Saturday, September 22, 2018

running commentary

Oh dear, another spell of blog missing in action (inaction?) The least I can do is bring the running stuff up to dte, so here goes the least I can do.

July was pretty a fairly light month, having started with the DNF on the Goldie and August starting wiht some diving that I did not feel like missing because I'd got all stupid and snotted my lungs up again. Then there was the City2Surf, which was the do-I-don't-I decider for having a crack at the Sydney Marathon and pretty soon after that I landed on do.

So I had about a month to get some distance into my legs and some belief that I could do Sydney's twisty 42k, grab a medal and be able to breathe properly the next day. As it turned out I did what I consider to be about the bare minimum training for the distance, but hey, I've got a ton of base over the years and I'm still stubborn and stupid enough to suck up a fair wallop of post-race discomfort that could have been avoided with more more better training and less stubborn stupidity.

So my final month saw me knock out a lap of Manly Dam - because I was missing the trails a bit, do a bit of faster stuff (well, one run of 5k, running in circles - but it still counts), I ran home from the new office a couple of times (18km) and I knocked out a smidge over 32k of one of my stock runs.

I get my car serviced at Chatswood Auto Repairs and done since I lived in Willoughby a few years back. They are a good bunch that I trust. The run home from the garage is a bit over 32k. Yes, you do need to take a rather daft - but quite picturesque - route home, but 32k is 32k. And that is my bare minimum long run for marathon training. A mixture of arrogance, ignorance and maybe a bit of self-belief tells me that it doesn't matter how bad I feel I can always knock out a 10k. So I took it easy, I took a few pictures and I came away thinking yes, I can do Sydney.

Three days later - legs and lungs intact - I registered.



The following weekend I found myself back in the medals (so to speak, please do not think I got a podium finish!) at one of my favourite events, the Pub2Pub. It does not start at a pub and since the renovations at the Newport Arms it no longer finishes at a pub. But the new finish is, in my opinion, far more conducive to sticking around for a brew-or-two; the finish festival, behind the surf club at Newport Beach, features a pop-up 4Pines beer garden.

This is a lovely event, despite the first bit being in calf-destroying sand along the beach at Dee Why. I finished in under an hour, which I was pleased with. That got me 58th place. At a little after 9am I had my first beer, and despite the drizzle I stayed and had a couple more with a good friend who also has this as an annual event.

It's poor form to turn up at a new job wiht a hangover, so finishing drinking by noon on the day before my first day at Blackmores seemed sensible. Don't judge me, it is one day a year!

My final run was one of the two home from work at which point I started my taper. By which I mean I didn't run for the last 10days. Normally I stop a bit further out, but this time around I felt I should get a few more miles into my legs and as I had no intention of going for a time I didn't need to be fully rested; this one was going to be treated as a long training run.

The Tuesday before race-Sunday I got a call from school saying my oldest was sick and could I collect her. If I'm honest then I'd say i should not have shoe-horned her into school because she had been barking like a seal, but she wasn't running a temperature...Anyway, collect her I did. Wednesday morning I took her to the doctor who confirmed she had a cold, said there was no point in giving her antibiotics and saw no reason to keep her out of school - my kinda doctor! So as she rapidly got on the mend I felt a familiar snottiness creeping up on me and got myself on the Lemsip. And Robitussen. And Vicks Sinex.

Situation normal then; feeling undertrained and battling a cold I went to bed on Saturday night wiht metaphoric fingers crossed that the cold I kept in my head would still be there in the morning. And lo, Sunday rolled around and although I was not feeling a hundred percent I could draw a full lungful of air.

It is an early but not too early start to the Sydney Marathon. I feel for the runners in the half, who go out at 6am, an hour earlier than the full runners. There was a c-o-l-d wind blowing on Sunday morning and many of the waiting runners were huddled behind anything they could huddle behind to get out of it; I ended up in the entrance to the car park of a nearby block of units. I should not complain too much though, because Saturday had been a mad-warm 31degrees with bushfires, before a "polar blast" brought things crashing down.

The wheelchairs went at 7am and five minutes later the marathon headed out. I was somewhere near the 3.30 pacer as the gun went but found that a bit crowded and slower than I could go, so by the time we got onto the bridge I found myself just in front of the 3.15 pacer and formulating my plan. I was always going to take it easy and aim to come home in 3.30. I'd thought that I'd do it by staying on the 3.30 bus but changed my mind because I felt OK to go out a bit quicker. So I'd stay in front of the 3.15 pacers until half way and allow myself to fade in the second half but not get overtaken by the 3.30 guys. Simples.

