Friday, February 27, 2009

My week

In no specific order......
More running.
Circuit plus intervals.

One more run for the week tomorrow - the long run.

Then I can sleep in on Sunday - yay!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Oh what a feeling!

Its been a hectic, crazy week (seems to be the norm lately) but the running is coming along nicely *touch wood*.

Total for the week: 93.2km

Today (Sunday): vets run at North Curtin

I went forward a group from last month so started in Group 32 this morning, though I nearly messed up and left in group 31 - ooops. Fortunately I realised at the last minute, after racing across to check the board - yep, definitely group 32. A couple of speedy women are in my start group but that wasn't my concern this morning. My goal was to work hard up the hill and then ease off for the downhill and flat section - I didn't want to finish too high up in the results. However I also had to make sure two fruits didn't pass me - not that I'm competitive, I just don't like being passed!

The run went to plan - I also managed to pass strewth in the last 50m (apologies strewth!) but I did finish in 28th spot so I will move back a group again next month. After hanging around for announcements, strewth and I headed off for a well earned coffee and GF toast (for me) and date and walnut loaf (for strewth).

Yesterday (Saturday): long run, Mt Majura - 33km

5am comes around way too quickly for my liking. It seems I just get to bed and then that damn alarm goes off. Met up with the others behind the War Memorial at 6.30am before setting off on our run. Just before I started I met Roy coming the other way who said that strewth had had a fall. Not a good start. I headed off to catch up with the others - Carol, two fruits and softshoeshuffle (try saying that in a hurry) - fortunately I saw softshoeshuffle out of the corner of my eye or I would have headed up Mt Ainslie rather than out to Campbell Park!

Met up with strewth and Roy at some point - apart from some skin off her knee and elbow and a few bruises, she wasn't looking too bad, thank goodness. I think from memory the pace picked up not long after this. There was also a path that went up the side of Mt Majura - technical, rocky and it frustrated the hell out of me. The downhill run was great - even though it was on the road. For a lot of the run though I felt like an accident waiting to happen - so many close calls and one time when I did go over on my ankle but managed to right myself without causing too much damage.

*singing along to Sawdust Man - Ben Kweller, as I'm writing this - a great song and my favourite for the week*

In summary, a good run with some quicker running which required me to tough it out to keep up with two fruits (see twofruits blog for the technical details of the run).
Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever. That surrender, even the smallest act of giving up, stays with me. So when I feel like quitting, I ask myself which would I rather live with?
- Lance Armstrong

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

When Cathy Met Harry

This morning started off like any other morning – get up, get dressed and then out the door for a run behind Hawker and through the Pinnacle nature park. It is darker for a lot longer in the mornings and lately it has also been a lot cooler. I passed several walkers and one guy out with a big, white, fluffy dog bounding along and who fortunately was still on a leash – he looked like he had a lot of love and licks to share!

There were the usual hills and downhills and rocky bits underfoot threatening to trip unsuspecting runners. Note – I have not done a CJ for 2009, so I’m starting to feel very smug with myself. Passed a group of kangaroos grazing, scratching, staring at the mad female runner (that’s the impression I get anyway when I run past them), taking a wide berth past the rather large looking kangaroo grazing near the path I was taking. He, however, just raised his head, had a look and returned to what was obviously far more interesting – eating.

A little loop at the top and back down the side of the nature park before coming to an uphill section I had run earlier. Coming up the hill was the guy walking his boisterous white fluffy dog but this time the big white fluffy dog was not on his leash. The dog saw me and with tail madly wagging, legs and paws going in all directions, tongue hanging out, he bounded up to me and almost knocked me over in his unbridled enthusiasm. Somehow I managed to stand my ground but one of his paws pulled my shuffle ipod off my waistband, which in turn disconnected itself from my earphones and one little silver shuffle ipod went flying through the air. We, the dog and I, watched as the shuffle landed to earth about 2 metres away and then it was on – who would get there first. Me or Chewbacca.

“Harry, stop……Haaarrrryyyyyy!” – this from the owner. So the dog’s name was Harry. “Hhhhhhhaaaaaarrrrryyyyyy”. Futile exercise. Harry was focused on getting my shuffle, and so was I. We both scrambled for the tiny silver item and for a second it looked like the shuffle was going to disappear down Harry’s throat but I somehow managed to get between his mouth, legs, tongue and the shuffle and rescue it. It was dusty and damp from doggy slobber but it still worked. Harry’s owner breathed a sigh of relief and managed to retrieve his overactive, boisterous, rambunctious dog, apologising profusely and possibly wished the ground would swallow him and Harry up. Poor guy! Harry, meanwhile, thought it had been such a great game and that he had made a new friend for the day. Then we parted ways – I headed up the hill and on my way home. Not sure which way Harry and his owner went.
"Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out"
- Robert Collier

Monday, February 09, 2009

The Plan

Finally, the cool change has arrived. I love Summer but enough is enough. The devastating consequences of the Victorian fires has also been a sobering reminder of the harshness of the Australian environment.

