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. 



video




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. 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Brimbank marathon

I am presently in Melboune on a cold and miserable night with the temperature about 13 degrees with showers. The forecast is for improving weather overnight with hopefully dry conditions. The temperature is expected to range from 9 to 15. I am okay with the temperature I just hope heavy rains stays away.

I am not mentally or physically prepared for this marathon. In my mind I shouldn't be here and that adds to my usual pre race thought that maybe this wil be the one that I canot finish. But I guess I have that thought for a lot of marathons and it never happens but realt this time I am in no mood to run.

That mood may have a lot to do with news I had from the oncologist and surgeon on Thursday. More about that later.

No estimate on the time as I have not run this before. Something under 5 hours would be fine. I can't be much longer as I have a plane to catch late in the afternoon.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Canberra Marathon : 3.40.53 and #200 done

Well #200 is done and running marathons can resume its usual rhythm.

The weather was just perfect for running. As I said I started off with the 3.30 pacer or at least just behind the large group surrounding the pacer. I stayed out of the group as I prefer to run in my own space. I managed to stay with the group until about 20k and I was at the time maintaining a steady 4.59 pace.

At that time I knew I could not continue at that pace and so I eased back and for the next 10k averaged 5.15 but by 30k that was becoming more different to maintain. I did not consciencly ease back but I knew I was slowing down. All I was doing was running as hard as I could knowing what distance I had left to run

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Yes it has been a while

A report about the Wangaratta Marathon and then nothing. Time and life has just got away from me. Beside I have only ran one marathon since and that was at Orange and in a time I would prefer to forget. Perhaps that is why i have not posted - it was not worth the effort to report on. It was so long ago I will leave it at 4.17.

It is now a few days before the Canberra marathon and number 200. In 2009 it was number 100 at Canberra and I have been blessed with good health most of the time to be able to run the 100 in 6 years. Where has that time gone and all that running and training. 

Training as been much less consistent of late for various reasons. Mostly a lack of focus by being distracted by other outside issues. I am still not as focused as I have been in the past and so do not train as often or as long as I did in the past but having said that I had great year last year and a very ordinary start to this year.

The training I have done since Orange I don't think is enough to get a time close to 3.30 but closer to 4 hours. BUT I intend to start at 3.30 pace and see how I feel at no later than 10k and if I know it is not going to happen then I will quickly shift back to plan B. That maybe a finish in front of the 3.45 bus if possible. 

A quite weekend. That is my family will travel with me (wife and 2 out of the 3 children). A quiet dinner with 2 of the girls in the 100 marathon club and early to bed to contemplate the achievement. A slow and thoughtful walk to the start (alone) to get my head in the right space and then ...... 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Wangaratta Marathon : 4.08 oh well better that the last 2 but ….

Not the result I was hoping for but then again I am not surprised. It was warm to seat with and got warmer. The temperature was about 18 at the start and by the time I finished a little over 28. 

I ran the half in about 1.53 but knew that pace would not last. It was all about me then waiting for the slow down to occur. It started soon after. The next 10k was run in about 57 minutes or 5.42 pace instead of the about 5.30 I had managed up to half way.

The wheels well and truly fell of after 30k with the average sliding to 7.15 per k. It seemed that pace slowed in proportion to the increase in temperature. I would like to use that as the excuse but the fact is I handle the heat well i am just not fit enough to hold my pace over the second half as I was doing last year. 

A 1.53/2.15 split shows that dramatically.

I just need to do more solid and hard training but i know that is not going to happen. It might seem that some of my runs last year might have been my high water mark and I am back to struggling to go under 4 hours. Lets hope not and that some how I get my motivation back and some decent times.

The Orange marathon is on this Sunday. I would be delighted to run 3.45 and that will be my starting pace. Lets hope I hold the back half pace better than last week. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Finally out for a 5kTT

I have not run for the last two days because well i just could not motivate myself. OR you could call it a  short and wise 2 day taper for the marathon on Sunday. Whichever it was 2 days off.

I was out this morning predawn that was warm and humid. A quick 5k is never easy and with the humidity it adds another dimension. My most recent quickest was 20 January with 20.50 and today I managed 21.19 so I should be pleased with that. 

Sunday: Wangaratta Marathon

Never run it before but I know it is really flat. Maybe a course that you can get a rhythm on and just try and tune out of the pain and just maintain it. With the last 2 marathons being more that just slow and not  much if any quality training I have no idea of a possible time or a pace to set out on. Toss a coin and say it would be nice but not likely to have a 3.3x finish. 

It will not be quicker but could be much slower. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

PSA

PSA results today. The reading has gone up significantly in the last 2 months when it should be static. Seeing the oncologist late next week which is a scheduled visit. I suspect there will be a deep and meaningful discussion about whether further treatment is now required and if so what form.

I just hope whatever we decide it does not interfer with my running but sooner or later that is going to happen. Fingers crossed much later.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Yeah not posed for a while. Health, Caboolture done and Wangaratta coming up

Running and training has been a bit 'ebb and flow' lately. Some days I feel like training and train, other days I feel like training and don't. That single unwavering focus is just not there at the moment. I am not sure why.

