Monday, February 01, 2016

New month, new focus. Hopefully ?

A new month and a new focus to get back into regular training. This is going to be somewhat of a battle as a side affect of the hormone injections I am now receiving is FATIGUE. I am experiencing that as I have very little desire to run. Let me put it this was I want to run and train but fighting against that in my mind is that I a am tired (physically not from lack of sleep) and running is just too difficult.

Hard to explain exactly what goes on in my head but the result is that despite being up and wanting to run I don't. This was happening all through November and December and I thought I would move through it.

I am not sure if I have or haven't but my intention is to get a streak going and going and going and .....

Anyway my streak stands at 2. 2 laps of the Bay in 2 days. It is a start. A bit like when I got out of detox and rehab there was day one of being booze free and then day 2 and so on. Now at 18 years. 

Sunday, January 31, 2016

First run in 2016 and some thoughts

Well ! Well ! This morning I actually gathered the mental resolve to attempt a lap of the Bay. Despite my much loved lap of the Bay being a core part of my life for almost 20 years I have not visited it for about 7 weeks. My absence was a result of a slight muscle strain that would not fully recover, fatigue from the hormone treatment and well just being plain lazy.

I had missed it but I also I knew I was not really ready to start up serious training. My concern was that if I did not start soon I would just fall into a no running lifestyle.

Thankfully I worked hard on my mental attitude yesterday and ran the Bay this morning in the early morning heat haze. Having not run for that 7 weeks my thought was there would be a lot of walking although I intended to resist that for as along as I could. Therefore it was with great deal of trepidation that I clicked the the start button on my Garmin, took a large breadth and started.

After a short distance the negatives thoughts started and the option to start walking become a real possibility. Then the worst 'wimp' came to mind and so the lap progressed. Thankfully a great friend could me about halfway round and our non stop chat from then got me to complete the lap without a walked step. A very positive outcome and completely unexpected.

The time was not relevant - really. No runner says that and means it. It would be nice if that was true sometimes for some runs but not this time for me. I needed a benchmark to measure my starting positing and where my efforts might take me relative to the past. So 48.15 is now the stating line in the sand.

I am eyeing my first marathon that is in 2 weeks so I have a focus that is close that hopefully will get me motivated and focused. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Year in Review

I have not run a marathon since Carcoar so there was nothing to say at least about marathons.

2015 in review

Well what happened to 2015.  I have got into the routine of at this time of the year reflecting on the last 12 months of mainly what was done in regard to running and life in general. It was a year in some respects I would have preferred not to have happened but so be it.

The running year was one again kicked off with the Australia Day marathon in the heat a humidity of Brisbane.  A 5.03 that was much slower that in the past or that was expected. The a few days later to Caboolture the marathon that starts at 4.00 pm and is 84 laps around the historical village. Those laps do my head in and more so this year than in the past. So 90 minutes slower that usual and the only satisfaction was that it ticked off marathon number 197.

Before long it was April and as has been the case for the last 15 years there was the trip to Australia’s capital and the Canberra Marathon. All my family travelled down to see me finish my 200th in a respectable 3.40. I also ran my 100th marathon there. The first 100 took 12 years but there was a pleasing negative split for the second 100 that was achieved in 6 years. Not sure if I can repeat that time for the next 100 marathons. Although the more relevant concern might be if I can run another 100 let alone consider how long it will take.

The marathons plans for midyear were significantly interrupted by an operation to remove some lymph node cancers at the start of May. It was expected to be 5/6 days but complications had me in hospital for more than 3 weeks.  So the May/June marathons were missed.

I ran my next on the 12 July at Dolls Point with very little training. More like fast walks as training and anyway who knows my fast walks are slow at the best of time. So walking training for a marathon was not that helpful but still I managed 5.26.

A few weeks later at the start of August I ran (and I use that word rather loosely) the Centennial Park Marathon that was part of a larger ultra event. It involved many laps of the park that is forever changing things to see with other runners, bike riders, families, walkers, families enjoying picnics and horse riders. Lucky there was a lot to see and watch, as it was the worst marathon of the year in 5.50. I never felt ‘good’ from the start and soon adopted a run/walk approach to just survive and finish.

There were then three more marathons in successive weekends. The Tan in Melbourne, Glenbrook Trail Marathon in the lower Blue Mountains just out of Sydney and then Mudgee. The times were great but they were improving.

Then the following week off to the Sunshine Coast in Queensland for the 6th marathon in 6 weeks and fitness for running was going well. I finished in 4.09 for the quickest of the year and an age group win and a pair of running shoes.

Dubbo was the next weekend for the 7th in 7 weeks. Something was not quite right for a disappointing 4.54 and somewhat of a struggle.

