Saturday, 29 December 2007

Beach is closed so i'd better go for a run

Not much solid training since Kurrawa, with the knee sore but the physio saying it was structurally sound, i'd decided i had better start taking glucosamine tablets again (whether they work or not is debatable but i have found in the past a few weeks of them appears to make my body less susceptible to niggles).
So for the most part have been doing just 10K or so walks usually along the beach etc and taking it relatively easy especially as storms have a habit of just rolling in suddenly more like Cairns than the Gold Coast at the moment.
One big run last weekend but unfortunately my local knowledge let me down, having circled around the Tweed towards Cobaki and expecting to find my way back along the old dirt Cobaki Rd pretty much straight across from Tugun, only problem it was years since i'd been along there and new roadworks meant this road was now stopped by the Tugun Bypass (or more precisely the 10 foot wire fence surrounding it), ended up a very long run back particularly with a downpour around Kennedy Drive and all the way back to Tweed Heads (and shelter of shops).
Had wanted to do the Mount Nebo "Fatass" run i'd done the previous two years, but woke at 2:30 to find it was still raining, and as i had breakfast ot got heavier, the thought of driving over an hour in it was enough let alone running in that sort of rain so went back to bed.
Had plans to do the Two Bays 50KM on Sunday but unable to book a $79 flight with Tiger Airways discovered it was now $150 dearer (probably explains why i couldn't get it to work last night), so decided i'd go for a swim and then head off for a run.
Was surprised to find the beach closed, last night they had warned of severe tides with worse to come on Sunday, but didn't really think about it.
Wandered a little further down the beach and had a bit of a swim, certainly the waves were rough and quite a decent undertow not the sort of day for playing around in the surf for too long, back in time for another downpour !!, didn't really matter as i was wet already.
Above is my 28K run, once the rain finished the weather cleared and even the humidity went was rapt to be able to run 2 hours 45 minutes without needing to find a drink much better than the humidity. Ended up a little lost in Schusters Park and had to pretty much do a lap to get out but the rest was all areas i'd seen grow up over the years (can remember running along the Currumbin Valley Road years ago and not seeing a vehicle nowadays it's more like a highway which is a bit hairy on sharp bends).
No knee problems, and the body seemed in decent shape, not overly fast but most of Schusters Park was long grass and the Currumbin and Tallebudgera Backroads don't lend themselves to moving fast especially on the hilly sections so overall pretty happy.
See what tomorrow brings weather wise might be a good day to head up to Binna Burra and do some trail K's.

Monday, 10 December 2007

At least i finished

Having not raced for 6 weeks (or 4 if you include my 5K Gunn run which really hard to think of as a race compared to my standard Ultra), wasn't really sure what to expect. I seemed to be almost over my cold but had a few psychological issues with the knee (maybe i'm not used to double storey houses and sloping blocks but i seemed to be spending an inordinate amount of time putting pressure on that knee and being reminded of it by the pain). Woke at 3.30 for the 5AM start (very used to being used to being woken by the sun at 4:30 so was surprised to wake 5 minutes before the alarm - obviously my body still knew what to do on raceday) and was there with 30 minutes to spare. I knew this one race where wearing a top is a waste of time (because of the humidity and i suppose i should add that is for the male runners :-D) so was a little taken aback when given a paper race number instead of the usual texta on the shoulder. Still i bent the number to fit the shorts. Quite a large field (heaps of relay runners fleshing it out), with plenty of familiar faces as well as an obvious race favourite in David Eadie, and we were off pretty much on time unlike last year. Was running comfortably as i assumed many of the bolters were relay runners and had found a good rhythm by the time i passed early starter Steel Beveridge at North Palm Beach. From then on it was a very humid slog southwards, passed by the occasional solo runner and numerous relay runners but as usual feeling at home on this stretch which does make it easier. I think i did the first half purely on water (i could be wrong towards the end memories are vague) and knew that i'd be hanging out for Coke (yeah i know i should call it "Cola" all my requests for coke on the way back must have made the aid station people think that i Ben Cousins having a bad day). From the turn it was a case of don't get windburn as relay runners flew past, but that did spur me on and gradually i did get some to pace myself against. By Palm Beach i was hot and steamy but much happier with my run and as usual running on the highway rather than the footpath (dead easy to work out my state of mind when running when i'm not confident i'd be on the footpath but once i feel that usual aggression and arrogance it's off to the road!). Chasing a couple of relay runners from 15th Ave to Tallebudgera SLSC had definitely made me push myself more than was wise so i had a long drink at that aid station (always fired up that next section as i recall how one of the great iconic live music venues, The Playroom, is now a carpark as i run past). The climb up to the Burleigh aid station made me feel the knee for the first very thankful Nic had a beer waiting there to wash down all that coke. The beer "inspired" me till North Burleigh but the hill and steps just about finished the knee. At that point i was passed by GCRR Keith (obviously with more heat tolerance than me wearing long skins !), walked a little but eventually the knee let me run again so it was off to that incredibly expensive cauldron Hedges Avenue. Finally at around 4 and a half hours i was finished (not only in the sense of the race but physically and pretty much mentally !) a massive PW and over an hour behind Davids 3:25, still i was just happy to finish in the end. Got a chance to catch up with alot of people so the next couple of hours flew till presentations and the exhausted drive. Didn't know how exhausted i was till i got home, lay down on couch watching golf on tv with ceiling fan going full blast for the next 4 hours, too worn out to do anything else. Eventually worked up the energy at 4 to wander down the local Dominos for a $3.95 hawaiin pizza (timed nicely to see how Aussie superhorse Miss Andretti went in Hong Kong - unfortunately she did no better than me still the TAB side trip meant my pizza was waiting for me). Paddling along the beach eating pizza, definitely the best i'd felt all day:-D. Even more humid today so not giving any thought to what's next, at least the body now feels half decent and a sense of relief that this long racing year is over (and no talk of next year or injuries for at least a week).

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Maybe the sickest Ultrarunner ?

Maybe i had pushed myself a little too hard in my attempts to get fit for Coast to Kosi or maybe my body is just falling to pieces ?. Come Tuesday and i wake with a rotten sore throat so i resist the urge to run. As the week goes on i get progressively worse (as i type this - Thursday in bed on phone - simply feel like death warmed up). At least there are a few days to Sundays 50K, but i must be going for some record for number of colds in a 6 month period with this being my 7th since the first week of June. I've always found there is a fine line between being at peak fitness and tumbling over the precipice to being sick but i seem to have outdone myself this year. Not sure of the reasons, for the most part i've been eating fairly healthily as usual (granted i have been drinking too much alot of that time), but i'm way less stressed (was until actually moving which is always stressful) than i've been for years. Can't comment on my weight as i'd always believed my bathroom scales 65 to 68 kgs the last 25 years but accurate scales in Germany found me between 68 and 71 over the course of my race and my ones at home appear to have died after 30 years as they show me at about 58 !. Feel a bit too philosophical as i sit here typing, feeling sh*t, as i look back on the year a few highs (runningwise: Deutschlandlauf - second half performance, 7th Tamborine Trek win, Great Ocean Road Marathon PB, Caboolture 12 Hour PB) and numerous lows (Western States Dnf, blowing up the last 12K's of the Australian 100Km, falls at Six Foot Track & Melbourne Marathon, wrong turn at Walhalla, the last half of Brindabella, "hitting the wall" 3 times at the Prom and finally the sub 100 mile effort in my first running 24 hours). Mightn't quite make it my "annus horribilis" (hope i got that bit of latin correct :O) with regards to running but it would come close (1989 year of the broken jaw springs to mind). On a more personal level it would go down as a much better one, although having not seen even one live Stones concert this year it could have been better (and that's not to knock the great gigs i did see or the people i met at them 8-)). One more blog post for me, the Kurrawa race report, then i think i can have a holiday and put this blog to bed until 2008 when hopefully i can have some new Ultra adventures.

Monday, 3 December 2007

D Day

After yesterdays run i went for a 2 hour walk in the evening as i realised the last half of Coast to Kosi would involve a lot of walking so i thought i'd better see how i stood. Whilst i did some reasonable hills (Currumbin Ridge & O'Farrell's Lookout) mostly stayed to the estuary and wasn't happy to find that the right knee was causing me pain again. Had spoken to a couple of C2K competitors that afternoon and had almost convinced myself i would be a starter (particularly with Tiger Airs cheap fares). So it all came down to today. The idea was to run the flat way over the border and then simply run up and down as many hills as i could around Bilambil Heights and South Tweed before heading back, after 1 final steep hill, along the beach path. No shoulder problems but found that the knee was giving pain on some of the downhills. Having run around midday certainly worked up a sweat, and was thankful i'd stopped running with a t shirt a week ago, and had really got the adrenalin pumping in my 2 hours of hard running. Was convinced my previous 2 days shoulder problems were back related but couldn't see the chiro until tomorrow but needed to make a decision today so wandered off into my ice bath (after my problems of Saturday i had soaked in a Radox bath and not wishing to waste water had kept it and had found it to be ideal recovery yesterday) and contemplated my decision. Still feeling the knee as i headed up the back to hang my running shorts and socks decided i had too many niggling and the only sensible thing to do was pull the pin on C2K and do Kurrawa 50K. Frankly i'm not used to being sensible (and with regards to my running never wish to be) and come tomorrow (and even moreso on Friday) may regret my decision, but i suppose also i look forward to my 9th Kurrawa more acclimatized than ever and also anxious to be actually racing for the first time in 6 weeks, so maybe i'm a chance for my 3rd win there ??

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Maybe more than a glitch ????

