Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wagga Wagga marathon - 5th in 3:23

I had a great time down in Wagga Wagga. My family are just over an hour away in Culcairn, so I lined up a visit to coincide with the marathon.

Apart from a few hiccups, the organisation of the race was really good and it had a really friendly, low key atmosphere. The course has a bit of everything and was harder than I was expecting.

The family farm had quite a bit of rain in the lead up to the weekend and all the dams were overflowing which led me to think that the Murrumbidgee may be a little high - which it was. Some course alterations were required, however as I didn't know the course anyway, I didn't listen to the instructions and planned to follow the person in front of me. Bad move.

After 250m there was an arrow pointing left and 2m in front was an arrow pointing straight. The whole field went straight. I had a feeling that we may be going the wrong way however I thought we may be doing a short out and back to make up some distance due to the course changes. We kept going and going and I was increasingly doubting that we were going in the right direction (we were going anticlockwise around Wagga instead of clockwise). After a while a bike rider told us all to turn around. The end result was after 1.8k running, we had only covered 250m of the course - not a good start.

For the 1st 10k, the course goes beside the river and then heads through some urban areas. My pace here was good averaging around 4:20/km and I was having thoughts of a sub 3:10 run. I was by myself, with only 7 or 8 runners in front. I then turned a corner to find a pretty solid hill. With the next two splits being 5:24 and 4:59, I knew this wasn't going to be a fast course.

The next section to the half way point is mainly off road through bush and farming land. It was all quite interesting - going over a big Hill with a great views, behind houses, single track, fire trail, through grassy fields and even a couple of stiles to jump over. We even needed to bend over to scurry through a 4 foot high storm water drain at one point that lead under a road. It was really starting to feel like a journey and an adventure rather than racing a marathon. There was heaps of flour on the ground to help with navigation and it was definitely needed - I was constantly looking for the next marker to tell me where to go and was often relieved to see the arrows to confirm I was on the right track. I wasn't feeling all that fresh and things were beginning to become a little labored, but I was definitely enjoying it.

The next 10k after the half way point was really nice running in the bush around a loop of the golf course. It had a couple of solid climbs on fire trail and then some really nice weaving single track that the local mountain bikers would enjoy, that lead to the top. The final climb tops out with the reward of a really nice view of the town and 2 really fast downhill k's on the other side. The final 10k was tough as all marathons are, but the scenery was nice weaving in and around the river all the way back to the start. I was struggling through here and desperately wanted to slow down, however the challenge of beating the first female home kept me motivated. There was alos many stiles to climb over which were very hard on fatiguing legs.

The finish came surprisingly soon as the organizers must have made a change to the course to allow for the extra 1.5k we did at the start. I finished in 3:23, the 5th person home with 42.6k on the Garmin. Nice.

I have to say I really enjoyed the day, the event and the town. The organisation was really good. The course marking was great and must have taken a long time to do, the water bags as always were fantastic, the course had everything and was a real adventure, the volunteers were plentiful and friendly and the family loved the BBQ and playground at the end.

I have already penciled this one on for next year. 

Friday, July 08, 2011

Gold Coast Marathon - missed again

"Marathoning is like cutting yourself unexpectedly. You dip into the pain so gradually that the damage is done before you are aware of it. Unfortunately, when awareness comes, it is excruciating."
John Farrington, Australian marathoner

After missing out on a sub 3 hour marathon last July by 55 secs, returning for revenge this year was never far from my mind. My prep had been pretty good since building up for sixfoot in March. Whilst never doing huge k's, the weekly volume was a very consistent at around 70-80k. Adding 1 or 2 quick sessions per week saw some significant PB's from 5k to half marathon being achieved and indicated that something under 3 hours should be fairly achievable. A 36:43 10k 4 weeks out from the marathon made me consider chasing a quicker time of 2:55 - 2:57 however a minor case of man flu caused me to be conservative and target the 3 hours.

As I stood on the start line, I was confident and content that I had done enough in training to get the job done. I was well rested, fully tapered and ready to go. Marthon paced runs in the days leading up to the race were very comfortable. I had a race plan and was committed to it. 6 x 5k splits of 21 minutes (4:12's), going through half way in 88:37 and 30k in 2:06, and hold on from there. Roger was happy with the plan and decided to come along for the ride.

So off we went, knocking out 4:12's. Tick, tick, tick. It was quite humid early on, but when a slight wind picked up, it freshened up. 5k splits were knocked out in 20:56, 20:57 and 20:54 reaching 15k in 1:02:50. Race plan was going well however I did have some slight doubts as the legs seemed to be ever so slightly heavy. I brushed it off and kept on with the job with the next 2 splits being done in 21:02 and 21:00, going through halfway in 88:31.

The 26th and 27th k's told me that it was time to concentrate. The effort required to knock out 4:12's was now resulting in a 4:15 and 4:16 min k's. Nothing too alarming, but I needed to pay attention. I went through the 5k in 21:11 reaching 30k in 2:06:10. So the first part of the race strategy was executed to near perfection, now it was money time. 53:50 to cover 12.2k.