Since the operation in May my PSA was being measure every 3 weeks and since the operation it had been stable. The in early September it doubled in a month. This raised concern. So deep and meaningful conversation with my specialist took place and it was decided that it was time to have hormone therapy. This had been talked about a while ago but we both thought it was years off but because it now became the next option.

So I received the injection a few days before the Sydney Marathon. It is given in the backside and it was still painful for the marathon and for the first time in 14 Sydney marathons I was over 4 hours in fact a 5.25 where I was walking before 20k. One that is best forgotten for the time but one to be remembered for how I just stayed focused on a finish no matter what it took and it took a lot. It was just a minute faster than my comeback marathon at Dolls Point in July. I was back where I started post op.  

I ran another 4 marathons to complete the year at Western Sydney (4.40), Melbourne (4.44), Batemans Bay (5.13) and Carcoar (5.19). Each was a challenge as the side effects from the hormone injection took hold. Loss of energy easily fatigued and weight gain. All these effects were working against training and running marathons.

In all 20 marathons for the year finished on 215.

The hormone injections will continue each 3 months. In the New Year I will start chemotherapy that has its own side effects. So it maybe quite a challenge but I plan to be at the start and finish of as many marathons as I can. I may have to resort to a run/walk race plan but if I believe I am still able to finish I suspect I will be at the start.

It has been an interesting 2015 that presented some challenges and no doubt 2016 will present a few more. I hope I am able to overcome them and enjoy some events with my many running friends.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Carcoar Marathon: 5.19

I was pleased to start my 5th Carcoar marathon in very pleasant cool conditions. But that lasted about a 1k when the coolness was gone but not feeling hot either. For a few hours the weather  temperature was not an issue. There was some cloud cover and a light breeze that could be felt at times that kept the conditions pleasant for longer than expected.

The course is perhaps the toughest road marathon we have. Trail marathons like Glenbrook are tough but I consider that a trail run. this is more a road marathon that is sometimes on sealed roads and at other time on dirt roads.  Glow Worm marathon is out on its own for being so tough and brutal for any marathon I have run. Running Wild has runs that maybe tougher but they are mainly in trails and I have not run them so no comparison can be made. 

With where I am at, at the moment this was never going to be quick due to a significant lack of fitness. I got what is expected with a very slow run but at least I was not last but not far off it. A long way for 2 years ago with a 3.36 and 6th overall. Maybe I will get back to that running I just need to fix a few things.

In some weird way I enjoyed the marathon not because it was a pleasant experience but because I knew it was going to be a huge challenge because of my fitness. Despite the 5 hour+ finish I thought I managed myself well and got a time that was probably close to my fitness level for the course. I was steady to start with and  ground out the tough bits with a much running as possible. 

I was satisfied with being able to run the last 7k after walking the long steep hills past where there had been forest but has now been cleared. That is the last long steep hill. I walked that and thought about and reflected about what has been a very difficult year with my illness, a long period in hospital after the operation and then the recent death of my father BUT you know what I was running a marathon, not at home in bed or the like.

I am feeling okay with myself and life. Some days are better then other but really that applies to all of us. .

Oh by the way the flies were a real bitch this year. 

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Carcoar Marathon next Sunday and some thoughts

This marathon is on Sunday. An easy and beautiful 3 hour drive from Sydney over the mountains. 

Am I ready ? No. 10 days ago I ran the Batemans Bay marathon and today was the first day I have run since. And that was not a run but no more than a jog around the Bay. I don't want to blame anything because it is me that has not got out of the house in the morning. I just don't have the energy or desire. I want to go out but it just does not happen.

Could be the side affect of the hormone treatment that is permanent.

I am back to 2 little voices in my head. That takes me way back to my drinking days. At the moment one says go and run and the other makes excuses (either real or imagined) that I should not and at he moment the 'not run' little man is winning except for this morning, thankfully as I felt much better having jogged the Bay. 

I am not sure how I can get on top of this issue and I want to. Maybe some professional help like I did all those years ago.

Carcoar is a tough hilly course so I know it will be a real test and I will have to use all the experience and will power that I have to finish. I don't need fingers crossed but just a positive frame of mind to get the job done. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Marathon at Bateman's Bay

This is a new marathon, first time it has been held and off course I could not resist the temptation and so I have entered and supporting it. The event supports Ovarian Cancer that is a very worthy cause.

Bateman's Bay is an easy 4 hour drive south of Sydney on the south coast of NSW. I have travelled south often but not usually as far as this so it will be interesting to travel through a part of NSW that I do not travel often. 

Not a step of running since I crossed the finish line in Melbourne Marathon last week. I am okay with that as it could be considered a nice taper. I have no idea about the course, hills, flat or a combination. Whatever the combination it is still 42.2k. I have no expectation about a time but under 5 hours would be fine. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Melbourne Marathon 4.44

Perfect weather. Organisation as far as I was concerned was okay.

