Monday, October 31, 2005

One I'd rather forget

Mon AM: Run, 7K @ 5:08 pace.

Got up at 5:30 after a completely sleepless night and just didn't feel on top of it. The plan was for a 9K run at half marathon pace. I set the Garmin Virtual Partner (I call him Virgil) to run at 5:10.

I couldn't settle into anything near the pace. I spent the first 4K wavering between 5m behind and 20m in front of him.

After this point I felt pretty rough - legs and cardio. I kept going to the turnaround, but at 5K I felt bloody awful. I noticed at this point that I was 50m ahead of Virgil (the sneaky bastard must have stopped at a bubbler - I wasn't running that fast).

I reasoned I'd slow down at I might come good, and I felt OK for a couple of K, but I started to suffer again at 7K and I decided to pull the pin and walk home.

Some days are like that.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Just Unpleasant

Sun AM: 30.8K Ride. Slow, wet and unpleasant.

The intention was to get out for a 50K ride this morning. I thought I might be OK when it stopped raining briefly, so I took off with the intention of finding a nice 10-20K loop without traffic lights.

I cycled around for about 10K before it started spitting. Soon after it started pissing down (those of you familiar with The Young Ones episode "Flood" should try to create the mental image of Vivian holding a glass full of green slimey stuff and later a glass full of yellow liquid - it popped into my mind).

I continued through another 20K in this rubbish, but by that time I'd got the shits with it, so I went home, had a shower and got warm.

Now, the Bloused One has posed me a question regarding the Central Coast course: can one run beside the bike path to minimise concrete impact?

To be honest I wasn't looking for opportunities, but for much of the course it would be difficult. There are certainly some sections where there is grass next to the path, but most of it is surrounded by trees and bush.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Should not be given keys under any circumstances

Sat AM:
5K Coolrunning Challenge - 23:41. 4 second PB
5K slow jog back to start line.
13.3K cycle to the bay in 34 minutes. A nice hilly little ride.

I'm going to departr from my usual style of exercise first, rambling later. Today's post is suited to chronology.

Last night was a total and utter cock up. It started when I got back to the flat to find that the foyer had been cemented but had not dried. This foyer provides the only access to the flat.

I considered my options. All of my siblings and parents were on holidays or overseas for other reasons, so I considered visiting other relatives but in the end I walked around for a couple of hours and waited for it to be dry enough to walk on. This took about 3 hours.

I got into the flat and realised I'd left my antibiotics at work, so I grabbed the repeat and just managed to get to the Ermington chemist before they closed and got home to realise that I'd locked the keys in the flat.

This left me in a pickle. All of my siblings have keys, but as I'd mentioned they were all away.

Suddenly I realised there was hope - my Windsor keys were in my pocket, attached to which is a key to my sister's place. I rang her on the off chance that she had her phone on in Fiji and she did! Unfortunately she couldn't remember which keyring the key was on, so I had to go to her place and pick up about 5 sets of keys to try in the lock.

When I got back I was just starting to try keys in the door when the neighbour popped his head around the door to tell me I shouldn't be walking on the foyer floor yet.

Now, I hadn't met him before. I was trying a large number of keys in the door. It must have looked suspect, but he didn't seem suspiciuous. When I explained that I didn't have rear access he realised I had no choice but to walk on the floor and he went back into his flat.

So eventually I was home, with antibiotics and very tired.

Up not too early for the now local Coolrunning Bay run challenge. The field was much larger than the post-drinks shambles last month. I took off with the 24 minute group, and settle into a too quick pace. I went through 1K in 4:34. I hoped I might be3 able to hold on to this, so I kept going at this pace and went through 2K in 4:35.

I was struggling at this stage, and slowed to 4:46 for the 3rd. I noticed that the Garmin was measuring short k's, but I'm not measuring the splits myself - hell, that's one of the reasons I've got it.

I knew I couldn't pick it up or I'd blow, so I did the 4th in 4:48. managed to kick a bit in the end and managed the last in 4:38, with an extra 18 seconds to make up for Garmin shortage.

I felt pretty rough at the end, but I managed to be a bit social, and jogged back with sfGnome, with some of the run club girls with us before they piked and got a lift.

