Thursday, December 29, 2005

Hills, sand and Hangovers

Tue AM: Run, 5K in 35 minutes: Hard slog on hills and soft sand.

Wed PM: Swim: 20 * 100m @ 2:30

Thu AM: Run, 7K at about 6 minute pace. A bit ugly.

Sleep: Good

Weight: 79.2Kg

I overindulged slightly on Boxing day, leading to a seedy feeling on Tuesday. I lumbered around the house cleaning up the party detritus for a while, but by mid morning I decided that there was nothing for it but a “blow out the cobwebs run, and boy did I pick one. Down the hill I ran on Christmas day, all the way along the beach (about 3K of soft sand running) and back up the hill. The legs coped better than I thought, but the cardio was most upset. I haven’t run on sand for years, and I’d forgotten how hard it is. I was really puffing by the time I got to the end of the beach.

This meant I was already puffing at the bottom of the 100m climb. Halfway up I gave up – I was just puffing far too much, so I walked the rest of the way up the hill. 5K in 35 minutes, but it felt like 4:45 pace.

Since the public holidays I have been back in Windsor, housesitting for my ex. This means … I GET TO PLAY WITH THE DOGS!!!!!!!!

Yesterday was somewhat hectic, but I managed to get to the pool at about 7:30 and bang out 20 100m repeats at 2:30 using the Timex Ironman watch I picked up from Rebel. It felt OK, but not great. The goggles were letting in water for most of the swim, and the Subway I’d had 45 minutes before the swim spent the entire swim threatening an encore.

Last night the dogs reminded me what angels they are by escaping for me. I got a phone call at 1:00 in the morning from the most tolerant neighbour in the world (and the owner of Tali’s best mate). Despite this interruption to my sleep I slept OK, and I was up at 5:15 to take them for a run down to the dog park. It’s 1.3K there at slow ambling pace, I did 4K of laps of the dog park at about 5:40 pace. The dog park is on a slope, so it way pretty hard work, and I was happy to grab the dogs at the end of it and put them back on the lead for the run home.

Beth has become more recalcitrant in regards to running in my absence, and halfway home she just stopped, and was going no faster than walking pace for the rest of the trip. This is despite the fact she had just spent the time at the park running around like a headless chook and she did the same when she got home. So the run was aborted early and we walked home.

For all my whinging I am stoked to be around the dogs, and I am benefiting from the fact that since I moved they have built a Motorway between Windsor and where I work that cuts a 1:15 trip to work to 45 minutes, and it’s free while I am there. I like that a lot.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Christmas day with the R family

Xmas AM: Run, 3K of nasty hill in 20:48

Indulge me. I'm going to describe the whole day. The running bits will be in red.

My parents have a beautiful house at Copacabana. It's their home - the flat I am living in is a place to stay during the week. It's right up the top, near a lookout, looking down on the beach. This is where we spend Christmas.

Being an early riser I was first up, starting the day with a flat white. I tooled around on Coolrunning while the others got themselves up.

This is our first Christmas with "the next generation": my niece Billie (last year, as a newborn, she spent the day with her Dad's family). She, quite rightly, was the focus of attention for the entire day. For the last few years we have opened our presents after breakfast. Not today - we wanted to see Billie open presents.

I am a practical man. You can't move up here for all the Fisher-Price my Mum has bought Billie since her birth. I bought and wrapped a bunch of bananas, her favourite food. My $1.89 was the wisest investment of the day - Billies eyes lit up and they were into her gob even before the clear plastic wrapping and skins were off.

That's not to say I'm a stingy bastard. I'm really proud of what I did for my Mum - I got twelve carefully chosen pictures of my immediate family and constructed a calendar- double sided, A4, colour, glossy and ring bound. I put in all public holiday, birthdays and anniversaries. She was blown away by it.

