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.

Monday, August 10, 2015

# 206 : Tan Marathon 4.45.xx

So a week later and 70 minutes faster. I can give no reason why other than it happened. At Centennial Park I felt fatigued from the start and I think starting a walk/run from about 12k to the end. At the Tan     I felt comfortable all the way. 

I did not walk a step except to get a drink. The 11 laps and so 11 times up Anderson Hill were all run - perhaps slowly but it was a running stride not walking. So no walking was the first aim - ticked. The second was to run steady. 

I really thought that just under 6 hours would be the best I could expect. The loop in about 3.9k and I thought maybe start out at 30 minutes a lap and if I could hold on that would be 5.30 or so. First lap in 27 and it felt comfortable that was about 6.42 pace. I then decided that I would try to maintain that pace for as long as I could. It felt comfortable and not pushed.

The 11 laps take well ... 11 laps. They seemed to go more quickly that the time. Anderson Hill is about 750m from the start/finish and the drink station. So run into the drink station and take what was needed and start running again and mentally prepare for the hill that is maybe 600 metres. Get to the top and it is flat or downhill to the start finish and that section is about 2k. So relax and stride out back to the start finish and repeat 11 times.

Never boring.  

All my laps were between 25/27 minutes. So steady all the way with a finishing average of 6.45 per k. Not quick but i achieved what I set out to do and as a bonus a huge time improvement.

Recover and get ready for a trail marathon at Glenbrook on Sunday. In the lower Blue Mountains just west of Sydney. So sleep at home and an hours drive to the start. 

Friday, August 07, 2015

Week in review and pre Tan Marathon thoughts

As recovery there was no run on Monday and Tuesday.  Ventured out on Wednesday morning for a lap of the Bay on what was reported to be the coldest morning in Sydney for some years. It felt okay but then again I had a few layers on, beanie and gloves.

It was a beautiful still morning with no wind chill factor. Unfortunately the run was not as pleasant as the weather and sunrise. It was to be expected as it was getting over the marathon. Thursday was another lap of the Bay and it was quicker and the body was working much better.

This morning a 14k loop that as as many long inclines and steep hills that I can find while never being far from the Bay run and touching on it in places and then moving away for some hills and back to it. It is always moving around the Bay and is quite challenging in the second half where the steep hills are found. 

I felt very good and the over pace was not much slower that Thursday's lap of the Bay that is flat and half the distance.

Tan Marathon on Sunday. Many laps of that iconic running track. No aim other than steady, as little walking as possible and under 6 hours so I have time to get to the airport and flight home. 3 in 3 weeks and not sure if some fitness is coming or I will be fatigued because of lack of fitness. Only 4 more in the next 4 weeks to go then GH 100 miler (still not decided) and then the following week the Sydney marathon. 

Monday, August 03, 2015

Centennial Park Marathon # 205: 5.50

Decided not to travel to Brisbane and run a double. At the time when I made the decision I was not sure whether it was the right one. It was. 

What a glorious late winters day in Sydney. The temperature was as high as about 25 degrees at about 2 pm. I finished just before then and did not find the temperature an issue.

It was 11 laps of the park with a 100k, 50k and 12 hour events being run at the same time. A very small number of hard heads (take that at about 5/6 opted for the marathon). Thank you to the organiser who allowed us to run even though it was not scheduled as an event.

The plan was to run about 5 hours but after a couple of laps I felt very fatigued and know it was going to be a long hard day. I then changed plan to a 6 hour finish and alternating running with walking and then trying to finish off strong. Also in the last two marathons as I have become fatigued I have commenced to lean rather noticeably and I thought moving forward for 6 hours might start to work on that issue.

So it was for 8 laps walk half and run the other half. That took about 34/35 minutes. I was lapped many times but when you are slow on a circular track what do you expect. With 2 laps to go I had just under 70 minutes to be under 6 hours. Started running - ran the last two laps both just under 30 minutes and no lean.

Another finished and hopefully some more endurance in the legs and body.

Probably in Melbourne next weekend for the Tan Marathon. I think another marathon of about 10 laps of the iconic running venue in Melbourne. I have to think seriously about the recovery running this week.

Monday, July 27, 2015

# 204 M7 : 5.05.56

I planned to run each half quicker than Dolls Point and not even splits. Idea is that I need to treat some of these early marathons after the operation as training runs. That is push hard for the first half and then hold on otherwise I will have the same intensity for the whole marathon and I don't want that at the moment.

I hoped for a 5 hour marathon with 2.15 and 2.45 halves.  I had 2.17 and 2.48 so I am okay with that as it was about as planned/expected. Also at halfway I was 141st position and ended up 138th. So despite the slow up compared to others I gained a few positions. 

What more can I say this is just one marathon on the way to getting back to a sub 4 on a regular basis. I have two choices for next weekend. Try a marathon on Saturday and Sunday at Brisbane or run one in Sydney. Undecided and I will decide by Wednesday to see how I feel. If I run the double they will be both slow and in the Sunday one I run the chance of not making the end by the cutoff or worse still a DNF.

