This is the first video of me doing this but I executed it first back in April when we were just messing around on some monkey bars. We were at first trying to do a clap, but found reversing the grip a more achievable alternative.
In the video I've edited the last two switches with slow motion.
I've been going to LFNS' Sunday Stroll for a few years now, an organised street skate usually of around 8 miles in London. Today however I was a little apprehensive about it because I was to attempt to run the route instead.
My friends' Ash and Gib have done this before. I remember I thought they were crazy. Guess I've lost my marbles too!
My motivation was the Berlin Double later next month. In an attempt to replicate the same stresses of that weekend I covered a marathon on skates the day before and this morning I ran 8k. As a warm up I ran from Marble Arch station to Hyde Park Corner where the skate congregates. Another kilometre clocked, increasing to the fatigue and anxiety I was feeling. Right now it was all too easy to just turn away but if I could pull this off it would give me a good motivational boost for Berlin. Of course if I fail it will go down the other way..
I checked the route prior the event and figured I'd know after the first kilometre whether or not I could hack this. The course was 7.5 mile round trip from Hyde Park up to Maida Vale and back. I've done this distance many times now but it was the pace of the skate that I wasn't sure about. Normally I run in heart rate zone 3 which results in a very chilled jog. This run however will definitely be pushing in to the higher intensity zones.
I started running behind the rear marshal as only skaters should be within the pack. Before long there were Bambi skaters slowing down and widening the gap in front. This didn't look good, with me close behind it was an accident waiting to happen. So I opted to jump on the pavements and run alongside the punters. I enjoyed the music which helped me pick up the pace and eventually I got to the front where they were waiting at the traffic lights. My running felt good, but the roundabout in front was quite hectic and it wouldn't be safe for me to continue running next to the skate. Therefore I ran ahead crossing safely, following the direction of the marshals.
The scout marshal which happened to be Alan today was really helpful. He'd point out the direction of the planned route whenever I caught up with him. It meant less sprinting and I could pace myself more consistently. Now I knew exactly what I had to do to complete this.
'This,' was tough.
My heart rate was up 20 bpm more than my usual training, yet not dissimilar to the last part of my Dublin half marathon two weeks ago.
Despite the lack of the main skate atmosphere it was fun having the banter of my marshal friends who thought I was insane. As Evren put it "I don't know why you would put yourself through something like this!" Theresa who got me into this run malarkey kept checking up on me whenever she whizzed past.
At half time I shoved down a protein bar into what must have been a glazed face, as I knew I had to do it all again in ten minutes. It was nice to know that my friend Chidi had been looking out for me during the first half of the event, as she did not see me shoot off ahead. She then did what she does best and threw some motivating cheers at me.
Round two. It didn't necessarily feel any easier or harder, just the same heavy load. Got to stay focussed and push on through. However after five minutes I had to slow down a little to take a few deep breathes to push a stitch aside. (Hello protein bar). Thankfully that subsided. Halfway around and my calf muscles started doing small cramps, I reduced the pace and managed to stretch them off at the next lights. Next up was the tightening of my chest, reminding me that my asthma has never quite gone. I knew I wouldn't be pushing any harder than this so I could bear this inconvenience, but with the heavier breathing. (Some people pay good money for this, www.respibelt.com). The inhaler was at my side but thankfully I had the upper hand and didn't need it.
Throughout the run it felt like I was being chased by a big boulder. A boulder of endorphin injected skaters high on sunshine and funky beats. As we came close the finish I must have been slowing down or the boulder must have sped up. I could hear the thumping bass from the Asbox fleet just behind me. At this point I welcomed every vehicle that would pull out in front of us, even our good friends of the taxi variety.
Park Lane. Half a mile to go. As the skate pack regrouped I ran on ahead. One final dash.
There was an enormous sense of relief as I stepped back into Hyde Park. However I could feel my heart drop as Theresa then suggested the Flemming pub. It was like almost catching the carrot and having her throw it 2k away! Run rabbit run.
It's only upon reviewing my Polar M400 stats that I realise why today felt so intense. My training has so far been sitting at a steady average of 6 min/km. The stats for today have been on occasion a whole minute faster. As you can see from the graph below I did have rest points as I waited at traffic lights for around 30 seconds to a minute or two. Good interval training!
At times it really was pushing me and as I bath in self satisfaction I feel compelled to do this again. My masochistic tendencies say I'll be thankful to do it at least once more before Berlin.
22.89k clocked today.
Below are the stats of my pace in minutes per km.
