Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Touching Wood

Today Total: 8k
Week Total: 8k
Month Total: 234k
Year Total: 527k

Following Nurse Clairie and Coach Kit's advice - yesterday was choc-a-block full of ice, massage, stretching and Voltaren followed by a short sharp run this morning (sorry Wobbly I made a radical change to the BRIICE procedure and left out the Beer - all sympathy E-mails are welcome though).

2 x warm up k's in about 5.30 pace and then 4 x 500m faster efforts with 500m floats - the quicker efforts were:


Then 2k home with the last k bang on 5min pace for a total of 8k in 40.31 (av 5.04) - the middle 4k split would have been around 19.30 so I'm pretty happy with that.

I haven't done any speed work since before the Central Coast Half (4 Dec) and I didn't want to push it too hard. It was a fairly comfortable pace for the 500's and I'm starting to think post Six Foot I would like to do some short pure speedwork ie some 100's, 200's and 400's just to see....... It has been years since I have had enough confidence in the Gastroc Twins to contemplate attempting such folly.

As for the Ugly Step Sister - again I had that 'wooden' feeling on the outside of my knee for the first 700m or so and then it was fine - not sure what I'll do next - just taking the taper one day at a time.

Thanks for all the good advice and well wishes guys - they really have been much appreciated :-)

Sunday, February 26, 2006

So Far So Good

Today Total: 15k
Week Total: 35k
Month Total: 226k
Year Total: 519k

Well only 35k for the week but I am certainly not complaining - I'm thankful to still be running.

One good thing about Bathurst is the nights are cool enough to wear Skins to bed. When I woke I was pain free so started to think about a run. The Halfpenny had eisteddfod training commencing at 10am so I had no excuse not to have a go.

When I first started I became aware of the ITB on the outside of the knee - not pain just a kind of 'wooden' feeling but this passed within the first k - I had resolved that at any hint of pain I would stop and walk back. I had designed the run not to take me too far from base so I could bail out at any time.

I had thought probably 8k would do it but as my confidence grew I kept extending first to 10 then 12 and ultimately 15k - I could have kept going but why? Nothing to gain - so with Miners expression of "nothing stoopid" ringing in my ears I called it a day.

Run stats were pretty pleasing 15k @ 5.21av in 1.20.17.

The soleus on my right side was giving me a bit of gyp at various times and now that I have stopped I am a little tight on the upper end of the ITB near the hip but the knee is fine :-)

Time for more ice, stretching and massage - oh yeah and anti-inflammatories too :-)

Saturday, February 25, 2006


DGC - Voltaren is an anti-inflammatory.

Time to fess-up..... the Ugly Step Sister is none other than an ITB injury and like most unwanted relatives it turned up out-of-the-blue!

I said in my last post it is not serious and it's not, but I'm also not prepared to take any chances given I have seen what the nasty little blighter has done to some others.

Having trained in one thing or another for the last 32 years this is the first time that the Ugly Step Sister has come a calling (frankly I don't care for her much - the Evil Gastroc Twins however are delighted because it means they get a break) - so how did it happen?

Turns out all the hill running I have been doing lately caused my adductors and soleus to become excessively tight which in turn caused my legs to bow a bit which in its turn caused the ITB to rub across the end of my femur - or so the story goes. Which is good news because if I can get biomechanically back to normal and heal up the bit of damage already done all should be sweet.

I first noticed it Sunday week ago towards the end of my 26k trail run through Munmorah - to be honest I just ignored it - when you run hilly trails something always hurts!

I then ran Monday, Tuesday and Thursday with no problem, then Friday at about the 5k mark (first downhill) of a 15k run it really, really started to hurt. It was a little sore afterwards and I suspected ITB due to the location and did the ice/anti-inflammatory thing.

Headed up the mountains on the following Sunday for my graduation parade 30k on THE Track and never even had a murmer out of it (happy). I was sore all over on the following Monday and Tuesday so there was no real telling the state of the ITB and I assumed it was ancient history.