This was never going to go near a repeat from last year when I ran 3.24. I was just hoping I would not have the issues I had at Sydney and the resultant embarrassing time. I am okay to run a steady half but fatigue sets in soon after that. I may be running the half a but too slow but at the moment I am prepared to run the first half at a 4.30 finish and see what happens in the second half. 

I ran the half in about 2.17. A slight fade in the second half for a 4.44 finish. Whilst I reflect on what I was running last year I am disappointed with the time but when I consider this year I have to be pleased I am running and under 5 hours is okay - just okay. Last year if it was over 4 hours it was disappointing.

How expectations have changed over 12 months.

One next weekend so that will be an interesting morning down at Bateman's Bay. 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Melbourne Marathon on Sunday- lets just get it done and move on

With my health not good and then the death of my father last weekend and his funeral on Tuesday this marathon has not even been a thought until I checked my flight booking etc this morning.

On 2 short runs since the last marathon 2 weeks ago. 

Mind and body are definitely not on and in the Melbourne marathon on Sunday but I will be at the start line and expect some hours later to enter the MCG and over the finish line. 13th Melbourne Marathon and 213th marathon. I should know how to manage myself between the start and finish to just get a finish for this one.

Nothing heroic for me on Sunday. Last years 3.23 is just that last years time. A lot has happened in the year and I am just pleased to be at the start line with the expectation to finish. Time: just under 5 hours would be nice.  A few more to run this year before some time off to regroup my mind and body for what I hope will be a much healthier and quicker 2016. 

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Western Sydney marathon # 212 and 4.40.36

Another Western Sydney Marathon completed I'm Saturday morning. About 18 degrees for the 7.00 am start and 28 degrees when I finished.  It was warm but for me (perhaps at my pace) it was okay. Attention had to be paid to hydration and water on the hat but as I say manageable. 
My energy levels fluctuate significantly these days and the onset of fatigue during a marathon cannot be predicted. 
So I now start a marathon thinking of the worst case and then just run on how I feel and take what comes. Nice surprise for this one was a 4.40 and an pleasant 45 minutes faster than Sydney 2 weeks ago. The improvement has nothing to do with fitness just the ebb and flow of the body with hormone treatment that is now permanent thing in my life.
I only ran 3 times since Sydney and each of those was just 7k or so. I used the same plan as for the Sydney marathon and that is try to get to half way in 2.15 and look forward to the challenge and adventure of the second half. Not my usual pacing style but that might be the way it is for the time being.
Anyway I held on in the second half much better than Sydney. I did consciously slow down on the 4th of the 6th laps and maintained that slower pace fairly well. A couple of weeks and then Melbourne and the following week a new one on the far south coast of NSW at Batemans Bay.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Sydney Marathon 5.25 - Oh dear!!!!

Another great event that for me as regards organisation had no issues. Personally a marathon that I would like to forget as regards time but one I will remember for just hanging in there in difficult personal circumstances. 
Number 15 completed to remain a Blue Line Legend for another year. I hope the rest of us made it as well.
Short story is I started off with my great friend Jane the 4.30 pacer and in my present circumstances thought that might be a stretch but was prepared to give it a go. I was never in from and always as planned just behind. Nicely through the half in 2.15 and at that stage 4.30 was going to be very difficult and the second half was going to hurt. I did not know at the time just how much.
The heart rate was never up at all during the race. It was never above a hard walk. After 25k the legs just become so fatigued that running was painful and slow. No more details are needed another than to say the last 17 k from 25k took just over 2 half hours. At times my running was just barely fact enough to pass slow walkers.
A good lesson in just getting the job done no matter what. No comparison to the 3.31 from last year. I just hope sub 4's have not gone for ever but that might be the case with the hormone therapy medication I am now on for the rest of my life. I wonder if yesterday was a window into my new running life.

Medical Update

I have thought long and hard and spoken to a close friend about whether I would post about my latest developments. Is there a right and wrong thing to post about. I don't know and I don't use social media very often. So what is acceptable and what is not? t. 

That question has promoted me to post. The PSA almost doubled in the three months since I was last tested. A doubling in 6 months raises concerns and will warrant some form of further treatment being undertaken. With me there was no option at the moment but to commence hormone replacement therapy HRT. That will continue for the rest of my life or until I decide to cease it because of the side affects.

Cancer arising from the prostate feeds on testosterone and so this injection ceased the production with the expectation that the cancer will not grow, I had th e first of the 3 monthly injections today (between court, picking up my race number and a meeting). Deep into the muscle so a sore backside. Not sure how that will affect the marathon on Sunday but then again it was not going to anything memorable except for how slow I will be.

I am okay. I accept I cannot change the past and there certainly is no benefit in being concerned about the future, I can't change that either. So just be in the moment like we all should be and value what happens on a daily basis.

