Doing the sensible rag


"Two steps forward, one step back.
One step sidewards, two steps back "

An early appointment at the hospital took all morning due to a staff crisis with the dreaded lurgy that is sweeping the eastern states. This only permitted me to race home and get changed for the lunchtime run at Lake Ginninderra, the monthly 7k handicap. SpeedyGeoff decided to run with me this week, as he was still recovering from the effects of a solid Half Marathon on Sunday. Bad move, Geoffrey! Despite my best efforts and good preparation, my gut continued to plague me throughout the event, requiring three formal toilet stops (one of the advantages of Lake Ginninderra is the ample provision of toilets, water and seats), and the need to slow to a walk on other occasions. I don't know exactly what time we finished up with, however we were certainly last!

I left immediately and went home and climbed into bed after a shower. Somehow I slept for the remainder of the day (again). Still not recovered from whatever it is that ails me.

Wednesday was more of the same, although I barely escaped to the upright position before the BBQ Stakes was due to be run, and given the gale force winds and early rain, this probably wasn't such a bad thing. More sleep in the afternoon (how much can a person sleep?), and a pervading sense of tiredness when I was briefly vertical. I expect that I shall be better tomorrow - although I need to balance recovery and not overdoing it, with not deconditioning too much further before the marathon. Only 9 days to go.

Another day without exercise


. . . but I'm not complaining!

Still a headache / sinus face bashed up pain on waking this morning, but by evening it has improved considerably and I feel as though the worst is over. At least I got dressed and was able to get out of the house today. Thanks for all the supportive thoughts everyone who responded.

Tomorrow, I plan to go to the Lake Ginninderra Stakes monthly handicap. The stunning weather has deteriorated already, with the wind picking up, clouds gathering and the temperature dropping.

Tuesday: Windy with Rain 5° - 19° Wednesday: Windy with Rain 5° - 13°

It looks as though it's just going to get worse though, so spring hasn't sprung in the National Capital just yet.
Mantra: It's never summer until December. It's never summer until December. It's never summer until December.

18 years in Canberra has taught me that!

DNS ~ a slacker or sensible


I think that I've come down pretty firmly on sensible already. I didn't ever perk up yesterday evening, and struggled to get my gear organised for the Half Marathon this morning during a couple of hours of cricket. Medium level night sweat, but I woke up with quite a headache which just got worse when I moved. I called Bob into the bathroom when I'd finished bathing to ask his advice ~ and with little guilt, prompting remade the bed with fresh sheets, rolled between the covers (with a dinky Qantas eye-patch on because of the light), and slept through until he returned home from the Vets Half Marathon.

The headache has barely improved, and my glands are sore around my neck, and sinus' cavities in the face feel as though I have been battered with Matthew Hayden's Brett Lee's cricket bat. Having just read Wobbly Man's lament about DNF'ing the Devil's Bend Half Marathon on the message-board, I am even more convinced of the wisdom of my actions. I know too well, that on this loop-of-the-lake course, there is little provision for cutting it short.

The biggest disappointment is in not seeing CJ and Strewth today and have them sign their entry forms for the Cool Running Canberra Times Team. I must try and fix that up tomorrow.

Not tapering, wavering


Although I am not consciously tapering at the moment, my caution at getting sick or injured in resulting in lots of rest and little activity. I still have an (occasional) cough that Bob insists sounds like a sick dog dying. I'm usually OK until I lie down, or get too dry in the throat. I'm sleeping a lot, and a cut on my finger from a week ago still bleeds, so I'm being careful.

Managed to make by the skin of my teeth to Customs at lunchtime, and was told with some disbelief by allrounder that my handicap was 6:15. The clock had already ticked over 10 minutes, and although not in PB form (or mood), I thought that going off somewhere around allrounder (12:15) and Aki (12:45) would be reasonable. My lack of preparedness ensured the later time, and I needed to tie a top in hand around my waist and hope for the best and we headed off into the path of a truck and trailer reversing.

Allrounder's report of the run is far better than anything I could reproduce,

Mike had put his foot down too and i could hear FD gaining ground...under the bridge we went then as we were approaching Regatta Point, FD called out to me asking if i'd ever broken 23:00, i managed to gasp out a "No" and she said "keep going you're on track" (how can anyone talk in full sentences at that pace??!)...not long after i passed Mike then FD passed me going around the was all i could do to try and stay in contact with her...up the mini hill with shorter strides but a faster tempo, then onto the grass and around the picnic building (i don't know what else to call it)...straight onto the path and a sprint for home...encouragement from the Friar spurred me on & i finished about 20-25m behind Flash as the clock ticked over 35:08...

I was pleased with my clock time of 22:18, even more so when I checked my split times on my watch and found that my halfway split was 11:09.5, and finish was 22:17.5. Not much, but I'll take the 1 second negative split! Had a great chat to allrounder after about the Test . . . I was ruing the need go to a 'meet the Canberra Duathlon World Championships Team Members' gathering at a bar this evening from 7:30pm. 7:30!! I'd miss the whole first session! As it was, it was so noisy that there wasn't much meeting going on. In response to a mime from another, I remembered the sound meter on my phone. The general buzz was around 100 db, with it peaking above that.

Saturday, the plug in my throat continues, and after a bath I was so overcome with tiredness that I crawled back into bed and slept for another four or five hours while Bob was out at the ACTVCC Criterium at the Sutton Driver Trainer Centre. I still plan to do the Vets Half tomorrow, although I feel far from sparking. The weather is forecast to be spectacular ~ it won't last, but I'll try to take it while I can.

Nothing about Running here


Feel good, just out of time when awake!

Spent the morning chopping and prepping kilos of onions, garlic, potatoes, kumara and silverbeet for a couple of Carolyne-style Spanish Tortilla. This potato omelette is a lighter version of the traditional casa tortilla which is prepared with liberal quantities of olive oil. I usually prepare a couple at a time, finished in the oven, with lots of vegetables and little oil and eggs only to bind. Stored then in the fridge, Bob can slice himself a wedge or three whenever he needs a substantial snack or quick meal between training or if home late at night. Lots of carbs, lots of flavour and 'good tucker'. His usual accompaniment is Sweet Chilli Sauce ~ a strange cultural mix, although one he swears works. He is feeling omnivorous at the moment, so I tossed some batons of chorizo through as well.

Another beautiful day with a 19 degree temperature range. I went for a short spin on the road bike for the first time in far too long. I enjoyed it greatly, only a 20km loop, but back in the saddle. Coupled with doing a lot of climbing up and down the ladder to sort out the storage shelves I got very weary and climbed into bed. Sleep came soon and I slept for quite a few hours in the afternoon. I had had a fairly dry night and a good night's sleep which was a relief. I am interested in Mister G's idea of endocrine system stress, muscles are good, immune system is fairly strong (for this little duck), but I realise that there is 'something else' I need to account for. Stay healthy, stay uninjured.

I am really excited about the Test starting tonight. Thank heavens for SBS!

Mid-Week Summary


Monday, 22 August
I deferred to Bob's advice this morning and took a 'rest day'. Still no ill effects from the mountain run, however I had a mega night sweat ++, and my lingering head cold was 'refreshed' - no doubt aided by laying in wet bedclothes in a Canberra winter. I decided to get some cultural value from the day, and spent a few hours at the National Gallery of Australia (NGA) to check out the exhibition of the National Sculpture Prize. Some of the pieces were absolutely magnificent; inspired and inspiring ~ the curator had displayed them thoughtfully and with an easy progression. Whilst some were OK, pleasant, or left me cold; others made me break into broad spontaneous smiles (so I would have looked like a not-very-smart duck).

There were more traditional, static works (the Manta Ray); one utilising moving 'flower' heads; video installations; and some marvellous organic constructions - one of star fish and another made of paper to mimic sea sponges. The winning exhibit Glen Clarke's, American crater near Hanoi #2 was a remarkable piece and deserving recipient: He states:
"The correct distance between objects is critical, whether that distance is physical, cultural or emotional. Two objects too close to each other become one, Two objects too far apart no longer relate to each other."

I also caught the Bill Viola video installation, The Passions which was a mature and thoughtful group of work which demanded more time than I had to spend. No doubt the leaps of technology have enabled works like this to be more accessible to many. Displayed as a diptych like a pair of photo frames, the plasma screens draw attention to the grossly decelerated subjects in a familiar and comfortable setting. My visit was quick, but I was pleasantly surprised.
Tuesday, 23 August
The night sweats are getting much, much worse - and with the three changes of bedclothes and sodden towels, my cold gained a hook making breathing difficult and that persistent fatigue of having had little uninterrupted sleep. Even though the sun shone through the glass wall upstairs in the living room, I retreated to the bed in my study for snatches of sleep throughout the day. No run.
Wednesday, 24 August
Incredibly, last night's sweats were even worse that that before. My cold had improved somewhat, although breathing was compromised by plugs of phlegm in my trachea. Hot drinks in an attempt to 'melt it down', and barking like a dog made me feel as though I was at least doing something. With the third load of washing on, I got on a cleaning binge and almost left it too late to get to the BBQ Stakes. Arrived in time though, on a glorious blue sky day. I took it v.e.r.y. easy, slower than 5 minute pace, merely seeking to clear out my lungs, and, above all, stay well and uninjured for the marathon. Chatted to CJ briefly - she is an experienced marathoner (and ironman!), but is having the taper week jitters and self doubts. A good day, and I feel stronger and my cold has improved. Hopefully a dry(or drier) night is ahead.

