Sunday, December 31, 2006

Last Hurrah

Today Total: 26k
Week Total: 51k
Month Total: 225k (Edited for earlier error)
Year Total: 1909k (Edited for earlier error)

Edit: Seems as I get older I'm losing my capacity to add up - better monthly result than I first thought :-)

I thought I'd wind up my running year with one of my favourite runs - a 26k, very hilly loop through the trails of Lake Munmorah State Rec Park, Catherine Hill Bay, Crangan Bay and Gwandalan.

It was a perfectly still and sunny morning to start off with and the views out to sea were simply stunning - I don't think I've ever seen so many ships at anchor waiting to get into Newcastle - there must have been 50 or 60.

I ran steadily the whole way and achieved my goal of not walking any of the hills - I did take a tumble about 3k from home but apart from covering myself with sandy grit no real harm done.

When I last ran this course on 19 November it took me 3.29 - today it was 2.58 - still 7 minutes outside of my PB of 2.51 (done as my second last long run before this years Six Foot) - I'm pretty happy with it given I still have January and February to sharpen up.

I have also been able to comment on some blogs but the cackleberry is a fickle creature and it won't let me on others - those with word verification are right out - but I have been following everyones story on bloglines - so Happy New Year everyone.


Friday, December 29, 2006

Gwandy Trails

Today Total: 14k
Week Total: 25k
Month Total: 199k
Year Total: 1885k

With 12 of the family staying with us (14 of us all up) at the lake house last night I needed some "me time" so it was up early and out the door before anyone stirred.

It was a gorgeously bright morning running around the lakefront before I  disappeared into the mildly undulating Gwandalan trails - the high pitched cicadas were so loud at times it was stunning.

Anyhoo a nice run in the best part of the day - it's turned overcast now so I'm glad I made the effort when I did - all up 14k in 1.26.06 (av6.09).

Thursday, December 28, 2006

'06 Review

*Warning - long and personal post alert*

I don't really expect anyone to read this but I wanted to record how I was feeling at this stage of my life and though this is a public forum it is really the only spot I record things - so looks like this is it.

As anyone who knows me would know -  I rarely stray from superficial banter and almost never into the way I "feel" and this post is less about running and more about me allowing myself to do the grieving I never did when Dad died.

I also am never sure if I run to exercise or whether I run to exorcise so it also seems appropriate to tie this story in with my running highs and lows - I'll also touch on family, work and my kung fu as my life is generally a complex balancing act - never more so than this year.

2006 started with my surprise assault on the Coastal Classic 12 Hour - I'd played my cards really close to my chest on this one and only a few people knew I was going to have a crack.

It was a fantastic night and while I didn't hit the ton I secretly wanted I was extremely satisfied to finish with 93.4kms and uninjured.

Training for Six Foot and I was on fire (for me) - one memorable run was from the Deviation to the top of Mini Mini and return where I managed to run all of Blacks Range - in that same week I set my PB weekly training mileage and also climbed over a vertical mile on my runs - I was becoming confident of a 5.30 to 5.45 finish.

Then the Evil Twins (my calves) Ugly Step Sister came to visit - my right ITB went ballistic and whilst it started in the knee the real hot spot was the mid point between hip and knee and that dragged my quad into the whole kerfuffle. At times I could barely walk let alone run - stairs filled me with fear and with a couple of days to go it looked like I might be a DNS.

Intensive work by Easy Tiger and my chiropractor St Andrew improved me no end but I was still unable to run pain free or without limping on Six Foot Eve - what to do?

Many moons ago when I learned to parachute (on the old style chutes) my instructor used to say that when things turned to crap there was only one thing you could do - "feet and knees together and accept the landing" ie it is going to hurt but there is nothing you can do about it except be as prepared as you can and accept whatever happens - nice analogy for life huh? - It was to be my mantra for the race.

When I awoke on race day I wasn't exactly pain free when I went for a little trot but I could run without limping (which I couldn't the previous evening) - so good enough for a start and let's see what happens - I would always rather be a DNF than a DNS (in everything I do) :-)

Well I blogged that story so I won't go into it but I made it through in a net time of 6.02 - not what I was hoping for a couple of weeks out - but in Six Foot a finish, is a finish, is a finish - so I was happy with that.

Two weeks later I set my recent 5k PB of 22.50 - timing is everything.....

April saw me embark on the Great Heart Rate Experiment with a view to continuing on my nacent ultra career with my sights set firmly on the Poor Mans Comrades (aka PMC - 96kms Sydney to Gosford) - I was doing bucketloads of flat easy k's and riding the bike a bit too..