Woke up at 4:30 this morning (noisy lorikeets !), and was considering running to the GC Road Runners at Burleigh but a heavy downfall of rain put paid to that, so eventually drove there when the weather cleared. Heaps of familiar faces (after all many were in preparation for the Kurrawa 50K next week), had a good run along the beachfront (and up the North Burleigh Hill) to Mermaid Beach SLSC. Me and Browny ???, ended up running the furthest and he turned off back home just before the hill so ran the last part solo.
I even managed to run past the turn off, and instead turned off at 1st Ave so ended up with a little more distance, strangely that little bit of distance was enough to make a difference again left shoulder problems !!!.
Somehow i think this may be the end of my C2K 2007 ambitions (and also Badwater 2008 chances of qualification), but will give it one red hot shot tomorrow (if i end up broken down running Kurrawa so be it ).

Saturday, 1 December 2007

3 steps forward and 1 back

The last 3 days had been spent doing good hard runs of just over 2 hours all with some sharp hills and going a little further every day. After Thursdays run which was about 5Ks longer than the previous day but only 15 minutes longer i was feeling full of beans and now thinking Coast to Kosi was a real possibity. Maybe i'd got a bit carried away on Thursday (i'd even run the whole Teemagum St hill just before i finished) as i awoke on Friday very flat. Decided to do my run a little later than usual so set out in the heat of the day at 1. As i knew i was a bit flat i deliberately avoided the hills as i headed interstate. By the time i had hit the lakes of South Tweed i seemed to have recovered enough to take on the hill heading out of Point Danger (the Kurrawa 50k turnaround) and finished off quite decently content with another solid 2 hours. Today i really wanted 3 hours of running so i thought i should take in some of the tracks behind Fleays Sanctuary at the back of Burleigh. By the time i'd hit Mermaid Beach thought i'd done enough to turn back but by the time i'd made it to the Burleigh Heads shops i simply hit the wall. Ended up doing a lap walk of the shops (not as though i had any money with me) as a resting measure and then took off again but my body wasn't having it. Strangely most of my pain was the left shoulder but it was enough to make me only walk all the 8k's home. I was so stuffed i actually lay down a few minutes on the nature strip before attempting my assault on the driveway and up to the front door!. In all i was out 4:15 at least half of that on the involuntary walk back. Looks like i'd better drive to the Road Runners tomorrow at Burleigh Waters and see how i handle a shorter distance at group. Just hoping today was a one-off glitch !

Monday, 26 November 2007

Longer and harder

No the title of this post has nothing to do with "that" spam we all get, more a summing up of my training of late. A pretty heavy rainfall this morning set the mood for a very humid run which i began first by running up Tooloona St (very steep) and from then on i just kept on finding steep, hard roads, spent most of the 1 hours 56 minutes in a state of either lungbusting uphill running or very heavy breathing on sharp downhills certainly the last few days appear to have paid off.
No knee pains (until after when i was back home just seized up walking up the back to hang my running gear on the line !), and certainly my hardest running i've done since the Melbourne Marathon, at this rate if i keep up this intensity i'll either be as fit as ever in a few weeks time or have died in the process (not quite sure what any half decent running coach would make of my methods :-)).
Still looks like i'll be struggling to make it for Coast to Kosi (particularly now a potential crew member has pulled out :-(), but at this rate Eden to the top would be a nice easy low impact cruise compared to what i've been doing.
Two hours is definitely as far as i can go without a drink in this humidity (was totally stuffed when i couldn't run the last ten percent of either the Woodgee St & Teemagum St hills in the last couple of miles but have done them both often enough to know i have to be in really good shape to run either all the way let alone both with at least 100 minutes in the legs), so i polished off 1.5 litres of mixed cordial (same as the last two runs - always a good sign of a hard run), i suppose that means now i'm drinking more non alcoholic liquids in the course of a day than alcoholic (i'm not noted for drinking much water so just a couple of stubbies would normally put that ratio the other way !), another good sign.
Highlight of day (other than making it to the front door totally exhausted and virtually crawling upstairs !), had to be the sight of two dolphins at the lagoon coming off Currumbin Creek, lovely sight (and much more appreciated than the stingray i almost accidentally stood on the other day there).
Anyway rapt that i seem to be able to push myself really hard, only wish i could get mapmyrun to work on this pc so i would have a better idea of distance (roughly 20 odd K's in the 2 hours but considering the steepness much more like my usual).

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Running and rocking

The weekend didn't start well, ran about a K on Saturday and the knee just got sorer and sorer, frankly didn't think it was worth the risk so went home.
Twice i've had medical people look at my knee and they have said structurally it's fine as it gets better as i run somehow i question that and today was one of those days !!.
Still the day did improve with James Reyne & Mark Seymour doing their stuff at Southport RSL (as per above pictures) that night (sure beat watching the election on TV). Felt strange being seated at a table (not exactly rock'n'roll), but at least i was at the front with the empty dancefloor between me and the stage.
We started off with Mark Seymour and he did a great set, but i think he was a little bemused by having a seated audience, but no one seemed to want to be the first to disturb security !!!, all the classsics there as well as some more recent stuff (which i now know better having bought his latest CD).
Next was James Reyne and a group of blokes stubbies in hand went up to the dancefloor and cheered him on (and also made some remarks to the very attractive singer Tracey - just didn't quite catch themn but i'm sure they were something politically incorrect !!!). After first song Reno, he launched into a couple of Oz Crawl tracks and finally a few people got up, me included just couldn't stay down any longer, and headed straight for front row (in front of Tracey this time), from then on the audience impasse was broken and we all went nuts, only complaint no "Boy's light up" (reckon Oz Crawl was the first real gig i went to at about age 14 so always have a soft spot for this one).
Then Mark and his band came on stage and joined the rest to sing "Rich Girl" and that is where, again, everyone just let it all hang out, averyone just had a ball (i do have the setlist, signed this time by Mark, but internet is not cheap today !!), for mine the highlights were "Psycho Killer" and "April Sun" but really every song was a highlight and everyone was having a blast (and that was before i heard the great election result :-)).
Today i meant to run with the Road Runners but slept in, so took off at 8 and thankfully didn't feel the knee, ended up runningt 2:15 and going to Burleigh Heads
with two laps of big Burleigh, absolutely stuffed when i made it home but very happy.
This arvo it was the Rolling Stonez at the Burleigh Bears, they did 3 sets but the short first and third sets were non Stones (Eagles, Beatles, Elvis and many other classics so couldn't complain), still their hour of the Stones was great, was interesting to have the 2003 Single "Don't Stop" but the rest were the classics, Jumping Jack Flash, Honky Tonk Women, Brown Sugar, Can't always get, Satisfaction and many, many more had a ball, again a lunatic on the dancefloor (and i wasn't the only one). Even occassionally caught a peek of the Australian Masters Golf during the non Stones set. Now to see how the knee is tomorrow, seem to be still pretty fit (have deliberately been searching out hills to attack - no easy beachside running), so have been exhausted when i finish but reckon it's a good sign.
Still tomorrow is another day (and library internet is free !)

Friday, 23 November 2007

Reckon i know every steep road south of Burleigh

Another humid morning with heaps of thick black clouds and a little rain. Still not convinced i was as fit as usual so thought i'd do the reverse of usual and run the beach and come back via hills. The knee felt good thankfully (although again it looks a bit ugly with a raw looking ulcer? again), ran smoothly to 19th Ave and then up it to the hills of Elanora. Of course we arent talking real hills but steep streets and there are plenty of them, just about felt the heart in the mouth heading up Avocado to KP Mcgrath Drive and was content to roll gently around Pines Lake before heading across Currumbin and under the M1 to Tugun Heights. More steep streets, the ups giving me good lungbusting exercise and the downs giving me some much needed confidence about my knee. Get home to find i'd done 2 hours running again would love to know the distance though as i was stuffed. More box unpacking to look forward to (4 hours of frustating manual reading and playing with cables yesterday means the set top box and dvd/vcr at least means i can veg in front of the box tonight when i've done my share of boxes).

Thursday, 22 November 2007

A bit of running and boxes

Finally got to run on Sunday, ended up catching with the Gold Coast Road Runners doing a run on Big Burleigh so joined them the rest of the way back to their clubrooms. Ended up running a little further than i'd planned and really appreciated the sports drinks back at their clubrooms before running back home (very slowly !).
Was paying for it Monday and instead did a wander along the beach but by Tuesday all was good and did a run across the border coming back via steep Bilambil Heights, still getting used to humidity (more humid than usual at present) but still a solid run.
Had meant to run Wednesday but i came back after a dip in the surf and the removalists were waiting for me !!!, so the rest of the day was spent with boxes and more boxes (and i'm sick of the sight thereof), still now i have a bed and the plasma (only wish i could remember where to put the cables for the digital box and home theatre but by days end was just happy to put the feet up with a beer and watch tv on analog !).
Another two hour run today, back over the border and the hills there and then home via the beach, sadly felt the knee very early on and was a long time before it was half decent and still felt it when i made it home (think it seized up a little bit as i picked up the mail at PO Box and pretty much walked up the hill home - i was too busy reading bills !). Think that's convinced me i'm not a C2K starter (and as for finding crew at this late stage) still i'll see what it's like tomorrow.
Looks a good weekend musically somehow i don't think i'll resist seeing James Reyne and Mark Seymour again at Southport RSL on Election night and as luck would have there is a Stones Tribute Band "Rolling Stonz" at Burleigh Bears on Sunday afternoon just hope i don't do any damage to myself on the dance floor :-).