Sunday Washup - Weekend Wanderings


Pulled up really well from the Willy to Billy . . . no muscles aches, no twinges, no excessive fatigue. Just the desire for a hot bath! Bob was miserable with a bad cold, and not feeling too optimistic about even being able to front for his big race on Sunday. Triathlon ACT (TACT) had their Duathlon Championships on over a testing course mimicking the conditions in Newcastle.

It wasn't raining Sunday morning, despite the predictions, so he headed down to Deeks Drive to try his luck. The PPRB picked me up to attend the Vets Athletics Monthly Handicap at Urambi Hills on the south-side of town. I thought that a gentle recovery run would do me no harm, and it was a rare chance to catch up with some people I see far too infrequently. It was far colder at the marshaling point than I imagined, and froze somewhat. Discarding all remnants of vanity, I tucked my warm top into my tights and run like that for a few kms until I defrosted. Slow and steady, my knees were a bit crunchy and clicky to begin with, however they had deteriorated since I had run out of the Glucosamine I had taken with a healthy dose of scepticism for about three months. With Osteoarthritis, and having had much success with high doses of Vioxx since it's release I didn't have much to lose. It took some weeks, but my joints were better. I didn't give it any thought when I ran out of my supply, but had noticed the gradual return of symptoms.

Despite a reputation as a hilly course, I felt stronger and enjoyed the trot around, with no temptation to push too hard as people passed me. Friar seemed to be having a picnic and was engrossed in conversation at the halfway turnaround, and Speedy Geoff urged the PPRB and I to stop chatting and go faster. I felt good and was happy with my time of 40 minutes for the 7km ~ happier because of the lack of pace and being 'sensible'! I was delivered to the site of the Duathlon to meet up with Boy Harlow. He had completed the event, although was cold and somewhat miserable with his cold.

I know that I should get on the bike, but am still so focused on the Marathon. Things are looking good.

Home-bound - Weekend Wanderings


Felt great after the run, very thirsty, and soon, very cold! Luckily, for the first time I wore a light top under my cycling singlet, took off and found it a few kilos heavier and completely sodden. Bags at the finish provided easy access to warm clothes. A nice touch was the ample provision of chairs around the finish for fatigued runners, and some volunteers walking around with plates of jelly beans and cups of water.

Not long after I finished, Expozay came home looking strong with a 3:21 finish. I was delighted that she did so well! The PPRB was a few minutes behind (3:27), followed by an ecstatic Mario. I kept drinking, kept standing to avoid stiffening up, and started to turn blue! Peter and I headed to the car to warm up, and I had a Fortijuice and SMS'ed the run info from the s625x to Bob. I began to defrost, very slowly, and we headed up to the hall for the presentations. Alice achieved her sub 4:30 goal to qualify for the Six Foot Track and was also the first woman over 60. (Better look at the photo again, she is as marvelous as she looks!).

Keen for a decent coffee, and feeling good after standing in the hall and surruptiously stretching, we headed off to drive back to Canberra. It was slow through Penrith and the Sydney traffic, and my attempt to navigate from the seat of my pants resulted in a "scenic diversion" through Mulgoa. Once on the freeway, the drive was uneventful and pleasant. Once again McDonald's cafe provided the coffee (and a Deli Choice Roll for PPRB), and the full moon rising was a spectacular sight, especially over Lake George, the surface of which looked like a deep blue ocean.

By now I was carefully weighing up the options for how I should approach the Marathon. I felt great, despite the cold, and did far better than I imagined possible.

Mt Wilson to Bilpin

I had an excellent nights sleep, and woke well before the alarm. Checking out the window, it wasn't raining and looked like good conditions for running. I showered, had my breakfast of (apple & pear) FortiJuice, dressed and took my luggage down to the car. It was still earlier than Peter the Perfect Running Buddy [PPRB] and I had agreed to meet, but we bumped into each other and were able to leave earlier than planned. I had planned to drive between Springwood and Richmond, however PPRB pointed out a sharp curly bit on the map, and suggested we head back down to Penrith and then up to the Bells Line of Road. We had plenty of time, and as neither of us knew the area, headed south just as rain started falling.

It took a little longer than anticipated, Whereis had predicted a journey time of 54 minutes to Bilpin, which is always on the generous side. The drive up the Bell's Line gave us an indication of the beauty of the district, with stunning views of escarpments dropping into the void with a backdrop of smokey-blue mountains and rimmed by bands of orange as the sun rose. Once the fields of corn, paddocks of corpulent cows and cast orchards of apple trees covered with oceans of cloth gave way to bushland, it was thick, lush and inviting. This gave an hint of what was to come. Arriving at the Bilpin district hall, it was a flurry of activity; with a paddock full of cars, a herd of buses, and a growing throng of wide-eyed and rugged up runners milling around.

Despite the rain at Springwood, it was clear and cool at Bilpin. I settled on wearing an old (read disposable) long sleeve thermal and my lightweight cycling fleece over my running shorts and a cycling singlet. I also decided to take my Fuel Belt with a couple of bottles of very dilute FortiJuice, two gels, and a car key in the pocket. I hadn't 'raced' with a Fuel Belt before, as I find that drink stations are adequate. However, this event was an unknown quantity, and I didn't know how long I would be out there. I guessed somewhere between 31/2 and 4 hours.

I found that they were making instant coffee (yeech) behind the hall, and dashed over to get a cup before the bus left. We were on the third bus, with many Sydney Striders, Cool Runners Horrie and Belinda, and Alice and Mario from Canberra. Alice had been hoping to do the Six Foot Track and hadn't realised that finishing in under four and a half hours would qualify her for entry. This was an exciting prospect. The hubbub on the bus as it travelled up to Mt Wilson was electric. A mix of event veterans and first timers, I had never felt such excitement among a group heading to the start.

We arrived to the postcard-garden locality of Mt Wilson, nervously edging it's way towards Spring with Daffodils and Tulips straining their way through the mulch and icy ground. The chill air hit us all as we disembarked, and found ourselves in another centre of fairground-like activity. Marquees and tents gave the ground a carnival feel, and once I collected my race bib (#85), I made my way to grab another warming cup of nescafe. I didn't drink it for taste, but having a hot drink flowing through the system in the cold alpine air certainly helped. A quick photo of the Alice, Mario and Peter at the start

Caught up, albeit briefly with a few Cool Runners; the wonderful Uncle Dave, Expozay (for the third time in a few weeks), and, all too late at the Photo Call, Amjan and Queen Bee. With a few minutes shivering at the start, we were off, trotting easily across the grassy field being watched by a pair of Alpaca's, before heading up to the roadway which for a short distance led to the start of the bush trail. One of the delights of an event of this type is that people do self seed, support each other, and don't take it out too hard at the start. I hadn't put too much thought into the run ~ it was mainly a 'supported' long run three weeks before Sydney (Marathon); many others were doing it for the same reason. I knew that there was a long climb at the end for 7 kms or so, and that it was generally downhill until then. I hadn't paid enough attention to how 'generally' this meant, and was somewhat surprised by the scope of some of the short, sharp climbs early on. This was especially so at one point where wide, shallow steps gave way to the need to scramble over a rock face. My attempts to keep running, reverted to moving forward in small increments.

Despite this, within the first 5 or 6 kilometres I remarked to PPRB that if the race was to finish here, it would all be worth it. The views over the hills and valley's of the mountains, running through lush rainforest, on single track, fire trails and in stunning bush were gorgeous. I held him back quite a bit at the start, my strength on the uphill sections not matching his. However with many kilometres and hours ahead, I did not attempt to go too hard to catch up. The firies and support was magnificent, the course was very well marked, with pink ribbons along the course, and tape marking off alternate tracks where one may get lost. Drink stations were at convenient spots about every 5kms, offering both Endura Sports Drink and Water. Later stations also had a variety of cut fruit, jelly beans and snakes.

I warmed up by degrees, unzipping the fleece top to regulate the temperature up and down for the first few kms, then removing it to tie around my waist when warmer and adjusting the long sleeves of my thermal in the same manner. Eventually I had warmed up sufficiently to take this off as well, and rolled it up and tied it around my waist as well. This meant that my race number was quite obscured, and coupled with the Fuel belt meant that there was quite a bulk around my middle.

