Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Now the knee

Still no mobile phone, the courier didn't turn up, but with the physio this arvo probably turned up when i wasn't there !!.
As mentioned in the last post the piriformis problem seems to be all right with the appropriate exercises but as i suspected fixing it up has had an effect on my knee (or more precisely it's done something to my ITB which is then affecting my knee).
Ultimately i've got my knee bandaged now, and been told to leave it that way for the next couple of days as it needs to be held into place, then in theory it should be fixed. We'll see how that goes, just hope i'm half decent for Mt Glorious 20 Miler on Sunday.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

When a mile just isn't enough

After the tiring Sunday, was happy to have a sleep in on Public Holiday Monday but did eventually run along the beach to Coolangatta and back before it started getting too warm, certainly was still flat after yesterdays race.
The afternoon was going to be a race but something way different to usual (and shorter), The Beermile , as you may guess this is a mile race staged on a quarter mile track with a compulsory drink stop each quarter mile, yes one beer (%5 Alcohol 345 ML or %4.8 Alcohol 375 ML). Knowing that the best i could run a mile is around 5:30 it was really a case then of how fast i could drink and also the effects it may have on me.
World record is 5:05 (set by a low 2 Hour Marathon Runner) and the Australian records are as follows: .
First thing is getting there, after all this is one event you aren't just going to drive to and back, so had worked out it would be bus to Robina Station then train to Central and then change for the Caboolture line and Geebung Station.
Doesn't take much for plans to go astray, looked in my fridge and read the Carlton Cold Bottles and discovered they were only %4.6 Alcohol, so had to buy Tooheys Extra Dry (%5 Alcohol 345ML) while i was waiting for the bus !!. Typically with me and public transport the bus i went for must have been running early as i never saw it and was on time and then the next one (half an hour later !) was a little late, still it got me to Robina where the train was waiting.
Unfortunately nobody ever mentioned that there was work on the rail lines and was shocked to find i then had to get out at Kingston (near Beenleigh) and take a railway bus to Banoon, talk about a magical mystery tour, every time i knew where i was the bus would turn a different direction to my guess, still 45 minutes later we made it to Banoon. From then on it was fairly straight forward, but what i'd judged to be a trip of 2 hours or so had actually taken almost 4 !!!!, only wish i'd had lunch before i left. Had never been to Geebung before and didn't take a map so just looked for somewhere that looked like a sports oval (best idea was to see high lights)and found it quite easily. By then it was 4, so registered and also did a lap of the oval, a bit worrying very hard surface meant i could feel pain on my right knee when running clockwise.
A few events beforehand, the Potato race, in my heat i was last of 5, i could just about hear my brain ticking as to which one of the 4 spuds to pick up first, so not an auspicious start.
Second last in the egg and spoon race, couldn't run smoothly enough obviously but at least slowing improving !!!.
Was very happy not to be involved in the sack race, what a great way to fall and injure a tendon or knee etc !, and then the preliminary events, the Coke Mile and the Magnum Mile (same as beer except Coke or Magnum Ice Creams instead of beer).
A number of relay teams of children, who really seemed to be enjoying their ice creams as well as one runner in the Coke and 2 in the Magnum. Have to admit they were rather excruciating events to watch as after a couple you could see no one was enjoying their drink or ice cream, Schultzy was first (of one) in the Coke and defending champion Karen beat off strong opposition from Carol in the Magnum (and i'm sure has sworn off ice cream for a while).
Now for the main event, 21 Starters and with defending champion Adrian Pearce (unbeaten in this event in QLD) as well as Dave Sweeney who had just broken the Australian record for 3K's in his age group last Friday, i was only thankful we were running anti clockwise as it meant i wouldn't be leaning unneccessarily hard on my sore knee.
Well the first 3/4 of a stubby went down easy but then it was fizz etc so struggled and then found i couldn't actually stretch out till i burped, ultimately that was my undoing i could drink fast (if marathon running teaches you to do anything it's to drink fast whatever the liquid), but i was taking 150 to 200 metres each lap till i could actually stretch out and run because simply i had to wait till i had burped.
Struggled in 11th place in 10:50, Adrian had retained his Aussie Title as well as possibly claiming an age group record (7:15 i think), funny enough after i lie down actually felt like one of my "spare" beers as well as something off the Barbie.
Had a good chat with a number of people and was offered a lift to Kingston Station which i gratefully accepted (Thanks Karen and Adrian), just in time for the train and after leaving at 8 was at Robina my 8:45.
Now for a shock, being a Public Holiday it was a Sunday Timetable so no buses south after 7:14 !!!, and one bus per hour to Seaworld (logically you'd catch it to the Gold Coast Hwy at Broadbeach and then catch a southbound one), however i noticed that the moment after the Seaworld bus left, so i decided a nice walk on a balmy evening was the way to go and get to the Highway. Unfortunately not much lighting around the car parks and three times i managed to do a lap of Robina Hospital so decided it was best to walk north and then duck in when i saw a road heading to the Coast, much easier said than done. The above map sums up my journey, all 150 minutes of it !!!, finally hitting the GCH at Mermaid Beach perfectly in time for the 11:30 Bus, so just made it home by midnight (12 hours after i'd set out, not sure about my time management ???).
Off to the physio tomorrow, seeing that my piriformis now appears to be behaving after my exercises i have to now wonder whether my knee is compensating for that side of my body being fixed (it's my right knee the same side as i've had my sciatic nerve problems). Certainly i needed a couple of painkillers after going for a walk today and wasn't tempted to run. Sometimes i wonder whether my body is slowly falling to pieces but typically stubborn me won't let it take a rest and recover, i know i'm a little too much of a perfectionist to consider that bits of me just simply don't work but i'll admit the last thing i need is yet another niggling injury, anyway i'll see what happens tomorrow.

