Monday, June 11, 2007

Almaty Medeo Half 07. Preliminaries

I did it! Tough six miles uphill and 6 inconveniently rough miles downhill - all of them along the road to Medeo (Great resort and one of the biggest skating stadium in former USSR). I should've taken a respirator, look here to see What are Almaty Cars 3. Hate running with almost heavy traffic.

- Date & Location: Sat, June 9, 2007. Almaty, Kazakhstan
- Race: Medeo Half Marathon, 21 097 m
- Results: 1:42:17 (yep, slower than my personal best on a flat stadium)
- Placement: 6 out of 25 or something.
Could have been 5th but apparently my name is "Mr. Wrong Way"
Tons of positive emotions and really Glad I participated in Almaty.
Photos, details and splits - tomorrow.

Details of my Taper week I made before the Half you can see on a shot. I made 8 uphills on Wed, PM which is reasonable. I had more than 48 hours to recover.
Then 4 miles on Thu
5 miles on Fri morning. That was all.

Trip Karaganda - Almaty took more than 18 hours (Fri 3 PM - Sat 10 AM).
As for a trip on the train right before the race – personally I don’t think it’s a good idea, your body is absolutely idle. The only thing you can do there is sleep, sleep as long as you want. This time I had only a Half and train could be acceptable.
Next time I’m gonna have Full Marathon and yes, I’m afraid of any possible negative consequences of such a long travel right before marathon.

Sat 10 AM - got there - taxi to the Stadium - registration - Friend's apartment – Thank you LaLenchik, you’re the Best Friend!

Taxi driver looked at my which I got after the registration. “I know this route to Medeo, everybody knows it here. Remember – you will have 3 really steep inclines …” I looked at the map, tried to remember – all in vain. Finally the Race itself would tell me what is a Real Steep and what is not. All I knew at that time is that about 6 miles we would run all the way uphill. There have to be a magical place when we will turn back down to the starting point. Finish.
OK. Had a Lunch with my friend and back to Stadium for Opening Ceremony.Unfortunately all photos I have were taken right before and after the race : (

Ceremony was for the big track & field competition where Marathon & Half represent extremal types of sport activity. Other events to be held within 2 days were 10k, 5k, high jumps, broad jumps, shotput etc.

It was nice to see that the whole event is truly international – people came from Germany, Russia, also our “local neighbors” – Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and other countries around Central Asia.

As for Full and Half race – there were guys and gals from Germany, local Americans (Peace Corp), couple Australian (that’s what I heard) and someone else. German band was larger in numbers; they were not that young though. One of them reminded me “Mr. Bilgo Baggins” or may be I just love Tolkien?

I did 0.5 mi before / in the time of Opening Ceremony to warm up speeding to sub 6:00 for some time. HR was high and it's ok - I'm a little bit nervous.
There was one American tall dude with black Apple Ipod, not Shuffle, nor Nano in the armband, guess it was iPod Video with internal HDD (imho too big to run with). Whatever. There was another guy with him, who looked like Kazakh, Long Tall guy. As Opening ceremony was over and we were ready to get to the Republic Square, which is place to start, I felt really nervous. I asked Long Tall Kaz guy:
- Man, do you suddenly know, Where’s the point of return?
His answer surprised me: “Follow me and you will find where to turn”.
What a cocky answer, uhh!
- OK, then What’s your time for the Half?
Long Tall: “Ah, don’t think I’m that pro runner. The point of return is not far from a bridge, “Butakovka” you know? We will turn there.”
Had no idea, where is That Bridge or Butakovka. Let’s see.

Marathon and Half started together. Didn’t make any Workout for the Tool, just pushed Start.
“Good Luck guys” I heard from the Square. We run.

The Tool tells me that my HR is HIGH 160+ right from the start and pace is about 6:30. Yes, this is faster than I had to, from other hand didn't want to run with a group of 60 years old runners and ladies. After the square real steep hill started. I am somewhere between leading 10 – 12 runners.
I expected to see on Garmin 6 and a half miles uphill. Six and a half down. Actually it was about 6 miles. Road up there was covered with trees. Almaty is truly green city, plus buildings. The Tool could be inaccurate. Or this Incline also make some gap in calculating a distance. Not sure.

Mile 01 - 7:29 / 163HR
Mile 02 - 8:18 I'm behind of group of 6 - 7 runners - not clear for me, if they do Full or a Half. I do my job.
Mile 03 - 8:46 sticked to a Full runner, older than me, finally he passed me. 1 sip of water, non-stop.
Mile 04 - 8:54 Long Tall Kaz guy always around me, incline is real tough (can not be sure but could be more than 25%)
Mile 05 - 9:38 Hard and tough. I guess there was a moment when I walked. Long Tall guy 10 meters or so ahead. “Follow me”, we compete.
All the way up there I saw a beatiful nature, trees, mountain clear stream along the road, Great Almaty mountains ahead. I see it and in the same time do not see it - I'm in the middle of the Game. Not Video, PC game - it's Real. ReStart available one year later.
I see a lot of cars going down from Medeo. Wedding cars! Big and long White Hammers for Wedding ceremonies! People in Almaty love everything rich, they love to show it off. People scream out of their/rented cars as they're happy to be a part of Wedding. Once I screamed too in reply. I'm Happy to have this helluva tough race!
View of numerous wedding vehicles made me think of my possible wedding in the future. Will I have it somewhere here? I don't know. Race went on.