Wednesday came and I headed out on a 20k - I got niggles pretty much from the start but just ignored them but by about 14k I started to get concerned and by 18k not just the ITB but my whole quad felt aweful and when I stopped it didn't get any better.

Thursday and I was having a tad of difficulty with all things step related - time for action. A trip to Saint Andrew (my fixer upperer of all things bad) confirmed my self-diagnosis and he released quite a bit of the muscle tension which pretty much had an instant effect.

So since then it has been, ice, stretching, massage and anti-inflammatories and today I am pain free. I will wait till tomorrow to run though, probably short and flat - so much for my planned short hilly trail run - oh well.

On the up-side I've been doing some retail therapy and I purchased a Massage Stick - man those things are fantastic! I also walked into a sport store in Bathurst today and saw some Nathan Quickdraws (handheld water bottles) - I've never seen these in a sport store in Australia before so I quickly snaffled two - now I just ned my Garmin 305 to turn up and I will be in gadget heaven :-)

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Rice & Cream

Nothing serious but after Wednesdays run I pulled up with a bit of a niggle. No not one of the Evil Gastroc Twins (for a change) - turns out they have an Ugly Step Sister!

Anyhoo - as discretion is the best part of cowardness I've decided to suspend the regular service until further notice for some unscheduled but much needed maintenance work - with a little luck I hope to resume limited service some time on the weekend and back to regular service early next week.

In the interim ice, Voltaren cream, the massage stick and my chiro/physio are my very best friends.

Candidly - I'm looking forward to the rest - no need to fret - I've done the work I needed to do, now my main priority is getting to the start line in one fit and healthy piece.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Long Recovery

Today Total: 20k
Week Total: 20k
Month Total: 211k
Year Total: 504k

Edit: Forgot to say I saw the brightest shooting star this morning I have ever seen in the Western sky - like something out of a movie - made heading off at 5.30am almost worthwhile :-)

I'll be honest - Sunday's run knocked me about a bit but I guess that's what peaking is all about and why we taper. I was actually surprised by how good I felt Sunday afternoon and evening. But come Monday morning I felt like a worn out pull through and by Monday afternoon the classic DOMS had set in and I was quite sore. Repeat for Tuesday.

Determined to get out on the road this morning I thought to celebrate the commencement of my taper with a nice cruisy 20k. This is all part of my cunning plan to put my longer runs mid-week and do shorter sharper hilly bush runs on the next 2 weekends.

I went out at a very conservative pace  onto the Cooks River Cycleway again plodding out to the 10k turnaround at Sando Reserve Croydon Park in 60.09. Picked the pace up a bit on the way back and got home in a more respectable 56.03 for a total of 1.56.12 (av 5.49).

A nice easy run with oodles of gas left in the tank at the end demonstrated by a 4.50 last k.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Happiness Is:

Today Total: 30k
Week Total: 85k
Month Total: 191k
Year Total: 484k

Edit: Have included 6 Foot Course Profile

Knocking Blacks Range on the head!

After (during?) a muggy night in tinsel town I headed off at 4.20am.

Destination: Blacks Range Camping Ground
Mission: Conquer my rangeophobia
Execution: Run from the Deviation to Mini Mini return (30k with a bit of uphill)
KPI: No stopping or walking on Blacks Range on the return journey and complete the final 9k in sub 7min 50 pace (required for sub 6 hour race plan)

The profile shows why it is a tad difficult to maintain pace heading up Blacks Range.

After walking back down the Deviation for a couple of hundred meters (to make the run up to 30k total) I was on the track and running by 6.45am ladened down with over 5kg's of gear - by far the most I have ever run with. With predictions of hot weather I wasn't taking any chances - 3L of water, 750mls of Gatorade, some Gu, a muesli bar, first aid kit and mobile phone I was ready for anything.

The first bit had me huffing and puffing as it is actually uphill - not for long though - and it was down, down and more down - yikes -  I have to come back up all this - oh well it's what you're here for! I've never seen this part of the track look greener - the bit from the locked gate to Allum Creek was paradise.