Either way I may through my slow movement towards regaining fitness out. Maybe I should be happy to run a marathon on consecutive weekends and not put myself in a position where I could seriously injure myself or at least do some serious damage to muscles that are just not that strong at the moment. 

Friday, July 17, 2015

# 203 Dolls Point Marathon: 5.26.39

I ran this last Sunday. The weather was predicted to be cold and windy. It was but not as bad as it could have been but for me it was still a beanie and gloves for the whole event. I never felt too warm as I was not moving fast enough for that to be an issue. 

I was really worried at the start that near the end it would become very ugly. That did not really happen and whilst I was slow I was always managing the fatigue and tiredness so that I knew I would finish it was just it was taking so long. In fact 2 hours slower than last year.

I started off with Jane and we ran about 7k together but she was moving at just over 6 minutes a k pace and I know that I could not last too long at that speed so I told he to go ahead. I was happy to run alone in my thoughts. I always planed to run the first half without walk breaks and to run it as quick as I could knowing I had another half to go. 

Yes I know even splits are the way to go but really this and the next few marathons are more about training that running them for only a time. So push hard for the first half and run/walk the second half. Hopefully to finish in under 6 hours. 

Splits were not even but that was to be expected with the race plan I had. 2.23 + 3.03.

Next marathon on Sunday week. Hopefully with the same plan just under 5 hours. 

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

A marathon at last !!! Dolls Point this Sunday

No Barrosa Valley marathon
No Glow Worm Cave marathon
No Macleay River Marathon
No Gold Coast Marathon 

Life is more that running a marathon but that sums up that part of my life for the last almost 2 months. BUT I do plan to make a return to marathon running this Sunday with the Sri Chimnoy event at Dolls Point on the shores of Botany Bay within sight of the city skyline.

So what has happened to my last post. Well off course in hospital. Some post op issues that seen my almost taking up a room permanently or at least until late May. Discharged and 4 days later back in because of further complications for another 3 nights until that was sorted out.

Post op the pathology was what was expected. Of the 4 lymph nodes detected with cancer three were removed and the other could not. Post op the PSA reading had not reduced. It was expected to do so but .... not what we were hoping for but maybe the test was too soon but after the usual time. Another PSA in early September and until then just carry on life. 

Thankfully all of the post op issues are resolved and life has just about returned to normal. 

Running has not been regular and what there has been has been very slow. But I am grateful to be well enough to have a choice in the morning of whether i run or not. There may come a time in the future when I do not have that choice and I am not well enough to run. Hopefully that is a long way off in the future. 

I will take each day as it comes. Reminds me of AA and ' A day at a time' philosophy. 

Sunday and the marathon. A finish in under about 6 hours 30 minutes will be a bonus. Secret hope just under 6 hours but really i have no idea how long. It will be a run/walk strategy from early on. I just hope I have the patience as well as fitness to last 6 hours.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A frightening word

I think the word cancer frightens more people more often than any other word in the English language. The word death perhaps much less so. I wonder way? 

Perhaps because we associate cancer something drawn out, something to to endured through, something that creates a lot of suffering and pain. The suffering affects both the person concerned, family and friends and all go through a very dissolute time . Death is an end and others suffer.

I have made known my condition certainly not for sympathy however I am not sure when I think about why i have chosen to do so. Perhaps it is just an underlying life philosophy and professional requirement to be honest and transparent at all times irrespective of the circumstances or consequences. And the consequence I wish to avoid is that I place a burden on anyone who is aware of my condition. 

There is nothing that I can say or my family and friends can say that can alter where I am at and where this will go and when. The sharing may however help me on this journey. The final destination is know (and isn't the true for all of us), when I will arrive there I don't know but I know that I am on a journey like we all are to the final destination. I have just had a signal that the destination is approaching sooner than I might have otherwise expected or hope for. 

I wish to enjoy and embrace the time that I have on this journey. I wish to live in the moment and not focus or be burdened by the future. 

I might have a serious illness but I am not seriously ill. I feel no symptoms. I will not just sit and wait for the destination. Running has been and is a significant part of my life and my being. If I gave that up and waited then I would loose a significant part of my life. I will resume running and continue to run regardless of what this illness does to me. I suspect I might get slower but I will not reduce the effort I will put into it.

An operation last Wednesday and still in hospital trying to get over some complications. At the moment I just have to be patient, take the medical advice and bask in being in the sunshine again when I get discharged instead of looking at it.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Foggy morning at the Bay

I decided I would run this morning even though I ran a marathon on Sunday. I wanted to run and not recover/rest as I have the operation tomorrow and just wanted to squeeze in a run before - I guess just to clear my head etc.

It was not cold and they predicted a fog and that means what is usually seen on the clear of the morning but with a fog things take on another perspective. I was not disappointed. I took my phone and here:

Below the two Iron Cove Bridges 

The old Iron Cove Bridge not far from my place
The run was never about training just running because I can. A run for the run day. 

