Archive | March, 2011

Totally Addicted To Base

26 Mar

Now where am I up to now?

That’s it, the eighth week.

Almost eight weeks down and settled in nicely with the middle and toughest part of the program getting underway, there have been 5 weeks over 90km so far, with plenty more to come.

There has been very little fast stuff during this time, it’s all base, base, base and while I don’t mind doing intervals on my own I prefer some company so it’s time to head back to club training soon, just once a week.

I’ve still got another couple of weeks of base work planned, then I am going to get back to intervals on a Thursday night, probably best to remind my team mates of what I look like before the cross country and road season starts in May. Also I am planning on running all the XCR’11 rounds heading into the marathon, it will serve as a tempo session for the week.

Eeeep, 32km tomorrow! I am going back to the traditional Sunday morning run, I need to get used to running early on a Sunday morning afterall. Still a little apprehensive about the long runs, I shall start out nice and slow and hopefully finish strong.

Now I’ve been a bit blah last week, nothing I can be really specific about but you know, just the human condition and all that, I get through it, I don’t really do the talky thing.

Humour helps and there is nothing quite like some bad 70s fashion to crack me up. Seriously, did people really dress like this? I was born in 1973 and I certainly don’t remember anything this bad, I only remember my dad in either overalls (for work), jeans and T-Shirts or maybe slacks and fetching pastel shirt for going out.

Never a jump suit though

Make sure you read the copy on this first one, it’s the ultimate fashion climax, apparently. You’re a walking turn on….No dude, you are a dufus in a jump suit, don’t believe the hype. Ok, I’ve thought more about this, how does he take a wee? The logistics beggar belief, can you just picture him standing there at the urinal, stripped to the waist…..oh dear, pass the mind bleach please.

Bjorn is my personal favourite though, it takes a lot of man to work a pale blue jumpsuit, with optional hood (optional? How could you not!), can you handle it ladies?

I especially appreciate the shirt on the far left, dispenses with the buttons altogether, why fight it?

Bob, Paul and Steve look like they want to eat your skin

Coz Baby We Were Born To Run

21 Mar

I ran past a pedestrian crossing outside a primary school yesterday, there was a sign there urging the kidlets to “Stop, Look and Listen”, I have an overwhelming desire to change ”Look” to “Collaborate”.

On Saturday night I was watching some boys own adventure sort of show on the ABC, can’t remember what it was called but it starred Richard Armitage and he got his shirt off a few times so it scored pretty highly in my book and even when he had his shirt on it was a pleasant enough distraction.

Half naked men aside there was something else that caught my eye. Part of the plot included our heroes being tracked through the African country side by a Bushman coopted by the nasty Zimbabwean militia men. I was absolutely captivated by the ease with which the little fella tripped barefoot through the bush, it was truly a thing of beauty to watch, his running style was so light and effortless as to leave me breathless with envy, he looked (and probably could) like he could go on all day.

I suppose thousands of years of living a hunter gather lifestyle is going to turn you into an efficient distance runner.

Leaving aside the fact that I’ve never studied anthropology and don’t intend to devout hours of research to backing up my next statement, I am going to assume that my ancestry is less hunter gatherer and more agrarian. I have been built for long days in the fields, planting and harvesting crops, not tripping over the savannah in search of gazelle for dinner. The most running my ancestors probably did was half naked, into battle, covered in woad and screaming like a banshee at the Romans or more latterly away from the police and not very well because they ended up with a free one way trip to Australia.

Where as Mr Bushman is light framed and agile, I am strong and steady, I’ll get there in the end but don’t wait up for me and don’t expect it to be a study in grace and beauty.

I think we are all born to run; some are just born to make it look a little easier than others.

The real running, not just the waxing lyrical
I made it through the 30km run on Friday afternoon, no meltdown, took me 2:48. I know Friday afternoon is an odd time to pick for a long run but I had to work at 2am on Sunday morning and again at midday, this wasn’t going to be conducive to fitting in my long run.

