Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Even the losers get lucky sometimes

I won! It was a difficult race after a hard week of training, but I pulled off my first overall win ever with a 32:58 for 10k. Here's a link to the results if anyone is curious. Conditions were excellent, and the course was definitely short, but I managed a course record as well (only the second year for this course though). Only 150 participants, but I beat two quality runners that I struggle against regularly.

The race reminded me of my bike racing days; sitting in the main pack, trying to figure out who is strong and who is hurting, then making a move and hoping it will be enough. It was fun really "racing", instead of watching the lead pack from 20 seconds or more back. I know it was a "thin" field, but a win is a win. Moreover, I finished more than a minute faster than last year, with no speedwork. A result like this gives me confidence in the Lydiard method of training.

The argument for high mileage during base with the Lydiard system is that it is the most effective way of building capillary length and density, which makes your body more efficient. Lots of long runs teach your body to use glycogen more efficiently, while also tapping into fat as an energy source. Doing some of these runs at a fast (but still aerobic) pace helps boost your lactate threshold (the point where your body starts accumulating more lactate/waste products than it can clear), which helps stave off the "crash-and-burn" bonk runners get during a race. This is the second race I've run since I started following the Lydiard method, and I definitely feel better during the latter stages of racing. I used to go out hard and try to hang on for the last third of a race, now I'm using the last third to make up ground on other fading runners. During this last 10k race, I was certainly hurting, but I knew I had enough in the tank to still make a move with less than 3k remaining.

It was great to go home after the race and enjoy the weekend with the family. The kids are way too young to understand how much a win means to me, but my wife asked the perfect question when I got home- "Did you win?" It's great to have a wife who actually believes I can win a race, even though she's been around the sport enough to know how much faster some of the other runners are.

Training: Sunday, 10 miles total (including the 10k race)
Monday: 22 mile long run, 7:15 pace. Felt pretty strong the whole way, started slow.
Tuesday: 12 miles, 6 with Haiden in the jogging stroller, 6 by myself. Nice and slow, about 7:50 pace. Finished feeling good.
Total miles for the week: 96 (couldn't get the last 4 in Sunday evening, went to the park with Haiden instead, which is cool).

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