Saturday, October 28, 2006

Daylight Saving Starts Tomorrow - woo hoo!

And so another week is drawing to a close. Today I woke with a headache and felt a bit clammy, slow and lethargic. I took Mr B to the airport and intended running later in the morning but it took me the rest of the day to do the washing, shopping and other household chores which is why I find it's much better for me to run early in the morning! I do feel a lot better now although I'm still tired and slow which does not bode well for tomorrow! Last night we babysat for our two little grandchildren and it was well after midnight before we left for home. They were such a delight I might add and very well behaved.

Back to Tuesday
I went for a swim in the morning at CISAC - 1km - slowly but I enjoyed it. The best part was I was able to access the spa with my "Club Pink" membership so that was very soothing on my sore hamstring.

Wednesday morning - Run
Today was my youngest daughter's 23rd birthday - scary! I went for a run before she woke then heated up croissants for her brekkie - her favourite. Of course I had one too!

Distance: 10.25km
Time taken: 1hour 45secs
Average pace per km: 5:56
Calories burned: 594

When I left home I noticed the ground was wet so it had obviously recently rained. However, I proceeded with my run as it appeared to have stopped. About 5km from home the heavens opened and it really poured down. I felt great waving my arms round madly and catching rain drops with my tongue and it smelt divine. Then came the thunder - rumble, rumble RUMBLE! It was a little scary and I was a drowned rat when I reached the front door. However, by the time I left for work an hour later the sun was out and there wasn't a sign that any rain had ever happened! I know I didn't imagine it! Mr B witnessed the apparition appearing in the bedroom after my return!

Wednesday evening - Yoga
Now some days you just should not go there! This was one of them. I enjoyed the session in spite of my struggle and in spite of the fact that Polly, our instructor, kept announcing my name in relation to straightening my leg, lifting it higher, twisting my head further, widening my stance - I'm sure everybody in that very full class knows my name now! But at least I didn't fall asleep during the relaxation at the end - quite!

Thursday morning - Swim!
Yes, two swims in one week - amazing! I felt very comfortable with my 1km swim this morning. I don't get any faster but at least it felt good. The spa afterwards was great and evidence of last night's yoga class was afoot as a girl approached me in the spa to ask if I went to yoga. She recognised me - I knew I had become infamous from last night's class - there's no escaping now!
After my shower and dressing for work I hurried off to meet CJ for brekkie. Mr B joined us later too.

Thursday evening - Track session
I don't think my body has fully recovered. Tonight's track session was even harder than last week. They didn't have a spiral this week. That's only every second week so I only entered the 3000m and the 800m events. That was hard enough.

Distance: 3000m
Time taken: 15:03 (2secs slower than last week!)

Distance: 800m
Time taken: 3mins 40secs

The most exciting part of the evening was that some time after competing in the 3000m, which is the first event of the evening, I spotted Lucky Legs with Ewen. It was so fantastic to see her and really cool that she ran in the same 800m heat as Marg and me. It was even more exciting watching her face when she finished the 200m sprint event. She was on such a high, in fact her excitement was definitely contagious and it made the evening really fun. I'm hoping she will be back in a few weeks to join us again.

Friday - Gym
This morning I concentrated on the upper body again - chest, shoulders, biceps, triceps, back and abs.

Tomorrow morning (Sunday) is the Vets' Handicap Run at Deeks' Forest (or ex-forest now). The forecast is for minus 1 overnight (aaah) and as we have to put our watches forward an hour tonight (daylight saving starts tomorrow), it will probably be a jolly cold start! Hope someone wants to go with me for a coffee afterwards!

Tomorrow night all the family is coming for dinner to celebrate daughter and daughter-in-law's birthdays which are one day apart.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Ouch, ouch, ouch!

Morning - Gym
Gee, it was hard work convincing myself that I should go to the gym this morning but I was determined to keep going as usual. After all it was only a 17km run yesterday. It's just that my calves and hamstrings were telling me differently. Ouch, they really hurt. I decided against doing a Bodypump class as there's a lot of lunges involved in that class and I wasn't too sure I could cope with that this morning. Instead I attended a half hour Fitball Class which involved lots of abs work and marginal leg work. I followed that by about half an hour in the gym working on my chest, shoulders, biceps and triceps.