About this time my Dad's battle of well over a decade with cancer began to enter into the end game stage and my back decided to chuck its hand in too (stress?) - I had a massive dose of Crook Back Syndrome.

Through the end of April and into May the days were long as I juggled work, hospital visits, chiropractor appointments, teaching kung fu and being a taxi for Mum. I also had been tasked with leading the takeover another organisation at work which added to the general busyness.

I started eating lots of junk food - mostly out of convenience but also if I'm truthful for comfort. I do not take solace in sweets or sugary food - my soft spot is fatty foods - deep fried fish, chippies, dim dims - that sort of thing - I started to put on weight.....

By the end of May Dad was in a palliative care unit but he was determined he wanted to come home and he signed himself out (he was a tough old bugger and his mental faculties were still well and truly with him to the end).

Mum couldn't cope alone and so on the first Thursday of June I pretty much moved in with them. It was hopeless. Forget that Mum couldn't cope - I couldn't cope either - the community nurses were doing their darndest to convince Dad to go back to palliative care but he wouldn't budge - he wanted to die at home - can't blame him for that - he'd lived there for 43 of his 55 years married to Mum and though he would never admit it - I think deep down what he really wanted was to have Mum close all the time - they have always been and remained very much in love.

By Saturday night he had deteriorated to the point where I had to physically lift him and carry him to the loo and return - despite the morphine he was in enormous pain and getting him to the loo and back was taking an hour and a half.

On Sunday morning he was in so much pain he couldn't sit up to take his tablets. Every time I would try to lift him he would gasp in horrendous throws of pain and in the end I left him supine.

I went for a walk up the backyard - when I came back to Mum I told her I'd made a decision - Dad was to go back to hospital and that was that - by that stage my sister had also arrived to help out and she concurred - the three of us kind of sat around the kitchen till I said "so I suppose we should break the news to Dad and make a phone call huh"? My sis to her credit said she would - but I couldn't let her do that and I also knew Dad was more likely to accept it coming from me - so I took a very long walk down a very short hall way.

"Hey Fred I'm going to call an ambulance to take you back to hospital alright mate"? He said he understood but the look in his eyes said "you're betraying me - how could you"? - I made the call - I felt like the worlds biggest prick - I still do - that call condemned him to die alone in a hospital bed - QED - prick!

I immediately did what all cowards do - I ran - I ran before the ambulance even arrived - I ran clear across town to the Great Nosh - my mind was in turmoil - I stopped on the side of the M5 and I howled like I haven't since I was a kid - great heaving sobs - it was primal - I didn't recognise the noises I was generating - they were coming from deep inside me.

The company and comeraderie of other runners at the Nosh was a soothing balm and a wonderful distraction - the only drama (which I kept to myself) was I rolled my ankle really badly at about the 7k mark and it was an injury that would dog me for months. But as I was driven back to the start in company with good friends I felt like I could face the world again and what was coming.

The following Monday my boss threw me an unexpected curve ball by announcing a restructure that would see me with more operational areas in my portfolio - great....

Ai, ai, ai, that week was a frenzy of activity and I was also scheduled to see the Halfpenny in Bathurst that weekend. I spoke to the doctor and whilst she acknowledged that Dad was close to passing she didn't think it would be just yet.

On my last visit to Dad on the Friday night I told him he'd been the best Dad a kid could have wanted - he responded with "have I son"? - "yeah Pop ya have mate" - he nodded and asked me to "wet his whistle" (Dad-speak for give him a drink) and he faded off to sleep and I left - that was the last time I ever saw my Dad.

At Bathurst at around 9.30PM on Saturday night I got the call from Mrs 2P - Dad was gone - in a way it was good that I was with the Halfpenny because I could show her I was OK. She wasn't sure how to react (she was only 14 then) and I arranged to drop her back to her Mum - I then worked until about 2.30AM on work stuff (I had a laptop with me) to clear the decks before heading homeand to Mum on Sunday morning.

Only those who have been through it know what comes next and I can't begin to describe it or be coherent about the following week - life goes by like a kaleidoscope of images and events and of course I did the boy thing of supressing all my emotions and kept putting in at least part days at work.

I'm proud that I did a good job on the Eulogy at the funeral on the following Thursday - I know self praise is no recommendation - but I really nailed it - I had 'em laughing and remembering all that was good (and there was plenty) about Dad. The support of my whole family especially Mrs 2P and the Halfpenny needs to be acknowledged here - they were my rock and the reason I could keep it all glued together.

