Sunday, February 19, 2017

BUMS Marathon : Manly to Watsons Bay

This is a very small marathon but official organized by my great friend Jane Trumper. It starts at Manly Wharf and hugs the coastline as much as possible with various trails and walking tracks along the magnificent Sydney Harbour. The run to the Harbour Bridge is about 22k and quite frankly for a road runner is brutal. 

I caught the 6.20am ferry from Circular Quay to arrive just before the 7.00 am start. I was rewarded with the site of a huge passenger line docking and then a magnificent sunrise. A gorgeous way to start a weekend. 





In that distance there is hardly a flat section and if so 30/40 metres in length at most. The walking paths are continually undulating up or down or there are stairs, stairs and more stairs. By the time I got to the Harbour Bridge I was cooked. That is my legs where shot and there was very little running left in them and when I did try to run it was not much faster than a firm walk. 

So it was a firm walk for most of the next 20k to the finish. But then again why would you want to put your head down and push to the finish as quick as you can and not take the time to enjoy some of the most spectacular scenery Australia has to offer. 

Starting off with crossing the Harbour Bridge, down to the Rocks (although briefly), past the Opera House steps, Lady Macquarie's Chair, Boy Charlton Pool, through Kings Cross and then a wonder through some suburbs that are the most expensive in Australia before going a coastal walk just past Rose Bay including most of 'Heartbreak Hill' through to Watson's Bay.


The finishing time was not relevant. The experience of the day was priceless.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Caboolture Dusk to Dawn Marathon: 5.57.26

Caboolture is an easy 45 minutes drive north of Brisbane from the airport. The event is held in the Caboolture Historical Village. This is a wonderful place were old building from around Queensland have been rescued, restored and placed here to form a quaint old time village atmosphere. Woven in the village is a 500m somewhat circular dirt track. We run on that track and for the marathon 84 laps and a bit.

I flew to Brisbane arriving about 1.00pm and was in my motel room just after 2.00pm and then rested for a few hours before leaving just after 5.00pm.

This marathon is part of a number of events of various distances and time. The big event is the 12 hours so they all start at 6.00pm Saturday night. That start time and day throws out my usual routine and the weather is usually warm and quite humid. This year was no different with 34 degrees at the start and high humidity.

The track is not quite symmetrical up one straight and down the other side with a curve at each end with one a bit longer that the other but being about 100m in length. It is very difficult to get a nice steady rhythm up with the continual changes and off course there is a lot of people running/walking at various paces and so you have to watch that as well.

I believe I am a rhythm (who isn’t). That is when I get into a good rhythm on a usual road course I can hold it well as my momentum works well for me and on occasions I can push through the fatigue and hold the momentum. On this course that does not happen.

I never run this event well mentally or physically but I come back each year to face the unique challenge the event presents. Also being relatively early in the year my fitness is not were it should or could be.

This year as is the case each year with this event I merely want to complete it with the least amount of mental and physical damage as possible. So I set my thoughts of setting out at a very conservative pace and was aiming to hold it the entire event and to have walking breaks but ones that I initiated as part of the race plan and no ones forced on me by growing fatigue. There is a large clock at the timing mat but quite frankly it does not take long before the memory is not able to hold the time from one lap to the next and so it is very much running to feel.

For me I set a max heart rate that I did not want to exceed and could monitor that easily with the Garmin.  That heart rate would have me running at about 7.30 minutes per k. Not fast but taking the track and weather conditions into account for me that was comfortable and hopefully sustainable for all of or most of the 42.2k’s.

A finish just under 6 hours while not fast would be okay. Last year I blew out to 6.44 and that was one ugly run. I didn’t was that pain again so it was slow and steady for this one.

I went through halfway in 2.54 and that made a sub 6 hours very difficult unless there was minimal slow down in the second half. We all know how difficult that is. But I put me head down and prepared myself the challenge I had put myself in over the next 3 hours.