Ok, new week, new plan. Let's see how long this one lasts!

am - well deserved sleep in until 6am! Tick
pm - Gym - upper body weights session Tick


am - 20km run Tick
pm - CIT class Tick

am - 12km fartlek run Tick
pm - RPM class tick

am - 19km run tick
pm - Gym - lower body weights session tick

am - abs circuit including 5km interval session tick

am - long run, 35.13km Tick

am - spectating at triathlon Tick
optional - swim Who was I kidding?!

"Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference."
Winston Churchill

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Doing the Stomlo Stomp

Another 4.30am start - two days in a row now and its a struggle. But I was feeling fine after yesterday's run and knew I couldn't wimp out of today's run.......besides I would never hear the end of it if I didn't show up.

There was a good turn out for the Stromlo Stomp - the ACT Veteran's Mountain Running Championships. The selection races for the Australian Cross Country team were also on down at the grass track, so once we had finished our race we could always wander down for a look. After a quick warm up with twofruits and Nick it was time to line up for the start, in our respective age groups, and then we were off, charging up the track that would take us up to the top of Mt Stromlo.

Its always hard starting with a hill,and this was no different. Initially my legs were refusing to cooperate but gradually I began to get into my stride - slow and steady. The path seemed to go on forever; go around one bend and up some more, around another bend and up some more, etc. Finally I was on the road, passing the burnt out shell of the observatory. I hadn't been up here since the 2003 bushfires, but prior to this we used to come up here often for coffee at the cafe after a run.

The loop behind Mt Stromlo caught me unawares and I think it did for a few others as well. There was I thinking that the worst of the hills were over when I encountered a few more unexpected doozies - round the bend and then look up, up, up, before running up, up, up. My strength on the hills (relatively speaking) meant that I could pass a few people who were walking the hills. I may not have been running fast but it was still faster than a walk.

Finally the drink station at the top of Mt Stromlo came into sight - this meant only one thing - it would be all downhill from here on. Fortunately I didn't follow the woman in front of me as apparently she took a wrong turn near the finish and it was another hour before she finally crossed the line.

Anyway, according to the garmin, I ran 10.5km in 59.11min but this doesn't take into account my (quick) stop at the drink station, so I'll wait for the official results. However, I was happy with the way I ran after yesterday's long run.

The very early starts have caught up with me and I had a 2 hr nap this afternoon - probably a bit longer than I would have liked but then again I was tired. Now I'm just waiting for that forecast cool change to happen.

Total kms for the week: 72.3km

pm - weights session at the gym

"It's not what you do once in a while, it's what you do day in and day out that makes the difference."
- Jenny Craig

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Ay caramba!

Another hot day - this is becoming monotonous. I love summer but several weeks of above 3o degree temperatures and the past week being in the high thirties, culminating in 40 degrees today, is really trying my patience. Its hard enough training for a marathon as it is without mother nature throwing a few curveballs.

Today the long run was Mt Rob Roy down Tuggeranong way. For northsiders such as myself this almost necessitates taking a packed lunch as I make the journey waaaay down south. Lack of sleep, lack of coffee and the early start time meant that I could barely string together 2 sentences when I finally did arrive, after everyone else as per usual.

Then we were off, carrying extra water bottles to drop off somewhere on the route, given there would be no taps or other sources of water on the way. We also came across one wily wombat out for a run, who joined us for a while. The front runners had already left us behind, no surprises there. The big surprise for me, though, was that I was actually running the hills quite well today. There were still periods of walking but there also lots of hill running, which impressed me no end. Even later on in the run, when I usually succumb to tiredness, I was still managing to run hills.

All in all it was a good run. The weather, humid early on and then heating up as the morning wore on, didn't seem so bad. I drank about 1.8l during the run, and then another 1.2l by the time I got home. We ran 30km which took me 3hr 30.24min, with an average pace of 6.58min/km.

Tomorrow: Stromlo Stomp, 10.4km

"Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not on this earth for eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand and melting like a snowflake."
Marie Beynon Ray

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The best laid plans

On Sunday I drew up a plan for the week that went like this:

Mon - am - 20km run
pm - weights session (lower body)

Tues - am - circuit plus intervals
pm - RPM class

Wed - am - 20km run
pm - weights session (lower body)

Thurs - am - fartlek run
pm - swim

Fri - am - circuit plus intervals

Sat - am - long run (Mt Rob Roy)

Sun - am - Stromlo Stomp

Then things went awry or as they say, the best laid plans......

What really happened:

Mon - dietary (gluten) issues meant there was no running, no anything that day.

Tues - Forgot that the Cross Country Summer Series was starting this week so that meant no RPM class, but I will do the 5km at Stromlo Park instead. Will move the RPM class to Wednesday evening and the weights session (upper body) to Thursday evening.

Wed - I did run about 19km but work issues meant that I didn't leave work until late and so I missed the RPM class. Will do RPM class Thursday evening and forget about a weights session this week.

Thurs - Still planning on doing a fartlek session before meeting Strewth and Mr B for breakfast. However forgot that I have an acupuncture appointment after work so that means no RPM class this week - will try again next week. Will do a weights session (mix of upper and lower body) instead. Will move the swim to the weekend.