Monday, May 04, 2015

Sri Chimnoy Marathon about 4.55

Another Sunday and marathon. Last Sunday at the National Park just south of Sydney. 

Beautiful bush course of two laps. It isa well formed fire trail wide and runnable but I am not a trail runner at the best of time so whilst I find the scenery so so pleasant I find the running so so difficult. I believe that I am a rhythm runner - that is when running a road marathon I can get into a regular rhythm and I seem to be able to manage it. Get me on a trail where there are continual changes in the surface and stride length etc and I seem to struggle.

Perhaps it s that I don't train on trails and so I don't run well on trails. Maybe not so much of style but more to do with training. Anyway notwithstanding my perceived difficulties I still enjoyed the run

Sydney and many parts of NSW have had large amounts of rain recently. Early Saturday it was dry and sunning but by late afternoon it was raining and rained heavy during most of the night. It was certain the course was going to be muddy and wet. 

I ran with my two friends Jane and Pete and we stayed together the whole run. I did my usual of very little talking and even more so at the moment. I guess with not knowing the future it is as if I want to savoury each step and so do not want to be distracted. I need and want very much to be in the moment of running and not take my mind away from that by distractions. 

If and when I need or have to stop running I want to have some marathons clear in my mind so that I can replay them in my mind with clarity as if it was happening right then. A bit weird perhaps but that  is where I am at, at the moment. Also time was not an issue except to be under 5 hours. Perhaps that has to do with extending the experience so that it can be enjoyed for longer. 

I think Paula Radcliffe said after finishing he last London marathon a week or so ago that she did not want it to end. I guess I am thinking the same thing. Anyway with a bit of a push over the 3/5k we wandered over the finish line in just under 5 hours and comfortably fatigued. 


Thursday, April 30, 2015

Did I win?

This is the name of a book about about George Sheehan a runner and writer in the later 60's until his death 1993 aged 75 from cancer. It was written after his death and contained some of the articles written by him and comments by runners and family about their memory of him. 

The question is raised by him when he was diagnosed with cancer and prompted him to consider the question not only in regard to his running but in regard to his life in general. I must admit to asking that question of myself lately.

With major surgery coming up next Wednesday to remove 4 cancer tumours there is no doubt the sunset of my life is coming closer and quicker than I could have ever expected. There have been no discussions about life expectancy and having that discussion with the Doctor is unfair on him and would probably amount to guess work by him. It would also set a time frame for me that clearly has no foundation. 

It is no doubt however that life will be shorter that I expected or planned.

How am I dealing with that. I don't think it has really set in and I suppose at the moment it is not denial that this is happening to me but .... well I don't really know what I feel or is it a feeling of unreality. That is this cannot be happening to me. I am fit. I feel health and strong but I know I have a serious issue that is not getting better and will not be cured. 

I am determined not to let this cloud that is no over me and with me to become a burden to me or others that are my family and friends. 

So back to the question. Did I win? That is the past tense. Perhaps it should be 'Am I winning?' I think so. I have have had and hope to have many more wonderful experiences with my family, with my friends and many more running experiences that bring pleasure and happiness to me and others.

An underlying question has been for a long while has been 'Why do I run?' At first it was in the early 70's because that was what was happening in the world at the time. Jogging was the in thing. Then I stopped for a while and in the 90's when I started against was to overcome alcoholism and then I just kept running. Along the way I lost weight and adopted a 'healthy lifestyle'. I have overcome alcoholism and a healthy lifestyle is now the norm. So why do I continue to run? 

It think because I can and because I just like running of the simple pleasure of running. I feel that running will now become the way I now deal with and manage this final issue presented to me in my life. 

I am not sure if this will be read and it not written for the purpose of being read but to allow me a way of spending some quiet time with my thoughts as this journey (don't you just hate the use of that word). Perhaps it is better expressed and an experience that I am going through at the moment and along with running might be a way that I find helps me cope. I might writer often I might not so often but will write when I feel the need to do so. 

Brimbank Park Trail Marathon: 4.49.30

The weather was cool and overcast. The clouds were broken and moving in the sky quite swiftly and so there were time of bright sunshine and soon after dark clouds and rain. I guess standard for a day in Melbourne. 

The course is within a large park not far from the airport with some running in a sheltered valley alongside a river. Very pleasant. There were some steep climbs as well. Over all a very challenging course on trails but no single file stuff. At time on a bike path as well. 

So changeable weather, changeable running surface and certainly not flat.

Would I be back yes. This was never going to be quick as I just wanted to enjoy a marathon that was not on a road, was not crowded and had a friendly running surface in some trees. This one ticked all the boxes. 

I only ever wanted to finish in time to be able to hang around the finish, have a chat and catch my plane home without a rush. Box ticked on all those as well. Quite a few 100 marathon club members running with Sue O'Brien running her 100th marathon and 4th Australian woman to do so. 

Since the run to today (Thursday) have rested and not run.