Monday, 25 February 2008

Feels like the carnival is over

It's funny that after a weeks worth of beautiful sunny weather and lovely balmy nights (just the thing for outdoor concerts), yesterday afternoon the weather gods really decided that the carnival was over. Heavy rain in the afternoon meant that when finally it stopped the humidity cleared for the first time in my stay here, but actually made me feel i was back at home, in theory a pleasant thought but still having had a ball here the last week you really never want these things to end (i'm sure that's how most of us were thinking as we made our way back home the Sunday night with the official festival over leaving only the Jam Session at Saxophone).
I had promised a report on day 2, but was hoping to cheat a bit off the local paper but seeing it's not on the net yet (and it's again bucketing down) i'll have to make do with my memories.
First up was The Groove Doctors with Jimmy Fame opening with Pink Floyds "Another brick in the wall", certainly an interesting choice but one they carried off well, next few songs were more "real blues" and these guys were really rocking by now seemed a shame to waste them as first act. After a few more tunes they were joined by Jimmy Fame (noted for his work with Eric Burdon and the Animals) and things were cranked up a notch certainly this was a great start for the night especially when they finished with an incredible version of The Doors "Roadhouse Blues", almost enough to get many of us off our lounge chairs (the idea definitely was to pace myself dancefloor-wise or there'd be nothing left for the end).
Next up was a local young group Boy Blues Band with a Jimi Hendrix lookalike lead guitarist, lot's of energy and raw power but i must admit personally they weren't in the same league as the first night although his "Hendrixness" extended also to his guitar work so they were still worth seeing.
Next up was the Blues Machine with Filipina Mary, an act early compared to the last night a crowd was forming around the stage so i thought i'd better make it up there as well and join in.
In short a great show and Filipina Mary really was something else special about her performance if you could bottle her energy you'd have a helluva energy drink.
Great songs, some familiar some not but all with a special buzz (obviously i should have been taking notes of song names instead of enjoying the dancefloor !!!), as well as an incredible guitarist Ken "Snowman" Minahan and towards the end Mary headed off stage and ran around the audience still in full voice.
Again one of those times when a child stole the show, one of the sponsors kids an eight year old boy (i knew there names on the night but memory fails me), had given Mary a bottle of water to drink during her frantic running around so she invited him onto the stage when he returned don't know he's going to be a performer but he gave it a good shot as he did some "work" with the band.
First call for an encore of the night (again one act earlier than previous) and we weren't disappointed.
Next up was Cannonball , absolutely another class act first alone and then with Bonnie Anderson (a Florida Expat) another lady with a great stage presence.
Ultimately that sort of meant that acts 4 & 5 were combined as one as well as a couple of contributions from other performers from the previous night (and Harry again !), you could see these guys were having a ball and so were all of us.
A number of raffle results (closest i got was within one !!!) and by then it was almost midnight, one act to come was Shari with Rich Harper and his band as her band (as they'd been doing most of their 19 day Thailand tour).
Certainly the next hour was a delight, some blues classics as well as many of her own, sort of performance you just didn't want to end (as noted in yesterdays rambling post i personally may have wanted to hide away a couple of times as she pointed me out but sure didn't want her to stop), one last encore and with a 1AM curfew it was all over, it had been an absolute blast and worst thing was it had to end.
From then on it was time to head back to our chairs and chat and all that sort of thing, get the idea that none of us really wanted to leave but eventually (and with one mishap as per yesterdays post !!) we all did, all convinced we had seen something special.
With the festival over now i can recover and get back into running mode (just the simple pleasures of sleeping at night - rather than heading to bed at 2AM or later !- await me), still a soreish shoulder but much better than yesterday and at last nights Saxophone Jam.
I guess i should do a right up of it but honestly this was one two hour performance that simply writing about wouldn't do justice, we had Salty Dog (Marion playing guitar and harmonica but now with laryngitis so not singing) jamming with Filipina Mary and then Shari and then both as well as Rich Harper cranking up the volume in this smallish (and thankfully smoke free enforced !! venue), lots of familiar classics (funny enough we had Route 66 covered by Mary and Shari less than an hour after the house jazz band - which i'd seen a couple of hours of and they'd covered everything from 30's Jazz to Tina Turners "Simply the Best" and were very good even getting one of the blues players up to play at one point) and some real raw power as all the performers really let their hair down.
What a great way to end this 4 day musical extravaganza, i'd had time to come up with the definitive highlights day by day but admit there were simply too many, and possibly would have been biased simply by my enjoyment of particular songs or performers so hadn't the first 3 days, but i have to give my Saxophone Highlight to Filipina Mary's version of "Piece of my Heart" very early on in the set, there was a rawness and depth that stayed with me (having seen old video footage of the Janis Joplin Original i could make comparisions which really you shouldn't 40 years on but this was something).
Watching Steve from Salty Dog and Rich Harper simply making their guitars do magic would have been a reasonably close second (Salty Dogs "Wipeout" was a treat in this environment), but really there was not one moment when i was thinking i would have liked to be somewhere else (although my shoulder was giving me pains to that effect).
By 12:45 it was all over, time for a last chat with others i'd got to know over my time here as well as some of the performers all a down to earth great bunch.
Looking forwards to catching some of them again later in the year, but as for others maybe never again just a case of enjoy the memories.
Better than my words, go here :
and you'll see some performances on Youtube.
This blog will now resume normal transmission when i return to Australia !!!, think these last couple of posts have been for the sake of my memories more than anything else although i will add some pictures later i hope.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Well there was a run at 3 This morning :-)