I scored well - a new Coolrunning tri top, a new South Sydney white training t-shirt (I really need this - my old one has the ghost of a thousand runs in it - Nilodor can't save it anymore) and some excellent books. I gave hints about a watch to time myself whilst swimming - I scored a coaches lap timing stopwatch - back to Rebel tomorrow.

After the presents my sister started teasing her dog by excitedly saying "Walk, Ollie!" when no-one was intending to walk the poor bugger. What else could I do? So on with the new tri top and out the door with Ollie in toe.

Now, I did nasty hillwork on Christmas eve, but there is nowhere to go around here but down, so I just ran slowly down the hill, to the beach (about 1.5K), and turned around and ran back up. Later the Garmin data revealed that it is about a 95m drop over the 1.5K to the beach, so it really is a nasty little run. Ollie had a ball, but my cardio and legs were having a tough time with the 95m back up.

My legs were quite sore for the rest of the day. Ollie also didn't seem much lively for the next hour or so.

So after I got back it was the traditional R family brunch: a two course gorging of monumental proportions. Always delicious, always happy. It's something we look forward to all year. Then we all nap, read, float in the pool or vegetate until the second gorging - Christmas dinner. Despite the fact that I'd drunk enough coffee to float a battleship, I flaked on the couch for an hour.

Dinner was another feast, before we retired to watch a video - "The Dinner Game" it's a French film and it's wonderful - we only pick the best for Christmas.

I hope yours was as good as mine.

Oh, and by the way - today is a rest day. My legs are still calling me rude names.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas

Fri AM: 1K Swim
Sat AM: Quarry Rd, 13K in 1:41:52

Friday morning I managed to sneak in a qick swim at the Apartment pool before work. I reckon it's about 20m long and I did 50 laps.

Saturday morning I discovered a new form of torture called trail running. The Quarry Rd track is a a 13K out and back run. This morning saw an organised attack on it by a plethora of Coolrunners. I ran with Dash_Incredible, Horrie and Belinda.

It starts with a massive downhill that has you thinking "OMG how the ^%#$% am I going to get back up this bastard at the end of the run?" After 2K down, you get a big 2K uphill. At this stage I started to walk up the steep bits. DI was good enough the gently encourage me to resume running at the top of each hill.

We hit the turnaround after 6.5 K and Spuds Esky provided some much needed water before heading back. I really struggled coming back. It was a bit hot and a lot hilly. My HR was over 90% of max whenever I could get the useless Garmin HRM function to actually pick it up.

Later in the day I was at work, which involved a lot of bending and squatting, and I ended up opening up the wound on my leg a little bit (a little bit of blood could be seen on the bandage. This pisses me off, as the last thing I need is any further complication from that stinking leg. I should've just left the bloody cyst in there.

Anyway, it's Christmas morning and my quads are still calling me rude names after yesterday. My niece is just waking up and soon the whole family, myself included, will be fawning over her (she is the first of the next generation of our family). It's a day for being around those who are important to you, which I guess is why I'm blogging this morning. I'd like to thank all of you who have given me much-needed support over an interesting year. Merry Christmas to you and your families.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

More Stitches

Tue PM: Swim, 2000m in 49:10
Sleep: Excellent. About 5 hours
Weight: 89Kg (Bugger)

I left work at 5:30 yesterday because my brain had ceased functioning, and I didn't want to wait for an hour for squad to start, so I had the idea of just doing 20 * 100m at 2:20. After three of them I decided that 2:30 was a better idea, and so I did the rest of them at 2:30, with a 1:10 killer to round it off. It was a great session, and must be a 2000m PB for me, because I have never covered that distance in that time. What's more, it felt comfortable. Mostly they were 2:20 100s with 10 second rests.

Today I went to get the stitches out from my leg. After this happened I walked back to the car but I felt something dripping down my leg. I rolled up my pants, and the bandage had blood seeping out. So another (1Km) walk back to the surgery, and more stiches. This time they are in for two weeks.