Monday, 28 January 2008

Oranges save the day

Woke at 6 and again rain was bucketing down (well it was supposed to be "The Wet Weekend" somehow i just couldn't see people hosing down their cars now !).
Thankfully stopped after a while, so i went for my walk to the airport (so much better than an hour drive), very full flight and i had a aisle seat, left 30 minutes late so didn't get to Tulla till Midday (Day light savings time), first bag off (i was probably last there - typical being the closest to the airport) and then off to Hertz.
I'd hired a Hyundai Getz, but strangely they gave me a free upgrade to a Ford Fairlane Ghia, realised it would eat the petrol but still sounded a great way to cruise the Hume to the Mansfield Turnoff. Can't honestly say i've ever driven a V8 before so i did find it enjoyable (only wish i'd had a CD with me to take advantage of the umpteen speaker premium stereo).
Got to Mansfield around 2:30 and it was 34 degrees outside, was thankful the Motel had a pool (shame i'd pre booked could very easily have slept in the car at the start - heaps of room). Went for a walk later and there were numerous thunderclaps so possibly a change was on it's way, bumped into some other runners at another motel (Julia, Jane and John - obviously i should have been "Jelvin") and had a chat for a while before heading back and having a swim.
Microwave 750Gram Lasagne for dinner seemed the ideal pasta loading and then a bit of tv then bed.
Shock of my life when i woke at 5:16, must have slept straight through my alarm which i'd set for half an hour earlier, not a good sign, pretty much breakfast, shower and then rush out the room, arriving about one minute before race start not ideal !!.
A field of 27 runners, with Tim Cochrane (multiple winner here and 2007 Ultra Runner of the year) the stand out, took off fairly fast as i was still rushing and really hadn't had time to settle.
Tim disappeared into the distance as did the first woman (an American i can't recall the name of), in front i had Townsville runner John Nuttall, Steven Barker and Deanne Nobbs and a couple of others i couldn't place. By 10K's i'd settled nicely and i guess i was a bit more relaxed and by 15 i'd passed Deanne and was being caught by a group of 3.
Ran with the group of 3 for a while (Robbie Gray and the Callaghans), before deciding i'd ease back and let them either use each other to run well or self destruct, passed Peter Gray (who'd started an hour early) and then it was a case of just watching what happened in front of me and hopefully pouncing.
That's when the plan became unstuck just before 25K's i'd walked a couple of the ups for the first time in 15 starts here and was feeling really flat, so in desperation instead of having a piece of banana i had pieces of orange, this appeared to give me that extra energy and i was soon up with John who was now suffering, passed him but i realised the group of three had now really got away from us as were out of sight.
More pieces of ornage than i've ever had during a race sums up the next 16 odd K's and i passed another couple of runners (including an early starter), by the time i'd hit Mt Buller Village (45K's ?), i'd been running for 4 hours 20 minutes (about the same time as my 1997 winning time !! so not good) and it was only 17 degrees.
By the time i hit the Arlberg Tim was already in and changed (winning in 4:06 - a comparitively slow time for him but very excusable considering his Coast to Kosi effort only a month prior), saw the next 4 runners coming towards me including the first woman who was now 5th on the uphill stretch and struggling a little in the cold (with windchill would struggle to have been 10 degrees), was happy to make the top and then head back down, had a couple of runners coming towards me on my way back but knew 6th was all mine (not that 6th was exactly my aim), ultimately finished in 4:56:46, my 11th fastest time on this course (or 5th slowest !), certainly feeling the piriformis a little towards the end but reasonably happy considering how i'd felt at 23K's.
Was soon feeling very cold, so got changed and had a cappuccino inside the Arlberg.
The first lady had already left when i got in (i'm assuming she didn't have a plane to catch back to the US ???), but presentations were given when most the field were in, for the first time since 1992 we got finishers medals !!!.
First time race organiser Robert Boyce did a great job, and his team of helpers had everything that was needed (and the aid stations where they were needed) at their aid stations, so i'll certainly be back again next year.
Had a lift with Tim and his father back to my car and fish and chips and chocolate milkshake at Mansfield, certainly by then i was feeling good. With a bit of time to spare before my 7:55 flight decided i may as well enjoy the Maroondah Hwy trip back, however a accident somewhere after Buxton meant the road was shut, so i had to head back to Yea. Looking at the time thought i may as well have a lay down in the back of the car in the shade of a park before heading to Tulla, my mistake had too good a nap and ultimately only just made it in time to check in.
In my rush i managed to leave my mobile phone in the console of the car, so on touch down at Coolangatta first thing i did was ring Hertz Tulla, so hopefully i'll get the phone back on Wednesday. Balmy evening for the walk home and then off to bed, it had been a long day !.