Side affects. Many with varying degrees as we are all individuals. But the future is likely to result in me being fat, fatigued and forgetful but to what degree that will only be determined in time. So if in the future you happen to see an overweight, slow and confused runner in a marathoner it might be me.

As I said I am okay and being fat, fatigued and forgetful are fine as long as I am not just alive but engaged with, participating in and enjoying life. With that in mind my family (there adult children and partner) are all off to Europe at Christmas for just on 4 weeks in Italy, Austria and Gemany. Leaving late Christmas Day. I will be back in time to start the 2016 marathon season with the Australia Day marathon in Brisbane and hopefully many more marathons during the year and the following years.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Mudgee 4.20 and Sunshine Coast 4.09

I seemed to have missed reporting on Mudgee due to a hectic week with clients and Court appearances. It was overcast and wet and my time continued the steady improvement since the operation. 

Last Sunday I was at the Sunshine Coast and ran this marathon for the first time. An out and back section and then 3 loops with each one returning to the start/finish line. I have no issues with that set up or any other really. 42.195k is that distance no matter how it is structured. It was pleasant to have turn arounds and see the field before and behind a few times. Also the crowd and cheering is confined to a smaller distance and there was plenty of support.

Started of behind Mark the 4 hour pacer and told him before the start I would hold on as long as I could. That is how it worked out. 

My 5k splits until 25k were all 28.xx and I was feeling okay but knew that was my limited and the last 15k would be a matter of holding on and not slowing too much. I felt the slow down and sure it enough the times started to show the slowing as Mark cruised away and his balloons getting smaller and smaller.

The slow down could have been much worse with the final 3 x 5k splits being 30.51, 30.35 and 31.33. So the sun 4 hours that was never likely evaporated with the 3 minute or so blow out in each 5k.

Still I cannot complain as it was my 7th marathon post op and 6 in 6 weeks. 

Dubbo next week. It is a tough course and the weather can be hot so I maybe lucky to better 4.09.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Week in review and Mudgee Marathon

The week as regards running has gone well. I ran as usual on Wednesday, Thursday and this morning. I do the same runs each week (I know boring but ...) and the times have been coming down over the weeks although the perceived effort is the same.

Today was my just under 14k loop that has plenty of hills in the back half. Go out too fast and suffer badly no the run home. Anyway 2 weeks ago i ran this loop in 94 and today 81. Huge improvement and pleased that fitness is returning. Today I felt okay running this quickly whereas over the last few weeks just running at a much slower pace was a real struggle.

Mudgee on Sunday. No chance and no hope of getting under 4 hours. So in the first time ever in this event not a 3 something finish. Weather seems as if it will be runner friendly. Hoping to be comfortably under 5 hours

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Glenbrook Marathon # 207 : 5.33

What a great morning for running with a great course with forever changing scenery. Always challenging whether it was on the narrow winding technical sections in shaded rainforest deep in the valleys or the exposed hot dry sections that were also technical to the long up hill inclines and off course downhills on the dirt roads through the National Park.

Yes it is all within a National Park about 50 minute drive from Sydney central in the very lower lower Blue Mountains.

It was very chilly at the start but that was soon forgotten as the hard steep uphill climb commences within a k or so of the start. It is a congo line up the winding track that cartooning gets you warm quickly and quite breathless.

I ran almost the whole by myself and was happy with that. I was very happy to be in the moment and take into account the surroundings and not be distracted by conversation or music. Amazing how quickly 5 odd hours can go. 

My aims were under 6 hours and to run all the way including the long inclines. Achieved both so I was pleased as it goes well for my plan to start GH 100 miler in a few weeks. I do not need to be quick but to be able to stay moving forward to 27 odd hours anon longer than the cut off of 30 hours. 

Next weekend Mudgee. One of my favourites. I was there for the first one in 2001 and have run 12 before this one. All have been under 4 hours. I doubt that will happen this weekend bit I might just start out at 4 hour pace and wait for the crash and burn slow down. Still If I am expecting it I will not be supervised when it happens or the slow time. 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Week in review and thoughts on Glenbrook marathon

I can tell the routine of life has returned to usual as I am now running marathons weekly. The routine might have resumed but the times are far from the usual of the recent past.

This week the usual recovery after the marathon. No running Monday & Tuesday and then 2 days of 10k and a longer run this morning of 14k. Noe are quick but each were quicker than on the same day last week for the same run. Perhaps my recovery is getting quicker and maybe following form that I am getting a bit fitter as each week goes by. 

Trail marathon in Sunday at Glenbrook in the lower Blue Mountains. No plan or possibility of challenging for quicker than 4.45. Last time when I was fitter I ran about 5.30 so at my best and the weather might be a factor, the same time would be a good result and no worse that 5.59 - hopefully.