But the important thing: no running until Saturday (still in for Quarry Rd, sweet!) and no swimming until Friday. I should've done some upper body work tonight, but instead I caught up with my visiting sister. I better pull my finger out - one day of tracking it and I'm already up 1Kg.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Last night I took the new Air Perseus’s out for their first hit out on the reverse loop of the course I mapped out a few days ago. They felt terrible – very stiff and cramped. They feel a bit small for me and by the end of the run my feet were actually aching. I’ll see if I can replace them or get a refund.

Apart from this it was an OK run – the loop is providing a bit of undulation to my otherwise flat training and the cardio system was not liking it yesterday. Well, get used to it cardio – I’ll be doing more of it.

I’ve been using a herbal sleeping aid for the last week, and it’s worked a treat. I’m getting a good 4 -6 hours a night, which is up a fair bit. I’ve decided to start blogging the sleep regularly.

I’ve also decided to start blogging my weight. I committed to losing a bit before CC, but it didn’t really happen. 78 isn’t overly high compared to where I’ve been, but there is a gut there that just doesn’t need to be there, so I’ve got me some bodyfat measuring scales, and I’ll be measuring and blogging it regularly.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

SMC 10K - A good training run

10K in 55:08

I'm still in "taking it easy" mode, so a hard run was out. I just went over to Smithfield for a ten K run in good company, and I got what I came for.

I rocked up at the same time as Go Girl, and ran a couple of warm up laps in amongst the socialising.

I settled into a rhythm pretty quickly and went through 5K in 27:45. Soon after, on the downhill, Belinda passed me. This started a game of cat and mouse for the next four K, where Belinda would pass me on the downhills and I'd pass her on the uphills. In the last K I just turned to her and said "bugger this, I'm going to stick to you. Let's dead heat." And so we did. Horrie joined his wife in the last few hundred metres, and was encouraging her on to try to break 55.We kicked a bit, but we didn't quite manage that, but I think 55:08 was a one second PB for her.

I was very happy with my run. When we picked up the pace my breathing was a bit heavy, but apart from thatit was a comfortable run. It was the first run in the Katanas, which are far and away the lairiest shoes I've ever owned. Safety vest green - you can't miss these babies. They were excellent - comfortable and very light. Not as stable as I am used to, but I noticed this when I tried them on. I intend to use them for racing and speedwork.

Today was my first experience with water sachets - two thumbs up! It's much easier to drink from than the cups. You can drink get all your water and not break stride.

I hung around for ages yakking after the race, and then I went out to my old place to see the dogs for the first time in months. I ended up mowing the lawns and doing a bit of gardening as well as spending some quality time with the dogs. I've missed them terribly, but my ex-wife is taking very good care of them - they were happy and healthy. A visit and walk enjoyed by all.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Frustrated Little Man

Sat PM: Bike, 31K in 1:17

Well, three days without training and let me tell you, by Thursday afternoon I was one frustrated little man.

Not even going somewhat mental at the Nike factory sale could assuage my grumpiness. I picked up two pairs of shoes (Air Perseus and Zoom Katana), two Dri-Fit T-Shirts and a great little backpack for under $200. Noice.

So after work today (we finished up about 1:30) I hopped on the bike with my only intention being to go out for at least an hour and get a decent endorphin hit.

I've settled on a couple of loops in Homebush Bay, one is about 5K and one is about 12K, so I banged out a small loop and two big ones and came in, mission accomplished.

I'm heading out to SMC tomorrow morning to do a 10K training run amongst friends.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

It's Lump, It's Lump, It's Lump, It's in my leg

Run: 7.76K in 46:19: New loop around Homebush. Felt great.

I was up late last night discussing run courses around the area with my Dad. He can't run anymore, but he walks the 5-10K to work (depending on which course he takes) most of the time.

So by the end we had mapped out a nice little loop course for this mornings run. About 7K by my estimation, with more undulations than any of my other courses.