Pre Race

After Thursdays run, i thought it was wise to get my sciatic nerve problem sorted again before Mt Buller as it's a long way to go to run sh*t from the get go.
So Friday afternoon had some more work done on it, by chance Melbourne Ultra runner Richard McCormick was down Surfers with his family, so caught up with them and had a good solid 10K run from Surfers to Southport and back that evening, giving me just enough time for all you could eat buffet at their hotel before heading off to the "Rolling Stones Experience"
I try not to do gushing reviews of cover bands, after all you can only really compare them to the original and after all you pay lots of money to see the real thing so they will never be as good !! and the fact the cover band is good is simply because of the material provided by the band they are covering.
Still i'll admit this lot did a very good show, who knows why they stage concerts with tables and chairs, just so un-rock'n'roll and always makes people hesitant to hit the dance floor and go nuts (looking squarely at myself there :-)).
The lead singer, was rather Mick-like, with similar scrawny build and high energy and with various sleeveless Stones Tongue T Shirts, was sort of a mid 1980's Jagger wearing what Mick wears nowadays on stage, their Keef looked rather reminiscent also with some similar mannerisms as did their Ronnie, can't say the same for their Bill or Charlie though.
Alot of very energetic versions of Stones Classics, and to add a bit more realism their Keef sang "Happy" before they headed off to the break. In an room that held, i'd guess, 300 hundred odd people seated there were around 250 people of which our side was definitely the more lively, about 6 songs in (Honky Tonk Women to be precise), me and few others had hit the dancefloor and were having a ball (i'll give credit to 2 of the girls on my table for being first there the song previous).
20 minute break (it's a licensed footy club so they have to sell some drinks and give time for people to smoke), and the last half was full on, interesting to get two of the more recent songs (Don't Stop - the single from 40 Licks, lyrically nothing outstanding but still a good rocker in fitting with their classics and Flip the Switch - From Bridges to Babylon not one of my favourites and a good chance to have a break from the dancefloor !). Finishing with Sympathy the crowd had become alive especially with "Mick" running around the audience high fiving everyone, so a chorus of encore brought them back for one last song "Satisfaction", for this most of us dancefloor had streamed to the front of stage (wedged a bit by tables admittedly) and i'd say half the audience was there, really was a great way to end the show.
Having seen quite a number of Stones Cover Bands (or Tribute Bands or whatever you like to call them), they were one of the best, certainly more realistic from a look alike point of view and having a similar high energy level, would just have preferred not to have tables (funny enough two of the people at my table also used to live in Melbourne), and even better a dancefloor in front of the stage (instead of to the right), certainly not the same as being virtually the sixth member of Melbourne Tribute Band "Jaggers Banquet" (nowadays renamed "Like a Rolling Stone" ).
Home by 11:30 and with a plane to catch to Melbourne at 8:30.