My health is stable and okay. Regular 2 monthly blood test today for PSA and IGF1 readings. The results in a few days and seeing the oncologist in 2 weeks to discuss the results and whether anything needs to be/should be done or are we still in a wait and see treatment mode. No use being conceded over what I have very little control over. 

Although I do control my eating protocol most of the time. On the advice of a naturopath I take certain herb and natural extracts. I don't think they are doing me any harm. Are they doing me any good? Whose knows/ My condition might have been stable without them but for he moment it is stable and I would like to believe they are having an influence on that outcome. 

Now considering mega does of vitamin C intravenously. Seeing a specialist practitioner and will discuss, take some advice and consider. 

Anyway running. Caboolture Marathon run as part of a number of longer events including a 12 hour from 6.00 pm Saturday to 6.00 am Sunday. The marathons started at 4.00 pm in 32+ degrees and high humidity. That combined with a course of 84 laps of a 500m track just does my head in. I am negative from the start and merely wanted to 'enjoy' the run. 

So there was plenty of walks and time to keep fully hydrated. Time was not relevant to I have no thoughts about a 5.47 finish. I was pleased to be back in the cool of my motel and was in bed early as I was on the 6.00 am flight back to Sydney. That one is best forgotten except to add it to the list and on occasions wonder why I will probably run it again next year. 

Wangaratta Marathon

Next week a weekend a full weekend away in northern Victoria. Flying to Albury and then spending some time in Beechworth and sightseeing Ned Kelly and his connection with the town and the surrounding area and towns. Late flight out on Sunday so I expect a short trip to Benalla for the museum they have. 

Time expectations. None as I have not run this marathon before although I know it is flat. Something around 4 hours will be fine. In fact that would be good based on the very little training I have done. 


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Australia Day Marathon : 5.03.35

Not what I expected as a finish time. Over the last three (3) years II have been just before and just over 4 hours. I believe I am as fit as on previous occasions.
 
BUT I did say that my focus etc was ebbing and flowing with large swings that have not been the case before. Perhaps on Monday I was experiencing a large ebb out and was not connected to the race. I thought I was connected and engaged and pacing myself conservatively for an even placed run.
 
That did not occur with the 4 x 10k loops being about 60, 70, 80 and 90 minutes give or take a few minutes. I got slower as the race went on but then again so did the heat and humidity. Will I use that as an excuse? No ! It is however and explanation of what was happening weather wise.
 
It was about 24 at the 5.00 am start and rose to 31 and most of the run was run in the temperature being in the high 20's and high humidity. That has not been the casein the past. Enough speculation. It done. Its run. Focus on the next one which is Saturday next.
 
Caboolture - 84 times around and around a track. I am already dizzy and am not looking forward to it. The challenge will be to run under 5 hours.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Back posting!! Australia Day Marathon

Yes it has been a while since I have posted. To say the least I have been very up and down training since the start of the year. Some days i feel like training and I do. Other days I feel like training and I don't.

Some days I feel fine. Other days I do not feel well.

The extremes, are extremes and I am not settled. I want to be settled but for some reason or reasons I am not. Therefore I am not prepared in anyway for the marathon tomorrow. I am neither mentally or physically ready or prepared. It is about 45 minutes south of Brisbane and starts at 5.00 am to miss he heat and humidity. From my experience it does that for about the first 10 minutes and then it is a hot, uncomfortable battle to the end.

Why do it? I need to keep the marathons ticking over to get to 200 in Canberra in April.

My thoughts about a finish. Despite the conditions I have for the last 3 years managed just under or over 4 hours. That might not be the case tomorrow.

Friday, January 02, 2015

Goals for 2015

  • Stay healthy and continue health eating as much as possible
  • Stay injury free by training wisely 
  • Enter the NSW Masters Championships in February and run some track and 5k & 10
  • Enter the Australian Masters Championships in April  and run some track and 5k & 10k
  • Run 5k as close to 20 minutes was possible 
  • Run 10k as close to 42 minutes as possible
  • Run my 200th marathon in April at Canberra
  • Run at least 25 marathons during the year
  • Run at least one marathon under 3.30
  • Run Glasshouse 100 miler in September and complete my 7th and 3 in a row

A Review of 2014


As 2015 starts I have reflected on 2014 and have these thoughts.

These started off with me recovering from the removal of my prostate in November 2013 due to cancer. For about 5/6 weeks after the operation I was focusing on exercises to get back for bladder control which thankfully quickly returned to normal. It was not until that was under control that I even thought about any running and that started early in January.

I had not run at all for about six weeks and it was a bit of a struggle at first but it didn't take long to be running comfortably although the distance were short and the pace was slow. I didn't have a lot of time as I had entered the Australia Day Marathon which is held near Brisbane on of course 26 January Australia Day. Training went well and despite the heat and extreme humidity I finished in a pleasing 4.07.

Two weeks later I ran the marathon at Caboolture. I find it a very difficult marathon, as it is 84 laps around the historic village starting at 6 PM on Saturday. I always struggle physically and mentally which was reflected in a 4.30 finish.

