Monday, January 31, 2005

The ol' Stroke Correction Blues

Had a physio appointment first thing this morning. My limit has finally been lifted! I am now allowed to run 6K. Woo Hoo!

I missed the 6:30 swim squad this evening, so I just headed up to the pool for 1K of working on my stroke. There was a carnival on in the 50m pool, so I swam in the 25m pool.

My head was full of all of the tips I had been given in last Thursdays squad. So I set off, trying not to let my body drag, making sure my hands entered the water properly, trying to get my kick right.

I found that the longest I could swim was 200m without taking a break whilst thinking about all of this stuff. It just seems that every time I try to make my stroke more efficient I can't go anywhere near as far.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Hawkesbury Triathlon Club Race: An Utter Debacle

During my preparation, I made the decision not to bother packing my pump, spare tube and tyre levers. This becomes relevant later.

The triathlon starts with a 500m swim in the Hawkesbury River: four laps of a 125m stretch of the river. The current was very strong today, and the first 125m was against the current. I knew I was in trouble soon after the start. My breathing and stroke was all over the place, and I was starting to panic (apparently this is common for Hawkesbury tri first timers). I took a couple of breathers on the kayak of the course marshal, and even with the easier trip back downstream, after 250m I was gone. The marshal told me I could get out and still do the rest of the race. I hated doing it, but I knew it was the only realistic option.

I seemed to take an age in transition to the bike, but I felt pretty good once I got out there. I had done the course on the bike plenty of times, so I knew exactly what to expect. I did it a bit quicker than I would on a training ride, but I was deliberately leaving a bit in the tank for the run. The course is a two lap course (10K per lap), and the first lap passed without incident, but four kilometres into the second lap, the inevitable happened and I had a flat back tyre.

I started wheeling the bike back to the start, but after going 500m, a bike (not another competitor) passed in the other direction. He asked “Have you got a flat?”. I replied “Yes!”, so he pulled out his puncture repair kit and we fixed the flat. 15 minutes later the tyre was pumped, I thanked my new friend profusely and proceeded on my way as fast as I could. At the 16K mark, the car that was sent out to look for me caught up with me and confirmed that I was still alive. I got a big cheer when I rode back into the now packed up transition area and they asked “Do you want to keep going?”. Unsurprisingly, I screamed “YES”, but by this stage, I was told to do the 2.5K option for the run (two laps of a 1.25K circuit). I set off at what I thought was a quick speed with my heart rate at 92% of maximum. I was stuffed. I finished the 2.5K in 14:50. I have no idea what my swim time was, and the bike was about 1 hour 15 minutes.

So I think I will file this race under “unfinished business”. I’m utterly stuffed this afternoon. There was some bad luck, and there is an area I need to work on. I might try to do some training in the Hawkesbury before the next one in four weeks time.

The great thing was I did not notice any knee pain whatsoever at any time during the race!

This evening I will engage in an orgy of TV sports watching with cricket and tennis. I've earned it.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Treadmill 5K

This morning I went to the gym to test exactly how I would handle a 10.5kph 5K, to see if I found it any easier than the same on my home treadmill. In short the answer is no - in both runs my HR maxed at 164, although today it took a while to get up into the 160s, unlike last Sunday, when I was in the 160s in the first K.

I guess this means that my true endurance training pace should be slower than this, the problem being that the physio would prefer me not to be running slower than this to try to maintain good form. I'll just stick to this pace for the time being - let's face it, with my longest run at 5K I'm not doing any "endurance" training at the moment anyway.

Tomorrow I rest: Sunday I become a triathlete.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Swim Squad: 2K Time Trial

This morning I Went to the local pool for swim squad. This was the first time I had done a squad at the Oasis, which is the closer and more expensive of the two pools I use.

Today they had a 2K time trial, which took me 56 minutes. This is the longest swim I have done in my life. I felt awful for the last 500m, but I got through it, and the instructor gave me a bunch of stroke correction tips, most of which I had heard before, but these things are very difficult to change. They include:

  • Coming too far out of the water to breath.
  • Dragging my legs.
  • Bringing my arm over while breathing
  • et al.

