Monday, July 30, 2007

Catching Up

It's been a while. I wasn't kidding when I said I'd be busy, but even I
had no idea...

Settlement on the house was delayed by a week, which should've given us
a good chance to organise ourselves for the move, but despite trying we

Conferences are great places for exchanging things. Ideas get exchanged.
Thoughts get exchanged. And viruses, viruses definitely get exchanged.
So on Friday the 13th I went down like a sack of spuds just in time to
move over the weekend.

This is when good mates step in. Marlz had broken his toe moving the
previous weekend, but we were lucky enough to have my Dad and four hour
marathon legend Nite_Time_Runner come over and help. We got all of the
stuff into the house over the weekend, but we are still unpacking 3
weeks later.

The reason for this is that everyone has been sick. Both twins have had
several days off school, the usually indestructible DJ has been
struggling and most frightening, John has had two trips to emergency
with breathing difficulties. It's a virus in his upper respiratory
system, but the breathing has sounded suspiciously asthmatic. The good
news is that he has been getting much better in the last couple of days.

On Saturday night I had my first Mr Mom experience - DJ went out to a
work party and I had all three kids. I got through the night pretty well
- John behaved impeccably and I got some much needed confidence in my
ability to handle child care.

My running suffered a bit through the illness. I had to take half a week
off and my speed wasn't there when I got back into it. I ran a mediocre
3K time trial at 13:31 and I was starting to think that I was going into
a slump.

So with some trepidation I lined up for the Coolrunning 5K Challenge on
Saturday morning. Pat had set me a target of low 23's ( my PB was an old
and soft 23:41). Rags had decided to line up with me, and we set off as
the 23 minute group.

We went through 1K in 4:25, and I was feeling OK, but I knew that pace
was too hot to continue. I went through the next 2 in 4:37 and 4:44. I
believe the key to a good 5K is feeling OK at 3K - if it's ugly at 4 you
can tough it out. I felt OK at 3, so I knew the PB was on at this point.
I still ran the next one (too) conservatively (4:49).

There's no point in leaving anything in the tank, and with constant
encouragement from Rags I pushed out a 4:29 fifth K to bring it home in
23:08 - a 33 second PB. Thanks go to Rags for pushing me through the

I decided yesterday to explore my new locale on my long run. I live 200m
away from the M4 (a major Sydney arterial road), and I noticed a bike
path running parallel to it, so I decided to hug the M4 for as long as I
could on Sunday. The result was that as the M7 marathon was being run I
ran an M4 half marathon, running from Silverwater to Merrylands and
back. It was a nice surprise that for the vast majority of the distance
there was bike path running parallel to the M4, and a stretch of about
2-3 K actually running under said freeway. It's not a particularly
scenic run, but one that I think I'll do occasionally.

So, with my 5K race out of the way it's two weeks to go. My confidence
is up, but I'm still no shoe in for a sub 75 C2S. I'll just have to get
there early and hope for a good run. Bring it on!

Friday, July 06, 2007

A Really Good Holiday

"So, Ben. How did your race go?"

"Well, I had a reaaly good holiday."

And it was. Except for one hour, fifty three minutes and twenty six seconds on Sunday morning.

The trip up started ominously. We left early and the kids slept until breakfast at Hexham (yes, Gnome - it is a Hungry Jacks, but they still serve Oak thickshakes!). Then we let them turn on the DVD player. Broken. Couldn't get it going.

From that point the girls reinforced what a lucky man I am to have such a wonderful family. The twins were fantastic. Instead of hearing "are we there yet?" all trip, Em had to deal with "Em, how's your brother?" all the way up to Queensland (and back). And there was minimal arguing and fighting despite the fact that we had the twins sitting next to each other.

The race was disappointing. We were running a bit late, and then nature called before the race, so I spent half an hour in a toilet queue. Luckily Ellie pointed me to some toilets with a shorter queue, but I still only got to the start right at the back of the field.

So after I passed the start line it was all ducking and weaving for the first 2K, and I was 90 seconds behind 5:12min/k pace (1:50HM) at 2K. From that point I got a slight stitch, and the way I was travelling I knew not to push it. I found it really difficult to crack 5:20 pace for the rest of the race. Eventually I crossed the line in 1:53:26 (nett time) and promptly tripped over my own feet, almost causing a pile up at the finish line.

The twins had a similar race - it was their first time in a big squashed start and it freaked them out a bit. Bop had caught the cold that has been going around, and she struggled home just behind Em. That said they seem to have enjoyed it, so I'm hoping we will continue to run together..

The rest of the day was spent kicking back with the awesome cheer squad both in the cheersquad and at drinks. Those festivities and the atmosphere is the reason why this was my fourth consecutive Gold Coast trip.

Dreamworld on Monday was a blast. The perfect way to end a great holiday.

I'll update you on how everything else is going when I can find a further fifteen minutes to do so - I'm a wee bit busy at the moment.