It was at this point where I caught Steve Moneghetti, the 3 hour pacer and navigated the 2 ever so slight rises of the course - the bridge over to Southport and the rise up to the race precinct. It was a busy area with lots of spectators and Steve was getting a lot of cheers. It was at this point last year that I started to struggle and the way I was suddenly feeling, it was like de je vu all over again. I was very frustrated and annoyed, but determined to battle on. I pulled ahead of the pacer group and tried to keep the pace up. The pace now was in the 4:20:25 range, with a 5k split to 35k of 21:47. Turning around at the top part of the course with 5k to go, I knew I needed to maintain sub 4:30 k's, however all I could manage were 4:31. 4:33 and 4:32 and I was feeling the sand slowly slipping through the fingers. I was in huge amounts of pain. Each k felt like 5. Time seemed to stand still. If only I could up the pace ever so slightly I was in with a shot in the last couple of k's. But alas, there was no pick up of speed and no sprint for the finish, just the overwhelming desire to stop running that would only be satisfied by the finish line.

So I missed the sub 3 ever so slightly for the second time. Disappointed? Obviously yes, but to my surprise, not dramatically so. In my habitual low mileage way, I prepared well, planned well, executed to 30k well and fought as hard as I could in the last 12k. I just wasn't good enough. I am going to have to face facts that in order for me to run a sub 3 marathon, I am going to have to pull my finger out and simply train harder. Longer runs and bigger mileage.
"You have to forget your last marathon before you try another. Your mind can't know what's coming."
Frank Shorter

The plan was always to get the sub 3 marathon before dipping the toe into a 100k race later this year and for a few days I toyed with the idea of giving up on the marathon. But after some reflection I have recommitted myself to this bloody stupid arbitrary distance we call the marathon.

"No more ultras till the sub 3 is done".

5KM 0:20:56 0:21:03
10KM 0:20:57 0:42:01
15KM 0:20:54 1:02:56
20KM 0:21:02 1:23:59
25KM 0:21:00 1:44:59
30KM 0:21:11 2:06:11
35KM 0:21:47 2:27:58
40KM 0:22:39 2:50:37
Finish 0:10:32 3:01:09
Half Way 1:28:26 1:28:34
Finish 1:32:35 3:01:09

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Back into it

Mon: rest
Tue: 5 x 6k long run around Manly done @ 4:46, 3:53, 4:49, 3:59 and 4:49 pace. Very windy and a bit of rain. 2nd threshold rep was tough. Glad that is over. 30k in 2:13 @ 4:28
Wed: 10k easy in 4:51
Thu: 10k including 5k @ 3:51
Fri: 10k @ 4:32
Sat: 10k @ 4:26
Sun: Easy 30k in 2:34 @ 5:04 around Narrabeen Lakes

100k in 7:40 @ 4:41.

Glad to have got two long runs in this week. Gives me something to taper from ast least. Friday and Saturday runs felt very good.

Race day strategy will be to knock out 6 x 5k's of 21 mins getting me through halfway in 88:35 and 30k in 2:06. From there it is hang on! 54 mins should allow enough time for 12.2k.

Monday, June 13, 2011

10k PB 36:43, but a terrible fortnight

Mon: Rest
Tue: Massage with Tiger and 10k @ 5:11 - feeling dead - was supposed to be threshold run but body not cooperating.
Wed: Feeling like sickness coming on so had a day off.
Thu: 10k @4:49. Not quite feeling 100%.
Fri: Rest
Sat: 10k PB in 36:43 (a 48 sec PB from last week) at the Sydney 10 at Homebush.

I had felt really lethargic like I had the flu all week and the warm up was terrible and felt laboured. I was disappointed as the plan was to go for sub 37 to make the most of the current fitness in the last race before GCM.

The first k which is a nice long slight downhill surprisingly didn't feel to bad and I was surprised to run it in 3:26. I went through 2k in 7:03 and was feeling OK. Amazing. It must have been the enforced rest during the week. The next 3k were all done in 3:40-3:41 pace which had me half way in 18:06 (27 secs faster than 5k PB of 6 weeks ago). The final 5k was pretty uneventful other than giving it everything and maintaining ~3:45 pace. Looking back at the splits, it was really an amazingly even split race and I don't think I could have gone any faster on the day.'

Sun: 0k. I was planning an out and back on the Nosh course - no racing - just wanted to take it easy and not overdo the hard racing. 6 races in the past 6 weeks and 6 PB's was enough. Unfortunately for my long run, I unexpectedly needed to look after my nephew on Sat evening and all day Sunday.  Leaving 3 kids with Mrs Hamburglar was not really an option. No problem I told myself, I will just do my long run on Tuesday to catch up...

Total for the week: 33k

Mon: rest
Tue: 16k @ 5:10 - up to North Head.  Felt awful and decided to cut it short.
Wed: 7k in 4:52 - yep definitely sick. Lungs full of crap. Turnaround and go home.
Thu: Another rest hoping to get the long run in on Fri.
Fri: rest. Lungs still crap. Made myself rest.
Sat: 5 days without Mrs Hamburglar (in Singapore) means 24 hours a day dad and virtually no running till next Tuesday. Snuck out for a stroller run 11k.
Sun: no run.