The run continued to surprise and delight; emerging on to roadway, it would then enter a private unsealed access road to homes with a large "No Through Road" sign. Along this section an idyllic graveyard was set off the side of the track in well tended lawn, with cared for polished granite and marble headstones overlooking the valley. A section of Sydney sandstone provided yet another surface and environment for running, although the wind whipping along the ridge-line forced me onto the leeward side of the track to avoid the scrubby bushes constantly blowing onto me.

At the halfway drink station, numbers were taken by more cheery volunteers, and we headed across a paddock, following the runner in front and avoiding (what seemed to this urban warrior) impossibly large cow pats. This led to rolling downhill single-track, and more dramatic bushland. While it flattened here, the PPRB seemed to tire a little, and we began to slow. He had put up with my constant spitting (post-nasal drip) and most unladylike snorting (the bushies handkerchief with a heavy cold) throughout without complaint. Running together, the time and miles had flown. As we reached the drink station at around 19km he slowed further, and with much reluctance I decided to move ahead to keep moving at a comfortable pace.

This coincided with a sharp U-Turn and the start of a heavily forested downhill section with signs indicating Mt Irvine. I love downhills! I thought that perhaps I should drink some of the weight I was carrying around my waist, although drinking whilst tripping the sand fantastic wasn't so easy. I picked up quite a few people on this section, although dropped my drink bottle when attempting to put it back. I was slightly annoyed at myself for the klutz-factor, as I had to stop, backtrack 10 metres up the hill and secure it before starting again.

With the lovely distraction of running buddy gone, I started to do mathematical modelling in my head (as you do). From the earlier uphill sections, I thought that averaging 9 minutes/kilometre would be a reasonable assumption on the last uphill section. If this was 7km (say 8) then it would take 1 hour 12 minutes. If I were to achieve my goal of 3:30, then I would need to be at the 28km mark around 2:18 or before. This was a bit difficult as 28km mightn't be marked, and I wasn't too sure at the distance. So I kept rounding and hoped to reach 25km at 2 hours. That would give my 90 minutes for the final 10km section.

I can't remember my splits, but know that my watch was set to beep every 26:30, as I had thought on Friday night that this would be a reasonable marathon pace for every 5kms. I was gradually slipping behind, but I was pretty close in the early stages of the event. I wasn't attempting to keep to this pace, just interesting to see how it was.

From a drink station before a wooden bridge the track started to climb. It wasn't until well into this that I recalled the distance marker, and thought that perhaps this was the start of the long climb to the Bilpin finish. It wasn't particularly steep, just relentless. People passed me here, but I felt comfortable and just kept churning along, my brain whizzing with numbers 'what if', and wondering if I could pull a 3:20 out of the hat.

At the last drink stop before Bell's Line of Road, I stopped and had two full glasses of water. This was perhaps a bit too much when I moved off, but was welcome nevertheless. The truck marking the top of the climb and the roadway was welcome, and I ran off looking for the Community Hall. We were to run along the verge or path adjacent to the road itself, and I took a few 'wrong turns' here. I could see two women in front of me, and picked up my pace feeling surprisingly fresh. The lead woman was strong and disappeared from view, however I could tell that I was surely reeling the other in. Now I was hoping that the finish line was farther away and the event was longer! Good thing I'm not competitive.

Crossed the line in 3 hours 15 minutes and 14 seconds, a time I would never have imagined feasible. Buoyed immeasurably, I drank a few litres of water and waited to celebrate.

Friday - Weekend Wanderings


During the week, my friend and perfect running buddy rang to see if I was still aiming to do the
Mt Wilson to Bilpin Bush-run. With little on this week in Canberra, he asked if he could come up and do the event as well. My throat had been scratchy on Tuesday, I developed a cold on Wednesday afternoon, and by Thursday I was felled with a heavy cold. It was, however, 'just a cold'. No aching joints, a very congested nose and throat, but it stayed off my chest.

It was a miserable day though, and Bob was convinced that running for me was out in the near future. I didn't share in the same pessimism. Bob found some cold tablets and I had a surprisingly good nights sleep. On waking Friday morning I felt well enough to travel, and rang Peter to confirm that we could leave that day to head to the Blue Mountains. I figured that having paid for accommodation and race entry there wasn't much to lose. At least I could go along to catch up with some people and cheer them along. I rang Peter early and he was delighted.

Bob cycled to the Customs lunchtime run, and as a 'test' I belatedly decided to go too and trot around slowly to see how the schnoz would cope with the run. I looked forward to chatting Jodie's ear off, however she held the watch before heading off to Hawaii. I accompanied Rick and enjoyed our journey around the course.

Time for a quick bath, before Peter arrived and we left to drive north, arriving in Springwood just as dark fell. Checking in to the pub rooms at the Royal Hotel ($55 single), we walked the length of Springwood's village street looking for some pasta for Peter to eat. Lots of Pizza, Fish and Chips, Burgers, Thai and a good looking cafe serving dinner of Lamb Shanks and other meaty warming mountain winter fare. A simple cafe was open for Friday night Italian, with a menu replete with pasta (along with scallopine et al), but the ambiance was fluorescent and laminex, and the prices were no lower than that that of the dining room in the pub. We returned there, where I had an espresso and a Forest Fruits Fortijuice. (mmm, FortiJuice).

We parted and went to our rooms fairly early, where I was able to perform my usual pre-race routine in laying out clothes, socks and shoes for the morning, ensuring that batteries are OK, memory cleared from the watch, bag packed with warm clothes and dry socks for afterwards, etc. I kept up the fluids, sculled up a couple more FortiJuice (my version of carbo loading) and hit the sack early.

Quick Summary


Sunday, 14 August
My most enjoyable City to Surf. I think the new starting groups worked really well, permitting most of us in the A1 group to keep moving for the first 3kms, instead of constantly propping behind bolters and walkers.

The highlight though was the camaraderie of the Cool Runners and finally being able to meet many of those I 'knew' so well! Bennyr is much better looking than I had thought from his photo; Wobbly Man deserves his reputation (does he know what it is?); The Owl was even nicer than I imagined (looking forward to getting together with her sometime) and Horrie and Belinda were as delightful as I imagined.

I will continue this later, although I was concerned to see Miss Skarmel look a bit shattered at the end, and enjoyed chatting to Nicho, Tesso, Truckie and Karisma at the start. Great that Aki achieved her sub-75 minute aim, and walked back to the city after the pub.

Monday, 15 August

Posted my Polar S625x and Transmitter band to Pursuit Performance very late Sunday night in an express post bag. I requested priority service so that I had access to it for the Mt Wilson to Bilpin run on the weekend, and could use it in the final few weeks leading up to the Marathon.

No time to run, Bob and I headed over to do an hours work at the Triathlon Australia offices in preparation for the Duathlon Worlds in September. Ended up spending 7 hours in a windowless office doing mindless tasks that needed to be done. Blah. Not too bad a drive back to Canberra and a very cold house.

Tuesday, 16 August

Itching to get out there and run. However, had an early appointment for bloods as my IgM levels were greatly elevated again (a sign of inflammation), and there were some other abnormalities. Took an hour and a half. Picked up some samples of "Vital", another liquid meal replacement that my dietitian thought may be better tolerated.

Changed in the car at the back of CSIRO in preparation for another John Harding Production, the 'Black Mountain Up Down Gut Buster'. I had parked alongside another car near the power station, thinking that it would be another lunchtime runner. Wrong! A couple looking to canoodle (legitimately or otherwise) - my presence eventually scared them off even before the area was crowded by a cast of runners, Staring Emma Murray and Trevor Jacobs, with strong supporting roles from David Baldwin and Adrian Shepherd, and the usual rag tag crew of back of the pack extras. Darn Emma Murray! I was at least confident of finishing as second female!

It was a top run - something over 5km which took me around 33 minutes. My throat felt dry and scratchy at the start. Not sore, but something I needed to watch out for. When I 'fall' sick, I can fall hard and a long, long way with something seemingly innocuous. I'm learning to be sensible and hang in there for the long haul.

Wednesday, 17 August

Early morning delivery ensured that I received my s625x in time for the lunchtime BBQ Stakes. I can't speak highly enough of Pursuit Performance in Adelaide. Having had Polar products for over a decade, they are accessible, quick and replace items without question. My battery was replaced, pressure tested and returned for a tad over $20. The Wearlink Transmitter (a soft fabric like strap with electrodes built in) had only transmitted erratically since early this year. I had reverted to the coded strap from another HRM. They replaced this strap with a brand spanking new one, no questions. Bob had similarly received a new watch (an updated model to boot) last year.

BBQ Stakes was run in perfect conditions: Canberra days are at their best when the temperature range nears 20°. With an overnight low of -2° and an unseasonal maximum of 17°, and little wind, it was perfect. To add icing to the cake (mmm, cake), Peter, the perfect running buddy was able to get away for a lunchtime run. He has only run the Stakes once before when I wasn't there, so this was a special treat. Eschewing his (soft) handicap of 10:15, we both left off my new handicap of 12:15.