I'll keep some of this stuff in mind on Sunday, but I won't get carried away with it: I just need to stay comfortable for 500m.

I didn't mention the strap my physio gave me in yesterday's post, but it worked a treat - during the run my knee was completely free from pain. After I took it off, the pain returned. I spoke to the physio this morning, and he wants me to wear the strap during the day now, and it is again working a treat.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Australia Day 5K, Penrith. Short Course or Big PB?

Well, as my brother would say: "A little from column A and a little from column B."

I got out to the regatta stadium at Penrith for the race and met Sarge as we were getting out of our cars. We walked a third of the course to get from the parking lot to the start line.

The race started with a bit of a squeeze in the first kilometre, but I think the fact that I had to slow down a little bit may have stopped me from dying in the arse.

The course is basically around the rowing lake from the Olympics. This means that you have markers every 250m that you know are accurate. I used these to make sure that I was going at 5:00/K pace or a little faster.

I was heavy breathing after 500m, but I knew from last time that I would be able to keep this up you 5K, so I kept going. I finshed the course in 23:47, a huge PB, but I have since discover that the course is a little short, so it is a 4.9K PB. If I were to add 100m at this pace it is still 24:16, and a great result.

I wore the HRM, more to try and measure my max HR rather than regulate my pace. I got it up to 184, so I might stick with the 188 max ussumption I have been using.

When I got home, Fiona had made plans to go to Palm beach, so I spent the afternoonat the beach, swimming and eating chips.

Whilst at Penrith, I noticed that the Whitlams were playing a free gig at the regatta stadium later that night, so after we got back from the beach, I went back to Penrith and saw the gig. I'm home now and I'm stuffed. looking forward to a good nights sleep.

Warning: the rest of this post is a report on the Whitlams gig, mainly for the benefit of Chris (CR Omni). It contains no reference to running, feel free to ignore it.

I have seen the Whitlams a number of times over the last 10 years, I'm a bit of a fan.

Tonights gig was pretty good. They didn't nail it - they sounded a little bit loose, and Tim Freedman didn't look like he was putting everything into it, but it was a good show.

They opened with "Gough", going into "No Aphrodisiac" after that. This really set the tone for the gig: they played a really good cross-section of their catalogue, not resorting to an hour of songs from their latest album. Every song I wanted to hear, I heard. "I Make Hamburgers", "Blow Up the Pokies", "Laugh in Their Faces"... they were all there. In honour of Australia Day, they even played a Chisels cover (Flame Trees).

They closed the show with "I Will Not Go Quietly", another big favourite, and did "Melbourne" as an encore.

A good show - worth more than the money I paid for it.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Idiot Wind

Chris (CR Omni) has been using song titles to title his blog posts, so I'm giving it a shot today.

Yesterday afternoon I made it to the pool at 6:20 expecting squad to start at 6:30. Swim squad had been cancelled, so I decided to do a 200m warm up, 600m of drills, 100m at close to full pace and a 100m warmdown, for a total swim of 1K. I felt ordinary at the start, but after a while I started to feel quite strong. I was stuffed at the end of the 100m at close to full pace, but my stroke felt good, and I really think I am improving my swimming.

I had an uneventful physio session this morning. He gave me a strap for my knee, which I will try out at Penrith tomorrow (5K Race), wearing the 2090's, but he wants me to persist with the Kayanos, so I will run in them on Friday.

At 2:00PM today I got out for an 80 minute ride. It was windy (30Kph, gusts of 41) and this seriously messed with me. I ended up going about 33K in the 80 minutes, slower than I would usually hope for , but OK in those conditions.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Wash out

Today's social cricket match was cancelled due to thunderstorms, so I got on the treadmill in the morning and did a quick (10.5kph) 5K. The HR rose steadily over the first 2K and plateaued around 162 for the rest of the run.

This is probably a bit hard for what was technically a training pace run, and I certainly didn't expect it to be that high given the 25:10 over a slightly hilly 5K last week. I'm beginning to suspect the treadmill is running quicker/longer than it is telling me. I might try the same workout at the gym sometime this week and see how the body reacts.