I've done a rough break down of the average pace of each intervals.
1st Half average splits:
4:00 @ 5:01 min/km
0:42 @ 4:51 min/km
1:17 @ 5.34 min/km
2:17 @ 4:37 min/km
1:46 @ 5:48 min/km
1:46 @ 5:59 min/km
7:06 @ 5:40 min/km
4:13 @ 5:12 min/km
1:47 @ 5:43 min/km
2:20 @ 5:32 min/km
2nd Half average splits:
7:44 @ 5:27 min/km
0:30 @ 5:33 min/km
1:41 @ 5:22 min/km
1:45 @ 6:22 min/km
4:40 @ 5:42 min/km
2:17 @ 6:01 min/km
1:04 @ 5:02 min/km
3:37 @ 5:18 min/km
1:48 @ 4:52 min/km
1:45 @ 4:30 min/km
This is my 4th year at LSST's London Inline Marathon but this time I was especially excited as it was hosted at a new venue, the Queen Elisabeth Olympic Park. Quite an upgrade of location from Hillingdon Cycle Circuit in Zone 6. (I still really like that course though!).
As I was helping out on various promotional material for this event I was lucky enough to have tested the track out prior race day. So I had the advantage of knowing what to anticipate, a one mile loop of hills!
Enjoy a sprint finish. Get sub 45 minutes for the inline half marathon. I wasn't sure if this was possible on this particular track, but I've always been around the 46 minute mark for this distance.
I was a bit laid back about everything and I guess having done so many events I don't really get pre event nerves any more. Downside is that I didn't really give too much thought into how I was going to approach this race. When the whistle went for us there was the same frantic sprint for position as always and I got carried away with the moment and I ended up overtaking everyone. The leading line consisted of skaters who I know are of a much higher level than myself, that's when I realised that this was probably a bad idea. Nethertheless, I was skating in the present. I was enjoying the speed.
It wasn't long before the leading line crept passed me and I slipped in somewhere in the middle. The pace was fast and I knew I was out of my depth. What I found particularly difficult was matching the pace of everyone with the changes in track gradient. As we hit a hill I'd end up transferring most of my energy into the person in front, then struggle to gain momentum up the hill again.
I later spoke to my friend Richard and he said he'd actually step outside of the paceline in these situations. Richard would get to the top of the hill ahead of everyone and then actually stop for the rest of them to catch up. Guess that could work if you have people happy enough to let you back into the paceline.
Flashbacks of my Mittelrhein marathon last year came to me. I didn't enjoy that race because I was physically pushing myself way beyond what I could. With that in mind I dropped off this speedy train. It's bittersweet whenever this happens, disappointed that I couldn't keep up with the others but then relief that I can skate as I want, being less mindful of others. I found myself skating the next five laps or so on my own.
In a nut shell the benefit of skating in a paceline is that you will be faster. (My friend Van goes into this topic in good detail here). On lap seven my friends Florian, Floju and Theresa crept on up and I decided to hop on. I took the lead on a lap before rotating to the back. Not sure what exactly happened but the gap between me and them suddenly got bigger. Before I knew it they were way ahead. Damn, not again!
For the next three laps I skated more casually with the three others just in the distance. I was having fun despite the race not going quite to plan. One of the track marshals was my friend Karen and I joked that "I can't catch them!" She said "Yes you can!" Wow, those words were magic. Somehow within thirty seconds I caught them again. Thank you Karen.
We continued skating together for the remainder of the race. On the final lap Florian and myself went for a sprint finish. Full arms swing action going on too, awesome!
Just as previous LIM events I continued going around the circuit helping out others if they wanted it. Although this time I was just keeping Elisabeth company as she finished her laps. She wasn't taking it as intensely as the others so we had a nice chit chat, enjoying the sunshine.
Thomas was one of the track marshals who I had not seen in a long time so I then parked up next to him who was cheering on the other participants. He gave me a sandwich and energy bar so had a nice picnic there. Cheers Thomas.
You could see that the remaining full marathon skaters were later struggling with the beating heat. Thomas and I continued giving shouts out of encouragement. I was shouting through a traffic cone in an attempt to crack a smile. Much respect for them for finishing the full marathon, this track is a toughie!
As I skated my way back to the start line I heard my name on the speakers. I thought maybe I wasn't suppose to be on track and they were telling me off or something. As it turns out I had won my age category and was being called to the podium. I was a bit confused and waited on the stand as I thought they hadn't called the others for the podium yet. Later someone said that 3rd and 2nd (Florian) placed skaters had already left. I got ushered along!