In answer to the questions about pace and long run strategy

Yes – I intend to try some fast finish runs, however at the moment it is a job just doing them at one pace

I am now convinced that my long run pace IS my race pace, a couple of more months of this and my confidence should improve, I can’t be bothered over finessing it too much, I just try to run at what is a comfortable pace. I am not going to run at 6 minute Kms or slower, it mucks up my stride and just doesn’t feel right so I just settle in a go with the flow.

The rest of the weekend consisted of 8km on Saturday and 17km on Sunday arvo to round out a week of just under 95km.

The Final Frontier

17 Mar

For Trekkies it is space (and losing their virginity), for novice marathoners it is the 30+km run.

I’ve not made it there yet, my two longest runs so far have been 29km, one great, one not so great, apart from that I have a heap of runs in the mid 20km range under my belt so far.

It’s a bit of a stumbling block which I need to get over, obviously, it would probably help if I wasn’t having feverish nightmares of total meltdown once the 3 0 barrier is reached.

This week’s long run is 30km; it’s been nice knowing you all. Although I had a very comfortable 25km run on Tuesday night which has boosted my confidence, these mid 20s runs are becoming, as a friend recently put it, a piece of piss.

Now that I am running the Gold Coast Marathon an extra 4 weeks has been tacked onto my program, I had a few ideas about how I would handle this, I was already following an 18 week program and was worried about what sort of a toll a 22 week program would take.

At first I was thinking of putting on the brakes for 3 weeks, going back to doing sessions and cutting the mileage back, but then I decided I’d rather keep the momentum so I sat down with my diary and put together a plan to see me though to 3 July.

Every 4th week will be a recovery week, no exceptions! Weeks 16 and 17 will be a recovery fortnight, this will include a half marathon on May 28 with an allowance for a short taper leading into the HM. The extra time gives me a bit more leeway to build up my long run as well, the original plan had me jumping from 29km to 34km, now I can progress 30km, 32km, 34km which is a bit less daunting. During that time the AV winter season will start and I have a handful of road and cross country races which I will treat as the tempo run for the week.

Mileage wise I seem to be coping well with mid 90km weeks, some may creep into the triple figures but I am not striving for that specifically. I think anyone who is endurance training needs to find their sweet spot that point where you are stressing yourself enough to make positive changes, but not so much that you push into the danger zone with regards to illness and injury. For me mid 90s is something that I am handling well, I am keeping the niggles at bay but definitely working hard enough to improve my fitness.

It is also a time factor, I am not the fastest thing on two feet so I am putting in over eight and a half hours training a week already, when I am not doing that I am eating, sleeping and working full time, that’s enough I think.

Taking the good with the bad

12 Mar

Almost 6 weeks into the Marathon program now, it’s been frustrating, difficult, tiring and filled with plenty of “I can’t do this moments” but ultimately it is also very rewarding and with each run, whether good or awful I get fitter and stronger.

Wow, my long run on Tuesday was hard! Looking out the window of my office all day it was overcast with bouts of rain, I was optimistic that it would be nice and cool outside. Not to be I am afraid, I left the office and walked into a blanket of humidity, ughhhh, instant wilt.

Thanks be to Carol, it was tough to get going and one of those days where having a friend to meet up with made all the difference. We decided to run along the Bay Trail and ended up all the way down in Brighton before we turned around into a head wind for the trip back.

I don’t mind admitting that I was on struggle street, around the 24km mark I said “sorry, but all I want to do right now is sit down on the side of the road for a while and have a little cry”, which of course I didn’t, we filled up at a water fountain and pushed on. The last 4km was tough, my hammies were super tight and I have a feeling they were constantly on the verge of cramping up.

With 3 kms to go I was just thinking, 7 and a half laps around the track, that’s all there is!

Ahhh, just one of those runs hey! I was sweating really heavily in the humidity and could only get two gels down before the nausea kicked in, I am just not suited to those conditions. I felt sick until about 10pm, by then it was too late to eat any dinner :-(

When I checked the stats against the last 29km run I did, which was quite comfortable, it turned out that the average pace was the same. So two runs of the same distance in the same time but they felt completely different.