One week to go until the triathlon, so I will do a slight taper this week. The triathlon is 500m swim, 20K ride, 5K run.

Distances for the week:
Run: 13.4k
Bike: 104k
Swim: 2.2K

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Tough Ride

Yesterday was a rest day. I boughta "Pilates for Runners and Cyclists" DVD and gave it a go to work on Core Strength - bloody hard work! I lasted about 15 minutes. I'll probably do this a few times a week.

Today I got out for a 50K ride with the tri-club. I struggled from the outset, and I dropped off the back a couple of times. I felt pretty sore early in the ride, and it got tougher from there. That said, I think we went a bit quicker than last week. HR got up to 157, and was around 145 average.

Each time I dropped off a bloke called Dave who is an Iron-Man finisher came back and encouraged me. He is a big bloke who trained his arse off for 18 months, lost 30Kg and finished Busselton in 16 hours. These are the athletes that inspire me - he still has the self-described "physique of a darts player".

Tomorrow I have a social cricket match. I'm considering dropping the planned 5K morning run, but the thought of missing a running opportunity at the moment is so abhorrent that I don't think I will. I'll probably do it on the tredmill to minimise impact, as the cricket will probably do my knee in good and proper.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Treadmill speedwork

I missed my swim session this morning. I gave some thought to doing it on tomorrow's rest day, but I reckon the rest might be wise.

I have decided to do all of my intervals on the treadmill until I get some lasting improvement in my knee, after a discussion with CR Sarge on Sunday. Sarge suggested that running laps on an oval in one direction may be exacerbating the ITB problems. I could change directions, but I reckon the treadmill may be even safer. I'm alternating tempo sessions with 400m intervals every week. Today was intervals.

My aim was 6 400m efforts with 200m jogging rests. I did the first five at 12.5kph with rests at 8kph. I felt that I was probably going a bit soft at this stage, so I did the last one at 13kph. That nudged the HR up to 170. I'm thinking I'll do my next intervals at 12.8. The knee felt pretty good throughout.

Warning: the following is a request for feedback. Feel free to skip it if you want to!

My next pure running goal is to better my 10K PB (57:00). I feel 52:00 is a fairer reflection of my current capabilities.

I'm working within the physiotherapist defined constraints of running no further than 5K (slowly increasing) and not running on consecutive days, therby restricting me to three runs a week. I will cut back on swimming and cycling after Jan 30, when I race my first triathlon.

At the moment I have the three runs structured in this way:
- two 5K runs at 10kph (my physio has told me to use this as a minimum training pace, as it is difficult to maintain good form below this pace, and I am therefore less likely to get ITB hassles at this faster pace)
- one speedwork session. The speedwork session is alternating between an interval session as described above and a tempo session, which I might do on the treadmill to regulate the speed as I died in the arse after 3K last time.

The three sessions I have constructed around Higdon (if you couldn't tell). I would really appreciate any feedback from anyone on the way I am using my three available runs.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Solid ride

I couldn't get out this morning, Fiona is ill and I was looking after her. Her Mum came over for a few hours to check on her (she is a registered nurse) so I got out for a solid ride at 12:30. 87 minutes, 35K. Wind was about 20kph from the north, which was tough going into, but all in all, a good solid ride.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

If it's not the knee...

It’s the shin.

Monday Jan 17

I spent all Monday walking around with a sore right shin. Given that I had my first serious run in the Kayanos on Sunday I have a nasty suspicion that my $120 bargain wasn’t such a bargain. I’ll run in the 2090’s for the next couple of runs and give them another go on Sunday.

I felt really sore all over on Monday morning. I went to the pool first thing and swam a very slow 1200m, but I was pretty much stuffed after that and my stroke had gone to hell, so I called it quits.

Spent the evening at putt-putt with a bunch of other Coolrunners. It was great to meet a bunch of people whose posts you have been reading for months, but after knowing Coolrunning handles it makes it doubly hard to remember real names.