The next day (Friday) after work I sat mooching around home lamenting that to add insult to injury I was going to miss PMC the next day - when at 8PM I suddenly stood up from the lounge and said in a loud voice "fuck it - I'm doing it" - Mrs 2P reponded with a "good for you - Fred would have wanted you to".

A quick trip to Coles and a mad scrabble to download maps and I was set - I almost missed the start because I slept in after not getting to bed till about 3.00AM - I just made it in time for a photo and we were off.

Running across The Bridge I was certain Dad was there for a moment and with the sun coming up over the harbour it was a very, very, special moment that has burned itself into my memory forever. I can see and feel it now.

I never intended to finish - just see how far I got (apart from anything else my ankle was still giving me gyp from the Nosh) and it was immensely satisfying to be able to run 62k unassisted and then catch a train home - it was a tired but contented 2P that sat in the winter sun on the platform at Brooklyn Station waiting for the train to come - munching on my salt and vinegar crisps and letting the stress and strain of the last little while drain from my body and soul. FWIW I never considered this a DNF because I never intended to finish.

I flew to New Zealand for work early the next morning into the coldest weather they have had for forty years - I managed to get two runs in around the foreshore of Lake Rotorua before I caught the worlds worst chest cold.

When I got back from New Zealand work was nuts and the boss was also off for six weeks so that was me - acting king of the world for a while. It was a fantastic but taxing experience as it was actually a long enough time period that I actually had to do the job - not the titular role you normally get when acting up - but considering I also had to do my day job and that I couldn't quite flick the flu and that my ankle still hurt there was no time or energy for running - though I did keep up my kung fu commitments (mostly).

I got fat.

I started running again in late September but I continued to put on weight - by the 4/10 I was 101.6kg - up from around 92kg when I ran the Nosh in early June which was up from 88kg when I ran Six Foot in March.

The hardest run I've ever done was the Striders 10k at Homebush in October - I huffed and puffed my way around the first lap like an out of shape labrador - the second lap was just pain.

At the end it was a mixture of happiness to be amongst people I knew well (mostly from their blogs) and humiliated by my woeful performance and I resolved to put in whatever it took to get back to where I was.

Well the story of my training is in my blog but the bit I didn't write much about was my diet - low carb - usually less than 20 grams of carb per day - which is a tough regimen - particularly in the lead up to Christmas.

Highlights of my training since then have been my trail runs up at Gwandy, the Blue Mountains, Quarry Road and the Otford to Bundeena Fatass which was a great day out.

Bottom line is I have achieved what I set out to do - before heading up the coast for holidays I weighed in at 87.5kg and my nearly 15 minute PB at Quarry Road and subsequent recovery was extremely satisfying.

I don't think my leg speed is quite back to where it was just yet - but my endurance and hill capability are definitely in better shape than they were at this time last year (though probably not quite as good as in Feb this year).

Soooo I guess I will just have to see where I can take it from here - I'm looking forward to losing a couple of more kg before resuming a more sustainable (and enjoyable) diet soon and really having a full on tilt at Six Foot in '07.

I really loved my Dad - he was truly one of lifes gentlemen - he never swore, he rarely drank and he didn't have an enemy in the world - he was a generous man who willingly helped many people. He was a tireless worker and the strongest man I have ever known. He encouraged me and backed me in all of my endeavours no matter how zany, dangerous or foolhardy - he never once told me "you can't" and I never learned that I couldn't.

He was the greatest role model I could have had - thanks Pop.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Thanks For All The Fish

Today Total: 9k
Week Total: 9k
Month Total: 185k
Year Total: 1869k

Hi All,

I'm off on hols this arvo after taking the Halfpenny and one of the Quarterpenny to the reptile thingee in Darling Harbour.

I will have the cackleberry with me so will be able to blog by email and I can even post on Coolrunnings - but for some reason Blogger won't let me post comments on blogs.

But I will be thinking of you guys from time to time - each and every one of you has been a source of inspiration to me at some stage or another - so thankyou - Oh yeah - and though I will be seemingly ignoring you still feel free to comment on my blog  ;-)

Anyhoo today was a pretty uneventful 9k - my legs pulled up remarkably well after Quarry Rd but for some reason I was a bit scratchie this morning and just couldn't get in the groove - you get that occasionally I suppose - tomorrow will be better :-)

What I did get on Sunday was a massive dose of inner-thigh chaffing MMMmmm was it delicious - I don't know where I went wrong - I've never had a problem before - same shorts, same bodyglide - go figure?

