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


  1. I like Aki's sprinting form at the end of 18k - she should go well in the 200m at Interclub.

    Glad you enjoyed the track - running in circles can be fun! You ran 3000m in 15:01, yet your km pace was 4:47? Was Gandalf on the turps or something?

  2. Ewen - Gandalf actually says that the 3000m was really 3150m which might explain that strange pace per km! It always puzzles me that Gandalf reads different distances especially on a measured track!!

  3. It was soooo lovely to catch up with you on Saturday Strewth. It's a shame my stay was so short thought!

    Congrats on your great run on Sunday; sounds like a fun day & a lovely trail run!

  4. I was going to say the same thing as Ewen RE:"Gandalf" but 3000m on the track is precisely 3000m!So on track days i leave my "Garth" at home!

    That was a great post about your day at Brindabella!
    I had hoped to come but i couldn't get out of work that day so it will have to wait until next year.

    Cheers R2B