Well i did say i'd do an update of the second night, but i think it may have to wait a little as i've spent a fair proportion of today (well the part of been awake) trying to find my mobile phone and also contacting my service provider etc, i'll say not much more than that except to say that when the last performer (Shari absolutely blowing us all away with a one hour set - but on the downside it could be said i did blush inwardly a couple of times as i was pointed out to the audience !!!), left the stage absolutely no one wanted to call it a night and there was till free beer to consume. Eventually a couple of us did go for a run around the complex and somewhere along the way my phone popped out of a pocket (had a couple of great pics especially for the blog too !), initially i thought this happened where we both fell (a couple of bits of parkland had become very wornout with the crowd and were a virtual sandpit - actually the same as the front row had become by the end) but no luck and at that time of morning of course it was too dark even with a helping hand from security and others.
When i eventually arose (not wishing to incriminate myself i'll say it was just before breakfast shut down - pretty much got the left overs !), went for a walk around and still couldn't spot it.
Anyway have done all that is necessary, so life goes on, get the feeling i'll be very stiff and sore at the Jam at Saxophone tonight as i fell fairly heavily on my shoulder and grazed my elbow (and worse still lost that race - long story !!!).
Anyway i think a couple of recovery days are in order and at some point i'll do that update or cheat and use the Phuket Gazette report (or someone elses maybe).

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Is living the "Rock'n'Roll" lifestyle harder than running ultras ????

