Monday, May 20, 2013

10K Carrera Liberty Seguros VI

I can't believe we are already on the sixth edition of the Liberty Seguros race. I took part in the first edition back in 2008 and even back then I didn't do too bad a time (39:01), especially considering that the course is anything but flat and that I had only been running for 6 months. Then, of course, Madrid was presenting its candidature for the 2016 Olympic Games; now it is aiming for 2020.

To give you some idea, if the San Silvestre Vallecana course has an elevation gain of around 60m, the Liberty course has an elevation gain of 90m. Add to this the fact that the San Silvestre race finishes some 40m lower than it starts and you can expect to lose perhaps as much as a minute over the 10K distance. On the other hand, the temperature was very favourable considering we are almost in June and perhaps this was what helped Chema Martínez break the 30 minute barrier for the first time in the history of the race.

I think that Madrid must be fairly unique amongst cities of its size, to hold so many races a year that end up cutting the traffic to its major roads. I find it surprising as the rest of the time it is a city which is relatively hostile to runners and cyclists. It is helped, to some extent, by the fact that the "new centre" of Madrid with its wide roads is mainly occupied by businesses which are still asleep early on a Sunday morning; the old part of Madrid is where msot of the action is at the weekend. It is a luxury to be able to run on roads without having to worry about cars, traffic lights or texting teenagers so I consider it almost my duty to take advantage of those few times that the city is given over to runners.

I found a small Parking near the start but crucially outside the course, so that I wouldn't have to wait for the race to finish before going home. Considering I had to drive a total of 40 kilometers there and back, I was amazingly efficient: I got up at 7am to have breakfast and I was back home by 10:30 - my wife was still asleep and the kids were sleeping over at a friend's house, so minimum disruption to the family.

I managed to get a spot quite near the front of the crowd of 6,500 - in fact, you can easily spot me (in an orange vest) in the TV coverage that was actually broadcast live. There's not much to say about the race itself except that my heart rate didn't go anywhere as near as high as it would usually (average 170, maximum 175 compared to 175 and 179 for the 2012 San Silvestre). Maybe my "limiters" right now are my legs and not my lungs and heart (note to self: maybe it's time to get back to some weight training and plyometrics). One thing I did notice was that the standard of the female runners was much higher than last year, when the overall winner took just over 38 minutes. It could either be that the relatively slow times attracted faster women to the event or perhaps the higher temperatures last year were a contributing factor (Chema Martínez ran it two minutes slower). Either way, I was surprised to be running alongside a woman for the last few kilometers and, in fact, the overall female winner managed a sub 35 minute time.

My objective for the race was to try to beat my best time of 36:44 but with the ups and downs it was difficult to know whether I was on track or not until I was close to the end of the race and, even then, you never know how many extra meters you'll have to cover (compared to your GPS device with its inevitable error). The intermediate kilometer markers were a bit erractically placed (especially the first one, which I passed in 3:15) so I couldn't really trust them either. Anyway, to cut a long story short, I crossed the line in a time of 36:35 so I beat my best time while leaving myself some margin to be able to beat it again...

I made it onto the first page of results!

What was more pleasing, however, was that for the first time ever I was in the top 1% (55 / 6,484)!! So, my best times in Half Marathon, 10K and 5K are currently 1:19:03, 36:35 and 18:05. Its clear that my objectives should now be 1:18:XX in Half Marathon, 35:YY in 10K and 17:ZZ in 5K. I don't really care what XX, YY and ZZ are, it's always very satisfying to feel that you have lowered your time by a minute, even if it has only been by a few seconds in reality...

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Congrats! Great PB and great result, this is science fiction for me, even competing only against members of my own family I think I won´t be able to appear in the 1st page of results ;)

    Quite sure you will improve your record a couple of times during the rest of this 2013 season.