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Yet to run as a 'real' Queenslander

Thought i'd better update though no real running. With the removalists in noon Wednesday had intended to run in the morning however got a knock on the door at 9:30 and it was them. By 1:30 they had gone but with the physio at 6 thought i'd get my exercise walking (i still had 200 pages of my Rebus novel to go and i needed to return it to the local library). A good comfortable 8k to the physio in 70 minutes so had a bit of spare time and had bit of a nostalgic walk around South Melbourne funny enough bumped into multiple Bogong to Hotham finisher Richard Rossiter hadnt seen him for years. Had a good chat and actually ended up a bit late but was right as so was my physio. He was happy with my progress and i was surprised how few sore spots he found. Good walk bit of a read and a feed then off to my sleeping bag and air mattress a long day ahead!. Had a great nights sleep (strangely i tend to sleep better in a bag than a bed). Come 8AM i had the fridge man (my 30 years and 10 months old fridge wasnt making the trip) finished my book (love Ian Rankins books also enjoyed the fact many of them have titles the same as some of the Stones greatest albums). Settlement at noon meant i had time to catch up with some neighbours i was sad to leave. One minor problem the bank cheque was in the name of "Kevin", still ultimately was sorted so then it was off to the Gold Coast (funnily enough with mixed emotions after all Bayview St had been my home for 11 years and Elsternwick in total half my life). Thankfully my body handled the drive, with settlement 4PM Friday meant i could take it easy. Had a 2 hour sleep at Woolgoolga before the sun came up and then the last stretch with breakfast at Ballina. Settlement finally arrived (one minor hitch the house keys were on the way from the vendors solicitors in Coolangatta to mine in Southport, thankfully i headed her off at Elanora). Furniture arrives next Thursday so another few nights in a sleeping bag. Hoping for a run tomorrow (if i wake early enough will run with the GC road runners), today was spent buying a $20 dollar tv and also unpacking what i carted with me as well as spending lots of time on hold at Ozemail (could be a month till i have internet access of my own again). Next update will be via Elanora or Palmie libraries after all i might need real internet access if i need crew (somehow i think Coast to Kosi is becoming a more realistic proposition).

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Maybe my last Gunn Run ??? but faster than i'd believe

Looked like another day when i was paying for the excesses of the previous day, or maybe all my muscles are just fatigued. Moved a couple of boxes this morning (so that the Salvos could move my lounge suite easier) and that appeared to be quite enough excess, pretty much back to bed with a book (the second latest Rebus novel).
Not knowing when the Salvos were coming i really couldn't go for a run until they had been but frankly my body didn't feel like it.
Finally at 2 they came (and took - i was sentimentally attached to that suite but really no longer needed it as i have two Jason recliners awaiting me at Tugun), meant i had time to stretch my legs and do a Pre Poll Vote, bit stiff and sore but the sun was good.
Decided when i returned that i should do my last Gunn Run (5K's at Albert Park ) although frankly was worried about running some very embarrasing time.
Made it to the Gunn Island Hotel a little faster than i expected so maybe i wouldn't be that slow, still reckoned anything under 25 minutes would be a bonus.
Well i did shock myself 21:48 for the 5K's (a PW off hand a couple of seconds slower than my previous with a horrendous cold), and around 1:40 slower than usual but all things considered brilliant. No question i do love to race and chase and grind opponents into the ground :-).
A quick post race Dogbolter (one of their special brews) and a bit of a chat, and the hip was stiffening up, ordinary run home but still my running appears to be heading the right way now.
Post lunch run tomorrow as the removalists are meant to be here at 11 and i have the physio at 6, just hope my body survives a sleep on an air matress in the sleeping bag tomorrow night.

Monday, 12 November 2007

As slow as - maybe i'm taking it to hard

I have to wonder whether i've been taking the comeback a little hard, had a very ordinary 15.5 K's at just and 6 Minute K's and was flat the whole way (just like yesterday when i pretty much slept my way through the cricket after my run).
Had a physio appointment at 4 so thought i may as well walk (8K's), on my way there through Albert Park noticed that radio's Hamish Blake was doing his marathon at Albert Park (he'd said on radio that Katie Holmes 5:25 NY Marathon was weak and wanted to prove he could do a marathon faster than her), would have loved to join him for a lap (he was doing 9.7) but it was a bit close physio wise.
The physio found a whole pile of new problems and it was closer to torture than a session, i definitely had pushed it a little hard.
On the way back Hamish was on his last lap so stayed around to be Katie's time by just under 5 minutes, youth and an athletic build probably helped him but still it took guts to run that distance without training. Couldn't resist a picture (above), with Andy and Hamish (on the golf cart), also met Tamsyn Lewis who did the last lap with him.
Possibly spent a bit too much time hanging around as stiffened up again, still i'd hope tomorrow will be faster.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Another long run

Late night last night, didn't make it back from a barbie till 1 (and even it proved my body still isn't quite right as my calves were sore from playing backyard cricket).
Easy morning and was happy to get some results from GNW before i contemplated a run, left with the intention of doing the 15K Yarra run, but as i was feeling full of beans by the time i hit Glenferrie Rd thought i may as well continue under and follow the bike paths through East Hawthorn, eventually got all the way to Warrigal Rd and was stuffed on the uphill run to Dandenong Rd, better rhythm then but was passed by a girl on roller skates just after Darling Rd and that fired me up all the way to Burke Rd, when i finally passed her thought i'd better ease back a little as it was fairly warm (around 1:30) and i had pushed that bit along. Finally ended up with 25.5 K at an average of 5:43 Minute K's reckon i slowed down considerably from the racecourse onwards i was stuffed. Litre of cordial and feel a bit better, at least the knee was good the whole way but i shouldn't feel this bad after only that distance, still it's a beginning and a good week milewise (123K's running 41K's walking and at least another 50K's just walking in everyday life), certainly nothing like at my peak but a start is a start.

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Don't know about indestructible but still rolling along

After yesterdays rest, thought i should give myself a reasonable workout, knee thankfully was fine from the start but calves a little tight. 5:34 Minute K's not great but at a guess probably lost 5 minutes in total having to obey traffic signals in some of the busier bits (and really couldn't push it on Southbank).
Dying to go out and race but frankly i don't think i have the leg speed at present, think i'll just be making do with miles in the legs. Had a chat on the phone with some of the GNW runners last night and whilst i'd have loved to have been there doing it on hearing it had been raining all day was glad i wasn't there.
At this rate i might end up facing alot of very tired runners at Coast to Kosi (certainly not counting my chickens there but the last week has shown i'm not a total broken down has been - and of course there is the issue of crew !!!).

Friday, 9 November 2007

Paying for it today

Come Thursday and my body seemed to recover from my shocker, so did a nice little run that i've done heaps of times (variations of it for at least 30 years as used to do it when going to school).
Not sure of exact time but ended up close to 5 minute K's way happier.
Got back in time to walk to Physio appointment and he was very happy how i was progessing, however then decided to go for a walk, first a haircut (another week and i could have gone to my regular Palm Beach barber but my shaggy hair was driving me nuts !!), then walked eventually made it to Footscray Rd.
Hate to think just how long it is since i've been there, i do remember walking from Footscray Football Ground to home in Glen Waverley somewhere in the late 80's !!, but reckon the only time i was familiar with it was when i was a kid and used to go with my father on the push bike on a Sunday arvo.
Have to admit dad would have loved the new bike paths etc, never got near the road until i hit Footscray. $4.80 for a large sweet and sour pork now there's a bargain for lunch and was needing it by then.
Saw all the helicopters over head so thought i may as well head to Flemington (Oaks Day), did see the actual race in the distance and thought for probably the last time i may as well do a lap of the course. With the races on that lap was going to be a lap of the roads around (ie Epsom Rd Lang Pde, Fisher Pde etc), still you did get a feeling of the atmosphere (maybe that was just walking past the bar nearest the Maribyrnong river ??? - think a few fillies won't remember much of Oaks Day !).
Typically an ice cream at McDonalds Flemington and then a wander home through the City, bit of entertainment at the Crown Casino Melbourne Cup Live site (no idea of the band but they did appreciate that i at least made an effort on the dancefloor) and a wander home, pretty much a Marathon !!!
Certainly feeling it today so taking it easy, almost feel i could have walked GNW but probably better i didn't, big question can i do that 15's at similar pace tomorrow, only time will tell.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

As the comeback continues i get slower

I think yesterdays run took more out of me than it should have, eventually decided i'd head off and do a few miles first problem hit Caulfield Racetrack and because of Equine Influenza wasn't allowed to run on the actual course (i probably could have outsprinted the security guard but doubt i could have dodged his "mates"), damned right knee was very ordinary but i thought that like previously that would wear off, sadly that wasn't the case, was still strugging when i turned back near Chadstone (surely the biggest shopping centre in the southern hemisphere - so if anywhere was going to make me run away from that was it). Made it back home and found i was just over 6 minute K's, obviously the knee was affecting me as bad as it felt it was.
Somehow i think a walk to the physio will be my total exercise tomorrowas i sit and type i do feel a bit better (maybe that's the anti inflams i washed down with a nice red at lunch ????), but i have to admit today was the first time in 6 "Comeback runs" that i simply haven't enjoyed myself.
Positives: No calf problems
Negatives: Right Knee (which gave me some problems with muscles on the left leg as i favoured it so much)
Simply didn't enjoy my run today as never felt comfortable

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

The Melbourne Cup - A Staying test for me

I'm sure anyone who has stumbled upon this blog and has no idea about who i am would be convinced i'm nuts i keep on talking about injuries but then go and do 15 odd K runs.
Today being Cup day, i thought i should have a longer run (my very own staying test).
Didn't run on Sunday as with constant rain (now that was a shock), just didn't want to do anything more to the everpresent cold, but did eventually walk 10K's that evening once the weather cleared.
Yesterday i did a slightly longer variation of the 15K run (doing 5:47 minute K's), and then walked 8K's to the physio. Certainly he found some very sore points (i knew my neck was sore), but like me was happy that my knee was only sore the first 5K's then clears up - reckoned that was a good sign.
Bit cold early on, so didn't start till 11, and by then the beach was starting to get busy with picnickers for Cup Day.
Sunny at times (had the T Shirt off and on a few times), did my standard run to Black Rock but knew i'd be pushing it to make it back the same way so shortcut up Bluff Road (remember i never run with money or drink only house keys).
Eventually 2 hours and 36 minutes later i made it home, still frustratingly slow (5:37 Minutes per K), and the left knee and back feeling it a bit, was rapt the right knee niggle only lasted the first few K's.
Doubt i'll be running that far tomorrow, but would like to think i'm capable of another 15K or so.