Good question at the moment, having made sure i did my measured 24K run every morning over Patong Hill to Kalim Beach the first three days (i curse it doesn't appear that Phuket works here so can't show the course but believe me there are two very long steep hills - though at least only wearing a pair of running shorts and shoes and moving relatively fast no one is trying to sell me either a suit, massage or various bootleg merchandise at Patong :-) ), the question was going to be whether i'd be able to keep it up once the Blues/Rock Festival hit town .
First night (after spending most of the day in Phang Nha Bay and on James Bond Island - where "The Man with the Golden Gun" was filmed) was the warm up gig at Taipan Bar in Patong get the feeling the place was more used to having Go Go Girls up on stage rather than international acts with the 10:00 start delayed 45 minutes or so. Was having a chat with festival Andy Anderson and an Aussie from Adelaide Harry who is the regular singer at Tai Pan (that's him in the above picture, personally i'm having problems charging the camera so will get a couple of pics from Shari to brighten the blog later).
Interesting to note that smoking has been banned in bars and all public places in Thailand from February 11, obviously no one has told anyone that as even with a couple of no smoking signs finally the bands arrived on the stage in a mist of smoke. Great hour long set from Rich Harper and Shari (an interview with them both here )working really well together with her awesome voice complimenting his incredible guitar playing and great bluesy delivery. Not exactly room for hitting the dancefloor (the fact that security all were wearing "FBI" - "Finest Babes In Tai Pan" seemed to sum up the fact that dancing was not something often done here), but still a great performance by the two festival headliners.
Just when i couldn't ask for more (Shari having just done a killer version of "Bobby McGee" as per this video ), we had Harry join them up on stage and they did "Honky Tonk Women" such an incredibly appropriate song for this area of Patong and of course one of my all time favourites.
I could go on, but after all this was just a warm up for the main event the next couple of nights.
Late sleep in (something to do with going to bed at 2 or so) meant my morning run was going to be right in the heat of the day (not actually that hot only 30 degrees or so), but i knew it meant i'd be struggling on that last stretch (remember getting water on a 2 Hour run isn't an option there are no drinking fountains here !).
All was good till i hit the intersection out of Patong and over the hill (ie "the last stretch" i must be psychic) and i realised that after being soaked in sweat the first 90 minutes i was no longer sweating and my shorts were actually getting dry not a good sign. Bottom line i did make it back to the hotel, but it was pretty much a case of hop into the bath and drink as many bottles of water as i could as i was feeling sh*t just totally dehydrated, maybe i was just getting too old for this sort of thing ???? (being an Ultra runner means you never want to grow up - i'm not ready yet !!!). A few hours later and feeling more human (something like 8 bottles of 7Baht water and a couple of cans of the local sports drink was all it took ????), thought i'd better get some food into me (and answer some emails) and hopefully be capable of surviving (and enjoying more importantly !!!!) 6 Hours of music.
Out in the open ground of the Hilton Arcadia with stage at one end, bit of spare ground and then heaps of tables and chairs - tables and chairs nothing spells less rock'n'roll to me i admit - and for us "flash" people in the VIP section (me a VIP there's hope for anybody if that's the case !!), lounge chairs and nibblies and free beer, wine and water (note to self this could be dangerous).
Apparently with the Thai elections coming soon the government has proclaimed that this and the next weekend alcohol is not able to be sold so thankfully the sponsors came to the party and provided free beer for all.
As is typical with an event like this the first acts just couldn't get the audience on the dance floor, no matter how good they are so i just sat back and enjoyed "Lil Willie and the Fabulous Hepcats", incredible harmonica playing and if you shut your eyes you'd have sworn it was some blues band back before i was born (and wishing i had been after all this is where all rock'n'roll came from).
A few announcements to fill up the time between acts setting up their gear, the most important being that the "Portaloos" were going to be a day late (and the fact that minimal alcohol as they made arrangements meant the MC just couldn't get a laugh out of his audience as he made jokes about the situation).
Next up was Georgia Blues Band and i swear the lead singer, Georgia, was Janis Joplin reincarnated as a Bangkok Blues Mama, the soul she put into every lyric was something to behold and between her and the other vocalist (don't have the printed guide on me as i type this and they have no website) just simply some awesome music and knew this was going to be a great night (after all i always thought the idea was to build up to the headliners and it was hard to imagine getting better and better as the night wore on).
Next on was "Full House" with a lead singer with the incredible name of Lightning Takashi, apparently they are Thaipenese (Thai and Japanese) but whatever they are they are just so full of energy every song being belted out from somewhere down deep, again no use giving a set list but again they were awesome.
Next on was a fellow i'd talked to for a little during a break Jeff T, with his band Soi Dog Blues Band , by now we were all in front of the stage and this big tall man and his band did not let us down. Not only great vocals but awesome guitar the main guitarist being a great showman and practitioner of his art, first demand for an encore of the night (the first three definitely deserved one but most of us were still kicking back in chairs letting the great music wash over us) and we were obliged by another great song.
Anybody reading this, and knowing me :-), would realise by now the night was just going off and it really was a case of going from one high to another for the rest of the gig (assuming the combination of booze and my over the top dancing - i must have recovered fully from earlier in the day - didn't do me damage).
Next on was Aussies Salty Dog a band i'd seen a few times over the years in Melbourne (but not for over a year) so i knew they'd be bl**dy good, between Marion's great voice (and self deprecating between song patter, yeah okay maybe she did need a good hairdresser !!) and Steve's showmanship and complete mastery of all his guitars starting with his "Jack Daniels" Slide Guitar.
A few songs that people would know such as "Black Betty" - awesome version - and another which was again great but i think my mind was a bit shot memory wise !!, and another encore requested and delivered.
Next on was Rich Harper and his band and having seen them burn up the stage the night before knew this would ge good (midnight by now - all the adrenaline pumping through my body probably meant i wouldn't sleep for hours anyway).
With the fans on stage (electric version not people !) going full blast i'm sure many people got some incredible pictures of his waistlength hair being blown everywhere as he put his whole heart and soul into every lick of his guitar and powerful voice. In short an incredible set with some great songs from his various albums, a highlight towards the end being two young girls (about 10 Years old ??) coming onto stage as the dancing girls, the youth and energy shown was a real show stealer (apparently they did the same last year) as danced through his last song which brought him running madly around the arena playing his guitar (maybe Keef could have done that 30 years ago but not now) and having a ball with all his new found fans.
Of course by now when he was back on stage an encore was obligatory and he got Shari up (from the side of the stage taking pictures) for one last song, again i'll blame a memory lapse for lack of name of the song (off hand a Stevie Ray Vaughan Classic), in short you put the two of them on stage together and it is pure musical magic two awesome voices and incredible guitar playing (think Mick and Keef except Shari is much easier on the eyes !).
Sadly that was the end, seeing i don't write for Rolling Stone Magazine (i picked up one of my favourite movies "Almost Famous" for 60Baht the other day and watched it the first night so couldn't help thinking back to it), i'm sure there are better reviews like this from the Phuket Gazette : but we'll see if i have the time and inclination for a write up of day two tomorrow.
At least no problem on my run today, seeing i woke at 10 only ran 100 minutes and the other direction so a couple of bottles of water and i'll be ready for another night of great music.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

