It was a little before 3am and as a few drunks staggered on their way home from a night of revelry, I was setting up my trainer for a brick workout at the KOTR. This was Norman’s idea and am glad the ULTRA buddies, PJ and Julian, were only too eager to join us in our training for WRT. The plan was to simulate race conditions – nutrition-wise. 3 years into triathlon and I still take nutrition for granted. Kinda stupid really…especially when everyone knows that proper nutrition is crucial and spells the difference between finishing strong and bonking at a triathlon race.
Filled one bottle with 2 cans of Ensure and another with Gatorade and I was set to spin. Also had 3 GU gels on the side to be consumed every hour henceforth. One tends to sweat a lot more during stationary biking, thus, the cool breeze that morning was certainly welcome🙂 Chopped up the 2 hours of spinning to 15 minutes warm-up and 7 sets of 10 mins hard/5mins easy. 2 hours on a trainer is less tedious with friends around and soon enough, we heard announcements calling the 21K participants to the starting gate. Packed up my stuff and I still had one gel to be consumed one hour into the run. Finished both the Ensure and Gatorade bottles during the spin🙂
I had a simple strategy for the run. Just run the whole way with a decent push-off for each step. As far as pace was concerned, I was thinking of doing a 6min/km pace. And just like it was at the track oval, I was eating Julian and Norman’s dust from the get-go. They were kind enough to look back and encourage me to pace with them but as Sting said, if you love somebody, set them free🙂 So I told them to go ahead and not worry about me. Just wanted to stick to my strategy and I was running comfortably and in rhythm. Took advantage of every hydration station that came my way and appreciated the numerous cheering squads along the route. There were no kilometer markings early on which made calculating/predicting my pace difficult. It wasn’t until the 12 kilometer mark inside Fort when I finally had some idea about my running pace. Up until then, I knew I was doing better than a 6min/km pace. BTW, I finally have a stopwatch this time and it read 1:04 and change at the 12km mark. Made some mental calculations and figured that maintaining a 6min/km pace should take me to a sub-2 finish. Felt quite good about that. So I kept on running at the same steady pace I had from the beginning and see where it’d take me.
Hills training paid off. Could really sense the difference in climbing up the Kalayaan Flyover and the hills inside Fort. Was able to muster a bit of an attack for each incline. Got an extra jolt of energy when I saw that the 16km turnaround point was nearer than where I expected it to be. It wasn’t further down the road just before C-5 and we didn’t even reach Heritage Park. Picked up the pace from then on and see if I can finish strong.
Saw Julian just before the turn towards the finish and I was surprised to see the timer counting 1:49 and change. But as luck would have it, the timer turned 1:50 as I crossed the finish. My watch said 1:49:57 only because I pressed the start button once I crossed the line🙂 What is it with 49:57? Last OctoberRun 2008, I had what I thought was my first sub-50 in a 10K when I finished at 49:57 only to realize that it was 50:02 when the official results came out. Official results at the KOTR will show I finished 1:50:15 thereabouts. Oh well, I still am gratified that I was able to run better than expected🙂
Nutrition and hydration were adequate. But I wouldn’t put much stock in my run split here at KOTR. It certainly won’t be the same at WRT for a number of reasons:
– run course at WRT is hilly.
– the run will start much later. Thus, it will be hotter come race day.
– there won’t be a 25 minute lag time from the bike leg to the run.
But then, for whatever it’s worth, I’ll take every bit of good news/training day that comes my way between now and November 7. I’ll need every bit of confidence at WRT.