An ode to Hannah

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This fresh, new, funky blogsite is courtesy of Hannah, a gorgeous, talented young graphic artist living in Brisbane. In this global village of the internet and Cool Running’s support and friendship, Hannah has been exceedingly generous of her time and talent in creating banners for fellow CR bloggers, with wit and relevance.

To review some of her great work, consider Lucky Legs or that of Recycled Runners.


WDC Photos

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Bob Finishing



Bob & Carolyne


Friday ramblings

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Super Mega Night Sweat: 3 Loads of washing, Big headache, Stiff neck.

It took me a long time to get going, and my early enthusiasm to move some of the grass/weeds I pulled out to the recycling compost area waned as I struggled to move myself upstairs to make a cup of decaf coffee. Fuelled by guilt, I did manage to haul two metal garbage bin loads out (the closest thing we have to a wheelbarrow), and pulled out some more weeds before exhausted and dizzy. Despite wearing gloves, my nails and hands were muddy, and as I got the second load of washing on I settled into a bath with a nailbrush to scrub and clean. I feel much better now ~ I hope that I will get the second load of washing hung out and another on before I leave to pick up Aki and drop Bob's shoes off for Customs.

Couldn't get the washing out before leaving (front loaders have restrictions), but really enjoyed seeing Aki at lunchtime. She looked cool in her street gear, and she held the watch and timed runners. With Floriade on, fine weather, and school holidays the area around Commonwealth Park was frantic. I missed my start of 13:15, and barely tied my shoelaces to go off 13:45. I went fairly hard, and my RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion) was right up there, although I could barely hang on to 5 minute pace. No soreness or anything, just not firing. As I watched every runner pass me (Bob at 2kms, Simon (or "Legs" to allrounder) just before 4km. I could tell that I was much slower than I should have been, although was still fairly satisfied by the effort I put in (5k in 24:46). Great that Customs is on to get me out for a short hit out and remind that that I enjoy running and can get around a course without gut problems if I watch my diet and preparation.

Aki and I retired to The Deck for our usual (the waitstaff do know us well now!), and had a quick chat to Aki before popping into Bob's office to collect his running gear and some paperwork to save him riding home with it, and had a good chat to his boss who I hadn't caught up with for a while. Despite carrying 2 backpacks and another bag of gear, I decided to check out the Korean grocery again at the bus interchange, as I rarely get into Civic. The noodle collection was vast, and highly variable; while most had an appalling profile of fat and sodium content (up to 20g/100g or 45% fat!) there were a few with negligible or no fat or fibre. As part of my newly stated aim to include more food into my diet where I can instead of relying on FortiJuice and getting bored to bits, I'll keep an eye out and try what I can to see what works.

I also bought another Glace rouge d'haricot, or Red Bean Ice (confection on a stick). This is a great little treat for me, surprisingly stated to be free of fibre (I don't believe it, but I'll take it to be low-ish) and only a trace of fat. I love Red Beans, Lotus Seeds and other not-so-sweet Asian bean pastes so this is great. It is supplied as a cylinder on a cute wooden stick and I enjoyed it immensely.

My hands and upper body joints are very sore and stiff - typing is difficult and full of errors at the moment as the fingers are not obeying orders and hitting the keys I direct them too. Luckily my lower body is happily free of pain and it is only having a small effect on my running. Having been so slow today, I think that I shall do little running over the next few days to be as fresh as I can for the Sri Chimnoy 10k on Monday. Allrounder, Jodie and Friar from Customs will be there, and I had hoped to put in a good effort for the 10k after The Canberra Times two weeks ago, although I feel that I shall have to be satisfied with whatever I do at the moment.


Sleep is good

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Lots of things I could have done today, but instead I slept, bit my lip (literally, blood everywhere!) and didn't break anything.

Bob cycled to the office yesterday, however the steady rain meant that he caught the bus today; with a fresh batch of rye and grain bread rolls made (rolled in sunflower seeds) I didn't need to make a lunch run. The arthritic joints have flared up, especially in my hands, no doubt mostly due to a general inflammatory response of dummy spitting. My eyes are enjoying a break from contact lenses and Lucy the Wonder Cat is enjoying me lying around and nodding off, especially having been away for so long.

Cold today in Canberra, although like most of the east coast the forecast is for warmer weather over the next few days. I have been looking at banner alternatives for my blog since Hannah has been creating a few magic items for fellow Cool Runners. Unfortunately, my artistic skills end at food presentation and I can't do anything right. I don't want to ask her while she is so busy, but I might just have to swallow my 8/50 (the mark I got for art in Year 7) pride!
Customs Joggers tomorrow. Bob needs me to drop off some running shoes and his lunch tomorrow, so I will go! Time for more sleep now though.


Catchup Blogup

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Monday 26 to Wednesday 28 September

It was a fairly arduous drive back to Canberra from Newcastle; by the time we left it began to rain heavily, and in the gloom Bob misdirected me to follow the Pacific Hwy around Belmont instead of directly onto the Freeway.  

More storms coming into Canberra complete with dramatic bolts of lightening brightening up the sky.  Heavens knows we needed the rain.  Lucy the wonder cat was surprised but pleased to see us home, and keen for us to go to bed and cuddle her as soon as possible.  We pulled the bikes and gear in from the car, and I prepared Bob a meal of Indian chickpeas, potatoes, spinach, and the traditional kangaroo.  

The next morning the wheels started to fall off – there was possibly a lightening strike or power surge during the night, for Bob woke me to turn off my computer, or phone or whatever was beeping.  It turned out to be the household cordless phones.  My bedside stereo lost its presets and time, and that morning the Bose system upstairs turned on, but nobody was home.  A quick check of the cables failed to display anything.  Too tired to be productive, I turned it off at the PowerPoint and we attempted to survive on a tinny radio for our morning Radio National news hit.  Walking down the stairs to the lowest level to the bathroom, the central light failed to light.

I spent a fair bit of time trying to fix these, without success.  The light bulb seems to have fused into the socket.  I will need to move the components and sub woofer of the Bose to carefully check the system, and it’s the way I have set up the cables at the moment this is quite a task.  I will wait until I am feeling fully lert so that I don’t stuff it up further.  The microwave had a hissy fit and failed, however after fuming by itself in its cubby hole for a couple of hours, it came out with a guilty smile on its face and asked to be forgiven and have its time reset.  

Spent an hour pulling out grass and weeds from the wet ground on Wednesday afternoon, and planting a couple of Callistemon in the bare garden that was ravaged by storms a year ago.  It started to rain heavily almost immediately.  

My attempt at the Lake Ginninderra Handicap on Tuesday was not a raging success, having eaten over the weekend didn’t agree with me, and although I knew I was not in fast form and couldn’t stop yawning at the start line I thought that I may as well go off my correct handicap.  Not a good idea in retrospect; I started feeling fine, however after a few metres I slowed right down and was jogging at around six minute pace.  I considered turning around and helping with the finish – the legs felt OK, however my heart wasn’t in it and I felt really tired.  Plodded along fairly happily for the first k, then required an urgent toilet stop before the 2k mark.  This pattern continued for the next 4kms of the 7k course, as I knew that I was well and truly set well back at the rear and holding people up.  With one kilometre to go, my gut was in great pain and my slow jog turned into an uncomfortable limping walk.  Thems the breaks.  I did enjoy eating though!


Addis Ethiopian Cafe

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After the Sydney Marathon I developed a cold sore ~ a sure sign of being run down (appropriate term, isn't it?). Travelling and socialising took up so much time that I didn't run or train much in the week afterwards, and it took a full two weeks for the cold sore to heal.

In these days post Duathlon, I have another thing to contend with: not only are my glands enlarged and I am headachey, but the mistake I made in the days prior to the event in not having enough nutrition has come back to haunt me. I am starving, and feel that no matter how much I eat my hunger fails to be satiated. This is making it more difficult to resume my FortiJuice and clear fluid diet, although I know that continuing to have real food makes it almost impossible to run, or lead a socially acceptable lifestyle.

Being September, it is the birthday season, and coming on the back of birthdays of LuckyLegs (7 September), Minersrun (19 August), Jen_Runs, allrounder (22 September), Tesso (2 October) and The Owl (30 September) is Aki's (28 September - Today!).

