A few notes after the Utrecht Singelloop 2012.
The general feeling is of a certain disappointment. The result is a PR, but I only improved 6" over my last 10K time, while I was aiming for 40:00. In fact I was reaching the necessary pace (6:40) easily.
The race felt extremely hard to me for the pace I (thought) I was running at. I later realised why. I don't want to blame external factors I have no control over. I just want to underline for my own sake which variables I need to keep under control.
Here a short account of the race: the weather was perfect, 16C, no wind, sunny. The race course is pancake flat with good asphalt and a few stone paved streaks. The organisation was good and efficient. I may however point that there was no distance information whatsoever on the route until km 7.
I would say that my main points of failure were; pacing, stamina, foot strike , confusion and GI distress. All my own fault and preventible. One external annoyance was as always the clumsy slow runners staying in your way. I had indeed taken this factor into account and placed myself on front of my cathegorie's starting gate. But I am not going to bother about factors that are not under my control. I will discuss the four minus points that I have to blame to myself:
Pacing : I paced myself too fast at the beginning. Not consciously but as a result of a completely wrongly calibrated Nike+ Sportband. The sensor marked 5.73 miles when I crossed the finish, so that it was 1/2 a mile short. I initially wanted to pace myself on time but I forgot to preprepare the bracelet with the splits. The result was that I was pacing myself too fast while I was reading that my pace was low. The obvious result was that I went tired too fast. I was unable to make a second faster half and I failed to properly sprint in the last 500m.
Lesson learned; never again neglect the paper strip. Convert the paces to metric and rely mainly on instinct during the first 2 miles. TRAINING: train to race on feeling.
Stamina : I wasn't feeling 100% well during the day and a few days before. Stress at home, lack of sleep because of gaming (!) and a certain loss of training perspective during the holidays, skipping some trainings and cutting some others short.
Lesson learned; sleep! Videogames can be retaken, sleep not.
Foot strike : the flats do hurt. They are 1/2 size too small for my Morton toes, it hurts a lot after a few days training in them (black toenail) and I tend to clench my toes instinctively. The hard sole is also not too good for my type of forefoot strike and fast pacing.
Lesson learned; USE THE F****G FORCE LUKE! The MT10 would have been the better choice. The canvas would have been great too. It sounds ridiculous, but they are a great choice for street running. And don't forget the WTF factor. With either I would have been able to make full use of my forefoot strike, winning a minute at least.
Confusion : this is directly related to pacing. I lost my sense of pacing and distance completely. It's true that there was a total lack of km markings until midrace, but I should have known as can't rely on km markings anyway.
Lesson learned; remember to print the splits strip. Use the Garmin preferentially, it's not so bulky. Use metric in the splits strip. Do at least 2 calibration of the pods before the race. TRAINING: train in metric some times.
GI distress : I need to be much more careful with pre-race food. Curry rice with chili was not a good option. Nor was it to start with creatine loading as this induced a lot of bloating and liquid retention, with an influence on my sleeping patterns.
Lesson learned; stick to your good habits, do not neglect these or relax your self discipline. The week before the race should be like a Zazen practice; be mindful, concentrate on the race, keep the discipline of a monk, stay sharp as a samurai.
That's a lot to accomplish. Regarding point 3, the only long term option would be buying a new pair of flats as I can't see myself racing a marathon in the MT10. I will nevertheless try to run the next 14 miler in them at near-race pace to see how it feels. Haemolytic this morning was very high after the recorders run.
I am now not too confident about the results next October 21 and I may lower my expectations to a 1:39 like in Egmond.
As of the fatasses clogging my path I have already taken the best possible measure: getting a competition license.