It went out through some swampy area up to Olympic Boulevarde, down the boulevarde passing the stadium and back home through Bicentennial Park. I loved it. There is just something nicer about a course where you don't cover the same ground twice. Out and back is OK, but I much prefer a loop.

That said, I took a wrong turn in Bicentennial Park and did cover the same piece of ground twice, but not by much. This pushed the milage up by a little bit. Tesso, you were right - one to savour for the next few days.

So I had my lump out today. No problems. It was a sebaceous cyst, a bit smaller than a walnut. About four hours afterwards it bruised up like you would not believe, and it now makes Gronk's big toe look positively tasteful. If I can get one of the ladies at work to take a picture of it tomorrow, I'll post it. It's a bit sore, but nothing to worry about.

A few rest days now. I might have a ride on Saturday, and I will run on Sunday.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Swimming without my cossies

Monday afternoon I got home from work as full of beans as the campfire scene from Blazing Saddles, so I had a really enjoyable 5K to Rhodes & back.

Having corrected the weekend's pharmaceutical omissions I slept like a log on Monday night - bliss.

Swim squad did not start well. Once I was at the pool I became aware that I'd left my budgie smugglers at home. This left me to do swim squad in a pair of cotton shorts. Apart from the drag it turned out to be a good squad - the main set was a 1000m heart-rate set of:
6 * 50 @ 1:15
3 * 100 @ 2:30
200 pull buoy
2 * 100 @ 2:20

Pretty slow, but constant. I enjoyed it.

I'm having the surgery to have that lump removed from my leg tomorrow, so I'll go for a run in the morning beforehand. It's a local anaesthetic jobby, so I'll only be out of action for a couple of days.

Sunday, December 11, 2005


Run, 10K at long run pace.

My insomnia was dreadful last night. The run this morning was 10K of utter feacal matter. I felt awful throughout and couldn't wait for it to end.

I continued to feel washed out and lethargic for the rest of the day. Insomnia usually doesn't hit me that bad. The only thing I can possibly think of that might have upset my body is the Yakult I had last night, as this was something I don't usually consume. I've got no idea, really.

I'm going to use chemical assistance to sleep tonight, and I'll run tomorrow afternoon if I feel like it, although at the moment it smells like a rest day.

Edit: Another sleepness night on Sunday. On Monday morning I noticed I had neglected the anti-depressants over the weekend. At least that explains the insomnia.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

The new plan

Fri AM: Run, 5K Slow
Sat AM Bike, 30K @ 25.4kph

Friday was an ugly little run. Insomnia had me reluctant to get out of bed at 5:30 when the alarm went off, but I get up I did for an entirely forgettable 5K that I never got into.

By this morning my neck was feeling just about back to normal, so I felt I was fine for a ride around Homebush Bay. I weaved around basically trying to find an interesting ride without many traffic lights. I noticed that I'd hit 25K in about 61 minutes. I decided to ramp it up a bit and try to lift the average speed above 25kph in the 5 remaining K's. I finished up on 25.4kph, doing the last 5K at 29kph.

I've been doing a bit of research. My running has been a bit off for the last few months. Thinking back, I reckon I peaked at about May, when I ran 49:58 for ten K (incidentally, I think this was the first race where the CR cheersquad showed it's power). Since then, I haven't been able to make a whole lot of progress.

So I have been reading my blog from March, April and May. This serves two purposes - it feeds my ego by artificially lifting the hit counter and it allows me to analyse what I was doing when the training was really working. As the great man himself says, we are all an experiment of one, so let's see what works for moi.

The answer was not what I wanted to hear. Basically I peaked just before I found employment. At my peak, my depression was at it's worst and my training week consisted of four runs (long run, intervals, midweek long and recovery), two swims squads and two rides (50K tri club and 30K widweek).

What I can take from this is that I'm probably not over-training or doing too much cross training. If anything it might be that I'm not getting enough time in bed. Although I wasn't sleeping well, at least I was getting a solid seven hours rest - unemployed people don't get out of bed at four in the morning to train. It might be a good idea to do more sessions after work, as this will probably give me more time for sleep.

