Friday, 31 August 2007

Just when Europe thought it was safe

Just a short post, have finally sorted it all out and am off to Deutschlandlauf
Essentially the German version of Trans Gaule, slightly longer distance wise, slighter shorter day wise and slightly harder.
Leaving for Hamburg on Sunday night, and arriving in a place called Stralsund on the 9th for the race start on the 10th, essentially then running south for the next 17 days, and then heading off to Zurich for a few days r & r before heading back for the Melbourne Marathon (makes it all sound so easy !!).
Now that i have a phone with email access (and i'm told it will be fine over there re that access), looks like i should be able to update the blog day by day race wise as i don't think there is an English version of the race results, so i'm keeping my fingers crossed.
Shame the Rolling Stones tour wasn't a month later wouldv'e worked nicely, but still i am looking forward to another stage race and seeing if i can put into practice what i learnt last year, only disappointment the race finishes relatively close to Munich, but the fact that Oktoberfest is on makes accommodation there ridiculously expensive so rather than post race beers at Oktoberfest it's off to Zurich (and strangely a cheaper flight home).

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Next race - yeah i'm being cryptic again !!

For the poor people out there who have been following this blog and reading about my "temporary running retirement" and all those other issues of late, not least of all the fact that this seemingly indestructible runner has of recent times been like a racehorse ready for the glue factory (although at least without equine influenza :-)), finally i've sort of got my running act back together.
Went for a run last night to Albert Park for the 5K Gunn run, did at least mean i got to see a great view of the Total Eclipse as well, did this in a fairly underwhelming 20:56 but considering i'd run 6K's to get there (and only just be on time) was relatively content as at least the calf seemed reasonable (could feel it, but after that one post race beer really couldn't remember it) and was fine on the run home (after all the final series of The Sopranos started last night so had good reason to be content when i made it in the door).
So this morning decided i'd see about what was next for me, still felt like i needed a holiday before the final move north in November, and felt as though i really needed a good long (ie not having to run as fast as i would in a marathon !!) run.
Bottom line i now have a trip arranged (well i have to pay for it tomorrow as i'm heading off Sunday), assuming my body doesn't break down tomorrow morning.
I think Richard or Robert and some of the runners at Shepparton may have an idea where that next start will be, but i won't make an official announcement until it's all paid for and sorted.
Hint: Not in Australia, also theoretically i'd want to change the name of this blog but doubt i will, yes i will be back for the Melbourne Marathon but with only 4 days to spare doubt it'll be a fast one,
Stay tuned,

Monday, 27 August 2007

Greater Shepparton Marathon and then at last some joy (A Richmond win !)

