Sunday, July 23, 2006

Things going mental


My life has been absolutely manic since my last blog update. I'll start with the running, which I am amazed I have found time for. Work has been ferocious, and will continue to be so for a couple of months, so I'll be blogging even less frquently.

There is a lookout near the new flat which has a gentle but constantly rising 850m path to it's summit. I have chosen this for hillwork.

I run up it four times the day after my last update at 5:00 pace, jogging back down. This was a pretty hard session, and this week I did a similar one running up it five times.

Last weekend I did a fifteen K long run which was two laps of a run I used to do taking in a run up to Olympic Boulevarde, and back via Bicentennial Park. This run was a pearler. I ran it at 6:13 pace and it felt comfortable. The previous day I did my first ride in months, riding for 45 minutes on the bike path to Botany Bay. I doubt I'll try this again, it was very stop-start with a lot of switching between shared pathway and road. In future I'll stick to the paths and road in Homebush Bay - we are spoilt for good riding around here.

My weekly pattern of Sunday long run, Monday recovery run, Tueday or Wednesday midweek long run followed by another easy run then followed. The midweek long run was a 9K trot along the Parramatta river at 6:08 pace which felt a bit heavy but was a pretty solid effort.

Now this weekend has been memorable to say the least. On Saturday after netball DJand I took the girls to the aquatic centre in Homebush Bay, where I knocked out 10 sets of 150m efforts @ 4:00 each. My stroke felt OK and although I was tiring towards the end it was a pretty good cross training session. I warmed down by mucking around in the kids pool with the girls, having a few goes on the big slide and going around this rapids whilpool thing they have there. one massive bonus about step-parenthood is the ability to do some fun kid stuff without looking like a complete nob.

That evening the girls and I executed something we had been planning for days. We sat DJ down on the lounge, I grabbed my guitar and launched into the Turtles song "Happy Together", with backing vocals and dancing provided by the twins, and at the end of the song I dropped to one knee and asked DJ to marry me. She said yes.

This may appear sudden to some of you - both DJ and I are still technically married to other people and it may look like we are being foolhardy.

The thing is that the whole thing is just so natural and comfortable. We are contented together and those close to us are not surprised or worried. I can't tell you how happy I am.

This morning's long run was a beautiful development too. The younger twin, Bop, has expressed an interest in Cross-country. I made the offer to train her and run with her, and today was our first attempt. Em, the other twin asked if she could go too, so we all took off for a run first thing this morning. We went out at about 7:00, but Em had to take a couple of walk breaks, and went back after 1500m. Bop kept going with me, and we did the second 1500m at about 6:30 pace. Bop was a little puffed when we got home, but she was really happy and hopefully she'll stick with it.

After the run with the girls I kept going with the same run I did the previous Sunday, but I threw in a trip up the lookout hill as a conditioner for C2S in the middle. I did the rest of the run at about 6:10 pace, and for the most part it was an excellent hit-out. I did slow a bit at the end as fatigue set in.

The plan from here is just more of the same into C2S. Any advice on training for Bop would be most welcome. I don't think we will get much training done during the week - that's just a reality of my work and her school commitments, but we will have to see how we go.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

A Moving Birthday

It's been a busy time since I got back from the Gold Coast. I had
planned an easy recovery week after the half, and that fitted in well
with the plan to move house last weekend.

In amongst piling stuff into boxes I managed a couple of easy 7K runs at
about 6:15 - 6:30 pace. We actually moved on Saturday, and it was
slightly traumatic. Imagine two committed hoarders and trying to cram
their accumulated detritus from living in big houses for ten years into
a three bedroom flat. It sucked.

On Sunday I was a bit sore from the move, but I got out for a nine
kilometre run along the Parramatta River (back to one of my
favourites!). It was slow and uneventful.

Monday was my birthday. A week beforehand my MP3 player had kicked the
bucket, and DJ was right onto it, so I now have a 1GB iRiver to
accompany me on the run. But the best present was a card from twins that
said "Dear Ben, Happy Birthday. We're glad your part of our family." :D

We're settling in now. I've resumed normal training this week. On Monday
I went for a slow 5K, on Tuesday I went for a 7K run at 6:20 pace and
yesterday I went out for another 9K run. The target pace was 6:15, but I
just felt like going faster and even though I slowed up each time I
looked at the Garmin I finished up on 6:05.

The next serious race will be C2S, so I'll dispense with speedwork and
add in a hillwork session each week for the next month, but I'm still a
long way short of PB condition, so at this stage the target is 80

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Gold Coast Half - Mission Accomplished

I apologise for the amount of time this report has taken. Life has been
bloody busy for the last fortnight, but I'll explain that in my next
blog entry.

I love the Gold Coast Marathon festival. Community support, a bloody big
Coolrunning shindig and a well organised run for whatever level of
fitness you are at the time. It's a top event.

This year, same as last, I opted for the half marathon. This time,
however, I had company.

DJ and I went up to Brisbane on the Friday morning. DJ has a number of
friends and relatives in Brisbane and I spent Friday and Saturday
meeting said friends and relatives in amongst a bit of tourist
frolicking at Southbank. It was a relaxed couple of day punctuated with
very short runs: a 5K recovery pace run on the Friday and a 3K gallop
with 2 * 500m 5 min K efforts.

We stayed with friends in Brisbane on Saturday night, and since I had
not picked up my kit I figured that we needed to get out of bed at
3:15AM on Sunday morning to make sure I got to the start line

I am continually amazed by what DJ will tolerate for my benefit. Normal
people do not get out of bed at 3:15 on a Sunday morning. DJ got out of
bed, drove me to the Gold Coast and waited for me to finish the race and

After I got my stuff together I lined up with the two hour pace group,
being led by Coolrunner Ironbee (Mike) in his bee costume. Mike competes
in the costume to raise awareness about diabetes, a condition his
daughter is afflicted with.

I had an issue with the Garmin at the start - it hadn't found a
satellite by the time the race started, and I also hadn't reset it from
the last run, so I didn't actually start timing until about 30 seconds
after I passed the start line.

I ran with Mike for the first few Ks, and I felt pretty good. After the
usual slow first kilometre in the traffic jam we started picking up
10-20 seconds per kilometre, and we had a couple of minutes up our
sleeve by the time we hit the turnaround. For the first half of the
race I dropped behind Mike at each drink station but caught up over the
next kilometre.

At the turnaround I was feeling OK, but not great. I made the decision
that I would not attempt to catch Mike after each station. We had
another pacer following behind, so the policy became to stay in front of
that pacer. This plan worked well until about 16K, when I was starting
to struggle, and had a strong desire to walk. I knew I still had a
couple of minutes in the bank, so I took walk breaks at the last three
drink stations to make sure the water hit the spot.

I was doing it tough in the last few K, but once I saw Jen and
Vegie-Girl (cheer squad number one) I knew I was on the home stretch.
Next came the primary cheer squad 700m from the finish - another cheer,
and 200m from the finish I spotted my true love, for whom I declared my
love and continued on to a finish I suspected was about 1:59, and turned
out to be a net time of 1:59:11. Mission Accomplished.

The rest of the day was spent cheering in the cheer squad with DJ before
a great time at after race drinks. Mouse and Nite Time Runner were kind
enough to allow me to use their hotel shower. Guys, may I offer my
thanks on behalf of everyone on the 6:00PM flight I took home.

As I said at the start I love this race. I'll be back next year,
injuries and finances permitting.