My throat had deteriorated overnight, no doubt accentuated by a mega massive night sweat which caused me to be chilled overnight. This was noticeable during the first few steps of the run, it was hard to breathe easily, and my attempts at conversation were soon abandoned. Although I felt that I was working hard and that Peter was pulling me along over the first kilometre or two, the splits were quite slow.

Surprisingly, we were passing quite a few runners, and I was working pretty hard. Peter seemed to be doing it easy, staying with me and holding himself back on the uphills. My watch had been set to 'pace' me at 4:40 pace, beeping at these intervals. Although I thought this a little optimistic, it was a challenging goal. More people to pass as we climbed over the lat rise on Oakey Hill and headed downhill for the last 2kms. With 1km to go I lost Peter in the throng of runners, and with the final climb coming up, I just kept going. I tried to hold it together for the final sprint to the finish line, and ended up coming in 6th with a nett time of 27:54. Although more than two and a half minutes outside my all time PB, this is the fastest for a long time and I feel quite chuffed. Peter finished only 9 seconds back.

A 5km warm down with the Perfect Running Buddy around Oakey Hill to the summit. My throat had worsened, my voice was crackling, and my nose was now starting to run. I headed home to a hot bath and took to bed.

Life's pretty damn good


Doh! I can be such a Goose!

After taking my missed morning medication last night, I began to feel better almost immediately. Only a moderate night sweat (nothing unusual with that, Narelle), and a clear head on waking!! Whoopee!

I had a small glass of Nutridrink this morning. A very dear friend and triathlete rang from Cairns and we caught up before I left for Customs. So far, so good. Arrived in good time to see another good crowd enjoying the excellent conditions. The park and lake was a scene of frenetic activity in preparation for the VP commemorations. Lights, music, helicopters, big screens and all the fun of the fair. Busloads of school children around too ~ many of whom managed to walk, eat and queue on our running route. Allrounder was in fine form and hungry for another good run . . . she was lamenting the absence of Aki today, however we were all in high spirits.

I scampered off my new handicap of 12:45 (and Aki's new handicap!), only to find a Parks Truck driving alongside me, at my pace, on the narrow track (not roadway). This was really off putting, without space to move without moving straight into the truck. At the turnoff things improved, and eventually I saw allrounder in front. I attempted to judge how far she was in front on poles we passed, and estimated about 32 seconds between about 1.5-2.2km marks. At the willow tree turnaround she seemed to be tiring a little, and at 3km the difference seemed to be roughly 20-something seconds. Eventually I caught up, throwing out all thoughts of jogging lightly and surging every kilometre.

I felt good until the finish, although deflated a bit once more when SpeedyGeoff and Peter C whizzed past. I wish that there were a few more bods in front (runners, not school kids, trucks and portable generators) over the last kilometre to chase, and looking at my watch I thought that my course PB of 22:09 was under threat. It was, and I finished in 22:02 (darn those 2 or 3 seconds), spent at the end, although I quickly recovered and found that allrounder and Friar had each had another blinder. Despite the final effort, I recovered very quickly (5km to me now is a 'sprint'), and my heart rate was not over the top. HR average 152, Max. 159.

Warm down around Central Basin with Speedy Geoff, and then off to finally prick my finger out and get the Blood Glucose Monitor we have been meaning to get for months. Analysis of the mornings Nutridrink was that it was not much better than the Osmolite. Will stick to FortiJuice for the time being! My first test, non-fasting, felt fine and dandy, no lightheadedness etc gave a reading of 2.8mmmol/L. If not strictly hypoglycemic, then certainly low. Interesting. It has a memory (well 480 of them), so if I can get my act together to prick my finger during a mega night sweat it will be interesting.

I'm feeling pretty 'up' for the C2S. The break didn't do me any harm (except that I feel like an idiot - I should know better), and I'm looking forward to (hopefully) catching up with some Cool Runners.

Life's Good

normal service will resume shortly


Better this morning, although not perfect. Decided to attack the old/fat/winter/summer clothes on the top of wardrobe this morning to dig out some old clothes for the start of the City to Surf and do a bit of reorganisation. We love living where we do, even if there is no storage or prospect of storage, and no room for anything!

Found a few things I'd forgotten about, and was pleased with the amount of exercise climbing up, and down, and up, and down . . . well, you get the picture.

Went to the dietitian, feeling somewhat guilty about my failure to keep and email the diet, fluid and exercise diet as arranged. Despite my concerted attempts, I just couldn't get anywhere near a day completed. Even without this it was valuable, and we decided that the Osmolite was not worth pursuing. I still have a box and a half left. She is going to get samples of some other things that are 'complete' ~ designed for tube feeding again. Although I felt that the Nutridrink was better tolerated, driving home I realised that maybe the cumulative effects of the two may mean that it is much of a muchness. Before the City to Surf I will stick to FortiJuice though ~ my dietitian is doing the C2S also which it a good sign.

The day then became increasingly frustrating, with me wasting way too much time at one of the world's most abominable shopping malls, filled with public servants on their payday. Ended up at a neighbouring supermarket for a few things, with the same sort of crowds. My head was worsening by the minute, and I was not feeling good at all. I still planned to go to Geoff's group tonight but was feeling less optimistic. I picked Bob up the office at five with his running gear in the car, but he drove me home first and I piked out in the cold weather. It was a wise decision. While I was preparing vegetables for a stir fry for Bob I checked my medication and found that I had not taken it either this morning or yesterday. This would certainly account for most of my malaise today. I must try to get Bob to check when I am crook that I take it in the morning. I hadn't missed a dose since Mooloolaba last year ~ that is before I improved and was able to do my firsative jog at Anzac Day 2004.

I should be right for Customs tomorrow. Bob, in his role of coach, suggested that I do '4 or 5' spells of around 200m hard tomorrow. I appreciate his advice, although rarely take it verbatim. However on this occasion it sounds pretty good. I'll treat the 5k course like a fartlek with surges every kilometre.

James Morrison gig tomorrow night (if I can find the tickets), and then to Sydney earlyish.

We apologise for this break in transmission . . .


No ill effects from the long run on Tuesday; the shoes held up well over the distance/time, even though I was aware of feeling the ground under my toes towards the end, they will be fine for 'racing' (in my fashion) longer distances. Other than a little tension in the groin (Omigod! I'm turning into a footbrawler!), there was no stiffness or soreness. I had nothing planned for Tuesday, and knew that I could take a day off without concern. The Tuesday morning group at Black Mountain Peninsula had slipped under my radar, again.

Wednesday was a different matter however. Yesterday I was aware of an increasingly creaking neck with my shoulder joint making the most wonderfully dramatic cracking noises during normal movement. Usual for my knees, but this was new and weird. Slight headache. Overnight it deteriorated; accompanied by drenching night sweats of an intensity I hadn't experienced for a while. Yeach.

Woke up with hideous localised pain on the right side of the head. Sensitive to light, sound, and nauseous. It wasn't a migraine however, just a big pain. Made a cup of coffee, but didn't drink it before I lay down in bed again, dropping into a forced sleep. This continued for most of the day. I was only vaguely aware that there was this white stuff falling from the sky. Sometimes showers of the tiniest white hail, then sleet, then fine, thin snow. Not a bad day to forcibly reschedule my plan to run the BBQ Stakes and then run back home.

Around 4:00pm I woke again, feeling surprisingly normal. Weak, but no great pain in the head. I had better get into the fluids, get warm, and try to catch up on the last two days.

Long Ramble


I wasn't too sure what I would be up to today. Once the overnight eyes had de-fogged I felt pretty good in most ways, although the ill effects of something (perhaps the Osmolite) were continuing. I had hoped to spend some time on my feet today - a long run - with plenty of time before the C2S and needing some solid preparation for the Sydney Marathon.

I prepared a few things slowly, in an attempt to quell my gut. I found that I was looking increasingly stupid, with a predominately purple cycling singlet (Pearl Izumi with great fitted pockets in the back), lairy Forster shoes to see how they stood up to a longer distance, with a polar footpod on the left shoe, and a 'test run' of the red foot pocket (barrel draw at Bilby's yesterday) on the right. Blue fuel belt with 2 x 300ml bottles, and gels and medication in the pocket. At the last minute, added another pocket on the belt with ancillary medical supplies. Shorts did not match. Socks were too long. On stepping outside the air was cold, so on went a lightweight lime green long sleeve cycling jersey.

This no doubt affected my veering off the 'public' bike path quickly, and I found myself heading over the route I ran to the AIS on Thursday. On arriving, I had found that I was a bottle from my Fuel Belt short, and on reflection that night realised that it was likely to have been knocked off climbing through one of the many fences. I retraced my steps, crossing a deserted Belconnen Way instantly this time, although I needed some of the supplies I had brought with me by the water tower and only three and a half kilometres covered. I wasn't feeling optimistic about 'long'.