I won't go into the detail of each marathon I ran but will select the ones that were important or significant to me.

When the year started I wasn't sure how my running would go. I had daily radiotherapy for six weeks during February and March and the concern was what would be the side effects. General fatigue is a definite. While having the therapy I ran the Orange and Dolls Point marathons with no issues. That all came to an end in the Newcastle Marathon on 6 April. The weather was pleasant for about half the race could then heavy rain and wind started and continued all morning. I was running fine until about 16k when I became extremely fatigued and just could not run. My great friend Jane came along and said she would stay with me until the finish line. It was then I walk stumble progression until we finally finished last in 5.22.

I managed to regroup both mentally and physically and the following week was relief to run the Canberra Marathon on in 3.55. Boy what difference a week can make.

In the year I completed 25 marathons the most that I have ever run in any year. The previous highest was 18 in the previous year. I had last run under 3 .30 with a 3.25 at Canberra in April 2010. At the start of 2014 I don't think I had given up the dream of ever running under 3.30 again I just had not given it any thought as being a realistic goal. At one stage during the period my one aim when starting a marathon was to not run over 4.00 hours.

After camera I seemed to have gotten over the side effects of the radiotherapy and training proceeded with no injuries or niggles. The weekly total running was usually in the range of 80 – 100k and all good quality sessions. No runs over about 20 km but none under 10 km. There were a few marathons after the Canberra marathon and before the Macleay River Marathon. In fact the week before the McVeigh River Marathon on I ran the Glow Worm Marathon on in the worst time of the year of 7.11. I just cannot run trails and that time gave no indication of what was to come the following Sunday.

The Macleay River Marathon is for some reason one of my favorites. It is five hours drive north of Sydney but pleasant. The course is out and back and flat, flat and flat except for the 1k downhill at the start and of course the 1k uphill at about 40k is at the end. A 3.31 that was more than surprising and tantalizingly close to a 3.30.

Two weeks later at the Gold Coast Marathon with a vague thought at the start line that perhaps 3.30 was possible despite not having run that time for over four years. The whole marathon went perfectly finishing in a very very pleasing 3.26 with even splits on a pancake flat course.

Could there be more? Surely not!

The following weekend there was a low-key marathon at Dolls Point along the shore of Botany Bay. It is so different to the week before as in this marathon on there are not a lot of runners and for most of the time you're running alone. Surprise! Surprise! A 3.28 finish four consecutive weekends under 3.30. I couldn't make it three in a row, as the following weekend was a 3.35 on the tough Hunter Valley Winery Marathon.

But … the following weekend was the M7 Marathon at Blacktown. As usual it was a cold start with the course being the bike path next to he M7 Motorway and it is a tough course that rolling inclines most of the way. Not many flats. Nice …. 3.29.

From the Gold Coast Marathon on at the start of July to the Dubbo Marathon on at the start of September I ran 10 marathons in 11 consecutive weekends. On one weekend with no marathon and on another weekend a scent that a marathon running 4.25 and on the Sunday the Brisbane Marathon in 3.46.

The week after the double marathon I was off to the Glasshouse Mountains for 100 milers. I've had four consecutive between 2008 and 2011. I didn't run in 2012 as it clashed with the Sydney Marathon and so my streak of four ended. I was back in 2013 and in 2014 to start a streak again. I finished in 27 hours 21 minutes that was just three minutes slower than my PB.

Following weekend I lined up for the Sydney Marathon as a ‘Blue Line Legend’. Meaning I with a few others has run all of the Sydney Marathon since 2001. I finished in 3.31 despite having 100 miles in my legs from the weekend before to make it my 14th finish in a row for this marathon.

After the Sydney Marathon the marathon runs are held less frequently because of the warming weather and so I have a few weeks off before running the Western Sydney Marathon that is six laps around the International Rowing Centre at Penrith. Laps. Boring? My view is a marathon is 42.2k no matter how the course is set up it still the same distance.

I got into a good rhythm at the start and despite the weather becoming warmer I was able to hold it and finished in 3.24.49 !!!!

The following week was the Melbourne Marathon. At the start I decided I would aim for sub 325 and tried finished the year of with two consecutive marathons both under 3.25. This would be my 24th marathon on for the year and I thought I could run under 324 if I ran smart. That meant running as close to even split as I could but it is usual after 30k’s there was no guarantee that I could hold onto the pace. I went through halfway exactly on a 3.24.xx finish and knew that I had just over 100 minutes of pain and suffering if I was to achieve my goal. Most of the second half it is a blur and thankfully I finished with the best time of the year 3.24.28 and age group win in the biggest marathon held in Australia. It was one fantastic way to finish off the serious marathon running for the year.

Around one more Carcoar but it was more of a cool down than a serious run.

Summary

25 marathons started and completed

Quickest : 3.24.28 (Melbourne)

Slowest: 7.11 03 (Glow Worm)

2 under 3.25

3 between 3.25 – 3.30

5 between 3.30 – 3.45

6 between 3.45 – 4.00


9 over 4 hours