Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Something New and Different

After considering all of the advice that I got from Coolrunning and this blog relating to preparation for the SMH half, I've decided to base my program on Pat Carroll's program from the SMH half website.

The main reason for this is that it is different to any program I've used before, and I have to be honest with myself - I've really plateaued in the last couple of years, and it's time to try something very different.

The typical week on this program contains two hard sessions a week (speedwork/hillwork/time trials), an easy forty minute run and a long run. I'll probably add in a 5K recovery run on Mondays as I like to run five days a week, or alternatively I may start riding my bike one morning a week as cross training now that daylight savings is complete.

The warm up for the hard sessions are a 10-15 minute jog followed by 6 80m efforts.

Yesterday the hard session was a 3K Time Trial, so I ran to the 2K marker in the 5K course that the Summer Twilight Series used, and ran the 3K to the 5K point.

I've not run a 3K before, and I was on my own so I really had no idea what pace to go out at, other than the logical thought of a little bit quicker than 5K pace, so I thought 4:30 -4:40 Ks (my 5K PB is at 4:44 pace). I haven't analysed it yet, but it felt like I held the same pace for the whole run, and I ran it hard. The time was 13:33, so I'm calling that a 3K PB - and I'm happy with it.

Marlz is busy for the next couple of weeks, but I'm going to see if he'll mind trying to do one of the hard sessions with me on a Friday night. If he isn't keen I'll adapt the program around Friday nights.

The twins had an excursion to a gelato factory today - where was this when I was a child? I volunteered to be a parent supervisor, but apparently so did every other parent, step-parent, uncle, auntie, second-cousin and grand-parent with a child in the class, so they didn't take any of them. Oh well. At least I don't have to run it off.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Running and Impending fatherhood

This thread is current again on Coolrunning, where adw was asking about how he could expect his training to be affected by the birth of his first child. I, of course, used the opportunity to tell the Coolrunning community that my boys were working as well - Argh, argh, argh - I am a man!!! (beats chest furiously).

The effect on my training is a real concern, to be honest. Running has become an integral part of my life over the last three years, and whilst I tell myself that I will cope with the inevitable changes to my training and that I know I won't be able to train to the same level that I have, I have to admit I'm not comfortable with scaling things back. This, of course, does not mean that I will let my training interfere with family - that priority is well and truly sorted.

That said, it's a minor concern. The way that my girls support me and my running I know that it will work itself out, and it certainly isn't all bad for running.

A few weeks ago we were out buying some of the stuff we need for Digger when I happened accross a running pram at over 50% off. I didn't ponder greatly over the decision, and we are now ready for action when Digger turns six months old (it's not safee to run with a baby until they are six months old). Now I just have to hope that Digger enjoys running with Dad.

The other night Digger was doing the strangest movements, and I was lucky enough to have my hand on DJ's stomach at the time. He/she wasn't kicking, it was more extended poking out of a limb for 10 - 20 seconds. It felt like the child was either trying to stretch or moon me. Either way, it's got to be taking after Dad.

There is one other thing I've noticed with a tenuous link to running re: impending fatherhood.

Last week I was reading this blog which had an entry about songs that make you cry.

In the last few years mine have been Paul Kelly's "How to Make Gravy" and Darren Hanlon's "Falling Aeroplanes" (it will forever make me think of DJ.)

But just lately...

Paul Kelly's "Deeper Water" has been come up on my random play MP3 player during runs. Now, I'm a soppy bastard at the best of times, but I do beleive that the effort of a long run makes you more susceptible to sentimentality, so I must look a sight bawling my eyes out as I run down the road listening to this lyric:

On a crowded beach in a distant time
At the height of summer see a boy of five
At the water's edge so nimble and free
Jumping over the ripples looking way out to sea

Now a man comes up from amoungst the throng
Takes the young boy's hand and his hand is strong
And the child feels safe, yeah the child feels brave
As he's carried in those arems up and over the waves

Deeper water, deeper water, deeper water, calling him on

Let's move forward now and the child's seventeen
With a girl in the back seat tugging at his jeans
And she knows what she wants, she guides with her hand
As a voice cries inside him - I'm a man, I'm a man!