Even without the ITB injury and enforced break from running, it had been a shocking week/day for her, with a sole seven days break from lectures filled with due assignments. We met for a quick lunch, and I surprised her with eating in front of her for the first time . . . I 'do' food extremely well . . . food, all aspects of it, is my passion and should have been my vocation. I get a thrill from the sensual shape of a pregnant eggplant; swoon at ripe, imperfect tomatoes and basil growing in the sun; dream of new combinations and melding of cuisines. I can also eat a lot, and at the moment, I can eat an awful lot.

We went to a local Ethiopian Cafe, and ordered two vegetarian dishes; one based on green beans and carrots; another ("Gomen") of spinach and potatoes; and a third beef-based. They were served with side dishes of rice and "Injera", an unleavened, rolled bread with a light pancake-like texture. We were instructed to unroll the Injera and place the food on top, roll it like a cigarette and pop it in our mouth. Although the basis of the food was the same as many dishes from the sub-continent, the spices used were quite different, and it was like a mix of (north) Indian and Moroccan with the Italian influence also evident. The Injera took a little getting used to - it was cold, pale had a spongy texture, and slightly sour taste, however this proved to be the perfect foil for the food.
I still had a persistent and disturbing headache, although made myself to go to the supermarket to buy food for Bob and Lucy (the wonder cat), so that he could eat some decent food tonight. I was exhausted, and think that I will have a few very quiet days to try and knock this on the head. It will also give me the chance to taper my food intake and resume full fluid service to run more comfortably!


To be continued . . .

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Time has just been flying, I can't believe that it's Tuesday Wednesday already!

When the results came through, I did fulfill the final two goals as well - the sad placing of 35th (out of 37 finishers) meant that I was neither last in my age group, nor last placed Australian.

WDC run 7WDC cycle 1WDC run 6WDC finish

I'm happy!

Bob and I managed to escape for a quick Thai meal at Mon's in Darby St on Saturday evening (!early) and I gobbled up stir fried octopus, a clear vegetable jungle curry and a larb (Thai salad) with lots of rice. Although Bob was uncharacteristically full, I dragged him across the road for gelati. I was still hungry.

The elite race on Sunday was exciting, however the high attrition rate and slow times were testament to the difficulty of the course. It was a modified version of the Age Group route, with a 2.5km run lap and an abbreviated 6 lap cycle course. Young Aussie Leon Griffin put up a valiant effort and was 2nd off the bike, although was run down on the final run leg.

Presentations were held that evening at the local Panthers Leagues Club, and although the auditorium was a good venue the need to sign in 1,000 guests, many of whom did not speak English nor understand the strange Australian licencing laws was not a wise move.


The final run

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To finish the epic of the WDC race, I rather enjoyed the 2nd run, whether only through comparison with how I felt on the cycle or not, I'm not sure! I crossed the line in about 3 hours 10 minutes, a full 25 minutes slower than in April! I felt fine at the end, would have loved a bit more of a run, and when I stopped to take off my chip, the sweat started pouring off. Even if this sounds a bit gross, it was a great relief after my failure to sweat and gooseflesh during the later 2/3rds of the event.
I walked past the medical tent en route to the recovery area for a drink, where there were no fewer than 35 competitors on drips ~ almost 5%! I tossed down lots of water, and was surprised to see so many people still milling around. I found out from a guy from Adelaide ("Wellsy") how Bob went; the Aussie's missed out on the top 3 positions in the M55 age group, but were tight for 4th, 5th and 6th, Bob hanging on to 5th place.
One thing I am sure about - I would have preferred to have run a marathon (make it 55) any day in preference!
I didn't want to shock my system with unaccustomed solids, even fruit, so grabbed my backpack from the compound and took it back to Team Australia Central Marquee to crack a FortiJuice. Then something slightly unnerving happened, chatting amicably with Jude one minute, after I had ingested some FortiJuice I became extremely dizzy, hot, vision blacked out, and so on. I stumbled into the marquee and sat down, then found a space on the grass to lie on. After the marathon an exaggerated version of this happened when I was sitting on a concrete block and swallowed my first bite of a Pria bar. On that occasion I dropped the bar and phone in my hands on the ground, blacked out and (according to Bob) was drained of colour.
After a bit of time, the Team Doctor checked to see if I wanted to lie on a massage table instead of the ground (I liked the ground) and he checked my blood pressure. (lowish). I recovered OK, but it seems as though after extended exertion I have some paradoxical hypotension induced by food. It's a shame - it would seem to make sense to have some calories after three hours of exercise . . . .


WDC - The Event

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WDC – the morning

I set the alarm for 4:45am; thankfully I didn’t have to negotiate with Rad about this (he planned to eat a light breakfast at 5:00am for his race start at 7:00am).  A slight night sweat had resulted in my hair looking like something between a sulphur crested cockatoo and Lee Lin Chin on a bad hair day, so I had a bath and washed my head into “down, girl” submission.  An annoying headache that persisted all yesterday localised over my right eye and temple was still present with some nausea.  Otherwise, I felt pretty good.  

I had lain out the gear the night before, and I must admit that the Cannibal race uniforms this year looked pretty damn good!  Predominately blue, with yellow on the back of the torso (for cycling safety), and flashes of yellow down the flanks with “Australia” in green.  I dressed, eventually managed to get my contact lenses in the correct eyes to see, and popped down the hall to kiss Bob good morning and wish him luck.  

Transition was a buzz with activity and nervous excitement.  I wondered what I was doing there, having cycled so infrequently in the last six months.  With Bob’s life consumed with the management task, I had a very lasae faire attitude to the event.  If I qualified, great, I may as well do with Bob up here.

Thus, my goals were very modest and realistic:  In descending order:

  1. To enjoy myself;

  2. To finish, hopefully in good enough condition to continue my training and events straight away;

  3. Have reasonable (on a personal level) run legs; and wish list goals

  4. Not finish last in the age group F40-44;

  5. Not finish last among the Australians in the F40-44 age group.

These may seem bordering on the defeatist; however I am not competitive in the sport and in many ways my heart wasn’t in it.

Although I do not have results, I can report that I fulfilled the first three items!

Chatted to Mr Strewth in transition, and keeled over when I bent down to pump up my tyres.  Bob and a fellow Canberran who had racked her bike next to me took over.  Managed to score perhaps the cheapest caffe dopio (double short black) at an espresso van for $2 before the race (it was good, too) and ran into a former work colleague who was there to spectate.  

There were 10 minutes between waves, and at 7:30am women 35-44 started.  I started near the back and started slowly.  One of those weird feelings came over me within the first 400m of the run – I felt like stopping.  I didn’t feel that comfortable and was actually going quite slowly.  This feeling was quite a shock . . . I hoped that I would run through it and warm up, although the head still hurt and the nausea wasn’t going away.  The new course went up over a gutter and then up a couple of stone steps before a U-Turn a few metres along before backtracking.  It was very difficult to tell where one was in the field as there were people from each of the previous four waves, some doing their second lap as well.  A straight sealed section then curved to the boundary fence of the transition area, and beyond that the first drink station.  There were no kilometre markers, but I first saw Rad here on his second lap and put my arm around his shoulder.  He was looking comfortable.  

After the drink station, one mounted a kerb again, and ran along a bunting chute over sand, grass and a section of woodchips.  Runners were returning in a parallel chute along here also.  A set of wooden steps (16 of them!) led to the breakwater and quite a few others were walking up these already.  Thankfully, there was not a strong wind, so the run out along the 2 metre wide breakwater was not unpleasant and afforded spectacular views.  Another U-Turn near the end meant one got to see lots of athletes heading out and back.  I was more comfortable running now, although still did not feel too good.  I was quite hot and was pleased to unzip my ‘ironman singlet’ (a.k.a. a sleeveless tri top – good too!) right down.  This section of the run continued past the steps to a 270° turn down along paving stones and grass to the return bunting chute along grass and sand.  One lap nearly done.  The second lap was more comfortable for me to run, and I started to hit my straps and overtook a few of those who went out too fast.

I took water at each of the drink stations, two were set up which could be accessed in both directions.  Uncommonly for me, I took water four times each of two laps in a 10km run, sipping at least some, and maybe tossing some on the back of my head or swilling some in my mouth before expelling it on the grass.  There were few bikes around me on the rack when I returned, and although not speedy it when fairly smoothly.  I mounted the bike well and was pedalling quickly from the mount line, although I was overtaken almost immediately.  The long slog began, and I stayed in the saddle most of the time and didn’t push too hard.  With such a hilly and technical course it was actually difficult to find time to safely drink.  By the time I began the second lap I was feeling significantly crook; on the trial course in April I did a total time of 2:45.  I broke the course into 7 sections; three 5km run legs and four 10km cycle legs.  On the basis of my April result and my current running form, I aimed to try and maintain around 23:45 for each section.  I was marginally ahead at the end of the first run, getting through transition and pedalling before the watch beeped for the second time.  By the time the watch beeped to indicate the end of the 1st cycle lap I still had a few k’s to do, which included the new sections of three sharp U-turns and a couple of short climbs.

