Friday, November 26, 2010

Feeling festive!

Not much to report really. I'm enjoying the feeling of starting to crank up into the running after spending so much time traveling. The routine is nice! But, the other thing that I've noticed is that even though life is extremely busy, it's feeling festive. I can almost feel the morning runs followed by the all-day consumption of food that is usually associated with the Christmas to New Years period...... lucky I'm running or it would be very detrimental to my waste line.

Seriously looking forward to the weeks break. Not as in the "I'm going on holidays to Europe" break (because we all know that turns out to be busy as you try to see EVERYTHING), but more in the "Once I've done my morning run, I'll be lucky to move today other than to go to the fridge" break.

Oh, and then there's the Ashes tests to watch. Who could go past 5 days of cricket?

Cooommmme onnnnnn Aussie!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A well deserved rest? (or possibly just sheer laziness.)

Following the City 2 Surf in Sydney, I mentioned that my C2S time was crazy and I didn’t think I was that fit so it must be a fast course. Well, it seems that the truth is half way between me being fitter and the course being faster than expected. I decided to test the theory by running the City to Bay in Adelaide (12 km) the day before we flew out to Croatia. Based on my C2S time, I was desperately hoping to go 48:00, but didn't think that it was actually realistic......
I got 48:04. (I wonder if I can do the marathon trick and ignore the seconds?). But, I'm certainly very happy with my middle-distance fitness at the moment; anywhere close to 4:00/km is super fast for me!

So, I thought I deserved a bit of a fattening, lazy holiday. Even though I took my running shoes with me to Croatia, I only managed to have 3 runs in 2.5 weeks - two in London and one in Croatia. My two rave runs would have to be along the Thames to the Tower of London, across Tower Bridge and back, and along the foreshore in Porec (northern Croatia). Both stunning for totally different reasons!

Speaking of Croatia, if you want an amazing place to go for a couple of weeks, it's amazing. My big piece of advice would be to make sure you get to the interior of Istria (the northern state) - the scenery is stunning and they harvest truffles and make wine there....... need I say more (other than that I put on 2.5 kg in 2.5 weeks)?

Work has meant that in the 4 weeks after my return I only had about 4 days at home, with work taking me out of the state for the rest of the time. I've found it hard to get in more than 1-2 runs a week during that time, but I'm now back up to 3-4 per week. I'm hoping to hold that and be comfortably running 40-45 km/week again by Christmas, which on current form should be fine.

I'll try to download my trip photos and post a couple soon.......

Until then, run well!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Slow month.

August was a slow month. After the explosion of a start at C2S, I had a week off to recover, then got back into it expecting to finish the month strongly. Then I got a massive man-flu that had me on the couch unable to move for a week (yes folks, it's true, Bayden actually took time off work!), followed by a few more days where a rest stop was a mandatory requirement for making it up a set of stairs. Pretty garbage month for km's, only making 75 km for the month!

But, all started to come good for September and last Friday I went out to do some intervals. I managed to get out 2 x 1200 and 2 x 800 in reasonable times (~3:45-3:50 pace) for at total or 9 km and only left half a lung on the track.

Then, with the impending City to Bay less than two weeks away, I went out on Monday to see if I would make the distance. So, I set out to hurt myself for 10 km to see what I could do. I was pleasantly surprised to do it @ 4:08, leading me to believe that the 2 weeks off running over the last month hasn't hurt my fitness too much.

So, the plan goes like this:

1. Spend the next 10 days running exactly like I did before C2S (why change a good thing?);
2. Run the City to Bay and aim for a make-or-break PB (48:00 fro 12km) and yes, I'd rather try and break than not try; and
3. The very next day get on a plane for a holiday in Croatia.......

Yes, you heard right, I'm planning on lounging on the shores of the Adriatic Sea drinking beer for a little while.

YAHOOOO!

Oh, and I'll take my running shoes to add another couple of places to my list of "exotic runs" ;-)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Happiness.

Had a week off after the C2S to let my legs recover. That meant I was super keen to go out running again last week, leading to one of the most pleasant runs I think I've ever had on Saturday afternoon. After all the rain and cold weather we've had of late, it was amazing to run along the beach for a nice 20k in the sun (and I did it @ 4:49, av HR 139!). My spirits were well and truly up and I figured that life is pretty darn good all round.

How can people not love to run?

Oh, and the rest of life is pretty good too ;-)

Now I start to sharpen up once again for the Adelaide City to Bay (12km) in 4 weeks time. I'll put it out there and say that based on my C2S effort I'm going to have a crack at 48:00..... even if it cracks me!

Monday, August 09, 2010

Ah-hem.... what the?

How the? I'm confused about how THAT happened (but more of that later)!

As you would know, I ran the City 2 Surf in Sydney yesterday, along with 80,000 other people. Being that this was a new race for me, and I was a little concerned about the legendary "Heartbreak Hill", so I drove the course from the half way point on the Saturday with my friend from Sydney. Turned out to be a good thing, because I identified a false summit about 3/4 of the way up so I knew not to push too hard at that point!