Saturday headed off to Shepparton for the 10th Marathon there, my 8th Start there having missed with France last year and illness in 2004, really this was going to be my make or break run as i still had no idea really how what sort of shape my body was in racingwise. First time i'd stayed in Shepparton the night before since my DNF in the 100K there in 1995 so call me superstitious, but a lovely 22 degree day awaited me which sounded way more tempting than a drive up in the dead of the morning. Put my entry in that afternoon (quite a bargain $50 for a full marathon) and then walked a lap of the course in the afternoon sun.
For me strangely a good nights sleep only waking twice (as opposed to my usual hourly wake to look at the clock most times pre race at unfamiliar motels), so good a sleep and not helped by me typically trying to relax so reading, that i only got to the race start with 5 minutes to spare. Large number of runners there, 38 in the Marathon but the field boosted by 68 in the half and 67 in the 10K looked even bigger as we huddled around the start line. Heaps of familiar faces but not much time to exchange greetings, although seeing Sydney Coolrunner Wriggler (Guy Doulman) i reckon i had a pretty fair idea who the winner of my event would be.
Thankfully we started a couple of minutes late, and i soon got into a decent stride, for the first time since the Sri Chinmoy 30K (and the first time i'd tried to run fast since then - the Ultras being totally different events) i felt the calf early on. Still trying to push along as hard as possible as this was pretty much the event that would determine what i'd do between now and Melbourne Marathon, so put thoughts of pain out of my head and just kept on chasing. 4K mark had my first drink, and as sometimes happens to me, the Powerade just seemed to sit on my stomach so next time i was having to have water and try the Powerade again a little later on, by 7K's i'd caught up with Coolrunner FitPT (Chris MacTaggart) and we had a chat for a while i was hoping that may relax me a bit (don't often chat as i'm usually to focussed but i knew now it was going to be a struggle as calf, followed by Powerade indigestion didn't really augur well). Eventually Chris pulled away and i was being pushed along by footsteps of another couple of runners, eventually went through the first lap in 1:01:?? so it wasn't looking good at all (in the back of my mind i feared this was possible all along). Next lap ran along with the the other two but they eventually just slipped away, not like me at all on a second lap, so really it was a case of just focussing on getting through and ignoring any negativity, at least this time the Powerade did the trick or at least didn't sit on my gut, still i was struggling in the cold headwind (was enjoying the heat otherwise), and went through that lap with the clock almost at 2:06 so had slowed considerably.
Was hoping that the third lap would fire me up, but just seemed to be plodding making up a little ground on those in front but otherwise slowing down (not totally convinced the the Nike Air Zoom's i'd bought for Runaway Bay 24 Hour were really working for me either), was taken aback to be passed 5K's into the last lap, definitely something i'm not used to being passed 33 K's into a marathon, and more shocked when i just couldn't go with him. By then it was just a case of finishing without getting too shocking a time.
Results are here
3:13:26 My slowest since Medoc last year (and that had the good excuse of Trans Gaule before it !!), and probably my worst Marathon performance since Portland Three Bays in October 2004.
Think that only goes to show that my body at this point needs a rest more than a race or a run, maybe a good time to end this blog too !!.
Anyway Guy won (he'd been running 3rd when i last saw him but was running much better than the leading two so it looked inevitable to me), and i was a very ordinary 7th, also a PB to Robert Boyce (who's been having a great year Ultra wise), and 35 finishers overall. A big thanks to the organisers for another top event, shame my running wasn't in the same class. Have to admit when i was out there i just couldn't work out what enjoyment Peter Gray was getting from his running nowadays as he struggled to another sub 6 Hour finish (believe me i was getting minimal enjoyment out there running the time i did couldn't imagine any all from an hour or more longer out there).
After a good feed of sandwiches and cake (and a return to pick up my certificate), was off to the Ardmona Factory outlet (where i bumped into a couple of other runners) and then to the MCG.
I could say i enjoyed the drive, until i finally got to the MCG, me and 88,467 others, finally got a spot a good mile away and then realised just how stiff and sore my body was.

The pictures above give some idea just how high in the Olympic Stand i was, definitely a hard climb post Marathon (although i was sick of people going past complaining that where they were going they'd need an oxygen mask - bet they hadn't run marathons that day !!).
Far from a high standard match, but i'll take any Richmond win and the first time this year i've been able to belt out the club song (knowing my singing the less chances i get to sing the better).
Then all the hullabaloo for Sheeds and Hird, post match, a lap of honour for each and fireworks, i'll admit i was there partly as respect for Sheeds (i'd happily have him as Richmond coach but know that financially we can't dispense of Terry Wallace still can always hope he'll come back to the side he played 251 games for at some point - after all twice i'd met him at Richmond matches when he was a guest of the club and he always come across as a good bloke). Certainly James Hird had been a good player over the years and had overcome many career threatening injuries and deserved a good send off but for mine this was way over the top, i could easily name at least 20 players that i had seen who were actually better than him and had done more in their career but only a small quibble.
As for the drive home, totally impossible to avod traffic jammed roads, so would have been better off (and faster) walking home, but doubted i'd get back early enough Monday to pick the car and avoid parking rstrictions, certainly a long day.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