I then scored a lift to a cafe in Leichhardt with Wild Thing. A good breakfast with better company and then Wild thing dropped me back to my car. It was only after she drove off that I realised I had left my car key in the back of her car. Again, luckily I had my flat key on me, so I caught a cab back to Homebush Bay to get my spare keys (using the most creative route the cab driver could muster). I managed to track down a phone number for Wild Thing, who dropped my key back to the car. I also got a call from my brother in Columbia while I was home, which was a really pleasant lift.

Unwilling to subject myself to devious cab drivers a second time I jumped on my bike and navigated my way back to the bay trying to use bike friendly streets. A few checks of the street directory, and after a hilly 13.3K ride I finally was reunited with my vehicle and all of my keys.

I don't like keys.

Thursday, October 27, 2005


I wasn't going to post today, but the lovely Wild Thing has tagged me, so post I will.

The sentence is:

I think that "concentrating on style" is probably why my arms still felt sore from Tuesday, so I don't expect they'll feel any better after today.

It comes from a post from when I was injured last year and was just starting to do a bit of swimming after a six month break.

I'd be hard pressed to find anyone who hasn't been tagged yet, so I'm not going to.

Now, to my training. Today was a rest day.

I'd actually forgotten how much these diverticular infections knock you around. I've felt pretty drained all day, so I've decided to take tomorrow off as well and hope like hell that I feel OK on Saturday morning for the 5K challenge. I can't miss it now that it's a ten minute drive as opposed to 70 minutes.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Bloody Quacks

Wed AM: Run, 11.58K in 1:09

The plan for today was for the week's long run. Being a rest week, I thought 11-12K should do it. I did a bit more exploring, going out through Rhodes, into a McMansion outbreak called Liberty Grove and a bit of a run round the grounds on Concord hospital.

I was a very slow run. It felt a little laboured for the pace, but certainly not bad.

In the evening I saw the doctor. I have diverticular disease - little pocket in the bowel that are prone to infection, and for the first time in three years I have an infection. The treatment: lots of water (check) and take it easy.

Taking it easy is a relative term.

I also asked him about a lump on my leg that he wasn't worried about ten years ago. It's grown a bit recently, so he wants it out. Day surgery, no worries. How long will I have to stop running for?

"Two weeks"

Bugger that. I think this surgeon might be booked out until after the Central Coast Half Marathon. At least that's what I'll tell my GP.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Another Coolrunner promises to eat healthy

Mon AM: 5.1K Run. 6 min/K - easy as.
Tue PM: Swim Squad 1.8K. Good Session.

The run to Rhodes and back home is a nice little 5K on wooden and concrete paths. I did this slowly on Monday morning - a nice easy start to an easy week's training.

Tonight I hit the pool for squad. Another good session. I still feel as though I haven't made any progress in the last few months with my swimming - I sruggled to get through 3 * 100m @ 2:05, which I was able to do six months ago.

I have noticed that I have porked up a bit over the last couple of months. Not surprising given the cirumstances, but not desirable for setting half marathon PB's. I'm hovering around 80kg at the moment, and I should be hovering around 75. I have been making an effort to eat healthy for the past week with a view losing a few kg before Central Coast.

Well, the wheels fell off spectacularly today. One of the girls in the office had a birthday and they bought caramel mud cake. Even after I had scoffed two pieces the birthday girl was saying to me "come on Ben, you know you want to!", and I had a third.

So now, after reading Clairie's blog I am committing my attempt to be a fully hydrated 76kg by the Central Coast half to my blog. I will not impose the same sort of diet that Clairie is committing to - I don't have the will power. I am not giving up cheese or coffee - but I will moderate the former ... and ... well ... ummm ... drink the latte(r). But I will eat shitloads of salad and fruit and no desserts.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Blowing up at the Bay

Sat: Bay Run, 10.93K in 1:03:06 - Awful run. Pulled the pin early.
Sun: Ride, 41.6K in 1:47:47

I had a pretty rough night on Friday - I spent most of it with a mate trying to get my internet connection working, and during this frustration I developed a nasty episode of heartburn.

So I wasn't feeling very chipper on Saturday morning when I parked the car at Leichhardt rowing club on Saturday morning and headed off. I added a little deviation into the bay run to bring it up to 11K (who am I kidding, I took a wrong turn). I never settled into this run. It just felt more laboured than 5:45 pace normally does. I did notice on my lap of the bay that they were giving away free espresso at Drummoyne rowing club.

When I finished the first lap I took a drink of Staminade at the car and started on my second lap. About 500m in I felt some bits of breakfast in the back of my throat and decided that another lap was going to do me no good whatsoever, so I turned around, walked back to the car and drove to the other side of the bay for my free coffee.

