Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Oh my golly gosh

Tuesday Total: 17.5k
Week total: 26.5k
Month total: 91.5k
Year total: 1,382.5k

Time: 1hr 41.17min
Av pace: 5.45min/km
Av Temp: 4.9*c (9.21am)
Rel. Humidity Av: 94.6%
Wind Spd Avg: 4.9kph (SE)

I showed up this foggy, grey and chilly morning for the Tuesday group run, which meets weekly at Black Mountain Peninsular on, you guessed it, Tuesday mornings! Two Fruits suggested it yesterday and since I didn't have anything else planned, thought why not. I needed a kick up the pants and this would be just that, plus I would have company...that always helps.

So I donned my leggings, short pants, short sleeved running top, arm warmers, long sleeved running top, trackky pants, big woolly warm jacket (and no, I wasn't planning on running in all of this - the trackky pants and jacket would be coming off, reluctantly). It was good to see some friendly faces, even if I couldn't put names to all of them. Then off came the trackky pants and jacket but on went the headband and cap to keep my head and ears warm, and we were off. I should add that I was feeling a little off-colour thanks to some fresh mozzarella I had yesterday which wasn't that fresh - the tummy was decidedly dodgy plus I had that thumping headache you seem to get with things like that.

We headed off towards the cork plantation and then, omg surely not, we're not heading that way? Up Gunbarrel hill, that's where. The conversation I was having with JK and Two Fruits at this point ceased - there was no way I could run, breathe AND talk at the same time heading up the hill. Yes, I did manage to get up the hill...slowly, but then there was another hill, and then another one, and some of these did defeat me. There was a little bit of walking happening but not a lot.

By the time Two Fruits and I reached the Aquarium (we had run about 13km at this stage) I was definitely feeling the lack of training, the weeks of gallivanting around overseas, and the extra kilos. Fortunately having great company helped get me back to the start...that, and the thought of the thermos of coffee I had in the car.

It was good to finish, have a well-earned coffee (god it tasted good) and catch up with a few people I hadn't seen for a while, Barb being one of them.

Later today I still didn't feel that great (dodgy mozzarella to blame) so I lay on the couch and watched Under the Tuscan Sun - it was fun to pick out the places we'd seen while on holiday (Cortona, Positano).

So I definitely got that kick up the pants, so to speak, running-wise, but it was what I needed. Brindabella Classic training has officially commenced!

Civitavecchia - Home of the Black Knight
Views from our hotel balcony

Meeting with the famed Black Knight and his Lady Daniela

Amazing and beautiful Estruscan artifacts

Remains of Roman Baths

Monday, July 30, 2007


Monday Total: 9k
Week total: 9k
Month total: 74k
Year total: 1,365k

Time: 52.40min
Av pace: 5.48min/km
Av Temp: 1*c (6.57am)
Rel. Humidity Av: 100%
Wind Spd Avg: 8kph (SSE)
Started with: Hallelujah - Rufus Wainwright
Finished with: Revelations - Audioslave

I admit it - I wimped out on the weekend and didn't run either day. Well admittedly I hadn't planned on running Saturday but I had said that I'd go to the monthly vets run at Mt Taylor on Sunday morning. But come Saturday night the thought of running Mt Taylor the next morning just seemed too daunting and I wimped out. The compromise was that I would do a run close to home on Sunday but that never eventuated. If I don't run first thing in the morning I can think up every excuse under the sun why I don't need to do it.

So this morning I made myself go for a run early enough that I couldn't wimp out. Much better. Then after lunch I went to the gym for a lower body and arms workout - even better!
Memories of Singapore

The chocolate buffet at the Fullerton Hotel

Singapore Slings all round at the Raffles



Hindu temple

Little India

Friday, July 27, 2007

It's all good

Inclement weather photos
Because of the inclement weather here in Canberra today, I thought I'd post a couple of photos from our holiday, when we encountered similar weather (except it was a helluva lot warmer!)

This was taken outside our accommodation near San Gimignano, in Tuscany. The wind on this particular day was unbelievable, it blew over the umbrella and chairs, as well as a huge terracotta pot.

Piazza del Campo, in Siena. It was a grey day that threatened to rain. The Piazza has been the town's civic centre since the mid-14th century. In July and August each year Il Campo becomes a racetrack when horses and riders representing 10 of the 17 town districts compete for the palio (silk banner). We were in Siena 2 days after the Palio and saw people from the successful town district parading through the town with their banners.

Looking out from Vernazza, one of the villages of the Cinque Terre, Italy. We walked along a path to the next village, Monterosso later in the morning.