Further along, at the fence blocking off the roadworks, my new bottle (first time used) was sitting on the ground winking at me. Pleased, I gathered this up, and stuck it in one of the pockets in the singlet. It was pretty comfortable. I then just went exploring, following tentative tracks through Bruce Ridge and then across into O'Connor Ridge. Deciding to take some single track around the western perimeter, I was just playing, scaring kangaroos, coming across overflowing billabongs resonant with frog-calls, and twisting and turning up the trails with cut through the bush. I came to Ginninderra Drive and eventually crossed, although not without some colicky pain making itself known.

After a short section of dry storm water drain, I entered a cul-de-sac in the suburb of North Lyneham and made my way towards the Barton Hwy. I came to a park next to the shops as I had been out for 45 minutes. I thought that I should try to have a gel every 45 minutes, and the provision of a garbage bin there for the packet was a great advantage. Over the road, and then across Barton Hwy, I was considering what my options were. Many years ago, there had been a '3 Peaks' run in Canberra which encompassed Mt Majura, Mt Ainslie and Black Mtn and I was wondering about what help that course may be to me now. About now I tripped over my shadow. Can't think of any other explanation! Luckily, the grass was quite thick and soft, and although I felt like a goose, my pride was more grazed and bloody than the rest of me.

Picking up, I continued along and run past a gate which read 'ACT Parks and Conservation'. It looked like a horse paddock, but with a sign like that I climbed over, and followed a vehicle track in the paddock to a yard, and then through a run which was obviously used by both sheep and horses. The Canberra Race Course was nearby, and the grazed tussocky grass became more and more linked to the Race Course, and I found myself having to climb over more fences. I ended up on the road outside, and after a short distance, decided to run through EPIC rather than along the busy road. It would have been a pleasant and short excursion up through the suburbs to enter Ainslie Nature Reserve, but by now I had the firm thought to seek out the Federal Hwy underpass from the western side where we turned around during the Bush Capital 25k.

EPIC is unknown territory for me, whilst I used to live within cooee, I have only spent time at the National Tally Room. The Canberra Show, Summernats, and markets have no appeal to me. It was a good call though, and emerging at the Service Station I continued along to the area where dog shows are held and there are camping sites. A few false moves, but on a good gravel road I was back on the highway verge opposite where Just Tri It lives. Not much fun in making my way up the highway, but it wasn't far, and the traffic was very light. From cues on the other side, I found the underpass quite easily, although where the runners in the marathon and ultra continued to eluded me. Back along the same route taken by the 25k, I diverted over a stile joining the track thinking it may be that used for the Sri Chimnoy Triple Tri during the first run leg. This was confirmed by conspicuous, and fairly regular white arrows painted along the rocky single track which climbed up and around the edge of Mt Majura. I was delighted that I took the risk to come up this way.

I came across an itinerant cyclist nearer the highway, the second time I had seen him in roughly the same place. Long grey beard, weathered features, a huge bike frame with upright handlebars, I was cycling in the opposite direction over the course a couple of weeks earlier. Today he and his bike were partly obscured in long grass at the side of the track. I thought how strange I must look, as I trundled along. Up on the single track I came across a woman walking and my bubble of feeling rather virtuous and intrepid was deflated somewhat as she didn't look particularly fit.

Soon after, Bob rang, and fumbling through layers of clothes and the long sleeved top now tied around my waist, I dropped the phone and stopped running to talk to him. We chatted for a few minutes, and a little reluctantly, used the opportunity while stopped to have another gel, a drink, and, as I was putting the phone back in my pocket, attempted to take a couple of photos with the camera in the phone of the view and the track. I couldn't see the screen in the light, but knew that I wouldn't stop to fiddle around while running another time.

Back to the single track, I followed the Sri Chimnoy course up to the summit of Mt Majura, and then on a whim, down the roadway following the course (and arrows) of the triple tri. It was nice to be moving again! there were clear markings of arrows veering right and a cross to indicate that one had gone too far. From my one time on this course last year, I remembered the drink station here, and then following a trail along a fenceline into Majura Pines. Today I could not find it, and wandered around the forest of casuarina's for quite some time, first running along this track and then diverting to another that looked like it was near a fence. It wasn't. Cutting my losses, I headed back to the roadway, either travelling cross country through an open forest of needles, or along tracks made by the roo's. I hadn't stopped my watch, and on reviewing it, it seems that I travelled about 450m in about 12 minutes.

I made it back to the roadway up the Mt Majura, and backtracked to where the single track joined, this time opting to head down the same way I did on Tuesday. It's such fun running downhill! At the back of houses once more, more people were around, riding home from school, or walking dogs (with a worrying number wearing dog coats). Crossing the storm water channel at Ainsle, I run along the narrower, raised trail which runs along the back of houses in Duffy St. From here I headed home, along Chisholm St, through Ainslie public school, and along the side of Haig Park to avoid scaring too many people in the city with my appearance. Cutting through Turner I crossed into the Black Mountain Laboratories of CSIRO where I had worked in the late 1980's. Nearing home, into the familiar trails of Black Mountain and the usual route home.

A top afternoon of adventuring. I should do orienteering! Time on my legs was good, and I was able to do a fair clip at the end when hills weren't being climbed, fences straddled or bearings lost. Hard to judge pace though, although I know it was slow. Heart rate averaged 134 (too low), and total ascent was 860m.

Feel better in the mid section than I did at the start, and won't venture into the Osmolite until I talk to the Dietitian on Thursday.

Glued to the edge of my seat


Day 4, Second Ashes Test.

Nails bitten.

Monday Edit:

Well, what can I say? I'm not a betting man, but I would never have predicted that result, and such a rivetting hour and a half of cricket last night. I feel compelled to record this as a training session, as my heart rate was definately higher watching this than it had been on many a recent run!

To add to the cliches, the winner was cricket (hopefully the real, five day game, too!) and it will ensure that the rest of the series is interesting.

Report of yesterday's run. I wasn't the only slow time. (Thank heavens!)

Farrell-Marshall Mt Ainslie Run Report
It seemed Sunday was a day of rest for many, whilst others were out participating in various other events in the Canberra region. Nevertheless, 16 brave souls participated in the first ever Mt Ainslie run challenge on a great run course in awesome weather conditions on Sunday. Big thanks to Randall Fitzsimons who prepared a great course with white spraypaint being used for arrows and once the spray paint exploded all over his hands about 3/4 of the way around, he used some great arrows made of sticks to pave the way for the runners. There was going to be a 5km course and a 10km course but with only one entry in the 5km, Louise Bartlett decided to test herself and do the 10km run as well - and did it in fine style as well. Runners were set off in true handicap style ensuring nearly all runners finished within a couple of minutes of each other. One of the participants from last years novice program, Glenn North showed he really knows how fast he is with an amazing 2 second difference between his guess and his actual time to take the inaugural trophy and $50 for his efforts. A distant 2nd in the guessing stakes was Garry Stevens with a 42 second difference and 3rd was Stacie Hall with 75 seconds. The Runners Shop in Phillip were extremely generous with lucky barrel prizes ensuring almost all competitors went home with something for their $5 entry fee which was very much appreciated all round. Again there were no prizes for fastest but Garry Stevens showed a clean pair of heels to lead the way with 43.41 just outpacing Bob Harlow 44.39 and Shane Maundrell on 44.47. Fastest lady for the day was Mel Tipping with 49.39, in front of Carolyn Kramer on 52.50 and Stacie Hall on 54.19. Huge thanks to the Runners Shop and Christine Palmer, Jen Dixon, Joe Andrews and Julia Easthope for volunteering their services on the day. Jen and Julia took many photos which we will put up on the website soon.

Name Est Act Diff Place
Glenn North 0:48:00 0:47:58 2 1 $50 and winner of perpetual trophy
Garry Stevens 0:44:23 0:43:41 42 2 $20
Stacie Hall 0:53:04 0:54:19 75 3 $10
Full results will be on the website shortly.

Bilby's on the loose


A new event on the calendar of the Canberra Bilby's, an innovative social triathlon club, is the Marshall/Farrell Cup - a 10k 'turkey' running event around the base of Mt Ainslie on the city fringe. It was another cold morning, and the wind was biting right through to the bones. A smaller than anticipated group gathered, in part due to some other events on such as the Metrogaine at the same time. With sixteen registered runners, each contributing $5, it was decided to divide the kitty into cash prizes for the three runners closest to their predicted times; the winner picking up $50, second $20 and third $10.

Arriving well ahead of time, I quickly returned to seek shelter and long daks in the car after registering with an estimated time of 54:13. I knew that I was leg weary, my performance would be slower without km markers and a watch, and the weather was frankly cold! Familiar with Mt Ainslie, but unsure of the course this event was to take exactly, I also knew that while the surface was great, it was not flat, with rolling hills most of the way.