A real update

Unfortunately i've not been able to update this blog since the last (seemingly mysterious, cryptic post), wasn't actually meant to be keeping the few readers in suspense simply lack of internet access and more worryingly not being able to update via my mobile phone as not having access to a charger.
So firstly the problem was Poison Oak, much worse looking than the picture above (both legs from ankle to hip as well as left wrist), my doctor actually took some photos however really they are just too gruesome (even if i had them).
The course of antibiotics i was on wasn't helping the rest of my body that much either as i proved when running the Glasshouse Mountains 50K on Saturday 28th July, frankly the legs didn't feel like they wanted to go anywhere (and as for my stupidity in heading back up Mt Beerburrum the second time i don't think my mind was on it). At least heading north finally meant that i got rid of my cold and could enjoy some warm weather as well as bathing my legs in the Pacific Ocean.
Finally a couple of weeks later i was feeling much better as well as having finished the course of antibiotics so in theory i was back to normal.
Decided to do the Gold Coast 24Hour race, firstly because i'd been threatening to run a 24 Hours for years (after a couple of rather less than successful race walks in 1999 & 2000), and secondly as they were only just up the road and thirdly if my body was still rubbish at least i didn't need to go far to get aid and pull out.
Having arrived the day before, and watched the starters in the 48 Hour race, i had a fair idea what i was in for. I'd bought new shoes only the day before, as i had only two pairs of Nike Frees with me (as i'd only planned to be up north 4 Days !!!), and this track appeared to need something with more cushioning.
Best said i ran consistently through the day, thoroughly enjoying the heat (27 degrees), and clocking up consistent milage and thankfully feeling pretty good, however not being anxious to push myself too hard (i'd be honest and say the only times i ran fast were when i'd be singing along to Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run" on the PA System, i should have supplied some Stones for more fast laps).
Come night time i knew i'd have some issues, from topless with shorts and legionnaires cap, i was soon in skins, thermal top and beanie and as the night wore on added another top, a jumper and evenentually goretex jacket and tracksuit pants.
After 12 Hours i had 100.4 KM's under my belt, so it looked like barring disaster 100 Miles was very possible and maybe a place chance.
As usual the big issue for me was my hands, had only one pair of gloves and by 1AM the hands were just numb with cold and i was wasting energy just trying to keep them warm (Raynaud's Disease, soon i was off the track trying to warm them and keep the rest of the body warm. Wrapped up in a blanket, and eating warm food but still unable to feel my hands the idea of wrapping my hands in a towel dipped in hot water, sounded good. Unfortunately not the case, think it was the sudden "rush of blood to the head", broke out into a sweat and went into shock, thankful i was sitting at the time or i would have collapsed. Next i was hyperventilating and wanting to throw up, so it was decided that it was best i lie down. Maximum time of the track for this event is two hours so i knew exactly how long i was allowed to lie down but who knows what would happen after that. So i was helped to the bench in the toilets and covered in blankets and slept soundly, waking up just before i was due to be woken (typical me). Feeling much improved (and wearing a pair of the race organisers much thicker gloves), just kept plodding on (i'd been wearing my lightest Free's since the 57KM mark as since then my gait had deteriorated into a shuffle which meant that the hard surface wasn't an issue as i wasn't thumping onto the ground), at times getting a good walking style going (not sure if it was the rest or the tight skins but my knees had tightened up and refused to bend so running was out of the question), just waiting for the sun to rise.
Finally i finished with 157.2 KM's not quite there but knowing that it was achievable if only i could find a run where the temperature drop was not so severe.
At the moment my plans are hazy, having driven back from the Gold Coast on Monday Night (after a day and a half of rain i was dubious as to how floods on the Northern rivers of NSW could stuff things up having been stranded many years ago), i know i've missed Trans Gaule (it's day 7 already), and am still tempted by the States but considering that Melbourne Marathon is only 6 weeks away maybe i'll just stick to Australia (and it's warmer regions just relaxing rather than running), so maybe this blog will end quicker than originally planned.
Looks like Shepparton Marathon on Sunday, see what happens pushing when i push my body there, then i can make some more concrete plans.