Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2008 is rapidly drawing to a close!!

I thought I should write at least one entry in December so here goes! Here is my confession! It has been 7 weeks since my last blog entry! In that time I have caught up with friends and relatives in New Zealand, run approx 280km, been to the gym several times, survived Christmas shopping, spent too much money and gained a couple of kilos having eaten far too much food!!

Photo shows Barb, strewth, Mr B in NZ!

I have decided to resume blogging as I begin training for the Canberra Marathon. I have used up all my annual leave and as a consequence I'm working through this holiday period. However I did manage to leave work early yesterday and joined Ewen, Miranda and speedychief for an 8km warm-up before our main session. When the others joined us at 5.30pm (only 8 of us altogether) we ran another couple of warm-up loops of PH before running 6 x 600m repeats on 5mins. The 600m consisted of two loops starting up a steep climb, plus a third climb up the hill to finish each interval. It was tough and hot! We then ran the cool-down to finish which meant those of us who started early did a grand total of 16km - woo hoo! I had also risen at 5.30am to go to my RPM session at the gym so I'm back into these early mornings.

This morning (Tuesday) I ran a short 6km loop of the local block at 6am before going into the office where we are packing up to move out of the city into a northern suburb - not happy about that move but on a positive note it will be near the Dickson Oval when we resume our Autumn training after track season finishes!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

When Courage Pays Dividends!

6.15am - Upper body strength/weights/abs
6.15pm - Cross Country Spring series at Black Mountain Peninsula
It was a very hot afternoon and the course was three repeats of cross country on rough grassy surface. I found it hot and not at all easy. The best part was catching up with lots of running buddies AND, wait for it, racing Aki to the finish line. She was obviously unwell and I found out later was suffering from intense pain from wisdom teeth. This is the only time I will ever catch her so that little last minute burst of energy probably did me good! Aki was pleased she ventured out bravely through her pain as she won the Running Shop barrel draw which was fantastic! Congratulations on your courage my friend!
Total distance: 5km
Time taken: 28:29
Average pace per km: 5:43
Calories burned: 293

6.15am - RPM class 45mins/Abs class 15mins
5.15pm - Run
I found a substitute for Ewen today and persuaded a work colleague to roller blade for the first time in months while I ran to Molonglo. It was another very hot afternoon and I really did struggle with the heat. My friend only made it as far as the carillon where he had to rest a while and I ran on to Molonglo where I found lots of water to throw over me and drank heaps before returning to meet him near the Boathouse. He rollerbladed alongside me back to the overbridge and I ran back to the office. I found it very hot and tiring and was surprised that in fact it was faster than last week. The temperature was still 26deg when we were running.
Total distance: 13.31km
Time taken: 1:21:04
Average pace per km: 6:05
Calories burned: 777

The temperature reached 30degrees today. We are experiencing sudden hot weather which is due to become much cooler by the time the weekend arrives - hmmmm! I didn't venture to track this afternoon as I felt sore and definitely not up to racing. I have also felt decidedly ho hum all day. It was probably a good decision as I did go for a run with Mr B after work and it was very slow and painful. We ran from home and down towards Gungahlin turning at the 4km mark and returning home as I knew I couldn't run any further. I kept Mr B in sight but I shouldn't say I was actually running with him.
Distance: 8km
Time taken: 49:49
Average pace per km: 6:13
Calories burned: 470

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Gaggle of Geese and Goslings

Firstly I must amend my Wednesday's blog entry which stated that Ewen and I spotted goslings on our run. I have speedygeese and goslings on my brain. And our speedycoach is correct in assuming I meant cygnets in fact! No doubt they will be full-grown swans by the time we run past there again as this week Ewen is easing off for the 10,000m on the track on Thursday, next Wed I have a work function and the following Wed I will be in NZ. Rats - it's getting to be THAT time of year again!
6.15am - RPM
5.30pm - Run with speedygeese at Parliament House
We ran a similar session to last week on a much hotter day. After our warm-up loop of PH we headed for the rose garden and our main session was as follows:

3 sets of 5 x 410m loops with 200m sprints on the flat sandy strip by the road.
Each set of 5 was off 3 minutes so we had a little rest before the next set of 5.

We finished with a warm-down loop of PH.
Total distance: 10.1km
Calories burned: 570

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Weekends Go Too Fast!