Tuesday Jan 18

The shin was still a bit sore this morning, so I took my planned 5K run on the treadmill at 10kph. The right shin was great during the run, but the left knee was a bit sore. I struggled the entire way with the run – I felt ordinary after 1K and didn’t get better. I would’ve loved to know what my HR was, but I'll be getting the HRM back soon - covered under warranty!

That seemed to sort the shin out for the day, but the knee continued to be sore. In the afternoon I went for a ride to the gym pool, did a nice, slow 1000m and rode home. This workout is rapidly becoming a bit of a favourite, combining 18-20K of riding wityh 1K of swimming.

I'm still trying to find the best seat position for the bike. I adjusted it down a bit after this afternoon's effort. I'm going to ride 35K or so tomorrow morning. Hopefully there will be some improvement in comfort.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

The ringleader: Butter wouldn't melt...
Posted by Ben


I had a hell of a night last night. Didn't get home until after 1:00AM (visiting my sister in Sydenham) and the dogs had escaped. We found them and put them back in the yard, and they escaped again.

We rounded them up and tied them up, and it was 2:00 by the time I got to bed. I had a bout of insomnia and got up without sleeping at 6:00AM for the drive to Smithfield for my first SMC.

This series is great. Small fields, drink stations, a relatively flat course (the fraction of it that I ran anyway), so I'm sure I'll be back.

So to the race. 23 degrees and 91% humidity, so conditoins weren't great. Since my last attempt to stay on 5:00 pace on my last run blew up, I figured 26:00 would be good, but I'm no good at pacing myself. I went out pretty hard and by the time I reached the 2.5K turnaround the watch read 12:30. At this point I thought "Bugger it, I may as well keep going at this pace", even though I was struggling a little bit. I kept going and although I didn't feel crash hot over the last K, I finished in 25:10. I don't reckon I had much left in the tank and I'm very happy with that result.

Coolrunners aplenty. I had a yak with Horrie and Sarge, but I didn't introduce myself to anyone. I'll do that at mini-golf tomorrow.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Cheap Kayanos and Frostbite

Yesterday was a rest day. I dropped in to Sportsco during the day and saw some Asics Kayanos on sale for $120, and they had my size. I didn't require much thinking time here. I've been wearing 2090's for the last few months, but previous to that I was in motion control shoes. I reckon these shoes may be good for the ITB's.

Today started with a 1000m swim. I didn't have a car today, so I had to ride the 1.5K to the pool. I just did a straight swim. I had planned to go further, but I has having goggle problems and to fix things I had made the goggles very tight, and I was getting a headache towards the end, so I rode home and jumped on the treadmill for 2K in the new Kayanos. They felt great, but I reckon they are a little loose (they had the smaller size, and that was definitely too small), so I will buy some thicker socks to run in.

I iced my knee after the run (something I have been spectacularly slack about for the last few weeks) and after I took the ice pack off I noticed this red rash on my knee. I asked a friend (a registered nurse just accepted into medicine at a Queensland university) who said flatly "Frostbite.". I reckon I might put the ice pack in a towel next time (like I knew I should).

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Pushing it

Fiona and I walked the dogs first thing, stopping at the oval. After doing a couple of laps Fiona took the dogs home while I did a tempo run. 800m warmup in 5 minutes, and then I settled into an attempt at 3200m at 5:00min/k pace. I ended up doing the run at 20 second quicker than I had hoped and at the end I was so stuffed I didn't even attempt the warm-down 800m, just had a quick lie down and walked slowly home.

Had an uneventful physio session today. He wants to see me again in a fortnight.

After the morning session I was considering not training for the rest of the day, but I felt OK by five o'clock. It was still 38 degrees, but I thought "bugger it" and rode over to the gym pool (8K) and swam 300m of straight swim and 500m of kicking drills. I wore the HRM, that the guy from Pursuit-Performance had assured me was water proof. After the first 100m I looked at it. It was blank. It flushed some rubbish on the screen, vibrated a bit, made a beep and died. I'll ring Pursuit-Performance tomorrow and see if they can fix it - I can't afford a new one, and if it is dead I think I would like to wait until I can afford a Polar 625-X.

