Friday, January 30, 2009

This will be a quick post because I'm almost feeling asleep at the laptop and I have an early start tomorrow for the long run.

Yesterday I ran 21km before work. I've been tired all week, what with the hot weather and general blahness that has hit me since the Mt Tennent run. I started the run and almost straightaway thought, nope this isn't working, I'll go 5km, turn around and call it a day. This changed to 6km, then 7km, followed by 8km. Each time I thought I'd just go a little further and then I was at the 10.5km turnaround. It was a slow run but I did it. However the gym session scheduled for after work didn't happen - I thought rest would serve me better.

This morning - similar story. At least I could sleep in until 5.30am but it was a struggle to get out of bed for a medicine ball circuit session interspersed by 2min sprints and finished off with a 5km interval run. Can't say it was my fastest interval session but at least I was consistent - consistently slow!

And so on to tomorrow - the session I've been dreading most of the week given the weather forecast. Its meant to get to 38 degrees tomorrow and the long run is at the Cotter where there is no shade. The run consists of 2 loops of about 21-23km. Its going to be hot, hot, hot.

Ihatetoast and Ewen - I've been bloody hot the past week with the running I've been doing in the heat. That's my contribution to global warming! ;-)

"Do the one thing you think you cannot do. If you fail at it, try it again. Do it better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire."

-Oprah Winfrey

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Hot, hot, hot

Mt Tennent run, Monday 26 January - a hard slog - going up Mt Tennent

Heading back downhill

Bushfold Flats

Summer has well and truly arrived - it is hot and there doesn't appear to be any respite for quite a few days yet. I went for a 12km 'easy' run along the cycle path this morning and it was hot, and I'm talking 6am.

The reason for the easy run was because I'm still feeling some after effects of the Mt Tennent run - sore quads and residual tiredness. The plan was to do an easy run along the cycle path but for some strange reason at about the 9km mark I decided to step up the pace and do the last 3 kms in sub-5min kms. Now those of you who routinely clock up sub-4min/kms don't scoff - some of us are elated if we can break sub-5min/km, 6min/km or even 7min/km. All the long slow hill running I've been doing has played havoc with my speed to the point that I don't have any speed! Anyway I managed sub-5min/kms for the last 3kms but it was hot, hard and sweaty work and by the time I finished I looked like I'd been running in the tropics.

This afternoon I went for my regular acupuncture appointment for my achilles/calf problem. The massage that precedes the needles is sheer hell but effective. "Is this too hard?" Dr Pain asks as he focuses on a painful knot in my calf. A muffled 'no' from me as I'm clutching the sides of the bench to avoid hitting the ceiling. By the time he inserts half a dozen needles into various parts of my calf I can barely feel a thing. My reward is that I can there lie there for about 40mins doing absolutely nothing - bliss.

This evening I decided to go for a swim, and so did most of northside of Canberra - hardly surprising in this weather. The lane I chose (medium pace) was well populated but so were all the other lanes so there was nothing for it but to jump in and hope to churn out some laps. Apart from a wayward backstroker and another person who was attempting some sort of stroke (very hard to describe but they were making lots of waves), I managed a kilometre without too many hassles.

A dreaded 4.30am wake-up call for a 5.30am, 20km, off-road run.
Followed by a weights session at the gym after work.
"The higher your energy level, the more efficient your body. The more efficient your body, the better you feel and the more you will use your talent to produce outstanding results."

Anthony Robbins

Monday, January 26, 2009

Up and up and up and up

This morning it was the Mt Tennent Australia Day trail runs. There were several events on offer but I had entered the 20.3km Mt Tennent / Bushfold Flats run. The weather was also starkly different to yesterday morning - blue skies and sunshine early on which meant there would be warm conditions for the event. There were about 19 entrants in the different events but everyone would be tackling the 6.7 km summit ascent with 700m of climb to the top. Then it was back down and for some, back to the start /finish line. For others, including me, it was out to Bushfold Flats and then back to the start / finish line.

The run up to the summit started reasonably well - I was running, albeit slowly, and was determined not to walk. However, my calves begged to differ and eventually I had to walk due to the cramping. From then on it was a mixture of slow running and walking to get to the top of Mt Tennent in 57.55min. While most of the route was in shade there were places where the sun beat down with some intensity. Most of the field was heading back downwards as I neared the summit, with softshoeshuffle just ahead of me - but every time I got close to him he managed to run/walk away from me. Twofruits was well ahead - just over 6 mins faster than me to the top.