The first half plan was to run 5k take a drink and walk 250m and then run another 5k and repeat. That was working reasonably well although as the marathon went on I was drinking more often and resisting the temptation to walk other than when I was letting a drink settle. I was managing to do that. The challenge would be to do that in the second half as the fatigue began to accumulate.

My memory of the second half is not as clear as it could be. I was just willing those last 42 laps to be over. I was watching my heart rate closely but not really the pace. I considered keeping my heart rate below a level was the main aim and the pace whatever it was would just flow. But at 30k I began to make some pacing calculations. I had 24 laps to go and I needed to maintain about 8 minutes per k to finish under 6 hours.

I then to pay attending to the timing clock on each lap and knew I needed to keep on 4 minutes per lap.  That could have been 4.01 or 4.59 the brain was not computing seconds that well. I kind of tuned off a bit on that and just focused on heart rate and resisting the temptation to walk other than for a drink break.

Checked the position again at 35k and did the maths and I was still needing 8 minute k’s to the end to make sub 6 hours. At least I had not lost time. Short story is that I ran the second half in about 2.03 for the 5.57 finish. I was pleased that I held my pace well over the second half and was satisfied the slow first half enabled me to hold a good pace in the second half.


In bed by 1.00 am and out of the motel and heading back to Brisbane by 4.30 am and at home in Sydney by 9.30 am.

Shoes that did not come back.


Thursday, February 09, 2017

Yes I know it has been a while

So what has happened since my last post.

Christmas, New Year and the family. They all occurred as has been the case for the last few years. Our eldest owns a cafe and pecan farm near Byron Bay and he with his partner traveled down a few s before. Our daughter and her partner are in Melbourne and also travelled to home. Our middle child and son lives at home so no travel for him.

It was wonderful to have all of the family together before two left to have their holiday. The eldest stayed and we had a very pleasant few days in the southern highlands of NSW doing a lot of sightseeing. They then had to leave to open the cafe.

Helen and I then headed off for a week in Singapore. Great city and we had a great time. The last time was about 4 years ago but that was too long to leave the wonderful experience of the city and the food choices.

No running was done in Singapore and very little over the holidays so it was with huge negative thoughts that I stated a marathon just south of Brisbane on Australia. The weather in southern Queensland at this time of the year is brutal. High temperatures and high humidity.

The 5.00 an start allows a short time to run in reasonably pleasant conditions before the conditions start to become an issues. It is the first time I have run this 2 loop course that is mainly on a bike path but a short section through the bush. I had no idea about a finishing time because of the combination of little training for 5 weeks and the weather.

Nice and steady through halfway in 2.44 not quick but trying to save something of the second loop struggle. It was a struggle but not as bad as I expected it could be for a second loop of 2.59 and a 5.43 finish.

This weekend my nightmare marathon. Caboolture Historical Village about 60 minutes north of Brisbane. 6.00 pm start on Saturday as it is part of a 12 hour event and 84 loops - that does my mind in. But I know what to expect. Back in Sydney mid morning Sunday after leaving early afternoon Saturday.


 Finish - arms down, head down but thankfully done




Friday, January 06, 2017

2016 IN REVIEW

YES YES a long time since the last post. But moving forward  or at least looking back as to what occurred in 2016

Overall 2016 was a disappointing year for running. There were really no standout highs and there were more negatives than I usually encounter. So my lasting perception is that I could do better if I can get my physical condition and mental health both improved then perhaps 2017 could be better.

Most of January was spent travelling Europe with my family. It was an unforgettable experience shared with my three children and revisiting towns and countries I lived in for about three years in the late 1970’s.

And off course my wife’s mother is Austrian family and so we spend a lot of time in the small town that she and her family lived in. In fact we could visit the farmhouse that has been in the family for centuries.

Anyway back to running …..

I did manage to run 27 marathons in the year, the most I have ever run.

My first was at Caboolture in mid February and the time 6.42 was the slowest I had run for years and it is a flat half k track. I was not mentally or physically engaged at all.  It was my slowest of the year. Although I did record a 6.45 in April but that was the Canberra Walking Festival that was almost all walked.