Deeper water, deeper water, deeper water, calling him on

Now the man meets a woman unlike all the rest
He doesn't know it yet but he's out of his depth
And he thinks he can run, it's amatter of pride
But he keeps coming back like a cork on the tide

Well the years hurry by and the woman loves the man
Then one night in the dark she grabs hold of his hand
Says 'There, can you feel it kicking inside!'
And the man gets a shiver right up and down his spine

Deeper water, deeper water, deeper water, calling him on

So the clock moves around and the child is a joy
But Death doesn't care just who it destroys
Now the woamn gets sick, thins down to the bone
She says 'Where I'm going next, I'm going alone'

Deeper water, deeper water

On a distant beach lonely and wild
At a later time see a man and a child
And the man takes the child up into his arms
Takes her over the breakers
To where the water is calm

Deeper water, deeper water,
Deeper water, calling them on

Operation SMH

OK, my next race will be after Digger is born (yay). I'd love it to be the race that takes me under 1:50, but it's the SMH and it ain't gonna happen there.

I've decided 1:55 is a good target for a bloody hilly run, so now I just have to prepare for it. This is where my rotundrum starts (rotundrum is a word invented by DJ and I; it's a problem that just goes round and round in your head).

My training week will be thus:

Sunday AM: Long run (15 - 23K)
Monday AM: Recovery run
Tuesday AM: Hard Session
Wednesday PM or Thursday AM: Hard Session
Friday PM: 12K with Marlz at a decent pace.

The Friday run is my weekly catch up with Marlz that needs to be a decent pace because he is quicker than me, and it wouldn't be much of a session if it was too short or too easy. It's pretty much the equal of what used to be my midweek long run - not ideal a day and a half before your long run, but that's the way my week works.

So the issue is that I have two hard sessions to fill in the middle of the week. I am preparing for a hilly half and keeping in mind that C2S is a target later in the year, so I think hill repeats might be a good idea (I'm also having some ridiculous thoughts about a race in March next year which may or may not feature some big arse hills).

The three sessions I'm trying to pick from are:

- hill repeats
- 1K or 400m intervals (my favourite speedwork)
- another 12K hardish midweek long run

At the moment I'm leaning towards intervals and hill repeats. They will take less time, but may leave me a bit short for volume. It also might be a bit too much intensity. I haven't done it before, so being an experiment of one, it could be worth a shot.

There is also the option to mix it up a bit, and I reckon I'll probably end up doing that. I'm also highly likely to miss a few sessions as things get to the pointy end of the pregnancy (which is pretty pointy at 35 weeks anyway).

One week after Weston Creek and I've eaten myself stupid. I allow myself a week of that, but it's down to it now. I had an easy 15K long run today, and I'm happy to call that the end of an easy recovery week. Operation SMH starts tomorrow.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Weston Creek Half Marathon, 1:52:41 - Close, but no cigar

What a top weekend in Canberra! I'm glad I didn't give in to my niggling doubts and give up on the weekend and the race.

We arrived in Canberra on Saturday afternoon at the Statesman hotel in Curtin, a suburb named after my favourite prime minister. The Statesman looked and smelled like it had flooded recently, but was better than the last hotel DJ and I staye4d in by virtue of the fact that the coffe sachets were Mocconna (the last one was International Roast). Who says you need a star rating - just ask about the coffee!

We practised the drive to the start line a couple of times before heading off to a magnificent carbo-loading session at the Pancake Parlour. Can someone please explain to me why they closed Pancakes at the Movies and Pancakes at Parramatta? I love these restaurants, and they just keep on closing the ones I eat at! I'm as mad as hell, and not going to take it anymore!!!!(Ben shakes fist violently) .

Now, where was I up to? Oh yeah...