Fortunately I still had some Silvazine cream left from when I tried to immolate myself in the great '05 flaming lawnmower incident and that stuff works wonders - pity it is only available on prescription.

Because of the residual chafe I restricted this morning to an easy 9k in 51.49 (av 5.45).

Though the run was ordinary it was absolutely spectacular this morning around the foreshore - supoib!


Sunday, December 24, 2006

Mad Dogs & Cool Runners

Today Total: 26k
Week Total: 46k
Month Total: 176k
Year Total: 1860k

The annual Christmas Eve CR invasion of Quarry Road today and what a hoot it was in the rain - it's the most fun you can have standing up :-)

Lots of the usual suspects there as well as some newbies, but the numbers were down a bit probably because of the rain - though more people started from the Dural side this year which was good because you were constantly seeing other people.

Had a good tussle with Kevin (Lazarus) Tiller (just when he looked dead he would rise again) I went one up on a PB first lap of 1.24 but Kevin ended up winning the day - I got close just after the bridge on the last lap (2k uphill to go) but I just couldn't stick it - the leggies wouldn't run the ups anymore and he beat me by a minute or two - but without doubt the competition meant I had a better result than I otherwise would have..

It was also nice to see fellow bloggers and good friends SFGnome, Go Girl and Jen_Runs (all starting from Dural) out there as well *waves*. I also met blogger Super Flake for the first time who looks like he will blitz his maiden Six Foot - and another first time meeting of blogger Sparkie too.

Spud - you are a machine mate - nuff said.

I've only mentioned bloggers and not all the CR's because I'm bound to miss some out but it was really great to be out there with all of you lot today.

We had a nice little chat at the end and a couple of drinks which despite the ants was the perfect way to end the run.

Unfortunately Horrie the original organiser of this great training run was unable to run today but still provided an esky of drinks for everyone - thanks mate - and BTW Belinda had a blinder.

As for me - I'm extremely happy with today - a one lap PB of 1.24.xx and a huuuuuge (nearly 15 minute) course PB of 2.59.10!

So on that happy note - Merry Christmas everyone :-)

Friday, December 22, 2006

Twilight Ten

Today Total: 11k
WeekTotal: 20k
Month Total: 150k
Year Total: 1834k

With the Chrissy break at training commencing on Wednesday it meant I was free to have a crack the "The Colins" 5k and 10k series on at Silverwater tonight.

There was a dozen or so of us turned out and only five people doing the 10k

With Quarry Rd on Sunday my plan had been to run 5.30 pace and doddle in at around 55 minutes but when I did a "warm-up" kilometer with Colin in about 5.10 I suspected I might be up for something quicker than that.

Benny was looking to go sub 50 and when I realised I was running alongside him I glanced down at Garmy at about 500m and realised we were running about 4.40 pace - whoops - time to back off and I went through the first k in 4.55.

From there I kept a very even pace splitting each k between about 5.03 and 5.10 - hitting the 5k turnaround in 25.13. By the 7th k I knew I was going to struggle and I slowed a touch going through 8k with a 5.17 split - I then dropped my bundle mentally for the 9th k where I backed off for a 5.49 shocker.

I had a quiet chat with myself and rallied for the last k with my trademark showboat sprint finish for a final 5.04 k split.

I'm a bit dirty on myself for that 9th k but overall I'm very happy with the result - all up 10k in 51.39 (av 5.11). Sure is a whole lot better than the 64.02 I ran at Striders 10k on the 7th of October - but then again I've shed 14kg since then :-)

Big thanks to Colin for putting it on - it is a great course - and thanks to Martin for the beer - much appreciated ;-)

And a huge congrats to Benny who finally got the monkey off his back and went sub 50 - well done mate.

Oh yeah and Miners - the Ohana's get a big thumbs up :-)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Wild N Windy

Today Total: 9k
Week Total: 9k
Month Total: 139k
Year Total: 1823k

My first run since Saturday. A combination of a hectic work week and feeling like I was coming down with a cold was all I needed for an excuse to give my leggies a chance to love me again after the weekends hammering.

Headed out on my 12k loop and man was the wind ugly along the foreshore! I was certainly wishing I had run in the reverse direction - oh well.

By 8k my throat was really dry and sore and given I have some other vague cold symptoms I decided to call it a day and head for home.