 There were no marathons under 4 hours and that has never occurred before and that was very disappointing.  And only 4 of the 27 were under 5 hours and that was just as disappointing. My quickest was 4.34 at the Barossa marathon in late May.  A few weeks later there was 4.39 at South West Rocks.

That seemed like I was starting to somewhat fit and mentally positive. I then started the Gold Coast Marathon with high expectations. That lasted until 18k into the marathon when I become very fatigued and could not run a step and so had to walk the last 24k. Mentally it might have been the most difficult time I have experienced in any marathon I have ever run. The agony was thankfully over 6.25 after I started.

I was shattered and needed to take time away from running. So instead of my usual July of weekly marathons, I stopped running for a month.  My next marathon was the Tan in Melbourne and with a walk/run strategy that I maintained for the 11 laps I managed a slow but pleasing 5.54.

I then had a good sequence at some of my very favourite marathons to finish the year:

Mudgee                      5.35
Dubbo                        5.39
Sydney                       5.22
Western Sydney         5.17
Melbourne                  5.19
Carcoar                       5.01

There was a blip with a marathon in mid November that was just over 6 hours. The last marathon was a pleasing 4.58. It was a nice way to finish the year. I had planned to run another but could not.

Well that was a snap shot of 2016. It was a year that had some real lows but the positive was no matter how hard or slow I ran some I stayed on the course and finished the marathon. Job done and move on to working out what went wrong and focus on the next one.

I have written the year in review for a few years now and It helps me reflect on the past year and more importantly trying to prepare myself for the coming years running. I hope to have some better marathons in 2017 and I know the main chance of that happening is to be more regular training with longer distances in those runs. Perhaps if that occurs I will be more mentally positive to face the year.


Tuesday, November 08, 2016

LONG long absence - so a brief update

I am embarrassed that my last post was in August. The months have flown and I suppose I have not posted because really there was not much to report. My last report was the Mudgee marathon where I was 5.35 and marathon #235.

I am now up to marathon #240 having run Carcoar on the weekend. 

Since Mudgee I have run the following marathons:

Dubbo 5.39
I thought I would run well but it did just not go that way. It is essentially 3 loops. Halfway around the last loop it became a real struggle with more walking that running. The time was close to Mudgee but this one had more walking in the back end. I no doubt went out too fast then lost it all in the slow second half. Sometimes you just never learn from experience. Too fast too early. 

Sydney 5.22
A much more even paced run. Still slower in the second half compared to the first half but they were close to each other. The second half was nice and steady with no walking and never felt like i would. Overcast cool weather was a huge help.

Western Sydney 5.17
About time I focused on some steady even paced halves. The are not quite even as I am still going out  a bit too fast in the first half but improving. Again ran all the way. Full sunshine so the weather/increasing heat was a slight factor. 

Melbourne 5.19
Love the race. Love the buzz of starting off with about 6000 other marathoners first the biggest marathon in Australia. People line most of the course that is on the roads (Albert Park) is a bit quiet but then again you are just trying to get into a rhythm at that stage. 

The course is flat but the wind of the Bay can be an issue. I could the conditions not really and issue. I really struggled from 32/33k (who doesn't) and it was a very uncomfortable run/walk until Federation Square and about 2k to go and the head lifts, the stride lengthens and the pace increases knowing the quicker you go the sooner the pain and agony will be over. 

Maybe out a fraction too quick and paid for it suffering at the end but not much damage done to the end time.

Carcaor 5.01

The course is hills, hills and more HILLS. There is off course 2 halves but it is useless to time one against the other as the second half is much tougher and just after 32k there is a 3k hill that at best you can only walk up and briskly might at that stage be an ask that the body and mind cannot meet.

I walked it, knowing I was bleeding time big time but not concerned about that issue at all. I just wanted to get the top and start what is an up and down section to the finish line with more down that up. I had not idea of my time. I know my overall pace but was in no way capable at the time of even guessing at a finishing time.

Crossed the finish line and someone said 5.01 and I thought they were wrong. It should not have been  quicker that any of the previous ones because the course is brutal. But I will talk it.