The run out to Bushfold Flats should, in theory, be a pleasant run given that we had just made our way to the top of Mt Tennent. The Bushfold Flats course could be described as relatively flat with some undulations yet I always struggle with this stretch - it's uneven underfoot, seems to go on forever and is just a hard slog - fugly running is how I would describe this stretch. There is less shade, and with no breeze to speak of, it was getting very warm. At this point Little Red was playing on my ipod and the song was Coca Cola (#47 on the Triple J Hottest 100):

Opening Lyrics:
My one and only advice
is cold Coca Cola and ice

Main Lyrics:
I know you like it too
My one and only advice is
Coke, Coca Cola and ice

Now I don't normally drink Coca Cola and ice but boy, it was starting to sound really good at this stage in the run!

I passed softshoeshuffle just before the turnaround and then I was finally heading back to the finish line - up a bloody hill! Announcements of results followed with the prizes being a choice between t-shirts, wine and Toblerone chocolate. I'll let you guess what I decided to take home! Anyway everyone gets a prize - its very democratic.

We stopped at Pine Island on the way home to cool off in the water - a great way to finish what was a very challenging event.

I also listened to Triple J's Hottest 100 on and off today. The top 10 songs were:

#1 - Kings of Leon - Sex on Fire
#2 - MGMT - Electric Feel
#3 - Kings of Leon - Use Somebody
#4 - Empire of the Sun - Walking On A Dream
#5 - MGMT - Kids
#6 - The Presets - Talk Like That
#7 - Pez - The Festival Song(feat. 360 and Hailey Cramer)
#8 - The Presets - This Boy's In Love
#9 - The Ting Tings - That's Not My Name
#10 - Drapht - Jimmy Recard

I have 5 of these on my ipod (1 - 3, 5 - 6)

Jen: I'm sorry we missed you on Sunday - that was one of the reasons we headed down there after our run. We were hoping we might see you somewhere at the triathlon but then as I said, we were in a coffee queue for quite a while. Next time!

Strewth - it was a great morning. We must do it more often!

Ewen - I had a pretty damn fine coffee this afternoon! How come we never saw you at Mt Tennent this morning?!

"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more,"
you are a leader"
--John Quincy Adams - 6th U.S President

Sunday, January 25, 2009

10k for the day

The first vets run for the year was at Campbell Park this morning and the weather was nothing what I expected. It was cool (verging on chilly) and overcast - perfect running conditions. Strewth and I managed a 2km warm up before our respective starts. Caught up with a few people and then I was away in group 33. It was only a matter of time before twofruits passed me and not long after the turn around I passed Ewen. I had forgotten about the grinding climb to the turnaround but at least the return run was easier - mostly downhill. Never sighted Strewth on the run - she was just too good for me today. We then managed another 2km cool down afterwards, thus making a total of 10km for the day.

Then we were off to Lake Burley Griffin to hopefully catch up with some people we knew who were competing in the triathlon this morning. Saw Lochie out on the run, which meant, of course, that most people would have finished the event. So we sought out a coffee, of course, and for the next 15-20mins was spent standing in a queue. Caroline, who had competed in the olympic distance triathlon spied us in the queue and came up for a chat, hot chocolate and muffin. Watched the presentations, saw Jodie receive a medal for placing third in her age group, Lochie receive a medal in his age group but unfortunately never saw Caroline receive her medal, due to some recording bungle. Hopefully it will be sorted soon and she receives her medal - she deserves it.

This afternoon I went for a swim - 1km freestyle followed by 500m with a kickboard and fins.

Tomorrow is the Mt Tennent/Bushfold Flats run - 20.3km. It's also the Triple J Hottest 100 countdown. What will be the number one song for 2008?


"It must be borne in mind that the great tragedy in life is not in
failing to reach all of your goals--it is in having no goals for
which you are reaching.

It is not a calamity if somehow you die with dreams unfulfilled but
it is a calamity not to dream.

It is not a disgrace if you fail to reach the stars, but it is a
disgrace if you have no stars for which you are reaching.

It is not a disaster if you fail to achieve your highest ideals,
but it is a disaster if you have no high ideals for which you are
striving. Not failure, but lower aim is sin."