Golly gosh tomorrow it's Monday again already. Where do the weekends go? This was a good weekend, very relaxing and very productive. We met up with friends for dinner on Friday night, I baked my Christmas cake (woo hoo), bought my Christmas cards and even got on my bike and more to the point, rode it!! We also visited Kingston Markets and bought our Christmas pudding! And yesterday, we saw a fantastic movie which I highly recommend - "Burn after Reading" - really funny!
Back to Thursday's track at the AIS - a bit of a disastrous result in the 3000m but before that I ran in the 6 lap spiral and thoroughly enjoyed it, then entered the 1500m walk with Miranda and Marg and it was loads of fun. In fact in the last 100m I wiggled my butt and picked up the speed to pass Miranda and Peter who had been in front of me all the way - loved the feeling!
However, the 3000m run was dreadful. I felt sluggish and it showed. No matter what, I couldn't get any more speed out of my legs and the end result was even slower than last week which I didn't think was possible! Oh dear me, I just have to improve!!
Fridays are currently my rest day. I go to the gym before work but there I do a Body Balance class which is very good for me as there's loads of stretching involved. It's a mix of yoga, tai chi, balance, pilates, abs and stretching. After the class we have about 5mins total relaxation and it's just lovely and a great way to start a Friday.
Saturday - Run
I ran down to Lake G and met Marg there and together we ran for another 30mins before turning and returning to Black Pepper for coffee. The first 3km from home were really slow and everything hurt but then I slowly found my rhythm and it was certainly easier once I met up with Marg at about the 5km point - company is always good!
Total distance: 15km
Sunday - Cycle
Today after the cake was in the oven Mr B and I went for a bike ride (woo hoo, I really did) down to Lake Burley Griffin and round the bridge to bridge ride and home. We spotted Roger walking with a lady friend a couple of times. It was a great day for being out and about.
Total distance: 24km Cycle - yay!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Running with Tired Legs!

Now these tired legs could be caused by a few hard runs this week or a hard workout at RPM or just plain late nights but they were certainly objecting this afternoon when Ewen and I ran our usual route to Molonglo Reach bridge and back. Naturally there was a head-wind on the way back but it was quite hot on the way out, far hotter than it had been earlier in the day when it was positively winter-like! I had to stop twice for water which makes me realise that it's time I took a drink bottle on these runs. We saw some new baby goslings and last week's babies had grown bigger! They were all eager to come to the water's edge and follow us in the hope of some crumbs. They are so cute.
Total distance: 14:08
Time taken: 1:27:48
Average pace per km: 6:14
Calories burned: 822
I was surprised that this was less than a minute slower than last week as it felt like hard work tonight but at least we ran all the way and Ewen did most of the talking!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Spring Lambs on the Loose!

I selected quite the wrong horses today for the Melbourne Cup (so did Ewen in his sweep selections) but the sun shone and it was great to have a holiday. We had a very pleasant lunch at Federation Square and spent some time with our family. Later Mr B and I drove to Weston Park to enter the first of the Cross Country Club Spring Series runs. It had clouded over and the conditions were ideal. My legs however decided to go on strike so my time was pretty slow!

Distance: 5km plus 2.3km warm-down = 7.3km
Time taken: 27:34
Average pace per km: 5:40
Calories burned: 285

Hopefully next week my time will improve although the course is at Black Mountain Peninsula which is hillier so it probably won't! After the barrel draws were over I ran a short warm down with speedygeoff and aki. We ran up hill and down dale and up and over little bridges and had fun being children or was that Spring Lambs? We spotted kangaroos including one little joey - very spring-like and fun!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Round and Round and Round We Go!

RPM this morning was hard work - it always is, of course, but this morning was extra hard. Maybe it was because a large number of people had taken today as an extra holiday and it felt like we should stay home in bed too! Tomorrow is a public holiday in Canberra to celebrate Melbourne Cup Day but it is officially called Family and Community Day because not all states in Australia have the benefit of having this day declared a holiday. It's an experiment for 3 years in the ACT and this is our 2nd year. In some ways it's a bit of a shame because we miss out on the office sweeps and lunches which always used to last all afternoon anyway! It does however mean we have a lovely sleep-in tomorrow - no complaints about that!
This evening speedygeoff's training was long and hard. We ran our usual warm-up loop of Parliament House then headed for the rose garden to do similar training to last week. However, tonight we ran as many undulating 410m loops as possible in 45mins speeding up for the flat 200m at the top of the steps. It was a tough session. I did have to stop for one call of nature but I managed 16 laps which wasn't too bad. Some fast runners ran 20 and some people only ran every second loop in order to have a short break between each repeat which meant they ran up to 10laps. We then jogged another loop of PH and back to the start to warm down.

Total distance: 10.4km
Calories burned: 620

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Running for Fun and a Good Cause!

Ben Donohue was a 9year old boy who died in 2005 from a brain tumour. His mother works at Hawker College and since he died the school have annually organised a Fun Run to raise money for brain tumour research, the ACT Eden Monaro Cancer Support Group and Make-A-Wish Australia. This is the fourth year of the event which is a 6km fun run and walk round most of Lake Ginninderra. Today the conditions were ideal with cloud cover to start and a very mild temperature in the early 20s. Rachelle and I decided to put in a late entry and arrived in plenty of time to find quite a number of familiar faces. It was a pleasant run with a very large crowd of entrants of all ages and levels of fitness from the very serious runners setting PBs to those who participated for the fun. Every entrant helped raise money for a very worthy cause. We had fun and later enjoyed a lovely lunch by the lake, yummy food, good coffee but slow service. However there was plenty of good conversation- it was very pleasant indeed!

Total distance: 6km
Time taken: 33:20
Average pace per km: 5:32
Calories burned: 353

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Too Much Halloween!

After a Halloween party last night and a bit of a sleep-in this morning I could only fit in a short run before an appointment late morning. However, my legs were leaden and I ran very slowly and I doubt if I could have managed to continue on with a longer run this morning anyway. I just ran from home past the lake with my music encouraging me to keep plodding along - ouch!
Total distance: 10km
Time taken: 1:02:46
Average pace per km: 6:16
Calories burned: 595
Hmmm, too much partying methinks!!