I had stopped perspiring, had goosebumps and was unable to keep water down.  I was a sick puppy. I threw up a few times, and started to dry retch.  I still stayed in the saddle most of the time, going pretty slowly.  At the U-turns I took the longest outside line as speedy guys (and gals) swung around close to the bollards.  I attempted to smile or look passable when the photographer on the hill coming out of Bar Beach aimed.  It was not sincere!  On the 3rd lap I eventually managed to get a half a packet of Gu down.  Within a quarter of an hour I was feeling considerably better, and picked up enough to marvel at the sight of the bikes winding up and down the road alongside the coast from the higher road near the fort.  It was a magnificent sight.  Another Gu on the 4th lap went down completely this time, and didn’t hurt.  Although the watch had indicated the planned end of the cycle at the 3rd lap, my final cycle leg was the fastest (and longest).  

Still with head pain and nausea, I was delighted to get on the last 5km run leg.  I opted to remove my tri top at this stage and run in a crop top, however despite the warm weather I stayed perfectly, and too dry.  There were lots of people suffering on the run leg, and some young guys from the later waves flew past  at a blistering pace.  Although the 40k cycle took me an unbelievable 2 hours, I wasn’t feeling too bad.  More water, tossing plenty over me to evaporate as I wasn’t sweating.  




WDC Course and Profile

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World Duathlon Champs (WDC) -1

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Friday, 23 September
Newcastle

Thanks to CJ for alerting me to the Blogger for Word toolbar.  In this mad, mad, mad, mad (you get the idea) environment of assisting to get Australia’s biggest national team ever ready for a multisport event, time for anything, let alone keeping in touch with Cool Running (withdrawal symptoms are severe) or updating my blog has been minimal.  This has helped me to at least try and post.

More of the same in the mad rush department this morning, although I checked in my boike to transition around 11:00-11:30am and most of what could be done had been.  Despite putting in new contact lenses this morning (Alcon 2 week disposables) my eyes were screaming to take them out early afternoon.  I have a damp, but clean Ironman (race) singlet to wear tomorrow, having washed it after Suzie wore it all day tomorrow when all her clothes were in the wash.  

I ran into so many people today, including Mr Strewth who I met after the Canberra Times Fun Run on Sunday and happens to be up here as a technical official (TO).  With the cycle course so technical in nature, the TO’s  will be mainly concerned with cyclist blocking or travelling too far on the right hand side of the road rather than draft busting.  

I have 2 pairs of running shoes to choose between, and my veggie cycling shoes.  I have done so little cycling recently, and not transitions, that I have opted for my cycling shoes with three Velcro straps (I can get away with adjusting one) and thick soles with recessed cleats.  My Carnac Triathlon shoes are better, but out of practice with putting my feet in the shoes on the bike, on an uphill start, and with a run leg to begin (so I can wear socks) I’ve elected to be a bit safer and slower and put my shoes on in transition.  I will probably wear my Nike flats, although will have the option of my Forster shoes – if using these haven’t decided whether to wear orthoses or not.  

Things to Do
Stickers on bike helmet (3)     - Check
Race number on belt (1)      - Check
Bidons for bike (1x sm 1 lge) - Check
Socks and spares          - Check
Polar HRM and transmitter
(Set to beep each 23:45, auto lap off, heart touch on store lap)
Gamin
(on multi sport function)
Sunnies
Race singlet and fatigue shorts
Towel for transition
Bidon for transition
After race change of clothes
(Retrieve floor pump from Bob)
Pack phone and cash, gels, FortiJuice.
Imodium!!!!!



WDC -2 days

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Thursday, 22 September
Newcastle

I had forgotten this: so will insert at the beginning!  In the Duathlon Liftout in the Newcastle Herald on Thursday is a large photo of the selection race in April on the course.  Large, ugly and looking very determined on a bad hair day is one Flash Cool Runner on the final run leg!

Kilometres Run ~ 0.9kms
Kilometres Cycled ~ 17kms
Kilometres Walked ~ 12kms
Time spent not standing ~ 35minutes
FortiJuice Consumed = 3
Powerbars Consumed = 1

I was a little bit selfish to begin with.  Really I was.  (Well sort of).

Joined the designated ‘Group Ride’ at 9:30am over the Age Group cycle course this morning, and kept ‘an eye’ on Rad and another age grouper at the back of the pack who was not a confident rider and did not know the route.  This was quite fun, and I was delighted to see how I could still ride a bike.  Watch out Aki, you too will be hooked soon!

At the first change to the course from April, which took out a dangerous sharp right hand turn on to a heavily cambered road, there was a little consternation and somehow we lost Rad and Sue at this point.  The second change added another hill, and I can see that this narrow section of road may be dangerous with two way traffic coming down again after a U-turn at the top.  All good fun, just need to stay uninjured, finish, and who cares if I come stone cold last.

Rad had not taken his room key, so Bob, Rad, Sue, and I rode back to the hotel.  My helmet was fitting very poorly though – even though an x-small it had flung back on my neck like a bonnet.  I would not be able to check in or race with it like this!  I had a lot of difficulty getting one small enough to fit, so this was a concern.  I suspected that having worn it over a skullcap in the Canberra winter didn’t help the fit, and Bob implored me to get to the bike shop to get it fixed (if possible).  They were flat chat, however I found that they also sold Limar helmets and spent a lot of time there methodically checking the ‘how to adjust the staps’ on their instruction manual and comparing with a display helmet.  By Jove, I Think She’s Got It!

And here endeth the lesson of selfish Carolyne for Thursday.  The rest of the day was just a variation on the theme established yesterday.  Setting up spreadsheets, fighting small uniform fires, automating some functions currently being ‘managed’ with a thousand slips of paper and so on.  I felt useful.  I like to feel useful!  Time flew, Rad and I walked to the gathering point for The Parade of Nations, me taking him on a slightly long route poor fellow!  I really enjoyed the chance to stretch my legs though!  After a very protracted Team Photo Shoot, the parade began, minor local politicians spoke, and the Championships were declared open.  I walked back to the hotel, while others went to get something to eat.  Bliss!

More help required that night just as I was crawling in to bed, Bob knocked on the door again and I did what I could to help.  Somehow I still managed to forget to eat and drink enough – the hydration is far more significant, so I must do better, starting now.  Tomorrow, find a laundry to wash my race gear for tomorrow – the Assistant Team Manager borrowed it to wear yesterday as all her stuff was dirty.  I’m a bit tired, but getting excited!  (Food possible as early as Saturday afternoon!)


I'm Just a Girl who Can't Say No!

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“♫ ♪  I’m Just a Girl who Can’t Say No  . . . “  ♪♪♫

Wednesday, 22 September
Number of Kilometres Run = Ø
Number of Kilometres Cycled = Ø
Number of FortiJuice Consumed = 3
Number of Calories Consumed = 900kcals
Number of Computer Problems Fixed = 5
Number of Good Deeds Done = ???

The morning started well enough:  I was having a cup of instant decaf (save the caffeine for the real stuff later, please) with Rad; replacing the laces in my lairy Forster shoes with elastic and half dressed in my running gear.  Bob knocked on the door in a panic needing computer fix it services for the laptops and a couple of printers among the three members of the Team Management.  Now.  Barefoot, I trot down the hall and start on Bob’s problem.  “Suzie needs you now, her need is more urgent”.  Go next door and start on that.  Most things were relatively easy, although I was still working on downloading printer drivers for Bob on a v.e.r.y. slow dial-up connection at 11:30am.  

I then remembered that I hadn’t had my medication, went back to the room and grabbed a FortiJuice, and put on my running shoes.  More running around buying supplies for the overworked management team, a quick registration with Rad, returned to help Suzie with the uniforms and the need to get plastic bags to pack them.  Another trip to the market, and most of the uniforms were sorted out.  I had lost all track of the time.  A mercy dash to deliver a phone charger and I found that I was very dizzy.  Backtrack to grab a second FortiJuice for a very late lunch.  I still had yet to spend any time with Bob (we had been hoping to have a coffee together), he had been called away suddenly when an excellent age group competitor went through the windscreen of a car that morning.  We sought to sneak away for a few minutes (I hadn’t had a chance to speak to him since before the Canberra Times on Sunday); although his phone didn’t stop ringing and we had to wait for a media interview with the local ABC.  