After passing Allum Ck Camping Ground I surprised myself a bit by nearly running all the way to the top of Mini Mini and made it to the Eastern edge in 1.40.48 (6.43av).

Just as I arrived a group of about 7 arrived from the other direction and we had a good old natter. Some of them were just carrying one 600ml water bottle (almost empty) - I can't help thinking this is a bit dumb - I know they were only 4.5k from the Cox's but what if they so much as turned an ankle on the way back? Anyhoo they were very grateful when I offered to donate them some of my excess.

Heading back I gunned it back down the saddle and through the valley splashing through the water crossings like a 5 year old and then changed into low gear for the haul up to Pluvio. Again I surprised myself with how much I ran - I did walk a bit, but I reckon I ran more - all the time with a bit of a nagging doubt that I was going to pay for it later - arriving bang on 57 mins after leaving the Eastern side of Mini Mini (av 9mins 15).

I paused at Pluvio just long enough to reset the Garmin i.e. 3 seconds and headed up Blacks Range. At first I thought it was going to get the better of me but slowly but surely my legs were recovering and my pace improved and I felt stronger and stronger eventually finishing the last 9k without stopping or walking in 66mins 42 (av 7mins 25). I can't begin to explain the relief that flooded over me :-) Hopefully the monkey is off my back.

All up I completed the 30k in 3.44.30 (av 7.29) in quite warm conditions (it was 30 degrees when I got back to the car) - if I can average somewhere around that on the 11th for the full 45k I will be a very happy 2P indeed :-)

Now about that promised taper.........

Friday, February 17, 2006

Something Different

Today Total: 15k
Week Total: 55k
Month Total: 161k
Year Total: 454k

A bit stale of the usual stomping grounds, this morning I headed up through North Strathfield and Homebush onto the Cooks River Bicycle Track.

The section through Homebush has some nice long gradual hills on the way out namely Pomeroy St and Pemberton Ave and some shorter sharper downhill sections which means on the return trip it is reversed and ideal for a negative split.

I used to run out here last year as my long run course preparing for Six Foot and I was heartened today that the hills that had me back to a trudge last year barely made a dint in my average 1k split times. The real acid test is the short sharp rise up over North Strathfield Railway Station on the return journey - I have always found this a hill a real challenge towards the end of a run and this morning I spanked it.

Finished the 15k with a predictable negative split (but I'll take it!) in 1.24.45 (av 5.39) - another nice confidence booster :-)

Thursday, February 16, 2006

NTBF - My Floatie Sank

Today Total: 12k
Week Total: 40k
Month Total: 146k
Year Total: 439k

NTBF stands for Nice Try But Fail - after my 2k warm up the plan was to do the next 10k as a kind of 1k interval session. 1k at sub 5 min pace and the 1k floats at around 5.30 to 5.40 pace.

All went swimmingly for the first 4k with the interval 1 @ 4.44 (some downhill) and interval 2 @ 4.55 (flat). Float 1 @ 5.35 and float 2 @ 5.28. I was feeling pretty chuffed so far but about. 100m into the 3rd interval I got gripping toilet pains and was forced to back off.

I abandoned the interval concept but still wanted the 12k so continued on over the next 6k as best I could. Unfortunately a couple of times I had to stop completely and I also had a couple of longish walk breaks to finally get home in just over 70mins.

These things happen and you just hope they never do on race day - good thing about 6 Foot is there are plenty of toilets ;-)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Lakeside Canberra

Today Total: 20k
Week Total: 28k
Month Total: 134k
Year Total: 427k

I'm staying at Rydges Capital Hill so it is kind of obligatory for me to run alonside the lake when I'm here. I briefly considered a lap, but from Rydges it would be about 24k which is a bit more than I wanted to do or had time for.

Out into the cool Canberra morning air and I was really glad I packed a t-shirt to run in - being a wimpy Sydney-sider an all :-). Mind you the complete absence of humidity and low pollution was rather nice. I can live without all the goose poop though!

I don't know if it was sleeping in air conditioning or what, but I really laboured with my breathing for the first 3k as I couldn't seem to get any air in or to get my pace below 6min per k.