My massage on Wednesday was desperately needed, Corrie had her work cut out for her coaxing all my panels back into place, I felt pretty tender the next day, thankfully just a couple of easy recovery runs on Thursday, 7ish in the morning and 8ish in the evening.

Friday’s run was in stark contrast to Tuesday, it was hot again but the humidity much lower and I finished a fantastic tempo run of 16km. It was hard work but immensely enjoyable and certainly cleared away the cobwebs from earlier in the week. Seems that heat isn’t the problem for me, it’s the humidity that saps me.

Of course I work on a basic system of reward for effort so the promise of a slurpee on the way home helped keep the pace up over the last couple of kms ;-)

Yeah, a cup of sugar filled frozen artificially flavoured goodness, Mmmmmmmm, I make no apologies.

As I sat in the car enjoying my small slurpee it was disturbing to note the number of teenagers walking out with jumbo sized bucket slurpees, yikes! I don’t even know how they could get them down before they melt without getting a monster ice headache.

20km is on the cards tomorrow to round out a 90+ week.

Now, which race?

It’s crunch time, no word from the Christchurch organisers so I am going to have to go ahead and enter the Gold Coast Marathon. I can’t leave it too late to organise flights and my brother and sister don’t live on the coast anymore so I’ll need to book a couple of nights at a hotel and reserve a hire car, things that can’t be left to the last minute. I should be able to hold my flight to NZ over until next year as I still want to run at Christchurch.

Mmmmm Pancakes

8 Mar

It is Shrove Tuesday, the day to use up all the fat, sugar and eggs in the house prior to the fasting and austerity of Lent.

Or in my godless household it’s a damn good excuse to have pancakes for dinner.

On Saturday morning I met Cilla in Brunswick for a gorgeous breakfast at the cutest café I’ve ever been to where I had just about the best pancakes ever (and I’ve eaten ALOT of pancakes in my time!). They were ricotta pancakes, so lovely and light and fluffy and served with bananas and honeyed yoghurt so I am going to try and replicate them tonight, though I quite fancy some warm berries so I’ll buy some frozen ones and heat them through.

This of course is all contingent on whether or not I am able to stand at the stove after the 29km run I have planned this afternoon.

I also made up a sourdough sponge this morning so I’ll have to knead out the dough this evening as well, this only takes about 10 minutes though and there is something incredibly meditative about kneading dough. You can do it the mixer with a dough hook but it’s a bit jerky and noisy and to me kind of defeats the purpose of the relaxed hands on process that goes into baking your own loaf of bread and when you knead it by hand you can feel when it is ready.

I’ve got a long long weekend coming up, Yay! In a stroke of inspiration I decided to take this Friday off to make the most of the Labour Day long weekend, they don’t have Labour Day in March in NSW where the rest of my team are so no one minds. I keep trying to ignore the parlous state of my small backyard, I am sure a small pygmy tribe has taken up residence and frankly I am afraid to venture out there. I decided that in order to get it sorted I needed a goal, so, in light of the fact that it is north facing and sheltered it would be a perfect spot for a veggie patch. Hence the day off on Friday, the green bin is getting a work out, as is my back! Then I am going to get some corrugated iron raised planters and start my own little kitchen garden. I am not sure why I am coming over all Felicity Kendall all of a sudden and I am going to have to draw then line at livestock but I made broccoli soup on the weekend which I ate with home made bread and I thought, if I had a veggie patch this whole meal could have just about been made without a trip to the shops.

Yes, in order to support this eating habit of mine I do have to get a bit of that done as well.

Week 5 started off well but went a bit a awry on Sunday when I didn’t do my 29k long run, I wasn’t well on Sunday morning and by the time the haze wore off it was too hot to run and I was doing my usual tying myself up in knots with guilt thing. After a few e-mail exchanges with the learned Carol, my marathon mentor, it was decided that I should write off week 5 as my easy week, be happy with the fact that I did have two 23km+ runs under my belt for the week and a 71km total and to treat week 6 as a normal load week.