Total: 34k
Was planning two big weeks and got nothing. No long runs, no key sessions. And this was meant to be the crescendo of the training??? Ironically I had the run of my life right in the middle and was contemplating a revised marathon target. This week's lack of training has meant the end of that train of thought. Just focusing on sub 3 now. I will smash myself this week including a long run on Tuesday and Sunday and then have two weeks taper. Hopefully not too much harm done. *deep breath*

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Nth Head 10k PB - 37:31

Mon: Rest
Tue: 12k easy @ 4:41 - shelley beach
Wed: 10k including 5k at threshold i.e. 3:53
Thu: 19k medium long run up to North Head @ 5:02
Fri: Rest
Sat: Striders 10k at North Head - 37:31
Sun: 32k long run @ 4:49 - last 5k done at close to marathon pace i.e. 4:14

Total 85k @ average pace of 4:38

Good week of training, getting all the key sessions in. Wednesday's threshold run was good as the pace is getting faster and still feels reletavitley comfortably hard. Very happy with the PB and can't really believe that I am now a mid 37 runner. Was aiming for a PB (37:53), but with the hillier course of Nth Head, I was not confident. I aimed to maintain 3:45 min k's for as long as I could and got off to a good start being 10 secs in front of pace at the turnaround (3k). From here on, I couldn't get the splits to be below 3:45, although they weren't far away. I gave everything on the last k which is slighlty downhill. The legs and arms seemed to be going every direction and I was surprised to do a 3:31 last km for a 37:31.

Felt very lethargic on sunday's long run which was the STaR starting at Drummoyne. There were apx 15 of us in the 6:20 group travelling at a pretty good pace including Flakey and Johnbo. I ended up by myself with 7-8k to go and decided to see what marathin pace felt like on tired legs - answer was not too bad, so pretty happy.

A few more good weeks like that will see me in good shape come Gold Coast.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Manly to Palm Beach

A different week of training this week. Only 3 runs, but 100k.

Tues: Was heading out for an easy shortish run however the legs were feeling surprisingly fresh after SMH, so I decided to go long. The training is obviously going pretty well however I am a little short on long runs. I thought it may be a good opportunity to sneak 2 long runs in this week with Manly to Palmy on Saturday. Headed up to North Head, back through Fairlight and then a loop of Manly Dam going clockwise. 28k in just over 2.5 hours @ 5:29 pace. A thoroughly enjoyable run on a magic autumn day.

Thu: 12k shelley run including 5k at threshold in 19:33 (3:55 pace).

Sat: Manly to Palm Beach - 60k in 5:50 (a 3 min PB)

After attending Striders awards dinner on Friday night (and listening to Bryce Courtney), I was a little tired upon waking Saturday morning. Seris was putting on a BBQ lunch on at Dee Why after the run, so I decided to start my 60k in Dee Why and run to the start in Manly. I was a little slow down to Manly as the first 5k split shows, before quickening the pace when joined by the rest of the guys. There were 7 other starters including Sailaway, Johnbo, Slug, couldhavebeen, StephenJ, Brian, ozsprouts and RunMikeyRun. Buzz and Sportsman slept in!

It was a magnificent day - warm and sunny - the perfect day for the run. Sailaway and I were slightly dropped at Queenscliff when we decided to walk the stairs and dropped again as we walked Dee Why hill. I let Sailaway go as I got some supplies at my car. So I was at the back of the pack all by myself with 50k to go! After 5k, I caught up to the pack and we ran together most of the way to Palm Beach which was great. Some of the guys didn't know the way so had to wait for me from time to time.

Johnbo had left his car in Narrabeen and so after a quick stop at Palm Beach cafe, we said goodbye to the others and headed South. Sailaway was struggling so he caught the bus back instead of running. The Manly to Palm Beach split was 2:48 which was a minute slower than last year.

Had a good chat to Johnbo along Whale Beach Rd. I was feeling pretty good, but there is a few hillier sections here that slow you down. Johnbo decided to call it a day at Avalon and caught the bus back to Narrabeen. So I was all alone. And pretty happy. I got the ipod out and enjoyed the perfect day. 18k to go. I got through the hillier sections of Newport, Bungan and Mona Vale which left me 10k of flat to finish. I must say that mentally this is easier than facing the hillier finish into Manly at 55k.

I was trotting out 5:30 min/k's and was struggling with general levels of discomfort and a stitch. With 5k to go, it all seemed to disappear and I flew home. Really satisfying to finish off a long run like this so strong with the fastest 5k split of the day. I felt like I was flying and I could run for ever.

5k splits were:

5k - 29:08
10k -27:14
15k - 27:22
20k - 26:25
25k - 28:35
30k - 29:59
35k - 29:49
40k - 33:14
45k - 31:09
50k - 34:13
55k - 27:43
60k - 25:06

A quick dip in the ocean before heading up to Seris' for lunch. Blue Dog cooked up some great burgers and we had a couple of beers. Seris's house is amazing. It was a pity I couldn't stay longer.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

SMH PB - 83:08

Mon: Rest
Tue: 12k including 5k @ 3:57 around Manly
Wed: 18k in 5:11 - down to Manly and around Manly Dam looking for Killian - didn't find him ;-(
Thu: 10k easy shelley run in 4:48
Fri: 10k easy shelley run in 5:29 - felt like the tin man
Sat: Rest
Sunday: Half marathon PB of 83:08.