From here the plan is to choose a half marathon in February or March and build a program specifically for it. This program will probably consist of six sessions a week: long run, HM pace run, intervals, recovery run, swim & ride. I'll start at a low level (12K long run, 3 or 4 1K intervals) and build towards long runs slightly longer than the race. Starting at a level of less than my current load is a strategy to make sure that I'm over the infections and lethargy that I've been experiencing recently.

The program will start after Christmas. Work has officially gone feral this week, and the next two weeks will be 60 hour epics, including full Saturdays. I'll just fit whatever training I can in.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

A Pleasant Surprise

Run, 5K at at bit quicker than long run pace.

Yesterday was a rest day by virtue of the "no swimming" edict. We had our work Christmas party, on a school night - ludicrous! The party was pretty good. The company organised entertainment from a few special guests. The first of these was Tim Freedman. He played "No Aphrodisiac", some song of the forthcoming album and "Blow Up the Pokies". A very pleasant surprise. It made me think of Omni, unsurprisingly. The rest of the entertainment was hip-hop artists obsessed with the word "fuck". I went home.

I caught the last four overs of the cricket when I got home tonight (awesome) before heading out for an easy 5K. It was still too hot for comfort at 35°, but at least the sun wasn't melting me. I ran comfortably at a pace that was just a bit quicker than long run pace.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

A physio visit to savour

So, after saying that I needed a break, what do you think was the first thing I did when I got home from work last night?


Run: 5.1K, slow as a wet week.


I pulled up a bit sore on Monday, mainly in the calves. I decided a recovery run out to Rhodes was a great way to shake off an ordinary day at work. The calves complained a bit at the beginning, but they calmed down after a K. I felt really drained in the last quarter of the run and was quite glad when it was over.


Later that night I turned my head in a normal manner but hurt my neck for some strange reason. Since then I have had pain when I turned my head at all, but particularly to the left. I saw the physio this morning, and she gave me this advice, which I want framed – it’s the first time I have heard these words from a physio, and my fellow runners will share my joy. She said:


“No bike, no swimming. Only running.”



Sunday, December 04, 2005

Central Coast Half - A Miner Train Smash

21.1K in far too long.

Settle in. It's a long one today.

Firstly, let me apologise for that apalling pun in the title.

It's no secret I was looking forward to today's race. There were a few reasons for this: a flat half for a potential quick time, a number of Coolrunners all shooting for the same target, the post race gathering and an answer to the question of whether I can run 1:50 for a half marathon.

The answer today was no.

I got up to my folks place at Copacabana on Saturday afternoon and had a good, relaxed and early night. I slept well for me, but I was awake by 3:30 when my phone that I was using as an alarm received a very welcome good luck message from the other side of the planet. I had a small breakfast. Usually I don’t eat pre training, but usually I get out of bed and go, so I needed the energy to get me to the start line.

I met up with the other members of the Miner train pre-race, meeting Miners, Kazz and 2P for the first time.

The start caught us all by surprise. We took off and ran the first K in about 5:20 due to congestion.

After this the Miner train settled in to a good pace at 5:08 or so. Plu was chatting incessantly, recording podcasts and the mood was good. By 3K I was breathing pretty heavily, and I sort of suspected that I wouldn’t be able to keep it up. By 6K I knew it, and as the train was splintering slightly I mentioned to Miner that I’d have to slow down. He suggested I slow down for a while and see how I felt, but after 2 slower K’s I knew I was done for and told Miner as much as he dropped back to check on me. Almost on cue I vomited as if my body was keen to prove it’s point.

At this point I’ll make special thanks to Miners. He was an awesome pacer today. For the time I ran with the train he kept an eye on everyone, and was encouraging and supporting. Well done and thank you.