Vernazza again, looking back towards the village. To the left is Chiesa di Santa Margherita, which has stood since 1318.

Lucca, in Tuscany. It was a very brief storm - some lightning and thunder, a bit of rain and then it blew over.

London - we encountered all 4 seasons in the 3 days we were there. The rain forecasts had started for southern England and it was only going to get worse.
Friday Total: 11k
Week total: 28.1k
Month total: 65k
Year total: 1,356k

Time: 63min
Av pace: 5.43min/km
Av Temp: 10.6*c (9.27am)
Rel. Humidity Av: 82.9%
Wind Spd Avg: 22.5kph (WS)
Started with: Twisted Transistor - Korn
Finished with: Kick in the door - Skunk hour

Because it had rained overnight it wasn't as cold this morning - in fact it was a positively balmy 10.6*c when I headed out the door. (TA, glad to hear the snow's been brilliant - I'm still getting reacquainted with frosts and maximum temperatures of 10*c!) The sky was really black and threatening to the north, the direction I was heading, and I was mentally revising my route, partly because I didn't want to get caught in a downpour but also because I was in two minds about how far to run. So I elected to stick to the cycle path that's not too far from home and has a couple of underpasses to shelter in should it rain.

Ok so the running is getting a little easier each time I set out but I still can't believe how crappy I've felt while running this week. I feel as though I haven't run for 6 months rather than the 2 measly weeks I missed. I would make a granny with a walking frame look good at the moment. And Ewen, I don't think I will be passing anyone on Sunday, let alone while going up a hill! I just hope people don't have to hang around too long waiting for me to finish - after all I am in group 36!

I went to the gym yesterday - this time in the afternoon. It was great - its a lot quieter and I don't have to wait to use any of the machines. The body is feeling a little tender today but I guess its telling me I have muscles somewhere under the wobbly bits! Might up the reps (thanks for the advice Tesso) next week when I will go to the gym THREE times.

Good luck to everyone taking part in the Bush Capital events tomorrow - hi Liza! I'm sorry I won't be there but at the moment my running is just crap. Running Mt Taylor on Sunday will probably finish me off anyway. If there are no further blog entries you will know why!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

More holiday photos

At Torre Argentina stray cats (which now number approximately 250) have found respite from the chaos and traffic amongst the oldest temples in Rome (400-300 BC). Volunteers from different countries, who created the shelter, work here seven days a week. The area of Torre Argentina was excavated in 1929 and this was also the year the history of the cats residency began. Stray and abandoned felines took refuge in the protected area below street level. From 1929 until 1993, the cats were more or less regularly fed by a succession of cat ladies or 'gattare'. These days there are volunteers who help with the feeding, spaying and administering medicines. They rely on donations.

Back to today! (well, yesterday...)

Wednesday Total: 9.6k
Week total: 17.1k
Month total: 54k
Year total: 1,345k

Time: 56.51min
Av pace: 5.53min/km
Av Temp: 4.6*c (9.30am)
Rel. Humidity Av: 90.1%
Wind Spd Avg: 3kph (W)
Started with: Straight Lines - Silverchair
Finished with: Voodoo Child - Rogue Traders

Since the last run, on Monday, I have been to the gym for a lower body weights session plus 20min cardio on the exercise bike. I have to confess that initially the plan was to do 30min on the bike but the steely resolve wavered after about 10mins...so 20mins was a good compromise. After all, I can only improve....right?! This afternoon I'm back to the gym for an upper body weights session plus 20min on the stepper.

There has been some post-gym DOMS but its been bearable. This is possibly because I didn't go gangbusters with the weights or the reps. Having done this in the past and then not being able to physically move the following day, I opted for lightish weights and low reps.

The run yesterday was a little longer (a kilometre) and a little easier, possibly because I was going a little slower! It was foggy and cold and I was the only one out enjoying the fresh Canberra morning. Though this could've been because most people were either at work or at school. I still feel very heavy on my feet and can be heard approaching a block away (probably attributed to the extra 3kg I'm currently carrying).

Yesterday afternoon I read an article in the latest Runners World magazine. No, not the 'A Chocky A Day?', or the 'Caffeine Hit' or even 'The Girl Who Started It All', though these were all interesting articles. It was the 'C'mon Get Happy' article - "Every run can bring you pleasure - if you train your brain to think that way". Obviously I have some work to do in this area so that I can tap into the physiological cocktail of endocannabinoids, epinephrine, serotonin and dopamine to "transform a workout into happy hour".