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Now i'm ready for Buller

After getting the sciatic nerve problems sorted on Tuesday, got some natural anti inflammatories (i know the Voltarens are really no go good for the rest of my body and i think there's enough things that i do to my body that aren't good without using them regularly) as that will also ease the problems. So Tuesday and Wednesday evenings just did a nice easy run along the beach, damned weather still not great so found i was running into the teeth of a gale yesterday on the way back (and not warm enough to be tempted by a dip on the way back).
Today i thought i'd better get serious so knocked out a good solid run up over Burleigh Heads to North Burleigh with the run to the viewing platform at the top just to knock me off. I always find it a laugh on the bike/pedestrian path as it tends to be full of topless "pretty boys" not running fast but looking more like they are moving at the right speed to be spotted by females, take great joy in sprinting past them and making them look slow (okay i'm usually topless by then with the singlet in my hand to wipe off sweat but anyone seen me topless would definitley not claim i'm pretty - all ribs :-().
By the time i was back just took off the shoes and socks and got straight into the fairly heavy surf, barely any beach but the cold water was just what the body was craving.
Probably the last real hard run before Mansfield to Buller, now to make sure i don't get too carried away on the dancefloor at the "Rolling Stones Experience" gig tomorrow night and get more calf problems !!.

Monday, 21 January 2008

Binna hard week !