From then on the race became an ugly training run. I ran/shuffled until about 12K, when the urge to walk got the better of me. From then one I took a few walk breaks with increasing frequency. I managed to run about half a K with Kazz, who was on her way to a PB, but eventually she pulled away, and I shuffled on to about 19K where I met with the retreating cheer squad of Jen_stretches and Go Husband.

This presented the perfect opportunity to walk it in, so I did. I was feeling a bit light headed at this point, so I was glad of the company and change in pace.

About 500m from the finish we were passed by an old bloke who was shuffling, and looked to be struggling a bit. We cheered him on in true cheer squad style, and he looked to really appreciate this, so I said “Come on mate, I’ll run you in.”

It was his first (and he says last) half, and his one target was to run the whole thing without walking. I thought back to my first half in 2003– same aim, about the same time and same result (success!). As we hit the last hundred metres, he was able to share in the cheers of the many gathered Coolrunners who were encouraging me home, and you could tell how chuffed he was as we passed the finish line. I shook his hand and congratulated him, and he thanked me and said that he couldn’t have done it without me. While this was bullshit, it was a nice thing to say, and he certainly made the race a positive experience.

Post race I caught up with a bunch of people, most of whom had run well, and settled in for the presentations – which were the sort of confused mess that you can expect at a small race, crowned by the misengraving of all of the half marathon trophies. After this they had run out of time for the lucky dips, so they just had a scab grab for most of them. I didn't need any $2.00 stuff from Golo, so I gave it a miss.

A quick swim at the beach (mainly to rid myself of post race stench), and it was off to the Entrance Hotel for my usual post race feast of carbohydrates, fat and caffeine. This was the typically enjoyable post race gathering of Coolrunners – the perfect way to round off a race.

So now it’s ten hours after the race finished. This may sound a bit strange, but I’m not disappointed. Sure, I’ve trained my arse off with this race in mind for three months, but I’ve accepted that right at the moment I am not capable of 1:50 for a half. Zen Ben, I guess.

Post mortem time – why did I crash? I suspect the main factors were: insufficient recovery from illness, somewhat erratic training and possibly too much cross training.

To address the first problem, I’m taking a break from hard training. For at least a fortnight, and probably four weeks I will cut back to four or five low intensity sessions a week. No speedwork and no long runs. I think my body needs it. It’s been a big year for running, health (both mental and physical), work and emotionally. A bit of downtime will do me good.

When I do get back into it I will pick some target races and frame a detailed program around them. This may include other races as speedwork, but not as excuses to soften the program.

When I frame this program I will decide if I can afford to still ride and swim every week. One thing I have decided since moving away from the Hawkesbury Triathlon Club is that I am not a triathlete who does a lot of running, I am a runner who owns a bike and a pair of budgie smugglers. It’s about time I started acting like it. This does not mean that I won’t take up triathlon in the future or that I won’t enter one in the coming year. It just means that for now, my focus will be the glorious sport of long distance running.

I had been having thoughts that my next race might be the Canberra Marathon. I even said it out loud a couple of times. It won’t be. My body needs a break, and then I will ease back into it. I think I need a 1:50 under my belt before I attack my next target – a four hour marathon. I have another vague target in mind after that, but I definitely need the four hour marathon before that, and it involves a world of pain that I don’t know if I can handle, so I’m not sure about it.

(Did I really just blog that – I must be delirious)

If you are still reading, thank you very much. You can go to bed now.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Getting Primed

Fri AM: 5.1K in 29 minutes

Friday morning I wust went out for a little run before Sunday. I threw in a quicker K for the 4th, 5:06, so about HM pace.

I'm getting mighty excited about tomorrow. My ITB is a bit cranky at the moment, but nothing a good stretch won't shut up. I'm taking it easy today. I just arrived at my folks place in Copacabana. They have a lap pool so I might do some lazy laps a bit later, but I'll probably just stretch.

Good luck to all you others. See you tomorrow!