Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Right here, right now (Fatboy Slim)

So its the end of another year.

2008 has been and is almost gone; 2009 is just around the corner.

So have you made your new year's resolutions?

Normally I don't buy into the whole new year's resolutions thing given the propensity for people to make rash new year's resolutions and then fail to see them through.

However this time I've decided to set some goals. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

After a not so great 2008 I'm planning on having a really fine 2009!

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Are you gonna go my way (Lenny Kravitz)

This morning I met up with two fruits and softshoeshuffle for a run taking in Black Mountain, gunbarrel and Dairy Farmers hill, among others. I was on time but I had forgotten my drink bottles and carrier. Fortunately both guys had brought extra drinks. This was my first 'real', hilly off-road run since the 'back' incident 3 weeks ago so I wasn't sure how I'd fare. However, last week I managed a total of 45km for the week, 16km of this was on flat cycle paths, and then I graduated to off-road trails. However not all is peachy just yet - I have developed a sore left achilles and left groin muscle, both of which apparently relate back to my 'back' incident.

Our run started with a run up Black Mountain (which I walked) and then backtracking down the path we had just come up. I was running downhill very carefully because downhill running puts more strain on my back at the moment so the guys ran away from me. No problem, I knew where they were going....or so I thought. I got to the bottom and no-one was there. Funny I could've sworn I didn't pass them on the way down, so where were they? Seems like I was too engrossed in listening to my music and watching my footing to take any notice of where they were going and I missed a turn-off. Luckily two fruits had come back for me, envisaging I had either done a CJ or my back had given way. Then we made our way back to where he had left softshoeshuffle, only to find he wasn't there. Oh dear, this run was going really well!

We eventually regrouped and started off again, along familiar territory (for me) in Black Mt nature park and then it was time to head across to Stromlo. Without thinking I was heading for the shortest way across, which in this case was a road (part of Glenloch Interchange). Not a good idea! Instead we followed the cycle path underpass - a much safer route.

The rest of the run had its highs and lows for me but this had more to do with my lack of running for the past 3 weeks rather than any pain or niggles. The weather also was starting to change - we started in warm sunny weather but a large black cloud was looming and the wind was picking up some strength.

Finally Black Mt peninsula came into sight - oh what a reassuring sight to see my car! I ran close to 24km this morning - some of it easy, some of it hard but as always, with great company. I know I wouldn't do half of what we did if it wasn't for the moral support and the 'just being there' that I get from running with these guys. So a big thanks and hugs to two fruits and softshoeshuffle.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

And a good time was had by all......

Last night it was the final dinner for the year for the Speedygeese group. The dinner was at Phnom Penh restaurant in Belconnen. Despite the fact that I don't think I have turned up to even one session this year at Parliament House, I would like to think I am part of the speedygeese group in spirit so attended the dinner. It was a great night - great company, lots of laughs (could be the drugs!), and great food. So thanks Geoff for organising the dinner - I'm sure everyone had an enjoyable night. I know I did.

Now if only I could run off all this extra food I am consuming at this time of the year!!!!!

Update on injury - I'm actually not feeling too bad this morning. The back was taped yesterday so that helps. Will go for a walk after work - I have been given permission by my physio.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Never assume anything!

Last Tuesday I injured myself and it wasn't through running - so no I didn't do a CJ (I saw your comment Ewen!).

It had to with a frozen computer, a desk and power cords underneath the desk. That is, my work computer froze during log-on, the on/off switch wouldn't work, hitting it definitely didn't work so this meant I had to crawl under my desk to pull the power plugs out of the power board (or whatever it's called), as we don't have power switches up on the desk. I gave the cord a yank, hit my head on the underneath part of my desk and thought that was it.....until I went to stand up..........and couldn't. My lower back went into painful spasms and I had to get back on the floor until it settled down.

Since then I have been to the doctor, the physio (three times), and for acupuncture (twice). I'm on muscle relaxant medication plus anti-inflammatories. The back went into spasms again Sunday night but since the acupuncture it has settled down so now I'm feeling almost human and not likely to snap anyone's head off or burst into tears. I have another lot of acupuncture Thursday afternoon - I have to admit I've been impressed with the results so far.

Then we fly to the Gold Coast Friday afternoon for son #3's graduation from Griffith University which is on Saturday afternoon. Then we fly home Sunday.

I miss my running.

Monday, December 08, 2008

A sad day

This afternoon I heard the saddest news: Dual Commonwealth Games marathon gold medallist Kerryn McCann has died from cancer at the age of 41.

Kerryn McCann was aged 38 when she provided one of the dramatic highlights of Melbourne's 2006 Commonwealth Games.

Exchanging the lead several times with Kenyan Hellen Cherono Koskei as they approached the MCG, Kerryn hit the front and entered the stadium to a massive roar from the crowd.

As the pair battled the final stretch around the stadium, Kerryn lost the lead before summoning an inspiring home straight burst to eclipse Koskei and snatch victory by two seconds.

She described it as 'probably the greatest victory I've ever had, or the greatest race I've ever run'.

An inspirational woman, athlete and mother.

Its a long way to the top......

but it had nothing to do with rock'n'roll! Saturday's run was the hardest, toughest run since.....since... since the last time I walked/ran Mt Tennent.

I really only saw Mick and Nick before we started and then only in passing, usually when I was walking up as they were running down Mt Tennent, and they were looking relatively fresh in comparison. Steve, softshoeshuffle, JK and I ran together in parts or met up at the summit once or twice.

The first ascent from the Visitors Centre is rocky, steep and not for the faint-hearted (Strewth, you'd hate it!). I rolled my ankle not far from the start but fortunately it wasn't serious and for a while I didn't say anything because I didn't want to jinx myself. The only times I really noticed anything was when I stopped running or during the final descent back down to the Visitors centre, when the ankle was aching a bit. (Today - Monday - it's fine).