Sunday found me in much better health. I had planned to ride with the Hills tri club, who do a club ride starting about a K from where I am now living, but they had cancelled today, so the plan changed to about 40K of local exploration. I had also fitted a new long seatpost that I picked up yesterday, so I spent 15 minutes before I got going getting that right.

About ten minutes in I was riding up the street I am living on and I passed the Striders, obviously mid-StAR. I saw a Coolrunning cap amongst them and called "Go Coolrunner, go Striders!".

Soon afterwards I stumbled onto a circuit that had been set up for the Bicycle Australia show that was being held at the Olympic Park. I thought to myself "this is pretty good!" as I joined a large group of riders on a course that was being marshalled and kept traffic free. I'd say it was about a 15K loop, so I did it twice and kept a pretty good pace.

On the whole I'm happy with this ride. It felt comfortable, and while it was far from quick (23.2kph) it wasn't really slow and there weren't many breaks for traffic.

Gronk has asked me about the 1K intervals, so I thought I might go into a bit more detail about them.

I started doing them after talking to Craig (my mentor/former neighbour) about my program I told him that I was focussing on the Central Coast half and that I was currently doing 400m intervals. His advice was that it would be better to try to go fast for a bit longer and suggested 1K.

I decided that it made sense so I replaced the 400s with 1K efforts with a 2 minute standing rest interval. This might be a bit soft on the rest, but I felt this would allow me to get through the session without messing myself up.

I do them using the Garmin, which has an advanced workout feature. I've set it to beep at me to start an effort, beep at me to finish the effort and beep at me if I go faster than 4:30 pace and beep at me if I go slower than 5:00 pace. This is 15 seconds slower than I was doing my 400m intervals.

The coming week is going to be a rest week. It was what I had planned anyway, but this was only confirmed when Saturday's run turned to poo so spectacularly.

I have decided to give the triathlon a miss. Plu was right - I did know the answer myself. I have put the focus of my training solely on getting a good time at the Central Coast. Entering a longer event a fortnight before, even if I tell myself I won't go hard (liar!) would be stupid. There will be triathlons next year.

I'm coming up with a detailed training plan for the last few weeks leading up to the Central Coast. I'll post it a bit later.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

1K Repeats

Wed AM: 2K Swim. Olympic Pool. Easy.
Thu AM: Speedwork. 7*1K Repeats @ 4:42 pace with 2 minute rest intervals

These 1K repeats take a little getting used to. After the first one I'm thinking "what do you need two minutes for you wussbag?", and after the second last one I'm thinking "WHAT!!! 1:45 gone already!!! Bloody Hell!".

The theory behind longer repeats is to get used to running faster for longer.

After the session I felt wasted for half the morning - the sure sign of a "proper" speedwork session.

I saw the doc yesterday. Given recent turbulence in my life we decided I'll stick with the antidepressants for another few months.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Three Days in a Row

Mon AM: Recovery Run 6K in 36 minutes.
Tue AM: HM Pace run. 9K at 5:10 pace.

This morning was the first time in over a year that I have run on three consecutive days.

After Sunday's long run I was a little sore in the legs on Monday morning, so I referred frequently to my Garmin to make sure I kept the recovery run pace to 6:00/K. This worked, as I churned out an easy six K without a worry.

I was still a tiny bit sore this morning as I headed out for my HM pace practise run. The Garmin has a nifty feature called "Virtual Partner". I set the virtual partner up to run 9K at 5:10min/K. During the run, the Garmin displayed how far ahead or behing the Virtual Partner I was. I made a concerted effort not to let the virtual partner get more than 10m way from me at any point.

This worked a treat. I did the entire nine kilometres without getting overly tired or puffed, and I think I got a decent sense of how fast I have to run. My aim with this session going forward will be to keep pace with the Virtual Partner without referring to the Garmin so much.

I've pulled up well. Bring on Central Coast.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Trial run for Central Coast

Run, 20K in 1:56:42

I decided to do a trial run of the Central Coast half course today. It was pretty much the first half of yesterday's ride, so I had a fair idea of what to expect.

I parked out the front of the Entrance Surf Club and just followed the shared pathway down until the Garmin said 10K and turned around and ran back. Once again, I set off too damn fast, covering the first 5K at 5:35 pace. At this point I told myself to stop being stupid, and I slowed to about 5:55, which I maintained for the rest of the run. I felt pretty fresh throughout, and pulled up very well.