All up 9k in 49.32 (av 5.30) - happy with that.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Mug Shots

Anyone recognise the perpetrator of the crimes against my legs?

Actually whilst I am fairly sore I was worse six weeks ago doing just half the journey.

SportTracks puts it at 855 meters of up and down.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Sekrit Stuff & Mysterious Massai

Today Total: 31k
Week Total: 57k
Month Total: 130k
Year Total: 1814k

Headed off from Explorers Tree in the rain and gloom a smidge before 6.10AM and if I was going to meet up with the Mysterious Massai at 7.00AM at Megalong Valley I was going to need to get a wriggle on.

Nellies Glen is at its best in the rain - simply gorgeous - I was right in the zone from word go and despite the runnels of water and the slippery conditions I really hammered the stairs - hitting the Nellies sign in 12.48 - a 1 min PB and the first time I've gone sub 13.

I knew I would pay for hammering the stairs later on but my leggies felt great and I galloped off down towards Megalong enjoying myself immensely arriving at the road in 51 minutes.

No Massai yet so a loo break was in order and as I wandered back to the carpark I could see four members of the tribe had arrived - three men and a woman. King of the Mountain, Sub 50, Damo and Deek. Sub 50 as good as his word had some water for me to cache for the return trip.

After introductions and final preparation we were off - at first the pace was nice but as we started to hit the ups I struggled a bit to stay attached and once we got off the road and hit the serious ups I made the decision not to try a stay with them - they were on much fresher legs after all - and I was backing myself to pick them up again once the trail got more technical and downhill.

It wasn't long before they were out of sight but I was happy enough biding my time and waiting for the trail conditions to become more favourable for me. As I suspected I finally tagged on the back again just passed the second gate and then pretty much stuck with them till we hit the river.

I hit the stop button on the Garmin pretty much where the timing mats are on race day in 1.34 which is pretty sharpish for me and I had a bit of an "oh dear" moment as I contemplated the implications for the return journey - ouch!

I bade the Massai farewell and headed up to the tank for a water resup and a chat with some happy campers.

Right from the start on the return I knew I had overcooked the legs and it was with much shuffle running and walking that I slowly made my way back - that's ok it was the effect I was actually after - if I'm to fulfill my goals for next year I need more practice at looking after myself and keeping moving after my legs have chucked their Teddy from the cot.

I happily mooched my way back to Megalong where I picked up the cached water *thanks Sub 50* briefly stopping to render assistance to some Belgians in a campervan who were struggling to come to terms with meeting their first huntsman spider. I did my best Croc Hunter impersonation by getting it to walk onto a stick and then depositing it (happily for all) on the outside of the campervan - all the while reassuring them that this one was only a baby and that it's the funnel webs ya gotta look out for......

On the more open fire trail the rain was more noticable and the exposure to the wind far greater and I started to get seriously cold - I just kept moving at my best pace (which wasn't very fast at all - about 9.15 pace) and polished off the last of my salted peanuts hoping the metabolic process would literally stoke the furnace.

Eventually I made Nellies and the closer trail and the steeper gradient soon had me sweating again. I actually walked the stairs fairly strongly which was a nice surprise and finally made it back with a huuuuuge positive split of 2.53 for a total of 31k in 4 hours 27 minutes - Ewen do I get a finishers medal?

Once I stopped I quickly got cold again - it was still only 10 degrees, raining and windy - I had a quick wash which sent my core temperature plummeting further (good thing it's summer) and then got dressed and into the car.

My fingers were numb and unresponsive by this stage and it took till nearly Bathurst and several cups of coffee before I felt warm again.

I'll post maps for those interested on Monday.

Geez I've had a great morning - I loved it :-)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Fat Foot Recovery

Today Total: 6k
Week Total: 26k
Month Total: 99k
Year Total: 1783k

I've been wanting to try out my new Asics Ohana Racers for a couple of weeks now - the R4YL review describes them as having a roomier than most forefoot - this may be the case though it seems that racing shoe designers don't really have my square plates of meat in mind when they conjure up their latest attempt at separating runners from their hard earned.

What they are is light though just 210gms - wow - but given the snug fit I had been a bit nervy about giving them a whirl on anything long - I needn't have worried they provide a surprisingly comfortable and cushioned ride and Miners_Run I didn't notice the lack of forefoot gel at all. The uppers are also soft enough that the snug feel disappeared once I started to run.