Friday, October 31, 2008

800metres catches me unawares!

Last night I decided to arrive at track in time for a gentle warm up with Ewen and to run the 3000m. I arrived at the stands at 6.58pm and was greeted with, "what age group are you?" I told the ladies my age sadly and was surprised at the excited response. 'Yes, a W55 woman - we can form a relay team for the 800m' - oh dear me. They really wanted to run and there was no-one else to help them out, what could I do? Thus it was that I ended up running 3rd spot in the 4 x 800m relay in the W55 age group not knowing that they had set their sights on a record! Oh dear again, having never run a track relay in my life, let alone an 800m I had no idea what was in store. When I took the baton I ran my best but it was hard, I had not warmed up of course having been taken by surprise and the result was that we missed out on the record by 30secs probably my 30secs. However, my team was encouraging and lovely - just happy to have had the opportunity to run and I was not made to feel bad at all, in fact they asked me to join them again which is pretty amazing!! By the time I had returned to the stands I had started coughing and coughing and coughing. I am told that this is a very common occurrence with 800m sprints - in fact there was a lot of coughing coming from my end of the stands. It felt like a dead insect was stuck in my throat and tears were pouring down my face. I just could not stop coughing.
However, 20mins later I was back on the track running in the 3000m as was the original intention. I found it hard and hot and my time was probably a PW (16:05 - average pace 5:20)but hey, hopefully it's all up from here! Look out track, I'll be back!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Synchronised Swans

I had RPM and abs this morning before work and after work a run with Ewen to Molonglo River where we ran under the bridge on the new track for a little way. It looks promising for a longer run when we up our distances in the future as from that spot it's marked as 3km to the airport - worth investigating.
On our return we were entranced by the sight of black swans and signets on the lake, in particular by the sight of two black swans swimming in perfect synchronisation. Perhaps we should have Olympics for swans. They were amazing. We also ran past our bunny friends who have all grown up from the babies of last year. However, bunnies being bunnies, there were defnitely a few little ones out there as well.
We still had a few problems with the head wind - it's definitely hayfever weather with lots of white pollen floating about in the air. We did manage to run faster than last week though as the wind was not nearly as strong and although it was cool during the day the sun had come out by the time we ran and it was actually quite hot. We stopped on the way to talk to Roger who was cycling home in the opposite direction.
Total distance: 14.3km
Time taken: 1:28:53
Average pace per km: 6:13
Calories burned: 850

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Bad Hair Day!

Last Wednesday (22 October) Ewen and I battled the elements to run from my office to the Lake and past Molonglo Reach and back. The headwind was in full force and required hat holding – forget the hair! It was indeed a powerful force but on the way out we felt reassured by the fact that on the return the wind would be behind us! Ha, ha, no such luck – we turned, so did the wind and all the way back we were fighting the wind again – not fair! I think Ewen jinxed us with his blog comment! We did however run 14km before I rushed home to prepare for a dinner date.
Total distance: 14km
Time taken: 1:30:52
Average pace per km: 6:27

I returned to the gym last Tuesday and have attended an upper body strength session and three RPM classes since then. Sunday was the Masters’ Handicap Run at O’Connor Ridge. Going out the night before for a farewell party was probably a mistake, at least the wine and food consumed was a mistake! I really struggled on the hills (lots of them). I could make several excuses – consuming too much Italian food, carrying extra weight (as a result of this), too many celebrations, a late night, lack of sleep. I could keep making excuses but the real reason is lack of training – let’s face it! I have some serious work to do!!
Total distance: 8km
Time taken: 52:52
Handicap: 22
Place: 82 (out of 100 finishers)

Monday – speedygeoff’s training at Parliament House
This is my first full week of gym (RPM classes, abs class and weights) and my legs felt like lead as I ran the warm-up loop of PH. The main session involved:

10 x 410m undulating loops from the rose gardens up the steps to the road including a 200m sprint on the flat sandy surface beside the road before jogging round the bends through the shady trees and back to the start in 30minutes. It was hard work but after about the 4th loop I felt much better and really pushed for the second half of the session. It felt good – I actually enjoyed it – woo hoo. I will improve!

Total distance: 8.5km

Today I went to the gym to work on my upper body strength session and abs. This is my last Tuesday without afternoon running. Next week will be the start of more serious training – the only possible way to improve. Perhaps soon I will return to swimming – perhaps - I know it’s good for me!

Monday, October 20, 2008

It's a Start!

Yay, I returned to speedygeese training at Parliament House tonight. It was so good to be back. I was quite worried about going as I thought I would struggle heaps, but Caroline and Ewen ran with me and we chatted and it was great to catch up. We ran a warm-up loop of PH and then the main set was 6 x 360m fast/340m slow up the grassy bank and round the undulating tracks. At least that's what it was in theory but our pace was definitely not fast, it was talking pace and the three of us always came in last and the whistle blew just after we arrived for the next run. The total distance I recorded was 8km - slow, yes but I feel so much better for having run. I can only improve from here.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The spirit is willing but the body is weak - misquote!