Felt very tired on the trip home into the wind. Rest day tomorrow, very happy about that.

I've decided that nine sessions a week is probably too much. I'm toying with cutting back to eight or seven. After the triathlon on January 30 I'm planning to switch the focus back to running, say 4 runs, 1 ride, 1 swim and possibly a swim-ride combination. After the tri I want to smash my 10K PB, which stands at 57:00 (I know, soft as hell.)

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Confessions of an Idiot

Started the day with a 29K 84 minute bike ride on the MTB. Spent most of it at around 130-135 HR, but my legs felt very heavy, so I didn't push it too hard.

I picked my bike up from the shop later in the day. Then I put the bike back in the garage, locked the garage and walked back to the house. Now where were my keys? In the garage. You idiot. Locked out of the house.

So I spent the next few hours painting the shed whilst waiting for Fiona to get home from work.

Monday, January 10, 2005

I'm famous!!!

Today started well - a 4K run around the oval in 23:08 with no disomfort. HR up to 155, so the fitness is improving. The knee was very good.

I had some casual work in the city today, so I bought a copy of Runner's World for the train ride, and started to read the letters.

One titled "Birthday Run" read "I finished my first marathon in Sydney". I thought "I ran that race" (the picture on the side is me passing the finish line). It went on to say "I didn't care that the clock said 4:29".

Well in case you can't see the time, the clock says 4:29:21 in the picture, and I was beginning to wonder if I had met this person on the run.

The letter then went on to say "I must also mention my running partner for the day, Ben.". It was at this point I realised the letter was from a lovely lady called Christine Beasley, who I spent a most enjoyable 4 and a half hours with on September getting through a major achievement together. We met that morning in the 4:30 pace group, and set our own 4:30 pace when the group took off on us. It spun me out to stumble on a reference to myself like that.

I didn't get home until 8:20 tonight, so swim squad was out, but I did manage to squeeze in 1200m at the pool before closing time. My shoulder got very sore at 700m, so I took a short break at that point and kept going. It feels pretty achy now, so I think I may have yet again fallen victim to my unwillingness to listen to my body.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Very strange

Today is a rest day, and I'm feely pretty weary so the rest day is being appreciated.

Yesterday my knee felt a bit dodgy while I was walking the dogs, so I decided to do my 5K run on the treadmill to nurse it through. The strange thing was that as soon as I hit 10kph on the treadmill ruinning with decent form, the knee felt fantastic. This continued for the entire run, but soon after I finished, stretched and walked around a bit the discomfort was back and contined for the rest of the day.

The knee feels good today.

Friday, January 07, 2005

I've been a very naughty boy, master.

I had a great day today. The day started with a trip to the pool after walking the dogs. Fiona accompanied me and we both managed 1km in the outdoor pool. I started with 200m slow freestyle, then I did a bit of work with the kickboard and flippers to build my kick a bit, and then finished with another 200m slow freestyle. We had to move into another lane for the last bit, as swim squad started where we were swimming. I did my last 200m sharing a lane with a guy who didn't quite grasp the "swim to the left" concept, but I am thin enough these days so that we just hit hands, no damage done. A great lttle session in the pool.

From here it was off to the physio. Today's session was particularly painful, so I suggested that he could charge more money if he dresses in leather and chains and called his patients "a very naughty boy/girl". The conversation went from there, and the laughter helped take my mind off the pain. I have to call him "Master" from now on. The good news is that he wants me to keep running! Woo Hoo! I'll do a quickish 5K at some stage on the weekend, probably tomorrow night.

After the physio I had a very good little meeting in the city with a placement agency guy who seems very positive about finding me something in the Western Suburbs, which would be fantastic.

From the meeting I jumped onto a train with only 30 seconds waiting on the platform (worth mentioning, trains to Windsor run every half hour during the peak), which gave me enough time to drop my bike at the shop (not for the pedal, I put that back on myself; the problem is with the wheels). I should have it back on Monday.