3rd PB in three weeks. Sub50 picked me up at 5:30 and it was cold. We parked at the Domain. I had a Vinnies jacket and throw away gloves so no need for a drop bag. The preferred start was easy. The goal was sub 83. Unfortunately I had my garmin set on auto pause, and it paused under the corkscrew. I therefore thought I was going extremely fast early, when in fact I was behind pace. Realised the error at 5k when I was 20 or so secs behind pace. Never really picked up the time. I would get back on track and then fall behind when a hill would slow me down. Sub50 was with me until about 8k and then dropped off. The section from Hickson to Macquarie St was tough and I couldn't really lift the pace through the Art Gallery section. Just missed out on a sub 83, but it was a ~45 sec PB.

Splits were:

5k - 19:31
10k - 19:36
15k - 19:57
20k - 19:54

Total for the week - 73k in 5.5 hours @ 4:40

Sunday, May 08, 2011

10k PB

Mon - rest (shagged from Sunday)
Tue: 10k to shelley including 5k @ 3:57
Wed: Easy 12k around Manly @ 4:46
Thu: Was meant to be a medium long run, but got busy and ran out of time
Fri: 10k Shelley run very easy in preparation for Saturday.
Sat: 10k PB - 37:53. I was very interested to see what I could do after last weeks 5k PB. I wasn't expecting a PB, but would be doing what I could to break 38:10, the previous PB. Sub50 who isn't running heaps of k's at the moment indicated that he would be around 38 mins, so I stuck to him. I sat on his shoulder until 4k which was a real benefit, with Splits of 3:41, 3:44, 3:38 and 3:38 for 14:34. Realising that this was the same as my 4k split from last weeks 5k PB, I freaked out and let Sub50 drift away. Big mistake and the disadvantage of running with a watch. The next 3 k's were done in 3:47, 3:47 and 3:53, a little slower, but feeling like I could keep it up. Caught up to sub50 with 3k to go and tried to keep churning out the k's. The last 3k were done in 3:47, 3:47 and 3:50. Very happy with the PB and encouraged that there is some more time to gain with a further block of speed work and better race conditioning.
Sun: Felt awful all day after a very long and busy Saturday. Could not be bothered to even run, let alone a long run.

Total for the week was a measly 43k in 3:06 at average of 4:31 however nothing over 12k. Whoops! An encouraging PB, but a poor week of training. SMH Half next weekend and another opportunity to keep the PB train rolling on.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

5k PB

Mon: Rest
Tue: 12k including 2 x 3k at threshold (3:58 and 3:57 pace)
Wed: 10k easy to Shelley Beach at 4:44
Thu: 13k easy around Manly at 4:45
Fri: 10k very easy to Shelley Beach at 5:08 in preparation for 5k race on Saturday.
Sat: 12k including 5k CR challenge in a PB of 18:33. My previous PB of 18:51 was set 3 years ago, so the aim was to break it. A short warm up with Buzz and I was off. no one else went off at 7:16am, so I was by myself for the entire race. Splits were pretty even in 3:39, 3:42, 3:43, 3:44 and 3:43. Had nothing left at the end. Trundled back to the start with Buzz who also PB'd ~19:30.
Sun: 33k long run in 2:32 including 20k in 1:26 at marathon pace (4:18). I deceided to join Dickyboy, Tom31 and Easy Tiger for my long run to at least give me some company for part of the run. Turned out to be a hot group with Quentin, Tim, Sam and Jamie. I was only planning to run 8-10k with them as I was clearly out of my depth, however the pace wasn't as hot as I thought. In fact it was pefect marathon paced run, so I deceided to stick it out as long as I could. The splits of 4:10 -4:15 seemed releatively comfortable and gave me alot of confidence, suggesting the training id going well. We headed up Pittwater road and around the lake. Coming back through Dee Why, I got dropped. I must have lost concentration and I found myself 20m behind. I tried to catch up, but just as I was approaching, the boys took off up Dee Why hill and I was by myself. I pulled back the pace and made up a few k's by doing a lap up to Shelley and back. Good run, but totally exhausted for the rest of the day.

Weekly Total was 90k in 6:45 hours at average pace of 4:45. That is - an awesome weeks training.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter at the farm

Mon: rest
Tue: 16k North Head loop including 5k at threshold in 19:48 (3:58)
Wed: 15k easy around Manly Dam and Keirle Park (5:19)
Thu: 24k around Manly Dam, Fairlight, Little Manly, Shelley Beach with Leigh (5:38)
Fri: 7k recovery run down the driveway and up the lane way at the farm (5:16)
Sat: Ran out of sunlight and missed the scheduled run - whoops
Sun: 12k to bridge over Billabong Creek including 4 x 1k intervals in 3:40, 3:39, 3:41 and 3:39

Total: 74k in 6:20 (5:19 average)

Pretty good week. Quite happy with the threshold and Intervals sessions which are feeling a little more bearable. The long run with Leigh was tough toward the end. Leigh bonked 5k from home and we needed to slow down however I was feeling it as well after 2 hard days. During the run, the Heart Rate went through the roof when I kicked a snake and he went rolling along the trail. He was only small, but it scared the hell out of me!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

12 weeks to GCM

After a good week of running at Port Stephens, I came down with the flu. Nothing too bad, but enough to keep me off the streets. It just wouldn't go away and in the end I didn't run for 8 days.

