Diigo Links

Monday, August 12, 2002

An ordinary race

Well, it's done. The 2002 City to Surf has been run. A Finn named Jussi Utriainen was the first to finish in 41min 37s upsetting the Tanzanian race favorite Stephen Bwire

Utriainen managed to do what I've always fantasized about - come out of nowhere to win a big race. My race was much more ordinary. I started too far back in my group. And even though I started in the "A" group, I found a disturbing number of walkers had placed themselves in front of me on the start. It took me about two minutes just to get to the start line after the gun had gone off. That was followed by a further two kilometers of serious bobbing a weaving through joggers and walkers. It wasn't until about the 4k mark that I was able to get into a decent rhythm - and it wasn't until the halfway mark that I was able to just run without having to pick lines through slower runners (I guess heartbreak hill thinned out the crowd a bit).
My plan was to go out "slow" - 4 min./k until the top of the hill and then stretch out to 3:30 min./k on the flats and the downhill that followed. What actually happened was a series a hard surges followed by "recovery" while waiting for a hole in the crowd - which put me at 4+min./k on the first few kilometers, but without the benefits of steady pacing - which I think is why I hit bondi beach feeling so flat. I finished right around 62min. (probably in the first 3000 - we'll know more about that next week).
The last 3k of the 14k race comes off of a steep downgrade, is followed by a shallow uphill, culminating in a left hook leaving a wide 200m stretch to the finish. I'm a sucker for a fast finish, but I was dying coming up the shallow uphill before the hairpin. I knew if I pushed up the hill, I'd never get a good kick down the final straight. I pulled out to the right and watched runners start to stream by as they started their kicks - runners I'd just passed coming down the hill. But as I came around the corner and could see the finish, I knew I'd arrived and would be able to stop soon.
I was measuring how far the finish line was - trying not to kick too soon - when this curly haired high school runner went charging past. "Oh, ya?" I thought. I gave it a slow acceleration until I found myself catching up to him. I equalized right on his shoulder and was going to hold it there until closer to the line, but right then, he dropped off. He'd gone too soon - didn't have anything left - was giving up. This made me feel pretty OK, because I was still holding on to a good bit of punch, so I pulled out from behind him and put it on - probably took ten or fifteen more places back (that I'd lost a couple minutes previous).
While it was enjoyable to get a race going at the end there - there was a price. After the finish line I was feeling very seedy - tunnel vision - gluey legs - loss of appetite - the usual. So, I got a couple drinks and went down on the beach and got in the water. Cold water is the best thing for an overheated, thoroughly abused body - and it worked a treat - I'll have to remember that for next time, if there is a next time.
I've run through my yen to race at this point - running races anyway. I've got a couple friends trying to get me into x-country mountain bike racing. I've never actually done that, so I'm pretty keen to give it a try - see how I like it. I don't imagine I'll be doing a lot of training towards it though. I've pretty much had it with "training" for the time being. It was fun(?), maybe rewarding, for a while, but just got to be too boring and taxing on free time to sustain. And once I fall off the training wagon - it's hard to put it together and get back on again - I suppose that's how it is for any "wagon". Hmmm, I'll have to give that some thought next time I fault someone for falling off their wagon...

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