After reading about the recuperative effects of cold water immersion after a run, I went straight down to the surf after the run and stood waist deep in the cold water for about 10 minutes. I think it worked well.

So for Jen and the others attempting the course for the first time, here are my thoughts:

It's flat. Real flat. A couple of small undulations, but nothing to worry about. The course is tree lined, but it doesn't give much protection from the wind, which was pretty fierce at times on the way back. The shade will be welcome if it's hot on the day - it wasn't today.

Lot's of people don't like running on concrete. I don't mind it, so it didn't bother me. There is lots of it.

I would be a bit worried about a big field on this course. It's bloody narrow, and I'd be worried about congestion over the first few K's.

Final word: Bring it on. If I can run 1:50 for the half this is the place I'll do it.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

We Can't Help But Help

Fri AM: Speedwork, 6 * 1K Repeats
Sat AM: Bike, 39K in 1:44

I've decided to change my speedwork routine to get myself used to running harder longer. To achieve this the 400m intervals are being replaced with 1K repeats. I did six of these on Friday with a 2 minute standing recovery after each. The splits were:

Not bad. I felt a bit rough for the next few hours: the sign of a good, hard session.

I've taken off to the Central Coast for the weekend, and I decided to check the bike path at the entrance out this morning. I couldn't quite get it going on the shared pathway, so after I did a slow 12K on it I decided to work my way back to The Entrace on the road. This was much better. There were a few decent hills and some opportunities to really pick up some speed. So after the first 10K took more than 30 minutes, I was able to average about 25kph for the rest of the ride. I got back to The Entrace and then took the road out to Toukley for a bit before heading back.

Arsey moment of the day: We couldn't start my brother-in-law's car we had borrowed. Just deciding what we would do when the NRMA van pulls in to start the car 6 cars down from us. We managed to convince the nic man to give us a jump start and we were off. How good is that?

Thursday, October 13, 2005

A Question for you...

This post is a simple request for opinions.

The focus of my training has been the Central Coast Half Marathon. This focus remains - I want to do a big PB there.

Two weeks beforehand is the Nepean triathlon. I'd love to have a go at this. Not full tilt, but as a hard training session.

It is a 1K Swim, 30K Ride and 10K Run. I won't vary my training for it.

So, to the more experienced athletes who know my training level, I ask - would this damage my potential for a good time at the Central Coast.

Any feedback welcome!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Self inflicted pash rash

Tue PM: Swim squad, 1.8K
Wed AM: Run, 9.2K in 46:45

The Macquarie dictionary has added the term pash rash for it's latest edition. This is the rash cause when being pashed by an unshaven man.

Last night I discovered that it is possible to give oneself pash rash on the shoulder simply by being unshaven at swim squad and having a poor stroke.

Last night was the first squad for the season in the outdoor 50m pool. We had a new instructor, which was good as I got a fresh perspective on my stroke - it's too short and I'm too tense when I swim.

I think it was about 1.8K. I lost count. It's a tougher session in the 50m pool, but I enjoyed it.

This morning I set off for a 9K run at HM pace (5:12). As usual, I got carried away and ended up doing 9.2K in 46:46, which is 5:05. I struggled for the last few K in both breathing and muscles, and I don't think my body would've let me do another 12K of it.

Not to worry, I've got 8 weeks to get myself up for it. Next week I'll use the virtual partner on the Garmin to keep my pace a bit more even on this session.

I've also put in an entry for the Gong bike ride. At 88K it will be my longest training ride, but it should be a bit of fun.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Settling In

Sat AM: Ride, 33K in 1:27:20
Sun AM: Run, 18.6K in 1:48:13
Mon AM: Run, 6.4K in 37:40

I took Friday and Suturday off work to move the bulk of my stuff into Homebush Bay. This meant that I had a 35 minute drive to the tri-club ride on Suturday instead of a 3 minute ride.

With the wind and rain on Saturday morning it was a very small turnout for the tri-club ride. Only six of us turned up – two of which were Miss Skarmel and her sister Rita, who were there for the first time.

We decided to make our small group a beginners ride, just going for a 33K 22.6kph ride around Windsor and Richmond. I did an effort towards the end of about 3K where I got up over 30kph, but mostly it was an easy ride. This was more where I a social event than a workout – had an enjoyable chat with Miss Skarmel and an epic breakfast at the café afterwards.

