held sub 3:40 pace for all the marathon and sub 3:50 pace for most of the ultra (see splits below in Garmin data). I released the pedal in the last 2km. Not every weekend you can go away with a 5k and a 50k PB from different races too!

The Men's 50K Podium, with Alex 2nd (far left) and Vlad.
Gear Choice
Top: Hammer Nutrition branded RaceReady technical running singlet
Shorts: Team inov-8 branded Body Science Compression Shorts
Shoes: inov-8 Road X-Treme 178s
Socks: injinji Performance 2.0 Lightweight Ultra-Thin toesocks
Visor: Team injinji branded Headsweat visor
Race Nutrition: Pre race gel, then gel every 40 minutes
Hydration: Water at every table, sponged face and head at every sponge station