An update then i go offline for a couple of weeks !!!

First flight out of Coolangatta (6AM) meant an early start and heavy rain meant instead of a nice walk i had to catch the bus to the airport !!!.
Arrived in Melbourne and 9:20 and then Skybus to Spencer Street Station, have never been on such a crowded Skybus, driver was getting people standing to push further back and eventually we yelled out there was nowhere else to to go !!!!.
Train to Lilydale and was interested to get out at the station and find many people standing at tourist buses having a smoke and drinking beer (many looking wasted at 11 AM ???? !) found out later it was the "Grape Grazing Weekend" at the Maroondah Valley Vineyards. Was picked up by race organiser Robert Boyce and later helped mark some of the course with him and Andrew Hewatt, probably ending up running 10K's in the late afternoon in theory an ideal workout !!!.
I'll write a race report after i return to Australia, but i'd be honest and say i wasn't happy with my time of 5:37:20, felt real good for most of the run (except for the first 4Ks where simply i was too cold and was wasting energy trying to stay warm and then the next 3Ks where now with blood pumping into fingers was getting a bad feeling similar to "rush of blood to the head").
Really not sure why i ran so badly, i hate making excuses and sadly could think of quite a few plausible ones but that does not make me me happy about my performance.
Still it was great to catch up with many runners who had come from near and far and later went back with Robert and had some beers and food and watched the cricket on TV as well as working out Badwater plans with Brendan Mason (over from Hong Kong and flying back a similar time to me as well being also accepted for Badwater).
Some of my best ever navigating by Melways as Brendan drove us to Tulla, no idea where we were through the wilds of Warrandyte but it was like a rally through the backblocks as we took the shortest possible route through to the ring road - kangaroos and all !).
As for the flight to Thailand, most uncomfortable plane i've ever been on, just couldn't stretch out at all and physically impossible to sleep (at least i have now seen "The Simpsons Movie") and was thinking jealously of Brendans upgrade to First Class on his flight to Hong Kong !! , dawned on me i had two hours at the new Bangkok Airport but honestly needed all that time just to get from my fligh to the Phuket one (talk about non moving Queues - quite a few from my flight were making jokes about it to kill time).
By the time i'd booked in at Karon Beach all i wanted to do was sleep (something like 36 hours without a sleep) and slept like a log for 14 hours waking up just before dawn.
Ran 2 and a half hours today (after all i can't drink from taps here as water is supposedly not drinkable so i did wear a watch), up the hill and around Patong Beach and then further out another hill, even was joined by a girl jogging with an mp3 player for a while along Patong but i think the hills out worried her so never had much of a conversation will have to see if i can pick up any more runners along the way tomorrow (only other non vehicle i ran with was an elephant train a couple of K's out of Patong - now there is something i'm not used to seeing).
Only on internet today as i noticed had some replies to request for Badwater crew (and knew it would cost a fortune to email via phone), so unlikely to about the blog until i return home to Australia (this trip has nothing to do with running :-) although i'm sure i'll still be out there working up a sweat most days !).

