Monday, October 22, 2012

Diary of a Sub 40 minute 10K #6

 It's been a long time since I updated this journey; in fact a long time since I've written anything on this blog.  Much has happened in the interim.  I've been to Namibia and back.  I've photographed Lambo's on Hakskeen pan doing almost 300km/h. I've gone to a gay club in Bloemfontein, and actually enjoyed it.  I've written a 98 000 word draft of a dystopian fantasy I call Bloodline. And God has personally spoken to Elsje Neethling (and she's written a book about it, one that is apparently outselling Fifty Shades of Grey). But I have been less fortunate.

While God has healed Elsje and told her to stop crying, I've struggled with a series of injuries, if not in my feet, then my calves, if not calves, then Achilles, or shins, or glutes.  It's as if God is saying: "Don't run; don't even try."  But without the warm feeling.  It's frustrating, and depressing.  It's a test of one's willpower and motivation.  Fortunately I have a group of people around me that love running, and fortunately I've managed to pretty much stick to a diet that has lessened the load on the poor legs.  And fortunately I believe that we are all born to run.  Far.

The trouble I think is thinking one is an all-powerful teenager and running too much, too far and too fast, too soon, when you're 40 years old and sitting a lot of the time.  I think one has to have a dream, but still be modest and humble and careful in the execution of it. 
 From the above graphic from Nike+, I've clocked a good May and it was downhill from there.  But a leap from 121km in April to May's 154km with almost no base is an injury-guarantee.  In fact this month, which has produced another sudden increase in training, I've done it again, and as a result I've started to feel pressure and pain in my shins.  No great mystery there either, I've jumped from 32km in August to 76km in September and right now I'm on track to finish the month at 130km.

The lesson from here is to build gradually - brick by brick.  So assuming I can get through October without further injury (I only have 22km to do in 10 days) I'm going to add 10km bricks to total mileage each month, thus 140km for November, 150km in December, 160km in January and so on.  That's the plan.
I'm hoping that by December or January - when I'll be revisiting May's form and fitness - I'll be able to challenge some of these records I set this year and then didn't come close for months (due to injury). I especially have my eye on the 1km in 4:31 and 5km in 24:10.
 Today I ran a 6km in 30minutes 42 seconds, that's an average of 5:07 per kilometre.  On Friday I did a very challenging 10km in 52:55.  It's that run that's prompted me to blog once again about the 10km in under 40 minutes journey.  I haven't given up on it, but I've certainly been delayed/sidetracked in a big way.
My aim for Friday's run was simply to improve on the same run I did in 2011.  I would have been happy with a sub hour.  I cruised through 5km in just over 27 minutes, and ran the second 5km even faster.  Since it includes two summits of the daunting Albrecht Road, an average pace of 5:17 isn't too shabby.  I can also remember feeling painfully overweight the same time last year, as though I was running with a very hard tyre shoved around my chest and waist.  Still some work to do in that department, but it shows the high protein diet is working.
When I saw I had improved 7-8 minutes from the previous year I could almost not believe it.  This is also the first 10km run I've felt reasonable in (in about 4-5 races), which made the good time triply exciting and satisfying.  My pace is definitely picking up again.
But a sub 40 10km is still a long, long way away.  It still feels like it will be a miracle to achieve, but the key seems to be quite simple.  Consistent mileage, and increasing it very gradually.  Simple.  Let's hold thumbs I can keep the injuries away until the end of the month.  I do intend to run a very hard 6km next weekend.  If it's a good run I'll be back in this space to provide an update. 

What has also stood me in good stead was:

- a 12km run from CBC school that included Basil Read and a number of other tough climbs
- a trail run through the Botanical Gardens (10km) that included 3 laps over two steep koppies
- a number of 10km races 
- one week that included 3 very slow 10km runs over 3 consecutive days

Craig Booth has also improved, and what's good is that he is the mark to beat, although it seems he is not getting any closer no matter how fast I run.  I think he did Friday's run in 48 minutes, 5 minutes faster than me.  But it is good to have guys like him who are super-motivated and getting out there almost every day.

Let's hope (perhaps Elsje can pray for me) that November will produce a fitter and faster me, and my first sub 50 minute 10km since the end of winter.


Anonymous said...

I just popped in to read David Bain's speech again,but saw your diary and decided to have a look. I was a harrier for about 10 years after I stopped playing rugby due to an injury. In my day we ran miles and not k's. My best 10 mile time was 52m52s,but that course was found to be short. I did a 53.30 and a 54min flat. I weighed just over 11 stone then,today I am a stone heavier. I still walk 4-5km a day,not too bad for someone age 77. I do 20 min on a stationary bike 4-5 times a week.
I had a hip replacement last year,but otherwise my legs are in pretty good shape.
I have always tried to take good care of my feet,always put sponge foam in the heels of my shoes when running.I like to think that is why my feet are still ok,though I can get a bit of soreness in my lower back at times.

Kante Luis said...