I have not training a lot between marathons and so to maintain a finishing time does surprise me. A few more to run before the end of the year and then folks we do it all again. 


Monday, August 22, 2016

Belated update

Yes it has been a while since I updated. In some ways not a lot has happened and in other respects a lot has happened.

So I ran the marathon on Saturday 2 July at Kingscliff near the NSW/Qld border for a charity. It fitted in well s I was running the Gold Coast marathon on the Sunday. I felt good on Saturday and ran steady in 5.25 and I felt as good as you can after it.

The next morning at the GC marathon I felt good and ran well until 18k then I just could not run and so walked yes walked the rest. The were some very focused attempts to run after that but a few hundred meters was the best i could manage. So almost last and just under the cut off with a 6.32 finish.

I have marathons planed for each weekend in July and August as I usually do. Dolls Point, M7 and hunter to name  few. I did not run and could not run. Mentally and physically I could not run. So I did not run a step in July after GC. I was not well anyway and needed to deal with that and i was just in place mentally that I had not been in before and needed to deal with that. It is still being dealt with. 

Anyway I thought maybe one way out of the deep hole was to get out was by returning to running. So early August I ran a few time mostly 1k walk and 1k run with the total maxing out at 10k. Off to Melbourne to spend a weekend with my daughter and throw in the Tan marathon on the Sunday.


It was a huge risk to start as the possibility of my first DNF for a marathon was high but I couldn't resist the temptation of running 11 laps of the TAN in an event put on by a great friend.

So with some hesitation I started with the plan to run 3k and walk about 1k of the almost 4K loop. In have run this event before and I wanted to run the challenging Anderson street hill each time. A hill and the loop made famous as the training loop for Herb Elliot and others who trained with Percy Cerutty - any way that is another wonderful story.

I have to say the loops and plan went like clockwork. 9 laps at about 33 minutes each and at then end of the 9th lap a possibility of getting under 6 hours with the time at 4.54 I could run the last two in under 64 minutes. I decided that to keep the same run/walk strategy might result in me going just over 6 hours which time is really meaningless in itself but as runner we all know little things like that can drive us on.

Anyway the last two laps all run well jogged and finished in 5.54. After just a few days running in the last week or so being the only running in the last 6 weeks I was more than a little surprised.  


No running in the week and then last Sunday the Mudgee Marathon.    Brutally cold at the start. Just below zero. Then then expected quick rise in temperature followed as is usually the case. The cut of was 5.30 and that was always going to be a huge challenge to meet. Thankfully as I have run this marathon 13 of the 15 times it has been run then I was allowed to finish in 5.35. A much tougher course that last week with laps of the Tan and this week 19 minutes quicker. 

Dubbo next weekend.    

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Short update and the ending of the 'Wednesday hot lap of the Bay'

Its been quite a while since my last entry. A discussion on Tuesday remind me that I still have a Blogg and that some do read it. I also have FB page but that is not really appropriate for reflections. At one time it was a daily entry on the mornings run. But the mornings runs do not occur daily any more and really who is really that interested in that minute detail.

So irregular updates it is.

So last posted about the Barrossa Marathon. Nice time 4.34 and a good feeling run.

I then ran 3 in 5 days at North Head. They were scenic and never meant to be quick but just to last the    3 in good shape. Each was quicker than the previous finishing with a 4.58. A week off and off to South West Rocks and a nice 4.40 at a great event that has been held for I think 35 years. 

Next weekend down to Melbourne to run a marathon and as well to spend time with my daughter who lives there and works as a panel operator and on air announcer at FOX FM. After her on air shelf on Saturday we were lucky enough to have a tour and look at the studio she works out of. Very proud of her achievement and her drive to be successful 

A marathon on Sunday that would be best forgotten. Started to high hopes of a tome at least equal to South West Rocks as it was flat and 17 laps. It didn't take long for me to realise that the mind was willing but the body was not willing. Struggle, struggle, walk some, run some. So pleased to have it over in about 5.48. Now forgotten.