This morning I ran 8km slowly, very slowly but at least I ran. I want so much to run at a normal pace but I guess I just have to work up to it again. Tomorrow training at PH will be interesting, it could be just a slow jog for me. Everybody is achieving such fantastic results in events lately and I am struggling just to run. Later this morning Rach and I met PRB at Telopea Park to advertise ACT Masters Athletics at the Parks Day - stunning weather out there.
I have started downloading Italian photos onto a new blog but it will take some time as it's a slow process, like my running!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Back to Reality!

I am finally feeling human again after suffering from intense jet lag feeling wide awake every night and tired every day! Today Mr B has returned safely after spending this week in the UK with relatives. We have caught up with the family and now life will return to normal, at least for a month before we fly off to NZ for 9 days for more celebrations and to catch up with heaps of friends and relatives.

On Saturday (11 Oct) Mr B drove Mandy and I safely to Siena where we caught a bus for a winding, interesting, hilly and bumpy ride to Chiusi to catch the train to Rome. Alighting the train at Siena was interesting with all our very heavy luggage in tow. To start with we had to pull the bags up several flights of steps just to reach the correct platform – no escalators of course! It was a slow difficult process and pulling the bags on to the train was yet another hurdle to overcome. We caught a cab from the station to our hotel which was also interesting as when we reached the number on the street it looked just like a huge door and not a bit like a hotel. Just as we were contemplating how we were going to get inside an American couple emerged, held the door for us and left us with the comment “you won’t like the steps!” Ah me, this is Italy – always steps. And so we clambered up several more flights of steps with our bags very, very slowly, to find at the top of the stairs a rackety old lift, the size of a small cupboard, to take us the rest of the way. When the lift stopped we stepped out into a cute little hotel – really delightful – all blue, white and pretty with a little lounge room and dining area by reception looking out onto the back streets of Rome through high windows. The receptionist helped us with our bags to our room – that part was easy, no steps! It was a tiny little double room with a cute little bathroom and bed – very small but perfect for just one night in Rome. It was unfortunate that without time or transport we were unable to visit the Black Knight in Civitivechia as that is an hour’s drive from Rome. We did throw coins in the Trevi Fountain though so we will return!

After freshening up mother and daughter hit the sights of Rome. We walked for some time to find a spot for lunch and coffee then we decided to try the train lines and re-visit some of the tourist spots. We managed the underground surprisingly well and visited the Colosseum, the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain and the Circus Maximus (where we ran last year). There we were caught at the finish of a political protest. There were crowds and crowds of people dressed in red carrying red flags and representing the Communist Party of Italy. They were shouting and chanting and cheering. It was quite exciting until we tried to catch a train. I can’t believe how many people would squeeze on to trains in Rome. It is indeed an experience in itself. They are packed like sardines, nobody can move and still more people push themselves aboard. No way would that happen in Aussie. We just couldn’t squeeze ourselves in to that extent. Every train was the same and crowds of people were still pouring onto the platform as each train left. We wore our bags on our fronts and held each others hands just to enable us to keep together.

While the sun was still shining we decided to find a spot to enjoy a glass of wine in the sun. It was fun people watching and then we walked on to find somewhere for a meal and another glass of wine. The advantage of having a young beautiful daughter is that Italian men give her lots of attention and service is very prompt. We certainly experienced it that evening in Rome. We enjoyed a lovely meal, great wine, two amazing cocktails and excellent service from a very attentive waiter. It was a great night and lots of fun!

All good things must come to an end and thus it was that next morning, Sunday, after a relaxing breakfast we caught a cab to the airport and flew the long, long flight home with a two hour stop-over at Hong Kong airport on the way. Fortunately there were no hassles with our bags which were a few kilos overweight nor with our hand luggage which was opened and searched at HK airport. I watched several movies during the 24 hour flight but I did not sleep one wink! We were met in Sydney by a friend who drove us back to Canberra to arrive in the early hours of Tuesday morning absolutely exhausted.

On Thursday I attempted a run but lasted only 5km before having to return home utterly defeated. Yesterday I returned to work to plough through several hundred emails. Life is slowly returning to normal and another exciting adventure has ended. Photos will be posted soon!!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Our time is running out!

This will be my last opportunity to blog from Italy so I will grab the moment. As seems to be the way today, being our last day in Chianti, has been superb - hot and sunny, just gorgeous. First thing this morning Dave went for a 36km bike ride, Mandy went for a 6km walk and I went for a 10km run, discovering some lovely little country detours and I didn't even become lost - woo hoo! It was quite magical. I must admit I did a quick detour when I spotted a dog on one of the farm roads - no, we won't risk that one after last year's little episode!
Back to Wed after lunch when we went for a lovely drive exploring some of the Chianti towns. Lecchi and Gaioli were both closed. Some towns are closed on Wednesdays which may have explained it. Instead we drove on to Castellina and walked through the township remembering how pretty it was from last year's trip. It is the most medieval of the Chianti towns and we walked through a tunnel-like road with little windows overlooking the countryside. This was a soldiers' walk when it was Florence's last outpost before Siena.
In the evening we returned to Radda where we found a delightful little tucked-away restaurant. The service was slow but the ambience was lovely and the food and wine delicious.

