Monday, June 22, 2015

Spiritually, emotionally and physically...

..exhausting! I was going to write "satisfying", which the weekend was, on all accounts but the last one. I guess it was a bit too ambitious to expect to do a good time in the 10K on Sunday, when I had to get up at the same time as I had gone to bed the night (morning) before. That was because on Friday I briefly came out of retirement as a DJ, blew the dust off my favourite vinyl records and got behind the decks once more.

The crowd at Marula were great and, once I had warmed them up with some slow burning funk I was able to take them to more challenging territory like this trio of tunes I played around 3am:

So that was the spiritual part of the weekend (some physical, too, having to lug my box of records up several flights of stairs).

Then we drove down to Ciudad Real for my father in law's 80th birthday where my wife did a "This is your life..." on him, complete with book and presentation. That, of course, was very emotional not just for her father but for everyone.

The race on Sunday promised to be a fast one as it was more or less downhill all the way. My objective was to get back a bit of confidence after what has been a patchy season. Had it been the weekend before, it might have worked out differently, but the summer had decided to turn up in a big way and it meant business. I can't really blame anyone but myself for turning out a time that I might have been happy with 4 years ago, but was far from anything I had done since. It wasn't much faster than a typical training run and maybe that is part of the problem. I'm starting to think that I need to go back to the polarized training Jonathan used to bang on about, which I have never fully accepted. If I keep training at moderate paces of 15 kph (4:00 /km) for 40 minutes then I suppose I will become good at running at a moderate pace of 15 kph for 40 minutes. I have, of course, been doing interval training but probably not pushing myself enough on the high intensities. My main quibble with the whole 80/20 training idea (80 easy, 20 hard) is that the arguments for it seem to fall flat if your main constraint is time and not energy. I can appreciate that it is better to substitute moderately hard training for easy training if you then employ that liberated energy in high intensity training, but if you are already doing 20% at a very high intensity, surely it is better to do the 80% as hard as you reasonably can? I've bought Matt Fitzgerald's latest book "80/20 Run Stronger and Race Faster" in an attempt to convince myself. The other thing that Jonathan used to say was that I shouldn't abuse the treadmill too often. For sure, if I were to do more runs at an easier pace, it would by correspondingly easier to run outside and perhaps for longer. But there is a simpler explanation for the disappointment on Sunday: as I have been doing lately, I set off far too fast for my current level of fitness and the particular conditions, even considering the downhill advantage (I ran the first kilometer in 3:19 and the second in 3:29). Then the rest of the race was the usual revising downwards of projected finish times, which is always a motivation killer. At one point I thought I might just conceivably be able to break 35 minutes; at another, the balloon marking the 38 minute pace overtook me and I was unable to respond. Note to self: next race, start off slow and get faster.

If all that wasn't enough to fill a weekend, we also brought back a litter of 5 puppies from Ciudad Real, of which my wife managed to place all but one. Unfortunately our boxer, Ema, is extremely jealous and antisocial when it comes to members of her own race, so we had to be careful to keep them apart. It remains to be seen whether we can awaken her motherly instincts and keep the puppy... otherwise a home for her will have to be found.

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