Just when I was thinking about pulling the pin the gunk finally cleared and I was able to get into a rhythm and run out to 10k along the Southern shore, turning around in about 58mins.

It has been ages since I last did a long run on the flat - Coastal Classic aside the last time would have been December 05 so I was interested to see how I would go. A little effort meant for a nice negative split for the return journey getting back to the hotel in 1.53.51 (av 5.41) which is around 4 hour marathon pace.

Popular folk lore maintains that a 4 hour marathon equates to around 6 hours -  based on today I think I'm probably in around 3.50 shape or better so hmmmm.

A nice solid run off the back of Sundays hard run - happy with it :-)

Monday, February 13, 2006

Fraidy Cat Goes To The Circus

Today Total: 8k
Week Total: 8k
Month Total: 114k
Year Total: 407k

Only the fear of Six Foot Track could have forced me out of bed this morning for a run. I really didn't want to do this today. The legs are fine it's just that between one thing and another I haven't been getting any more than 5 or 6 hours sleep each night for the last couple of weeks. Yeah yeah so I'm whinging - anyone have some cheese to go with this whine?

Anyhoo as I have to drive to our fair nations capital tonight I figured an easy flat 8k was acceptable after yesterday (don't want to be nodding off on the drive) so I doddled off around the waters edge to Canada Bay and return.

I was sans Garmin (already packed) and wanted to keep my pace around 6mins so I was pretty happy when I went through all of the 1k splits pretty much bang on. See - I can do it the old fashion way - but I don't like it :-)

47.56 for the return journey which is about right for an easy run for me - I'll take it :-)

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Happy Trails Indeed

Today Total: 26k
Week Total: 74k
Month Total: 106k
Year Total: 399k

Last time I did this run 3 weeks ago I went 3.11 and felt shattered at the end. The run is a very hilly trail run around Crangan Bay, Catherine Hill Bay and Munmorah State Rec Park home of a stretch of road I have dubbed the Roller Coaster.

Right from the start today I knew I was in for a good one I just felt really comfy barely noticing the extra 3kg or so of the Camelbak. Interestingly I didn't eat anything this morning before running - just a cup of Joe. I wondered if that and the relatively quick start would come back to haunt me later?

I had 2 goals in mind today - the first was to go under 3 hours which I thought was an outside chance and the second was to finish strongly - this is a necessity for Six Foot - to still make a good pace after putting in on hills.

I motored over the early hills today (for me) and I had to resist the urge to push harder (still a long way to go) - for the first time I think my legs were set to out perform my cardio vascular system - on long steep hills (ie > 700m long) my legs usually protest way before I hit my lactic threshold but today they seemed to be saying to my lungs "hey you wimps get a wriggle on"!

Up along the coast towards Catherine Hill Bay the wind was howling (there is a gale warning for later today) but the view over the water was worth the slog into the strong Nor-Easter.

The drag up the hill from Catherine Hill Bay to the Pacific Highway was the only time my legs got grumpy but considering this is 17k into the run with the worst of the hills behind me I'm not complaining.

I made the customary stop at the Big Prawn to inhale a muesli bar and take on board some more water and then headed off through the last dip back towards Gwandalan.

The last 2k's are downhill, then relatively flat respectively and I decided to see how well I could bring it home - running the very sandy dowhill k in 5.34 I set off on the last flattish (some little ups and downs) k right into the teeth of the wind and though it caused my heart rate and breathing to escalate significantly I managed a 5.30.

Finished in 2.51 which is a full 20mins faster than last time :-) I'm pretty confident of breaking 6 hours for Six Foot now - just one more week of build up to go!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Steady As She Goes

Today Total: 12k
Week Total: 48k
Month Total: 80k
Year Total: 373

Completely lacking imagination I headed out on the same 12k loop I've done 3 times before during this week.

Yesterdays faster effort left my legs feeling less tight than they have been but there was a definite undercurrent of lethargy in the system as I dithered around getting ready and as I dithered around getting ready and as I dithered around getting ready.......