After work - speedygeoff's training at Parliament House - 5.30pm
Yes, I actually attended speedygeoff's session and ran a couple of warm-up laps before the main session at the grassy oval. We had a repeat session of last week with a 1km loop followed by several speedy 200m loops. However, I had special dispensation because of yesterday's run and just ran the loops at a very gentle pace. We did 30 sit-ups before the main set, practised our sprint starts again and ran a warm down loop of PH to finish.

Total distance: 7.2km

I think tonight my calves feel marginally better but my left hamstring still hurts heaps. Perhaps I need a massage!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Brindabella Classic to end the week!

strewth, Aki, Marg and Barb - Aki is the speedy gosling!
cj and strewth at start of Bulls Head leg

What a week! So much to say that it's difficult to know where to start. I guess I should go back briefly to the beginning.

Tuesday 17 October - Run 6.30pm

Distance: 5.33km
Time taken: 30:31
Average pace per km: 5:44
Calories burned: 318

Mr B arrived home on his bike having already just run 9km and joined me for a short run as it was becoming dark and I needed company! We ran a slightly different route along a back track. It was fun having the company but it felt as though we ran quicker than we did!

Wednesday - Gym 6.15am
Absolute Abs Class for 15mins
followed by upper body workout - chest, shoulders, biceps, triceps with weights and machines
That was the first time I had attended the abs class and it's certainly good for me. I will do that again. It was tough but felt effective.

On Wed, Thursday and Friday I attended a conference at the AIS and it was pretty full-on. However the catering was superb and it was impossible to resist the scones with jam and cream, yummy pastries and delicious cooked lunches. Day One of the conference was hard work with a number of work shops and lots of concentration so the conference dinner that evening was a welcome break with fantastic entertainment, band and food. In fact for the first half hour of the evening we were taught how to play bongo drums by an African band. It was loads of fun but our hands were quite red and we certainly earned our beautiful meal!

Thursday - Track - 6pm
This was the first time I have been to the track at the AIS for years. It was quite nerve wracking really. I decided to try the 3000m which was the very first event. There were loads of people there and a large number entered this particular event which is obviously very popular.
The other events I entered were the 1500m and the 4lap spiral handicap which increases every 2 weeks by a lap. Each time you run a lap you run in the next lane so it's a little longer each lap. I enjoyed it.

Results of my first track session
3000m - 15:01
Calories burned: 178
Average pace per km: 4:47

1500m - 7:08
Calories burned: 90
Average pace per km: 4:35

4 lap spiral - 8:05
Calories burned: 98
Average pace per km: 4:42

I did find the 3000m race the toughest as I spent the next half hour coughing with a very dry throat but I really enjoyed the 1500m and the spiral handicap runs. After the track session ended ten of us enjoyed a delicious meal at Della Rocca, a little Italian restaurant in Kaleen. It was delicious food and I was surprised that my appetite had returned even at that late hour after all the eating I had done during the day at the conference! Speedygeoff had organised the venue and it was a great way to start the track season - yummo!

Friday - Gym - Body Balance
This morning I decided to try a Body Balance class - something a little different for me. As I had to miss my first yoga session on Wed night due to the conference dinner I thought it would be a good plan to try this class instead as an alternative. It was a mixture of tai chi, yoga and pilates - interesting, especially some of the moves which felt a bit like ballet moves or something! However the stretches helped and the abs work was good. I don't think it was as good as my yoga class though but it was worth a try.

Saturday - Brekkie with Jen and CJ
Jen had visited Canberra for a weekend of culture (!) and unfortunately Saturday's weather was Canberra at its worst. It was cold, grey and quite wintry. However we enjoyed a lovely breakfast together at Da Celini in Braddon and although we had to sit inside out of the cold it was still just so lovely to catch up with Jen and the short time we had went very quickly.

Jen, Strewth, CJ (photo borrowed from CJ!)

