32 years old - Made in Britain - Exported to Singapore - Re-Exported to the Netherlands - and from thence back to Britain

Monday, May 29, 2006

Canterbury Half Marathon

What a race! This was an incredibly hilly course that challenged all runners (I think the final field was nearly 600). As always I didn't start to strongly - something I need to train myself out of - but after a mile I had settled into about 20th place, where I stayed for the next 4 miles, running behind a very fit looking guy who I swear I have run against in some of my London races. By mile 4 another racer who had been trying to overtake me for over a mile finally got his way, and held his lead for about 800 meters, putting me back in around 21st place. However, no-one can accuse me of not being competitive, and I tucked right up behind him so that he could hear my breathing and footfall, and slowly increased the pace; in doing this I gave him the choice of going faster, moving out of my way, or letting me crash into him. He chose to move faster - but found very quickly that thepace did not suit him, and so as he flagged I overtook him and found myself back in my original position, with the familiar runner about 200 meters in front of me. I turned up the pace and moved out of my aerobic pace into my anaerobic pace, weighing up the risk of building up surplus lactic acid early in the race against the risk of getting stuck in the position. Within a minute or two I had closed the gap, and remembered listening to the commentators of the London Marathin this year onthe BBC, who recalled their coaches saying that if you catch someone up just go straight past them, it takes advantage of the head of speed you have developed, and delivers a psychological blow to the other racer who finds they cannot match your pace. I did exactly that, and powered straight past the competitor; the next time I saw him was as he crossed the finishing line!

My new targets were two runners about 400 metres ahead of me, who were fairly well matched. I couldn't take either of these guys out until we were on a long flat - having reconnoitred the course the day before I knew a long 1 mile flat was about two miles ahead of us. Once we hit the hill leading to this flat I again slipped into anaerobic running, peeling off the metres on the hill whilst the other two guys slowed down. Whilst a dangerous tactic this was the best time to close the gap, and indeed it was so successful that I overtook one of the runners on the hill! This chap stayed close behind me for the next mile or so whilst I worked on the next runner; a competitor that almost broke me! No matter how hard I worked on closing the gap he seemed to anticipate my move, and maintained a healthy distance ahead of me. Worse, he was actually increasing the gap! As sign of desperation I started to road weave - taking the corners on the inside to try to cut off a few meters from my run. This tactic seemed to work, in conjunction with an energy boost (took a carb gel), and I finally took the guy out on mile 8. I was now getting very tired, and had built up lactic acid in my thighs and calfs, and to be honest was struggling. A crowd of supporters on th eroad side shouted "Go on Clapham!" which spurred me to run harder when really I should have pulled back a bit to recover. This spurt nearly cost me the race as I hit mile 10 - which was a very steep 1km hill. This hill proved to be a lesson in mental toughness as my body screamed for me to walk it, and the only thing keeping me going was sheer stubbornness. All through the climb I plodded up this hill - barely able to put one foot in front of the other, whilst all the time I knew that the runners I had already taken could be fresher and stronger than me, and take me on this hill. Luckily I was spared that fate and I breached the top of the hill without incident, and had a clear downward slope for the next miles, with another runner about 800 meters ahead of me.

It was at this point that I somehow got a mad idea; to catch the runner ahead of me! Tired as I was I took the most dangerous gamble of this race. I increased my pace to around 18km/ph - well into my anaerobic levels and started to close the gap. The runner kept looking over his shoulder as I closed into him, 700 meters, 600 and so on. As I closed to 20 meters I huge wave of energy hit me, and I upped the pace to 20kmph, breaking the runner and building a large distance advantage pretty quickly. How I kept that pace up for the last two miles I will never know, but I did, and finished about 1 minute ahead of this runner, who afterwards said that he just had nothing left to give, he tried to catch me again, but was spent!

All in all this was a tough race, made more difficult by warm weather, forgetting to wear my watch(!) and by the fact that I have a stinking cold! I wated to finish in 78 minutes, and come in the top 4, but I didn't. I did give my all, and ran a strategic race. Once the results are posted I will put them up - I suspect that I was most probaly in the top 15 in around 84 minutes - but that is just guess work!


Blogger ampulets said...

Love your commentary. Sounds like a cool run. Man, you are one crazy ang moh. Haha. Anyway, the pic of your running in your previous post - who took them for you? with your 20D? - TOHA

7:52 am

Blogger  said...

you are mad mad mad!

8:19 am

Blogger Neil said...

TOHA - the piccies were taken by one of the Bushy Park Time Trial guys who was hanging around the course. Just as well as I forgot to ask someone to do this for me

儒 - probably!

10:18 am


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