Thursday 9 October
In the morning we drove to Siena to organise tickets to Chiusi then Rome for Mandy and me on Saturday morning and we drove on to some factory outlets for a browse and to enjoy hot chocolate from the Lindt chocolate outlet and a light lunch before returning to Siena for an explore. We sat in the sunshine in the Piazza del Campo enjoying campari and soda and loving the fact that the sun was actually warm. We roamed the lovely little alleys and streets and had a great day before returning to Radda for a giant (and I mean GIANT) pizza between the three of us at a local pizza restaurant with local wine and some locals generally chatting away to us with little bits of English and our little bit of Italian - great fun.
And so back to today, Friday, we have finally booked our hotel on the internet after some difficulty. Now we will have a last glass of local wine in the sunshine and enjoy our passeggiata before the horrendous task of packing our bags commences - oh dear!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

La Vita e Bella!

Apologies for such a long delay between posts. I am now writing on a very dodgy computer which may log me out any minute but at least I have an opportunity to blog at last. We are now in Radda in Chianti and I have been breathing fresh beautiful country air. Rimini was great fun and the opening ceremony on Friday 26 Sept fantastic. All the represented countries marched behind their relevant flags and appropriate music played. For Aussie we heard "I come from a land down under" ! When the kiwis marched they stopped, turned to face the South Africans and performed a Maori haka - it was so cool. That evening Mr B, Caroline, Mark, Connie and Peter (another Aussi ex-kiwi couple) had dinner in an English pub - great fun.

Sat 27 September
Today was the women's duathlon race and after watching the elites race early in the day we cheered on the women, especially Caroline and Connie, in the afternoon. Later our daughter arrived with her friends. It was lots of fun and Caroline did so well, winning a bronze medal in her age group - woo hoo! That evening we found a great fish restaurant which also served pasta and gently celebrated Caroline's great result.