It was too late for a coffee, so I suggested a quick pint at the local pub – being Newcastle there were two to choose from within metres of each other.  With the option of The Royal or the Ducks Nuts the choice was obvious.  This proved to be a very interesting choice!  Some sad looking Jatz, cheese, and carbonosi sat on the counter.  I was the only woman.  I had to mention to Bob that a woman in a purple bra had walked past – he hadn’t noticed.  She came around the room a second time, carrying a tray and seeking orders.  Bob did notice this time that she was only wearing a lacy purple bra and teeny weeny underwear (and heels of course!), with very little back coverage.  On her next ‘lap’ Bob ordered another schooner of Old, and gave her a very generous tip (no other change of course).  She was a very pleasant, pretty, and articulate young blond, probably working her way through Uni and with a hell of a lot of self confidence!

This unfortunately had to end, and I undertook to grab Bob some Indian takeaway for his dinner.  I hoped to walk, it being a pleasant evening, and having had no exercise.  We went via the car on the way back to gather the Newcastle Street Directory, and just as I locked up a tearful young woman came up to us.  She knew Bob from Canberra, and her car had broken down on arriving here.  The NRMA were unable to fix it, and it needed to be towed, however she had still to check in to her accommodation on the other side of the Bay at Stockton.  Bob went back to his room to attend to bush fires, and I helped her transfer all the gear, bikes etc from her car to ours and drove her there.  On the way back I drove to Darby St to pick Bob up an Indian feed of Garlic Naan, Palak Paneer, Sag Gogst, and plenty of rice!  I had to dodge flying bottles as a school load of over exuberant peri-adolescents celebrating some milestone spilled from the pub they were being belatedly thrown from (the eldest couldn’t have been 15).  I drove back to the hotel carefully, arriving after 8:00pm  to pass the food on to Bob, had a quick, warm (yuck) FortiJuice in his room before heading back to my room where Rad had already collapsed in bed.  

Tomorrow – Must Ride and be a bit more selfish!


Road Trip with Rad

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with Bob up in Newcastle early, Rad arranged to pick me up at 9:00am to drive to Newcastle where we were both to compete in the Duathlon. As usual, he was on time, and I spent a few extra minutes ensuring that Lucy was well catered for (a neighbour shall come and feed and cuddle her each day), the house was locked, rubbish out and all the usual catastrophe. We swung by the local (discount) pharmacy for me to pick up an extra supply of imodium and were off - for some reason I decided to try a new route out of Canberra through Gungahlin and along Horse Paddock Drive to the Federal Highway. I have cycled this way a few times (in a roundabout fashion) and just followed my nose. With the new suburbs and streets constantly changing around here too much forward planning probably wouldn't have been of much use anyway. This route bypassed many traffic lights and the potential traffic problems of Northbourne Avenue and deserves future consideration.

I drove through to Newcastle, and enjoyed the opportunity. Rad and I spent a lot of time discussing future race and travel options and plans overseas which is always exciting. Travel through north west Sydney wasn't too bad, and we arrived in Newcastle around 2:30pm. Bob rang as we were in reception, and we greeted each other as though we hadn't seen each other for months. Aaah ~ young love.

After the unpacking ritual, I thought that Rad may have needed a rest, and grabbed my backpack and went for a walk. Far from being aimless, I did not have a plan, and after grabbing a drink decided on the spur of the moment not to head towards the redeveloped area and walked up towards the athletics field with the slightly aging blue track. I was quite impressed with Newcastle when I was here in April, and I love walking around 'new' places. I think that I have always been a good tourist in my own city, and within Australia. Through walking up quiet streets and following my nose to the scent of jasmine, or the glint of an old stained glass window I saw some wonderful streetscapes and really got a good sense of place. Before I knew it, the sky was darkening and my radio tuned into Radio National was well through the current affairs show 'PM'. I headed back, if not quite lost, then not heading in the most direct direction back to the hotel. My black clothes were not ideal, at least the cycling backpack I had was highly reflective. It was a beautiful night, and the early evening buzz of the Beaumont St restaurants was exciting, the orange and red striated sky dramatic.

Back in the hotel just before 7:00pm, Rad had left for dinner and I was pleased with my 'adventure' which reminds me so much of what I do when I'm travelling.

Low battery!


Canberra Times Cool Runners

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Griffin, Lucky Legs, Speedy Geoff, Aki,CJ,Flash Duck,Strewth, Wombatface

canberra times Cool runners
Originally uploaded by FlashDuck.



Saturday was a day of howling gales and rain ~ although the forecast for Sunday was clear, it did not auger well for the Fun Run. Sunday dawned with the skies clear of rain and uncommonly still, perfect for a spring run. I left early to buy the Sunday Telegraph for the printed results of the marathon weekend, and was buried in the paper checking Cool Running names when Aki found my car parked outside! I was pleased to see my placing of 403rd ~ once all my aims for a faster time were obviously unfounded, during the run I reverted to my general non-time-specific aim, which was to finish within the top 50% of the field overall and better (I haven’t worked this out yet) in the female participants. My 403rd place fulfilled this. I just checked the on-line results and this was blown out to 412th – no complaints as it means that those poor guys who had NO Result recorded would have been included!

Aki and I swung back by home to pick up Bob, who was madly organising himself for an early departure after the run to drive to Newcastle. We dropped Aki at the start (and long wait) of the 5km walk, then continued to the race start at Woden. I kept a large backpack with me, afraid (as always) of getting cold at the finish, and saw Lucky Legs and Wombat near the start as I queued to put my gear on the baggage truck. The bright colours of CR gear meant that it was easy to spot a cluster of Cool Runners including Griffin, Speedy Geoff and Friar. The rest of the CR Chickybabes team however were hidden, although I eventually spied Strewth and CJ on the grass verge. Another Cool Runner, Scott was also nearby.

A low key starting gun was fired by the very pregnant, Sarah Reilly, and we made our way off the footpath and onto the roadway as the run started. The usual bun rush at the start meant that there were lots of footballers and 12 year olds sprinting off at the start, and it was a constant weave through the weft of slower people in the first kilometre of so. I passed a venerable looking older Japanese guy with great care as his bare feet on the pavement made me cringe at the prospect of being stomped on (or rolled over by a pram).

Once onto Adelaide Avenue, the breadth of the carriageway meant that it was fairly comfortable running, with many people around although with plenty of room. I saw CR Scott and Wombat disappear into the distance, and was amused to see the small gatherings of spectators along the spectator un-friendly route, where a few congregated here and there, and larger groups on the overpasses. As usual the scouts were doing a great job of manning the water stations at around 4km and 8km. I was pleased to see off the my right the slight figure of Sue Archer, an excellent F55 runner, and was surprised that she wasn't further ahead at this stage. Another runner, a triathlete who runs close to my race pace was also sighted at this point, and I was able to keep his bright yellow top in sight for the rest of the run. This delighted and surprised me - for although I felt marvellous, my expectations were not high for a fast 10km a week after the marathon.

Coming up to the start of the 5km walk, I caught sight of Aki on the verge and yelled out, but to no avail. This neared the end of the gradual uphill section of the course, which then swung away to a long sweeping downhill along the route used for dozens of triathlon and duathlon events, passing the edge of the Embassy district and skirting along between the (new) Parliament House and the Provisional (old) building. As my stride opened up with much relief on the downhill stretch I found myself running alongside a fellow Customs Jogger who had run Sydney last year, although was lamenting his lack of running since returning from an extended overseas trip.

I caught sight of a man with a plastic sack of what looked like the water sachets used in the Canberra Marathon. He was just settling them down and I yelled "Hey Water Bag! Mate!" as I came up to him, and managed to be handed a sachet as I trundled passed to the cry of "Go Cool Runner!". I thought it may be the CR Water Bag and expect that this was the case. I love the sachets - so much easier to drink from, and after I had consumed half a bag I could easily hold on to it to finish a little later, rather than the difficulty of swilling down the contents of a cup and tossing it aside to be crunched under a thousand feet.

