Thinking about racing again

I have re-instated my plan of doing back-to-back moderate intensity sessions once per week, though after yesterday’s 4x1Km interval session, I took a rather soft option for today’s session, which was 20Km focusing on running form. I didn’t take either a watch or heart rate monitor, so I am being rather lenient in regarding it as a moderate intensity session, but at least it could count as a long run.

The good news is that my peak expiratory flow today was 530 litre/min and yesterday was 510 litre/min. From the beginning of December, when I suffered a bad cold, maybe a flu virus, until last week, my peak flow readings have been in the range 250-310 litre/min. Last summer my peak recording was 615 litre/min, so the past two day’s recordings suggest that I am really on the way to recovery.

If I continue to improve I will run the West Midlands Fetch Mile Challenge race in two weeks time. What time should I set as my target? I am not a miler, though ironically I think I have probably won as many races of one mile as of any other distance over the years, so I will use my past fleeting moments of glory to set the target for two weeks time.

The first victory I remember was in the South Australian schoolboy mile championships in the early 1960’s. In those days there was no dedicated running track in Adelaide, apart from a delightful old cinder track belonging to Adelaide Harriers but that was only about 250 yards per lap, so the state championships were held on a grass track in the west parklands. On the day of the schoolboy championships that year, there had been heavy rain overnight and the track was flooded. In addition, a south-westerly gale was howling up the home straight. So conditions were far from ideal, but that suited me because I used to be fairly good at using mental robustness to compensate for lack of natural talent. Nonetheless, I didn’t think I had much chance of being among the medal winners, and I was amazed to find myself in the lead, battling down the water-logged home straight into the teeth of a gale to win in what must have been the all-time record slowest winning time in a schoolboy state championship. I think it was about 4:45.

The other mile victory I remember was a year ago, in the East Midlands Fetch Mile. The organisers put on a second division race for the slow-coaches, and again to my amazement, I won. On that occasion, my time was 6:13, and that being my only mile race since I recommenced running, stands as my M60 PB.

As the age grading tables suggest that a time of 4:45 is equivalent to 6:00 at my present age, I will set my gold standard target as 6:00 and my silver target as 6:12. The silver target would be an M60 PB and is the pace that I will aim for in the first two laps. That will mean 93 second laps, which sounds a bit ambitious in my present condition. In view of my recent ill-health I will also allow myself a softer bronze target of 6:24. But all of this planning depends on my lungs remaining is reasonable condition for the next two weeks.

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8 Responses to “Thinking about racing again”

  1. Ewen Says:

    That was a good story about your victory in Adelaide. I’ll tell that to Geoff, him being an old Adelaide boy. It was a day for strength running!

    6 to 6:12 looks like a realistic target, especially if you can get in a little pace/anaerobic training before the race without risking injury.

  2. Andrew(AJH) Says:

    As Ewen says, sounds like a good target … I reckon if your health continues to improve and you can do the training you want to that it may be closer to 6:00 than 6:12!

  3. speedygeoff Says:

    ….. which Ewen has done. Did we encounter each other in the 1960s? I raced in Adelaide from the beginning of 1962 until the end of 1968. And I was the combined schools mile champion, Adelaide Oval, in May 1965 (a time of 4.32). This has prompted me to write up that mile race in my blog, which I will do this week or next. It was one of only three races in my career (so far) in which I have really excelled. The other two were a marathon in November 1978, and a 3000m race in January 1984. I guess I should write them up sometime as well, as they are well and truly part of history now, and might inspire others. “Your day will come”!Oh, and I haven’t read your blog (yet), only the comments you have made on Ewen’s.

  4. speedygeoff Says:

    oops, Andrew snuck in before me. The “Which Ewen has done” refers to Ewen saying he was going to speak to me.

  5. canute1 Says:

    Geoff,
    We must have both been running in Adelaide in the 1960’s, though I was nearer to being a contemporary of Bob Fitzsimons than his younger brother David, whom I understand was your contemporary. I was as interested in mountaineering and bushwalking as I was in running, and I was not a high profile figure in athletics. I ran for the Flinders University team. Perhaps the most flattering description of me would be to say that I was a loyal club runner, prepared to run any event from 400m hurdles to 5K, as required to score interclub points for the team. I was a contemporary of Kerry O’Brien and often trailed home behind him in the 3000m steeplechase in the years before he became the word record holder. Perhaps my most notable achievement as a runner in Adelaide was winning the South Australian Marathon championship some time in the late 60’s, I think it might have been 1968. I represented South Australia at the national championships in Melbourne a year or so later. That was the era when Derek Clayton dominated marathon running in Australia (and in the world) but he didn’t run in the national championships that year. The winner in Melbourne was John Farrington from NSW.

  6. speedygeoff Says:

    Well there you go – I was the founding President of Flinders University Athletic club in 1966, competing for them from 66 to 68. I trained at the university alone, although when John Farrington was working there I went running with him a couple of times but he was too fast for me. (And in 1973 when I ran my first marathon in Richmond NSW, John won it in 2:11). Garry Russell was my training partner away from Uni, you won’t remember him, he was a junior 800m runner like me. People I knew so well I can still remember them include Bob Heddle, Brian Chapman, and all the High School crowd such as Dave Blewitt, Hans Larsen, Malcolm Allen. Rivals on the track included Bill Shean and Peter Tippett. I used to race regularly at Kensington and before that at Western Districts, and also the twilight meets at Adelaide Harriers. I knew Fitzi pretty well, and I remember seeing Kerry O’Brien set that record.

  7. canute1 Says:

    Geoff.
    I have very fond memories of Flinders in the early days. The campus had about as many acres as students but it was an energetic place. It rapidly became a hot-bed for anti-Vietnam war protests. As you well know, the athletics club had small beginnings and I do not remember much group training. Don Ledbetter used to practice throwing his hammer up on the top of the bare hill to the north of the foot bridge over the big gully. That hill is now covered in buildings. I very occasionally did intervals in the field at the Sturt Rd-South Rd corner, but mostly my training consisted of running from home to University and back again. I lived in Nailsworth, so the one way journey was about 10 miles. It usually took 55-60 minutes – in those days a pace in the range 5:30 to 6 min per mile felt quite relaxed. In about 1969 I was awarded a University Blue – on account of my state championship marathon victory. I do no know if Flinders still maintains the Oxford/Cambridge tradition of sports Blues. Although I have mislaid my various medals and trophys as a result of too many house moves over the years, I still have the Blue certificate somewhere. My Mum had it framed – I think she understood what a Blue meant better than she understood what a PhD meant – and I have kept it as affectionate memento of Mum’s enthusiasm for her son’s sporting achievements.

  8. Ewen Says:

    This has been a great history lesson gentlemen.

    An easy 10 miles in 55-60 minutes… I think I’ll revise my prediction about your up-coming mile race Canute. 5:54.9!

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