Today the men over 50 (about 250 competitors) raced at 7.45am which meant an early brekkie at 6am - phew! It was a bleak day weather-wise and Mr B had to run the entire first leg 10km run in pouring rain. However by the start of the 40km cycle the rain had cleared and the sun eventually appeared. It was such an exciting day and Mr B managed a PB so was pretty happy. We cheered on Lachie and Rad from Canberra and felt quite emotional as Rad finished to loud loud cheers from everyone as he had to run through the next age group of competitors who had started and were also encouraging him on. That evening we all enjoyed the after party celebrations at the Convention Centre where Caroline was presented with her bronze medal and we had a lovely evening with everyone together.
Milan Monday 29 Sept to Thursday 2 October
And so we left Rimini bidding our friends farewell as we went our various ways. The sun was now out in full and we enjoyed a sunny day and pleasant lunch before heading off to Milan. Our hotel in Milan was set on a busy main shopping street surrounded by shops. It was very hot inside and the street noises were loud although we were two levels up. The mosquitos loved me and sleeping was difficult but it was an exciting place to be. On our first day Mandy and I explored the shops (of course) but although Mandy's shopping was very successful I was overwhelmed and just browsed in awe! Mr B drove a long drive to the ferrari museum but it was closed for refurbishment until next year - grrr!
Tuesday evening we went to the Coldplay concert. It was really awesome. No words could possibly describe it - the atmosphere, the enormous crowds and the fact that the Italians knew all the words of every song in English! What a night, what an experience!
Wed we bought an all-day tram and train ticket and explored the main part of the city. The shops were mind boggling and mainly very expensive. We walked through an Emporium of exclusive shops such as Gucci, Armani etc and visited the Duomo where the frescoes were out of this world - tall spires outside, quite stunning. We enjoyed aperitifs at one cafe and yummy pizza that evening followed by the best tiramisu I've ever tasted and superb wine.
Thursday (our last full day in Milan) we explored again using another all-day ticket - the best way to travel and see heaps. I found Milan to be a concrete jungle full of amazing designer shops but all far too overwhelming for me. Mandy, on the other hand, revelled in the shopping. However, we all found it to be crowded and a bit polluted and longed for open spaces again. On our last evening Mr B took us out for a big surprise. First we walked to the Diana Majestic Bar at the Sheraton Hotel where we enjoyed amazing aperitifs which included a fabulous spread of up-market nibbles, salads etc. Next we went by taxi to the theatre to see Bryan Adams perform. He was just amazing and it was a wonderful night. We drank champagne while waiting to enter the theatre and it was a completely awesome experience. Again the Italians sang loudly in English to all the songs and were a great audience knowing all the words by heart.
Friday 3 October
'For never was a story of more woe, than this of Juliet and her Romeo!'
Today as we we drove away from Milan the sun came out and with no real idea of where to stay tonight we decided, on impulse, to head for Verona and try to stay there. We managed to find a hotel about 9km from the city and it was lovely. Verona is a beautiful place and I would love to return there to explore it further one day. It's a very romantic city and we visited the house of Juliet out of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Certainly the Capulets lived there and it was easy to believe that Juliet truly lived there and the story was true. We explored the house and stood on the balcony where Juliet had called to Romeo. It was sooooo romantic and beautiful. We then walked a while to visit her mythical tomb - all so real and eerie. It was a beautiful city and I'm so glad we decided to stop there for a short time.
Saturday 4 October
As we drove away from Verona towards Chianti we glimpsed the stunning snowcapped Dolamites in the distance. Gradually the countryside changed showing us lots of vineyards and green fields. We drove first to Florence where Mandy met up with her friend from the UK and spent the day there with her before they both came back for the weekend. We left the girls there to explore and drove on to Radda in Chianti along lots of long, windy, hilly roads typical of Italian countryside. Our farmouse is called Santorello and is set on a hill with magnificent country views. It has two levels with a dining-lounge area, two bedrooms and bathroom on the lower level and bathroom, laundry, bedroom, kitchen, lounge-dining area on the upper level. Opposite in the distance on a high hill we can see a fairytale castle which is actually a winery and restaurant. The setting is just awesome. We booked a spot for the following evening there. Later we collected the girls from Florence and enjoyed a good meal in a popular restaurant where the CJs had a meal with us last year. Later we drove the long windy road back to Radda where we slept like logs.
Sunday 5 October
This morning Mr B and I went for our first run in over a week. It was wonderful running across the valley, past the winery and round some of the winding road. It was short but gee it felt good to finally run in the beautiful country air. Today we explored Radda and then drove on to San Gimignano for another trip down memory lane - for lunch and a gelato of course! In the evening we enjoyed a superb meal at our fairytale restaurant on the hill which definitely lived up to our expectations - great wine, fantastic service!
Monday 6 October
This morning, to please the girls, we drove them to fancy brand-name factory outlets on the way to Florence. It was a bit of a detour as we became lost but eventually we continued on to Florence where the girls were meeting some travelling friends from Canberra and Mandy's friends from Perugia drove through for a reunion too. Mandy decided to stay the night there to celebrate her friend's engagement and to return by train to us next day so Mr B and I explored separately. We browsed round the markets and enjoyed another great meal in a welcoming restaurant and walked and walked to find the good gelati place which we discovered last year before returning to Radda to sleep, perchance to dream!
Tuesday 7 October
This was going to be a quiet relaxing catch-up day but it didn't quite turn out that way. After catching up with washing etc we had a call from Mandy to ask us to meet her train in Montevarchi so off we went in that direction stopping on the way at Vertine - a delightful little village consisting of one church, one restaurant and lots of gorgeous houses. We saw two cats but every door was closed and the only person we saw was a man tending his veges. It was only 11.30am so was quite bizarre. We next stopped at Giaole which deserves a longer visit as it looks quite enticing. Just before reaching Montevarchi we received another text message to say Mandy's train doors didn't open at her stop and she was still on the train! We decided the next stop would be Arezzo so we drove another very windy 25km to meet her there. Fortunately the doors opened and she was waiting there for us looking relieved! We decided to spend some time in Arezzo where the shops were closed for siesta but the bars and cafes were open for us to enjoy a delicious prostini before viewing a relatively small church as the duomo was closed. It still had fantastic frescoes. Arezzo is the setting for many of the scenes in "Life is Beautiful" (La Vita e Bella) - an Oscar winning movie which I loved.
That evening we lit the fire in the house and drank San Gimignano wine while enjoying an Italian meal which Mandy and I prepared, finishing with local chocolate and Baileys. I am turning into a well-rounded Italian mama with all this Italian food and great coffee. The cappuccinos are lovely although I notice it is difficult to find a hot coffee. The best cappuccino we have had was at the Gucci cafe in Milan. At $10 a pop it would need to be!!
Wednesday 8 October - Today!!
Yay - this morning I went for a 7km run to Vertine and back including a few little farm roads on the way back. It was definitely undulating, reminiscent of some of our runs last year. It was also very slow but I loved every minute of it. The views were awesome and the air was fresh and clean. Mr B went for a 20km cycle to Giaole and back and Mandy went for a 4km walk towards Radda so we all felt much better after some exercise all in different directions!
Later we drove to Radda township (about 4km from our country house up and down hills) where I am right now and explored it some more. There's heaps of cute little nooks and crannies and hidden delights here. I love it. The sun is out and life is beautiful!!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Food consumption high, coffee to die for!

At the moment in Italy it is Friday afternoon and Mr B and Caroline have gone for their final briefing before their respective races. It's blowing a gale and has already rained today. I'm so glad I brought my spray jacket with me - it's had constant use! Mark (Caroline's son) and I have found an internet site inside a games parlour so we are being entertained at the same time as we blog! This morning we walked into the city for great cappuccino and to browse. It's about 2km each way and we have done that twice a day so are using up a few of the calories we're consuming! Last night the pasta party was set in a large venue near the beach. There were well over 800 people there and it was fairly chaotic. It was fun socialising with everyone and I met more people but mainly in the queue for food! This morning we also spent some time perusing the Expo between showers of rain! Caroline's race tomorrow is at 4pm and Mr B races at 7.30am on Sunday. Fingers crossed the wind and rain will ease off and the temperature will improve!

