Training, Racing & LCHF Fueling For Skating And Endurance Sports
A 4:30am start in order to catch a 7am flight from Gatwick to Copenhagen meant that I was in a slightly grumpy mood upon touching down in the “World’s Happiest Nation”. Lack of sleep had robbed me of the ability to differentiate between Train and Metro, meaning some public transport adventuring on my way to the “Friend making skate” that had been organised for that morning by the race organisers for 10:30am, just a couple of stops from the airport. By coincidence I managed to bump into the main London skating contingent on the Metro train… as you do.
The meetup point was “Plug & Play” park, which consisted of some sporting facilities, including a skate track. Having literally not done any track skating in years, I took the opportunity to reacquaint myself with just enough laps of the oval to confirm that my feelings haven’t changed about that particular discipline. I must admit I am always envious of the technique of skaters who do routine track skating – you can always tell those skaters who have a good track pedigree. However, that said, I find it annoyingly repetitive, anti-southpaw, and I certainly hadn’t got out of bed at 4:30am to go track skating… that was for sure.
Our hosts arrived and were kind enough to provide storage for our bags, and then took us on skate tour of a beautiful Nature Reserve by Orsted (the new green area of the City…I think). The group was about 20 people, mostly London skaters, but some Danes also and our friend Itay Drory from Israel, who races at the elite level and skate for LSST at Le Mans. I hadn’t planned to do any serious skating that day, but in the end we covered a 22km loop around the reserve, guided by the lovely and very enthusiastically chatty Sandi, taking in some lovely scenery on the way. It was well worth it. The skaters who flew in yesterday had also done the Copenhagen Friday Night Skate – so tapering was evidently not high on the priority list in the lead up to this particular race!
The rest of the day was taken up with checking in at the Generator hostel in the middle of town, grabbing lunch, resting up and then a large group dinner that had been organised mainly to celebrate the big 4-0 for Alex.
I made my way to the start point in good time in order to pick up race numbers for both Half Marathon and Full Marathon, arriving before 9:30am even though the half marathon was not due to start at 11am. My pre-race routine now is mainly focussed around stress management – getting to the registration point in good time and having a chance to prepare without rushing is essential to that.
The forecast was not too promising, and half an hour before the start we were hit with the inevitable band of rain heavy enough to warrant the storm surges. A quick warmup to get some heat into the wheels, and I was ready to go racing. the half marathon is run around 3 laps of a park in the south of the city, and the full marathon is double that number (full race distance is actually officially 42.7km.. slightly longer than official marathon distance).
The Half marathon got underway on time at 11:00am and off we went. With the conditions and with half an eye on the marathon, I was mostly concerned with just getting around in one piece. I can’t actually remember too much of the first part of the race, but I seem to remember working with a paceline that included my LSST clubmate Glenn, and also involved two juniors doing most of the work up front. At one point the skater in front of me took a stack on one of the slippery roundabouts, and despite clipping her I managed to stay upright – close shave. I took a turn pulling at the front towards the 2/3 distance, unfortunately this is were I made a poor choice, as I pulled the line for too long and tired myself out. Normally at this point as I would expect to be able to rejoin at the back and get a much-deserved chance to recover… however, on this occasion some evil fucker in the group had other ideas and though it’d be funny to put in a proper attack which I just couldn’t chase down.. hey! No fair! I thought this was a friendly co-operative paceline! Well, that sequence of events effectively left me skating out the last lap solo and probably resulted in my dropped a couple of minutes from what I might have got, but I still came in in a respectable 51:49. I think this may even be the first half marathon that I had ever officially raced, so hey, I’m calling that a PR.
Up at the sharp end of the race my club team-mates Edmar & Richard came 1st and 2nd – glory for London, LSST, Queen and Country! Well done lads!!
|Result:||3 laps, 0:51:49, 21,360 km, 24.7 km / h|
18th on scratch out of 162.
I refueled with some nuts, salami sticks and a couple of peaches before the start of the full marathon. Many more skaters had now arrived for the full distance race, the roads were drying out nicely and mercifully the forecast was dry. It looked like I could have a race in reasonable conditions at last.
We lined up a few minutes before the start of the marathon. There was noticeably more lycra and serious expressions, and the race promised to be more fiercely competitive at the sharp end. As well as myself, there were 6 or 7 other London skaters who were also doing both race – hardcore racers, yeah!
Off we went again, and I quickly took the opportunity to tuck in behind one of the eponymous “Rolling Vikings” who had good form and who I thought I could keep up with. At it turns out that first lap was damn fast, and my heart rate was right on my lactate threshold level for the first 10km. Any faster and I’m not sure that I could have held on… it’s at this point in a marathon where I’m always convinced that there’s no way I will be able to stick with this line for a whole race. However the pace did ease half way around the 2nd lap.
We blended with another similar paceline, and formed a good strong line of 20+ skaters settling into pace an rhythm that I was reasonably comfortable with. So I hung in this line for the next 4 or 5 laps. With the benefit of a good pack, we were able to chase down smaller groups of 2 or 3 skaters that were further ahead of us. A couple times I got a bit adventurous and put in a spurt to take myself up to the front to offer to pull the line for a while – the work at the front of the line was otherwise being shared between just 3 or 4 skaters and I felt that if it was shared between more then the whole line could have gone a touch faster. The lead pack of 10 or so elite level skaters lapped us near the end of the 4th lap, so we finished just over a lap a a bit down from the front. On one hairy occasion I decided to take the left side of the roundabout to get further up the line, but had to quickly abort as I saw some bikes coming the other way, almost causing a slightly hilarious pileup.
I was clearly beginning to enjoy myself in the last couple of laps, and got stronger and stronger (at least compared to those around me) as the marathon went on. Perhaps something to do with the endurance I have been working on all year 😉 about 5km from home one of the skaters put in a spurt as I knew someone would, and I was ready for it; me a another skater quickly chased him down, and a few others came with us. It finally broke up the line that had been together since lap 2. The final straight was no place for slacking, and my abortive attempt at taking the other side of the roundabout a lap or two earlier proved to be merely a practice for the final lap, as this time it worked and I gave myself a clear run to the finish line, outsprinting a few others to win the mini-sprint.. well, at least on gross times; net times might tell a different story. Anyway, it felt good, and that’s what matters most!
|Position:||Overall: 77, Male: 67|
|Result:||6 laps, 1:28:05, 42,720 km, 29.1 km / h|
1:28:05! Woo! that’s a new PR, and a full 21 minutes faster than my 2012 time!
All in all, a great day. A double before the double, two PRs (sort of) on a personal level, more silverware for the club, and good friendly vibes all round. Thank you Copenhagen Inline Challenge!