Friday, 15 February 2008

I've got a start at Badwater !!!!!

Happy days, a quick update i've got my confirmation of entry in Badwater
Well now i can plan the rest of my year (and my 10th Gold Coast Marathon will have to wait another year !!), just hope i get my mind back to the task at hand before Sunday's Maroondah Dam 50KM .

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Freshened up for Maroondah Dam

Had been flat for the first couple of days after the 12 Hour race, so was taking it easy but decided today with relatively cool (and finally not wet !!) conditions was an ideal one for an easy 10 miles or so.
Last thing i wanted to do was like last week bash myself about today and be flat heading into a race. With the threat of rain everpresent the track over Burleigh Heads wasn't as busy as usual (also meant i saw more animal life including a 4 foot long Goanna), and the Burleigh beachfront was lacking the usual "pretty" runners, decided for a change to go to the top of North Burleigh (to the lookout above the other lookouts) and down via the stairs (still hate to think what it'll be like doing the other stairs there 8 times on the new Gold Coast 100 Course in June).
Took it pretty easily but was content to do only 6 minute K pace pretty much the whole way meaning i hardly even worked up a sweat and felt real good so hopefully this translates to a good run at Maroondah Dam.
On another note, looks like i will find out sometime in the next couple of days whether i get a start in Badwater (Feb 15 US Time), as long as i get an answer of some sort i'd love to be put out of my misery so that i can plan my year ahead, preferably before i head off to Phuket !.

Monday, 11 February 2008

Twelve Hours of fun ?