Rimini, like most Italian towns, has a main square and although it is apparently a tourist resort and very busy during the summer months it is currently quiet and the shops close for 3 hours for siesta in the middle of the day. However, the coffee is great and yes, Griffin, we have tried yummy chocolate, pastries and had a good gelati a couple of nights ago. Temptation is everywhere and some of the designer shops are mind boggling and so beautifully set out. It is quite flat here and the duathlon course is looped and flat and goes in and out and round about - not easy to navigate the run course but hopefully it will become clear after the briefing today.
Mr B brought his bike tools, bike pump and of course international plug with him. He has been in constant demand for all of the above. The nearest bike shop is some kms from the hotel and as a consequence he has become Mr Popular as he has all the necessary gear with him, even down to his international charger - it's been a great way to get to know people!

Rimini - sunshine and rain

After a very long trip we were safely met by Mr B in Rome and driven to Perugia where we delivered Mandy to her friends for a few days. We explored Perugia for a little while, a pretty little town with cobbled streets and lots of history. Lisa's apartment is set very close to the mini metro which is a cute little tram running on its own up and down to the city without a driver ie fully automatic - great fun. After lunch in a delightful little pub with awesome coffee (sublime - we have truly arrived in Italy) Mr B and I drove on to Rimini and I must admit I dozed a lot on the journey utterly exhausted! On the plane trip I managed to watch about 4 movies and several episodes of Sex and The City but I slept very little and was very tired.
Rimini is busy preparing for the duathlon. Our hotel is full of athletes from all over the world. We have met lots of interesting people and of course there are lots of people we know from Canberra too. Caroline, Rad and Lachy are here and we have met lots of other interesting people from Aussi, NZ and Canada especially. I have run the route a couple of times, once with Caroline at a gentle 6min km pace and today with Mr B at 5:37 pace - 5km each time. We have experienced every season so far - extreme cold, wind, rain, storms and this afternoon the sun has shone and finally we enjoyed running in a singlet and felt the warmth of the sun. Mandy, in Perugia, on the other hand has had hot sunny days every day and it's only 2 hours drive away - grrrr!
Yesterday Mr B and I drove to San Marino, a fascinating independent city set high on a hill with a tower at the top where we walked to explore. It was such an interesting place. We visited it in 1974 and it was just a distant memory. There were lots of interesting nooks and crannies and it was a lovely little city to explore. We saw lots of cyclists struggling up the long steep hill no doubt enjoying the thought of riding down again rather fast trying to avoid those Italian drivers on the way!
Last night we had the Aussi team dinner - a great way to meet everyone. There are only 25 entrants from Aussie and 45 from NZ! Tonight is the pasta party and this involves everyone from every country so should be heaps of fun. Already we have met heaps of people - it's a bit like being in a mini Olympic village! Today was registration day and another opportunity to meet yet more people. Mr B has been training hard and is ready to go. This is all very exciting! Tomorrow we will explore the Expo. And now I will leave this as people are waiting. Mandy and her friends arrive on Sat to support Mr B too - our supporter singlets are ready - woo hoo!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

It's Now or Never!

Indeed, this is my last opportunity to update my blog before "leaving on a jet plane" tomorrow. Yes, one more sleep and then my daughter and I head to Rome where Mr B will meet us and drive us to our destinations, Mandy to Perugia to a friend for a few days before joining us and Mr B and I to Rimini where we stay until after the duathlon next weekend. I think I have almost packed - weighing the bag will be interesting. I have to leave some weight and space for the return trip!!
Running over the past couple of weeks has been a bit intermittent. I seem to have heaps of interruptions. However, it has included a good 13km run with Ewen where I found $20 on the return lap (woo hoo) and speedygeoff's bi-weekly training sessions although I did miss last Thursday's group as I managed to squeeze in a hair appointment to have my hair cut ultra short ready for summer!! Besides it's so much less trouble short!

Last Sunday was the Canberra Times Fun Run - not a very successful result. The weather was pretty bleak after a gorgeous day on the Saturday. Overnight there were huge flashes of lightning and the heavens opened. In the morning the rain had stopped although it fell heavily just prior to the start of the race. Rach drove Marg and I to the start and took the car to the finish which was fantastic except that it didn't go quite as well as planned. For a start I left my ipod in the car which meant running without music. That felt strange for a while as I'm not used to hearing myself breathe so loudly for 10km but the advantage was that I could hear other people breathe too and acknowledge others along the way. After being caught in the rain and wind towards the finish, to add insult to injury a number of walkers spread across the track up to seven abreast in front of me, causing several runners to have to detour up the slippery muddy bank to avoid them and in my case this definitely meant walking for a bit as I was sliding in the mud - not happy! However, on a positive note, it was great to catch up with so many people who come out of the woodwork annually for that event and there were heaps of familiar faces. At the end I met up with Marg and we then searched for our driver. We became cold very quickly and it took a very long time to meet up with Rach again. We were shivering and PRB came to my rescue with his jumper which helped a lot - lovely man. No PB for me this year, in fact I ran nearly a minute slower than last year but next year will be better and over all it was a good day.
Total distance: 10km
Time taken: 55:29
Average pace per km: 5:30

This morning I ran a final run before leaving tomorrow. I had heavy legs from an exhausting week and felt every step of the 10km. However, I did listen to my music before packing my ipod. Now I'm off to repack and weigh that suitcase. I will be blogging when possible but from now on my titles will be travel related - farewell for now, Elvis. There are heaps more song titles but I will go with the flow. Back soon my friends!!