Eventually I got out the door and got through my first 2 warm-up k's in around 6min pace. From there I just wanted to do the next 10k at 4hr  marathon pace (5.40) which I thought would be a nice steady pace - and it was too :-)

Somewhere in the first 6k (relatively flat) it occured to me that if I put in some surges on the hilly bits over the last 6k I could get the whole 12k average down to 5.40 and get a bit of a training effect too.

I missed it by 13s coming home in 68.13 for an average of 5.41 but I am happy with it as I really didn't have high hopes for today given I felt pretty frumpy to start with.

Training tonight, rest tomorrow, happy trails Sunday - that's the plan :-)

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Confidence Booster

Today Total: 12k
Week Total: 36k
Month Total: 68k
Year Total: 361k

The trouble with running lots and lots of hills and deliberately putting fatigue into your legs before running is it can be depressing as you see your average running times deteriorate to something you can measure with a sun dial and a calendar.

I had a rare experience after Tuesdays run - I was really grumpy all day, so I determined my next run would be something quicker. I arose with the alarm yesterday and judged that though I could run, it wouldn't have done my disposition much good so I rescheduled for today. I had a laugh when I read on DJ's blog that if he waited to run on fresh legs he would only run twice per week - too true DJ.

I took off on the same loop as for Monday and Tuesday. The first 2k I took out as a warm-up as my calves and hammies were still a bit tight at 6.05 and 6.08 respectively and then put the hammer down a bit going through the 3rd k in 4.56 (too fast). I then got into a sustainable rhythm and got into the zone. I kind of ran it as a quasi fartlek attacking each little hill upping the heart rate considerably.

It was perfect running conditions this morning so no excuses. The pre-sunrise light coming across the comatose bay was stunning with not even the hint of a breeze to disturb the mirror finish and my mood was up. The running gods doth smile upon me :-)

I suspected the 10th k was going to hurt a bit - for those that know it it's the long uphill drag on the Western side of Concord Golf Course - I went a bit lactic just after the crest but had managed a 5.23 split which really had my blood up and so I pushed it home going through 11k in 5.01 and the final k in 4.23!

All up (warm-up included) I came home in 64.21 (av 5.22) which is my fastest 12k training run since I recommenced running in Jan '05 - take out the warm-up and that is a 52.08 10k which would have been my racing pace last year. So it is pleasing to get confirmation that I am not going backwards like I was beginning to suspect at all.

Thank goodness for that ;-)

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Stale Toast

Today Total: 12k
Week Total: 24k
Month Total: 56k
Year Total: 349k

In keeping with my campaign to get my trudge pace up I gave the legs a real shellacking at training last night and headed out on the same 12k loop I cruised around yesterday morning. I certainly wish I had of left the Garmin home today instead of yesterday - all it did today was constantly remind me how dismally slowly I am progressing in my quest.

It was also very windy (though blissfully cool) which added to the general frumpiness of the run. The wind gods were having a right old time of ensuring that no matter which direction I ran the wind was always head on - thanx guys.

If I want to get anywhere near my goal time for Six Foot I have to get my tired exhausted legs (I'm not talking sore - I'm talking fatigued) run pace to about 6.15 per k - sounds slow huh? Well I couldn't get there today - a 6.28 average was the best I could do and some of the splits on the hills were much worse than that!

Not going to do anything for the rest of today and freshen up and do something faster tomorrow to boost my confidence. :-)

Monday, February 06, 2006

Runnin Neked

Today Total: 12k
Week Total: 12k
Month Total: 44k
Year Total: 337k

I pulled up very sore in the calves after Saturdays run which surprised me a bit as they've been pretty good lately and last week was a very easy running week - but looking at the Google Earth map today I guess I'm not so surprised after all. The Garmin reception is very poor through the slot down to Nellies Glen but it gets enough to tell the story.

When I switched on the Garmin this morning it had zero hours battery charge left - it must of somehow turned itself on in my training bag over the weekend - either that or it is going out for secret runs on its own - wouldn't surprise me, it probably would enjoy a quick run occasionally.