After hard runs on Wednesday and Thursday in the heat of the day found i was a little sunburnt (hate suntan lotion when running always feels like i'm boiling in my own juices), so was happy to run along the beach in the cool of Friday morning and similar on Saturday. Finally by then i had decided to run the 12 Hour "Caboolture Dusk to Dawn", i'll never claim to be that fond of (or good at) lap races but it's close proximity was a point in its favour as well as giving me a chance to see how i went against quite a few notable Ultra runners (many from the Western States "Aussie Assault" so a good chance to catch up).
With one downpour at lunchtime (hard to time a carbo load with a 6PM start, so had my spag bol at 2), still wasn't convinced the weather would be decent 130 odd K's north, but still one of the delights of Ultra running is you have to be prepared for anything.
My less than brilliant navigation got me there by 4:15 (stopped off a Coles to get some ice coffee flavoured milk and then spotted a non white head band at K Mart - only a bright blue but best i'd seen anywhere for a long time and really needed a new one), and i carted out my 52 litre esky containing clothes and shoes (easy to keep stuff dry) as well as the smaller one with some sports drink, cordial and an "emergency beer".
Bit like a homecoming with RB (Robert) & wife, Horrie (Glenn), Sportsman (Ron) (all from interstate) running as well as locals PreWannaBee (Nic), MRX (Martin) & 99 (Di) all from the "Aussie Assault" as well as a large number of other familiar locals and 2007 Melbourne Trailwalker Team Mate (Milov) Michael also up from Sydney so lots of friendly pre race banter. Didn't realise we had another Western States starter till i saw Tim turn up a little later to do the 6 Hours, still recovering from Bogong to Hotham, with Vegie-Girl (Lis).
Clear skies and a warm day made it look as though weather was not going to be an issue the first few hours and it seemed the best conditions humiditywise i had experienced there.
A few words from race organiser Geoff and local councillor (and true Aussie Ultra legend who i was glad to catch up with) Gary Parsons and we were off.
A little worryingly i started out well, usually finding i'm better off having a shaky begin as i get into rhythm and had done 12.5K's in the first hour, another 12K's in the second and i was either going to have a seriously good run or the wheels were going to fall off spectacularly, not wishing to sound negative but know that a track race isn't a track race till you have experienced ups and downs and endured a "mini lifetime" during that time .
Next hour brought up another 10K's, but heavy sweating meant my shorts were sticking very uncomfortably to me and inner groin chafing is not a welcome experience that early on. Decided i'd duck off and put on my speedos underneath and a dry pair of shorts (and heaps of vaseline), but the tighter speedos didn't do my sometimes delicate gut any good and soon found my drink was simply sitting on my stomach and making squelching sounds as i made my way around the track so was now down to 9 K's for the hour and getting slower and more uncomfortable. By then Nic had taken a very handy lead and was being chased hard by another local "FatBloke" (John) but really i was just moving around the track waiting for a second wind (or something similar) to come. I'd pretty much given up on drinking till the gut felt better as i felt the liquid just sat there, but had a donut and some bun just for energy, but 7K's for the next hour showed it wasn't working. Had a chat with Tim (his aim was for 50K's as a comeback) as we walked a lap (interested to see him pop into the on course pub during the race at one point !!) but really just needed to focus on getting my thoughts off my pain (shame we only had one Stones song over the radio "Paint it Black" only 45 minutes in !!) and actually racing.
Decided to run without the speedos as two waistlines seemed to be half the problem but 8.5K's (to make 59.5 for the first 6 Hours), meant i was going to struggle for the rest of the race and i had images of 2006's shocking 98.5K's all over again.
Another 8.5K's with plenty of walking, and then 8 i was going downhill rapidly, drinking now as i knew that whether my gut liked it or not i had too.
At least the chafing was now manageable (thanks for the use of some Sportshield Adrian) and i'd decided that just moving around the course was better than stopping (though i'd been so tempted at 6 Hours) and trying to wait till i felt better.
At least 50 Miles fired me up as i wanted to get under 8.5 Hours (did 8:27:55) and mentally i seemed a little more with it as i chased down the 100K's.
Nine K's that hour and by then was up to 84.5 K's (Nic had already done 100 by then !) and 8.5 the next meant i had my sights on sub 11 (definitely not to be excited about !!!) which i made in 10:56:47.
Certainly not a great run but i'd found i was now favouring my left ankle, which was the inside one on this direction so was looking forward to the final hour and change of direction.
Ate and drank sports drink and washed down a voltaren but i think i'd used my last bits of adrenalin to get running again on some of those bad laps when i simply had nothing and was happy to just keep walking till finally 11:40 in i found an extra gear and started to get back to sub 3 minute laps (out of the blue !), ultimately hitting 108K's in 11:59:12, not sure if that is given as my official distance as surely i would have run another 200 metres going by my time for the last few laps, far from great (or last years PB of 115.65K's) but still enough to be my second best over that time.
Great run by Nic to win with 126.075, followed by John with 122.371 and Ron with 111.5, ultimately Michael caught me just before the end and pushed me back into
6th and Robert came back from nowhere to get his hundred up just before time meaning that 9 of the 18 starters had done 100K's or more a very good result.
Finally had that "emergency beer" and strangely was feeling better now (only wish that second wind had have come a bit earlier than 20 minutes to go) and spent the next hour having a chat and trading "war stories" about the previous 12 hours.
In conclusion, not happy with a lot of my run but if i'm honest i finally felt like i was back racing rather just in a run which is bloody good sign for the rest of the year.
A massive thanks to Mallani for the lap scoring, i couldn't have done this race without you, i'm sure that counting for both Nic and me was really an exercise in heaven and hell (Nic's smooth style and speed, me looking like i was trying to just not die).
A rest this week (and i doubt i need physio seem pretty good at the moment) and then hopefully all fired up and ready to race at Maroondah Dam

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Reduced to walking hills

After yesterdays hill session i was determined to just do a long run today with maybe some steep hills, headed towards Kitchener Road and thought best option was to head into the Tugun Hills, proably not my smartest idea as ultimately the hills brought me back to Taperell Drive where my session started yesterday.
Having done a couple of very steep hills already thought it was a good idea to do a couple of laps of that session, but frankly it knocked me about so much that two was going to be it, got some rhythm back on the bike path and then across flat Currumbin, but then decided i was now fresh and headed up Crest Ave, talk about fatal mistake, very steep and i was reduced to a walk although enjoyed the run down the other side. By Currumbin Creek Road felt like i just needed something flat so followed the bikepath to Galleon Way, a really good street for sweeping ups and downs, for one of the few times ever i was actually feeling thirsty half way along so found a tap at the park (wading through flooded fields to get there !), i'd certainly been sweating heavily, shorts and socks soaked, by the time i reached Guineas Creek Rd was feeling that i still needed a bit more distance so headed up towards Doubleview Drive (another super steep haul), simply was unable to run but was a good chance to practice my uphill walking when exhausted.
Hit the top and thoroughly enjoyed the downhill, but was struggling once i got along 19th Ave and again needed water (tap at the old "Jack The Slashers" Shopping centre), up over the freeway and then cut in through to Palmie, a few hills but flat once i hit Mallawa Dve.
Once over Currumbin Creek thought i'd better head seawards as i was hanging out for a dip, but wanting to cut the run a little short thought i'd do "Mount Woodgee" (actually Woodgee St but more like a mountain at this point), which meant another uphill walk (running wasn't an option) and then a downhill run.
Finally hit the beach, first a drink under the beach shower as well as a good minute or so there and then a dip - absolute heaven, tide on it's way in and big waves thoroughly enjoyed being tossed about in the surf.
Had a look at the net later and it looked as though it had been 28 degrees the whole time i'd been out, not sure if that explains why it seemed so hard today, but definitely a rest day (or at least easy along the beach at evening or similar tomorrow) if i want a decent 12 hours.
Considering the incredible amount of rain we had last evening (showing only 25.6 MM's at Coolangatta a bit hard to believe), have to wonder what sort of weather to expect for 12 Hours.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Urban Trails - just as hard as bush ones !!!