Then:

  • a birthday that was very quite;
  • hormone injection and a very sore backside for a few days;
  • and the funeral of my great mate and running buddy JD.
For almost 10 years we would meet almost weekly on Wednesday at the Rowers at 6.00 am for a lap of the Bay the we affectionately called a hot lap of the Bay. The mornings run was usually r]posted here as it was the only run during the week that I shared with another runner. They did not occur as often over 2015 and not at all in 2016.

Sadly on the 16 June he took his own life. Such a shame to lose such a great person and friend in such a way. He is gone but my memory of the runs and trips we shared together will not be forgotten. 

I know he would have expected all who knew him to continue with their life and not have his death become a burden. Much easier said than done. But JD as best as I can as time moves on I will try to move on but never forget how much your friendship meant to me. 


This weekend up to Gold Coast on Friday morning. We will visit my son and his partner at their cafe and pecan farm just out of Lismore on Friday. A marathon on Saturday morning and then the Gold Coast marathon on Sunday. No idea of the time as I have no idea where the body and mind will be on the day.

I need a strong mind and body as I have planned a marathon each weekend until the 28 August at Dubbo and then a short break to Sydney.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Barossa Marathon : 4.34.50 and a review of the last 12 months

Barossa Marathon 

Well well. That time was some surprise. Hoping to run close to 5 hours does not translate into that time without having some underlying fitness. I thought I was going some over the last few weeks but doubted if I had the endurance to hold the second half if I went out much quicker than previously. 

I decided that just under 5 hours was the best time. So I ran at that pace or a bit quicker - like all runners trying to squeeze a pace a little quicker that is wise but somehow hoping it will work. My 5l splits were just on 32 minutes so a couple of minutes faster than was wise. Through half way in about 2.14 and 20 minutes faster than my usual for this year. Then I have been running (if that is what it is called) lets say the second half shuffle of 3.15 plus putting me close to 6 hours. 

The second half 5k splits were slowing but only in the 33/34 minutes range. The second half a very pleasing 2.20 for the 4.34 finish. It is a 2 loop course of a half marathon for each loop so please to be almost even after for so long being well out of balance.

Review of the last 12 months 

In early May last year I had major surgery to remove some cancerous lymph nodes. The stay in hospital was expected to be less than a week. Over three week later I was finally discharged with my planned marathons being missed. Barossa, South West Rocks and Gold Coast were all missed because I was still recovering and trying to get fit. 

Returned to marathon running with Dolls Point in early July with a shuffle of 5.26 (little did I know what was to come with regards to time). By August things were travelling well with 4.09 at the Sunshine Coast Marathon.

Some tests in early September showed the operation had totally failed as the cancer with again on the increase. No more operations because we did not and do not know exactly where the cancer is. So onto 3 monthly hormone injections to stop my body producing testosterone as the cancer I have feeds of that. It worked !!! but the side affects for me were extreme fatigue and sudden weight loss that has thankfully stopped increasing but remains with me.

My marathon time quickly went to 6 hours plus. 

I did some serious training and watched carefully what I ate over the last month. Although I was told watching what I ate would not necessarily reduce the weight as this was a hormonal issue not diet. Still I did it as it mad me mentally feel better that I was doing something rather than just accepting the situation. I have not really lost any weight but ...

So onto the Barossa and 4.34. 

Where to now. I have no idea but it will be interesting to see how far I can go (maybe no where but backwards) and how far I can get towards the 3.24 in Melbourne 2014. Not close I suspect but closer than I am at the moment. 

Another marathon on Sunday but for various reasons that will on purpose be a 5.30 jog. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Long over due update

Almost a month since my last post. Nothing reported because nothing much to report.

It said I was going to run two marathons in the weekend. Run might not be classed as running. The first was for the Cancer Council around a running track some running some walking with family and friends and completed in about 6.30.

Early next morning a 40 minute drive to the Royal National Park south of Sydney. Very scenic bushland. Happy with 6.25 but so slow !!!!!