Sunday - Brindabella Classic

This morning I had to roll out of bed at 4.45am as I was being collected at 5.45am for our long sojourn to the start of the Brindabella Classic with our relay team. Aki, Marg, Barb and I entered as 'Three Slow Geese and a Speedy Gosling'. We met at the reserve to collect our numbers then continued the long drive to the top for the start. We made the top with less than 5 minutes to spare and panic was starting to set in as we realised how fine we had cut the time. However we dropped Barb safely at her start spot and returned down to the the start of the second leg to drop Aki off for her start. There we waited until Barb safely arrived and Aki started before proceeding on to the next stop. Barb looked strong and it appeared that the first leg was in fact shorter than the suggested 8.7km. Aki's leg on the other hand measured 20.5km on her garmin instead of the advertised 17.9km. Aki's leg was probably the toughest but she thoroughly enjoyed the bush and the hills which was great. When she pushed herself up the last hill to tap my hand for the start of my relay leg she certainly looked like she had worked very hard. Her time for the 20km was 1hr 44mins which was brilliant as the terrain had been very tough by all accounts.

This is Aki finishing her hilly second leg of the Brindabella Classic

Now it was my turn. The sun was shining brightly by now and although the air was still a little cold I was very glad that I had decided to wear my CR singlet and not the tee-shirt. Having said that, I changed my mind and re-pinned my number three times before I made that decision! My leg had a lot of downhill and the surface, although stony with a few twigs and branches on the path in parts, was mainly good, some of it running on pine leaves and some on dirt. It was quite exposed as fire had destroyed a lot of the forest a couple of years ago. It was also very dry and dusty out there. What I found most scary was the fact that there was just not a soul to be seen in front of me or behind me. I did catch a glimpse of a small group of people turning a hill behind me in the distance at one stage which made me feel a bit better but then they disappeared and after several kilometres of running in the wilderness I really was starting to become quite worried. Just before the 8km mark I finally came to a drink station and I was so relieved to see humans and to know I was actually going in the right direction that I forgot to stop and take a drink! However the next drink station wasn't too many kilometres further down the track and I made sure I took gatorade and water here.

After that stop the track was better marked with litter bins on the way and I felt even more comfortable when a stray runner appeared beside me. Yay - a real person running and in my direction what's more. How much better did that make me feel! And around the bend I saw another runner so I defnitely knew I was running the right way at last. At the 15km mark there was an uphill run and I really enjoyed the break from the downhill and flat. There I passed the runner who had passed me. He was now walking. At the top the view was breathtaking - the hills were almost blue in the sunlight and you could see for miles - lots of little tracks marked through the hillside. I commented how beautiful it was and how it was worth the climb but the other runner seemed a bit tired. I think he was running the whole run and not as a relay member so probably didn't really appreciate any hills at all at that stage. After that it was mainly downhill to the next change-over point where I reached Marg who ran our last leg.

I thoroughly enjoyed the run - my only worry was the fear of becoming lost alone out there. Next year I would like to run the Bulls Head in its entirety (that is the second half of the Brindabella Classic) which would mean I could start with a group of people and not feel so alone. Two runners did in fact become lost out there and one ran 10km in the wrong direction which meant that her team could not finish. That would indeed have been very disappointing and frustrating.

After the finish of my leg

Marg had a good run for her last leg in spite of having to run through thigh deep water before running up a steep hill in wet shoes. We ran out to meet her towards the finish so that we could all run in through the finish line together. It was a great course with heaps of food supplied afterwards and we had a ball.

Total distance: 53.8km

Time taken: 4hours 49minutes
My leg: 17.15km (measured by Gandalf)
Time taken: 1hour 29mins

Pace per km: 5:12
Fastest km: 4:18

Calories burned: 950

Monday, October 16, 2006

Welcome back to speedygeoff!

Where do I begin? It's so easy to fall behind in blogging when life gets in the way! However I will briefly summarise the last few days for an update.

Thursday 12 October - Swim
I swam a km at CISAC before work. I actually quite enjoyed it in spite of the long time between swims! Of course I was slow which is normal for me but I felt comfortable and didn't struggle to swim the distance. I really must try to swim more often.