Monday, July 23, 2007

No spouting allowed

One of our favourite signs from Italy, at a place called Monteriggione (in Tuscany). In case you can't read the red print at the bottom of the sign, here it is:

"Attention: the unprovided ticket visitors an administrative sanction will be applied.
He is forbidden to rise and lean of the walls out.
He has forbidden to spout or to abandon rubbish to the ground."

Well, it had to come to an end eventually. We've been home for about 5 days now and its taken me this long to defrost enough to write up a post! I cannot believe how cold it is - I can see my fingers and toes but I can't feel them - they're numb from cold. We arrived in Sydney on one of its coldest days, and Canberra has been having sub-arctic weather. The fish pond was iced over this morning and I've been told this has not been the first time this winter. Waaaah - I WANT TO GO BACK TO ITALY!

Apologies for the lack of communication after leaving San Gimignano but internet access became harder to find and/or more expensive. There was no more running either. While staying at Vernazza (Cinque Terre) we decided to do the walk between the 5 villages - easier than trying to run vertically! There were plans on doing a run in Lucca, along the walls, but throwing up one's dinner at 2am put a dampener on that one. By the time I hit London I was fully into the holiday mode - eat, eat and eat and worry about the running when i get home! Which is a shame actually because Kensington Park and Hyde Park were only just down the road. But Harrods beckoned......

One of the highlights was meeting a fellow blogger, aka The Black Knight. Thank you Stefano for the warm welcome, for showing us your city, for the wonderful dinner we shared with you, your wife, Giorgio and his wife, and for the great t-shirt - I will wear it with pride! And it might just be Firenze 08!

Monday Total: 7.5k
Week total: 7.5k
Month total: 44.4k
Year total: 1,335.4k

Time: 43.40min
Av pace: 5.49min/km
Av Temp: 4.5*c (9.50am)
Rel. Humidity Av: 80.4%
Wind Spd Avg: 3.1kph (S)
Started with: We're coming home - Rogue Traders
Finished with: Keep the car running - Arcade Fire

Since being home I've used the jetlag excuse but that's wearing a little thin now (which, I might add, is the only thing that is wearing thin - I have managed to gain 3kg). So this morning I was up, dressed in multi layers, ready to run for half an hour and get re-acquainted with my music, then I stepped outside and..........very quickly backtracked. It was bloody freezing! So I waited 3hours before stepping out again, and it was marginally warmer.

I can't believe how out of shape I feel. After all, its only been just over a fortnight since I last ran but the way I felt while running this morning, it felt like a lot longer. Forget DOMS - I had SOMS (sudden onset muscle soreness)!

Tomorrow its the gym. Now that will be interesting.......

Friday, July 06, 2007

San Gimignano

Week total: 30.5k
Month total: 36.9k
Year total: 1,327.9k

Since being in San Gimignano I have run 4 times: a short 6.4km on Sunday; a flatter 8.5km run to Santa Lucia on Monday; a combination of both the aforementioned runs on Thursday (11km); and a run around the old walls surrounding the town, plus some streets through the town plus the Santa Lucia run again this morning (11km). The weather has been warm to hot with blue skies and sunshine for all of the runs (sorry for those of you freezing through a Canberra winter). We had one very wild and windy day - the day we went to Siena....Wednesday I think. The Palio (horse race) was held on Monday and the winners were parading down the streets, waving flags, drumming and blowing whistles.

We also had a look through Casa di Santa Caterina (I was named after her) - where she was born and lived with her parents and 24 siblings!!!!!!! Then it was on to Chiesa di San Domenico where Santa Caterina took her vows. Here we saw her head in the chapel of Santa Caterina, and also her thumb plus thew whip she used to use on herself, for the wellbeing of the souls of the faithful.

The cappuccini has been of a high standard here in San Gimignano, apart from the very first one we had here when we arrived last Saturday. That particular coffee tasted awful and we haven't been back to that cafe again!

Strewth and I went shopping in Florence on Tuesday and I managed to get a bargain with a leather coat. The San Lorenzo markets are a little overwhelming though - just stall after stall after stall of leathergoods, t-shirts, tacky souvenirs, more leathergoods. Also managed to see David (a copy in a piazza), the Ponte Vecchio, the outside of the Duomo (truly amazing) and the Uffizi Gallery. The only offputting thing is the number of tourists - there are so many!

We leave San Gimignano tomorrow, bound for Vernazza (Cinque Terre) - can't wait! Also looking forward to catching up with the Black Knight next week!

TA - we have seen Italians out running but they do tend to be male. Not so many females running though we did encounter a group of young Italian women running, while in Cortona. Lots of cyclists however.