Sue had long since disappeared from view, however I kept in sight of the bright yellow tops of both my Customs friend and the triathlete. This really surprised me ~ I hadn't been paying much attention to the time, I hoped to run under 50 minutes, and would be delighted with 48. I'd thought that I been running around 4:45-5:00 minute pace throughout and did a double take when the finish clock said 46:30 as I crossed. CJ was seconds behind me, and I was even more shocked to find out that the time was actually 45:30 at the timing table. It's probably a good thing, as I'm sure that if I thought I had a chance of running close to 45 today, I would have put more effort into it!

Bob had long since finished and left, and our swarm of blue and yellow gradually swelled to include Lucky Legs exuberant with a 2 minute PB, Strewth, Griffin and this charming partner Patricia, Speedy Geoff and Aki. It clouded over and hypothermia threatened to give us a group discount as we sought to share around our warm clothes. After the presentations (no barrel draws again!) we took a couple of photos, bade Lucky Legs and Wombatface a reluctant farewell, and wandered over to The Deck for the essential java jolt. With Mr CJ and Mr Strewth rounding out our party, I found another Sunday Telegraph insert for CJ to examine the results, and the waitperson once again offered to get Aki "your usual"!

We dispersed, Aki and I walking through the edge of Floriade (somewhere between Strawberry Fields and Brown Sugar) into Civic. Before my bus home came, I ducked into the Korean Grocery Store to check it out. I love exploring and finding new products at Asian grocery stores, and they all differ enormously. This is a very small three aisle basement shop, with Korean products on the left and Japanese on the right. Since the Japanese store at Kingston closed down, I am always on the lookout for other good providores. I found a bowl of Korean noodles which had almost no fibre and very low fat. Woo Hoo! They also had a range of Asian ice creams, and I bought a red bean ice (I love bean paste and lotus seed paste) which according to it's nutritional panel had no fibre and only trace (0.1g) fat. It made me think that I will try to include as much 'real food' in my diet other than FortiJuice as I can and see how I go. Even if it mean a couple of days without running so I can go out for dinner with friends.

On arriving home I received a call from the Perfect Running Buddy who had suggested another trot together this afternoon. He came over soon after, and I was able to show him just some of the magic bushland trails of Black Mountain Nature Park on my doorstep. He was as enchanted as I was with the bush, and before we knew it we had run for nearly an hour (58:49) and covered around 11k. The time had passed seamlessly though, running with him is always so easy. Note to Self: Must run with PRB more when I return from Newcastle.

A coffee to complete the afternoon, and I got stuck into the washing and attempting to work out what to pack (bike, helmet, 3 pairs of running shoes, bike shoes . .. .) for Newcastle. Still working on it. I'm looking forward to Newcastle now, and Fitzroy Falls even more!





A Big Thanks to Aki!

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I had been uncommonly down over the last few days, reactive depression no doubt to the doctors appointment, but an all pervasive lethargy of "why bother" rather than anything else. Thursday had been particularly bad, however the prospect of meeting Aki for a coffee on Friday was set me in higher spirits. I had forgotten, but the local rag, The Canberra Times and the local ABC news was doing a Team Photo shoot of the 30-odd local athletes going to compete in the Duathlon World Championships in a weeks' time.

Bob insisted that we head off on the run early, as we were due at Acton Ferry Terminal at 1:00pm. I felt surprisingly good, and looked forward to a good run with allrounder who had been hit by the handicapper to start just 15 seconds (one group) in front of me. I had been increasingly aware of pain and swelling on the arch of my right foot, and research on the internet seemed to indicate that this was most likely due to plantar fasciitis. I decided to wear lightweight (non-supportive) Nike racing flats, with elastic laces, and once running found that my foot was more comfortable than it had been for days. I realised that the pain was exacerbated my my low mood, however relieving the pressure with the tri laces was very effective.

I headed off with Adrienne again, delighted to see her this week. We ran much easier today than last week, talking constantly, and although our times were similar (around 24 minutes) it was a good run. No sign of Aki, so a quick word to Friar, and Rad, Simon, Bob and I headed over to the Ferry Terminal. Quite a contingent was milling around, in a variety of uniforms. It was a bit of a circus, with the sight of 20 cyclists riding along the bike path 3 abreast for the camera's and then a group photo.
Bob is front and centre in the Yellow helmet, next to our talented young runner and duathlete, Michelle (Shell) Wu. The wonderful M75, Rad Leovic is on the far right of the front row.

After this, Bob piled both our bikes into the car and drove home to change, eat lunch and get back into Civic for a haircut. Aki and I went to our favourite post-run coffee spot, The Deck at Regatta Point. The wind was strong, so I grabbed a pair of track pants from the car, but looked extremely daggy! Luckily, they know as there by now, and told us exactly what we were ordering as we sat down (Strawberry Soy Milk Shake and a short black). Cute.

We talked more, reviewed Canberra Times Fun Run maps and information, commiserated about ITB's and other injuries and planned our next assaults. Fitzroy Falls would be good - Aki has yet to experience the country charm of a community event. My spirits were by now fully restored to normal, and I couldn't give the doc's miserable news another thought. We eventually found where Bob had left the car, drove home and planned Aki's 5km fun walk on Sunday, and all was good with the world.



Taste Testing at the Cafe at Lindt's

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Monday, 12 September

It was a tough assignment, but one that had to be done! As I was eating, and it was necessary for me to meet the CR Gals Jen and The Owl at the Lindt Cafe in Martin Place. Bob was heading off to West Head for a cycle, so I walked across the bridge again, the wind billowing, and around the harbour before heading up to Martin Place. The (breakfast) menu was surprisingly enticing, there were many things that appealed to me, and I did have a hard time deciding, eventually settling on toasted fig and walnut bread, and espresso and mineral water. It took me right back to my time in Firenze where I lived very much as a local, and loved it. The fig bread had run out so, I opted for sour cherry toast instead and was delighted.

Jen arrived, followed by the Owl, and I had a wonderful time. In the interests of scientific research, I then ordered a Dark Hot Chocolate, as did the Owl. To our surprise, this was served as a jug of heated milk and two small jugs of melted, runny dark chocolate. We tested a few alternative methods of preparing this in our cups; simultaneously pouring in the chocolate and milk; adding the chocolate to the milk and so on. We both agreed that it was good. Eyeing Jen's mocha though, with shavings of real chocolate strewn over the top, was too tempting and I tried one of these as well. My verdict was that the mocha won hands down! Of course for a truly scientific result, it will alas need to be repeated.


Marathon Social Whirl

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Sunday 12:30 ~ Kirribilli
Bob and I caught a ferry across from Circular Quay to Milson's Point (Luna Park $4.80 each one way), although we almost didn't make it due the extreme pushiness of a rude, pram-wielding woman who mowed all her wake. We survived, and made our way up to the Hotel to meet Lucky Legs and Wombat for a spot of lunch before they drove back south. We found a small cafe at Kirribilli, and I thoroughly enjoyed my first meal for many months! Bob and I had Thai Fish Cakes with salad, Lucky Legs a toasted sambo, and Wombat some good looking pancakes. Mmmm, food. I especially enjoyed the salad, I adore fruit and vegetables, and this is what I've missed most.
Too soon we had to part, and after hugs and looking forward to catching up at the Canberra Times Fun Run on Sunday I found that my mobile was full of missed calls.

Sunday 1:30 ~ Vibe to Orient Hotel

After a game of telephone tag, CJ wandered down from her hotel at North Sydney to meet me. We walked across a windy Harbour Bridge to meet the 'CR Gals' at the Orient Hotel. It was great to see Horrie and Belinda before they headed off; Belinda's grin was glued to her face and shall always be burned in my memory.

Among those left, were Johnny Dark, Bennyr, Tesso, The Owl and Jen. It was great to catch up, and I was still running on Adrenaline. We drifted away about 5pm, as I was mindful of the need to get ready for dinner at my sister's place that evening. Another walk across the bridge with CJ and plans to meet The Owl and Jen at the Lindt Cafe on Monday. There wasn't too much time to spare, however I enjoyed a good soak in the bath first!