Evening - Training was not held tonight as a number of us attended the farewell dinner for one of our long-standing veteran athletes who is heading off for Wollongong in a few weeks. There was an enormous turn-out for a gentleman who has contributed an enormous amount to vets atheletics in a number of capacities and who will be difficult to replace.

Saturday 14 October - Long hilly sloooooooooow run - Mt Majura
I met up with Marg at the base of Mt Ainslie - just the two of us this time. We took a different direction and aimed for Mt Majura. This time we started on an uphill and didn't do much else but run in a more or less vertical direction. We found a stile, climbed over it and ran a very narrow track up, up, and up. Now I use the term "run" very loosely as we did have to walk in a number of places where there were wide uneven steps, loose gravelly uneven ground and VERY steep slippery spots. It was so tough I wasn't even confident we would make it to the top but I really really wanted to be able to achieve the top of Mt Majura this week to match the top of Mt Ainslie last week. We spotted a stumpy-tailed lizard (large and gorgeous) - quite different from the frill-tailed lizard we saw last week. It looked like snake territory to me and near the top when we felt as though we could go no further a young girl came whizzing past us saying she was running fast because she was scared of snakes! However, although she had often run to this spot the last steep gravelly hill was even her undoing. She had never managed to conquer that hill and we took it very gingerly as it was definitely slippery. I cannot remember ever running this distance so slowly. It was one tough run - even tougher and definitely more uneven and scary than last week!

However I have to admit it was a glorious feeling reaching the peak at last and admiring that stunning view at the top and knowing that we had actually finally managed it. The downhill was much quicker! It did occur to me that maybe another time it would not seem so bad. We were just very unsure of our footing and that definitely takes practice. I'm sure even walking all those steep steps must have been good for the leg strength!!

As we neared our starting point we spotted Will just returning from his run and he made some comment about how fit we are - ha - if he had seen the way we struggled up those hills he might not have been so complimentary. Here's hoping we can struggle successfully through the Brindabella Classic Relay next Sunday!

Distance: 16km
Time taken: 2hours (oh dear me!!)
Calories burned: 1062

Monday morning - today
Gym - Bodypump
Gee I found those lunges really difficult today. My legs burnt. However it was an excellent session and gave my muscles a good work-out!

Afternoon - PH Running - speedygeoff has returned
Yes, our fearless leader was back at Parliament House tonight and we had a good session. It was great to welcome him back.

Warm-up of 2 loops of PH
1km hilly lap fast
30 sit ups!
6 x 200m with 100m easy jog between each 200m
practice of sprint starts for track season
Cool-down loop of PH

Total distance: 7.6km
Calories burned: 579

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Squeezing in a Quick Run

This morning I rushed off to the gym with the intention of doing the RPM class at Club Pink. However although I made it to the class on time (just) the bikes were all taken so I had to be satisfied with just following my fitness/gym program. Next week I'll aim to be there at least 5 mins earlier to ensure I have a bike or else I'll revert to the Club Lime class which has room for a lot more people. However I did a good weights session although it's probably not a good idea to do weights two days in a row.

After work I attempted to arrive home at a reasonable hour, change and go for a longish run. However the best laid plans ............... I didn't manage to run out the door until nearly 6.30pm which meant it was becoming dark by the time I was running the home stretch. I decided just to run the block loop due to the hour although my original intention had been to run twice as far.

Distance: 6km
Time taken: 33:20
Average pace per km: 5:39
Calories burned: 332

I received some exciting mail today. It was a Canberra Times black cap and a certificate stating that our team "Moore or Less" won first place in the Female 50-59 age group. That was pretty amazing. In the same mail I received my certificate of participation from the City to Surf in August!