Sunday I decided to use my long run as an opportunity to explore my new surrounds in Homebush Bay. I started by running to the ferry wharf, and then following the Louise Sauvage pathway down to Auburn. I turned left at Parramatta Rd and followed it for about 1.2K, and then back into the Olympic precinct, running across it a couple of times before running to Rhodes and back.

Most of the 18.6K was comfortable, but I upped the pace in the last 3K and that really knocked the wind out of my sails. By the time I finished I was quite stuffed, and felt lousy for a few hours afterwards.

I spent the rest of the weekend settling into the flat, deciding what to keep here and what to put into storage. This work slowed to a crawl due to the third Australia vs The World XI cricket match.

This morning I got out for a gentle 6.4K at six minute pace which felt very comfortable.

I'd like to thank all of those who have left messages of support. I continue to feel pretty positive about my new single status. It felt a little weird spending the weekend basically on my own, but it was very relaxed, and to quote Ben Lee - "That's the way I like it."

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Big Catch Up - Big Changes

I've been a bit pressed for time. Warning: this is an enormous post. Let's start with the training:

Sat AM: Ride, 26K in 1:10
Sat PM: Ride, 28K in 1:04

The tri club morning ride was a bit of a farce, and in the end we completed a measly 26K in a slow ride. I rode on Craig's bike.

After the ride I took my bike over to Craig's, and we had a go at setting it up so that I could ride it properly without buying a new seat post. I took it out for a spin in the afternoon, basically following the same route as the morning ride, and while I still felt a little cramped, and like I would like about one extra centimetre of post length, it seemed to be OK.

I also discovered that there is a magpie on this route that doesn't attack riders in group, but thinks that solo riders are fair game. She didn't hit me, but he gave it a good shot for about 500m.

Sun AM: Long Run, 19K in 1:50

Went for the same run as last Sunday with a little extra added on. Another glorious Sunday long run, but I did struggle a bit at the end.

Mon AM: Recovery Run, 3.4K

Having spent the previous night at a mates place watching the NRL Grand Final, I had the joy of a run in unfamiliar territory in Spring. About 1.7K in the thing I wasd fearing occurred and I was swooped by a magpie. Luckily she didn't hit me.

I fixed eyes upon her, knowing that they don't swoop when you are looking at them, and run straight back in the direction I came. This meant that I was running backwards for a couple of hundred metres until I felt safe and I ran back to my mates place.

I pulled up sore in the top of the left calf. This feels much like an injury that annoyed me so much a couple of years ago that I gave up running for a year. Needless to say, this will not happen again. It's not bad at the moment, so I'll keep an eye on it, and I booked a massage for Thursday.

Tue AM: Swim, 2K Time Trial, 51:20 (approx)

I decided to do a 2K time trial on Tuesday morning in the pool. I went to the Olympic Pool at Homebush and pushed myself for 2K. I felt good, but not great. The last time I did this was about a year ago so I was hoping for big improvement.

Unfortunately when I looked a the watch at the end of the swim a couple of the LCD bars had gone wonky - I guess the seal that has been fixed a couple of times is stuffed again. Soon after I touched, the "ten minute" number changed. I think this means that I did the swim in about 51:20. It was 58:00 last time. That's OK, but I know I've got a lot of improvement left.

Wed AM: Run, 8K in 40:39

I've decided to go faster on Wednesday's run. To start this I intended to go out for an 8K run at target half marathon pace (5:12). I went out too quick, doing the first four in 4:58, 4:57, 5:18 & 4:58. It was only after I turned around that I started to settle into a groove and did the next 3 in 5:13, 5:10 and 5:08. There is an ugly little uphill at the end, and I overcompensated for it and did the last K in 4:58. I was pretty stuffed afterwards, but I pulled up OK.

Thursday I had my legs utterly pummelled. I'll be taking it easy tomorrow, with an easy run in the afternoon.

Now for the personal stuff, and it's big.

I have split up with my wife.

This happened a couple of weeks ago, but I didn't blog it for fear that people that should be told personally would find out by other means.

Initially I was going to continue to live at Windsor while we got the house ready for sale, but it became a bit too heated, so I have moved into a place my parents have at Homebush Bay. They are there about 25% of the time, so it will ease me into living on my own, and after the house gets sold I'll move into my own place.

How am I feeling? Strangely positive. Things have been tense for a while, so in a sense this comes as a relief. I'm certainly not going to miss 75 minute drives to work.