Saturday, 3 November 2007

When you can't run you gotta rock !

Saturday and have now done 3 successive days of running somewhere between 13 & 15K's, certainly nowhere like my usual standard but at least it's a start.
People out there who know me also know that there is one other thing i enjoy as much as running and that's a good gig, so last night it was off down the road (a 5K walk still for a few days) to the Prince of Wales in St Kilda for James Reyne & Mark Seymour.
Was there by 8:15 as doors opened at 8:30 for a 9:15 start and it's always a place that if you time it well you get get front row (always the place to be), so was pretty much front of queue (thankful the "Mother Energy Drink" promoters were giving their wares out to us people waiting !), and having already got a ticket (was close to sold out i'd heard early this week), bolted up the stairs bought a quick beer and then headed to my preferred area, had a good yarn with a few with a similar idea and pretty much the front row was sorted about half an hour before the show (not like at The Pretenders there earlier this year when photographers tried to muscle their way in as the gig began - thankfully Chrisse Hynde told them to move or words to that affect !).
First up was James Reyne, have to admit i was feeling my age last time i'd seen him that close was at Swinburne Institute of Technology with Australian Crawl in 1982 a whole quarter century ago, had his guitarist Brett Kingman straight in front of me, James a few feet to my left and vocalist Tracy Kingman a little further on. From the the moment he started with Beautiful People i was just away with the music, surrounded by all us mad fans i felt just the same rush as when really enjoying a race a feeling hard to explain but simply a natural high.
A singer with a an incredibly distinctive voice (i know i have a passion for distinct voices after all the same can be said for Mick Jagger, also other all time favourites like Bonnie Tyler) making some of his lyrics very hard to understand even after repeated listenings, so it was interesting to hear not only him (and i was right above a speaker as well) and the voices around me, have to admit when he sang Slave, some of the lyrics sounded very close to my thoughts on my last couple of years at Dun & Bradstreet.
Half way through "The Boys light up", had a blond "rock chick" manage to find weave her way through to the front almost under my elbow, first thing she did was ask me how many songs she'd missed (pretty sure a bloke wouldn't be able to turn up after the gig had started and make their way to the front through a pretty much sold out crowd that easily), so was left a little more cramped but certainly never had room to do more that move the head, arms and tap a leg anyway.
I'd be honest and say i couldn't recall the whole setlist (though it was in front of me) of me all the songs you'd expect (except "Fall of Rome") were there Errol, Downhearted, Oh No Not You Again, Hammerhead, Reckless etc.
A ten minute break and then Mark Seymour (my "little blonde mate" must have been James Reyne fan as she'd gone off so i had a little more room again), certainly knew a few of the Hunters and Collectors songs and had seen them a couple of times live (that i can recall) but was definitely was a bigger Oz Crawl fan (i think back in 1979 they were my second ever rock concert).
I had Mark Seymour (or more precisely his second microphone) right in front of me he was in front of the middle mike same as Reyne for the most part, guitarist Peter Maslen a little further on guitar and Cameron McKenzie behind on drums.
Interesting to note, that while the first set all the band had been drinking water, whilst for this set Mark and Cameron were having VB and Peter red wine that seemed a little more rock'n'roll !!.
Easy to remember the set list as that's it up above (the top one), it's in Mark Seymour's handwriting but unfortunately i didn't get it signed.
Started off with "Talking to a Stranger", certainly unleashing his powerful voice, "See you around", followed by Year of the Dog (now there's a song with a cautionary tale to remember when i'm injured !), then "Titanic", "Mississauga" and then one i did know all the lyrics to "When The River Runs Dry" now we were in classic territory.
"Walk through fire" was next but then it was the brilliant "Holy Grail", followed by "Westgate" (a song that touched me deeply lyrically as i remembered well the Westgate Bridge disaster and also my father's involvement in the rebuilding), and then (as he put it "if i was in Queensland and didn't play this i'd be lynched) "Throw Your Arms Around Me", by then the crowd was well and truly whipped into a hysteria (off hand The Prince Bandroom only holds 400 odd ?).
Once our cheers had stopped James Reyne had reappearred nearer me and the roadie had put down a new setlist (that's the bottom one signed later by James - no it's not going on ebay !).
Certainly an eclectic list of songs as we now had 6 performers out there, Brett in front of me, James a little closer and Tracy now next to Peter.
Duelling guitars everywhere and some great teamwork on each song.
Loved their April Sun in Cuba, remember seeing Dragon sing it live years ago and i'd honestly rate it above their performance, certainly an interesting version of "Sex and Drugs and Rock'n'Roll " it certainly showed all the performers were having a ball as was us audience (my "friend" was back at my shoulder by then we were just trying to make sure we weren't getting our arms tangled !),
Dylan's Hard Rain was brilliant and then everyone broke loose with "Pump it Up" and then it was all over, a couple of minutes of yelling "encore" (i knew "Psycho Killer" hadn't been played yet and it was on the set list!), and out they came, everyone had worked up a sweat and Mark Seymour was now in a T Shirt.
Absolute ball as everyone had a turn singing the lyrics as well as having a mike thrust towards us in the front row a few times, i reckon i was as worn out as the performers when it was all over (by then it was midnight).
Had a chat with a few people, as well as getting the setlist signed, (both performers were signing their latest acoustic album however i didn't bring that much money with me :-( ), and then a walk home, down bustling Acland St and home at 1.
Did around 15K's this morning, firstly to the Tan where the Victorian Road Runners were doing there first Saturday of the month time trials (bit late for that as i'd had a late night and didn't wake till 7) but then to the Observatory Cafe at the Botanical Gardens to see Robert (i'd accidentally left my camera in his car after Brindabella) as he'd been involved with the VRR run.
Caught up with quite a few people before the run home, which meant my muscles had stiffened up again, still a relatively easy 7 odd K's home to make my distance up

Thursday, 1 November 2007

A comeback of sorts

Having had various muscular troubles since Brindabella and with the cold laying me low as well frankly the last thing i'd wanted to do in the last couple of weeks was run. Today i woke up and thought i'd better actually do something, the cold was still hanging in there but i reckoned i should at least roll my legs over a few K's just to see if i was in as bad nick as i thought.
Certainly the right knee didn't really want to be out there as i approached the racecourse (the first two K's) but after that i seemed to get a bit more into it, probably was helped by the fact there were a few joggers in front of me at Caulfield Park to spur me on, had to do a couple of uphills, so went up Hawthorn Rd to Dandenong Rd (who knows how many times i've done that over the years), down Alma Rd (nostalgically passing my childhood home could be a while till i see it again), and then my next hill climb up Kooyong Rd (again so many times i've done it that there is probably a path worn underneath the paving) and then stretched out a bit on Dandenong Rd again. Did my typical mad dash (read sprint work with oncoming traffic)across Dandenong Rd to reach Chapel St and then across to Punt Rd and my last hill for the day up StKilda Rd to Alma followed by a good roll down to Carlisle St.
In total 13.44 K's, not quite sure of the time (didn't look at the clock when i left home), but at a guess around 80 minutes, so not exactly flying still made it in the door with no further strains and only needed 500ml's of cordial (compared to the 1.5 litres i usually have after my standard 20 miler means i didn't push it too hard).
Back to the physio this arvo, want to see if todays efforts have done me any harm still would love to do some running on Cup weekend but realise i don't want to do myself any further harm.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

As i turn back time

With injuries and now a cold (i'd say that's my 5th since the Australian 100K Championships in Mid June, i think the body has had it for the year running wise), taking there toll, finally got a chance to work out how to download my video of the Western States 100 Miler. Unfortunately, although only 6.5 minutes long it is way too big to put anywhere bar on my pc hard drive, so had to play around to make it loadable. Making the file smaller meant i lost all dialogue in this version (not a bad thing as i cringe at my cockiness prior to the race essentially because i wasn't going to say exactly what i thought at the time - which would have been along the lines of "i've been as sick as a dog all week and need a miracle to get through i know my limits and because of that know i can do it but doubt that any medical person worth their diploma would pass me as fit to start, still it's a long way to come for a DNS so i'll be out there until someone drags me off the course" - which ended up a bit too close to the ultimate result) So i couldn't resist dubbing it with my signature tune "Start Me Up" (not the Stones greatest song, having been first recorded by them in 1975 - originally a reggae type track built around a guitar rift essentially the reverse of the classic "Brown Sugar" and with the original working titles of "Start It Up" or "Never Stop" but not released in a much rockier version until 1981 with "me" replacing the lyric "it" - nevertheless still good enough for me to put it somewhere in the middle of my top 30 Stones songs of all time), with the line "If you start me up I'll never stop" always appropriate to us Ultra runners (that's the problem i get injured i start digging out bits of Stones trivia from the deepest recesses of my memory). A big thanks to Lisa for the actual camera work, just a shame i wasn't out there longer so that possibly we could have got some more footage. As for me and Western States, here we are 5 months down the track and i don't regret going to the US for it, but very unlike me i don't (and even more strangely for me) and haven't in any of that time since, have a burning passion to go back and get revenge on that course. There is a little of me say's if i wanted to go back i'd do it totally different, pretty much just rock up on the Friday and run on the Saturday (and avoid the hype) but frankly i'd be happy just to do some other Ultras over there when i get the chance, was surprised just how much i enjoyed the US (well California at least) and with the number of Ultras there not a hard thing to do (damn that means at some future date there will be a new AussieRunner blog just don't hold your breath :-)).
Anyway at present refuse to plan ahead racewise, first to recover from injuries and then i guess we'll see what happens. It'll feel strange this Melbourne Cup long weekend, the last 17 years have been either the 4 Peaks Run (9 times) in Bright or the Three Bays Marathon in Portland (7 times) the only time in recent history i've haven't raced was injured and living in Sydney back in 1995, at least i've got a good gig to enjoy on Friday night James Reyne & Mark Seymour.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Looks like my racing year is pretty much over