Tuesday - Gym - Bodypump class
I decided to try the Club Pink Bodypump Class. It went well although there are so many lunges my legs just burn by the time it's over. The people are very friendly and I do enjoy the social atmosphere in the breakfast room after the classes.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Parliament House Training

About ten of us turned up for speedygeoff's training session tonight. Trev took the session in our leader's absence. As I drove towards the underground carpark I was directed to "illegally" do a u-turn as we could not enter the carpark today - not sure quite what important happening was taking place but there were a few fire engines about - perhaps there was a a bomb scare?? Anyway, I digress. I had to park the car on the street and met up with Maria and Ken so at least I had company for the first warm-up loop of PH. We then met up with the rest of the group to run the next warm-up lap before heading to the bottom grassy verge in front of PH where we ran our main set.

5 laps of the grassy rectangular verge with each uphill edge fast then
5 laps in the opposite direction with the opposite uphill edge fast

Another lap of PH to cool down.

Total distance: 9.5km
Calories burned: 572

My legs didn't want to work properly tonight but I persevered. It was hard work but I'm glad I did it. The company was good and I think my hamstring feels marginally better for the effort! Tomorrow morning I'll do a bodypump class at the gym.

We drove to the coast yesterday and the car went beautifully but we drove away from gorgeous Canberra sunshine into cloudy cold drizzly weather at the beach! We bought fish and chips and drove home again! However at least we gave my little VW Golf a good run!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Forget the Undulations; Think HILLS!

Mr B and I met up with CJ, Marg and Barb at the same place we ran last Saturday. We ran exactly the same course and met the same magpie which chose to swoop Mr B and left us girls alone! After we ran over that nasty gravelly hill (which somehow didn't seem quite so bad today) Marg and Barb continued on back to the start and the rest of us decided to keep running (if you can call it that) up, up, up, up to the road leading up, up, up to the very top of Mt Ainslie. It was dusty, it was hot, it was tough but it was a glorious feeling to reach the top and admire that fabulous view on a stunning Spring day. We decided to run back down the road and it was a great feeling just finding a bit of speed at last after struggling up those hills although I found the road surface much tougher on the limbs and my ankle was giving nasty twinges until we reached the off road track again. As we ran in the trails again we spotted an enormous lizard and stopped to watch it for a moment as it rustled through the dry grass. Once we reached the water tower we felt like we were nearly back but gee that last 1.5km seemed very very long. It was a tough course but it did create a nice sense of achievement although CJ kept pointing out more uphill tracks on the way back which may be an even steeper option next weekend. Later we enjoyed muffins and coffee at Hudsons.

Distance: 19.4km
Time taken: 2hours 8mins
Average pace per km: 6:36 (!!) - but it was soooo tough!
Calories burned: 1275 (probably the equivalent of that muffin and the Italian hot chocolate I enjoyed at the markets later that day)!
Fastest km: 5mins exactly (must have been that downhill bit)

I have now officially entered our team in the Brindabella Classic Relay - "Three Slow Geese and a Speedy Gosling" - Marg, Barb, Aki and I are definitely competing in what is known as 'Australia's Toughest Downhill Mountain Race' - scary stuff! My leg is the third one and is 17.4km - should be fun!

Friday - Gym
Yesterday I went to the gym early in the morning and worked out on my upper body as I wanted to save my legs for Saturday's run. I worked on the chest, back, arms, shoulders (ouch) and lots of abs!

Tomorrow (Sunday) we are driving to the coast for the day to give my new Golf a good run. I am so looking forward to my bed tonight!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

speedygeoff's group without speedygeoff!

This morning I drove in to meet CJ for brekkie in my smooth new car. It's so lovely to drive and it was probably a good idea to do my first solo run before the traffic started. I had enough of that on my way to training after work. Yes, speedygeoff's group was still running at the oval minus our fearless leader who is currently enjoying(!) running in the heatwave in Adelaide! Only nine of us turned up tonight. Mr B decided to join us even though he had just run a lap of Lake Ginninderra. It was decided that our main set would be a pyramid session.

Warm-up: approx 2.7km
2 x 100m fast
100m slow between each 100m
1 x 200m fast
200m slow
1 x 300m fast
300m slow
1 x 400m fast
400m slow
1 x 300m fast
300m slow
1 x 200m fast
200m slow
2 x 100m fast
100m slow between each 100m

Warm down loop of 1.2km

Total distance: 7.5km

Although the temp reached 25deg today there was a fair bit of wind which was okay on the oval but the temperature dropped considerably as darkness fell and tonight is predicted to drop back to 1deg before another lovely sunny day tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

My New Car Has Arrived!

