On Sunday I ran the Sri Chinmoy half at Williamstown. This is their main event of the year so we were not just treated to pancakes, but soup and apple crumble too.
Last weekend was the start of some real training to run an ultra in July. Saturday I did 22km of hills – which really killed my right achillies. Then Sunday I had already entered the half. I thought it would be a good training run and I wanted to really tire myself out. But then for some reason (even after the 22km on Sat) I thought it would be a good opportunity for a new half PB so decided to go for it.
When I woke up Sunday morning my right achillies still really hurt from Saturday. I went through Sarah’s MTM warm up sequence which made the pain go away completely. I had already decided to do the race in my Five Fingers so I was glad there were no achillies problems.
I started at 5min/k pace but for some reason my achillies was giving me a hard time. I was trying so hard to concentrate on getting my bad leg to mimic my good leg but I am not very good at focusing on these things. At the 5km mark I struggled and slowed down. It was ok though because I thought as long as I didn’t get slower than 5:30/k then once I got closer to the finish I would pick it up and still make a PB. I don’t know what happened after that 5km but I just couldn’t hold on.
At 12km I was reduced to a shuffle. I had no energy. It was strange. I did not feel any pain. My achillies no longer hurt. Infact, it felt good in the FFs. My legs were not sore. I was not out of breath. My body just would not move any faster. Maybe this is what it’s like to hit The Wall? I have never met the Wall, and that is one thing that intrigues me about ultras. I want to hit the Wall and see what happens to me. It felt really strange running this race. I gave up completely at 12k and just took it as a training run. I was shuffling along in slow motion. It felt weird, like running in an ultra, except I wasn’t sore.
This course is a terribly mean course. There are several turn around points and as you get closer you still can’t see the turn around and you think you are nearly there but then you go around a corner and you still have to keep going to get to the turnaround. Then of course, you have to go past the finish where the smell of the pancakes tell you there’s not far to go, but you still have to get to another turnaround before making your way to the finish for good.
Towards the end I was plodding around at 7:00/k. I stumbled across the finish line at 2:02. When I stopped I felt really light headed and dizzy. And for the first time ever I craved a sports drink. Maybe I really had run out of glycogen.
After a few cups of Endura I went to get my soup and apple crumble and chatted to a few Cool Runners. As you can tell by the pics it was a chilly foggy morning and that soup hit the spot. As usual, the SC crowd was so unbelievably supportive and friendly. A couple of people asked me about the Five Fingers. Everyone thinks they look fantastic and comfortable. Now I know that they are available in Melbourne, I told people where they could find them. Actually I don’t know the names of the shops but all the outdoorsy shops in the city are around Hardware Lane/Little Bourke St so I just told people to have a look around there.
Initially I was disappointed in my time (I was aiming for <1:55) but then I realised I achieved what I originally set out to do – exhaust myself with 2 back to back runs over 20km. Until Sunday I had not run further than 10km in the Five Fingers this year. Since the ultra in them last year I have just worn them once a week at a speed session at the track. Today my calves feel like they have rocks in them!! This is exactly what it feels like for people when they start to run this way! I am finding it very amusing in a strange sort of way. My achillies feels fine. I think this is telling me something. I should be running in the FFs more. Even though I have been running in the FFs weekly, my legs seem to have forgotten how to run properly! The Nike Frees have nothing on 'barefoot shoes' and they could be mucking up my lop sided gait more. I am not sure what to do with these thoughts. I want to do the You Yangs 50/50 in July and I will not be up to it in the FFs. It will be an interesting time between now and then while I mix up my footwear.