Anyhoo - this mornings run was my 3rd session within 12 hours so it was a deliberate doddle pace along the flat foreshore to try and ward off any DOMS that might be heading my way after last nights double header of 12k run then an hours training. All up 6k in 35.05 (av 5.51)

I've been feeling a bit flat lately but I finally took my own advice and have been infusing myself with B group vitamins which seems to have done the trick as I seem to have got the B B bounce back :-)

Happy days.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Easy Twelve

Today Total: 12k
Week Total: 20k
Month Total: 93k
Year Total: 1777k

After a crap night sleep and a loooong business lunch today all I wanted was a poppy kip (well I can't very well say nanna nap now can I?) when I got home.

I procrastinated a bit by attempting to see how many different angles I could apply the Bodyglide across my nipples followed by the 'to single knot or double knot the laces' indecision - by the time I got to 'cap or not to cap' even the cat was starting to wonder if I was ever going to get out the door.

Eventually I kidded myself to go out and did my 12k mock hills route at a very comfortable pace. Pretty windy in spots but otherwise a pretty unremarkable run. The left of the twins still has the slightest of niggle but nowhere near as disturbing as Monday.

Anyhoo all up 12k in 69.57 (av 5.50)

Monday, December 11, 2006

Riders On The Storm

Today Total: 8k
Week Total: 8k
Month Total: 81k
Year Total: 1765k

After an extremely exhausting weekend (long story) I just rolled over and went back to sleep when the alarm went off this morning.

Fortunately I was able to scarper off home early from work and headed off for a run in about 8,000% humidity. Both knees were a bit creaky from Saturdays little jaunt and the left calf (always the naughtier of the Evil Twins) was a little niggly as well.

The knees loosened up after 2k but the calf just got tighter as I went. I had intended to run 12k but between the calf and the impending electrical storm I decided to take a short cut home - good decision as the storm broke about 3 mins after I got in - I don't mind running in rain but I'm a bit charry about lightening.

Anyhoo 8k in 45.32 (av 5.42) - felt strong on the hills but I must have some residual fatigue from Saturday because I was Mr Jelly Legs for a while after I stopped.

Just Some Pics

Gronk was interested in the map of the course I ran on Saturday so here it is along with the elevation profile from SportsTracks.

Also thanks for all your good wishes for Grand Halfpenny #2 - she came home Saturday afternoon and was bouncing off the walls shortly thereafter :-)

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Plan 49C

Today Total: 16k
Week Total: 44k
Month Total: 73k
Year Total: 1757k

Edit: Thanks for all your good wishes for Grand Halfpenny #2 - she came home Saturday afternoon and was bouncing off the walls shortly thereafter :-)

Geez Louise - the best laid plans.......

Due to family commitments a long run on Sunday is not an option and as we had planned to go up the lake on Friday night I was going to try and do my long run up there today.

But sadly Grandpenny number 2 (3yo) is in Westmead Childrens Hospital after an acute asthma attack early Friday morning - this means me, Mrs 2P and her other nanna are looking after Grandpenny number 3 (1yo) and Mrs 2P is taking her to the hospital for her 6 O'clock feeds morning and night as her mum is staying in there.

So since the household was going to be disturbed early in any event - who was I to pass up the opportunity to give Quarry Road a whirl? I takes em where I can gets em......

Wrong again 2P!!!

I duly turned up at the Hornsby end of Quarry Road - "Danger Track Closed For Maintenance" bugger, bugger, bugger! I briefly flirted with ignoring the sign but if the are concreting one of the long steep sections it may well be impassable.

What to do, what to do? Drive to Dural side that may be open - nuh closed too. Drive back through the gorge, look at street directory, procrastinate......

Eventually after wasting an hour I spied a fire trail heading out from Galston Gorge Rd (gate number 23) so I just parked up outside a house and hoofed it.

The other bugger was for once I didn't have my camelbak - I'd planned to do 2 laps refilling my bottles after each one. Fortunately I had both hand bottles with me and my Gu fuel belt - so I exchanged the standard bottle in the fuel belt for a 750ml Pump and filled both hand bottles - that should get me down the track a bit.

The trail hugs the escarpment for a k and then passes along about 400m of residential street before reverting to a very undulating (read steep up & down) fire trail till eventually getting to a junction with the GNW "alternate route".

I plunged down the extremely steep and very technical trail till as I suspected I hit Quarry Rd about 400m East of the bridge - no maintenance being done here & no signs either :-)

After getting to the bridge I decided to stick with technical trail and headed up to Fish Ponds and then up the Blue Gum Trail towards The Jambo (whatever the hell that is?).

