30 October 2016

World Masters Athletics Championship Perth M55 5000m 1st 16:43

Actually I had been dreaming of this race for 5 years since Perth were awarded the host city at the 2011 WMA Champs in Sacramento. When the day finally dawned I was still in doubt about my tactics for the race. The conditions though made that choice somewhat easier as a horrendous wind up the finishing straight meant attacking from the gun would be foolish, I'd bear the wind and Alex, Stuart and the others would have to chase. So the decision was to sit-in behind whoever wanted to lead and see how things would play out but with a vague idea I'd go from 3000.
So the first four laps were run at a dawdle. About 80 second laps or slower, the wind was a nightmare. Things were OK whilst a Columbian led with me trying to find the best position behind to shield, but when the others started to come around we all started to chop and push.
I had my heels clipped a few times and was this close to turning around and swearing but I only turned and did the glare!!
My thoughts now were someone is going to trip over and who knows what will happen then! So in an instant I decided to go for it and smashed out a fast lap. Afterwards Alex told me he instinctively went with me for 10m before he reconciled defeat to me and dropped back into the pack. I quickly built a lead to 100m and up to 150m by the last lap but was closed back down to 100m by the extremely fast finishing Alex (16:02 this year) and Stuart (16:27 this year Canadian M55 record holder). 
It was extremely hard work running up the finishing straight into that wind and I wrestled with the madness of my choice to break so early.
I was seriously happy to win because my race execution worked out beautifully. I really needed a large buffer to give the speed merchants no hope of catching me.
The win sets me up nicely for the 10,000m on Tuesday.
No new fresh runners to race, pretty much the same guys (not Alex or Stuart). 
If I respect the distance and the opposition I will be hard to beat.

28 October 2016

World Masters Athletics Championships Perth 8km XC M55 1st

I arrived in Perth just after midnight on Tuesday morning and was fortunate enough to get picked up by my old mate Stuart Moore, from my Shaftesbury Harrier days. Stu kindly offered to put me up for the first few days at his family home in Floreat, a 1.8km jog from the start line for the Cross Country at Perry Lakes Reserve.

My plan was to go out hard and then ease back and not to race the M50's as I would be racing faster guys than me in the 5000m on Saturday that were not competing in the cross country.
At the gun, I got off ok and settled in behind M50's Anders Dahl and Bruce Graham. However, they seemed to be hammering it, so I was happy to let them gap me. Unusually for me, I looked at my first km split on the Garmin 3:13 ! Too fast. Bruce and Anders must have been 3:08. As I dropped back M50 Pommie Paul Thompson caught me and headed on. I managed to hold onto his coat tails as we began to haul back the leading two.
By the end of the second of four two km loops we had all come together and the four of us ran in a bunch. I sensed the pace had dropped off a little but was happy to have the respite.
I had mistaken the Swede for Gunnar X the guy who had finished second to David Heath in the World's 1500m at Lyon last year = a speed merchant! My thoughts were that he was just biding his time for a sprint finish that he would win.
Of course by this stage it was hard for me not to race or want to stay with these guys.
There was a good gap to the 5th place runner so I just had to maintain momentum to win my age cat. As we neared the finish I had no thoughts of competing in the sprint and didn't fully sense that Bruce had kicked and was gone. 
I was ahead of the Swede as we turned the corner for the final 100m and I thought it would be cool to get his scalp so I did give it some welly!
The route through to the finish line was pretty congested with lapped runners and I only noticed on the line that the 2nd placer Paul Thompson was just in front of me.
Of course I was chuffed to bits to win a Word Masters title! I had been dreaming of this moment for three years. I couldn't believe my luck to have Perth chosen as the venue and for the Championships to be staged just a month after I turned 55 to run youngest in age group.
Bruce missed out by two months so I was so pleased for him to win the M50's at age 54.9, after he won Bronze at Lyon. 
My category winning margin, at nearly two minutes, for a "World" title, puts a question mark on the status of these Championship's. There are better guys than me out there who chose not to, or could not afford, to compete. But it is what it is and I am proud to have a World Masters Championship crown on my palmares 😀
Now to take on the 5000m which is going to be competitive. Will it be tactical? will it be a slog fest? what tactics do I employ?
One things for sure I am just pleased to have made it to the start line in something like competitive shape. 
When I think back to the months off running with injury this year. The time spent on the bike, the early morning runs, the Sunday long runs around the arduous roads of Narangba, the first 'track' session this year on the school grass oval where I felt anything but a potential Masters World Champion. I am truly grateful to have pulled it off but none of it would have been possible without the love and understanding of my wife and family x

20 October 2016

10,000m 33;34.

Did I manage to race myself back to form last night?
Yesterday I did my normal Roo+Lake 10.6km morning run (4;20 K's). 
Yesterday evening was a Queensland Masters Meet at QSAC (ANZ Stadium). Race start time was 7;00pm and managed to arrive in plenty of time. My standard 3km warm up. Conditions at the start were cooling down to around 22 O C and the wind died down as dusk fell. My plan was to treat it like a training session = Hard lap Float lap.
Cracked off with a 72 first lap, probably overcooking it but mentally (and physically) able to cope with an easy follow up lap. My glutes were giving some gip but otherwise ran well. I was very surprised to see the clock at 5200m 17;15 which meant I had gone through 5000m in 16;35 (why did I only run 16;47 on Saturday?). 
I managed to battle past the multiple walkers and slower runners by running in the second lane. 
Phil Davies was lap scoring/timekeeping and gave me a shout out that the Queensland M55 was on with 4 laps to go. 
My Hard lap Float lap had begun to morph together but this news left me no choice but to try and run hard through to the finish.Funnily I felt somewhat deprived of my last two float laps! 
My reward was to break Alan Bradford's 1994 Qld M55 record by 8 seconds. 
I managed to run with an average heart rate at 170bpm and pushed that up to 179bpm on the last lap. That's my maximum heart rate and  reaching it now always seems to cause me to wretch which I did  just after the finish. I was so close to puking but managed to hold it back. This was perhaps exacerbated by a curry at lunch time and  fruit during the afternoon which not surprisingly caused my stomach to cramp horribly during the latter part of my run.
My body was wrecked on my warm down and again this morning on my recovery Roo+Lake.
I believe 33;34 ranks me #1 in the World M55's Rankings at this point which will add pressure and put a target on my back!