Sunday 6:00 ~ McMahon's Point

Bob and I walked the kilometre or two to my sister's place at McMahon's Point for dinner. We rarely manage to see each other, as she is busy with her career as an academic, so this was a rare treat although I was a little concerned about my staying power! It was a lovely evening; her new (to me only) partner was there, and we christened a new barbeque in a magical candle lit courtyard. Some gourmet lamb cutlets with Rosemary; Thai Sausages and Steak were accompanied by an assortment of vegetable dishes made largely from produce grown on their property in the Southern Highlands. Very pleasant indeed!
As the wind developed we moved inside for desert - homemade plum pudding to be eaten prior the next Christmas batch being made! My two nieces were also there, Ingrid in Year 11, and Claire a totally hip 20 year old. Her boyfriend turned up during desert, and he quizzed us about triathlons. He headed off for the hotel, straining against the wind, I can't remember a more perfect day.


Marathon Morning

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I had an uncommonly good nights sleep, only a light to moderate night sweat, and felt good when I awoke. This was a relief after the previous fortnight’s lurgy, which continued to make it’s effects known the day before. Although coming into Sydney I was excited at the prospect of meeting up with Lucky Legs and going for a walk on a glorious Sydney day, not long after I arrived in the room I virtually collapsed in a heap on the bed and soon slept for quite a few hours. As Lucky Legs and Wombatface were staying in the same hotel, they got together with Bob for an early pasta meal at North Sydney. I continued to rest in the room, and tried to carbo load on FortiJuice. We watched some of the Test Cricket on TV before having an early night.

As Bob was competing in the Half which started 45 minutes earlier, I wandered down with him to Bradfield Park (clutching a drink). It was already warm, and standing around in a Cool Running Singlet was comfortable. In the marshaling area I saw a sea of blue and yellow caps, and met up with Horrie and Belinda; Tesso; Eagle; The Owl and Jen_Runs. We chatted for quite a while before I realised that I needed to head back to the room and get organised for my run.

The time disappeared quickly, and by the time I put my bag in and found the access to the start line it was nearly time to start. I saw Johnny Dark and another Cool Runner, Dave. Soon we were off with the gun, with the usual slow shuffle before the start. Up on the approaches to the span of the Harbour Bridge, saw CJ up ahead and moved over to her side of the lane to catch up. We ran together up until Art Gallery Rd, however she did not feel so flash first up that morning, and started to struggle. Reluctantly I went on ahead; however this was to be radically reversed after the half way point.

I took water for the first time at the station at Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, and then at least one cup at each drink stop thereafter. It was particularly fun for the next few kilometres: I saw a young woman in her speedo’s running with large devices on each upper arm covered in plastic bags, and a strange bandanna headpiece in College Street. Then up Oxford St to Taylor Square the real fun started. First the stragglers emerging from nightclubs bleary-eyed doing a double take as a stream of marathon runners jogged past. Tempting cafes lined the strip reminding us of what we needed to wait some hours for. At Taylor Square, a couple of drag queens competed for cheering duties with an odd collection of drunks and clubbers attempting to High-5 those passing by.

Further along Flinders St and Anzac Pde, another guy suffering from the night before lay on the grass verge on his back, naked and waving his legs around. A mat for the 10k split preceded the turn into Centennial Park. It was an interesting figure of eight route and I became conscious here of a number of other runners who I parried with throughout the remainder of the event. Nearing the Alison Rd U-turn I saw another Cool Runner ahead and quickened my pace to say Hi. It was RockDoctor and I remember that he had a goal time of around 3:30:00. Far too quick or me, I bid farewell and let him speed off. A small cheer-squad of “Go Cool Runner!” was at this Alison Rd/Anzac Pde/Dacy Ave set of traffic lights. Moving up towards Kingsford, the urgent need to find a toilet struck. This caused me to slow right down and I lost a great deal of momentum as well as pace when I finally got going again.

After the Dacy Avenue dogleg, I found myself very hot and overheated. It had been raining lightly at the start of the run, with a heavier fall at one stage, however now the humidity was oppressive and I broke out in a sudden cold sweat. CJ passed me at this point, looked like she was doing it easy, and sped off into the distance. Back through Darlinghurst, we passed clients waiting for the Methadone Clinic to open. Stretching out the lane and onto the road where we were running, each group was equally surprised.

Winding through the city was fun until a spread out group of us ran down Liverpool St. and was collectively horrified to see a steady stream of traffic being “managed” along Elizabeth St. I saw CJ ahead of me cross with a small group, although as I approached a policeman and another marshal put their hands up in an arrogant “STOP” motion, whilst signalling for the Elizabeth traffic to flow through. With my momentum established on the sweeping downhill section rudely interrupted, I was impatient and grumpy with this unexpected delay. A fellow runner arrived about 30 seconds behind me, and started to cross anyway, muttering under his breath the sentiments that I too felt. A similar scenario occurred at the Park and George St junction, although the six lanes of traffic being motioned to travel across our path did not allow any attempted heroics. To add insult to injury, when we finally did get the nod to cross, a clueless couple of (American? I bet!) Tourists walked into my path, knocking me sideways and denting my confidence.

A further traffic intersection at King St was marshaled by someone far more “runner friendly” and this crossing went smoothly. Onto the City Link freeway, a few people had started to walk as the roadway rose to an incline and the 27km mark came into view. A reasonable headwind greeted us, and I slowed right down even on the descents fighting against this invisible force. I thought at least there would be a tailwind where we needed it on the way back. (I was wrong).

At least this was now familiar territory for me, as I had done the Half Marathon last year on a similar course. More people were walking, or stretching on the median strip. The field had spread right out, and I was passing a few people (mainly blokes it must be noted. They seem to be the ones who are over confident about their ability and go out too fast and die), but being passed by at least as many (frequently women who had paced themselves more appropriately). My legs felt great, and I was full of beans, however I still had a bit of abdominal tenderness which caused some discomfort. The earlier rain had soaked my shoes and socks, causing a blister to develop on the outside of my left foot. My singlet also weighed a tonne, a combination of the humidity and sustained sweating with frequent cups of water.

I kept an eye out for Plu along this section, he had indicated that he would position himself on this patch of road, and ever reliable, and “always a Cool Runner first” I knew that he would be there as a cheery Blue, Yellow and Green one man cheer squad. An ambulance travelled into view, slowly travelling along the return section of the course. As it slowed to a stop, I saw a vision in Cool Running colours, camera in hand assisting the Ambo’s. I yelled a greeting and waved, then continued along the route to find the elusive turnaround. I kept thinking that I should break the run into sections; with the marathon beginning at the 32k mark. Nearing Plu’s vantage point again, the ambulance was still in place and I saw a bloke looking fairly poorly. As I crossed the Glebe Island pedestrian bridge, a friendly cheer alerted me to Horrie coming in the other direction. With my reflexes slowed somewhat, I didn’t see Belinda and was concerned that something had happened to her en route.

Up through Pyrmont and Ultimo onto the city Link again, the wind continued to provide a buffer rather than assist. The field had really spread out, with some people continuing onto the outward section of the course, walking and stopping periodically. Many of those around me (in an ever widening diameter) were those close by in the Centennial Park Figure of Eight. (Man with Swedish Flag pinned on his T-Shirt; Girl in Pink Top; Bloke with grey shorts and Felt Belt). I had started to miss some of the kilometre markers at this point, and whereas the foot pod of my Polar S625x had been short at the 5, 10, 20 and 21km markers by a small, but increasing value, as we rolled into Sussex St and along the Piers. This was the business end of the run, and my watch indicated 39.2km had been covered. Given the under recording of the watch up until the midway point, I surmised that I had merely missed the 39 k marker. However, as an aid station loomed into view, the 39k marker lay beyond.

The great unknown – the “speed hump” – a.k.a. Observatory Hill – was still to come. This wasn’t too bad after-all, a steady, but gradual climb, with some ‘helpful’ people saying “nearly there now”, and “all downhill from here” as we turned off onto the tunnel leading to the Cahill Expressway. Along the deep stone cutting (I always marvelled at this as a kid), a deep, but subtle fragrance of jacaranda blossoms permeated the closed arena. I enjoyed the steady downhill flow, however this came to an early end and a rude shock as the tunnel inevitably climbed it’s way up onto the Cahill. Now it was exciting! At just the right moment, a sea of blue and yellow pom poms came into sight, with a pod of Cool Runners cheering and supporting us on our way. This was undoubtedly the highlight of the day, and made me swell with pride. SuperFlake, Gronk, the wonderful CR gals Lulu, The Owl and Jen. Now it was only a matter of finishing. Past the Con and into Macquarie St, the noise of supporters on the roadside became deafening, with one section being simultaneously exciting and a little frightening as they formed a tunnel through which one ran, yelling loudly and clacking noise making plastic ‘hands’.