Most people also estimated very conservatively, having had hard sessions yesterday. Knowing Bob was very leg weary after a hard training week and long hours in the saddle yesterday I nominated 44:21 for him as he was going for a ride on his MTB, and was likely to be late. With such a small field, runners were sent out in handicap order, with the slowest predicted time (1:07:00) going first and the fastest (Bob, with his amended estimation of 43:00) 24 minutes later. The rest of us were ranked and sent off at the appropriate interval.

Starting fourth, I jogged up the summit trail to join the track which we were to follow in a clockwise direction. I saw no indication at the first junction and looking, I stopped and waited until the next runner (28 seconds behind) was within 'talking loudly' distance. She confirmed that I continue up, to where blue and yellow streamers (Bilby's colours) marked the turnoff. It was much easier from here, although Bob had warned me not to wear my long sleeve top, I had turned the collar up close to my ears, and had nestled my hands into fists inside the sleeves. I was cold! Near the next junction I saw Jason (no. 3) ahead and followed him, soon passing. From here it was straightforward, however very lonely. There were many people, sensibly rugged up, out walking and mountain biking, but I could only concentrate on looking for white arrows on the ground to indicate the way, and attempting to run reasonably hard with no one in sight in front or behind.

I enjoyed the running, especially when I eventually warmed up enough to slip off my long sleeved top, but the legs were heavy and it was too long a distance to keep pushing hard over on one's own. Without a watch, one couldn't even comfort oneself with the notion that there is 'less than halfway to go', or 'only another 20 minutes'. At the back of Campbell offices I saw the woman who started no. 2, and began to think that if I was able to come in first I might actually do a respectable time. This thought bubble disintegrated with a pop when I was overtaken by two tall, lean guys running easily and whizzing past with maybe 2kms to go. As usual, my pace dropped after being passed, yet more evidence of the huge impact of mental toughness and self talk in running.

Dodging a track width family of three generations, multiple prams, dogs and children, the turn off to the finish eventually neared, with the downhill track much easier than the climb at the start. Within a second or two of finishing though, I found myself freezing again, and quickly rugged up.

Both Bob and I missed out on the prizes by a fair margin: Bob finished, tired and leg weary, in 44:30; I did a surprisingly slow 52:50. I felt that I was running better than that, especially the last half, although with no heart rate or watch data I can only put this down to lack of pace experience. Thanks to The Runners Shop, Canberra, almost everyone got a barrel draw and results and prizes were collated and awarded quickly.

Unfortunately, I have been having the Osmolite HN since Friday, and I don't think that it suits me. Despite fears of it being completely unpalatable, I consume it very cold, and add vanilla essence, and it is (just) bearable. However the fat content is high - for all the fat soluble vitamins or something - and while this makes it very filling, it is upsetting my gut terribly. Having just invested in a couple of cases, I'm not too sure what to do. I see the dietitian again on Thursday, but don't feel that I could possibly have a minimum of 1,500mls of this a day until then. On a high note, it makes me think that FortiJuice and Gels are exciting foods with a great flavour!

River Run


Another great day, another great run!

Arranged to meet Perfect Running Buddy (or Buddie) at Deek's Drive at 10:30 this morning for a run around the Stromlo five-o'clock-shadow. I attempted to get an express post bag (and a spare) from the post office first, I can never remember what 'Post Shops' are open on Saturdays and which are not. I'm sure that that battery in the well used s625x is about to expire after a year . . . the display is going off once in a while (think:that could well be sub-zero temperatures though). I thought I'd send it off to Pursuit Performance in Adelaide to make sure I had it back in time for the City 2 Surf. Their service is so good, that it is always worthwhile.

I did drop off a couple of drink bottles at the end of Pipe Flat, where it joins Coppins Crossing Rd. Stromlo was always such a good place to run:- plenty of thickly forested tree cover (now denuded by the 2003 fires); and good access to toilet facilities and water (now vandalised and long since closed). As expected, the Perfect Running Buddy (PRB) was there waiting for me. Neither of us like to be late. We headed off northwards, more or less following our noses, across Cloe's Crossing and then following the river under Tuggeranong Parkway to the edge of the Zoo.

A couple of leopards followed us along their run as we ground up the hill. Distance, what distance? Time passed so quickly and easily that I felt that we could run forever

Back onto the 'Central Six', a term dating back to the early running days of Canberra when courses were measured in miles. Pointing out the historic plantation of Himalayan Pines (planted in 1928 and zealously retained), we made an excursion into the glade of Cork Oaks. I always find this magical ~ the small, oval leaves littering the ground under a thick canopy. We followed a loop track around, both remarking what a great location it was for a picnic in summer. Roll on Daylight Saving!

'Gun Barrel', a "straight-as-a" red soil track leading skywards on the fenceline between paddocks and the forest. Not sure where to head, we followed it down further along and over a fence to run the 'prickle trail', so named because in summer it is usually thick with over-sized Scottish Thistles. Back over another fence to Stromlo proper and a return to the start over the old 'low crossing'. Slowing now for the first time, we followed the old Jogalong track back to the start. I had belatedly found out that Peter had already run 6km (edit: 16km!) this morning with others on Wanniassa Hill! His speed slowed considerably, which wasn't surprising. We finished there, and waving to Bob and other Bilby's as they cycled past on their way back from a hill climb and long ride.

We headed up to the cafe at Mt Stromlo for a restorative coffee, a great view, and an analysis of the mornings journey. I love running with Peter! Hopefully there will be opportunities for many more in the near future.

Sadly, I saw two dead wombats on the short drive home. One gets used to kangaroos on the verges of the National Capital during this extended drought, but not wombats. Tomorrow - a run with the Bilby's at Mt Ainslie.

Big PB for Aki


It was a very cold start to the day, with a temperature of -3° at 7:00am. It cleared up to produce a stunning day, with clear skies and little wind. The air was cold, and when the wind stirred it felt as though it was right off the snow, but good for running anyway. There was a big turnout to Customs at lunchtime today, no doubt many others were attracted by the good conditions. I managed a small warm-up, and felt good even though it had been a fairly solid few days. I decided to set my watch at 4:30min pace, meaning that it would give me a time alert each 4 1/2 minutes, and I had set my speed zones for ±30 seconds on 4:30 pace.

Bob arrived (on his MTB) with seconds to spare, and there was something of a logjam of friendly rivalry as allrounder and Aki both left on a handicap of 12 minutes, Adrienne at 12:45, me at 13:15 and Bob at 14 minutes. I could see Adrienne from early on, however she maintained a gap. My watch beeped obediently at 4:30, simultaneously marking my first kilometre and the first 4:30 time-check. Bob hadn't passed me yet, which was surprising, and it wasn't until we neared the 2km mark that he huffed and puffed past. Around here my watch went rather wonky, beeping frequently, which I decided must be due to an expired battery in the footpod.

I saw Aki well ahead of allrounder and looking good, running strong and tall with good form. The frequent beeping of my watch was very annoying, and I didn't know what recording it was able to do. I hit the button at the turnaround tree in case; 11:18. The journey back was a hard slog, only catching Adrienne near 4km, and not having allrounder or Aki in view. My breathing was loud, but I felt good. Able to hold it up the hill to the finish, I got very annoyed with the need to avoid sundry pedestrians, joggers and walkers enjoying the fine winter day. A second or two in that for sure!

It seemed a long, lonely run from rounding the pavilion to the finish line, and I missed having Jodie there to out sprint me and bring me home. Crossed in a gross time of 35:47, a watch time of 22:32 with splits of 11:18 & 11:14. I had harboured a sneaking hope during the last half that I might be able to sneak in for 4:30 pace (22:30), although after a few miles in my legs and my watch going haywire I had no idea of where I was. Puffed at the end, I recovered quickly, and was reasonably happy. Allrounder did yet another PB, Jodie was injured, but Aki managed to strike a massive blow to her course PB of 22:56 set 3 weeks ago, recording 22:30 flat (yep, faster than me!) . I was delighted for her!

I stuffed around with changing the battery in my pod, and we went for a cruisey warm down along the lake front up to the picnic area opposite Duntroon and back, about 10-11 kms. Good fun. I'm looking forward to a run with my 'perfect running buddy' tomorrow morning, probably around the prickle trail and Dairy Farmers Hill. The joy of Stromlo forest slowly returning to normal. For so long it was like an adolescent boys facial stubble with the high wispy weeds above the immature pine trees just looking dorky. Now, as the pines grow stronger there is at least the impression of a hard earned growth.

