Sunday 13 June 2010

Evesham Asparagus Run 5k - a final experiment in coffee management

Another week, another 5k...  As I mentioned last week, I don't really like the distance, but it provides some much-needed speedwork.

The race today centred on the paths along the River Avon, about a mile from home.  The party atmosphere for the balloon festival (hot air, rather than helium) was great.  The organizers had a live music stage, plenty of things for people to see and do, and a random 5k fun run to raise money for the local air ambulance.

Nic and I popped down a bit early to drop off some forms for our club's 10k at the club's table, took the chance to socialize, and enjoyed the celebratory mood.  Then, as we completed our warm-ups, the official news came that the celebrity starter (Countryfile's Adam Henson) was stuck in traffic, so we would be delayed by 30 minutes.  It turns out that the county council, who are kindly destroying the town's main street as part of a renovation and rebuilding plan, put signs along the bypass saying "road closed" at all entry points (about 1/4 mile is actually shut).  So, all the people trying to get to the festival were driving around to find an open road.  Glad I walked in...

Eventually, we had the official warm up (where the official warm-up leader kindly got the crowd moving and then led them into some nice cool-down exercises...  obviously he's not keeping up with the latest advice on warming up and stretching).  Then, the race started and I went hard off the line to get past the mini-runners who can put on a mean sprint and then stop in front of you after 50 yards.  I settled into my rythm and watched the front 5 pull away. From there it was a nice hard run down the river, turn around at the sports club, and then run back trying hard to keep from slowing down too much.  Along the way I reeled in 5th, then 4th place.  With a kilometre to go, I checked behind and it was all clear.  So, I tried to push a bit harder knowing that if I blew up I could at least keep hold of 4th.  In the end, the final push wasn't up to much and I finished in just under 20.5.  A good, hard speed session, but not my best race.

For today's race, I again experimented with a nice espresso before the race - as it turned out, an extra half hour before the race.  But I needed the boost after a nice dinner and drinks evening with friends last night.  So, during my warm up I was easily getting my heart rate into the high 170s - a little too easily.  I felt more on edge than I would have liked, and a bit tight in the chest.   So, the coffee hit before a run is back on the shelf - I'll stick to guarana for my caffeine buzz, and coffee for the recovery.

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