With the sciatic nerve problems yet again after Hares and Hounds didn't do any running till i saw my physio on Wednesday, after a fair bit of stretching etc finally got the body back to a point i could run again. He was also a bit worried about my diet not helping my recovery so it's been even more meat than usual and popped rice rather than Vita Brits (still by the mixing bowl full though).
Thursday i finally got a decent run in going along the beach (Kirra particularly reminiscent of the Simpson Desert with a long stretch before the sea) all the way to Duranbah, could see the weather closing in yet again so went for a walk in the shelter of the Coolangatta shops before heading back along the beach.
Interesting to note at least 5 security guards around the perimeter of the stretch of beach marked off for the weekends International Beach Cricket, with a pitch laid on the sand and some roll-in stadium seating (and the area fenced off by cyclone fencing) looked to my warped sense of humour that they must have just been waiting for the next wave of boat people to wash in !!.
Was looking forward to a weekend of running at Binna Burra up on the Lamington Plateau but considering every time i looked in that direction it was either covered in thick black rain clouds or i couldn't see it because of heavy rain above me i knew it was destined to be a dirty weekend !!.
Drove up Friday Arvo and with the first run scheduled for 4:30 had time for a 30 minute walk along the Border Track, wetter than i could recall and making me thankful i had plenty of changes of clothes.
At the appointed time there were 8 or so of us (after all not everyone could leave work early etc), and we headed off to Coomera Falls Lookout.
With all the recent rain Coomera Falls was destined to be very impressive, as was the track destined to be very muddy. Still we did the round trip returning via the drier Border Track. We had booked dinner that night at the lodge and were joined by David Mckinnon and his wife who were there for a weekend of hiking, great meal (as you'd expect for $38 !), pumpkin soup followed by roast and then lashings of dessert (pavlova and fresh fruit and various slices), that'd make twice i've had dessert this year.
Back to the Bunkhouse and we had more arrivals, some familiar faces (doesn't mean i could put a name to them all immediately), as well as others.
I guess our running camp was given more credibility by the fact we had two ladies (Lisa from Sweden and Carolyn from Canada) in training for the Beijing Olympics Triathlon up with their coach and nutritionist (worth noting they had cycled there from Currumbin and would also return that way), who knows what a nutritionist would make of my post race diet (usually a beer ???).
Slept like a log up on the top bunk in my sleeping bag but was never quite sure whether it was rain or wind i could hear.
With a 6AM run on the Saturday starting at my front door could take it easy (and today it was Weet Bix - i ate what was provided) and almost sleep in.
We had seen the Illimbah Circuit was listed as closed at the Lodge the night before however there was no sign indicating this when we arrived at the start so all 20 odd of us headed off, pretty much with the idea that we would do out and back if the first river crossing (at 9K's) was not possible.
Certainly the storms had taken their toll and there were some big trees down meaning that getting around them and back on track was interesting to say the least.
By the time we hit the first crossing (of supposedly 12) we'd split nicely into two groups of differing speed but was thankful that Greg and a couple of others were a little faster and so able to see where we were meant to go.
From then on it was river crossing (up to hip deep), then follow the real trail (marked by red arrows when we were lucky to see them), then bit of a wander up the river and another possible bit of trail. Was only thankful there was no Australian equivalent of Piranhas as we spend just us much time in the water as on land.
Who knows how many crossings we eventually made but we found the trail up the last one and were rapt to find Gwongoorool Pools just ahead of us so we were on the right track. Ultra runner Tamsin Barnes (who'd driven up that morning) was the first one to decide to actually have a swim (as opposed to one of my head first stumbles on one of the crossings) and eventually all of our group (bar the Triathletes who had decided to head straight back rather than detour via the Pools) ended up swimming around in the rapids, magic way to finish the run.
Three K's from the pools to the track entrance and there were enough cars parked there for most people to have a lift back rather than run the last 1.8K's back to the Bunkhouse.
Me and, former Traralgon Harrier now living in Grafton, Neil Burgess of course didn't consider the "soft option" and run the remainder, ultimately a good 3 and a half hours for 20 odd K's.
Beer and fruit loaf with vegemite (to the disgust of many), was all i needed to feel great again, but worry set in a little when 90 minutes later our slower group hadn't returned. We were almost ready to head back there (and do what i'm not sure !!), when we saw some cars returning, they were back. Bruce Hargreaves (who'd done all the organisation of this camp and knew the area backwards), had been in control throughout and knew were they were simply a case of the harsh conditions making them a little slower.
Now we could all rest a little easier, after much fiddling with the coat hanger we got the cricket on TV, and it looked the Aussies were making a harder job of it than we had that morning.
Microwaved Lasagne and some salad and i was ready for a nap before the next run.
After a very tiring morning we were happy to have a nice short run, along Ships Stern Track to Yangahla Lookout would only have been 5K's return but the view from off the rock was worth it and enough to feel that we'd had a hard but enjoyable day.
Dinner at the Cafe was pre booked and soup and a roast went down very well, time for another early night.
After 3 runs in the Nike Considered Humaras and absolutely nothing drying it was time for a different pair of shoes (i swear i'd have turned amphibian if i'd put on those shoes for a 4th time), and so my heavy duty Nike Terra Max got their first run for a couple of years (personally they are just that little too heavy but at the time they were cheap and no question they are made for mud and slush) and a different pair of shorts (the less said about inner leg chafing the better !) and a T Shirt (seemed a bit cool for a singlet).
This was to be a loop of Ships Stern Circuit with the possibility of Daves Creek Track after. Beautiful run and in places perfect running conditions, incredible views also. Again Tamsin was the first person to decide to go for a swim but again by the end many of us had discovered the delights of Ballanjui Falls.
With the triathletes burning up the track ahead, it was left to Tamsin, Rick and I to decide whether we would do the extra 6K's of Daves Creek and after telling Tamyka Bell (can't keep us Ultra Runners down) we'd slow down for her if needed we ended up running as a group of 4. One incredible lookout (essentially standing on a waterfall) made it all worth the effort (interesting to spot 3 lizards on adjacent rocks) and then finally back to the bunkhouse.
What more can i say but first a beer then fruit loaf with vegemite and again felt like a new man (one desperately in need of a hot shower !).
I suppose the pre leaving highlight was a massive python digesting it's breakfast (paddymelon or possum at a guess), just a few metres down from the Bunkhouse.
A few bits of domesticity, cleaning the bunkhouse and washing up and then a great weekend was over.
My little Subaru (with 3 day old QLD rego - as my VIC rego expired the 20th), was loaded full, pleasant change from my incompetent packing at least, it was all the luggage for the triathletes, etc as they were cycling back and i live down the road.
Now i know where the hang gliders we had seen on Saturday arvo were taking off from, a number were at Rosins Lookout near Beechmont, a big crowd of people both pilots and spectators.
A quick stop to pick up a slab of milk at Aldi Nerang (and spotting $20 scales with body fat measurement couldn't resist a bargain !) just about totally filled the car. Dropped their gear off and then home finally.
A great weekend but itches from Leech bites were slowly driving me nuts (just what i need feels just as bad as last years Poison Oak), and somehow i think i will appreciate running 50K's on a nice solid road next Sunday (Mansfield to Buller).
Again will be getting the sciatic nerve problem fixed tomorrow, very sore today probably not helped by trips up to the clothes line with all the muddy gear from the weekend.
The Aldi scales appear pretty right for the first figure (as for the rest well i have no idea !!) 68.4 KG's, %19 Body fat, %56 water.