Mile 06 - 9:18 got to a table with water (yes we had it before) but at This table there was a Point to return Down. FINALLY. Long Tall guy still 10 meters ahead. He turned and made it slow. From now we will run downhill - it would be easier, right? Answer – right!
But it’s easier to everybody, so competition is still tough. Also I’m not sure How to do it downhill?
Long Tall put earphones in to listen to some music I guess. I do not have any mp3 player; aggressive tracks are in my head. Something hellish from Australian AC/DC. I pass Long Tall guy, I run faster and faster. I see people running towards me, scrambling their last mile up to the magical table. Poor people. Some of them wish me Good Luck. You too guys! Among them I see American guy, approaching me, he raised his left hand with open palm – is it a “Five” to me? I clap his hand. 2 seconds later I hear it again behind me. That “five” was not for me – Long Tall behind me!! Peace Corp guy scream in Russian: “Davai …, poslednyi” / ~ “Come on Man, it’s Last (section)!” Yes, this is last section and it’s gonna be fun.
Mile 07 - 7:43 Down. This is really unusual for me. Dallen was right about it (but Dallen had his race in 1995 so he knew something, I do not know anything how to run down).
Mile 08 - 6:53 Easier but really uncomfortable.
Mile 09 - 6:52 I guess the same
Mile 10 - 7:04 Passed another guy. All I heard was his clap – clap footing. Intuitively it seemed to me that the way I land foot here is super important. Hope the way I did it, wasn’t bad. At least I didn’t hear Slap – slap from myself.
Mile 11 - 7:18 I do not see tables and organizers - not sure where to turn to the square. Tired. Really tired. I do not hear Long Tall, really wonder where is he? Just tell to myself: “Don’t look back. Don’t look back!”
OK. I can look there.
2 guys (one of them Long Tall - 150 behind me. Good. Good. But where to turn here? I ask one lady on the street
– How to get to the Republic Square?
Silence was an answer.
Yes, I know, I look strange, really strange! I sweat. I’m wet. I’m almost desperate.
“How to get to the Square?!!” Damn, where are organizers’ table, any pointer? Nothing.
Thought: what if I stop and wait for them (2 guys, they chase me) - they will tell me where to turn? This is so Stupid but there's nothing I can do. I stop from time to time to understand. No I better run further. I keep the distance.
Mile 12 - 8:09 they still 120 m behind me. TIRED. Made a turn and run for a while. Stop - something Wrong, do not feel they chase me anymore! Look back (many times told myself - don't look back) I’m "Lucky" to see a guy and Long Tall points me opposite direction!!!
No-o-oo! - Suddenly Now I’m 100 meters behind them!!! I have to CHASE them!!!! Unbelievable! Square has to appear soon. I have about 0.5 mile to catch them. Damn! I chase them as hard as I can. Closer and closer. Square is also almost here. I see it! One of them has 400 m to the finish, me and Long Tall reached cross road to the square - one more push - I'll catch Long Tall anyway. Suddenly I see he stops and touch his leg with a hand. He's got Spasm at his calf. He Joggs. "Sorry Man, this is fair" I pass him - run at 6:30 or so to the finish. Another guy already passed finish line - he's #5
and I'm #6. Long tall #7.

P.S. After making a finish I completely forgot to push “stop” on the Tool. So I logged only 12 miles. I laid on the grass, talked to people. I was being pictured but my Mr. Garmin worked. Had to erase everything after the mile 12. My Tool is a great device – but it can not register that Happiness you feel after the Race!

That's all.
I talked to a Long Tall Kazakh guy – he’s got a nice name Almaz which means “Diamond”. Almaz said that Australian guy passed me due to my Wrong Way turn and so, that guy had got 5th placement. I do not care if he was Australian or not. Next time I’ll try to be in Top 3. That’s what I have to care about.

No more Wrong Ways!
Happy Ways to Everybody!


olga said...

Woohoo! 1:42 is a good time, especially on the hills! Awesome job, Ruslan! Myfirst half was 2 hr flat, before I got this time - and then never ran half again:) It's all good, including getting lost - welcome to my life:)
Got your email, yes, will respond in a week, thanks.

Paul said...

Hey Ruslan - that's a great time what with the traffic, hills, etc.
That would be cool if you go to Omsk too. My wife is worried about me traveling alone to a foreign country.
Only 53 days left, but I'll be ready!

Ruslan said...

Thank you Guys!
Olga your Timer stopped, Big Day has come! Goo-o-o-o-d Luck!

Paul - Seven weeks to go!
Let's have a run on any of July Sundays along The Place, let's say on Jul 15th. Also would like to get tickets couple weeks before Omsk.
Siberian marathon race is gonna be The Battle!

Paul said...


OK, so let's run along the Ishim in 4 weeks, or any weekend before that in July. If it's a Sunday, it needs to be in the afternoon.

SIM here we come!