Felt much better this week and notched up 84k:

Mon: 10k easy to Shelley Beach (4:58)
Tue: 14k easy to North Head (5:11)
Wed: 25k long run around Narrabeen lakes in 2:03 (5:01).
Thu: 7k easy to corso (5:29)
Fri: Rest
Sat: 11k including 4 x 1k with 90 sec jog recoveries in 3:48, 3:41, 3:33 and 3:38. The first rep was into a strong wind and 3rd was with a strong wind.
Sun: 16k easy to North Head with Paul and Leigh (5:16)

7 hours of running in 5:04.

12 weeks to GCM doesn't seem very long however I feel I have a strong base already and am ready to start some harder/faster training in weeks ahead. Sub 3 hour marathon here I come!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Port Stephens

Headed up to Port Stephens last week with the extended family which was great. A really big house with a great pool, close to the beach (One Mile) and surprisingly close to some good trails which I explored throughout the week.

I had been struggling with a sore throat and had a couple of days off including the Sunday and Monday that we were there. I headed out Tuesday to explore the Tomaree National Park. I had a quick look at the map and took off. I should have taken a better look at the mao as I got lost on numerous occasions. Great fire trail and then single track around the coast to Fingal Bay. I then ran along th ebike path for a few k's and then turned westward . This is where I got lost. I lost the trail and ended up bushbashing to the top of a big hill to see where I was. This was no help as all I could see was km's of bush in front of me. I was now out of water, no phone and no money. To back track would take hours so I perservered as to my great relief came across a firetrail that lead to Nelson Bay golf course. How did I get here? Anyway, I trudged home and was very happy to get a glass of water. 24k in 2:22.

We headed over to Dutchies beach on Wednesday which is on the Bay side. Gorgeous beach and gorgeous weather. Everyone headed back after lunch and I deceided to run home via Nelson Bay and Shoal Bay. I went back through the Tomaree National Park and found the track that I was planning to take the day before. I entered from Shoal Bay via Gowrie Rd and found a wide open flat dirt Road that went all the way back to One Mile beach. Great running, but very exposed and hot and I struggled after the previous days run. 13k in 1:15

Thursday, Rachel decided to join me and we went exploring. We drove to Shoal Bay and headed up the Tomaree headland lookout. We walked up in 14 mins. Awesome view. We then ran back down and followed the trail along the coast exploring Zenith, Wreck and Box beaches before returning back to Shoal Bay. Nice run along some good trailas and deserted beaches. Great place Port Stephens! 7k in 1:03. Friday saw Caty coming with me this time and we decided to explore Fingal Bay and Port Stephens lighthouse. To get to Port Stephens lighthouse you need to cross at low tide. We were a bit late and needed to wade through ankle deep water. I was hoping that it wouldn't rise too much by the time we returned. Once we crossed the spit, it is a couple of k to the lighthouse. The water on our return journey was about the same level. Our shoes were already wet and full of sand, so we ran along Fingal Bay beach and back via the bike path. A nice run. 9k in just over an hour.

I headed out for the last of my Port Stepen runs on Saturday. I left One Mile beach and headed for Samurai beach. Miners would appreciate that Samurai beach is a "clothing optional" beach. Not exactly my cup of tea, but I was keen to "have a look" so to speak, at the area. Interestingly enough, you can actually camp on Samurai Beach and I don;t know any other beach where this is allowed. Other than a few nood old blokes, there wasn't much to see. I headed up onto the trails, to agian explore some more of Tomaree National park. I was in the middle of nowhere when I spotted a couple walking their dogs. I found it interesting as the fire trail was a long way from any houses or access points. I was surprised to find that it was Robin Cameron and husband going for a long walk! Another good run in the bush. 15k in 1:25.

A great week holiday with 5 great runs and 68k. Loved it.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

4 x 1k - blah

After an easy week after sixfoot where I impersonated the tinman all week, it was back into it today. Focus is now on SMH Half and Gold Coast Marathon.

I haven't done speed work all year, so I was interested to see where I was at.

Reps were done in 3:43, 3:48, 3:48 and 3:54 (90 secs jog receovery).

A terrible session. It was hot and humid and I struggled. I still must be recovering from sixfoot as those splits aren't much faster than my 10k pace.

Ar well. It is a start.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sixfoot 2011 - a blow out

I worked out my splits for 4:30 two months ago. I poured over the data and convinced myself that 1:23 to the river was the number to hit. Last year I did 1:29 and ran 4:44, so it sounded about right. As time passed, I got to the start line with about 1:18 or 1:19 split in my head. How that happened I don’t exactly know. Brain washing by BMMC I think. “Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t...” said Rod. Well this time it didn’t.

