Friday, September 19, 2014

Preview: Sydney Marathon

Since GH run on Thursday & Friday. It was easy and felt okay. I have no niggles or blisters. Despite this I know I have not recovered. My muscles are still damaged and a few days rest and 2 easy days is not enough.

What would I like to run on Sunday. No slower than 3.59.59 as I have not run a Sydney marathon over 4. Having said that I should have a race pace plan before I start. I will assume that 3.30 is not a remote possibility because of the miler last weekend. It might have been possible if that had not been run.

Do I think I could run a 3.3x time. Best case result. I could go on I think  it will be 3.55 after a last 12k slow down as I will start off at 3.3x pace and see how long I can hold it. That should see me at 30k in about 2.26 - 2.28. If I reach 30k in that time ALL I have to do is hold on for another 12.2k at the same pace. Very much easier to say than to do on the day.

Not really fingers crossed. What happens is not luck. It is having a realistic race plan and staying with it as long as you can and if you you can't ease of and have another race pace. I think the secret is not to hang on as long as you can if it is clear you will slow down - make the decision to slow down early instead of the body do that. I believe if that happens the overall pace will be slower than making the decision to slow down early and try and maintain that slower pace for the rest of the race.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

I was reminded of this photo recently

Great North Walk 2005

I had withdrawn. Blue Dog was still in and had just left the last CP heading for Patonga. His crew thought  he might take while and so there was no hurry to leave.

Middle: Paul Arther (City to Surf winner)
Uncle Dave (Dave Criniti)

Just for the memories: My 2007 GH Report (First go at 100 miles at GH)

For what it is worth here is the report of a very disappointing result.

My preparation was as good as it could have been and I really never had an option in my mind of a DNF. Maybe foolish or maybe just wise to be positive :D

I and some others had a pleasant Friday being driven around the area by UCB and Suzanna. Thanks for that.

Powerlines now that was interesting but it was all over in about 40 minutes.

I was fine up to checkpoit 8 at about 45k although I had a slight lean and some intermitent back pain caused by the lean. Managed the two loops and only got lost one one which was my first navigtional isse for the day. The weather was warming up and the lean and pain were getting no better. The next easy section of about 20k was very difficult - the lean was more pronounced and the pain increased and did little running and was slow. From 85 to 100 I was able to run steady but with quite a bit of discomfort.

Second navigational issue was going off course in the 4k along Hamburger Hill and taking almost 1 hour instead of 30 minutes. Arrived in 14 and half hours which was much slower than expected. A quick in and out and the last 60 was started. 

Again lost direction down Hamberger Hill and again took and hour. The discomfort was increasing and it was impossible to run. So a revised finish time was set and I gritted my teeth for a loooooooooooog walk. Thoughts of Horrie last year came to my mind. I got to Checkpoint 9 managing about 5k and hour and so it was just going to be a matter of keeping going. The discomfort was manageable walking but not so running.

Blue Dog was at 9 to 'run' with me out to 10 and back. He had other things to do early in the morning and a quick calculation meant at my pace he might notget back to do them so we agreed I would continue alone. His parting last words were 'don't get lost' !!!

Steadt walking got me to 10 still with pleanty of time to finsih under 30 hours. Left 10 about 2.00am and then about 5/6k into the loop lost the course and could not find it. It was a beautiful sstary night and some pain killers I tool at 10 kicked in and I was able to run and I must have got into a trance and I thought it was said atthe race briefing there would be a chalk line across the path and I was looking for that not the white tape course markers on the trees.

A sixth sense told me I had run too far. I went back the track split and I could not rememeer the split and I had to make a choice. I did and it was the wrong one as I went up that track and could not find any makers and when comeng back I was again presented with a divided track. I thought it was were I had been before so I went left but still could not find any markers. By now I was hopelessly disorintated and lost. I just kept moving hoping to see a course maker but didn't.

