First up - what went wrong on Sunday in the City to Surf? I have had a couple of days to reflect and my best guess is that I was dehydrated. Rox and I went out on Friday evening and I (unusually for me these days) had a few beers. Not drunk by any stretch of the imagination as they were mostly light beers but I reckon I peed as much as I drank.
I really should have made a conscious effort on Saturday to make sure that I re-hydrated fully but I didn't - I just drank normally.
Sunday morning I had a banana and then an Up and Go, half a Gatorade (so about 300ml) and a 250ml V energy drink in the 2 hours before the start. On reflection, not enough on its own and certainly not enough if I was already dehydrated - especially when it warmed up around the time the race started. I think the stitch that I got up under my rib may have been a cramp caused by de-hydration. I didn't take much water in during the race either, just a mouthful at two or three drink stations.
I never got going and legs felt pretty much gone after the first long hill. I think I went out at the right pace as I could see Dave Bryant only about 30 metres in front of me as we ran down Kings Park Road.
Every little and big hill was a real struggle though, even the one on Thomas Road before we turned left down Hay Street. Unlike last year, I maintained my effort and did not back off at all down Hay Street but I was suffering. After about 3km I got the stitch under my ribs on right hand side (I never get stitches) which lasted at least 2km very painfully and never went fully away.
Heartbreak Hill is always hard but it is how you feel once you reach the top that is a better indicator of how you are going and I was not going well. The km markers were not always accurate but I didn't need them to tell me that I was way off the goal pace I had set myself.
I did think the run through park at Perry Lakes was an improvement apart from the stretch on the grass at the end and I was still hopeful at that point that somehow might come good and make a go of it on Oceanic Drive but once I hit the first hill I realised I was stuffed and it was just head down, short strides and grind up the hills as best I could at plus 4 min/km pace. Instead of making up time on the last 3km, I estimate that between 9-11km I lost another minute. My watch shows 3.48 for the last 1km but that does have a big downhill before the gentle uphill to the finish (which again this year seemed to take forever to arrive). Don't think I got passed by anyone in the final stretch which is something at least.
I ran some really good workouts in the lead up to this race which is the most disappointing thing. Unlike last year, when I felt that if there had been km markers and I had run a bit harder in the middle of the race that I could have gone under 45 mins, this year I honestly believe that I could not have suffered any more than I was, based on how I felt at the time. I knew that I wasn't running as fast as I should but I couldn't get more out of myself. I don't think I left my race on the training track - I think I just got it wrong in the last 48 hours before the race.
Where to from here? Junior soccer season is nearly finished. Two games to go and we are second on the ladder but can't win the league unless the top team unexpectedly loses one of its last two games. Our last game coincides with the Fremantle Fun Run (10km) which I would have liked to do but can't.
I have decided to run as many shorter races as I can for the rest of the year. I am not going to specifically target any of them as key or goal races but I am going to race each of them in the hope that I get better at racing. I feel like I train better than I race so I think I can benefit from running hard and suffering over 5-8km.
I'll wing it with my training as well, running some longer runs mid week when racing on the weekend and running long on weekends when there is no race.
Race program is:
19 September - Bibra Lake Fun Run (6.5km)
3 October - Fremantle Half 5km (I was thinking of doing the half but have decided to do the 5 instead)
24 October - Rottnest Fun Run 5km
4 November (Thursday) - PWC Cool Night Classic (5km)
21 November - Peninsula Run (5km)
28 November - Deep Water Point (7.5km)
19 December - City Beach (8km)
31 December (Friday) - New Year's Eve Run (8km)
I am also making a really conscious effort to drop a few kilos. I have started keeping a food log and recording it on http://www.trainingpeaks.com/ as recommended in Matt Fitzgerald's "Racing Weight". My initial thinking is that I should have a calorific deficit i.e. I am consuming less than I am burning but I will need to check. Yesterday I consumed around 2700 calories.
Really looking forward to Rottnest in October. We are staying over the night before in the Lodge so I'll be up early to cheer on the marathoners. Should be much more enjoyable than last year!