In the Canberra Times this morning was this report:

The first of 170,000 eucalyptus trees for Stromlo Forest Park has (sic) been planted. The trees will cover most of the east-facing slope of Mt Stromlo, which was burnt out in the January 2003 bushfires.
Chief Minister on Stanhope said yesterday good winter rains would give the trees every chance of survival. He looked forward to the area being transformed into a world-class resource for ACT residents.
When completed, the Forest Park would have purpose-designed cross-country running loops, an on-road cycling circuit, mountain bike tracks, picnic areas and a large area for spectators of national and international sporting events.
"The park will also be home to the bushfire memorial, a permanent and moving reminder of what was lost, and a monument to the community's recovery," Mr Stanhope said.
The species of eucalypts to be planted had been chosen in consultation with CSIRO bushfire experts, and would e smooth-barked to limit the spread of fire.
Eucalyptus manifera (brittle gum) and Eucalyptus rossii (scribbly gum) had been chosen with some Eucalyptus maculata (spotted gum) to be planted along a gully.

Graham Downie, Canberra Times p.5, Friday 5 August 2005

Warm Up, Iced Up, Round and Around


Both Bob and I were tied up for most of the day with paperwork and organising things, however I knew that Team Moore training was on at the AIS athletics track tonight. With a quick search of the Asian supermarkets on the north-side for some packets of broth mix (I know it's just salt and MSG, but I need something hot and flavoured at this time of year), and a trip to the Health Food store at the markets for (yet another) kilo of nuts and tin of Endura for Bob I realised that I could jog over to the AIS campus for an early warm-up with Geoff and Trevor.

It was rather rushed, but as Bob was out searching for new bike tyres and buying food, I gathered a few things together in a backpack I use for cycling, and left another near the door for Bob to throw in the car. With about 35 minutes up my sleeve, I decided to avoid the (admittedly good) bike paths, and take the hillier option over trails through Aranda bushland, Black Mountain and over Bruce Ridge. The pack was good to run with, with only some lightweight, warm tops, gels and wallet in there. While I found myself going quite slowly, I found that I settled into a steady jog, and thought that I should do this more often. Crossing into Black Mountain, the trails are disturbed by the construction of the Gungahlin Drive Extension. A little cross country running led me to the track I wanted, and then out to cross Belconnen Way. Nearing peak hour, this took some time as I sought to be totally safe.

More roadworks on the other side required some more "orienteering", with the added excitement of the inch of overnight rain ensuring that the gullies were now small creeks. A bit soggier, and having climbed through and over numerous fences, I found my way to the top entrance of the track and enjoyed a quickish roll down the hill to the front. Geoff arrived at this time, and soon after Trevor appeared from the change rooms looking like a fit, navy blue Santa Claus, with tights, a big jacket, and even bigger, peaked hat. With no one else in sight, we were off, looping around the AIS and then back along the path next to Ginninderra Drive. Not only did I feel that I was slowing these guys down too much (each with a 400m PB of 52s), but it was getting very, very cold. Thick snow clouds seemed to encircle us, and the stiff headwind was unpleasant. Eventually, large heavy drops began to fall, the wind swirled and the oval of Canberra University didn't seem so welcoming. All vanity is lost, and still with sunglasses on my head, I pulled on a seriously unattractive (but oh, so practicle) skullcap from my tights and put it on.

The boys sought some cover, while I had got way too cold and kept going to reach the end. On this flatter section it was easier to pick up the pace and get back to the track as quickly as possible. The worst of the clouds began to clear, but I was so cold. When Bob arrived I sought refuge in the car and decided to practice what I preached and had two gels to raise my blood sugar levels. Aki turned up, as did quite a big crowd given the inauspicious conditions earlier. Surprisingly, I saw Friar walk in, and found out that he was there for further training on the timing equipment. We ought to stop meeting like this, Monday has been the only day I haven't seen him for an extended period!

I was still concerned that CJ didn't show, and am worried that she may be crook or injured. Bob no doubt thinks that I talk too much at these sessions, however with Peter and I once again going step for step, the time passes quickly. Bob was disappointed with my 800m time (around 3:21?), but after a fairly heavy training week, and on top of a 12km+ warm up, in now clear and freezing conditions, I didn't care. I did care that Peter stayed with me though when he was obviously holding himself back greatly. Such a gentleman!

A semi-good session~ without the track group, I wouldn't do an 800m on my own, however I do miss the structure of the Dickson sessions where we did ladders and relay intervals. Without the significant warm up I would have been disappointed with this. Over 18km for the day though, not quality, but I am enjoying the time on my feet (when it's not too cold).

Another good thing about these sessions (the company is paramount) is the early finish. The biggest turn off for swim squads is getting home after 9pm, cold, wet and hungry. It seems to throw everything out of whack. Getting home in time to see the end of the news and the 7:30 Report, or better still, the the Ashes on SBS. Went to bed listening to the ABC commentary, thankfully hearing that Vaughn caught. Pietersen continued his good form though, forging a strong partnership.

Cool Running the BBQ Stakes


The excellent run of good weather continues.

At the BBQ Stakes today were Friar, Phibes, FlashDuck and a debut by SpeedyGeoff. No sign of CJ today, but the CR's are starting to be a presence.

After running last week and coming in under the handicap time, I was whacked a full minute this week to give a handicap time of 12:15. As CJ has run faster, and was off 12:00 (but she didn't show - probably too busy drinking coffee and eating chocolate), this was a surprise. SpeedyGeoff, a longtime Canberra runner turned up for his first BBQ Stakes event, although I am sure that it shall not be his last. Uncertain of the route, he left with me, however speedy by name, and speedy by nature, he was off within the first kilometre disappearing into the distance. I must have gained strength on the hills, for I passed more people than I was passed today, a little surprising given the solid, mountainous workout yesterday.

I stuffed up my watch (very unlike me), however think that I had a net time of about 28:30, which I am happy with.

I drove over to the foothills of Mt Taylor again, this time exploring some of the streets of Pearce which back onto the trails. I parked near one access point, however the homeowner drove out and checked me out very carefully, no doubt thinking I was up to no good! Having tried out the Asics Forster Gel shoes during the Stakes (love 'em), I changed into more heavy duty Nimbus VI for part II of the day's run. Dry socks, a cycling singlet (dry and more respectable), and the now ubiquitous phone in the fuel belt. I found that I was not too far from the position I stood at during the handicap race on Sunday, and decided to do some more exploration. Across Athllon Drive to Farrer Ridge, where I just followed my nose. Back to Mt Taylor and a clockwise loop, this time taking in a narrow goat track on a ridge-line and down to a gully.

Another 11km, again feeling stronger and runner better as the time wore on. I love that feeling. Only stopped as I had promised Bob that I would be home at 3:15. A total of 17kms for the day, and the rain is still holding off.

Cool Runners (and others)

I am about to go to the Runners Shop to pick up a batch of entry forms for the Canberra Times Fun run. Whether 'we' enter as a social club (Cool Running) or another is up to you > > however I am happy to co-ordinate and put all the forms in together.

Advise me here or by email and we'll get the ball rolling!

Two Peaks on Nutridrink


Felt better than I had for a few days, although still not sparking. It was a very foggy morning, and finally I got around to opening the cartons of Fortijuice and Nutridrink. The Nutridrink comes in 900g tins, and is described as "Vanilla". Ha! That is a v.e.r.y. generous description. Although able to be drunk, it is also designed for tube feeding, so the taste is marginal at best. I mixed up a 375ml serve this morning, (requiring 80g) and found it extremely filling. Only another 250g of powder today to go!

I can supplement this with FortiJuice, but I am to have a minimum of 1,500-2,000 calories from these complete food drinks.

I dropped off a couple of boxes of T-Shirts at the TACT offices, and picked up a batch of photos Bob took in Vietnam from Civic. This enabled me to arrive in time, although without too much to spare, for the monthly Mt Ainslie Run Up. I had a brief warm up, although there were two busloads of High School Students lunching at the shelters we used for the gathering point. This provided one advantage: as it was Friar's 50th Mt Ainslie run, he was sent off a minute earlier to a round of cheering applause from the assembled mass of runners and students. My heart rate was a sub-optimal 51 when we started running. Low is good, but I still think it should be a little higher at the start of events.

Although yawing a lot on the first section of the event, there was another huge field of runners, which ensured that I was a long way from the start, but not last either. It was another stunning day, and my decision to wear a light cotton T-shirt seemed silly half way up the mountain. I plugged along, feeling better as I went along, passing one or two who had slowed to a walk on the steepest sections. Carol Baird gradually disappeared from view, but nearing the top I thought that my PB of 17:35 was within reach. Breathing loudly, I made the 2.2kms to the summit in 17:30, 'breaking' 8 minute pace! It seems so slow, but then it doesn't seem that long ago that 7 minute pace on the flat was the norm.

I caught up with a friend from Customs at the top, and we jogged down chatting about his running and cycling whilst working in Wellington NZ, and Aberdeen, Scotland where he would alternate running the 14 miles (23kms) to work and cycle home, with cycling in and running home.