About 4.15am I phone Blue Dog to tell him I was okay but lost so that there would be no panic about whether I was injured.  I just kept moving and was waiting for the sun to come up so that I could get my directions. As it turned out I had run back to the start but on the otherside of Steve Irwin Drive.

I was bitterly disappointed  :wub:  but I leanrt a lot from what occured and will not make the same mistakes again. First stay alert at all tiimes and concentrate on the course would be important but I am very new at this and so I guess you have to accept that through inexperince errors will be made. I have no idea how I managed getting lost when other runners seeing the course for the first time didn't. But thats the way it happens and just reminds me that you must stay alert all of the time.

Some positives - wet and muddy shoes for 140k do not cause blisters, what I ate and drank was fine as I had no problems in that regard, running at night alone on a course you have never seen before presnents no mental barrier and for some reason the early morning tirdness did not come. 

Geart course, great aid stations, great organisation, great bunch of fellow competitors and I expect to be back next year to smash the 100miler.  :) 

And thank you to my wonderful travelling companions Blue Dog and Bernie G. Despite saying don't come out on the course they were and doing anything they could. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

GH 100 miler : Race Report

What a great weekend on the Sunshine Coast in south eastern Queensland. The weather was just perfect maybe a touch warn for a few hours in the middle of Saturday but if you were in an exposed position a light breeze but there are not many exposed positions on the course where I was at that time. However it could have been and has been much hotter in the past.

The night was perfect. Cool but not cold and an almost full moon. In some parts that meant I could and did turn of my lights and run by moonlight. Ad then being able to seethe wonderful sky full of stars. But enough of the BOM report.

My 7th start in 8 years (missed 2012when it clashed with the Sydney marathon) The first year I was lost all night in the eastern section and got a 100k finish. Since then 6 miler finishes with this one at 27.21 just 3 minutes slower that my 2011 PB.

Before starting the race I was concerned about whether I could finish. That just shows a healthy respect for the distance and what can go wrong in 28 hours or so and also taking into account my illness that in itself is not directly impacting on my running but what might occur in the future in never far out of my thoughts. However I try to ignore them if they come along as thinking about possibilities in the future is useless. If something happens the I will deal with it then.

What I eat has changed significantly over the last few months and it is not that useful in being fueled for a marathon let alone 100 miles. That concerned me more than anything else but I did try to eat normal on Friday and was selective what I ate at the aid stations. 

I ran with a friend until 92K when her issues caused her to withdraw. I continued on alone but was very comfortable with that. Anyway I never was close to any other runner at anytime to run together. I just kept moving and watching that I was never beyond being very comfortable and easily maintainable. That really how he race went for the next 70k. Food hydration ad feet were never an issue. Same shorts and socks for the whole race, to changed on dark for something dry and warmer and they stayed until the last CP when a short sleeved top s put on for the rising temperature soon after sunrise.

Changed my shoes at 110k because they were in my drop bag. I did not need to. They were my NB road marathon shoe and were perhaps more suited to the eastern section that is very flat.The Salomon trail shoes are bit stiff to me but on the trails that are fine for me. The NB's were perfect.

I was 38th of 40 finishers. With 67 starters there was a 40% DNF that is slightly higher than the overall race's history of 35%. Perhaps arising from the high numbers of first time 100 mile starters. What was please for me was the 9.41 time for the eastern section. That placed me 25th in the field. Nice to finish strong with the medial issues I have had and the strict eating plan. That made it difficult to properly carbo load and eat during the event but it appears what I did was okay. 

I did at the time feel like I was .. well not getting stronger as the race progressed but that I was not getting slower. The last section of 12.5k was run in 1.51 at an average pace of just under 9k an hour. Not fast compared to a marathon but to me good  for the last 12k of 162k.

My race is made possible by the RD and the many people who work behind the scenes, the vollies on the day and in particular those on the CP aid stations. Thank you to each and everyone of you. Ian the RD special thank you. I hope to be at the start next year.           