And that is pretty much how it panned out. I'll not dwell too much on the run because I'll end up bitching about the course (too many sharp turns, clearly created by someone who doesn't run it.) The weather turned out ot be almost perfect; there were a couple of places where the wind hit, but the course was far more sheltered than that start and the temperature was lovely. I got to half way reasonably comfortably and still nicely in front of the 3.15 guys. So I decided I'd stay in front until I got back to the city - which I did - and then that I'd try to stay in front until 32k - which I think I did. It was close run thing at the 32k mark as they bus overtook me.

With 10k to go I was having to gig a little deeper than I wanted to. At about 28k my right glute had
started to grumble and at 32k most of the rest of my right leg muscles had joined in so I felt a bit hobbley. I was likely being a bit soft as well.

The last 10k of Sydney is a trip out to Pyrmont and back. It can be quite soul destroying as when you run back through the City in the late-20s you pass about 500m from the finish line. But this time it came and went OK. Yes I was huffing and puffing, and yes I was shouting all sorts of insults at myself, but I knew I had it in the bag and I knew I'd get home - slowing up quite considerably - in under 3.30.

Just. OK, I had a bit to spare, 3.26ish. I was all sorts of aches at the end and the cold has lasted for the best part of following week. But hey, I got my medal and have put the Goldie behind me. The cold has stayed up in my head, so I should be back on the road again soon.

The men's wheelchair winner was Kurt Fearnley, who I regard as Australia's greatest athlete. In November he will be off to try and win New York for a sixth time. He is awesome. Go read about him.

And while on awesome, this weekend Eliud Kipchoge, who beat me in Berlin last year (and everyone else!) smashed the world record this year back in Berlin.

All in all, a good weekend over the full distance. Now, what do I do next...



...next I could start blogging more regularly #justsaying

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Changes

Well a few things have-or-are-about to change(d) and I thought I'd start with a song. Was thinking Bowie's Changes. Or Sabbath's Changes. Or Sam Cooke's A Change is Gonna Come but I;m settling on Change's The Glow of Love because I love a bit of Luther.


So anyway, I've got a new job. It's a funny thing, because there is nothing at all wrong with the my current job - sorry, old job. But I got tired and I really needed a change and as luck would have it another job cropped up on the peninsula that should, if all things work out as I hope they do, sit right in my sweet spot. So I'm off to Blackmore's to be the DBA that they have never had. New role, familiar challenges, fresh start. Starting to look forward to it, but I won't lie, I am conflicted about my decision to leave because Flexischools is a special place. But I need something that isn't there.

So Friday was my last day, a little over three years after my start. It took some chunks out of me...or gave me ample opportunity for me to take chunks out of myself. I had spells of terrible anxiety and it is a little sad that I know the chances of that happening again were massively reduced and the support for staff massively increased. But my head went down and I could not get it back up. Anyway, I had a few at the 4Pines on Friday night, felt a little dusty on Saturday but not so dusty I could not pick up my new commuter toy on Saturday morning.

Took it for a spin this morning, up to the new office and back for a total of 38.5kn that reminded me that I have leg muscles that I don't use, that Pittwater Road is a lumpy bastard of a thing and that road bikes punish the un-trained arse.

Anyway, my new toy is a Volt Green Trek ALR5 gravel bike. Think road bike for mountain bikers. Will take fatter tires and the geometry is a bit more upright. Went ok this morning, averaged about 25kph so once I have my road legs back I should be averaging 30 or so. Of course the challenge is to make sure I keep up the running because cycling may be great cardio but it is not run training.

Segue into running and back to last Sunday when I did my somethingth City2Surf. I was not out for the land speed record and did a little over 62min for the 14km. Which was OK. Then I ran the 9km to Circular Quay and a ferry back to Manly. Still smarting from the disappointment of the Gold Coast Marathon, it was good to get a medal in my hand for finishing and then knocking out 23km. Still toying with the idea of doing the Sydney Marathon. Sponsored by my new employer dontchaknow.

Anyway, that's the big ticket items, dinner time so I'm done.

Saturday, August 04, 2018

d-d-d-diving Julian Rocks

Ah diving, is there anything else that is quite so likely to bet me a-blogging?