Benjamin Elijah Mays - Former President Of Morehouse college

Friday, January 23, 2009

Slip Sliding Away

This morning I could've swore I was running in the tropics, rather than Canberra. It was 20 degrees at 5.30am and apparently the humidity was 67%. After the thunderstorm and heavy rain last night and in the early hours of this morning, it was definitely steamy and the ground was muddy, making running at times a risky business. There were a few occasions when I slid along rather than ran and some of the downhills I took very carefully.

The cockatoo tree was very subdued this morning - only about a handful of the usually noisy birds sitting quietly in the tree. However there were plenty of those wascally wabbits around (as Elmer Fudd would say) - they are everywhere.

The run went well, a little slower due to taking care not to slip slide away. Another 21km done for the week, making it a total of 71km. Tomorrow will either be a complete rest day, or if I find that too difficult to do, then I might go to the gym.

Ewen: ok you've got me there - I don't think I'll ever manage 147km in a week.


"Don't lower your expectations to meet your performance. Raise your level of performance to meet your expectations. Expect the best of yourself, and then do what is necessary to make it a reality"

Ralph Marston

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Another one done and dusted

After a muggy night I was up at 4.30am to have breakfast before heading out on my 20km run at 5.30am. The things I do to fit my training around work and the weather. I can't run 20km on an empty stomach either - if I want to get the most out of my longer training runs I have to eat beforehand hence the early start.

Its also getting lighter a bit later now. It wasn't quite light when I headed off at 5.30am but the start of my running route is along some roads before I hit the trails behind Hawker. After the storms yesterday afternoon and evening everything was still damp and smelt fresh - all the dust had been washed away. It was soft underfoot and there was a nutmeg/peppery scent in the air as I ran through the bush - not sure what plant/tree was responsible for the smell but it was very pleasant. I passed by the 'cockatoo tree', so named because there are usually at least 20 cockatoos perched, hanging and squawking/screeching from the branches. Its a dead tree with absolutely no foliage whatsoever but is usually festooned with the cockatoos.

My run took me through part of the Pinnacle nature park, across the road and past Mt Painter, through Aranda bushland to the start of the Black Mountain nature park and then retrace my steps home. I never get tired of this run. Today there were the cockatoos, kangaroos who would stop from whatever they were doing and stare until I run past, lots of rabbits dashing around and the usual walkers out with their dogs.

On my return trip, running along behind Hawker again, with about 4km to go, there was a familiar figure ahead - familiar, yes, but I wasn't sure why. I don't usually encounter anyone I know running along here. As I drew closer to pass by, I discovered it was KW out for a run with his dog, Gus. So we ran together for a while, chatting, until I reached Belconnen Way where we parted ways. It certainly made the last few kms pass by quickly and pleasantly.

So another run done and dusted for the week. So far, since Monday I have run 45km with probably another 25km to be done by Friday. And today I paid my entry for Six Foot Track marathon, as well as the Mt Tennent Australia Day trail run. The weather forecast for Monday is meant to be 35*c - I hope that changes before then.

Clairie - there might be mileage and time on the feet but no speed unfortunately! I'm the proverbial tortoise watching the hares go racing past. The sleep-in was definitely worth it!

Ewen - I'm still gobsmacked that I ran that distance for the week - I've never run that far before....ever...over a week.

Friar - sounds like the Zephyr was a reliable car.

"Big goals get big results. No goals gets no results or somebody else's results."
Mark Victor Hansen

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A gentle zephyr

When I was younger, ie way back in primary school, I loved reading and creative writing classes and I would read many books and write many short stories - for school and just for fun. There would always be a word that would capture my imagination and I would then incorporate the word into everything I wrote. One such word was 'zephyr'. I came across that word initially in some book I was reading and I was smitten! I loved that word and from then on I would add it into everything i wrote. My teacher must've got a giggle from some of the things I wrote - but you could always guarantee there was a gentle zephyr blowing in there somewhere!

Anyway back to today and I have an opportunity to use that word again!!! There was a gentle zephyr blowing this morning as we tackled the Mt Ainslie, Trent's Grave, Rollercoaster trilogy three times, for a total of 41.49km! That gentle zephyr was a godsend while running the Rollercoaster and on top of Mt Ainslie - it certainly made running those distances a little easier. I have memories of doing the same run two years ago - but back then it was a hot day and it was hard work.

