Fall in the Bay
The Bay Area is rarely better than on a September evening. It’s just cooling off, but the sunlight is still giving everything a glow, even if everything includes the skateboarding street urchins of the Mission district.
I must stay awake at least two more hours to get on this time zone. And it’s a nice time to reflect on why my gluteus maximus (which many people claim looks like a minimus on me…) is so uncomfortably sore right now, along with calves, and quads.
The Half Marathon
But let’s rewind 6:15 AM today, but in Australia. That’s 19 hours ago, and I’m at the starting line of the half-marathon of the Sydney running festival. I don’t know if I’ll ever run a marathon that doesn’t come after a 180 km bike, but that’s another story. This Sunday’s run was supposed to be just a training run, but then Chris (a.k.a. CLP, a mate from work) started a company-wide blog post about how he was faster than I was. It was all in good fun, and I enjoyed the banter. And it gave me a reason to race.
The first 5K – my third fastest 5K ever
I saw CLP at the start line and wished him well. Though I’ll admit being a tad competitive, I really would have been okay if we both had run well and he had edged me out. I would not accept running poorly and loosing, though. But, the adrenaline from being in the crowd of runners was already surging, and the first portion of the run has a decent amount of downhill. When I looked at my watch at the 5K mark, a smile broke across my face. I was just above 20 minutes, which I’ve only run in a 5K twice before. But I felt great.
The first 10K – my fastest 10K ever
At the 10K mark, I started to wonder if I had started too hard. My Garmin (GPS watch) is always a little over in terms of distance, and I’m not running the shortest path due to waving in and out of traffic, but I felt good. I wasn’t fresh anymore, I’d definitely been working, but my heart rate was just above 160, and in a normal 10K it’s usually 170+. This was still supposed to be a training run, so I backed off, slowing my pace about 10-20 seconds per km.
The rest of the race was uneventful – or better put, filled with the same two events (left, right) repeated over and over and over. I passed the 1:40 pace runners just after the half way mark, and thought I had a chance at an under 1:35 finish. Then with 3K left I finally peeked at the time on my watch and realized I would be under that. My calves started to hurt a little bit, and my heart rate stayed below 160, so I cruised across the finish line in 1:33:17 with a smile on my face. That’s a full 10 minutes faster than exactly one year ago. So the training that began in February when I moved to Manly has paid off.
I love this course. You run over the bridge, my favorite Sydney landmark. No long stretches, lots of curves and turns, some ups and downs but no long slogging hills, and you’re along the water for several parts of the race.
Thanks to CLP for being an artificial nemesis – I like you too much to ever really do battle against you, Chris. Thanks to Scott Fraser for finding me for brekkie after the race, and celebrating with me. Thanks to Linda for the ride to the race. Thanks to Andy and all the crew at the Tuesday night track sessions; they’ve done wonders.
A Mad dash to sit down for 13 hours
After the race, the second race began: a shower, brekkie with Scott, an 80 minute massage (I had planned for 60 minutes but the therapist said I was a complete wreck and tighter than I should be, so bring on 20 more minutes of agony!), another shower at work, and then fighting with my laptop to upload my race stats to Garmin and Strava (yes, priorities). Then I discovered, as I arrived at the train platform, that trains weren’t running to the airport. That meant I was running out of the train station up to grab a cab to the airport.
Luckily most of the marathon traffic was finished and I made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare, checked in for my flight, and settled into 13 hours to SFO on United Airlines, which is like going back in time and flying. Not like going back to Mad Men time and flying in comfort, back in time to the early days of deregulation where planes, flight crews, and comfort were quickly abandoned for maximizing the metric tonnage of air cattle per square inch. While I had extra legroom, I was surrounded by Romper Room, but managed a few hours of sleep.
My legs hurt. I bought a cheap foam roller to use tonight at my friend’s place. We’ll see what a swim feels like at the community pool here in the Mission tomorrow morning! Now that recovery week is over, it’s back to a tough week. For people who like to read training logs, here’s last week’s journal.
A friend reminded me that I should always have a donate link to my $25,000 campaign for Room to Read in every blog post, since some people only get my blog via email. You asked for it, you got it! Thanks to everyone who has already donated.