My plan was to stick with Rod to Megalong Rd and let him go after that, however I really needed to be on the front row with him at the start. I was on the 2nd row and before I knew it 30 people were in front of me on the way down to Nellies. I knew Rod would be gone and to try and chase him would be silly, so I sat back and decided to do my own thing. I found myself behind Robcos and Scambullant at the top of the stairs. Scam rolled his ankle pretty bad, but seemed to be OK. There was some argy bargy and heated name calling behind us due to a slow descender not letting anyone past. I reached the Nellies sign in 10:23.

As we got onto the fire trail, I went past Scam and found that Robcos had taken off, but within a few k’s I caught up with him and we ran together. I remember Rob saying that there were a lot of people taking it out quick and would be paying for it later. Little did he realise that he would be describing us in a few hours. We caught up to Dave, who informed us that it was only Rod and Cedric in front. I let Rob go and stopped for a quick pee break just before Megalong Rd, which I reached in 39:10.

Just after Megalong Rd, I passed Cedric and could see Rob and Rod heading up toward Pinnacle Hill. I got a split of 60 secs on Rod as he went over Pinnacle Hill which I reached in 47:56. It was nice comfortable running down to cox’s by myself, with much of the track in the shade with a nice cool breeze. I crossed Cox’s in just under 1:19 and was feeling great. 10 mins faster than last year. This 4:30 was in the bag!

I walked up Mini with a few short running breaks. Jo0066 caught me just before the cattle yards and we walked for a while together. However he seemed pretty strong and soon left me on the steep section toward the top. I thought he might run well and I was pretty sure he would not be seen again.

Over Mini and down toward Alum where I passed Robcos who said the hornet was just up ahead. Unfortunately, I was starting to feel a little more fatigued than I was hoping along this flat section. It brought back memories of 2009 (a bad year) when I started to struggle at this point. As the track pointed up and I started to walk, my legs immediately gave me indications that they were not happy and I started to feel the race slipping away.

Slowmaniac then powered past me in an impressive display of hill walking/running. Soon JoJoB also went past showing me how to do it as well – very impressive stuff. Spud also caught me just as I reached the top of Pluvio which was in 2:45 (3 mins behind 4:30 pace).

Optimistically I was hoping that the legs would come to life on Black Range and I would run with Spud, however this proved to be simple fantasy and off he went. I was done. DJB, Tropic and Jo Be also came past. I was hardly moving, shuffling when I could and walking the rest. At one point Scam was just behind me, but it took him 3-4k to catch me – talk about the geriatric Olympics!

I got to Deviation and it didn’t get better, with the left knee/ITB starting to buckle and my guts were gone. vstaR passed here and GarthMc caught me just before Caves Rd looking strong. Go girl then caught me just before Binda Cabins before we caught Tropic Thunder who was staggering like a drunk. It was only 4k to go and I was dreading the final descent. My legs were mashed and was going to be painful. Bmac caught me just as we reached the top of the hill and she put 4 mins on me in the last 2k as I had to hobble down. TooKeen passed me just before the end and missed out of 5 hours by secs.

In the end it was a very disappointing 5:01. I was feeling very confident of a good race however it wasn’t to be. This race does my head in. Next year I will be smarter and prevail. Yeah right!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Manly Dam

As I am home a little more, the Manly Dam loop is becoming a much more frequent part of my weekly routine. I ran it 4 times last week. It is a great loop with lots of variety i.e. good single trail, fire trail, up and down hills, views etc.

It is an 11.2k loop, which I used to struggle to break an hour on when running easily. I always get round in under an hour these days, with a PB of 57:45 set yesterday evening. I used to have a few walk breaks on the steeper hills, however I run the whole way now without a problem. Just for future reference, I will post the splits...

Section 1, includes the 1k bitumen section to the start of the loop at the Hydro lab and a couple of k's of uphill single trail, through the kids playground till the start of the fire trail (18:03 - 5.39 pace)

Section 2 winds downhill for a couple of k's to the creek - all on fire trail (27:25 - 4:47 pace)

Section 3 is a short (800m) section with 50m elevation (32:49 - 6:33 pace)

Section 4 is a 2k undulating single trail section parallel to Wakehurst parkway which is lots of fun. Lots of up and down/ left and right (44:05 - 5:28 pace)

Section 5 is the 3k downhill run to home including 1k on the road. Lots of fun (57:45 - 4.23 pace).

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Knapsack 3 hours

Running 3 hours in brand new Australia Days boardie from BigW - bad idea - the chaffing in the shower yesterday afternoon was unbearable.

Other than that, I had a great day. Not knowing the course, I had the rough idea that if I could do the 4.55k loops in 25:40, I could do 7 laps and sneak under the 3 hours in order to do one more. I had no idea how easy or hard the loop would be however it turned out to be a good goal, and kept me honest all day.

The splits were as follows:

1) 24:36
2) 25:30
3) 25:29
4) 25:24
5) 25:41
6) 25:57
7) 26:33
8) 29:00

Total of 8 laps (36.4k) in 3:28:10.

