"It's a treat being a runner, out in the world by yourself with not a soul to make you bad-tempered or tell you what to do." - Allan Sillitoe

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Disappointing ...

I guess that's the best way to sum up how I felt about today's City to Surf 12km. A bit disappointed in my own performance and the organisation of the event (which I think to some extent affected my performance without wanting to make any excuses).

I ran 45.29 by my watch, having set myself a goal of running under 45 minutes. Although I knew I was lacking speed, I was confident I had the strength to hit a sensible pace and maintain it through, hopefully picking it up over the last 3km.

Rode the scooter in and got a great park on Hay Street. Cold riding in though and took me a while to re-warm up. I arrived at the assembly area around 7.45am and had enough time to go to the loo, listen to the most recent Morrissey album on my iPod and then watch the first few runners in the marathon come past before heading over to the bag drop off area.

The map of the starting precinct indicated that there would be a bag drop off for each category behind the marshalling pen for that category. Today, though the trucks were backed up within 20 metres of each other with the result that once the queue for each got longer than 10m they were all mixed together in a disorganised mess. The tags that were part of our numbers had to be sticky taped to the bags as they were not adhesive. Took me 20-25 minutes to drop my bag off and I got to the marshalling pen at 8.52am (8 minutes before the start). My warmup therefore consisted of me jogging up and down the pen a few times and then jogging to the start once we were "released" to go to the start.

Despite the intentions of the organisers to better separate the runners, the self selection system still resulted in a lot of people who IMO should not have been in the A category (including the bloke who was standing next to me at the start and started whooping and carrying on at the announcement there was 90 seconds to go until the start - ponytail and board shorts - enough said ...). Lots of kids - I think the kids under 16 at least should have to show some capacity to run sub 48 to get in that category.

Tried to make sure that I didn't start too quick with the plan being that I would check my pace at the first km marker and then work into it from there - run 3.40-3.45/km to 9km and try to crank it from there. Unfortunately, and this is my biggest gripe - there were no km markers anywhere on the course which made it impossible to pace yourself accurately.

Saw Simon at the top of King Park Road when he gave me a shout. Surprised to see him spectating rather than running. Hope there is no injury reason.

Just before the turn into Hay Street, I was passed by dual Olympian and 2006 Commonwealth Game silver medalist Sarah Jamieson but pretty soon I was running next to her and we had a quick chat. She asked what pace I thought we running at and I said hopefully 3.40-3.45 but really no idea. If someone of her quality and experience can't estimate pace without km markers, what hope do the rest of us have.

On the positive side though, lots and lots of enthusiastic volunteers on the drink stations (Hi Darcy - thanks for the cheer!!)

Sarah ran on ahead of me hoping to be first female home. We could see 2 in front of us and she passed them both but finished 2nd. Not surprised we couldn't see the winner - not only did she run around 41 I believe so way in front, but she was tiny.

I felt like I was maintaining a good pace without feeling comfortable enough to pick it up yet. Also getting a bit frustrated at the lack of km markers. If I was thinking clearly, I would have remembered that the 4km starts at Perry Lakes so I could have worked something out then. (Only just thought of that now ... ).

Got through Perry Lakes onto Oceanic Drive and thought 3kms to go, I can still do this. I ran strong for this last 3km or so and still thought I was on track when when we turned off Oceanic onto West Coast Highway as I assumed it would be about the same distance to the finish as it used to be when it finished on the oval. It wasn't.

About 400m to the finish during which time I was passed by two guys with about 200m to go. I let them go but then decided to show a bit of self respect and had a go to get back past them. Got past one but the other was gone. Unfortunately, the guy I passed went past me again with about 50m to go and that was that. 45.29 by my watch. Thanks for the shout out in that final stretch Sandgroper!!

Quite a long walk through to the bag pick up area where the truck had not yet turned up. Did some stretching and got talking to a couple of guys, one of whom was David Mulvee who won the 12km. He is English but living in Sydney. Ran 37 something (he didn't have a watch on)and starts his marathon specific training tomorrow for Fukuoka in December. He's trying to run sub 2.18 to qualify for European Championships. David thought the course was a bit long and Sugar tells me that he has "Map My Run" plotted it at 12.09km so an extra 90m (probably 17-20secs worth). I'd like to think that a proper length course and some km markers would have got me under 45mins but at the moment, I'm just p!ssed off with myself for a missed opportunity.

I felt like I was in so much better shape than 45.29

Bag pick up was a debacle as well. Trucks turned up at least an hour after the finish and there were no announcements, signage etc. By then there were literally thousands of runners trying to find their bags. There was a pile of yellow A category bags and as I was standing looking for my bag, a volunteer noticed my bib number and handed me my bag, so thanks very much to that thoughtful person!!

I know it a big event but the course length, marking and bag drop off and pickup have to be among the most important parts of any race (along with drink stations) so I'd have to give the organisers a fail on that basis. Not hard to fix though so hopefully they will take feedback on board and get it right in future. I'll certainly be sending them an email this week.

This week is 115km week for me with a medium long run on Tuesday, a lactate threshold run (45mins of quality running - its the workout I cocked up when Simon and I ran it a few weeks back) on Thursday and 35kms on Saturday. If I needed some motivation to lift my game a bit, I got it today.

If (like me), you need a laugh, check out this ad. It's my absolute favourite at the moment.

Congratulations to Epi and Sugar on their runs today. Epi ran a huge sub 3 hour PB in the marathon (2.57) and Sugar ran 43.36 in the 12km which was not only a big PB but should have got him right up there in the overall and age category placings. I know a lot of hard work has gone in to both of those performances so the results are very well deserved. Well done guys!!

Friday - 8.4km recovery run
Saturday - 5.64km easy run with 4 x 100 12km race pace strides
Sunday - 12.09km (grrrr) City to Surf 45.29

Edit - Rox thinks I am being a bit hard on myself. It was actually 7 min PB (although that was from 2007 in shocking conditions after I had been training for all of 4 months so a bit of soft PB)


1ST - Joel Kemboi 2:17:56 ($25,000 prize money)
2ND - Philip Muia 2:18:41 ($8000)
3RD - Gemechu Woyecha 2:19:07 ($5000)

1ST - Madga Karimali-Poulos 2:43:17 ($25,000)
2ND - Genet Kahsay 2:45:52 ($8000)
3RD - Helen Stanton 2:46:17 ($5000)

1ST - Shane Nankervis 1:05:51 ($3000)
2ND - Erwin McRae 1:06:36 ($1200
3RD - Josphat Mwangi 1:08:37 ($750)

1ST - Cassie Fien 1:15:59 ($3000)
2ND - Firehiwot Gebreyesus 1:21:27 ($1200)
3RD - Alison O'Toole 1:22:32 ($750)

1ST - Hollie Emery 0:41:54 ($2500)
2ND - Sarah Jamieson 0:43:06 ($1000)
3RD - Emily Loughnan 0:44:48 ($500)

1ST - David Mulvee 0:37:44 ($2500)
2ND - Rafael Baugh 0:37:56 ($1000)
3RD - Scott Tamblin $500 0:39:11 ($500)


Jen Feeny said...

I still think you did great considering all the obstacles. A well organized race is vital. You'll get it next time!

Epi said...

I agree that you're being hard on yourself - but it doesn't matter much anyway.

If you thought your event was bad spare a thought for the first woman in the marathon who went the wrong way, was made to do an extra loop at the end and still pocketed 25000! If the winner of a $25000 race isn't shown the right way to go, what chance do we have?