I started the day relaxingly early, catching the bus to arrive at the start line 1.5 hours before the gun. It gave me time to have a bit of a warm-up and a good stretch before dropping my gear at the gear-truck and lining up in my start group. I was sincerely glad that I applied for a place in the first starting group, because lining up an hour before the gun I was only 10 rows back from the line, and within half an hour there were about 6,000 people behind me in my group alone!

But, 30 minutes before the race it went a little wrong - I decided that I needed to go to the toilet badly enough that I wasn't going to make it to the end..... So, wasting my good start place I jumped the barrier and bolted to the port-a-loos. What I'd forgotten was that I was in the first start group and that there were 60,000 people starting 30 minutes behind me - they were ALL lining up for the toilet. Then I heard the call over the microphone 15 minutes before the start to "close off" my starting group, so heart racing I bolted back to the line and went back over the barrier into my group. A good warmup, but unfortunately I was now over 1,000 people back from the line.......

But, from there all went really well. The gun went off and I just followed the crowd, concentrating on finding clear space to run in. The first 2 km was predominantly rolling hills and I felt good about the ups and downs evening out for pace. I was pleasantly surprised that the first 2 km went by in 7:50, because my target pace was 4:10/km and I was feeling good at the faster pace. The next 2 km was a bit slower at 8:13, still withing goal time. But then it got strange; a mix of downhill and flat made the following 2 km 7:16. I was stunned, and convinced that the km marker must have been missplaced!

Then came the hill. I stuck to my plan to pace myself up the hill and keep my HR at 170, because I knew that I could hold that for the 1.5 km of the hill without distroying myself. What REALLY surprised me was the pace that this gave me: the first km of the hill was 5:06, next was 3:58!

Then life got REALLY weird. The next 3 km were rolling and included a couple of nasty little hills at the 10 km mark (that I thought were actually harder than heartbreak), but I still pumped them out at 3:32, 3:54, 4:16. Then the downhill began........... making the 12th km 3:20.

Doing some mental maths (which I had the space for because the downhill was letting me rest, even at that pace) I realised that my goal time of 60 minutes was in the bag as long as I didn't break a leg. What I then realised was that if I managed to hold the pace for the last 2 km I'd actually have a shot at the 55 minute cut-off to qualify for preferred entry into next year's race...... So I flogged my guts out.

With 400 m to go you do a 180 degree turn to come along the beach and look at the finishing line - I could see that gun time was in the 54's. Nothing like some incentive! I started to grunt it out while thinking of relaxing and running properly. Tick, tick, tick......

As I crossed the line the gun time ticked over to 55:03...... by my watch that gave me 54:44! Now I'm just waiting on the official time!

So, I'm extatic, but surprised. I was worried about the last 2 kms, because I thought I would fall apart from the earlier pace, but I managed 7:16. Apparently I'm running faster than I expected at the moment.

But, I think it's also a fast course. If you put in the effort to do the hill training that allows you to maintain a reasonable pace up the hills, the downhill stretches more than make up for that loss. The test of this theory will be the City to Bay in Adelaide in 4 weeks - it's a flat 12 km course. If I can't hold a similar pace, the Sydney course must be a fast one.

As for the event itself, I can see why people come back year after year. It was a great course, brilliant weather (which apparently never varies), well organised and a total buzz. I would, however, suggest trying to get into the first start group - the traffic jams of people later was simple stunning!

Besides, who can argue with running a great event and then drinking beer at Bondi?

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Ok to go....

Off to the C2S on Sunday. Looking forward to it because:
1. it's a race I've never done before;
2. I feel like I need a race to make up for the fact I won't be running a marathon this year as planned; and
3. I'm feeling pretty good coming in.

Ran home last night - 14 km @ 4:22. Considering I'd had a hard day at work and was carrying a heavy back pack, I reckon that's pretty good because I want to go somewhere ~4:10 in the race.

The other thing that makes me feel better is that I've thrown off the mental hoodoo of "Heartbreak Hill". I've looked up the course profile and compared it to my local hilly circuit that I do....... and it's worse! Not even Heartbreak is a nasty as the nastiest stretch of hill from home.

Nice.

Good luck to all running the C2S this weekend, but most of all, good luck to Scott breaking 2:40 in Townsville!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Feeling fine.

Had a good run today. I decided that rather than a traditional long run I should do a practice of my race in 2 weeks. So, I set out for a 13km circuit over hills to see how I'd go. I also wanted to get an idea whether my goal time was realistic.

The course I ran this afternoon includes ~3.5-4 km of steady uphill, with two sections of ~1.4 km. Not sure how consistent Heartbreak Hill is, but I suspect that between these two sections I've now got a rough idea of what it'll be like to run uphill for 1.5 km. And, overall, it felt good!

I was thinking that I would aim for sub-60 minutes for the C2S. I was thinking ~4:10 for the non-hilly 12ish km, ~5:00-5:30 pace for the hill. Today I ran 59:43 for the 13 km, so figure my goal time is about the right mark.

So, this week is some more hills and fast tempo runs plus a slow 20 km on the weekend. Then, next week is an easy week before a fun weekend in Sydney!

Looking forward to it!