I was a minute up after the first lap, however I felt as if I was pushing too hard. I felt as if I was fading on the 2nd and 3rd laps and the pace would be unsustainable however the 4th lap was relatively easier and I was still a minute or so in front. The 5th and 6th laps went by OK and I started to pass a few people who were doing the 6 hour. The mental games were much easier after 4 laps as I could count down the laps till finishing. I had to run the 7th lap hard to get under the 3 hour mark, it was touch and go all the way and I was relieved to come through "the shoot" with 45 secs to spare.

I really loved the course, lots of cool single track which was mostly runnable (I just walked one section each lap around the 1.5k mark). The bonus was that it wasn't as hot as expected and it seemed as if 90% of the course was in the shade. The cold water at the aid stations was great and the food afterwards was a bonus.

Very happy with the run and shows the training is going in the right direction. Felt very strong towards the end, just as I did at the end of Bogong to Hotham.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Bogong to Hotham (Langford Gap) 2010

Upon reflection, this years run was probably the most enjoyable days running I have ever had.

I decided to only go half way (i.e. to Langford Gap) this year. The last two years were tough and really knocked me around. This year the focus is sixfoot and so I thought a tough 35k would serve me well.

The mindset is totally different doing the shorter option. In 2009 I was completely terrified and stressed about equipment, nutrition and making the cut. In 2010, I was a little more relaxed realising that I could comfortably do the distance and make the cut however it was still a hard run and a big ask. This year I just totally enjoyed it. The nutrition and pacing was not so important, I knew what to expect - I could push a little harder and see what happened.

Mr G picked me up from Holbrook on Saturday afternoon and we only just made the race briefing. We were going to camp, however it was late and we decided to check in to a motel and have a relaxing meal and a couple of beers with Brick, Animal etc instead.
I considered starting at the later start, but decided on the earlier start as it would be good to see the leaders pass me and cheer on people at Langford after I finished. Whippet delayed the start till 5:30am in order that headlights were not required. I started at the front of the group and was surprised that only a handful of people were in front as we heade along the creek. I ran to the bottom of staircase spur with DJBleakman with only 4 people in front. And up we went. Spud was close behind as I could hear the tapping of his poles. It was the 4th time I have climbed staircase spur, however it still surprises me how long it goes for. Up and up we go. Dan dropped off and I passed a couple of people and a couple of people passed me. As the rest of the race would pan out, I was by myself with no one in range. I reached the top in 1:51 in 4th place however the time was a little slower than last year. All the fast people must have decided on the later wave.

The visibility was poor on top and a little chilly, just as it was in 2009. I could see no one in front and no one behind. If this was the first time I had been up there I would have been worried that I was on the right track however it was really awesome to be running along the ridge in an isolated environment all by myself. I was pushing the pace and was in a happy place.

Across the ridge, following the trail to Ropers, then Madison’s hut and over toward T-spur. Twisting and turning through the misty alpine environment following the single trail, over creeks, around trees, amongst the wildflowers and through the grass. It was so quiet and peaceful. A quick water stop and a wave at the campers. Did I say I was in a happy place? This is probably the best section of trail I have ever run and this year I was enjoying it so much more. Just after Ropers, I caught Dave Byrnes, the first runner I had contact with since half way up Bogong. I wouldn’t see anyone else for a while yet either.

This section of trail is just a prelude to the descent sown T-spur – wwwweeeeee, down we go! Down down down. I pushed hard down here and was aiming to reach the river in 3 hours which I just missed this by a minute, however I was feeling good and ready to face Duane Spur. In previous years Duane Spur broke me and it was close to breaking me this year as well. I had forgotten how long and steep the 2nd half was, however realising that I was only going to Langford Gap made it easier to accept. I looked behind me and saw the eventual winner Stu Gibson behind. He wasn’t running, but gee he was walking fast and breathing hard. Before I knew it, he was gone. He went on to win in sub 7 hours. Wow.
Just as I reached the top of Duane Spur, a runner from Canberra joined me and introduced herself – it was Bmac from the six-foot beer bet. We ended up running through Ropers hut together and walking/running to Warby corner. It was nice to have some company here as I was having a liitle bit of a low patch. I didn’t have much time to waste however as there wasn’t long to go.

The open section down to watch bed creek was misty and visibility was poor and we missed out on some splendid views of the mountains, however it was time to put the head down and head for home. Bmac and I had some steady running before I left her for the finish. I was now pushing the pace trying to break 5:30 – the old illusive cut-off time. It was going to be close and I needed to push hard. I turned off the fire trail and on to the single track. I was whacked but was pushing as hard as I could. This section is another piece of magic trail, twisting and turning towards the aqueduct. I felt like I was flying. In reality I wasn’t, but it felt good. Onto the flat section, and with a couple of k to go I looked at my watch and knew I would be home under 5:30. In the end I had a couple of minutes to spare. Surprisingly there was a crowd waiting at Langford and cheered me in, which was nice.