Monday, 14 January 2008

Finally a race but where to from here ???

The last week had been spent with some pretty ordinary training, with the Coast stuck in a pattern of 3 big storms per day often didn't get far out the door and the heavens would open up forcing me to cut short my run.
Other times the sun would be out and i'd run a few miles along the beach saddened by the trail of destruction the 2 weeks of storms had left on what were normally some of the best beaches in the world. Pretty much from Currumbin to Bilinga was a ridge of beach covered with driftwood (driftwood the size of full grown trees), was also interesting to note the front page of the Gold Coast Bulletin (above picture looks like around 10th Avenue ??) with a dead cow washed up on Palm Beach (let's face it some people talk of catching dinner from the sea, i'd normally think they meant going fishing after this i have to wonder whether they mean picking up a steak ????).
Finally on Sunday my first race for the year the 55KM Hares and Hounds at Woodford and the Glasshouse Mountains. With a 3:30AM start for us "Hares" and the "Hounds" (relay teams trying to catch us) starting an hour later, finally decided it was worthwhile to stay near Woodford the night before (exactly 2 hour trip away by car), so headed up that evening, nice motel but stuffed if i could get the TV to work - thankful i had a book to put me to sleep.
Still pitch black when i left for the start and looked a good hour or so would be spent in darkness, with a number of course changes brought about by the soaking rain during the week pretty much found my map was useless and was content with the fact there were 27 Hares out there, surely enough to not get lost.
By 12K's i'd run with a number of familiar people but each time i simply hadn't the pace to stay with them, had a very shaken up gut so decided to ask at that aid station for toilet paper and "head bush", probably my wisest decision of the day (with breakfast at 2:30 don't think my 8 vita brits etc had quite settled on my stomach for this sort of hard running).
From then on it was a case of simply following people until daylight, ended up running with Rachael Waugh for the next dozen or so K's to the Beerburrum School Checkpoint.
Was surprised to find myself running alone from then on (found out later Rachael had a bad stitch and had stopped there a little before heading on), with misty rain keeping things cool. From then on it was a case of just wanting to finish (and hopefully not get caught by a hound), highlight was the beautiful iced cake at UCB's aid station, but throughout i was struggling with the legs not wanting to stretch out on the downhill runs which is so unlike me that it was worrying. Was past by a couple of runners including the first woman but by then my only goal was to finish.
This i did, and was rewarded with a lovely cold Crown Lager as well as a swim at the pool (the start and finish being at Woodford Pool).
Got to catch up with many people i hadn't as yet seen this year (all of 13 days old !!), and didn't leave till we the last group did, still giving me time to catch up with my cousin and her family at Bribie Island on the way home (and this time a swim in Pumicestone Passage), ultimately not getting home till 10.
As i type this, i have to wonder just where my running is heading at the moment, certainly i have a number of races scheduled in to run the next couple of years but frankly my running at the moment is sh*t.
Needed this and the Black Stump to give me an idea where my racing was (i already knew i was fit and able to run), and an idea of how competitive i am, simple answer at the moment is bl**dy awful feels like years since i could casually cruise through a sub 3 hour marathon the rate i'm going at present. So i guess the question is "where to from here ????". Simply the body is not doing what it should be able to do and at present it's a case of working out how to get it back that way but it is a bit like "chicken and egg" exactly what comes first ????.
I can remember making a statement on Coolrunning at one point about i'd know when to retire from racing, thankfully i can remember enough of that statement to recall there was some mention of "not enjoying my running and just having no ambitions", well i may not be enjoying my running but the simple fact is i'm not enjoying it because i consider i'm being beaten by people that shouldn't be beating me as i do still have ambitions as a runner, so i suppose it's a case of getting the injuries sorted and then pursuing my dreams ???, the "R" word is not an option at this point (worked out a long time ago i'm not really very good at being average at anything and that includes being a "middle of the pack runner").
Any poor people reading this post, please forgive the self indulgence but i suppose the fact is this blog will continue whilst i try to getting my "running act" together, that way i know i'll have something to look at and force me to do things to improve my health or whatever needs be done (and preferably not make too many posts whilst having a glass of red - note to self !)

