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 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 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 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 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...

Saturday, June 30, 2018

that was the week that was

OK, a quick bridging post from Burleigh Heads where I am holed up in a very nice AirBnB with a couple of close friends and their youngest daughter. Tomorrow Dave and I will head off to run the Gold Coast marathon, both woefully undertrained and unready for it. Ho hum. For my part the problem has been a lingering cold that robbed me of my last long run before the holiday in Bali and is still, well, lingering. So I didn't do my last long run and I've not run since May.

And that is a bit of a bugger because after an under-par performance in Berlin last year I was hoping to have another crack at a sub-3hr up on here on what is an extremely flat and usually quite fast Gold Coast course. And despite where I am, there is still a bit of me that thinks I may head off on the 3hr bus at 07:20am tomorrow morning, daft though that is.

Then there is the other bit that says nah, fuckit, just get through it. You've not got a PB in you so don't kill yourself out there. That bit go the upper hand at lunchtime when, to wash down my massive spag bol at the Burgleigh Heads Surf Club, I had a Little Creatures Pale Ale. And I may have shared a small sour with Dave just before dinner. Yeah, 2018 is not a PB year.

Anyway, the weather up here in Queensland is quite glorious. I'm not a big fan of the Goldie, but in Winter it can be lovely. The water looks cracking, it is in the low 20s without humidity and not a breath of wind. Last night I stayed with Sal's sis and family in Palm Beach and I slept like a baby, which was nice. I head breakfast by the beach at Avvia with Sal's eldest sister and we were joined by another friend who lent me the book Brain Training for Runners. To make the trade fair I told her about the Barkley Marathons documentary The Race that Eats its Young. Exchange is no robbery.

Anyway, as I continue to work backwards, I flew up to the Goldie yesterday so I'd have today as a nice bimbly chilled day before the race and because I fancied picking up my race number on Friday rather than Saturday when I figured the expo would be chaotic. I'm not a fan of the race expo wiht its Ikea-esque one-way snaking path from bib collection to exit. I don't need to buy any new kit, or magazines, or nutrition, or anything else, just get me outta here!

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I hadn't taken the full day off work (though after the week I had I do feel like taking the rest of my life off work, maybe more on that later) and popped into the Manly office for a couple of hours before the ferry, train, plane, bus travel to the Gold Coast Convention Centre then final bus to Palm Beach. Sounds like quite a hike, but was pretty simple. Not much of interest from the trip; of course coming over the Harbour on the Manly Ferry was lovely, I feel the business class (and seat 1A) trip up was a bit of a waste as I had not abandoned all hope of a PB yesterday so didn't have a drink - more fool me. I think if I squint a bit I can see the office in that second instagram picture...

Right, I think that will do for now. If I go back any further this will descend quickly into a rant about how shite work was in I don't feel like recalling that right now.

Maybe later. OK, race eve sleep time.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

à bientôt JCJ

JCJ, ever present mate since I arrived on these shores in 1999. My first Sydney dive was with him and few other mates, a bimble around the (now gone) swimming enclosure (shark net) at Balmoral.


On Tuesday he and Mrs JCJ move back to Blighty.

say cheese

So no longer just up the road, but a dear friend who I look forward to spending time taking pics and talking shit with again soon.

Saturday saunter

An hour to kill in Denpasar airport so I may be able to bring us up to date. In fact I should already be up to date as the check-in and bag drop was remarkably quick and easy and we found ourselves in the pay-to-play Premier Lounge with about two and half hours to go before the flight.

The lounge is a bit…well, crap. Finding four seats was nigh on impossible – we ended up on a sort of, I dunno, terrace I suppose that overlooks the shopping area and benefited from wonky seats and little air conditioning. But at least the beet (Anker, I kid you not) was atrocious and the food somewhat bland. But hey, still better than hours mooching around airport shops and the kids were happy with all you can grab rice (H) and cookies (both of them liked that.) Plus there are a few teles so I caught some of Belgium’s demolition of Tunisia.

Now the kids are asleep and we are between games. Although I do have free Wi-Fi I’m giving Microsoft’s Open Live Viewer a go. It’s a freebie blog editor for windows 10, knows all about blogger and I can use it offline.

But I digress.

Wayan seemed genuinely a little sad that the girls no longer be battering him with questions, a good chunk of which have been H asking “how many minutes until we get [wherever].” He’s a good man. So that is the immediate past done, I’ve already covered my waking up and now all that remains is the guts of the day.

Sal wanted to have a final massage and breakfast at Sisterfields where the coffee was maybe a bit
better than Revolver and the food was pretty special as well. I had shakshuka, following a moussaka the other evening these are my tow most out of region dishes as I have gone native as often as possible. Coffee good, food good, kids a bit stroppy and each in brief tears (still playing the long game) and when done we headed towards our next stop (pre-massage) the beach resort Potato Head which was very nice and had a pool the kids and I jumped in.

It was all pretty relaxing; I had another coffee and a comically poor craft beer – Stark IPA (Indonesian Pale Ale) which seemed like yet another rebadged Bintang to me.

OK, so offline edit then upload later seemed to work OK. Where was I? Leaving Potto Head, right. So we sauntered back to Seminyak village where Sal tried to find a place for a massage, could only book for later so jumped in a taxi (often spelled taksi) with the kids and I took a wander, camera slung over my shoulder.

In short I strolled back towards the villa, failed to buy a short, another beer or street food but was not upset by this. I veered off from the main drag and towards the beach, wandering a road I'd not taken before but was pretty much the same as most other roads. I got to the beach, wandered along past a load of very same-same bars, think I got propositioned for gay sex and offered pot (no to both) and got home after about two and a half hours of taking pics.

I did a bit of - would you call it Urbex? I'm not sure - exploring of a not-finished-and-not-been worked on hotel.  Anyway, there is a fairly large resort shell that didn't look particularly fenced off to me, and I could not see any no entry signs...there were three sketchy holes in the wall, one of which I could get to the slab from. A little overgrown, and plenty of rubbish underfoot, but easy to get in. I took a wander around the concrete. I didn't fancy heading to the basement, but I went up a few floors. Took some not your mainstream Bali photos. Graffiti was a bit disappointing though.