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Glasshouse 100 miler : 27.21

Just sitting at the airport back to Sydney. More later.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Dubbo Marathon: 3.39.47

That completed the 21st marathon for the year. Just 4 to go being:

  •  Sydney
  • Western Sydney
  • Melbourne
  • Carcoar
It was my 9th under 3.40 and 4 have been under 3.30. Also the 10th in 10 weeks. One weekend there was no marathon to run that fitted in and another weekend I ran a double. It is certainly the best I have run in 3/4 years. I have no certain explanation as my training has been about the same but then again with marathons almost each weekend for 10 weeks there is not much training done apart from a recovery and that usually meant running easy on Tuesday. 

Then two solid days of about 14/15k. Friday and Saturday (yes I ran on the Saturday morning before the Sunday marathon) was usually about 8k and as quick as I could go around the Bay.


What a wonderful weekend in Dubbo.

I drove up on Friday afternoon with my wife ad daughter arriving just after sunset which by the way was a spectacular orange. Nice meal in town on Friday. Up early n Saturday morning for a 90 minute run around town and l the river. The after breakfast to the local Farmer's Market that had great fresh produce, local cheeses, fresh baked bred and other delights.

The off to the zoo for most of the day. What and experience.And the weather was clear and warm. Back to the motel to watch the last half of the Swans win. Dinner with a runner and his friends.

Sunday cool, clear skies and no wind.Three laps along the river That was fine it was scenic. 3.39 and happy with that with the GH 00 miler next weekend.

Home in Sydney by 6 pm. Just a perfect weekend away from Sydney. If the marathon is held next year I will be back.

Glasshouse 100 miler 

Starts Saturday morning and will take me about 28 hours if all goes to plan. But in an ultra they rarely go to plan. I know the course really well. This will be my 6th start with 5 100 mile finishes. But I still get nervous about whether I will finish and if there will time when I will need to call on all my experience and the will to complete or will it go smoothly with just the need to keep moving forward no matter what. 

All those thoughts disappear as soon as you start as you are then wholly focused on each step and what needs to be done with regard to that. 

So so pleased my running buddy 'Blue Dog' is travelling up with me after about 4 years away from the event. 

My concern gets raised when at 65 I am the oldest in the miler by 8 years. It doesn't really concern me but it does make me very determined to always keep in mind on the day the FIRST goal is just to finish and time is not relevant. Anything under the 30 hour cut off will be fine. Best possible expected time high 27's so that I am on the last 50k knowing I have plenty of time on my side. 

I will be back on the other side of this event. 

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Tan Marathon : 4.18.37

With a 9.00 am start it was warm at the start and got warmer although not unpleasantly hot. 

11 laps of the Tan that means 11 times up Anderson Hill. Not a overly long or steep but it gets that way by the 11th time up it. The Tan is an iconic place to run in Melbourne in the city so it is busy as on a Sunday morning. But that was fine this was never intended to be quick and was just a steady run enjoying the atmosphere of running with and past others who are not in the event.

This is what is said about the Tan and Percy Cerutty:

He inaugurated the run around ‘the tan’, the track around the perimeter of the Botanic Gardens in Melbourne, still used for training and races to this day. Percy’s house was nearby. One of his former top athletes, John Landy, Governor of Victoria at the time of writing (May 2005), has his house (Government House) within it. He used to scream at Landy to run faster and faster up Anderson Street Hill (part of the Tan circuit) as he thought him too lazy and lacking the killer instinct.

There was always something to see or to run around and pass and the laps just cruised by. I was not watching the pace or the lap times and just kept in cruise mode with my thoughts sometimes on the race and running and sometimes pleasantly drifting off to other places and times. 

My 22 year daughter lives in Melbourne and is on radio. I had the weird experience of being on the shuttle bus from the airport to the city in the afternoon and hearing her on air. As I often remind her I was there for her first sounds and words.

She joined me for the last two laps and we talked the whole time about running together for the first time for along time and compared our experiences at the Queen concerts. I saw them on Wednesday in Sydney ans she saw them on Saturday night in Melbourne. Before we knew it we were approaching halfway around the last lap saw the time and put on a slight sprint to get under 4.20 for whatever significance that is. It felt important at the time. 