Tuesday - Today I had planned to go to the RPM class after work but the best laid plans.......!! I had just arrived at the gym when I had a call from a work colleague who had managed to be locked out of the office and had left his car keys inside. Guess who had to turn round and drive back to rescue him! Damn - I missed the RPM class but did return to the gym to do my normal program and it felt like a good workout. I still have trouble with the shoulder lifts though. I can increase weights everywhere else but the shoulders lifts are HARD!

Wednesday - Run
What a gorgeous day - 25deg in the sun and lovely. And very excitingly I collected my new work car, chosen by me so that I can buy it to keep in a few years time. It's a blue VW Golf and it's just gorgeous - so beautiful to drive. I'll take a photo and post it on my blog in the next few days! After driving it home (carefully!) I decided I should go for a quick run before it grew too dark to see - just time to run the block in fact.

Distance: 6km
Time taken: 33:07
Average pace per km: 5:35
Calories burned: 352

Tomorrow morning I'm meeting CJ at RBB for brekkie. I'm looking forward to it and I'm also looking forward to driving my new car in to work!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Running a Dusty Virgin Road!

How I love having long weekends especially warm, sunny ones. It has been so lovely catching up with friends, family and grandchildren over the extra time we had as well as spending time out in the sunshine, cycling, gardening, painting etc.

This afternoon Mr B and I decided to do something slightly different and we ran on the new Gungahlin Drive extension which is still being built. We ran it late in the day and of course there were no workmen about as it was a public holiday. There was a barricade across but it was easy to circumnavigate this and we were not quite alone as a lone walker with a backpack was obviously exploring the forbidden road too! We ran on the dusty gravelly not-quite-finished road and it was quite an adventure to discover how far the road had been completed. Going out was a slight steady incline and returning there was a head wind but it was much faster as it was slightly downhill. It was quite bizarre running freely on a road with no traffic (of course) and viewing bundles of light stands ready to be erected on the sides of the road. It was very dusty and dry and it stopped dead at Belconnen Way where the overpass is being built but doesn't yet connect to the road. We then turned round and returned the way we had come - a hot, dusty, windy but rewarding effort.

Distance: 9.49km
Time taken: 52:36
Average pace per km: 5:33
Calories burned: 564
Fastest km: 5:06

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Fun in the Sun!

Friday - Gym in morning before work
Just followed my program - working on all parts of my body including abs. Spent an hour working on the muscles with increased weights.

Saturday morning - Run
I met up with Marg and the base of Mt Ainslie where the Vets start their handicap run and we ran the vets' course then ran a variation of it as we wanted a longer tougher course and we sure found one! We discovered a very hilly version indeed with a very rough uneven surface. It was a bit scary actually as it was slippery with loose gravel on the steep downhills. We are entering the Brindabella Classic as a team and need to practise those downhills so we took the plunge but had to run very slowly and carefully a lot of the time and this reflected on our average pace and overall time. Next weekend we will try another version but at least it felt like a good tough run. It was very very dusty and dry out there as evidenced by my deceptively brown legs which changed colour after my shower later!

Distance: approx 16.50km
Time taken: 1hr 45mins
Average pace per km: 6:30
Calories burned: 915

Yes, it was a slow run but I think the hills made up for the speed!

In the evening we enjoyed a beautiful Italian meal at a restaurant by Lake Ginninderra with a number of triathlon and running friends who we hadn't seen for months. It was a fantastic night.

Sunday - Cycle!
Yes indeed - on this gorgeous sunny Spring afternoon Mr B and I went for a leisurely cycle following the AIS track in to the city then we cycled on to Lake BG where we found a mobile coffee van and bought blueberry muffins and coffee and ginger beer for Mr B. We did in fact cycle 23km so woo hoo, I'm back on the bike - gentle sure, but I have to start somewhere and it was a stunning day for a cycle.