Back to the coast and normal running??

Woke on the Saturday and found my sore throat had developed into something a bit more nasal so decided that a lift down to Bogong really was not a good idea (for both my companions and me), so decided i may as well head back home, quick check on the RTA web site showed the Pacific Hwy was still open but there were indications it may be iffy around Grafton.
So come lunch time loaded up the car and headed off, funny enough got a phone call from an old Sydney workmate i'd been trying to get hold of since i'd been down there (he'd been on holidays and just returned), so ended up making another detour.
Eventually ended up running a Sydney Striders "Star" training run on Sunday morning, very much like old times, being New Year it wasn't an official Star but nevertheless a good turn up and a number of familiar faces and the run itself was pretty much a trip down memory lane, from Centennial Park to William St (where i worked a few years) and then over the Harbour Bridge to North Sydney and Milsons Point and then back via Kings Cross (always an interesting place to run through early Sunday morning !!), in total 28.5K's, so all in all a good solid training week.
I suppose as a historical footnote i'd probably regard this as my last run as a genuine "Sydney Strider", i'd been a Strider when living in Sydney in the mid 90's and can honestly say that running many Stars with them (and also advise from various wizened heads there) made me the runner i am today, now living up the Coast i'm pretty confident i'll never live in Sydney again and seeing i'm sure to slot in some more runs with the Gold Coast Road Runners logically will become a member of their club (me and paperwork yeah it'll happen one day !!)
From there headed to Birkenhead Point Shopping Centre, for a feed and decided to stretch the legs with a walk on the "Bay Run" (a run around "The Bay" made famous by many Coolrunners !!), made it as far as the 3K mark and, in what must be a record didn't spot one "Coolrunner" and then headed back the same way to the car, still stiff and sore from the mornings run.
The legs seemed to be still struggling with stiffness so couldn't resist a wander around my old shopping strip of Lane Cove, much had not changed in 11 years and it was as though time had stood still (unfortunately my legs didn't suddenly feel like when i was 31), well apart from the cost of a cappuccino !.
Enough for memory lane after that it was simply a case of point the car up the Pacific Hwy and see if i could beat the floods up the coast.
By 6 i was at near Kempsey and rain was falling heavily again, one moment crusing along happily doing a 100 (and listening intently to the cricket), next moment was virtually aquaplaning in a sudden downpour. Took the chance to stop and let the downpour pass and also see if i could get hold of anyone at Bogong to Hotham, but no success barely any reception where i was and apparently none there.
By Grafton was ready for a meal and noticing there was better phone coverage couldn't resist ringing a few people to see how they had gone, thankfully with better success.
Home by 11:30 and happy to just crawl out the car and leave the unpacking for the next day.