This year's trophy seems embarrassingly big for a sub category prize. Especially as the overall winner for the half marathon was over 6 minutes faster than me! Not complaining about the prizes from Club Blue Room though, extra skate bearings and alan key will always be useful.
My course time was 47:53:636 for the half marathon.
With the varying track elevations this was a challenging course for me, but would definitely do this again given the opportunity. The track is very smooth so the straights and downhills were a lot of fun.
Things to take away from this. Don't sprint at the start! This goes for both skate and run events. However it's not the first time I've done silly sprints during a race to no avail!
A plus from this race is that we've found our skate buddies for the Berlin marathon later this year. Since Theresa, Florian, Floju and I finished around the same time it will make sense to work together for our race next month. In particular for Theresa and myself as we'll both be doing the skate and run.
As for the organisation review. I'm going to be biased here but I honestly can't fault them. Everything from the participants' point of view was great. All of the LSST committee members are brilliant skaters but didn't partake in order to make this happen. Hats off to them all!
I've mentioned in a previous post about how meaningless it can be to receive a medal at every event you go to. However I've become sentimental about medals because of the memories and people you associate with them. For this event I was especially looking forward to receiving this finishers medal as it was designed by yours truly! Pretty cool seeing everyone wearing it proudly after their day's success!
More event photos are on the Scream At My Face Facebook page.
My Race Plan.
So my own personal target was 2 hours 15 minutes. Which would be fine if I followed with my training of staying in my heart rate 3 zone, before stepping it up towards the end. Earlier this year I ran a 10k in heart rate 4 zone, however I have not since. This made me weary about being able to sustain the same demand over more than twice the distance. Plus my last run was not particularly enjoyable.
30 seconds in and I'm pulled along with the stream of runners. I'm already in heart rate zone 4. Race plan out of the window but it felt comfortable. After a couple of minutes I see my friend Chidi waving us off which spurred me on to continue at this pace.
As I ran I noticed a cute oriental girl with the purple shorts was just in front. Her pace faster than mine. Some people would use that as motivation to step up. A guy in the grey top decided to do this. It was still early on during the race and decided better of it, especially with this being my first half marathon event. Eventually purple shorts and grey top were gone... alas.
I'm always going to be a street skater first when it comes to sport and it showed with my running mentality which I realised with this race!
Another thing I noticed was that I'm easily influenced by whatever is happening around me. So I'd stay happily behind someone without noticing my pace has dropped dramatically. This is especially the case when the path got narrow with little room to overtake. It was also reminiscent of the organised street skates when the pack of skaters get very tight, I'd slow down and end up at the back without realising. Something to take away from this is to keep my presence, keep in check with my own pace for these moments.
On one of the hills I could hear there was a band at the top trying to get a bit of runner participation with little success. As I got to the top of the hill I started clapping above my head for the musicians, I then heard a Mexican wave of clapping behind me. That was an amazing race moment!
What's that sound?!! A growling bear closing in?!..... and another!!! No wait, it was some panting sweaty people. Good for them they were persevering through their struggle, but the gasping zombie bear sounds was really putting me off. (That's why people wear headphones). In all honesty I still prefer not to wear headphones as use miss out on engaging with spectators and musicians, lap up the atmosphere!
I smashed my race target with a final time of 01:55:34.
Guess my goal was a little reserved but it's given me confidence and courage to push my pace up for the full marathon in September. Looking at my GPS data there were points in the race I slowed down a lot for no real reason, it's quite easy to lose focus. As I've come to realise it's as much a mental feat as it is physical.
Looking at the organisation of the event it was run very well. Staff were very helpful whenever I had questions. It was a shame with the rain after the event as it meant there were just three people standing at the stage for the after party. Hear hear for the non-alcoholic beverage Erdinger at the finish. Could have fooled me!
They also organised a 3k fun run after the main event. In an attempt to persuade more participants they also called it a "cool down race." I was already cooled down by the time they started to be honest. However our cheerleader Chidi took part in this event and it was nice for us to see her off and welcome her through the finish line.
All in all, it was an enjoyable race and weekend with the positive race results being a bonus. I'll certainly be back one day for another race or to continue sightseeing and over indulging on my food tour...
I heart Ireland.
"Any tips, reviews and advice are my own opinions and are not to be taken as professional view points. The information on this site is what has worked for me and is here for guidance only, but I hope you gain insight into the various activities I partake in." Jonathan Chen