It was a mixture of walking and slow running with some reasonable breaks between loops. I have to admit I was surprised that the third loop really wasn't that bad - I was tired but could still run most of it (a bit of Mt Ainslie and Trent's Grave being the exceptions). There is nothing as good as being able to sit down on the seats that very last time and know that you don't have to run another step! (well, for that day, at least!). And its also with a great sense of personal satisfaction knowing that you've completed what you set out to do earlier that morning.

The run was followed by standing in the cool waters of Lake Burley Griffin for about 15 mins with Steve for company afterwards. A persistent fish was nibbling on my ankles - at least I hope it was a fish! It doesn't pay to look too closely at what is lurking in the lake waters! Then it was off home, shower and head into the mall with Mr CJ for a much-looked-forward-to coffee. I have finished the 2 week challenge ie no coffee (nil, zip, nada, zero, zilch), and I now have one coffee a day.

Its now 6.30pm and I feel ok - no soreness, just tired. Looking forward to bed tonight and having a well -earned sleep-in tomorrow morning!

Another totally mind-blowing fact (well for me anyway, if no-one else!) - since last Sunday I have run a total of about 118km for the week!

Today - 41.49km, 4hr 49.58min actual running time at 6.59min/km pace.


"[Do not] assume it is impossible because you find it hard. Recognise that if it's humanly possible then you can do it too."

- Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Climb every mountain


But don't imagine a picturesque Sound of Music scene but rather a bunch of runners / walkers making their way up Mt Tennent, in Namadgi National Park, down to Bushfold Flats, up to the top of Apollo Rd, oh and then for fun, retrace their steps.

We may have started off together (six of us anyway) but given the range of abilities and fitness, we soon separated, only to pass at various points in the run. It was cloudy and cool as we ventured to the top of Mt Tennent for the first time and there wasn't really much to see once we'd arrived. There was also a breeze blowing that became gradually stronger (a headwind as we were running Bushfold Flats in reverse) before dying away again near the end of the run.

There were also a few bush walkers out and about - in groups, in pairs and a sole walker (Sven, as we nicknamed him).

While it was a hard run ('run' not being quite an accurate description in my case, and 'hard' not really doing justice to just how challenging the run is) it was with a great sense of satisfaction when I made it to the top both times, not too far behind softshoeshuffle and two fruits. There were several potential CJs - but I managed to stay upright.

Finally after about 4 and a half hours of running/walking time, I made it back to the car park, dusty, sweaty but triumphant. Another tough run done and dusted. And on 26 January I will be running (not walking) to the top of Mt Tennent.

Then bliss......standing in the cool water at Point Hut. Sometimes its the little things in life that make me happy and this was one of them. A coffee would've been nice but as I have given up coffee (part of a food challenge) for 14 days (finishing 14 January) I will have to forgo this pleasure for the time being, along with the chocolate. Bring on the green tea!

Today, my calves are not happy with me at all - there is no way I could run again today even if I'd wanted to. But that's fine - as part of my training I'm running every second day (physio recommendation).

Now to find some bush trails near Bateman's Bay - we're off to spend a few days at the coast. Murramarang National Park looks like it might be a nice place to run.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

First run for 2009

Invincible (Muse)

"Follow through
Make your dreams come true
Don't give up the fight
You will be all right
Cause there's no one like you
In the universe

Don't be afraid
What your mind conceives
You should make a stand
Stand up for what you believe
And tonight we can truly say
Together we're invincible

And during the struggle
They will pull us down
But please, please let's use this chance to
Turn things around
And tonight we can truly say
Together we're invincible

Do it on your own
Makes no difference to me
What you leave behind
What you choose to be
and whatever they say
Your soul's unbreakable

And during the struggle
They will pull us down
But please, please let's use this chance to
Turn things around
And tonight we can truly say
Together we're invincible"

This is currently one of my favourite songs on the ipod. It has great lyrics and always seems to play when I'm struggling during a long and/or hilly run.

Celebrated seeing in the new year with Strewth, Mr B and Mr CJ - it was loads of fun and the time passed really quickly. Then today, for the first run of 2009, I ran with Strewth and Mr B around Lake Ginninderra. I ran down to the lake from home (about 4kms)to meet them and then we set off around the lake. The wind was really gusty at times but when it wasn't blowing it was really pleasant. Ran home into a headwind after the lake run - resistance training! Ran a total of 16km, half of it with great company.