The trail is very technical - lots of rock hopping and undulations - but also a lot of fun :-)

Noticing that my water supply was about half diminished I determined that I'd turn around at 1 hour 20 or 8k whichever came first - it was 8k - but only just.

The run back was just as much fun - the section from Quarry Rd back up to the escarpment fire trail was like climbing Nellies only thankfully shorter.

I finished in 2.45 for a 6 min positive split which isn't too bad considering.

Not what I set out to do and not as long as I'd have liked but like I said - I takes em when I can gets em :-)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Urban Sprawl

Today Total: 15k
Week Total: 28k
Month Total: 57k
Year Total:1741k

I have a harbour cruise for work this afternoon (yes, yes, it's a tough job but someone has to do it) and I couldn't be bothered mucking about trying to park near the King St Wharf so I took the opportunity to run to work.

It is a fairly undulating route and though I had taken some clothes and shoes to work yesterday I had forgotten all the other things I would need like a towel, toiletries etc oh yeah and it also occured to me that socks, undies and a belt might come in handy too - chuck in a couple of mobile phones, my wallet, a little water and I was starting to wonder if this was really a good idea.

Anyhoo I determined that 6 min pacing would suit me just fine - I knew that due to the undulations I would need to run the downs a bit quicker than that and the ups would be whatever I could maintain - my slowest 2 splits were both 6.25 - one on the grind up the Hume Highway at Chullora and the other on a mother of a hill in the back blocks of Yagoona.

All up 15k in 1.30.04 which is when rounded down is exactly 6 minute pace - very happy (and virtuous) feeling 2P :-)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

A Bit Quicker

Today Total: 7k
Week Total: 13k
Month Total: 42k
Year Total: 1726k

More evidence tonight that I am almost back to where I was before the troubles.

7k in 37.10 (av 5.19) - still not quite there but certainly my fastest training run (i.e. not flat out) for while - in fact that's about about the same pace I almost burst a foofoo valve at in the CR5k at the end of October.

Gittin there :-)

Monday, December 04, 2006

Easy Six

Today Total: 6k
Week Total: 6k
Month Total: 35k
Year Total: 1719k

Late edit: I've added the Google map and elevation profile for Saturdays run :-)

My legs pulled up really well after Saturday - much better than after my last 2 Nellies Glen runs - so either I bludged, or O to B was easier than it felt, or I'm getting fitter - hehe probably a combination of all three.

I could have run yesterday but my throat is a bit scratchy again so I decided not to push it.

I still felt tired when I got out of bed this morning and my throat is still a bit uncomfortable so I decided on something short and easy opting for a very flat 3k out and back along the foreshore.

All up 6k in 33.48 (av 5.38)

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Otford To Bundeena

Today Total: 29k
Week Total: 53k
Month Total: 29k
Year Total: 1713k


What a run - I must say I think it was a bit harder than I was expecting. Very technical in places - no real sustained up bits but plenty of short steep numbers. Scenery? Su-bloody-perb. The best bit for me was I nailed the navigation for the whole way which was very satisfying.

After meeting Martin and KT at Bundeena (all of us in matching CR tri-tops). Kevin drove us to Otford where there was a bunch of hoons who were on the wacky backy and booze and had been partying all night who were really acting out - but thankfully left before the start.

Eventually 13 happy souls responded when Kevin said "ready, set, go" - me last of all - I was happy to sit in tail end charlie posie because I was sporting the camelbak complete with almost 3L of water - most others just had fuel belts or hand bottles (which I suspect they may have regretted later on).

After a bit Linda tailed off from the pack and invited me to go past but by the time we had reached the top of the first rise the pack was out of sight. I started to leave Linda behind and felt a bit guilty but I rationalised that she too had a camelbak so should be ok - as it turned out we would see her in the distance from time to time so we pretty much knew she was ok.

Hitting the technical section of downhill towards the Palm Jungle I put the foot down a bit and before long had tagged onto the back of a five person pack - James, Lisa, Shelly, Simon, KT - and I made it six. We wouldn't see the rest except for one glimpse till the end.

It was a pretty amicable group that wound its way through the palm jungle (what a maze) and then finally out into the open towards Burning Palms.

The first of the steep climbs up out of Burning Palms had us huffing and puffing but also "oohing and aghing" at the view. As is usual I struggled to keep up and was continually falling off the back. I made a good decision however and kept to the high ground between South and Mid Era while the others descended to the beach - this good fortune put me in front of the pack and allowed me a little breather while they caught up just past the surf club.