Quick bit of background - family gathering near Byron Bay. Sal's folks, siblings and all the grandkids having a get together as the UK contingent are down under for a holiday. Nine kids, 12 adults, The Old Church at Newrybar. Somehow I managed to get  free pass to do a couple of dives out at Julian Rocks, so I booked with Sundive and at a little after 7am this morning I was at the dive store. I'd dived with them before, probably 14years ago, so when they asked if I'd dived before I said...effectively no.

I was booked on for 2 dives and the group I was in had no newbies (hurrah!) By 8am we were on the beach as the RIB was launched, we hopped on and started the 10min journey out to Julian Rocks. The trip took a little longer today as we stopped to watch a passing whale that was maybe 50ft from the boat. There were a few albatross about, so before we'd got in the water things were looking good.

Arrived, moored, geared up, rolled off the side and descended. The water was a little chilly but certainly felt OK in my 3mm...yeah, more on that later. The water was a bit green and planktony but visibility was 6-8m which is fine with me. We started to the north (nw) of the rocks, somewhere near the sand gutters so we could head towards the Cod Hole, hopefully via some grey nurse sharks and then get picked up at the south (se) end, current assisted. Which made sense, because there was a reasonable amount of north-south movement. We're not talking drift dive, but strong enough that swimming against it for too long would require a bit more effort than you'd want.

Julian Rocks are really quite pretty. The colours were a bit muted in the milky water, but there is plenty of fixed life and you can tell it would really pop in clear water. Fish life was pretty good - schools of jewfish, a couple of moorish idols, anemone fish, cleaner wrasse, grouper and plenty of wobbegong on display. I clicked off a few pictures as we bimbled around.

Traveling with only hand luggage, I had dug out my old TZ5 and its housing. I think I last used them about 5years ago so figured they'd either be OK or if not then it was not too much of a loss. As it turned out the camera and housing were fine. As was my old Citizen watch that had also spent much of the last 5years in another draw until Sal had the battery replaced for me and it failed its pressure test. Seems that it is just fine to 22m though, which is good to know.

I'm not sure of the sequencing, but let's say we saw the 3m wobbie and massive turtle just before our dive guide pointed out the first grey nurse shark - the stars of the show that we were all there to see. One become 2 and then 3. They were close but not too close as we dropped down onto the sand so not to spook them.

Happy divers all around, we moved on and found more wobbies (there were a load of them), and a lot of the other usual suspects on the way to the Cod Hole, a nice little swim through. Just after that we found another few grey nurses, so again we dropped to the sand.

I'd not been that close to the first group but this time I found myself in the prime spot. One in particular started to drift up behind me, getting close...and closer...and closer. He had a remora on his head, a few small fish hanging out and needed some dental work. He probably got to about 3ft above me. Really quite special.

I was going to get out of the way so one of the other guys could get some good idea, but he motioned for me to stay in place so he could get some perspective on how big this shark was. One of the video guys was a little bit off of the sand and the shark got a little irate and with a crack of its tail changed direction and swam away. It had been a special experience though.

From there it was a bit of a gentle bimble upwards and towards the surface. The 3mm was starting to seem like not such a good idea by the time I got to the surface, and back on the boat I was a bit
shivery. The guy next to me said he was still toasty warm, but hey, a 7mm wettie helps.

A little post script; as we got back to the beach we saw an echidna waddling along around 8ft  from the water. Clearly lost, our skipper picked him (her?) up and relocated her (him) to the scrub. Crazy critter.

Back at the dive store and I'd lost all feeling in my now-very-yellow-and-blood-free fingers and toes. Back in the day I would have powered on through, but I'm getting sensible in my old age so decided to can the second dive. I should really have done the morning and afternoon dives instead of booking the back to back(ish) morning dives. And hey, dive one had been great and the bacon and egg roll plus large cap topped the morning off nicely.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

where my mojo?

The blogging mojo has taken a bit of a hit of late. To be honest, my general mojo has been somewhat off since failing to finish the Gold Coast marathon, deciding to get a new job and having has a cold for several weeks, thinking I was better then having a relapse. The relapse, I am pretty sure, was because I started to feel good and did a reasonable running week of around 80km.

One of the things that I do that I know I do and know I shouldn’t is double-whammy myself when I’m not well. Feeling sorry for myself because I don’t exercise…I start to eat poorly…and have a few brews…and my weight goes up, and I feel even shittier. Rinse and repeat.