I had been constantly reassessing my target time as the morning had progressed; with a ‘short’ (by my watch) first half done on target pace, I was secretly optimistic. The later section, particularly from the stop-start road crossing had seen me slow considerably and this made me more uncertain as the distance on my watch did not correlate. I had earlier dismissed a dream of a 3:40 run as unachievable on this day, and reluctantly realised that even my stated, and seemingly reasonable aim of bettering George Dubya Bush’s PB (3:44:52) was going to wait for another day. I could tell that I was in better ‘form’ than when I was at the same point in Canberra, with my head and shoulders relaxed and although slow I felt that if there was an option to continue for another 8 kilometres I could do so without horror. The clock however was indicating a time later than my debut of 3:47:56. I had never considered that I would not be faster than this. Although still awaiting my formal results, I crossed around 3:48:25. I saw Tesso and Queen Bee just beyond the finish line.

To be continued . . .


Down, not out.

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Not the Post Marathon Blahs

I don't feel over enthused to post much now ~ my previous missal had been written off-line and I just copied it verbatim. I had a wonderful weekend, and the most hectic social whirl in recent memory. If somewhat disappointed with my Marathon Time, I was quite pleased with my run. On reviewing the CR Messageboards, it seems like I am not alone in these sentiments.

After meeting up with my dearest friend Fiona from school for breakfast at Milson's Point, Bob and travelled across town for my surgeon's appointment. Despite being concerned about being late, we had a long, tension filled wait. To summarise, he didn't think that there were any further surgical options for me as it was related to the nerve function. Although at this stage I have booked in for further tests in a month's time, I am disinclined to go through with the further build-up of hope and disappointment.

The carrot of being able to eat and run was so seductive. And, boy am I enjoying eating these last few days! Most of the plans of Bob and I for travel and so on have been on the basis of "when my problem gets fixed up", so the negative response doesn't help me to plan further ahead.
Anyway, time to move on, and get back into the running, enjoy the FortiJuice and get positive. Physically I have pulled up perfectly; a large, fluid filled blister on my littlest left toe has now burst and is fine. I am a tad tender on the top of my right foot, but that's scraping for problems. Time and arrangements conspired against me running since, although CJ and I walked across the bridge on Sunday afternoon, and I walked about 12kms on Monday. No soreness, no stiffness, no problem with stairs.


Quickie

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This is necessarily brief: I had attempted to update earlier, but Blogger was closed for maintenance :(

I am waiting for Bob to fire off the Duathlon Newsletter and pack his road bike in the car so that we can head up to Sydney. I slept really well last night (the sleep that counts!) with no night sweat to mention. Listened to the cricket until the Tea Break, did frequent calculations in my Pooh-sized brain about the marathon. I feel so much better with a dry nights' sleep!

I'm never confident about internet access when travelling until I'm connected, so I may not be able to post for a while. It looks as though today will be taken up with travelling and Bob finding a place for his dinner. I MUST be more conscientious today about "carbo loading" with FortiJuice. In both Willy to Billy and Canberra this year I got caught up with events on the previous day and didn't have many calories. Hopefully being a bit better prepared will help tomorrow. The rain is settling in here in Canberra, and it is getting cold. Although the prospect of "Rain Clearing" didn't put me off, the air temperature here (with the added prospect of being wet), does. It should be fairly warm though (16°C - 23°C), and unlike many others, I don't mind warm conditions.
Hanging out for meeting Jen_Runs at Lindt's Cafe on Monday! After months without solid food, I am obsessing about chocolate. As I see the surgeon in Sydney on Tuesday, I may as well be both post marathoned and fed!

Dreaming of new trail runs already . . . .


A 5k confidence boost!

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There is good news and at the right time. Lots of errands in the morning, and getting to the Customs run by the skin of my teeth. I appreciated Wombat's advice not to run, however it was the anniversary of Aki's first 5km run ever, and I needed some social contact.

It was the start of the altered Floriade course, and there was some consternation at the start. With many not aware of the route. My handicap was 13:15 , however Adrienne was looking for someone to run with. Easy decision! Aki, Kim, and Joseph also came along for the ride at 12 minutes. We left at 12:00, and rolled down the hill at the start (knowing full well that it just needed to be run up at the end!). I felt like a rabbit at the start, with a line of runners behind me. I mentioned this to Joseph, who usually had a handicap of 14:00 and he replied that he definitely did not feel like a greyhound. On the western side of Commonwealth Avenue I ensured that he knew where the course went, and slowed down (running backwards at times) to wait for Adrienne, show her the course, and hopefully pace her to a good run. This turned out to be an excellent strategy for me, I found the run delightfully easy, keeping to around 4:40-4:45 pace for most of the first 4kms, including 'Hospital Hill'. On pace to bring Adrienne to her first sub-23:00 finish, she slowed on the final k, with us ending up with a 24 minute run.

This was a real confidence boost for me looking forward to Sunday: I felt very, very strong; the fatigue which has been dogging me for weeks dissipated as I ran (who knows how long I will sleep after the marathon though!); and a 4:40-4:50 pace (much faster than marathon pace) felt easy. All in all, a great confidence boost.


More tapering, more sleep

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Made the BBQ Stakes today: Bob cycled over and I drove, doing some errands en route. My plans for a southside ramble afterwards were kyboshed when Bob arranged to collect his Great Nephew (Sam) from school and needed the car to head off by 2:30pm.

Probably a good move though, as during a short warm-up I was not feeling over wonderful or fast. Looked for Boy Harlow, although he was on a looong warm-up and was nowhere to be seen. I couldn't decide how to approach the run; I felt in good form in most senses, although I feared that the gut wasn't going to be too appreciative of great intensity. Without Bob around to ask advice from, I decided to forego my 12:30 handicap, thinking that I would be tempted to push too hard, and, on a whim, decided to leave with Josephine, a handicap of 7:45. This was good to begin with, and gave me a chance to notice that even with her long legs (sigh), she was overstriding far too much. On cresting the hill however, my legs were itching to move faster, and I moved off from Josephine with some guilt. I didn't push too much, but caught up with many of the front markers.

The run felt good, and I ended up at a fairly even 5 minute pace, 3rd across the line in 30:25ish (a slow first km). Jude turned up to say Hi, having had a great result in Trailwalker, 10th Team and under 16 hours. With so much catching up to do, I only had time to head home, hang out the washing and make Bob's lunch (homemade bread rolls with grilled tofu, zucchini and eggplant, tapenade, tomato, mesclan) before he whizzed in, showered, grabbed his lunch and headed off (a tad late).

In preparation for Sunday, I tried pinning two Gu's on my shorts to see if they affected my running. On the side, near the hip it seemed fine. I had wanted to try to consume one on the trot, so had left my gear on to go for a run from home. However, after trying to push Bob out the door in time, I was tired and had a couple of FortiJuice instead. Took out my contact lenses and lay down - sleeping for about three and a half hours! If this is how I feel after a gentle 6km jog, what will I be like after the marathon - if I stay awake that long! Some of the Cool Running Gals are also getting together on Sunday afternoon; as much as I'm looking forward to it, I don't know how I'll go. Anyone interested in a coffee at the Lindt cafe on Monday?


Gently does it.

5 comments

So far, so good.

No significant night sweat last night, so consequently I was much more alert early on today. I made it to the monthly Mt Ainslie Run Up at lunchtime, and was able to do a small warm-up, and cool-down on the slopes. It seemed as though there must have been a record turn up today, it is becoming incrediably popular. I was advised not to run this today (again) by Bob, so close to the marathon and given my recent poor health, but what the heck. I am better at judging 'easy' or 'easier' these days, and I was pleased to go at more effort than a jog, but not bust a gut. And, guess what? It worked!

I ran easily (although you can't help but breathe hard when climbing 240m in 2,200m) within myself, passing a few people who were slowing to a walk near the summit, but not driven or going too hard. Despite this, I still managed to pull out a small, but happy, PB. I did do this run on the Tuesday prior to my marathon debut in Canberra in April and I seemed to survive!

Mt Ainslie run-up
# Date Description Result Rate

==================================================
1. 06/09/2005 Mt Ainslie, ACT (2.2k) 17:14 7:54
2. 02/08/2005 Mt Ainslie, ACT (2.2k) 17:30 7:57
3. 05/07/2005 Mt Ainslie, ACT (2.2k) 18:21 8:20
4. 07/06/2005 Mt Ainslie, ACT (2.2k) 17:35 7:59
5. 03/05/2005 Mt Ainslie, ACT (2.2k) 18:00 8:10
6. 05/04/2005 Mt Ainslie, ACT (2.2k) 18:44 8:30
7. 01/03/2005 Mt Ainslie, ACT (2.2k) 19:54 9:02

Small, but incremental improvements over the month inspire further confidence in me for Sunday. Now, to balance keeping well and uninjured, pick us my fitness, and not overdo it!