We then roller coastered through North Era and Little Garie and I hit the go button down the big hill to the trail under Garie Cliffs - full well knowing that the others would pick me up again once I hit the flat. We trudged across Garie Beach and commenced the biggest of the days climbs and APU I fell off the back again.

After we were all tempted to stay by the cliff (and the views) we did lose the track for a fraction and we all got a bit of impromptu exfoliation on our legs as the heath gave us some souvenier scratches. Just after this Kevin had a bit of a rush of blood to the head and pumped out a 5.50 k across the springy metal mesh boardwalk and as we headed toward Curracurrong the group started to splinter - Simon, James, Shelly and Lisa took off, leaving Kevin, Martin and I shuffling along behind with occasional glimpses of the others - though we did regroup at Eagle Rock (complete with mandatory singing).

Off again and the same pattern as before - except when dropping down to Curracurrang I put a bit of distance on Kevin and Martin and the others were quickly out of sight in front of me. Across the top of the headland and I heard a faint yell - looking up about 200m to my left I saw Shelly who had become temporarily geographically challenged and she nimbly made her way through the heath towards me. Just as Shelly joined me Kevin and Martin also caught up with me (it was an uphill section) and so all four of us ran together down towards Wattamolla.

It was one of those really nice trail experiences - we were all running really well down a broad new cut trail two and sometimes three abreast nattering on - it was nice. I took over navigation duties through Wattamolla and then let Shelly through as she was clearly the strongest runner in our group and she was quickly out of sight. I continued to put some distance on Kevin and Martin but they were never far away.

Running towards Little Marley and I got the shock of my life when Simon and Lisa came past me - wot tha? Turns out they (and James) had gaffed at Wattamolla and had to back track. They were quickly out of sight again but as it turned out we would play leap frog for a bit because they made a couple of more minor nav errors whereas I was lucky enough to stay on the trail.

At one leap frog Simon was distracted by some Japanese tourists (wot tha MkII?) and had a little tumble introducing the first claret into the days run on one of his knees. I led the way down into Little Marley but Simon and Lisa soon left me behind as my square feet sunk further and further into the sand.

Shelly was waiting at the North end of Little Marley so our group was back to four and James, Kevin and Martin were only a little bit behind us. I stuck with them (ish) to the top of the headland and onto Marley Beach but then it was "ta ta" as they were much faster once the running recommenced in earnest and that was the last I would see of those three till the end.

Trudging across Marley it was only a matter of time till James caught me - which he did just near the North end of the beach. We walked together up the rise (it was here we came across Nikolai who was doing the return journey) but eventually James got going again and took off - I wouldn't see him again till the end either.

I pretty much maintained a 200m to 300m gap on Kevin and Martin for the rest of the run - though we did come within shouting distance as they dropped down into the last significant creek crossing (where I took a quick break to take a slurp o'natural).

Kevin had made a last minute decision to extend the run by detouring to Jibbon Beach - the trail is the sandiest most miserable trail I've ever run on (thanks Kevin). To cap it off I narrowly escaped stepping on a Marsh Snake which scared the bejeezus out of me. I kept shuffling and eventually I hit Jibbon Beach - it was such a relief to run on the harder packed wet sand.

When I was about half way along the beach I turned and I could see Kevin and Martin which was also relief as by that stage I was having irrational paranoid thoughts that they (and everyone in front of me) were taking the shorter option and I was the only dill doing the extension - happily I wasn't the only dill :-)

Most had stuck around at the finish which was right friendly of them and I hit the RSL in 4.29 - yowser! We were joined shortly afterwards by Kevin and Martin and about 10 mins later by Linda who in my view ran a very intelligent run - I suspect she will do just fine at Six Foot.

All up 29.11k according to Garmy - speaking of Garmy I used the "Route" function for the first time (I've done this many times before with other GPS's) and it worked perfectly - I just put in all the waypoints then created the route - hit "Navigate" and hey presto.... very happy with it.

After a bit of a natter everyone headed off and I drove Kevin back to Otford.

A couple of points - anyone contemplating this run - do not underestimate it - it's a tough run - there is no reliable water along the way (though twice I took a slurp from a creek) and there is also no tree cover after the Palm Jungle (near the start) - it is very exposed and on a sunny day would be very, very, hot.

Harder than I expected but terrific fun, fantastic scenery and great company - I think I could learn to love Fatass - thanks Kevin for putting it on.