This left me with the mountain bike, so I took it for a 53 minute, 19K ride in the afternoon. I am definitely a lot faster than I was afew weeks ago. The other thing I noticed on the ride was how much more severe wind resistance is on the mountain bike.

I feel a bit sore in the knee tonight. The physio said "Don't run today". Perhaps I should have asked about the ride.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

One hell of a ride

I didn't fancy a 5:00AM start this morning, so I left my session for the afternoon. When I got home at 6:40PM I decided that I would have enough sunlight for a 75 minute bike ride, so off I went.

All was going well, I was pushing a little hard because I guess I wanted to get through the course before sunset, when at about 8:00, with 7K to go one of my pedals fell off. Bugger.

Try as I might, I couldn't get the thing to screw back on so I called my wife. No response. I called my only local mate. Unable to help.

So in fading to no light I walked the last few kilometres guiding my sick and sorry bike the entire way - with my knee gently throbbing to remind me of my impending visit to the physio tomorrow. Got home at 9:30 absolutely starving, as I had yet to eat.

I had a good interview for another contract job today. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Being sensible

After I posted yesterday, I decided that the sensible thing to do would be to seek advice about the knee. I rang my phsio who said "Thou shalt not run before thine next appointment on Friday!"

I had a fair idea he would say something along those lines, but I just couldn't help myself having a go yesterday morning. Fortunately the knee feels OK today.

I started the day with a long swim. I did the first 600m in 100m intervals, but I felt pretty good after each 100m, so I just swam the last 800m without break. This was a comfortable swim with the muscles just starting to tire towards the end.

Tomorrow I have an interview in the morning, followed by a full day of casual work. Given that I have to leave home by 7:00AM for the interview, I'm not sure about the 80 minute bike ride I have planned for tomorrow. I'll decide on tomorrows plan based on what time I get to bed tonight.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

That rotten stinking knee!

OK, day by day it's like this:

Sunday, Jan 2

The plan for today was 25 minutes of tempo, trying my best to keep good form. I went to the oval of questionable circumference and ran around it eleven times, getting the HR up to 170. My knee felt a little twingy on the second last lap, so I concentrated on good form in the last lap and didn't feel a thing.

So ends my rest week. Back into my nine session weeks tomorrow.

Monday, Jan 3

Started the day with a 110 minute bike ride. The course was a hilly bastard, and I just rode out for 55 minutes and turned around and came back. I ended up on 112 minutes, so I slowed down a bit.

Halfway through, turning around, I felt my knee go on the wrong angle, and then pain shot through the knee. The problem was I was 22.5K from home, so I still had to ride home.

It was a little bit different from the pain that I have had in the past - it was a little bit lower and in the back of the knee. The knee felt dodgy for the rest of the day - not in pain, just a bit twingy. There was also some twinges in the quads as well.

I went for a swim late in the day. It was an utter turd of a swim - one lap lane open, four swimmers in it with one lady and her small daughter in there as well and kids swimming across and in front of me all the time. I felt like crap for the entire swim. I only did 700m, taking long breaks after each 100m. I don't know if it was the ride that took it out of me or what, but the swimming was just bloody hard.

Tuesday, Jan 4

Speedwork. I was unsure about whether I should be running today, but I felt OK when I got up this morning, so I went up to the oval of questionable circumference - I think it is about 400m. I started with a walking warm-up, and then I started into 3 laps with 90 second rests between. I did these laps at 1:45, 1:46 and 1:45. I felt shattered after this, so I took a 2 minute break, but after 100m on the fourth lap the knee felt a twinge, so I turned in at that stage. I'll stretch like a mad bastard for the next day and try a 4K run on the treadmill tomorrow night.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

And a lazy new year

Well, lazy so far, anyway.

Today is a scheduled rest day, scheduled to recover from a NYE that didn't quite get as rowdy as I had hoped. I turned out to be the designated driver, but I am still having the rest day.

On Thursday I went for a ride. The course was a little flatter than last time, and I went pretty hard, mostly between 145 and 150 HR. I went for about 56 minutes.

Yesterday I went for a 800m swim first thing in the morning (400m with flippers, 400 without).

Tomorrow I run!