On my knees after finishing, close to puking!
(Photo Peter Reeves)
Pete says winners are grinners.

The lads

15 October 2016

5000m 16:47.09

Shite ! Time is running out to get into shape for Perth, the countdown is showing 10 days 23 hours!
This morning I continued in my quest to get track fit with a 5000m at Masters, Queensland State Athletic Facility. Standard 3km warm up, few strides and we are off! My Garmin again immediately went into pause mode for some reason!
I wasn't starting that slow that it would auto pause for standing still!
I decided to try and run a steady first lap rather than the usual 72/74 I ran 78 and first km was 3:20 as was the 2nd. It takes some adjustment to run through 3km and see 10:04 on the clock. In my mind it should still be 9:30 but either age or fitness or both are making those days seem like history now.
With only 3 starters in the run and half a dozen walkers , I was overtaking from 600m. One guy, bless him, was in the outer inside lane and looking very unsteady as if he might stumble into me in lane two, as I past him twice a lap!
Standard Brisbane conditions 20/21 and breezy.
I continued lapping in about 81/82, ok for 10,000m but not quick enough for 5000m.
Ian Cameron dropped out at 3k and I lapped 2nd place Con with 600m to go.
16:47 is ok but not quite the sub 16:30 required to medal in Perth.
The 34:13 10,000m TT  form I ran last month seems to have deserted me. I won't go trying to train the house down to get it back but will continue with a 10,000m track race on Wednesday night (Masters), and a parkrun next Saturday to see if I can race myself back into shape.

09 October 2016

3000m 9:42.93

It's been a year since I raced track. Then it was a QMA 3000 against Mike Trees where he beat me and I ran about 9:32 from memory.
The training  track at QSAC has closed due to shocking state of the track. The good news being we can run at the next-door ANZ Stadium track which is in much better condition (but still poor!)
I had no real goals but just wanted to get the feel of racing on the track back into my mind. Worlds are only 17 days away!
I'd had a deep massage on Friday to try and work some of the glute tightness out of my butt, it left me still pretty sore.
Saturday conditions were warm and sunny (low 20's).
I wore my Australian kit to see how it felt (bike style shorts) and I wore spikes.
35 first 200 probably made it hard for myself going out too fast but started to settle down (get tired!) Pretty quickly with 3:10 first K.
My Garmin auto paused/slept right at the start so had to manually correct distance on Connect later. The race was in conjunction with a Walkers 3000m so was overtaking from lap 1. Didn't really take too much notice of the clock but was happy to finish just outside my goal sub 9:40 and also half a second inside Peter Reeves (The Robot) Queensland M55 Record. Not sure they will count it though as I didn't inform them beforehand I might run a record. You need to have an individual lap scorer. We did have electronic timing. Not really bothered as I want to run 20 seconds quicker.


We arrived back from West Coast USA on Tuesday morning. We had a fantastic time visiting LA, San Diego, Santa Monica, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon (South Rim), Yosemite National Park and San Francisco / Salusalito.
The holiday was a celebration of my 55th, Natalie's 50th and our 25th all in the last week of our vacation. We took our two youngest Max and Lily.
I managed to keep training going pretty well, just one day sick and international date line meant missed two days training. Found a track in LA only 2km away from our apartment. Managed a 3km tempo on it one day and 20 x 400 another day. Most running in LA was around Pan Pacific Park. The roads and shocking state of the 'pavements' meant anything else was near impossible.
At The Grand Canyon I managed a couple of runs, first was just 4km in near pitch dark, but at least I found a track that I ran on the next day for a steady 12km run. Back in Vegas I managed a session in a vacant parking lot (there are many in Vegas!) About 10x500 , and next-day ran 8x800 at University of Las Vegas track (just a mile from out hotel just off the Strip).
At Yosemite I found a Mountainous track via Strava not far from our Lodge but it had signs across the gate at the entrance saying closed due to recent spotting of a mountain lion!!
I still ran along it for a KM (for a Strava segment CR) but ran with a big stick and crapping myself about being meeting a furry friend along the way!
At Salsausalito (San Fran), I did a run from our apartment across the Golden Gate Bridge North to South and back. I hammered it to see where I'd rank on the Strava segments but was disappointed with 62nd all time due to all the cyclist's who had recorded their rides as runs! I have contacted Strava to ask if they can't filter out cyclists and bad GPS activity as it spoils segments , over 13000 people have done this one! And San Fran is headquarters of Strava.
The Bridge is hugely crowded with tourists so go late or early to be able to run across. We walked over during the day at a time running would have been near impossible. Very very windy too!
Salusalito is set on a hillside overlooking Alcatraz and the bay, very picturesque. Our apartment was also on the steepest of streets so I did a session of 12 efforts up it. About 100m with jog back recovery. A week later and my glutes are still in prices from that session , not a wise move!
Got back home and just ran steady all week as I tried to recover from jet lag and that hill session.