Thursday, March 30, 2006

That clean, fresh air

Wed: 4 hour bushwalk in the South American jungle.

Ola from Merida, Venezuela.

It took me two and a half days of travelling to get here, and with all of the jetlag and rubbish I didn´t get any exercise in. I had an hour at the Hilton Caracas before the gym closed on Monday night, but they had the front to ask me to pay about $13AUD to use the gym. Considering the ridiculous tarrif I was already paying for accommodation I couldn´t do it on priciple, so I just went to bed.

I got into Merida on Tuesday morning. It was awesome to see my brother after so long. We spent the day catching up and bullshitting. In the evening we had a vegetable, garlic and cheese pasta which Clint cooked and said that it would cause him flatulence problems the following day.

I wish I had remembered that this morning when we decided to go on a bushwalk. We went up into the mountains, where the scemnery was utterly stunning. The vegetation was so rich. We didn´t see much in the way of fauna, but the plantlife was just beatiful.

So I spent the day a couple of paces behind Clint, who, to be blunt, was exhaling through his anus - with halitosis. This made it even more difficult to breath, as I was already struggling a bit with the altitude. We aren´t sure, but we were probably at a higher altitude today than I have ever been before.

May be able to get out for a run tomorrow.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Accepting the Inevitable

Wed AM: Run, 9K @ 5:50 pace


I am grudgingly coming to accept that the next three weeks are going to be an exercise in watching my fitness disappear up my ever expanding arse. In amongst the getting myself ready for the trip, gathering stuff for my brother and working I’ve managed one solitary run since Sunday – a 9K jog around Luddenham that felt a little bit stiff.


My weight has been creeping up. I have to admit that I’ve been having an empty carb & fat carnival since the race. Last night’s Coolrunning drinks was typical of this: 3 cokes and more wedges than any human should consume in one sitting. It was a great social night, but I dipped out early as it was a school night, and given that today is my last day at work I thought I best be rested for it.


My brother has warned me that running is unlikely to be safe in Venezuela – narrow streets, insane drivers and unsavoury areas. I’ll take my gear over, but I’m not going to get too hung up about using it. If the opportunity doesn’t eventuate it will just be like an injury lay off, and I usually come back pretty strong from them.



Sunday, March 19, 2006

Road Trip - The Eaglehawk Half Marathon

Fri AM: 6K @ long run pace
Sun AM: Eaglehawk Half Marathon. 1:56:20.

My weekend started on Friday morning (I've taken a day either side of the weekend off work). I decided an easy six kilometres would do the trick, and there is a nice little loop across the rad from DJ's place, where we were starting our journey.

We had a break in Albury, where I spent four years at uni. I left a shithole, I reurned to a vibrant university town. I sorta wish I could come back now. I took DJ on a tour of the flats I lived in including my all-time favourite address (and I promise I lived here):

2/269 Mount St

We got as far as Benalla (including a comical visit to Glenrowan) before retiring. Seeing as Friday night is the important one for a good night's sleep we got to bed early. The smegging smoke alarm in the room had other ideas - it chose 2:30AM to be the time it started warning that it was running out of batteries. We spent the rest of the night without adequate fire protection.

From there we had a leisurly drive to Eaglehawk, where we had not booked accomodation. When we discovered that the race was part of a "Back to Eaglehawk" festival we knew there would be lodging hassles. Eaglehawk is basically a suburb of Bendigo, so into Bendigo we went. With some Commonwealth Games events being staged in Bendigo we were running out of options. We managed to get a serviced townhouse near town and settled in.

Sunday morning started early as with most races. DJ had me organised and chauffered to the start an hour before the start for an easy warm up and relaxed preparation.

The course is a 10.55K loop run twice, and the race incorporates the only quarter-marathon I know of. I got away quickly, and after 2K I was on 1:50 pace. I stuck with it for another four K, but after this I started to slow, and I knew if I kept going at that pace I would blow, so I just went with running how I felt. I hit 10K in 52:58, and halfway in 55:53. From there I did quite a few 5:30 Ks, and with 3K to go I thought I was still a chance for 1:55. I tried to turn on the gas, but it wasn't there. I limped through to finish in 1:56:20. DJ was a brilliant support crew/cheersquad.

I must mention - this was the first race I have been in where I was the only runner with any Coolrunning gear. I did get a "Go Coolrunner!" at 5K from a bloke going the other way.

We're back in Albury tonight. It's been a top weekend thusfar. The race was not the result I wanted, so it's back to the drawing board. I'll fit in what I can for the next three weeks (I leave for a fortnight in Venezuela in a week), and them I'll start on a program for the Gold Coast Half.

1:50 will not defeat me!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Taper week

Thu PM: 1700m swim - slow and steady
Fri PM: 7 * 1K intervals avge 4:45.
Sat AM: 35K Ride @ 25kph
Sun PM: 6.5K Tempo run.
Tue AM: 7.5K Tempo run
Wed AM: 7.5K @ 5:50 pace.

We are well into taper now. The Eaglehawk half marathon is this weekend and I have decided I have ho hope of hitting my initial target of 1:50, so I am setting a new target of 1:55, which would still be a PB of 30 seconds.

On Friday I thought I might have a chance, I ran 7 1K intervals which were paced poorly - I started with 2 4:30's and slowed from there, but only to a final effort of 4:50, so I thought I might be starting to get my Mojo back. I was completely stuffed by the end of this session.

I had a decent ride on Saturday morning: 3 laps of my 10K Homebush loop and a 5K loop through the all of the stadia. It felt good.

Sunday I did a lot of walking. 90 minutes in the Blue Mountains for the Walk Against Want, and then half an hour merrily walking over to watch the mighty Rabbitohs take on the Roosters at Telstra, followed by a grumpy trudge back home afterwards. It's going to be a long year for we Rabbitoh fans.