This weekend the last of my 10 marathons in 10 weeks with a new marathon at Dubbo. I know nothing about the course and therefore have no idea about a time. It is exciting to go to a new event and new course. 

Driving up Friday for a visit to the zoo in Saturday. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Tan Marathon on Sunday

Sunday is running the TAN track in Melbourne for another marathon. Lots of laps of the iconic running venue in Melbourne.

For me marathon #190 and #20 for the year. That is the most marathons I have ever run in a year and and only 5 to go to get to my planned 25.

The body has no issues and fingers crossed it stays that way. As is usually the case I ran very early this morning before having a warm shower and a slight sleep in. Nice 4.30 pace for the 7k around the Bay.

Sunday will be steady with a planned time of between 3.55 - 4.10. If it slower i will not mind. Plan to do some of the later laps with my daughter who lives in Melbourne. That will probably be walk run and so the time might be much slower if that happens but we will have fun.


Mudgee Marathon

This article was published in the local newspaper this week:

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Mudgee Marathon: 3.35.37

Mudgee put on an absolute glorious day on Sunday. It was about 9 degrees at the start and that is much warmer than the the usual zero or below. There  was some early light cloud but by mid morning it had gone with the warming sunshine evaporating the clouds

Last week I slowed really badly in the second half and was wondering if It would happen again. I ran through the half in just under 1.47 with the hardest section over. There is along steady  climb from 10k and It is not over until about 19k. Then a long and mainly downhill run to the finish although there are many rises and falls. The falls do not help, as the race progress the speed generated (if any) by the falls seems to be never to be enough to compensate for the slowing ion the inclines. 

I kept waiting for the pace to slow and the fatigue to set in. As each k went by and the pace was being just maintained. As the race progressed towards the finish  I was becoming more hopeful that it might not occur at all or much later than last week. 

In the end I did not slow and finished in 3.35.37. Only a minute or so slower than last year. Happy.

No run today but I will ease back into a slow trot around the Bay to embrace the pre dawn. Next week the Tan Marathon in Melbourne. Many laps but I don't mind that. It is historic and I enjoy the challenge of Anderson Street hill. It will be steady on just either side of 4 hours. The following week is the first Dubbo marathon so I have no idea about the course but that should be steady as well to ease into the Glasshouse 100 miler the following weekend. Just all about survival for the next few weeks. 


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Easy 15k in damp overcast conditions

I thought the rain in Sydney had gone but no it was back this morning. Just light but enough to make running a little unpleasant. It didn't stop the rowers being out or the sun just peeking over Iron Cove Bridge in a gap in the clouds before disappearing  behind them.

I feel a little fatigued from the trail marathon but at least i am out running and enjoying the freedom and absolute basic pleasure of running. Today had nothing to to with recovery, training or anything other than sheer pleasure.
Some rowers in the far distance and one with a red light with the lights of Leichhardt Oval showing

Not clear but the sun rising over Iron Cove Bridge before disappearing behind the clouds

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Wagga Wagga Marathon : 5.04.22

Another great weekend away travelling to Wagga from Sydney.

I arrived in Wagga about 5 pm on Saturday with beautiful blue clear skies and sunshine for the sat half of the 5 hour drive down. Rain was predicted but certainly did not look like it. However t steady light rain started in the early hours of Sunday morning was still happening as I was getting ready for the early 7.30 start (provided to the over 60 runners). A slight wind required thought about the selection of clothing. Opted for tights and light hooded jacket and long sleeve top underneath. You can always take off a lawyer. I was pleased I did as the light jacket stayed on the whole time and I never felt uncomfortable. Then again I was not moving too quickly either. Shoes were not an issue it was always going to be trail.

The week leading up to the race was one where my energy levels ebbed and flowed more that usually. Partly I think being the recovery from the previous double marathon weekend. I was also very busy with work and my usually good eating routine was out late in the week. 