After a couple of easy days brought about by soreness (mainly the back) and heavy rain, thought i'd better pull the finger out and do a decent hitout, but wanted some hills and also to be close to home as again there were many thick black clouds.
So it was off to do one of the trails i'd discovered many years back, which nowadays is partly being used for access to the Tugun Bypass Roadworks, so the actual starting road is now in better nick than previous. Once off the gravel road it's a track (still gravel) to the top frankly so hard i walked the last few metres every time followed by downhill and then up through long grass and then turning just before the Highway (the cyclone fence between us meant i wasn't going to fly onto the highway by accident) and then downhill and another uphill grass stretch back to the start. Ten reps and i was just a mass of sweat, had a feeling i could run back without doing a couple of sharp hills home so actually did another run on the gravel road and continued rather than turning up, unfortunately that now leads straight into the roadworks so had another run back up and then reverse along the gravel road ultimately leading back into Tooloona St.
Totally exhausted (little worrying considering it was only 12.2K's of reps and approx 4K's of running getting there and back spread over 1 hour 40 minutes), but rapt with the intensity and have the feeling it was probably better for me than a much longer flat run with less intensity, reckon i really sweated out that 4th glass of red from last night (note to self really should stop at 3).
No Piriformis pain, no knee pain, no back pain, looks as though i'd better front up at Caboolture on Saturday night and do the 12 Hours, certainly feel like i'm in better shape now that i've had races (or at least really long runs) the last few weekends think i'm capable of much better than i've shown recently.
So it's Caboolture followed by Maroondah Dam and then a break (i'll be sweating on a dancefloor some of that break - not bad training !) before the Six Foot Track where finally i want to start relatively fresh and capable of giving 4 Hours a good shake.