I decided to throw in a little tempo run in the afternoon - 2K warmup, 3K hard, 1.5K cooldown. I could only manage about 5:20 in the "hard" bits.

Circumstances dictated a rest day on Monday, so I got out for another 7.5K tempo run on Tuesday, this time with a 4K hard section. Similar result - my cardio system just isn't up to 5:12 Ks at the moment.

This morning I got out for another 7.5K run (OK, I admit it - there is a nice little 7.5K loop near DJ's place), which was just a stock standard long run pace run. four hours later I still feel a bit wiped out, so things are not as they should be.

I'll have to take it pretty easy for the rest of the week and make sure I'mm fully rested for Sunday. Lots of vegies before then, and we'll see how we go.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Fat and Slow

Sat AM: Homebush Striders 10K - 52:46
Sat AM: 25K Social Bike Ride
Sun AM: Long Run - 19.2K @ 5:55 pace
Mon AM: Tempo Run - 7K, 4K @ 5:22
Wed AM: Midweek Long Run - 13K with 5K @ 5:24

Weight: 80.2Kg (Ouch)

Sleep: Fair

The title of this post is a frank and honest summary as to where my running is at. I'm not feeling too upset about it; the fact is that there has been things going on that have been both within and outside control over the past two months that have distracted or prevented me from training. I regret none of the decisions I have made, but I am not in the shape I think I need to be in to run a 1:50 half.

Anyway, the synopsis:

The Striders run on Saturday was evidence of this. I started with the 50 minute group, and they took off like startled rabbits, doing the first K at 4:30. I knew I was in trouble, but I stck with them until about 4K, where I started to slip. The Garmin died at 4.6K (I had inadvertantly left it on all night, and soon afterwards I knew my race was over in terms of a decnt time. I took a short walk break just before 5K and fast jogged it in for 52:46 - 46 seconds slower than HM pace - not good.

Afterwards I was chatting with Tiger Angel & sfGnome, and TA said to me "you should've brought your bike - we're going for a ride!". Since the race was 500m from my flat, the bike was close at hand anyway, so I grabbed the bike, changed gear and was off for a sedate 25K ride around Homebush followed by a coffee at my local cafe. The ride was a great warm down after the race and the coffee was enjoyable as I was quizzed about DJ before I rushed off to spend the rest of the weekend with her.

On Sunday I had to pop into Windsor, so I took my gear with me and did two laps of the old tri-club 10K loop. The first 10K was at abou 5:50 pace, but the second I just slowed. I couldn't manage any faster than an average of 6:05 for the last loop. Not happy.

I replaced my Monday recovery run with a short tempo. After a 2K warm up I averaged 5:22 for 4K before a 1K warm down. Another pretty slow performance. My Wednesday run, which is pretty much a tempo run went along the same lines. The 5K middle section, where I aim at 5:12 (HM pace) I could only manage 5:24.

So what does it all mean? I haven't been backsliding much - I've missed one planned run, and that was due to illness. My diet has been atrocious, and I have put on 2Kg over the last few weeks.

It's possible that the four run a week program is a bit soft - I might need to go to five runs a week and drop the bike or swim. It may be that I haven't properly recovered from the cold. It may be that I am being soft on myself and I am backsliding.

It doesn't bother me too much. I'll run at Eaglehawk in a week and a half, if I'm struggling I'll slow down and if I don't hit my target I'll change my program and have another shot at 1:50 at the Gold Coast. There's too much wonderful stuff going on in my life at the moment for me to get too cut up about it.

I have also just organised a last minute holiday. In two weeks I will be heading off to Venezuela for a week and a half with my brother. I haven't seen him in ages, and I can't bloody wait.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Range Week

Fri PM: Ride, 21.8K @ 24.2kph
Sat AM: Coolrunning 5K Challenge, 26:00.
Sun AM: 13K Run - Awful
Mon PM: Run, 6.58K in 37:21 - Standard Recovery
Tue PM: Ride, 31K @ 25.6
Wed AM: Trail Run,7.65K in 1:04:28.
Fri PM: Swim, 1500m slow

Rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated. I have had almost no internet access for nine days.

This is because of range week. As some of you know, I work in ladies underwear (pun intended). Twice a year the founder of our company lets us use his home in Vaucluse to determine the range for the next season. This means that we spend the week viewing the range on models with a backdrop of the glorious Sydney Harbour.

Sometimes I really, really like my job.

Anyway, the training has been patchy, but OK under the circumstances.

I was still feeling a bit rough on Friday, so I just went out for a 21K bike ride in the afternoon, which I took slowly.

On Saturday I did the Coolrunning 5K challenge. I wanted to take it easy, so I left on 27 minutes to guide and possibly pace a mate of the Gnome's (Darren). We finished in 26:00 - right on 1:50 HM pace. Bonus.

Sunday was an awful long run. Planned 16K, started taking walk breaks at 7K, quit at 13K and walked home. I just wasn't over the cold.

The only session worthy of mention during the week was a magic 7.6K trail run on Wednesday morning. I started at Shark Beach and ran the 1.8K Hermitage Foreshore Walking Track out and back twice. It is a hilly track taking in spectacular views of Sydney Harbour. The problem was keeping my eyes off the view and on the track. I finished at Shark Beach with a dip to cool my legs off and went off and had my shower. It was at this point that I realised with some horror that I had neglected to pack fresh underpants - this meant that I had to go to work freesnake. This would not be a hassle if the plan for the day was not to watch lingerie models showing the new seasons range.

Luckily the day passed without embarrassing incident. The run left my legs with rsidual soreness for a couple of days, obviously my lack of hillwork was showing here.

I'm going to finish this post here. I'll blog last weekend later today or tomorrow.