I felt strong and comfortable until about 23k into the marathon. Just after that the 4k of very tight technical section starts and I am not good on them. Too much of a fairy. Was also feeling a little fatigued and light headed and on reflection i was probably a bit dehydrated. Anyway not an excuse. If I was it was my fault. Just an explanation. 

I struggled through the technical section and it did not get much better from 30k to the end. I kept moving forward as quick and as best as I could but it was not pretty. I am not used to that struggle after 30 as I usually come home strong but that is what happens in marathons. 

The 5.04 finish was slower than I expected but then again the course in parts was full on mud and the going was slow. Overall this marathon did not leave any pleasant positive feeling as some do.Despite my difficulty with technical trails the run was enjoyable in regard to running through some great countryside and I did take the time to take some pics. 

Yes there were many hills and no this is not the tight technical sections. I enjoyed the rolling hills and the wide track. The technical came later and I was just in the mood at the time to stop for pictures. 

I need to recover and get mu head in a good space for Mudgee next weekend. I know the course well and hope I can fix the things I did not watch last week in the lead up. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Preparation for Wagga marathon on the weekend

The answer is none, well really I have done very little running since the double weekend 10 days ago. I thought I needed some recovery time both physically and mentally. So I have only run easy a few times. I not really concerned as I think I needed to ease off for a short while and take whatever that means in regard to the loss of fitness if any.

Last year I ran this with a friend and we finished in 4.59. She is not with me this year and so I expect to be a little quicker although the marathon the following weekend at Mudgee is more of a focus. 

Also I have been a little distracted over the last 10 days or so with not good news about the cancer. Tests etc are still being done and some more definite news might be coming late next week when I have another appointment with the oncologist.

Next week I am about to start a major detox that should last 4 weeks. It is quite tough and is being done with guidance but I am not sure how it will affect my running and training. Not the best time to start but we have decided we should try now and if it becomes too much with training and running marathons we will suspend it for a month but I would prefer to start now and maybe just maybe I can get through and the marathons without too much slowing down.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Two days two marathons: 4.25 and 3.46

Two days, two marathons, two different results and feelings. 

Saturday  was the Bridge Walk Marathon that is a very low key event aimed at raising money for a charity and most of the entrants are walkers although they tolerate us runners. 

I felt slow and was. I felt fatigued and 6 minute pace was too quick and I could not sustain it for more that the first few k's and then really struggled the whole way despite it being very flat. It was through a lot of wetlands on a cycle path and board walks at times.  Then the last 12k or so along Morton Bay.

I finished in 4.25 and was pleased to have a very tiring and really unhappy run over. It was a struggle most of he way and was so pleased to finish but I was concerned that if Saturday was like this Sunday could be much worse. There were no positive thoughts flowing after this run. 


 Bike path

Low tide on Morton Bay - finish in the far distance on the right - loooooong way 

I did  what I could overnight to rest and recover.

Sunday was the Brisbane Marathon with 650 starters as well as the company of the half marathoners  for half the distance. I felt fresh with no stiffness and decided to start off with a pace for a sub 4 finish although I thought that would not happen but it would be a nice challenge to see how long I could maintain that pace. 

I stayed just behind the 1.55 half pacer for the half marathon. I felt I was running within myself but near maximum effort. I felt that was not going to continue in the second half but then again that is why I run marathons. To face such a challenge and see what I can do mentally and physically over the next 2 hours or so. If it was easy it would not be such a challenge.  

The half marathoners finished to the left of the first lap and the marathoners went right for the second lap. I was between the 3.45 and 4.00 hour pacers and on my own with the marathoners well spaced out. For reasons I cannot explain I was feeling stronger the further the race went on BUT was waiting for that final step you take running and then without a conscious thought or decision you start walking. I kept thinking it could come at anytime and was really working the mental side hard to stay positive. 

As usual at about 30k I was in a position to know the really hard part was starting. I was still feeling good and decided that I would up the effort so as to just maintain my pace. I then started passing other runners rather easily. That is so positive and so the next 12k's just rolled by without a thought of possibly walking. 