The next couple of hours was hanging around Langford, trying not to freeze to death, chewing the fat and watching the rest of the field come through and head for Hotham. After Mr G (the sweeper) came through, it was on to the bus and back to Mt Beauty. A quick swim in the river and it was back in the car and head for home.
I was back at the farm at Holbrook sitting on the porch drinking a beer just over 24 hours after leaving, smiling from ear to ear. The best race of the year.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Cramming madly this week in preparation for next weekend. I ran 6 days for 71k which is the biggest week in a while.

2 good sessions of note were 18k in 1:25 @ 4:42 on Wednesday morning with Dickyboy, Ben and Leigh. We had a little look around centennial park to see what we would be facing next weekend. Pace was pretty good - not totally comfortable though.

Today's run was a great run as the sun was going down. 20k in 1:42 @ 5:10. A lap of Manly Dam in the light and a trip over to Shelley as well.

A few shorter runs this week. Hope I don't embarrass myself.

Sunday, September 05, 2010


Update since Gold Coast is that I haven't run much at all. Paced Cities marathon in 3.15, got sick for 2 weeks and generally not much running since then. I am pacing Sydney marathon (3:15 group again) and am very worried that I will be able to keep up. Luckily Ben (th eother 3.15 pacer) is very fit at the moment and will carry the group.

Ran 10k yesterday in terrible conditions at Nth head for 41:17 - a real wake up call as I am very unfit.

I hadn't done a long run since Cities. Got out today for 31k with Ben. See below. Nice run, averaged 5 min k's. It was a bit tough, but better than I thought it would be.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Gold Coast Marathon - 3:00:55

After another busy week at work I headed up to the gold coast on saturday morning with Rod, walshy and Craig. It had been another really busy week at work with many late nights. Not great preparation for a marathon however I was still confident of a sub 3.

I managed to snag Rod a late entry and so we were all running. A relaxing afternoon and an early night was nice.

Lined up at the front next to walshy and we were away. I was surprisingly very relaxed. The 1st 5k was very precise knocking out k splits of between 4:11 and 4:15 going through 5k in 21:16. I missed the 5k mat and had to turn around which cost me 5-10 secs. The running was nice. The weather was cool and the roads were in the shade of some of the unit blocks etc. The 3 hour pacing group was a bit annoying as they tended to surge and when there were 100 in the group passing you and then slowing doen it was a little frustrating.

The next 2 5k spilts down to the turnaround were done in just under 21 mins each. Walshy and I were feeling great, sharing drinks and having a chat - we were in a good place. We turned around and headed North again with the next 5k done in 21:03. The pacing was simply perfect reaching half way in 1:28:44 - 16 secs up on schedule. The 3 hour pacing group were long gone going through half way in 1:27:35 (crazy).

Walshy and I continued on to the 30k mark in splits of 21:10 and 21:15. This was under the 4:15 barrier and still putting time into the bank ever so slightly. I was over the moon and feeling great.

The course then came over 2 slight hills over the bridge and then just near the finish line. These hills seemed to knock me around a little and I started to struggle a little. This was a little startling however I was moving pretty well and had a minute or so in the bank. Waslhy looked like he was wanting to take off but held back until I insisted he move away from me. It was a little disappointing, but I was churning out 4:15 - 4:20 and I was not going any faster. The next 5k split was done in 21:28.

I was starting to really struggle and was doing a lot of self talk to keep me concentrating on maintaing the speed. I calculated that I could still average 4:25k's for the last 7k and just make it. The problem was that we turned around back into the wind. I was trying my guts out and I was moving right on 4:25's. The 5k split to 40k was done in 22:21. I could have broken 3 hours with a couple of 4:15 splits but it wasn't going to happen. I was doing everything I could to maintain 4:40 pace. The last k was extremely painful and a little disappointing knowing I had come so close.

5KM 0:21:16 0:21:24 (4:15)
10KM 0:20:50 0:42:14 (4:10)
15KM 0:20:57 1:03:12 (4:11)
20KM 0:21:03 1:24:16 (4:12)
25KM 0:21:10 1:45:27 (4:14)
30KM 0:21:15 2:06:43 (4:15)
35KM 0:21:28 2:28:11 (4:17)
40KM 0:22:21 2:50:33 (4:28)
Finish 0:10:30 3:01:03 (4:46)

Half Way 1:28:44 (4:12)
Finish 1:32:10 (4:22)

Interesting to look at the splits compared to walshy. In the end he beat me by 2 mins exactly - 16 secs from 30-35, 42 secs from 35-40 and 62 secs in the last 2.2. When I look at the pace graph in sportstracks however, it shows I was in trouble from 30k onwards - the graph shows the enevitable slowdown.

Very happy for walshy who really reaped the rewards for some consisntent hard training. Rod also had a PB of no training and qualified for Boston.

Lessons learnt: I was actually really happy with the way I approached the race. In retrospect the two things that let me down were 1) not enough k's - I tried to bluff my way through by only doing an average of 60k per week. I did enough long runs and speed work, just not enough volume 2) A really busy 3 weeks of work leading into the marathon - stressful, tiring etc. I think I have the approach right for next time. Just need to do 1-2 extra runs per week and make sure I get some rest before racing next time.

Until next time...