Having rather less than intelligently run the Brindabella Classic
on the weekend looks as though my racing year is close to over (at best a Kurrawa to Duranbah 50K, simply because it's just down the road for me).
I think my race report sums it up pretty well:

I think to some degree i needed to do this run simply to give me a reality check as to where i was in terms of GNW & C2K, so i definitely don't regret running yesterday as it certainly gave me that feedback in no uncertain manner.
Somehow i think i should have realised from Saturday morning that this wasn't going to be my weekend as it started off with 25 minutes just to get from one side of Caulfield race course to the other in the car (Never thought they'd be doing things with Cup traffic at 8AM !), and then once i'd made it to Robert's (who i was driving up with) suburb i then discovered his street didn't exist in my 1995 Melways so spent lot's of time driving around (and i'll make no comments about mobile coverage in suburbia !).
Finally we got there, first and probably last time i'll stay at the Embassy (ought to stick to Quenbayan), room was too hot too sleep and wedding reception meant that really didn't get to sleep till near midnight (the only positive being that i caught up with a number of running mates at a dinner organised by last years winner Martin Fryer - who was unfortunately injured so not running this years event but still manning an aid station. Good food, but i reckon i could have easily had a second serve of Spag Bol, washed down by a very nice locally brewed beer).
After that rather less than fantastic Saturday i was hoping for a better Sunday, wasn't too fussed about the heat but did have the injury worries in my mind.
Interesting bus trip, particularly the hole we got in the bus just before the top !!! - we had a large stick poke through.
Certainly the road was rougher than i can ever recall in 10 downhill Brindys, so was very careful watching where i put my feet making me a little slower but other than that seemed to be all right.
Once we were back on tracks was feeling good, so after being passed by the group with Horrie earlier, i caught up and then decided to put a bit of speed on as i was definitely planning to take it easy on the ups. That worked for a while, but then at around 20K's, the right knee just "locked" on me momentarily and that was essentially my race over, hard to explain but the muscles in that leg seemed to spasm upwards to the side of the hip and from then on my whole body was out of whack.
My guess is sciatic nerve, as the calf problems in my left leg are related to it and i have a decent idea of how it affects me but i will need to get it checked out.
From there onwards it was a case of only being able to do what my body let me in terms of movement.
Had a chat with Kerry, the first lady, on the way down from Bulls Head and seemed to find a bit of running ability (at a guess my strides were about half there usual length), probably just my typical racing mentality meant i did feel the pain for a little while so had to use that while it lasted.
Absolutely broke down with around 15K's to go, me and Mick Corlis taking turns to walk, run and mainly hobble and from then on can't say i've ever enjoyed running downhill so little.
Was passed by numerous runners and totally frustrated when i was no longer even able to walk decently (it was more crablike), was not happy watching walkers streaking away from me , but by now finishing was my one goal.
Didn't enjoy the climb over the gate (had thoughts of me being stuck there for a while with one leg on either side), but once over knew it was mainly downhill and tried to run. "Tried to run" was the operative word as sometimes i could and sometimes the body just stopped pretty much seized up.
Best i can say is my PW here is now just under 6 Hours by 15 seconds, don't reckon i've ever been so happy to see a finish line as the last couple of starts.
Would have loved to have stayed around and had a longer yarn, but had to head back as i knew that sitting in a car was going to be rather hard knowing how the muscles were so was expecting numerous stops.
As usual well organised and a great course but the fact that the minimum temperature recorded at Mt Ginini (the start) was 10.1 (usually it would struggle to be zero) always meant that with minimal tree cover the last half (because of the bushfires)it was going to get hot and be a hard one (apparently it reached the forecast 31 degrees), meant it was inevitable there would be a few dnf's, with 33 finishers from the original field of 37 and me in a very ugly 20th place just over 2 hours behind the winner.

Was very thankful Robert did all the driving on the way back as i had enough problems just lying in the car seat, and by the time we'd got back to his place (after 10), was happy to stay the night (even happier to have half a pre ordered pizza washed down with a VB before turning in).
At the moment i am being treated by a manipulative physiotherapist, if amount of pain caused during treatment is anything to go by i must be well on my way to being fixed, but certainly running seems out the question the next few weeks, personally i'm more worried about what effect it will have on my plans for next year but on a more serious note first i have to be able to run (walking is a struggle at present).
One more blog post to go as sooner or later i will complete a Melbourne Marathon report,

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Trust a German runner to do a blog of the race with great pictures.

I've, just had the following blog passed onto me, although it's in German (hey i'm trying to sort out exactly the comments where i'm mentioned actually mean :-)), it's got some great pictures and has brought back so many memories i thought it was worth passing it on (unfortunately blogger refuses to show these links if i put them in correctly so i've just had to copy the exact links themselves):
Days 0, 1 & 2[tt_news]=138&cHash=61dfa14f1d
Days 3, 4 & 5[tt_news]=144&cHash=10c37bd86a
Days 6, 7 & 8[tt_news]=149&cHash=73f776e25f
Days 9, 10 & 11[tt_news]=153&cHash=4d11a63c79
Had to include the above picture, i'm sure some people think i've deserted the Glasshouse 100 Miler, this at least shows i was thinking of it (the T Shirt !),

The return to Australia

As the edit to my last entry mentioned i had to spend an extra day in Lorrach (no umlauts i could find on an Australian keyboard) as my accommodation in Zurich was booked for the day after, after making that edit to my last post the weather cleared. That gave me the chance to walk into two other countries, when the weather cleared, i followed the bike path along the river (The Rhine ?) into Basel (Switzerland) and seeing signs that i was only a few more K's to Huningnue (France) thought i may as well go there as well. Seems strange after running 17 days in one country that in the space of a few hours i can visit another 2.
By the time i left France it was pretty much evening, so followed the road rather than the dark bike paths, was glad when i finally saw the McDonalds (by my calculations a mile or two from the hotel), and even went in and got a cappucino and chips (ah yes the simple pleasures !!).
Only problem in the dark, what were big intersections in daylight looked no bigger than other corners and i eventually missed my turn off, thankfully decided i need to head away from the river and eventually made it to the railway, on seeing a station had a better idea of where i was and followed the line back backwards, eventually making it back around 10. So another 8 hour day on my feet (i must be nuts).
Beautiful to finally sleep in a double bed (as opposed to a sleeping bag on my air mattress), it's amazing how a stage race makes you appreciate the simple things, late breakfast and then the train to Zurich.
Shame i never did any shopping in Basel or i would have realised a problem (money), i got out of the train (the TGV from Paris to Zurich), and went straight into the supermarket and then had this shocking revelation, Switzerland doesn't use Euros !!!.
So funny enough my first stop (as threatened long ago in this blog), was at a bank, needed to change Euros into Swiss Francs.
Thankfully my hotel was nearby, right above a disco actually that explains why the rooms were cheap !, and just happy to collapse upon my bed and have a rest (unfortunately my suitcases, although now without the weight of the air mattresses, still added up to around 27 KG's).
Not sure if it's the fact that your body is now used to being on it's feet for hours everyday or whether i'm just a cheapskate tourist, but the next two days were spent walking all over Zurich. Saturday it's a look around the city proper (and a bit of window shopping - pretty sure Zurich is not a cheap city to live in), but then follow the Limmat out to the edge of suburbia (out to the grapevines)a place called Oberengstringen, lovely mountain views and in the distance the city. Walk back on the other side of the Rhine as night falls (even Doner Kebaps are expensive here), and finally back in time to hear the disco i must have slept through on the Friday night.
Sunday was off to the Zurich See, couldn't help thinking of Canberra and Lake Burley Griffin, all the footpaths are also bike paths so when i see i'm actually 15K's away from the centre of town (and still over 10K's from a place i had plans to visit real mountains from), decided to cut my losses and head up and also find some food (not easy on a Sunday believe me !).
First place i saw was a Starbucks, so rather famished ordered a "normal size" Cappucino, reckon that's the last time they ever get my business, a mug of coffee is fine, but when over half of it is foam and approx $5 (5.40 Swiss Francs), ridiculous and even then all i could get was a donut (at 1.80 CHF). Thankfully just down the road, there was a railway station and yet another Doner Kebap stand, had a slightly different one this time just what i needed. Great walk back, over the high route, no idea where i was heading but as long as the city was in front i was fine.
Thankfully the City Centre supermarket was open on Sundays (nothing else was) and even better open till 8, so just in time to buy something to make dinner and for lunch before Mondays flight back.
With a 3PM flight on Monday (scheduled to get back to Melbourne 1AM Wednesday), had a feed then thought i may as well have a look around the town by dark, alot of people about especially as the Zurich film festival is on (saw the red carpet but no stars i recognised). Shame i've never worked out how to get decent pictures in the dark, i'll just have to have them as memories.
Anyway full plane from Zurich to Dubai (somehow i had the very back seat nearest the toilets, poor fellow in the next aisle had a non working seat(they actually took the seat apart to try to fix it but couldn't and were unable to move him as all seats were taken. 2AM at Dubai and 41 degrees, walking from plane to airport bus (airport renovations meant a 10 minute bus trip to terminal), was like wandering into an oven.
Three hours in Dubai (possibly the worlds worst free airport internet computers, if they worked the odds were the characters were rubbed off the keyboards - i'm no touch typist !), and then Melbourne via Singapore.
An hour stop at Singapore (and unlike the trip there we had to get off the plane), with 20 minutes to get out the plane (again i was at the back but this time with a window seat), and then a queue of another 20 minutes to go through the machines etc to go back on (me i never cared whether i saw Changi airport again, i'd had a gutful of it last year !!!), so maybe a chance for a real toilet break.
Finally back at Melbourne 1:45 AM, and by the time i'd cleared customs etc, was home at around 3:30, only a few days to recover for the Melbourne Marathon (above is the article that had been in the local paper while i was away), now that's another story (and probably a good way to finish this blog).