So back to the Smelly Statesman in Curtin (ironic because Chifley was more likely to be the smelly statesman than Curtin - Chifley was the pipe smoker), where Em indulged in her habit of playing with everything and pressing every button before being sent to bed. In doing so she set the alarm in the hotel room to go off at midnight. The twins selpt bissfully through the alarm, which woke DJ and I up. DJ blindly played with the alarm until it stopped. Sure enough, in ten minutes it was off again, so I jumped out of bed and turned it off.

Neither of us got back to sleep after that, and so I was relieved that the morning coffee was of decent quality, and had me feeling half human by the time we set off for the start line.

I was a bit surprised that I only saw one other Coolrunner at the start (Strewth), but as Em, Bop, DJ and I huddled together (which was half group hug and half an effort to keep warm) Aki approached and we had a short chat.

The course was all bitumen bike path and was quite crowded at the start. I pushed myself a bit as I was worried about losing too much time in the throng. This was probably a mistake as I went through one K in 4:58, which was too fast. I made a concious effort to slow without slowing too much, and I hit a bit of rhythm over the next few K. The course was undulating without being difficult over the first 5K, and I went through 5K in 25:41. There was a nasty rise over the next K or so, and I adopted the attitude of just trying to get to the turnaround still under 1:50 pace, and see what happens.

I hit the turnaround in 54:55, and at that stage, if I can use a motoring analogy, I knew I had less than half a tank of petrol left, and that I'd struggle to get home in the pace I went out in. Thjis proved to be the case, as although I was pushing quite hard and was still on track at thirteen, I slowed after that, and I knew the wheels would fall off if I went any quicker. I kept pushing, as I knew I was there or thereabouts for a PB, but I started to really suffer in the last 2K, and although I lifted the intensity, Ks 20 and 21 were my slowest, and I brought it home in 1:52:41 to the cheers of my fan club. I actually had to check my Garmin to see if it was a PB, such was my state of mental disarray at the finish line, but alas it was eight seconds slower than the Central Coast.

I'm not at all disappointed by this. It was a tougher course than the Central Coast, and there are no question marks about course accuracy and moving start lines. I ran the race a lot smarter than I did at the Central Coast, and finished in a much better state. There is no doubt that this is my best performance in a half marathon, and I'm very happy with it.

After the race we finished the day off with a trip to the Mint and a great time at Questacon, a top weekend in the nation's capital.

My second proud moment of the day came when we were at the Mint. For $2.50 you can forge your own dollar coin. I gave the twins $2.50 each, and Em made her coin and popped it in the "free" cardboard pouch.

Bop watched the process take place and stuck her $2.50 straight in her pocket. Hopefully this means I'll never have to worry about Bop with poker machines - woo hoo!!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Taper Week

So as all of the six footers prepare for the mammoth task ahead of them on Saturday, I'm tapering for another half marathon. Unfortunately, I can't say I'm excited about it.

My training has not been great since January. My last serious 10K was over 51 minutes and I don't think I'm in PB form. I think I've turned the corner, but I'm not sure I've advanced much yet.

So the chances of a 1:50 are slim. I'll see how I feel on the morning, and if I feel bulletproof I'll have a crack, otherwise I'll just go for a sub 2 hour target.

Anyway, enough of that negative stuff, the last week of training has been enjoyable. In the last few weeks I've had the opportunity to do far more training with company than I usually do, and I really dig it.

I've already told you about my regular Friday run with Marlz, but for the last two Sundays I've been joined on my long run by Nite_Time_Runner, who has been marathon training. On Sunday he came over at 6:00AM and we ran for 100 minutes in a loop which he did twice. We ran the Foreshore Trail at Concord, which is fast becoming my favourite training place.

On the Saturday I had walked over to the Striders 10K at Homebush just aiming for a sub 60 training run. Tiger Angel was making her 10K return from illness, and so I had a thoroughly enjoyable run with her and a guy called Craig that we met in the first K.

So, on to Sunday. If I'm lacking motivation now, it will be there on Sunday morning. We have the twins this weekend, so I'll have all of my girls waiting for me at the finish line. There's no better motivation to run fast.

Good luck to all of the six footers. I'll be very keen to read all of your reports.