Add to the mix the stress and anxiety that goes with knowing you’re leaving your job but not yet being able to tell anyone (where is my fucking contract!) and it is a recipe for small-s, small-m self medication and self loathing (he says with a hint of drama and sprinkling of hyperbole.) And that means a spell of really not doing very much at all other than holding on.

Anyway, I’m holding on for dinner now, so more later.

Slow cooked lamb casserole with fresh sourdough bread. Yum. Difficult to go back to being a miserable old git. So maybe I should leave it here and commit to coming back to talk about all the above and more.

Well, maybe.

Saturday, July 07, 2018

that was quite a week...at least it ended with a run

So I told my boss and the head of HR and the owner of the company that I simply don't want to be there. Which was met with an understanding disappointment, offers of a sabbatical, heading off to do something else then come back and an open door if I do up stumps. Which is awesome - in fact all my colleagues are awesome - but my spirit is broken and I'm almost certainly off. I'll come back to this in a later post...maybe.

So it was a pretty stressful week at work, not helped by the lingering cold stopping me from both running and meditating properly, and my weight creeping up as I have the odd beer or two. But hey, I'm having a break, albeit enforced, so I shouldn't beat myself up too much (I will.)

I'm feeling lazy, so this is a quick running post with a smattering of other stuff.


Felt a little dusty this morning after an all-too-rare and thoroughly enjoyable catchup at the 4Pines with Steve. Good company, good beer, good food, tick tick tick.


Standard Saturday morning swim followed by pies at Brookie Pie. I had their newest pie, a hearty winter pie made with Nomad Saison beer. Yum.

So obviously I then went, girls in tow, to the brewery to pick out some dark beers for the evening. In the Transit Lounge is an Adams Family Pinball machine that was distracting enough to keep the little ladies out of my hair.

To have a restful day because AJ is a bit unwell, we went to watch Ant Man and the Wasp. It's a good movie and I am a fan of Paul Rudd. I first came across him on a Lip Sync battle - back in the day when it was a funny skit in the Jimmy Fallon show and not the abso-fucking-lutely-shite TV show it has morphed into. Ahem.



Back home and I felt well enough to have a run. I was feeling rather OK, so decided to head down to Queenscliff and back, which would be maybe 10k, probably a bit under. It was going all rather well. Just a dull ache in the legs, but they were turning over OK. I was taking it easy, being all sensible...and then..boom.

At a little under 7k my left achilles or calf or all of the above decided to tighten up all of a sudden and I stopped. Hmm. Bugger. I took a couple of gentle jogging steps and nope, definitely time to stop running. I stop/saved my run and started to trudge home. OK, it wasn't really I trudge, I was annoyed but not devastated. I guess the fatigue I still carry caught up wiht me, various bits and pices engaged to help various other bits and pieces and boom.

After a few hundred metres I took a few very gently jogging paces. Yeah, that'll be OK to nurse home. Anyway, it was cold and I didn't fancy a 2km walk home, so I very slowly ran another 1.6km and then walked the last bit.

Things are tightening up a bit now, but these should help. Temporal confusion reigns, the first can and a half has most definitely helped.

Monday, July 02, 2018

Flagellation Revelation

I woke up this morning with legs that felt as if I'd run a marathon. Which was odd considering that was precisely what I had not done yesterday. I was feeling slightly better about myself because looking at my heart rate on the 15k I did run...well, I was running a bit hot. My average HR was 184bpm and I topped out at over 190. Yes, I went out at a reasonable clip with the 3hr bus, but still...that's a bit high and I am glad I was smart enough to stop. In Berlin, which I completed, I averaged 167bpm and max 183. On top of that my shoes are still sweat soaked...so yeah, conditions were challenging and I behaved like a grown up.

But...after a couple of hours in the Burleigh Brewery yesterday afternoon I did finish the day wiht the register page of September's Sydney Marathon open on my laptop. I didn't pull the trigger, but it is on my mind. And to complete the running commentary (can you what I did there!?) when I got home today I decided I'd go for a gentle run around the block. After placing my GC2018 bib on the fridge, where it will stay, held on the door by an Eric Cartman magnet, until I complete a marathon. Then I shall bin it.

Anyway, based upon nothing more than gut feel I believe one of the best ways to treat sore legs is with running. The reason your legs are sore is not because you've done too much running but rather you've done too little. Of course this breaks down when you go out hard or long, but day to day and over shorter distances (it is all relative) you should not end up aching (much) unless you are out of condition. So I hobbled off around the block. Therefore what I needed was a run to a) treat my legs, and b) punish myself unnecessarily for being soft.


