Sunday, June 27, 2010

Race Report: 3000 m on marathon training

I thought I would take small break from being D&G PPC (Doom & Gloom Piccola Pine Cone) by writing up a quicky race report.

In 2006 when I was training for the Chicago Marathon, which takes places in October every year, I ran an 800 m race in July just for giggles. As it turned out, I wound up running a 2:16.05 which was/still is my 5th fastest time ever. I'm not saying that to brag... okay, truth? I'm TOTALLY saying that to brag because I think running a 2:16.05 800 m on marathon training is probably my favorite running accomplishment EVER - even better than my actual 800 m PB or the Chicago Marathon that came after it. So, bragging aside, I was hoping to pull off the same thing today at a local 3000 m track race.

I have not, of course, been training for short distances. I have been working my butt off to get ready for the Montreal Marathon but I am naturally better suited to 1500-5 km than I am to anything longer so I hoped to pull off a 10:10 or so... During a run this week I threw in 1 km in 3:22 that felt awesome and easy and I figured, maybe even sub-10:10 for the 3 km.

Then the heat sheets came out, or, as they are called here "battle sheets". First, the women and men were being run separately. Argh! Why? Why? This isn't national championships or even regional championships, it's just a local fun 3 km on the track, why not organize people by speed instead of gender. Anyway my seed time of 10:30 was the fastest in my heat by 50 seconds. There were three women between 11-12 and everyone else was over 12 minutes. Did this make me feel like a super speedy runner? No! Not at all. It made me feel like this race just didn't happen to attract women around my time and that the organizers should have mixed the heats especially since the first men's heat had a fastest seed time of 10 minutes and a slowest time of 12:30!!

Okay, grumbling aside, I did find it very interesting that this 3000 m race attracted 3 heats worth of women with 15 women in each heat with an average age of about 40! Talk about cultural differences, in Quebec it is rare to find athletes over the age of 18-20 running middle distance. A typical women's 3000 m race will have fewer than 5 athletes in it or will be cancelled altogether due to lack of participation. Given that Trieste (yes, I live in Trieste) has 1/10 the population of Montreal, this is a startling difference.

So, on the the race itself. I felt great during my warm-up, I had to hold myself back from running too fast. It felt fabulous to be on a flat, softish surface again. It has been 4 years since my last track race! I went out in what I thought was a conservative 3:29 first km (I had thought my self chosen seed time of 10:30 was probably a good bit slower than I could run). By the end of the first km I was already lapping women, not a great experience for me or them. I tried to pick things up in my second km but only managed a 3:30. Then the asthma took hold in full force and I remembered why I had put aside middle distance for longer distances. However I was able not to panic or give up - I really have become mentally tougher this year. I told myself to "float" for 600 m and then try to kick. I ran the 600 m float section in 2:11 (or 3:38 km pace) but was feeling far from fiesty at the bell lap. Nevertheless I managed to bring it home in 82 seconds for the last lap, 3:34 last km, 10:34 total time.

What can I say. Eh. A so so race, 37 seconds slower than my personal best. I am not training for 3 km of course, I did not taper for this race and I did have breathing issues. Yet, I am still dissapointed, I was hoping to pull a great one out of the bag. Oh well.

[Update] The race was chip timed and I just noticed that there are splits on the website:

200 m: :42
600 m: 2:07 (85)
1000 m: 3:30 (83)
1400 m: 4:53 (83)
1800 m: 6:18 (85)
2200 m: 7:44 (86)
2600 m: 9:12 (88)
3000 m: 10:34.48 (82)

Here's a photo of me looking awfully tired for being only 100 m into the race :)

800 m to go, feeling bad



  1. Piccola, where to begin with my non-helpful comments?

    1. In short races (which you and all real runenr call "middle distance") I think factors like time of day and temperature and humidity matter a lot. I mean do you really think you are not in as good of shape as you were then?

    2. You also had a problem with asthma, and if I am reading your report correctly, the slower time could be entirely attributed to that.

    3. Italian women sure do dress to run. I notice this about Danes, too. Although perhaps this was the type of track meet where one has to wear their club jersey. But all that aside, I love it how European women dress in the most professional running clothing irregardless of how fast they are. It is totally cool. Ha. But that would never fly in the US where everyone wants to look like they are sandbagging it and then act surprised when they win.

    What is my point: you can't take this race alone as a sign that you are in worse shape or that your training is not working.

    P.S. Did you see your fellow Canadian Tracy Garneau won Western States 100 miler (for the women)?

  2. Woo-hoo for track races (although I never liked 3k, I always thought it way too long)
    2:16 in marathon training. That's impressive. I believe you are one of those lucky runners that can do any distance ranging from 800m to marathon and still do awesome.
    Not every day can been a good one for fast times, especially with no real competition and asthma.

  3. Hard to make much of two still photos, but coaches hate having runners looking at the ground rather than straight ahead during track races (trails are different!) and, if you were leading from the beginning, you were just not in a fast enough heat to do well.

  4. SGL - if I understand correctly, like most races here, there was a team component based on participation so yes, it is pretty much mandatory to wear one's team uniform. running, like most sports here, is highly organized. few people do it without belonging to a societa'.
    yes, i totally agree my time can be completely explained by asthma especially after my run today.

    steveq - looking down, not great form i agree. in this case it can largely be attributed to not wearing sunglasses. something i have really gotten out of the habit of doing. i wonder how bad that actually is for my eyes. if only there was an opthamologist who read my blog :)