Monday, 4 February 2008

Get me to the run on time

Another good gig Friday night and thankfully no injuries from the dancefloor.
The band "The Rolling Stonez" were the same ones i'd seen at Burleigh Bears back in November and certainly didn't lack energy as they really got stuck into some Stones Songs. Strangely first of all they did seven Doors Songs and then finished with Pink Floyds "Another Brick in the Wall".
Luckily enough those seven (and LA Woman) were probably the only Doors songs i could honestly remember anywhere close to word for word (Light My Fire and Roadhouse Blues being favourites), so it was all good.
Somewhat later night than i planned as ended up talking to some of the band and a couple of fans from up in Brisbane, meant that my plan of a run before heading off to Mt Glorious and a carbo load of pasta for lunch was all somewhat late and ultimately didn't head off until 4PM. Found Camp Constable and was a little disturbed to find the actual race start was still 20 odd minutes away, with lots of fog.
Found Greg and all his helpers having their pre race barbie, so that was pretty much all i had time for as it was beginning to get dark and the damned mozzies were beginning to attack, bit guilty actually only got there in time to eat their food !!.
An interesting drive back to the Camp as heavy fog was rolling in, making me think more of Ferntree Gully or the Blue Mountains rather than somewhere just out of Brisbane.
Took a while to find our tents (no lights bar our torches and hidden down a slope) and with my mobile not yet back i knew i had no alarm so was relying on hearing our neighbouring tents getting up earlier (aid stations) and other peoples alarms.
Big mistake, was awoken to be told it was 6:05 !!!, no time for breakfast and barely time to get there on time, off hand made it dead on 6:30 but let everyone go as i put my race number on (if i was superstitious maybe i'd have been worried by that number 13 ???).
Passed Bill Thompson, taking it steadily along the road to the trail section, but from then on it was uphill through steep, slippery trails so was fairly cautious and frankly i think i'd lost all my adrenaline on the drive to the start, really seemed flat and not in race mode. Had passed a few by the time i reached Martin & Di (from the Western States Aussie Assault) at checkpoint 1 and was very thankful for a drink as it was incredibly humid (and not far off raining).
Feeling of Binna Burra deja-vu when after crossing a creek took a wrong turn and was followed by Tamsin Barnes, she navigated much better than me and got us back on track (simply couldn't see a pink ribbon round a corner as needed to look upwards), apparently many made similar mistakes. Rapt to get to the second manned checkpoint as was really flagging and felt i needed food (lack of breakfast i guess). From then on it was mainly a steady uphill but was struggling to run this and tended to walk when the people in front walked but was making no ground.
Was surprised it took so long till i saw Don Wallace returning (expected to see him earlier but apparently he'd had navigational difficulties as well) and then a steady stream of runners, even found time to yell to David McKinnon that he'd better get moving as i'd be chasing him on the way back (way more bravado than serious thought at the time as i was dead flat). Finally the top and i had a feast, oranges, cake, endura, pretty much if it wasn't nailed down i'd eat it, actually had time for at least 6 people to come into that aid station but really i knew what i needed.
Ran well finally for that section but still didn't catch anyone (and was surprised to see so many behind me - many with wrong turns), but was flagging by the checkpoint, think i used the last of my energy yelling out to a runner who'd taken the same wrong turn as me on the way out (strangely enough i had Tamsin behind me and between the two of us yelling he heard us !!).
From then it was a case of running as much as possible but the rain was very steady by then and was feeling like a drowned rat, we came across David having many problems with his glasses as he couldn't see through them in the rain (found later he'd broken them as well) so he was doing it hard.
Missed the turnoff to checkpoint 1 by a few metres (this time following Tamsin), but could see it so headed back to be caught by David again and then another woman (still can't remember her name).
From then on ran with two girls and tried to break away on the uphills but found it was never enough by the downhills and eventually Tamsin broke away on the long slippery last downhill beating me by a minute or so, i think i was 3:44 and 11th in with Don Wallace doing 3:02. Content with about 10K's of my 30K performance to be honest, no sciatic nerve problem, no knee problem but a sore back which was from a mattress that didn't agree with me the night before at Camp Constable.
Very thankful for all the food at the end and probably the first time i've ever had a 600ml bottle of water on finishing. Cereal, watermelon, cake and more cake pretty much summed up my finish, as my back slowly stiffened (probably not helped by the fact i'd take off my top 20K's in - was just too humid).
Overall not unhappy with my run but certainly not jumping up and down with excitement either.
Big thanks to all the volunteers as it certainly wasn't a day for hanging around in the rubbish weather and that course took an awful lot of marking (and i assume macheteing).
Had to do a few tourist things on the way back, had a walk around Wivenhoe Outlook (the dam being probably the only place in Greater Brisbane without rain !!), and then back to Camp Constable to collect my gear and have a hot shower.
Typically couldn't resist a walk around Maalia National Park, but cut my hike short when i found the trails were getting muddier and muddier (and i had clean shoes on), even more typically didn't get back till again the heavens opened up and was drenched.
By then the cricket was on so turned the air con on to dry off and drove to Samford for lunch, great Hamburger and chips washed down by a cappucino, now i was ready for the drive home.

Friday, 1 February 2008

Hell Reps

Having spent most of Thursday worrying about my knee, as it was causing pain, thought today i had better go out and really push it, so did the above course, very steep uphill on roads and then a street with very steep uphills and downhills followed by one last downhill before an even steeper downhill and then down to flat Durran St (couldn't get too far away from home as mobile is still coming COD !!!).
Believe me 10 of those reps and i was struggling to remember i had a knee at all the body was simply a mass of sweat (and the bandage had sweated off), still no mail but beyond worrying by the time i had finished.
Reckon i should be right for Mt Glorious, but tonight it's yet another Stones tribute band so got to make sure i don't go too silly on the dance floor, have to see whether this one is worth any sort of report !!!