The stats back that up. In the 20/30k split I was 191st in time. Between 30/41.1k split I was 85th in time. I finished overall 135th so I was much quicker over the last then my over all position. Amazingly I was 3rd in the 60 - 69 age group and just 30 second behind 2nd.

A week off before marathons at Wagga, Mudgee, Melbourne and Dubbo in consecutive weekends, the the following weekend at Glasshouse 100 miler and the next weekend the Sydney marathon. So a busy time ahead. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

M7 marathon: 3.29.31

3rd sub 3.30 in 4 weeks of 4 marathons in 4 weeks.

I struggled through the whole race. I never felt comfortable from the start and it stayed that way to the finish. I wavered between feeling uncomfortable to very uncomfortable. I started off just behind the 3.30 pacer who I know well and expected that he could keep and even pace so I was happy to be behind him but I did keep a check on my pace.

I started off with a pace that would get me to a 3.30 finish and just kept working hard to maintain the pace. 

Through halfway in 1.43.30 and just perfect time.

The plan was to stay with the pacer until about 30k and then assess where I was at and what I could do. The 3.30 group seemed to slow significantly on the way up a hill at about 31k and it was then that I decided I needed to be in front of the group and run my own pace and set my own rhythm.

I was then in clear space and on my own. Set my rhythm and headed for home. I was never confident on the way back that I would be under 3.30 and with k markers I was doing some maths every couple of k's and it seemed I was hanging in but it was close. It would just take a slow k on one of the hills and I knew I would not be able to get it back.

At 40k I had just over 11 minutes to make it. Clearly made it with a a second half of 1.46.01 moving from 62nd at halfway to 31st at the finish. As I have said before I am not sure where this form has come from but I will take it. The M7 course has not changed since it's start 7 years ago and this is my second quickest except for the first.

An easy weeks before a marathon next weekend on Saturday and Sunday. I will very much ease of the pace but still with the aim for both to be under 4.00 but that might be difficult on the Sunday.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

M7 Marathon: pre race thoughts

This will be marathon 185 and the 15th of the year. It doesn't seem like 15 they have gone so quickly. I have another 10 planned to make 25 for the year and my biggest ever. My most in a year was 18 in 2013. Nice when you have a long streak of injury free training and running.

Last year this marathon was my quickest for the year with 3.33.04 and I have been running slightly better recently than I did at this time last year. As a comparison last year I ran:

  •  GC in 3.41 and this year 3.26 (15 minutes)
  •  Macleay 3.38 and this year 3.31 (7 minutes)
  • Hunter Valley 3.45 and this year 3.35 (10 minutes)
I am not usually concerned about numbers, times etc but I just thought today I would. It seems by the comparisons I am running consistently quicker and hope that will repeat on Sunday. I usually have a good idea of my fitness level and despite this being the 4th marathon in 4 weeks the issue is not fitness but whether fatigue will be a factor in the last 12 ks. That might be a factor if I am too quick up to 30k. So already I am getting my head space into be very patient and being on about 3.26/3.28 pace at half way, hold that until 30k and then see what is in reserve to hopefully at worst maintain my pace to the end.

There is nothing I can do in the next few days to change the outcome. I am where I am at and it will all come down to pacing on the day. 

The end time has nothing to do with luck. It will all be about me running my own race, being focused on that and ignoring what is going on around me and what others are doing. I should do that in all the races but lest be honest sometimes we just run and are very much influenced by what is happening around us in a race. That can be a good thing or bad. At the Gold Coast once the race settled down you are often surrounded by other running at your pace although they come and go but you are very much shoulder to shoulder for a long time.

M7 starts off like that but quickly you can be alone or with a group the breaks up at a water stop and never reforms. I know I am a bit of a rhythm runner and this course despite some rolling hills is okay for me. 

The following weekend a double in Brisbane like last year. Only wish is that they are both under 4 hours. Anyway that is something think about when this one is over.