So rather than go back inside and swap it for the garden variety I just dropped it down into a potplant and headed out on a 12k loop around Canada Bay and Concord Golf Course I'd prepared earlier. I can't remember the last time I ran watchless and I can't say I'm a fan, I'm way too retentive for that. I did however amuse myself for a few seconds by fumbling for the pause button when I got held up at a set of traffic lights on one occasion ;-)

The Gastroc Twins whinged incessantly at me for the first 2k, but once they realised it wasn't getting them anywhere they eventually shut up and left me in peace for the rest of the run. Turned out to be a pretty solid effort and I was happy with it after some of the ugly runs I did last week.

In the absence of any evidence to the contrary I'm tempted to call it a PB :-) Unfortunately the retentiveness has kicked in though and I will write 70mins in the diary.... ho hum.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Woah Nellie

Today Total: 16k
Week Total: 36k
Month Total: 32k
Year Total: 325k

As Yosemite Sam used to say "when I says woah, I means woah".

This morning I ran the first part of the Six Foot Track from Explorers Tree down through Nellies Glen to Megalong Valley Road and return on my way to Bathurst to visit the Halfpenny.

I'm super glad that I did it because it has hardened my resolve to take the stairs easy on race day. Today the plan was to take them as quickly as I safely could. - which wasn't very fast at all given it was very gloomy in the half light of 6:00am, not to mention the fog and drizzle - and see how much it took out of my quads.

By the time I hit the fire trail 20mins later I was Mr Jelly Legs which emphasises the need to train the down muscles.

From there I ran very conservatively to give the legs a chance to recover down to the Megalong Valley Road for an outbound split of 56.40. The left of the Gastroc Twins was whinging so I had a bit of a breather for a stretch and a massage.

The plan now for race day will be the opposite of the above - take the stairs easy and hit the fire trail a bit harder.

I figured since I'd stopped I might as well have a mooch around the bush cemetry I only managed to find one headstone that of the McLaughlin family - the first of whom departed this world in 1912 and the most recent apparently in 2004.

After paying my respects I tightened the straps on the camelbak and headed back up the hill resolving that I would run as much as I could.

Well I made it running to the base of the stairs which I was pretty pleased with. But the stairs are such big brutes I found them impossible to run up. Just walking them had me sucking in huge drafts of air and slurping on the camel bak like a kid with a thickshake.

I think Horrie put the count at around 480 and by the time I cleared the last one I was so relieved to get back onto merely a steep fire trail I celebrated by breaking into a shuffle run back to the car for a total running time of 2.15.14.

A very, very enjoyable way to start the weekend.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Squelch Squelch

Today Total: 8k
Week Total: 20k
Month Total: 16k
Year Total: 309k

I'm guessing everyones blog is going to say the same thing this morning - not to put too fine a point on it this morning was rather sultry.

I woke up a 5:00am before the alarm and could feel the heaviness in the air and thought it would be best to make an early start - who knows I might even turn todays run into longer than planned...... ha ha.

By the time I reached the point of no return for a longer run I could hear and feel my feet squelching in my shoes and I was feeling the effects of 3 sessions in 12 hours - best head for home.

Despite feeling a bit light headed (dehydration) when I finished, I was happier with todays 8k at 5.50av but my running is still not back to normal.

Getting there though :-)

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Excuses Excuses

Today Total: 8k
Week Total: 12k
Month Total: 8k
Year Total: 301k

Ok I can find a couple of positives about todays run:

1. It was a whole lot better than yesterdays fiasco

2. It's another 8k in the legs

But that's about it.

8k @ 6.11av

I'm going to play my excuse card today - coming off a very hard week last week, being crook earlier this week and it being 34 degrees when I set off, I never expected to set the world on fire with todays run. But to be honest, I did expect a little better than a 6.11 average but my legs were just dead. I did force a 5.28 last k which is mildly acceptable. Oh well there is always tomorrow.

Desperately trying to rehydrate now ready for training tonight - it is going to be interesting.