Monday, 7 January 2008

New Years in Sydney

Since the last post, the Gold Coast has been practically shut down beach wise, and frankly i was anxiously in need of race of some sort, so it was off to Sydney for "Beyond The Black Stump" unquestionably Australia's biggest fatass run.
Left the coast a little later than planned so didn't hit the start area till 2AM New Years Day (having forgotten about changing the clock in the car i wondered just what was going on when i heard loud successive bangs in Buladelah only to stop and realise they were fireworks heralding the new year). I'm not really a New Years Eve Party person (personally i reckon it's up there with Queens Birthday in terms of silly Public Holidays), so really wasn't fussed by having 700 odd K's although the fact it rained for the first 460 made me wonder just when i'd make it back !!.
Bit of a sleep in the car although i'd just dropped off when the Police 4WD rolled into the car park, thought i'd better be proactive so opened the window and said that me (and the campervan also in the car park) were there early for a 7 o'clock run with some mates, thankfully they seemed happy with that explanation and wished me a happy new year.
By 6 we had people rolling in and by start time there were over 140 people, had a good chat with alot of people i hadn't seen for a while (alot of our US Aussie Assault there as well).
Good run down to the ferry but had to wait for it, by which time i was a bit cool (not a bad thing after the oppressive humidity early on), then the long climb from the river. Overall was feeling pretty good but cursing the fact i'd forgotten to take any Karls Caps with me as i was sweating heavily and i reckon i was set up for cramps before run end !!. Despite having run around the area years ago when i was living in Sydney i had never seen the "ruined castle" before and was intrigued.
Good run back but probably got carried away on the last downhill 2K's as a few of us tried to catch the ferry. Missing that ferry cost me alot, from a group of 5 we became a group of 20 odd and my quads were trashed.
The climb out from the river was one i'd previously done in the 2002 Trailwalker so i knew i had a long crawl to get out, almost on cue i cramped up, pretty much both calfs were seized up and was not enjoying it at all.
Pretty much all of the other runners from that ferry passed me before i hit the top and i was joined by a Blue Mountains runner "Rob", and was thankful for the company.
Massive thanks to Badwater Hero, Jan Herrman who had set up an esky at the top, one beer was what my body was calling out for and it's request was answered !!!.
From then on run with Rob who like me had never done this run before so was a little unsure where we were going (seemed too much road to me), finally finished in around 3:57 well behind the real guns out there but nevertheless pretty happy.
From then on it sitting around and catching up with people as we waited for the rest of the field to come in.
Was staying with running mate Wayne in Sans Souci, which is a good 50K's from the race, so i had an "interesting" drive as my ever cramping legs meant i had to regularly turn into minor streets and stop the car and get out and stretch (not even a cup of chips helped !!), something like 90 minutes to drive that distance (also couldn't find my UBD so was using a very sketchy one page map !!).
A dip in the pool was the answer to my prayers (and a beer didn't hurt either) and after a while was feeling human again.
Ended up having beef vindaloo down the road (as usual i requested the hottest they could make) for dinner so ultimately a really good New Years Day and plans of a day at the Cricket the next day.
The above map is my run the next day, shame i wasn't wearing a watch as by the time i'd made it back the cricket was on the box !!. Nevertheless a very enjoyable run along the bay, at times i was wondering just where i was with suburb names like Sandringham and Brighton so i did feel at home !.
Still two solid runs in two days (or 3 in 6 actually) meant i could give serious thought about heading down to Bogong to Hotham with some of the runners and if nothing else lending a hand sweeping (The hardest single day Ultra in Australia by far).
The next day was spent at the SCG, can't say it was a bad day of cricket but in hindsight it was probably the worst day of the five. Cloudy and windy described it best and by the time i'd got back was seriously wondering whether yet again i was on the way to a cold. Still i got all my gear out for the trip to Bogong and really was looking forward to a road trip and ultimately one of my favourite mountains Bogong.
Next morning wake with a scratchy throat (first hope that's from some of the liquors we'd had the night before but then realise yes a cold again - at least once a month since last June). Spend a couple of hours coughing and spluttering in bed before i decide i'd better go for a run to get a better idea of how i feel.
Only 7 K's i needed to run to realise that
(A) the cold was only going to get worse - Shades of Western States
(B) i was going to probably share that cold with the two runners also in the car (after all i was sweeping not racing) so pulled the pin and pretty much spent the day lying down, feeling sorry for myself, watching the cricket on the box.
By days end was actually feeling a bit better so i gave another runner driving down on the Saturday a call to see if possibly i could get a lift. So basically i could get a lift at 7AM if i wanted, just a case of seeing how i felt in the morning.
That'll be the next blog post !