I was not far into my self-flagellation loop when I had my revelation. I didn't finish my marathon. Therefore my goal is now to finish my next marathon. No need to have a crack at something silly, I just need to get another one chalked up.




I was quite pleased with myself. So I popped into the bottle shop on my run and put a 4Pines 10th Anniversary 4-beer-box-set in the their fridge, telling the guy (yes, yes, yes, I need to remember people's names) I'd be back later to collect it. Which I was and I did. And now, as I type, I am enjoying one of said beers, an El Dorado IPA. Quite nice it is too.

So that's my arrival back home dealt with. I picked the kids up from their dance lessons, had a couple of interesting phone calls (more on that later) and put on a wash load of my skanky running kit. Dinner was bubble and squeak, so clearly the ladies had a roast/baked dinner yesterday. Bubble wins.

Meanwhile, back in Queensland this morning...it was a pretty relaxed start to the day. You'd not know it is winter up there, a glorious sunny morning and we bimbled over to breakfast, packed and left the AirBnB at around 10:00am. Dave and fam were off to Kirra for some beach time so it was easy for them to drop me near the airport. By near I mean at the RSL Art Union prize houses we are all convinced we are going to win.


They're really quite nice, maybe a little too far from the beach...





Sunday, July 01, 2018

DNF - Gold Coast Marathon 2018

I suppose it had to happen sooner or later.

I woke this morning feeling quite OK. Yes I stall had the cough but I was not at death's door so I was feeling pretty optimistic. AN early but not too early start and Dave and I were dropped near the start line in what seemed to be cool, calm conditions - could be a good run.

Bag dropped and off to the bog - standard ritual - and we entered the start area. Being a bit stupid I made my way to the three hour pacer area. I won't lie, I was a bit peeved when they stopped playing the Foo Fighters 'Best of You' so some dude from The Voice could sing the national anthem - talk about going from a decent pre-race track to..er...well...the Australian National Anthem. Anyway, it didn't last long, I discarded my two disposable start line t-shirts and the gun went off and we were under way.

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It did not take long for me to realise that I'd been wrong about the humidity. The weather app had said 99% and when I was moving I knew that was about right. The pacer was also warning against going out too hard and advising to take on water at each opportunity as we'd be sweating up a storm.

The first couple of kilometres came and went at a decent clip, on 3hr pace. But It wasn't pleasant. I was holding the pace ok as we kept on but was not breathing as easily as I should. This, I knew, did not bode well.

Bottom line is that I'd rolled the dice on this one. I set out on the 3hr bus in the hope that once I got going I would magically feel OK. Didn't happen. I was only 6 or 7k in when I knew it was all over. Only decision was where to bail. Burleigh, where I could get a lift back to the start to pick up my bag? Wait at Burleigh and then run back to Southport with Dave?

I decided to bail at Burleigh. I'll take muscle soreness and general aches...but this was my lungs. And the last person I knew who'd pushed on through dodgy lungs - Dave - ended up with pneumonia. So feeling like a bit of a fraud for high-fiving kids along the way I got to 15.6km and left the course, stopping the Garmin straight away as a definite message to myself that it really was all over.

I mooched around for a bit feeling sorry for myself and waiting for Mrs Dave and #2 daughter to turn up. They arrive just in time to see husband/dad turn and get a quick hug and a kiss before he headed back north and we headed for breakfast.

Then it was time to head north and go collect Dave from the finish line. I knew his plan was to take it easy and head out with the 3rh40 bus and when we saw him at Burleigh he was looking OK.

He finished in just under 5hours. It was a solid gritty run because he is about as daft as me and was going into this on the back of almost no training. And I am being generous with the almost. He'd cramped at somewhere in the low 30k-s and had to power-walk a load of the last 10k. Stubbornness got him home - and respect to him for that. I watched quite a lot of folks approaching the finish line in various states of disrepair - quite inspirational actually.

So anyway, that was the race that wasn't for me. Fortunately I had much more success at goal #2 for the day and did end up having a few beers in the Burleigh Brewing Company Brewery before a very nice dinner at a local Italian.

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So not a complete disaster.

And I already have the web page open on the register section for the Sydney Marathon...I have some pride that needs repairing...