I then took about about 10 days off with no running just to refresh the body before the June/July/August period when I have a marathon on all but one weekend. After the 10 days I felt refreshed and have had few weeks of good training. In fact maybe the best since I stated with the hormone injections last September. 

That black of good training gives me some confidence going into the Barossa Marathon on Sunday. It would be nice to have a 4.55.xx or so time. At this stage that will be the starting pace. Lets see how it goes. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A double weekend coming up


A testing weekend coming up. Bob Fickel the head of the Australian 1oo m Marathon Club has given approval for a marathon that is being run as part of the Sutherland Relay for Life (supported by the Cancer Council of Australian to be counted as an official marathon. Nice work Bobby.

So I am of for another track marathon ..grrrrrrr... Did I swear that the one a few weeks ago was the last one I would do or at least would do this year. Well not so. Maybe I will deal with 105 and half laps better that I did last time. Lets hope so.

The Sunday a trail marathon ... another of my worst nightmares when it come to running marathons. Trails and me and marathons are not the ideal combination. Give me a black surface with a broken down the centre and I am fine .. rocks, tree stumps, mud, water for ever changing running surfaces and I am challenged. A Sri Chimnoy in the Royal National Park just south of Sydney.

4th time I have run it so I know what to expect.

None of these comments should be considered as complaining just they the type of course just adds to the challenge on the day and when finished the greater since of achievement and satisfaction. If they were all road marathons I would complain wanting variety. Well I have variety this weekend.

Again time is no goal. Off course to finish is the first objective, then enjoy the atmosphere on Saturday supporting the Cancer Council with a lot of other like minded people and on Sunday the scenery on the course could not be so different to Saturday and to pinch myself at the start to look and take in some iconic Australia bush.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Marathon at Toowoomba

Another marathon yesterday at Toowoomba in south eastern Queensland. 

I have not been in that area before so it was all new. It is a charity marathon supporting Autism for children. A tough course with hills, hills and just a few more hills until the last 10k. Well organised with 4 x 10.5k loops that each came back to the starting line. The weather was very pleasant at the start but soon warmed up.

A challenging course. Very pleasant city worth the slightly less than 2 hours drive west of Brisbane.

I did not have any time expectation because I did not know the course. I was pleased to complete it in 5.52 for the 3rd in 3 weeks. A week off before an off road marathon in the Royal National Park just on the southern outskirts of Sydney.



Friday, April 08, 2016

Canberra Marathon 2002

Where has 14 year gone????


Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Canberra Walking Festival - marathon


So how did it go walking a whole marathon. Tougher than running one but in different sort of way that is hard to explain. It is not so much the time taken its definitely something but I am not sure what ...

I have to confess I did run some short parts but just to change my stride etc. I would say 40k was walked. I enjoyed the experience and know I need to do more walking in training so that it is not so uncomfortable in a race. I am sure I will have to walk me often in marathons as time goes on.

Time for hills and on a trail 6.45.02 I was pleased as all I wanted to do was be under 7 hours.

Some recovery and a few easy runs during the week before the Canberra (running) Marathon on Sunday.

Friday, April 01, 2016

Short update

I did not go away at Easter and so was able to do 4 mornings of some solid running. Increasing the distance of the run to just over 18k up from 13k. As I increased the distance each day I was able to also reduce the overall pace. Overall a pleasant break from work, some pleasant things seen and done around Sydney in the 4 days and a nice short block of training to get me back into it.

The training continued into the week with just Wednesday off for rest and recovery. A quick lap of the Bay (6.9k) in 38 minutes. I am okay with that for where my fitness is at the moment.

Later this afternoon I am back in Canberra for a WALKING  marathon. It is part of a walking festival and it against the rules to run. I have never ever walked that far and it should be interesting to see if I can do it under 7 hours. That is Saturday.

The following weekend back to the Canberra marathon that is off course all about running. No doubt during the event all I will want to do is walk.

No rest as the weekend after that a marathon in Toowoomba.  Yes the marathon season for me has certainly started.