Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Castelbuono 10km recap and hitting the track in Belgium

The Giro Podistico di Castelbuono was one of the more interesting racing experiences I've had to date. Castelbuono is a special place, and one that I probably would have never visited had I not been invited for this race. Even though the race holds IAAF Gold Label status, the race organizers were very relaxed and care-free. Communication was limited as most organizers did not speak English, but this made for a fun weekend of charades. It was a true Sicilian experience with loose timetables and looser traffic laws. The small town of Castelbuono takes you back in time with an interesting mix of Arabic and Norman architecture. You are surrounded by mountains, making running extremely challenging as all roads head up for miles and miles away from the town center. It was challenging to hold back from the plentiful food available three times per day at the hotel. Breakfast meant a buffet of various sweet breads, and lunch and dinner offered a pasta appetizer followed by a main course of meat and vegetables. After the race, my wife and I celebrated with a seafood feast at a restaurant next to the castle.

As for the race itself, the field was very impressive, as expected at a Gold Label race. In spite of this I knew the challenging course would be an equalizer for me just as cross country has been in the past. The course consisted of a cobblestone loop that was slightly longer than 1km around the town square, starting and finishing in front of the castle. It was essentially 500 meters up, and 500 meters down. I consider myself a strong hill runner and made up ground each time heading up the hill, but I struggled trying to sprint back down the hill. Over the final few laps the wear and tear began to show, and my strong uphill pushes allowed me to catch and pull away from several racers, leaving me in 4th place. It was great to be able to put myself into cross country mode and focus only on the racing without any consideration of time. The brutal course has left me quite sore through the quads from the downhill pounding, but I have a week to recover.

I have one final race left in Europe for the summer before I end my season, take a down week, and then start preparing for a fall marathon. I will be traveling to Ninove, Belgium for the Memorial Rasschaert - Flanders Cup. I don't have much information regarding the field at this point, but in the past it has been a strong 5km. Regardless of the field or the conditions, I will be looking to run fast, and I'll be looking to win. There is not enough time left to postpone my track 5km effort, so I will be leaving it all on the track on Saturday before taking a short break. While Europe has not gone exactly according to plan, I am meeting my goal of competing in some shorter races before heading back to the marathon. It's been refreshing to get the wheels moving in training and in racing, and the lower volume with increased intensity over the last month has been a great change of pace.

Feel free to check out last week's training below. It was another very light week heading into Castelbuono, but there is nothing more that can be done at this point in the season other than resting. I had an excellent couple months of track workouts that will get me through my final week. Thanks again for reading, and follow me here on twitter for more updates.

Week 15 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday 11 4

Tuesday 10+drills and strides 5 40 minutes 15

Wednesday 3 x 1km @ 2:55 + 1km (37, 35, 33, 31, 29 per 200 meters) w/1 minute recovery


Thursday 8.5 easy Travel to Castelbuono, Italy

Friday 6 easy + drills and strides off

Saturday off 10km race

Sunday 10 easy 4.5 easy



1 comment:

  1. Thanks for taking us on a journey into the culture surrounding your races Ryan!