As it happens she also had a 29ker scheduled for Sunday which she didn’t do, so we are heading out this afternoon to do 29kms together. One thing that I have enjoyed with this training is playing around with convention, sure most people so the long run on a Sunday morning but that does not always work for me. I am very comfortable with fitting in the long run when ever it works, it is the core of the program and with a bit of shuffling around you can very easily structure your other sessions around it, no matter what day of the week it is done. I quite enjoy having Sunday free of the long run; this gives me my only sleep in of the week and does not wipe me out for the day so I can get on with other things. When you work full time your weekends are very important. Though I am conscious of getting some morning runs in to coincide with marathon start times so I’ll have to suck it up and get some Sunday runs done or Saturday even, doesn’t matter which.

Still no word from Christchurch regarding the fate of this years marathon. Crunch time is coming if I want to book flights and accommodation for the Gold Coast, I’ve decided if they haven’t said anything by Sunday I am going to enter the Gold Coast Marathon.

A little bit of speed

3 Mar

I did the switcheroo again this week and ran my mid week long run on Tuesday night; it was 23.3 km in 2:07:24 and most enjoyable, that’s 3 decent long runs in a row now.

My stomach wasn’t too bad after this one and even though I didn’t really feel like my dinner I ate it anyway and was much better for it on Wednesday.

I changed my Wednesday run from a tempo run to an interval session; I did some tempo intervals during my long run the night before and I couldn’t get my head around it yesterday so I decided to do something different.

Oh boy, it’s been a while since I’ve done an interval session; my poor legs haven’t been asked to go that fast for a while. It wasn’t even that full on either, just a 4km warm up, 4 by 500 metres and a 4 km cool down. The first two reps were about 2:12 each and the second two about 2:09 each.

It did feel good to run with a bit of pace again.

The constant hunger continues, it is not unusual for me to wake up hungry, but now I wake up because I am hungry, my stomach is now my alarm clock. Oddly enough my desire for foods higher up the pyramid seems to have lessened too, the body is a remarkable thing and mine is trying to tell me that it wants good healthy food. I’ve barely looked sideways at chocolate or sweets for two weeks now.

However the craving for Ginger Beer remains undiminished.

Rather than cereal and fruit this morning I tried something more substantial, whole grain toast, cheese, baked beans and avocado with Tabasco sauce on top. Delicious and hearty, but I was still looking for a snack at 930 this morning.

This leaves me looking forward to my lunch; my home baked sourdough bread with the other half of this morning’s avocado, though I’ll probably have to get some soup to go with it.

I baked my first loaf on Sunday and while it tasted good it was not a resounding success, it barely rose and was denser than Paris Hilton with a concussion. It was my own fault, in spite of knowing better I just used normal plain flour, for the second loaf I went out and got some proper strong bread making flour. This made all the difference, after 5 minutes in the oven the loaf had wooshed up and was almost touching the roof of the oven. It was everything a sourdough should be, tangy, chewy, big fat air holes and a crunchy crust. Although they take a long time to prepare, about 28 hours from whoa to go, there is only about 20 minutes effort all up. I work from home on a Wednesday so this is how I plan to get a mid week loaf.

Tuesday 6am – make the sponge starter – 3 minutes
Tuesday 7pm – make the dough, knead and shape, leave to rise overnight – 15 minutes
Wednesday 6am – shape and leave for final rise – 5 minutes
Wednesday 9am – bake

There you have it hot sourdough out of the oven in plenty of time for lunch with only about 23 minutes real work from me.

Most of the “work” is letting the dough rise, it does not shoot up like yeast leavened dough, it needs time to slowly go about its business.

I am off to the Athletics at Olympic Park tonight, one of the best 5000 metre field we are ever likely to see here in Australia has been assembled so it should be exciting, American runners Solinsky (US national record holder), Lagat (US former national record holder) and Tegenkamp (sub 13 minutes) and Craig Mottram (Aust national record holder) making a long awaited return from injury. The 1500 is a hot field too with Willis and Kiprop and Jeff Risely making a comeback from injury.

Is it lunch time yet?


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