Afterwards, there was so much construction work around the War Memorial that I decided to move the car to somewhere else adjacent to Mt Ainslie for a run. With many options, I ended up at the end of Antill St, where, whilst preparing for my next run I saw two friends and fellow members of Team Moore returning from a lunchtime run. With a phone in my fuel belt, radio in my ear, and some water decanted to my waist I was off, rolling around anti-clockwise on autopilot, roughly following the route taken on Saturday's Bush Capital Runs. A frisson of excitement rose as I reached the point where the yellow "1 km to go" was on Saturday. I continued to follow the route, even diverting just past the Campbell Park offices, where the bright lunchtime light highlighted the red soil on the track, the parliament house blue-green of the eucalypts, an expanse of yellowed paddock heading towards the airport punctuated by a mixed collection of cattle, looking contented (and why wouldn't you be?) in their black, brown and mottled red coats.

On a whim, I continued up the jagged track which led to the steepest section of the course on Saturday. With the benefit of foreknowledge, being well warmed up, and with my mid-section being far more comfortable, it was a matter of "hill, what hill?" as I neared the crest and took in the view. The rocky descent was far easier this time, and before I knew it I decided to head straight on at the water tank to take on part of the Mountain Running Course from June. I am coming to know the interlinking trails and loops of some of the nature parks far better recently, and just love to explore and try new things! Heading up the long downhill section of the course, I came across three young guys out on their bikes with full face helmets. Not long after I answered a concerned call from Bob who was wondering if I had fallen off the face of the earth or been running for five hours.

Continuing on, the hill went up, and up, and seemed far steeper than I had remembered it! I was perspiring from the effort considerably now, and was determined to complete the two peaks today, continuing through the fence to the road to symbolically 'touch' the trig point at the summit (824m), before rolling down, down, down, revelling in the ease and freedom and air. Diverting to the right, I took a narrow trail around the ridge-line which I hadn't run along for maybe 13 years. It winded down the side on the mountain at a grade of 8% for two and a half kilometres, with spectacular switchbacks. New to me, it emerged at a series of wide, shallow steps made to act as a retaining wall, and then to an elongated mat of grid material leading to the track near the 11km mark on the Bush Capital runs. You learn something new every-time you take the chance to explore.

An easy 1,500m back to the car completed a glorious run on a stunning day. I summitted Mt Ainslie (814m) and Mt Majura (824m), running a total of 21.7km with an ascent of (around) 700m. I felt much, much better than on Saturday, and am sure that I was running better as well. I hope that this continues, and I look forward to a similar exercise tomorrow, running the BBQ Stakes, and then ramble the slopes of Mt Taylor afterwards. Unfortunately, the weather is set to turn with rain developing in the afternoon. It couldn't last forever.

I mixed up another batch of Nutridrink tonight in the food processor hoping that frothing it up well would help, and preparing some for the morning. It is better cold, but it tastes soooo awful. I tried mixing some hot chocolate mix in one. I feel good, although I need to disguise the taste somehow.

Sleeping sickness continues


Apparently Aki rang last night while I was asleep (very early) and Bob suggested she ring back at 8:30 this morning. I was (just) awake when she rang to see if we could run together, but I was in no condition at that stage to make any decisions. It was a good call at the time. I fell back asleep for another hour or two, missing out on the start of one of those stunning late winter days. I can't seem to shake this tiredness, and all I succeeded in doing today was to wash my night sweated sheets, bake a big batch of bread rolls for Bob's lunch (Rye with lots of grains), and take delivery of a few hundredweight of FortiJuice and some new stuff that the Dietitian recommended. Yay. (not)
Bob has gone to spin class, and I expect that I shall be in bed by the time he gets home. I just have another batch of rolls (topped with sweated garlic) to come out of the oven.

About me

  • Six Foot Track 45k 11 March 2006
  • Entered!!!
  • Backpacking Laos & Vietnam 14 March to 26 April 2006
  • Flights Booked

  • Long Course Tri 2k/83k/20k 12 February 2006
  • Sri Chinmoy Long Course Tri 2.2k/80k/20k 6 March
  • Backpacking Laos & Vietnam 14 March to 26 April 2006
  • Thailand Temple Run 21k 19 March 2006

  • Customs 5k Fridays
  • BBQ Stakes  6k Wednesdays
  • Tour de Mountain 19k 18 December
  • 1:55:02 Results
  • Cross Country Summer Series 5k Tuesdays in November
  • Cool Runners Six Foot Track Slow Jog/Walk 46k 25-27 November
  • Wonderful!!
  • Sri Chimnoy Triple Tri Relay 20 November
  • 1:55:38 1:04:53 1:22:55 Results Report Photos
  • Tour de Femme 20k Fun Ride 13 November
  • 40:40ish
  • Bonshaw Cup 6.4k 16 November
  • 30:30ish
  • Hartley Lifecare Fun Run 5k 17 November
  • Belconnen Fun Run 6k 12 November
  • 28:38ish
  • Mt Majura Vineyard Two Peaks Classic 26k 5 November
  • Last! 3:08:00 Results Report
  • Wagga Tri-ants Duathlon 10k/40k/5k 30 October
  • Scratching
  • Bulls Head Challenge 27k 23 October
  • 2:20:49 Results
  • Weston Creek Fun Run 6k 16 October
  • 32:02 Results Results
  • Fitzroy Falls 42k & 10k 15 October
  • Results
  • Orroral Valley 20k 9 October
  • 1:52:44 Results
  • Sri Chinmoy 10k 3 October
  • 0:50:14 Results
  • Duathlon Championships 10k/40k/5k 23 September
  • 3:09:07 Results
  • Canberra Times 10k 18 September
  • 0:45:30 CR TE AM!
  • Sydney Marathon 11 September 3:47:13
  • ACTVAC Half Marathon 21.1k 28 August
  • Entered DNS
  • Black Mtn UpDown GutBuster 5.2k 16 August 0:33:38
  • Results
  • Mt Wilson to Bilpin Bush Run 35k 20 August 3:15:14
  • Results
  • City to Surf 14k 14 August 64:17
  • Bush Capital Mtn Runs 25k 30 July  
  • 2:17:09 Results
  • Shoalhaven King of the Mtn 32k 17 July
  • 2:53:15 Results
  • Sri Chinmoy Off Road Duathlon 3.3k/23k/7.7k 2 July 2:40:29
  • Results
  • Woodford to Glenbrook  25k 26 June DNF Injured Results
  • Terry Fox 10k 19 June 46:59
  • Results
  • Aust Mtn Running Champs9k 18 June 1:06:33
  • Results
  • ACTVAC Monthly Handicap 9k Farrer Ridge 29 May 0:46:05
  • ACT Mtn Running Champs  9k 28 May 1:06:50
  • Results
  • SMH Half Marathon 22 May 1:41:56 (1:40:50)
  • Results
  • ABS Fun Run 7.3k 19 May 0:34:45
  • Results
  • Canberra Half Marathon 15 May injured Results
  • Sri Chimnoy 10k 8 May 0:47:55
  • Results
  • Nail Can Hill Run  1 May 56:23
  • Results
  • Newcastle Duathlon  24 April 2:45:39.2
  • Results
  • Canberra Marathon  10 April 3:47:56
  • Results
  • Women & Girls 5k 3 April 22:53
  • Results
  • Sri Chimnoy 10k 28 March 47:56
  • Results
  • Weston Creek Half Marathon 13 March 1:43:23
  • Results
  • Sri Chimnoy Long Course Tri 6 March 5:30:35
  • Results
  • Hobart International Triathlon 20 February 2:52:05

  • Canberra Capital Triathlon 30 January 3:01:43
  • Results
  • Medibank Private Australia Day8k 26 January 38:39
  • Results
  • Lorne Pier to Pub Swim 1.2k 8 January 22:12
  • Results
  • Lorne Mountain to Surf 8k 7 January 0:37.56
  • Results

    moon phases

  • 5k 20:11 Cairns 2000
  • 10k 43:49 Moruya
  • City to Surf 1:02:57 2000
  • Half Marathon 1:33:50 Steamboat 2000
  • Marathon 3:47:56 Canberra 2005
    Chip Time (3:47:13) Sydney 2005

  • Kilometres Run
    January 212
    February 199
    March 214
    April 201
    May 188
    June 182
    July 255
    August 246
    September 155
    October 159
    November 200
    December 62
    Year to Date 2,267

    Last posts

  • 2006 Blog now active
  • Happy Old 2005!
  • Duck to Cloud City
  • 2005 - A Retrospective / 2006 - A Prospective
  • Yuletide - Improves!
  • Yuletide - Continues!
  • Yuletide - A Retrospective
  • Revenge of the Sinusitis
  • Tasting by the Lake
  • Happy Anniversary Darling!

  • Days Sick
    January 10
    February 10
    March 10
    April 4
    May 7
    June 8
    July 9
    August 11
    September 11
    October 11
    November 9
    December Lots. ?15

    Distance Swum
    February 17,400m
    October 3,800m
    November 4,150m
    December .
    Distance Cycled
    November 120km
    December 297 km