Sunday, March 3, 2013

Vaal Marathon

As noted previously this years race planning  has not worked out like previous years. I like to do  my long races about a month apart to allow for recovery between races. I am essentially now 1 marathon behind what I had planned, but missing a marathon is not a real problem as I prefer longer slower races.

With the disastrous month of Feb behind us- Sasol cancelled, Holiday gone wrong, near disaster with Max our precious dog.... March looks set to be a much better month for me anyway.      
In the the last few weeks we have not been able to train as regularly as we normally do, but I still got some good sessions in, Liz however needs her daily fix and without she gets grumpy, loses focus and .... enthusiasm.

We were up at 3:30 to head off to Vereeniging for the start of Vaal marathon, the fast and furious route promising a good time for all.   I had hoped to leave  just before 4 so as to get to the start around 5, to allow enough time to stretch the legs , enter and hand in Liz's tog bag. We were only a few minutes late but the traffic build up was starting as we got within 2km of the stadium, the trusty GPS got us a back route to the parking.
Entries were simple, the air was a lot cooler than expected which could be due to the presence of 3 rivers in the area, even by the start at 6 am it was warm enough.
My goal was to follow my pacing chart from fellrnr, get my ave pace to 7:00 and then keep it there as long as possible, knowing my max pace should be around 7:08.  This was a big race so my first km ended up taking 7:46, there were wide enough roads to allow the field to spread out I soon got into a comfortable stride.By 6kms I was at 6:59 and feeling good, I was wary of going to too fast as I have done a few fastish 21s lately and did not want to overdo it, I was trying to walk within 10 secs of 7:00 /km, a feat which I achieved  until lap 23 which was fine but after lap 12 I never got below 7 until the final km...
There was a sub 5:00 bus which was led by Vlam  I was never more than about 500m ahead of them, I knew I could not allow the bus to overtake or I would be in trouble. At one stage around 35km the leading runners caught up with me as they started a walk cycle. I seriously got tired of hearing the singing and breathing instructions right behind me. The lack of longer walks was causing me the fear that maybe I was not going to make ...  ks 30- 34 were my slowest of the race, i slowed to 7:35 on two of those laps. It was around then that I knew i had to dig deep, a increase my speed a bit. I managed  a few 7:15 ks and kept the bus at bay. I really had to dig deep, but the thought of having to do another marathon for my qualifier was like a real kick in the backside. I know we need to do some ultras and was not sure of qualifying on a tough Ultra like Suirbos- where I am only hoping to average around 7:30 for some good time on my legs.  These thoughts spurred me on as I raced for the stadium. The bus was bearing down on me as we came in to the stadium, I could almost hear their feet landing behind me....        I held on beating the bus by a few seconds, 4:59:04 on my watch. My second fastest 42 on my watch, I did 4:58:59 at Kaapsehoop in 2011 and my third sub 5:00 after 4:59:30 at Elands Valley in 2010.

The day before the race I hydrated well , took some salt tabs, and carbo loaded with a Guinness.

How did I feel aftewards?
My left hamstring cramped as I stopped after crossing the finish line.
I felt much better after about 15 miuntes at the club tent after the race- this was a real blessing as I was not expecting a club tent. The muffins were great thanks so much to Kebu  for organising the eats.  I had about 2 L of energade  before leaving the  car park..
We stopped for Tonic water on the way home, a great after race drink, the chocolate milks were finished damn.
I drank more energade at home along with a rehydrate. I did have a few calf cramps but they were not as bad as after Tuks and Pirates back to back, the legs felt much better after drinking more.
This morning my hamstrings are a bit tight and my calves feel like I've done a 10k.
So hopefully the good recovery continues, I think the extra fluids after the race have helped with my recovery

I do not like marathons, but looking forward to Suikerbos 52 on the 21st March.

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