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

After 16 days looks like the German 6 Foot Track Marathon

Three start times 6:30, 7:00 and our 7;15. Start was an unwelcome shock, up 400 metres to our highest point (1,300 m) meaning it was freezing cold and also that i was left alone as, unlike the others, i had no intention of running uphill. Once at the top very steep downhills followed by very skinny, slippery tracks following waterfalls. Thankfully my love of running downhill meant i got to catch up and pass many of the earlier runners. This went on for almost 30ks and then a hiccup, some local clown had turned some arrows around !, a number of us lost 5 minutes. By the next checkpoint i had caught Trond & Hiroko (being paced by JB), sadly was run off my legs by Trond to finish second in 5:57:43 to his 5:41:40 overall i was 4th in 141:25:05 Hiroko 124:40:33 Trond 132:44:15 Jörge 139:29:11 Note figures are correct but blog completed after long celebration dinner :-)
Edit 27/9
Hope everyone enjoyed the blog, some of those early posts were a bit ordinary simply due to exhaustion (and my mind does work strangely when exhausted !!!).
In terms of blogs also worth reading this one of Russell Secker (funny thing is back in the mid nineties i may well have met him as he works for Hoovers - part of Dun & Bradstreet - and he was saying he was in the Sydney office back in the days i worked there, either way i do recall his name as a "cc" on many memos)

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

The hills are alive with the sound of runners

Anyone who has ever seen the movie "Sound of Music" would have a fair idea of the scenery experienced today, steep mountain meadows, picturesque farm chalets and cattle wearing cowbells set against pine forests (after all yesterday we did run through "The Black Forest"). Lovely in theory but in reality damned cold. Bit of rain about when the 6:30 group left so decided to risk wearing bike shorts (considering the rather tender chafing problems the last few days rain would not be good !). Our 7AM group was up to 8 with 5 day runners. Two wrong turns (firstly by Trond and then by Hiroko) meant we wasted 10 minutes getting out of town (i suppose if i had been leading we would still be running around St Georgen). A bit of road and then steep downhill bikepaths meant again i was stuck in the no mans land of third. Passed early race leader Jürge before the 2nd aid station, a shadow of his former self through injuries but still gutsing it out to finish (and barring total disaster he will still finish in front of me 3rd overall). From then on steadily passed the earlier runners but the energy wasted just keeping warm meant running up the hills just wasn't an option so Trond was steadily getting away.

Monday, 24 September 2007

As race Mondays go i guess this was a better one.

Had an interesting nights sleep, early on i could feel my legs blowing up and then later (after raising them) going down. It was a real out of body experience and i was worried what the morning would bring. Sleep in today with 6:30 and 7:30 starts as only 57kms. Had the same group of five so again it was Hiroko and Trond dashing ahead with me stuck in the middle (not a great start either pretty much straight downhill). Pretty much a trail (and bike trail run) the first 23ks and i had a feeling i could spend the whole day last. Just before the 32k checkpoint finally caught up with some of the earlier runners (could not run uphill and really had to put the brakes on downhill). At the 49k checkpoint was surprised to find the figure i'd been chasing was Trond so of course adrenaline kicked in and finished 2nd in 6:33:
04 behind Hiroko's 6:18:39. Mayoral reception at the St Georgen Rathaus and then all you can eat Chinese, short distance tomorrow (51.7 K) but mainly steep ups and downs so i'll be taking it very easy (hopefully a more relaxing sleep tonight!)

Sunday, 23 September 2007

One day a rooster next a feather duster.

The 7AM group today consisted of only 5 runners (us 3 from yesterday and 2 day runners) that worried me a bit. My fears were well founded as Hiroko & Trond streaked away and the day runners fell back leaving me alone in the middle (never a particulary fast starter as i use the first 10k's to warm the muscles). This was fine the first 15k's but then my navigational "skills?" kicked in. Managed to misread a rightfacing as left and spent the next few minutes heading that way until i found a distinct intersection with no markings, i then thought i must have headed left a road early (there were two very close), was thankful i turned back as the other 2 runners had now turned up and pointed to the arrow on the other side of the road (which i hadn't seen!) at least all i'd wasted was 15 minutes. Aid station at the 1,000K mark (23k's) meant i'd gone approx 15k's with nothing other than water, at least now i had the chance to discard jacket and beanie and remove gloves. Into the large city of Herrenberg via bikepath (even had a chat - in English - with a cyclist) and finally passed one of the 6AM group, from then on regularly picked up runners but towards the end my right hamstring was "gone", almost thankful for the uphills toward the end as it meant i could stretch the muscle the other way. Horb Am Neckar being Ingo's hometown meant we got a rousing welcome just before the end with a brass band and a carnival (and i could not resist a delicious slice of cake). Finished, virtually lame, in 6:49 well behind Hiroko's 6:10 but still good enough for 3rd today (and more importantly slipping into 4th overall). Was in very ordinary shape when i finished (not helped by distances between aid stations either being too long or too short). Possibly dehydrated was given a litre of water and another of alcohol free beer (seriously it's a sportsdrink here!) to consume. Just back from my massage and i know tomorrow will be slow, as my right leg is as fixed as possible but still very "proppy" - shades of Trans Gaule.

Saturday, 22 September 2007

At last a real stage win

Thankfully being Saturday we had a few one day runners meaning our 7AM group consisted of 6 (Hiroko, Trond and i as well as 3 of them). Felt strange with the main group leaving as though my family was being taken away. Read 50 pages of my book as well as bit of a chat with others (after all we were the english speakers), but was still my typical nervy self pre race. Was strange leaving in daylight and was happy to leave Trond bowling along in front. By the second checkpoint had caught up with a couple of the earlier group which was a big boost. By checkpoint 3 (27ks) it was off with coat and gloves and time to put the "race face" on. The last couple of days i'd been going the "splash & dash" option at aid stations rather than my earlier "5 minute picnic" option and today, being shorter distance wise, knew i'd have to improve it even further to have a chance of a win. Around 40ks i finally caught sight of Trond (Hiroko had not been that well last night and this morning but is too strong a competitor to put out of calculations either). At the 44.2 km checkpoint i arrived a few seconds after Trond and was happy to let him leave first, waiting for a hill to surge and pass. After that spent way too much time on a winding road with sweeping curves that i swear the locals were using to test their high performance locally made cars. Finally hit the last aid station and decided to go for broke for the last 7.2k's to Mannenheim eventually winning in 6:15:30 (with Trond 15 minutes adrift and Hiroko a further 18 behind), absolutely rapt but also knowing i'd be taking it much easier tomorrow as after all the main aim is to make it to the end and my best possible finish is 4th overall (assuming all remaining 21 finish). So don't expect a podium finish tomorrow.

Friday, 21 September 2007

First past the post again (but only first male)

After yesterdays performance i was finally running with some confidence (and those who know me realise that me with confidence is a helluva better runner). Was happy to lead the 6AM group out (7AM being only the leaders Hiroko and Trond), not a barrel of laughs as we took the l1025 out into the dark (no streetlights only oncoming cars lighting the way) towards Krautheim. Was 4 degrees there (reckon it had warmed up in those first 5K's) as we kept on going into heavy traffic. From then on it was more picturesque roads shrouded in fog, 30k's saw me finally remove the beanie and after some steep climbs through lovely orchards finally took the coat off at 37.8 k's. Was feeling strong (and sights like soaring eagles were making me feel good), so refusing to look behind me i pushed up a gear. Lovely shaded roads with gentle ups and downs were ideal for me at my cockiest. At 48.7 km hit my favourite checkpoint, the one with hot food and dessert, had a good feed and powered on. Bike path took us to big town where AUDI is made and main thing was to not get killed in traffic (on a lighter note at least one runner had a feed at the McDonalds drive through). Temperature was now showing as 25, and from then on it was good bike paths, must have been running as well as i thought as no sign of Hiroko (or the recovering Rosemary who every day ran the first 3 checkpoints and then rode her pushbike the rest of the way). Make it first past the post again (although my cries of "Aussie Aussie Aussie" again leaves the locals confused). Early day means time to wash clothes and even to sightsee (well i did see - and enjoy - the Biberach Ðoner Kebap shop for lunch) as well as an early massage. Ultimately Hiroko did get in within the hour (thus relegating me to second), but still very happy as appear to finally running myself into decent shape. Unfortunately have no choice but a 7am start tomorrow (can only hope my mind games have some effect against the other 2 but i doubt it). Days highlight was the eagles soaring but a couple of jet fighters with sonic boom was also memorable. Day in figures for 72.7 km stage was 7:38 with Hiroko 7:18:38 and Trond 3rd in 8:04:31 with 22 still capable of finishing.