We passed a group of bushwalkers on the way up to the top for the first time, then some of the same group on the descent to Bushfold Flats, and then again on the final descent. Otherwise it was just us crazy runners. As mentioned I walked a good part of the uphills and even that was really hard work. But I'm stubborn and I was determined to get to the top for the second time even if it took all day. That, and the fact I had run out of water and there was a water tank at the top!

However, it felt so good to finally finish back at the cars - five hours (4hr 30min running time), 30.5km and 2,323 calories later! Not only because it had been a tough gruelling run but because I had completed it - despite a lot of walking. The run may not have been fast, it was definitely not pretty but I did it.....and I have DOMS to prove it!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Rest day

No running, no gymming; instead a well earned rest day to recuperate and recover.

Today I came aross this quote:

It comes from a book called Another Roadside Attraction by Tom Robbins. The character named Amanda is listening to an FBI agent go on about courage, trying to get her to give up her husband's location. She responds with:

"Courage? You risked your life, but what else have you ever risked? Have you ever risked disapproval? Have you ever risked a belief? There's nothing particularly courageous in risking one's life. So you lose it. You go to your hero's heaven and everything is milk and honey til the end of time, right? You get your reward and suffer no earthly consequences. That's not courage. Real courage is risking something you have to keep on living with. Real courage is risking something that might force you to rethink your thoughts, and suffer change, and stretch consciousness. Real courage is risking one's cliches."

Hope everyone had a good day.

Tomorrow: 16km off-road run in my new, you-beaut off-road shoes, before breakfast.

Gym at lunchtime.

End of year assessment in client screening and assessment in the evening - and then classes are finished for the year. Yay!!!!

Monday, December 01, 2008

From Innabaayna to Tuggeranong

Groundhog day.

Alarm went off at 7am - turned it off, dozed off.

Woke up - blinked, blinked again, rubbed eyes - 8am.

From bed to Innabaayna (site of last Vets run for the year, out on Majura Rd) - in 45-50min including coffee on the run.

I was in Group 33 as I'm still paying the price for a really good run back in February 2006 and as happened last month, all the back runners passed me before the turnaround, or just after. It was beginning to look like I would come in last because I'm sure everyone passed me and I hadn't passed anyone. The legs felt heavy to start with and any hill brought me to a shuffle but I was gradually getting into my stride - it just takes time. I kept Steve in sight but really all I was trying to do was run at a comfortable pace.

I finished 80th (of 94 participants) in about 34.28min, an average of around 5min/km pace. Not too shabby after Saturday's run.

Then yesterday evening I went with some work colleagues to see Joe Camilieri (sp?) and the Black Sorrows who were playing at the Tuggeranong Festival, down by the lake. It was a great night followed by fireworks. However the coffee I had at 8.45pm (late by my standards) meant I had a very sub-standard night's sleep.

This morning I was at the gym doing a weights session followed by 30min cardio intervals on the bike. My legs are still feeling a little sluggish but not too bad.

The 4WD in running shoes

On Saturday Steve, softshoeshuffle, JK and I met up at the Cotter for our weekly long run. We had arranged to meet at 7.15pm at the t-junction of Cotter Rd and Urriara Rd to make a decision about where to run based on the weather, just in case it was like last Saturday all over again. The plan was to get up early (about 5.30-ish), have breakfast and then head off to meet them at the designated time. Instead it panned out like this - alarm goes off at 5.30am, turn it off, lie there thinking about getting up, doze off, wake again at…what's that…surely not….6.40am, launch myself out of bed, mad dash to cupboard to find necessary running gear, sprint to the kitchen to make the absolutely essential coffee, whip up a blend of banana, milk and protein powder (breakfast), frantically grab miscellaneous items needed for running such as Garmin, ipod, cap, sunnies, shoes etc, etc, and I was out the door. Somehow I managed to make it to the meeting point on time (ok, maybe I was a couple of minutes late).

I hate runs that start with an uphill - this was one of them. And it kept going up courtesy of Mt McDonald - my calves were hating it with a passion. Lovely view at the top once the calf cramps eased off. I was also wearing my new you beaut 4WD in running shoes - the Salomon XT Wings.

"Looking for more speed and power? Try Salomon’s new top of the line all terrain running shoe, the XT WINGS. With solid foot support and excellent grip, this lightweight and versatile shoe allows easy running on a wide variety of terrain, from flat sandy fire trails to steep rocky singletrack. The new Agile Chassis System (ACS) provides a perfect balance of cushioning, stability and responsiveness. Quick-drying breathable mesh provides ventilation for the entire foot, while the soles of your feet remain fresh and odour-free thanks to a special anti-microbial treatment. Salomon’s innovative Quicklace™ system ensures the shoes deliver a snug fit with just one pull."

These shoes are amazing - rocky rough trails - no problem. Downhills - no problem. I am morphing into the Downhill Demon - a big turnaround from the previous Downhill Dunce that I was. Don't get me wrong, I still have a lot more work to do on my downhill running but these shoes have given me the confidence, so look out knees! Now, if only Salomon could develop a shoe that helps make uphill running easier!! (or getting out of bed in the morning a lot easier!)

So in summary there were hills, downhills, lots of talking and laughing (especially about Zits - a comic strip in the Canberra Times), lots of swearing under breath (from me as I was struggling up hills), music (when the going gets tough, the music goes on), muscles going lactic, a snake, standing in cool water, sunshine then cool breezes, and a coffee man who didn't hang around to take our orders (bah humbug).

I think we ran about 31km in around 3hr 10min (running time). Next week: Mt Tennent. Enough said…….