On my warm down around the slopes of Mt Ainslie, I was overcome by the bounty of wattle in bloom ~ absolutely stunning! A stunning day in Canberra.


One small step for man . . .

4 comments

I did manage to (eventually) get on my bike, on a glorious looking, but surprisingly cool day. Whilst I had left home in knicks and a short sleeve jersey, within a kilometre and a half I had stopped to pull on arm warmers, and wished for more. Nearing the lake, spring had sprung a mass of once a year joggers, getting out to enjoy the fine conditions, many no doubt in preparation for the Canberra Times Fun Run in a fortnight's time.

I was thrilled to see 'my' family of swans and their five cygnets in their usual place by the lakeside ~ although this time the youngun's had grown to close to full size, although mother (pen) and father (cob) were still always close at hand, usually ensuring that one was on each end of the group of large, gawky ugly ducklings.

I arrived at the designated starting point for the amended Floriade course of the Friday Custom's handicap planning to give Friar a call to check what side we ran on under Commonwealth Ave Bridge. As luck would have it, just as I arrived at the designated meeting place under the eucalypts alongside the Archbishops Residence and the fenceline marking the Floriade boundary, Mr Customs himself, Nick Blackaby jogged up! I explained what I planned to do, we confirmed the course and we each left on our merry way, wending our way through the throngs lunchtime walkers and joggers.


I measured the route carefully and was a little surprised and delighted to see that it came in at 5.04 kms. The elevation profile is a little more pronounced that the 'original' route, which had a culminative rise of less than 10m over the 5km. There is a short, sharp rise at 'hospital' hill with an equally pleasant descent from the 2km mark. The corresponding rise from where the path veers away from the edge of the lake before the National Museum. Aki certainly remembers the final rise at the end of the run, although she will no doubt think that it doesn't even rate as a pimple now!

Bob was once again doing a days work in the electorate office, his last day until after the World Championships in Newcastle. We arranged to meet for a quick coffee at the Blue Olive. I would have been there a tad earlier if I hadn't tried to be quite so much of a smart alec; the usual trick . . . slowing down at a pedestrian crossing behind a stopped vehicle, and balancing on my bike. The pedestrian took a lot longer than anticipated, and I slowly fell sideways with my feet still clipped in the pedals. Lots of people came to assist, however as one guy succeeded in guessing, I only hurt my pride. I had to take my shoe off to get my foot off the pedal, and then flung my leg over like an expert in some cowboy movie and pedalled off into the sunset (OK, a block and a half to the cafe). Afterwards, we walked the short distance to Map World to buy a lonely planet guide of Laos. We are only limited by my plans to do the Six Foot Track in March, and the verdict of the Sydney surgeon next week. Very exciting!

A short diversion on the way home to the National Gallery shop to buy a small birthday present for my sister. A gentle day: not much cycling, although I felt good and stronger than over the weekend.

On another note, this was taken as Aki disappeared from view when we played on Friday!

Climbing Tunnel


Wishy washy

5 comments

The more people wearing Cool Running kit in the Canberra Times Fun Run the merrier! I am sorry Griffin that you are not 'formally' in the CR Team ~ maybe next year? I know that Friar will be proudly sporting the #1 bib, hopefully others will also wear their gear.

I'm trying not to be too concerned about how little I am able to do with the Sydney Marathon now less than a week away. I had only vague plans for the weekend; a cycle with Sarah was cancelled when her back gave way, and I had thought about going to the Jogalong on Sunday. Fortunately, I hadn't made arrangements to collect Aki for the Jogalong, or SlowJo from the airport. Consequently, I returned to bed early on Saturday afternoon and slept for nearly four sweaty hours. Despite going to bed early that night (I was tired, again!), I slept a great deal once again, only crawling out of bed after 10:00am because the I was cold in the wet bedclothes I had already changed twice during the night. To quote vat_man, "night sweats suck"!

More sleep on Sunday afternoon, another early night, and another three-load-of-washing night. I did get out on the road bike on Saturday for a gentle burl, however this was a double edged sword, as my gut problems reared up to bite me on the bum, resulting in the need to return home quickly, uncomfortably and with great fatigue. I have an appointment to see the specialist surgeon in Sydney on the Tuesday following the marathon. He is a good bloke, had a battery of tests with him about a decade ago, with a resultant operation in Canberra. The condition has significantly deteriorated however, and I am getting really fed up with not being fed up, and still having problems. It does get me down when I am doing everything I can without relief.

So, on a less whinging note, I shall plan to get out on the mountain bike (in it's current guise as gentle street cruising machine, rather than wild off-road beast) and have a gentle cruise over the Floriade Customs course. I shall try to head off as early as possible, once the last load of washing is hung out!


Chickybabes doing it for themselves

7 comments

Drum roll, please. Ladies and Gentlemen, the entries are in for the inaugural Cool Running team in the Canberra Times Fun Run on 18 September. A small, but select number of (almost) perfectly formed Chicky-Babes shall be running in Cool Running clobber, spanning a few decades of experience.

Our team is headlined by the illustrious LuckyLegs, star of New York and Mittagong's preeminent sportsperson. We are ably assisted by Strewth, who recently returned from an international season of running in Europe to help us. Ironwoman and seasoned marathoner CJ will provide our endurance base, whilst we will successfully bamboozle the other teams with our secret weapon of youth, tenacity and stunning red hair in the form of Aki. Our likelihood of winning is only limited by the number of other teams entered in our category. As I don't know of any other teams who have entered (however, I must admit I have not asked a soul), so far so good!

Great turn-up at Customs today ~ most noticeable was the number of women, 8!, certainly a record in the 16 months I've been going. Good to catch up with people on a pleasant Spring day. I am feeling better and more confident about the Marathon. 9 sleeps to go.


What a lot of wattle!

1 comments

I feel almost suspicious about saying it, but I think that I am over the hump of the lurgy. Spent the whole out and about yesterday after a frenetic morning spent baking another batch of breadrolls for Bob. It was lovely having coffee with Strewth and CJ as I collected signatures for our small (but very select) Cool Running team for the Canberra Times Fun Run. It was a good ruse to have such a good time!

Bob was helping out in the electorate office again today while the staff were on a course, and I found whilst up to my elbows in dough that he had left his mobile phone at home. With it running hot during the lead-up to the Duathlon Worlds and I knew I had to do a mercy dash soon. I had arranged to pick Bob up in the afternoon, after I had an appointment in Civic, however he had to squeeze in a telephone conference call for the Worlds first, and he changed as I drove to the AIS Track. I thought that the woman in the car behind me must have been very envious, as this good looking guy beside me was flinging socks, his shirt, and underwear into the back of the car as we were driving.

We arrived in the nick of time to see the usual suspects, and in cool conditions which had the hint of spring, had an excellent Team Moore session in the twilight and under lights at this excellent facility. Music was so-so tonight (OK, but nothing spectacular), but we were back to doing relays (Yay!) which were even more enjoyable on the good even surface of the track instead of the uneven grassy potholes at Dickson. After warm-ups, we had a relay of 10 x 100m in two teams of 5. I don't mind 100's at all, and with 4 other relay runners to wait for, it permitted good recovery between sets. I wish it wouldn't finish (in fact, in my numerically challenged state, I didn't know it had), although Bob had to leave early with a pulled glute/top hamstring strain during his third change. He was only wearing shorts, and after a busy day may have been inadequately warmed up. There was ice available to put on straight away, so I hope that it is nothing too serious.

Thankfully, my feelings of well being during the day extended to the track that night, and I managed to get through without drama. Phew! On returning home (thanks to a lift from the PPRB) I had just constructed dinner for Bob when Aki rang and we caught up on things. Hopefully I should also see her today at the Customs run. I have not had a chance to catch up on Cool Running, my blog, or those of others at all! I feel as though I am missing a limb, but it is better than being asleep!

Now to somehow balance doing enough to assist my confidence, whilst not overdoing it over the next week. I'm looking forward to a cycle with JTI on Saturday. Hopefully the weather will be OK.




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