Fri, Sat and Sun - still to plan.

And next week I have to factor in classes again as its the start of semester at CIT.

The cross country run on Tuesday was okay - the weather had cooled slightly so it wasn't really hot. The course is two loops of a grass track and the layout plays with your mind. The way it loops around makes you think you have almost finished the loop and then you discover that you actually still have quite a bit more of the loop to complete. Not a good way to be on a hot day. I ran the first loop comfortably which meant come the second loop I could increase my speed marginally and pass runners who had gone out too quickly and were now paying the price - there were a few of those. And normally I would be among them. I finished in 63rd place in a time of 23.29min.

This morning's run was about laps again - this time two laps within the Pinnacle nature park. Its a hilly course that meanders around the boundary of the nature park. It was a pleasant run and a good way to start the day.

We were discussing exercise at work this afternoon and a colleague said she was too tired at the end of the day to even think about going to the gym, or running, or even going for a walk. She couldn't understand how I could do these things. She also mentioned how stressed she was feeling at the moment with the amount of work we have and the numerous deadlines we have to meet. I said "precisely". She looked at me as if I had spoken in Martian or my head had spun around several times. I said "that is precisely why I exercise before and/or after work - especially when I am feeling tired or stressed due to work." On those days when work is hectic, the deadlines are looming and everyone expects just that little bit more, I find that going for a run, or swimming, or going to the gym helps to take my mind off work, allows me some breathing space and I always feel refreshed afterwards. Whereas if I don't exercise I find I get more stressed, more tired and finally I get sick. I think she understood what I was saying but I don't think she was totally convinced. In her mind, remaining stressed seemed an easier option.

Ewen - you wouldn't wanted to have been within earshot the other day when I realised that my CIT classes clash with the summer series events!!!

Strewth - The thing about pride is it always comes before a fall and you know I'm trying to avoid that. And please note - I have got through January without doing a CJ! (the first time in 3 years, I might add).

Softshoeshuffle - thank you. I may not have been appreciative last Saturday but I am glad I did the last 13km though it damn near killed me. Now about this Saturday..........

Clairie - the saying "what doesn't kill me makes me stronger" kept running through my head last Saturday. It didn't kill me so I'm hoping it made me a little stronger! I've just read your entry for Saturday - we share the pain!

Iiketoast - you're right, it is a long way from a few months ago and I should remind myself of this when things get tough. I have improved.

twofruits - I do blame you!!!! But thank you all the same. This Saturday might be a different story.......

luckylegs - its all about the journey rather than the destination isn't it. Sometimes we get so focused on the end result that we miss so much along the way. I'm still learning this.


"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say
to yourself, "I have lived through this horror. I can take the next
thing that comes along." . . . You must do the thing you think you
cannot do."
- Eleanor Roosevelt

Sunday, February 01, 2009

The heat is on

The hot weather has been unrelenting this week. Cools down marginally overnight before the mercury heads right back up the thermometer again. However at least I'm not in Melbourne where son #3 is experiencing unbearably high temperatures, power outages, public transport problems and being surrounded by very cranky, very hot and very tired people.

Yesterday I drove out to Cotter for a 7.30am start. Carol, softshoeshuffle and twofruits were already there preparing for a hot day out. The start is uphill (which is not my favourite way of starting a run but after running back up to Pierces settlement later on, I won't complain again) but the weather was still pleasantly warm.

The first loop of 23km was relatively comfortable - helped along by a brief stop at Vanities to cool the feet down. At this stage my mind was made up - this would be the only loop I'd be running today. However once back at the carpark and reconsidering my position, with some help by a certain person, I reluctantly agreed to do the out and back Vanities run. It was now later in the morning and the sun was beating down but i figured I could cope with 12.5-13km before calling it a day.

However the run starts with the grinding uphill climb to Pierces Settlement - it just seems to go on and on and on. I managed to run a lot of it before succumbing to walking. Passed Nick coming the other way and then a little further behind, Mick - they were almost finished. Things went downhill for me when I had to walk uphill at the next creek crossing and it did not improve after that. By the time I reached Vanities I was not in my happy place at all, as twofruits discovered. I was hot, tired, cranky and felt like absolute crap. But after sitting in the water I slowly regained my composure and things didn't seem so bad after all.

The run back (and it was mostly running with only a teensy bit of walking up the top of one hill) was far more pleasant - I think its easier to run back to the carpark. Plus there was a breeze of sorts to make it more bearable, that, and the thought that the end wasn't too far away. I didn't even have a coffee once I finished, even though the coffee man was there.

So in the end we did 36km, the toughest part being the last 13km.

Total kms for the week: 100.9km


"Live your life each day as you would climb a mountain.
An occasional glance toward the summit keeps the goal in mind,
but many beautiful scenes are to be observed from each new vantage point.
Climb slowly, steadily, enjoying each passing moment;
and the view from the summit will serve as a fitting climax for the journey."
- Harold V. Melchert