My moment of glory (if first past the post counts for anything)

Today was the day i was not looking forward to, the last really long stage (85.9K's). Started with the 6AM group again though originally allocated 7AM, and found another icy morning awaiting us. Quickly found myself in the leading group of 3 and this continued for the next 18K's. From then on me and Hans continued our game of "ultra distance chess" (a game he'd beaten me at comprehensively so far), he'd be just ahead and i was always a little behind meeting often at aid stations. Today he was having ankle problems though. As i'd become almost resigned to, Hiroko caught up at checkpoint 4 (38K's) and typically i spent the next 10K's her just behind Hans just in front. Come the 48k station and we all ate and left in the same order. Had a few problems navigating around roadworks (we had to cut across a paddock when we saw she had the right trail). From then on plenty of lovely bike paths, Hiroko soon left us in her wake, as we continued our battle. From 58k's we had a long 12k's to the next aid station. Finally passed Hans and then went on, for what seemed forever, to finally reach the 70k (spent much time going through apple orchards and spent much time hoping a group of pickers would be an aid station). From then on it was steep ups and downs and finally down through forest roads to the end. Was surprised to see JB out running the other way, he was looking for Hiroko who must have missed a turn in the last 5K's. What this meant was i was first past the post, receiving much unwarranted adulation from the local media and local schoolkids (just what is my autograph worth here?). The real winner was Hiroko, followed by Trond with me third in 10:55:30 enough to move me to 6th overall. Still having back problems but body in best shape so far.

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Am i back in the Aussie bush?

Woke up to a freezing, still morning, just like a morning at Wagga Wagga or Coonabarabran marathons. Legs were great after last nights massage but i thought it safest to start in my warm woolen beanie. Second of our group for a longtime and then at checkpoint 4(43 km) Hiroko caught up with me. Typically was spurred on to lead her for the next 10k's and in the process catch the leader at that next aid station. Was quite happy to leave them in front and pretty much cruise the rest of the way in. Finally removed the jacket after 60K's and last aid station was Astheim a lovely winegrowing area reminding me of France (we even had a tasting of the local produce there). Ran in with one of our crew and in 9.5 hours was finished. Tonight it's massage on that incredibly tight hamstring. Just as a footnote we now have a new overall leader Hiroko

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Wet and cold

Lying here in the sleeping bag in the German version of a "one horse town" Unteresfeld just happy to be warm and dry for the first time today. Rained often last night and i arose suspecting the worst, thankfully on closer inspection the heaviest "rain" was actually the flowing of a nearby stream. We started at 6:15 as this was not an area with streetlights (as well as 3 7AM starters Jörge, Hiroko & Trond). Wet, cold and miserable sums up my first few hours, with the rain i was wearing bike shorts and i'd taken the risk and put on my lighter Nike Air Zooms. Seemed to be heading forever up and down to Coburg (and no sign of Sydney Road). I spent most of my time 2nd or 3rd and am sure i wouid have enjoyed more if drier as it was truly postcard scenery. Eventually the rain did stop and i found the bike shorts were making a mess of my quads so put on the running shorts at 46Ks (after being passed by Trond & Hiroko). From then on it was a case of just getting there which did in around 8.5 hours. Hope to get the quads massaged tonight but first it's a visit from the Burgermeister. Funny the affect of running i have put on 3Kgs so far at this rate i'll need a new set of fat clothes for the flight back.

Monday, 17 September 2007

Maybe i just don't do Mondays ?

Another Monday and for 57k's a shocker. Was asked to start at 7 but convinced Ingo that the nervous energy i would waste in that hour would cost me at least 1/2 an hour so started with the majority at 6. Didn't have a great deal of fun leading us out as the minimal lighting made the arrows hard to spot. Was happy to settle into 2nd then 3rd place out of town. Was 17 degrees by the first checkpoint so took the green jacket off. Seemed a bit flat (possibly just the thought of almost 80ks was enough after 2 shorter days). Progressively warmer as i worked my way through many ups and downs. After 45k's 7AM starter Hiroko caught up with me, that finally spurred me on as we ran together to the 48K checkpoint. After that she disappeared into the distance and i was back to struggling. Was passed easily by Trond (another 7 starter) and by the 57km checkpoint was joined by race leader Jorg and my regular sparring partner Frank. They all left well before as i spent at least 10 minutes there changing into Striders singlet and lighter camelbak in an attempt to salvage a vaguely decent run. Typically race mongrel me was spurred on by seeing Frank struggle in front of me and i finally found that extra gear i'd been lacking all day. Hit the massive town of Ilmenau and was rapt to see the aid station celebrating our half way point (603K's). From then on a run through the forest (with picture postcard views of our destination town of Manebach), as well as beating the rain in (lots of black clouds the last hour). A little over 10 hours, should be enough to entrench me in 7th overall. A few back niggles so will have a massage after dinner, hopefully a much better nights sleep (last night struggled to sleep for the first time - now i know we have lots of snorers!). Tomorrow is relatively short but apparently lots of real mountains!.

70K's with a trail run in the middle

Forecast was for warmer fine weather, but still very cold at 6. No skins socks today (primary use was to keep the calf tight and doubted that with my speed now that was an issue), but was back in the windproof rain jacket. Happily it was quiet on the roads with many ups and downs as we ran out of the valley and was in second place of our group. At the second aid station removed my jacket and beanie as the sun was shining brightly. 30K's in we hit bush trails and a steady upwards climb reduced me to a walk and it was just like being back home. Aid station at top and then a lovely downhill to 40 and back to roads. Wind farms nearby so expected breeze and sure got it a damned headwind. Was passed by 7AM starters Hiroko and Jorge, and followed him all the way to the end. Smaller town with brass band and bratwurst and beer tent outside our hall. Highlight for me was flock of white swans in the river as we ran last part along bike path. Results wise was around 8:20.

Saturday, 15 September 2007

Almost a rest day

Not often i will call a 66.9K run a rest but after the last few days this looked comparatively easy. I'd woken up fine after last nights worries (after last nights blog a cold shower and a shave seemed to me i had a bit of heatstroke). With a forecast of rain later carried the "green jacket" but put on my thermal top as was cooler. With the first 5 leaving at 7 no one really wanted to lead so i was stuck with navigating us out of town (a worrying prospect to people who know my navigational ability). In the distance wind farms so knew a windy day awaited. Hard work with much wind against us, but being Saturday roads were quiet early. Interesting sight was a group of cars parked nowhere, saw later it was a group of hunters (of what i dont know) with their dogs. Kept on running to what was virtually a pyramid made of mining tailings and the road was getting busier. Then onto a rough track & cobblestoned roads to slow us down. At 51k could see it wouldnt rain so left jacket and beanie (which after yesterday i replaced with Legionairres cap) at aid station as well removing gloves. From then on it was a group of 5 jockeying for position (including 2 7AM starters and Trans Gaule organiser JB who unfortunately hadnt finished a stage since his 50th birthday on day 3. Saw the town of Eisleben for a long way (it even has a massive Dreamworld type park), and again finish was other side of town. Crossed the line Trond (7AM starter and member of the English speaking group along with Frenchman JB, Japanese lady Hiroko and English Texan Russell and his crew Diana) in 7:52:29 for 6th place. My sort of day with early finish, time for cappucino & cake and then lunch with JB, Hiroko & Trond (sweet & sour pork washed down with Chzecoslavakian Budweiser) as well as finally a chance to wash and dry clothes. Anyway now it's leg massage time.

Friday, 14 September 2007

Finally sun

A short post as am exhausted and need sleep. We did have to walk the 500 metres to breakfast but worth it as finally cereal. Change of gear to ASICS DS trainers as i was a little sore after Humaras no tongue sock style had rubbed a little (otherwise great shoes). After 18 k's sun come out and unbelievably handed jacket in at aid station (at a guess most Europeans must reckon i was born in it - reckon i singlehandedly ruined any sponsorship deal with Mountain Designs :-)) . Next 30k's was mainly good bike paths but i could see our invaluable aid station people were getting to know me when station 3 had "Start me up" playing. Again the top 5 started at 7 and was passed by first male and then just before 46 by Hiroki. The picnic was then over 5k's of unrunnable stones. Lost rhythm walking and struggled on another busy road, took a 500 metre wrong turn
(confused by roadworks). Rapt to see last aid station (& 250ml's of local brew). From then on good bikepaths into town of Steinbech. Long run across town to finish which i did in just under 9.5 hours. Two serves of pasta bolognese should see me through tomorrow (66ks). No official results up yet but i need sleep more only know 29 of the original 4 0 can go all the way.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Another day another 80 odd K's

After yesterdays effort i can honestly say i was almost looking forward to a "short" 81.8 km run into Jerichow (i must be nuts!). Had a few problems last night, after my medical check had to sit down and needed to lie down for an hour typical me but it must be hell for race directors (probably explains my off the wall post which i sent off as soon as i found i had 3G access unedited). Lots of casualties today (at last count 7). The theory being complete the first 5 stages and you will finish (me i take it one at a time). Happy with run especially as was sort of sunny after 30k's giving me the chance to take off coat, beanie & gloves (a blistering 16 degrees by a locals thermometer!). Unfortunately yesterdays post must have cursed Hiroka as she was having shoulder problems and i was surprised that she was behind me as i was sitting down to my usual feast at the 51k checkpoint. Was more surprised to keep up with the next 10k's on one of my dreaded "B" roads but by the next aid station decided it safer to back off (she finished 2nd well over an hour in front of me). 68 k's i simply hit the wall, i hadn't noticed it had got colder and had no choice but to don the cold weather gear and walk to the 71k aid station whilst being passed by another runner (used my solitary GU and then discovered i was out of water). Heaps of food and drink at that station, thankfully discovered that the runner who had passed me was just leaving. Ended up chasing him all the way to the end. Spent endless time running on "rail trail" type bike path with the town church tantalisingly in view. Shame the finish was other end of town!. In short 6th in 9:58:21. 500 metre walk to dinner hall probably did more good than harm (but please not there for breakfast) and then another back massage by Ramona and new painkilling tapes. 322.2 km down now sleep time!

The sunshine bores the daylights out of me

Yep a Stones lyric (Rocks Off - at a guess a lyric written by Keef at his drug addled worst when daylight was not often experienced) but frankly if it was true must have had the most unboring day ever. Started in same gear as yesterday and still had the same 92.3 km (plus one short wrong turn - i was following!) and almost 12 hours later. Interesting start to day, took 20 minutes to feel my shoulder. From then on it was bike paths and thankfully lesser roads, 70ks a little rain but otherwise "just another day in the office". Not sure if being passed by yesterdays top 5 (who started an hour later but i will admit awe regarding Japanese lady Hiroki who did in 2hours what i did the first 3, surely the female Kouros ) was a highlight or a lowlight !

Better days

Short summary as am lacking 3G access. Clear morning gave hopes of better weather, bus to start and, as still cold, sheltered in opposite train station till 6. Same gear as yesterday but with running shorts (bike shorts dont work for my tree trunk like quads so only use when raining to prevent chafing. 3 hours on and sun comes out and coat, beanie and finally gloves come off and headband on, at that point running 4th. At 56km the wheels come off a little when we hit 'the highway from hell' the B road to Stalvenhagen. Semis and fast cars make this a nightmare and the breeze blowing me about further stuffs my sore back. Happy to run the last 3k's with a local schoolkid (who was later to be part of the nights dancing entertainment). Again heaps of food and the highlight a neck massage by our masseuse Ramona. Interestingly she put some painkilling bandages on my neck for tomorrow. Resultswise 8th in 9:22 for the 83ks but longest day to come tomorrow.

Monday, 10 September 2007

Glad to be here, glad to be anywhere!

I should be ashamed using Keef's line as my header but lying in a warm hall and with a full stomach after 2 helpings of meat, potatoes & sauerkraut pretty much it sums up my day. 7AM was on bus to southernmost point Kap Arkona, arrived at 8 for 9AM start most of this time being spent trying to stay dry & warm. Did do the 200 odd steps to the beach as well as seeing where the submarine bunkers were. Finally we were off, me wearing goretex top over CR top, bike shorts, Skins socks, gloves, beanie & Nike Considered Humara shoes. Yes i was freezing !, felt my hands at 5k's but then rain got heavier and by the ferry ride at 21k was freezing again (funnily enough i was in group of 3 at ferry by the time it left there were 14). Spent the next hours ploughing through rain & wind which was steadily my neck & back sore. Was rapt to finally see some sun and Stralsund in the distance over the bay. 4k's to go finally removed jacket and even better finish was closer than i thought not thankfully through town. In short 16th today in 7:43:22 with leader 5:44:10. 8PM here (4am Aust time same as the time we wake tomorrow for start at 6). Just hope Voltaren tablets kick in and i have a good nights sleep ready for a big day.

Sunday, 9 September 2007

14 hours to D day

Well finally here we are at the Knieper West sports halls, despite them only being 3ks from my hotel it took most of the cloudy, cold, drizzling day Saturday (just look up the german Whereis and you will see Arnold zweig Strasse listed 6 times incredibly confusing, i'd actually been in the Aldi it was behind early in the day!). We are truly in the heart of old East Germany, endless blocks of what look like colourful housing commission flats. After settling i headed down to the beach but with 14 degree water temp wasnt tempted to swim. Medical checks (just hope they give me a larger capacity sample cup tomorrow!) and then the rest of the afternoon meeting people (including some familiar faces) and then to the official race briefing and media conference. A massive buffet there (sadly the pasta sauce a little rich for me) and now its back for hopefully a good nights sleep (even passed on a beer, after 1 with lunch yesterday promised myself that would be the last till i finished day one). Now for a deep dreamless sleep and then race day.

Friday, 7 September 2007

I do like to be beside the seaside

Knowing that with the race approaching this would be the only chance possibly for a long blog entry with pictures, here are some !!
Firstly the picture is the Hauptbahnhof for Historic Stalsund where i arrived yesterday afternoon after a 4 hour train journey from Hamburg, did it easy except for the fact that when i bought my ticket it said platform 6 and while i was sitting there wondered why there was a train to Rostock (my first stop) on the next platform.
Thankfully i asked the man there and he said my ticket was wrong, so had to maniacally dash up to the next platform. The trip itself was pretty much fields (some with deer) and windfarms and every 15 minutes or so a station, changed trains at Rostock (strangely changed from platform 3 to platform 7 and they were actually the either side of the same platform whilst 4 to 6 were quite a bit away - strange ???).
Finally at 4 arrive at Stralsund and am looking at my map to my hotel and after 5 minutes realise i am opposite it !!.
Of course there has to be some issue, i check in and find i'm double booked (that explains why one website gave me one cheap price whilst another dozen didn't have anything that cheap), apparently that had happened to a few people so that they had already arranged taxis and alternate (dearer at the cheaper price) accommodation, only downside a couple of K´s away from town (near the Tierpark - Zoo - actually), this brings me to the next two pictures just look at the size of the room for only €60 per night, absolutely massive (although disappointingly what looks like a double bed is two singles - i swear one day i will get a double bed !).
Even got to see "Die Simpsons" on TV, although i`m amazed that with 400 odd episodes to pick from the first one had Grandpa Simpson shooting at Hitler and Monty Burns stealing the Nazis stolen artworks, and the second one was about kicking illegal immigrants out of Springfield, both of these episodes dubbed in Germany were just too ironic to be true.
After that went for a stroll into town, still amazed by the number of cyclists, but finding that these ones appeared to be much more easygoing and stick to their own paths. Can't work out just why there are so many cyclists but it is a good thing (although at the back of my mind i wonder whether incredibly cheap alcohol - €1.49 for a 6 pack of beer - means nobody drives at night ???, as for me i just got to remember i'm here for a reason not just as a tourist !!).
Back by nightfall (9PM) and a great nights sleep, even slept till 8 (wont be doing that soon). As usual a great breakfast put on, heaps of cereal and bread and juice and coffee and boiled eggs etc, i'll be thankful i'm running soon or i'll put on weight :-).
Not sure if a reasonable knowledge of German language is a help or a hindrance, i can understand about half of what is said, but can't think enough to answer fluently (and the less said about my accent the better). As for the actual words everytime i think of breakfast i immediately sing to myself the chorus of the Stones Star Star (and you ask why - frühstücker (breakfaster) always sounds to me like a clean (well actually spoonerised) version of the chorus (and no i won't explain further i'm trying to keep this blog G rated, strange the way my mind works.
Anyway today it was off to the historic town itself, not sure it's actually the seaside (more a bay), but lots of boats and ships and seabirds etc and very tasty "Fisch & slips".
Ancient buildings from 1200 onwards and remains of walls and fortifications from there, so now back to wandering.
A little bit of housekeeping, i do appreciate the comments but can't work out in German how to get them on the blog without me giving authorisation (which i can only do from a pc not the phone), so possibly any comments from now to race end won't go on till later).
Anyway i'm off to explore (with thoughts of the Glasshouse 100 Miler on my mind - but can't be everywhere).

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Hamburg, slightly more restfully

Firstly the Deutschlandlauf formguide is now up, i'm number 18.
After Tuesday nights long whinging blog post, was more relaxed watching Law and Order (incredibly funny to watch one of my favourite TV characters Lenny - Jerry Orbach - dubbed into German although i reckon i only understand one in every 3 words) and basically just recovering from a long day (maybe i needed a shower, a feed and a drink before that post rather than after, cringe when i reread it but don't dare edit it as blogger is in Greman and i'm worried i'll delete the whole thing so it's publish and be damned !).
Had a more relaxing day, taking the train from Billstedt to KellinghusenStrasse, a station the other side of the city. Went for a wander keeping the massive tv tower in sight as i wanted to see whether it was possible to go up it (i'd been told that there was a restuarant which had shut because there was only one fire escape and legally there had to be two just didn't know about anything else.
Eventually get to it and the massive Messehalle (convention centres), but no luck in terms of getting up !!, still €5 for a 3 course lunch salad, lasagne and dessert (and a tasty local beer) meant it was worth coming out that way. Lot's of old fashioned shops reminded me of Greville St in this area.
Kept on walking till i got to Reeperbahn (the start of the infamous and huge red light district - think Kings Cross and multiply it many times) so decided i'd hop on the train and go to the harbour which i'd only touched on the day before.
Absolutely massive (best way to describe would be Circular Quay on steroids), a good mile of shops and eateries and ferries etc, and then the working parts of the harbour. I'd arrived at 3 and thought i'd have an early day, but a couple of hours later had only made it along to Altona and was still on the harbour (finally the sun was out and i'd had the chance to zip the legs off my pants and make them into shorts). Basically kept on walking till i hit the beach and the passages along that way between eateries and mansions followed then by parklands where there were many joggers (thankfully outnumbering cyclists !). No real idea where i was except on the banks of the Elbe, so couldn't be too hard to make it back, finally saw a path to a Bahnhof and found it was Klein Flottbek where the Botanical gardens are but by then was almost 7:30, so waited at station (worth noting the station had it's own pub !!, i can imagine commuters ringing home to say they will be late because of transport problems !!), and then two trains later was back at the Hotel. So again a long day, but now at least i felt i knew my way around.
Only complaint is the number of smokers in Europe, everywhere here there are cigarette vending machines (as opposed to France where there were all condom vending machines !), and whilst buildings are sort of smoke free, there is no real barrier between the smokers and non.
Anyway off to Stralsund today.