Monday, September 08, 2008

It Hurts Me!

This morning RPM was a killer after far too much over indulgence yesterday. I have also been suffering from a sore hamstring all day - the same spot as last year - not a good sign! Tonight I was a bit nervous as we headed for the oval after our warm-up loops round Parliament House. Our main set was 25 x 50metre sprints with a jog back between each. It was fun and being on the grassy oval was a bit gentler on the hamstring. I lasted the distance and enjoyed catching up with lots of people during the jog backs and the warm down at the end.

Total distance: 8km
Calories burned: 450

Now I need to stretch lots more!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Doing the Best I Can!

This morning Mr B and I left for our run a little later than usual and headed for some off-road hilly running. We ran past the AIS and through to parts of Lyneham and O'Connor Ridge and further. There were lots of hills but the off-road is so much better than the cycle paths where we had to start and finish. Of course the rough surface and the hills slowed down the pace but on the return Mr B took off and I ran as fast as I could to try to keep him in sight at least. It felt like a good work out and the second half was definitely much faster than the first.

Total distance: 14.12km
Time taken: 1:24:52
Average pace per km: 6mins exactly
Slowest km: 6:47 (up hill obviously)
Fastest km: 5:13 (in the 11th km)
Calories burned: 818

Happy Fathers' Day tomorrow to all those dads out there. On Wed Mr B leaves for Italy and ten days after that I follow him - not long now - woo hoo!!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Peace in the Valley!!

Wednesday - RPM, Abs, work, run - in that order! Ewen and I ran our usual route from my office keeping the pace slower than last week to fit in with Ewen's low heart rate. This suited us fine as that meant more chatting was involved! Ewen explained the technicalities of his training and how he will reach his 3km goal. We also stopped briefly to gaze at the magnificent sunset near the Boathouse and spotted a lone rower on the water. It was very beautiful. The wind was a bit nasty on the way out but surprisingly it was calmer on our return loop. On the whole it was a pleasant run.
Total distance: 12.10km
Time taken: 71:30
Average pace per km: 5:54
Calories burned: 720

Monday, September 01, 2008

All Shook Up!

This morning I found RPM even harder than usual. I started off tired and the first two tracks were really hard. Once I warmed up it became better but certainly never easy. And after work it was back to speedygeoff's training at Parliament House.
It was a lovely sunny day for the first day of Spring but the air definitely had a strong chill to it by the time training started. I ran in shorts tonight but most people continued in leggings.
We ran a couple of warm-up loops before our main set which was 20 x 100m fast/slow with a short rest at the half way point. It was competitive, with short and sharp repeats - we pushed ourselves and it was hard but 100m is a great distance cos it's over so quickly and the 100m jog between each sprint was a good opportunity for a chat with lots of different people. We finished with another loop of PH.
Total distance: 9km
Calories burned: 530

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Blue Suede Shoes!

Just for Tesso and Katy I have posted the "blue suede shoes" that I wear to the gym sometimes. Aren't they cool!! They match my pink/black tracksuit perfectly but they're definitely not made for running. Speaking of running yesterday I went for a run at about 11am and surprisingly became positively hot! Just as I was thinking that I should have worn less clothes the voice on my ipod sang, "girl you're so hot" - hmmm my sentiments exactly. However, they are not the sentiments of my just-6yr old grand-daughter who was explaining to me in a stage whisper in the car on Friday that "hot" means "sexy" and "you're too old to be hot grandma. You're pretty but you're not hot. Mummy is a little bit hot though cos her face is smooth!" Ah me, the disillusionment I feel - it is official, I am defnitely NOT hot!!
Yesterday's total distance: 10.4km
Time taken: 58:34
Average pace per km: 5:47
Calories burned: 600
This morning I ran in the Masters' monthly handicap run at Blewitt's Forest. When I looked out the window this morning it was pouring with rain and blowing a gale. Yuck - not a good start for a very hilly off-road run. Mr B opted to stay in our nice warm bed but I love catching up with everyone at the handicap and besides I needed to burn off the rather large meal I cooked last night and the choc chip muffins Miss 6 and I cooked yesterday afternoon! As I drove nearer the event the rain cleared and by the time I parked the car the sun was peeping through the clouds. The timing of the run was perfect - no rain, no wind and the only downside was the slushy mud underfoot. I did watch my footing especially on the downhills as it would have been very easy to slip over in that mud. It was a very hilly run with one long slow steady incline in particular which felt like it was going on forever, but the total distance was only 7km so quite manageable. Miranda won the gold medal in the 7km long course which was absolutely fantastic and well-deserved! Steve sped past me 500m from the end starting from a very big handicap and looking very fit ready for his enormous 100mile hill run in a couple of weeks.
And now the rain is back and that's a good thing, cos we desperately need it - excellent timing!
Total distance: 7km
Time taken: 41:51
Average pace per km: 5:55
Calories burned: 420
Handicap Group: 22
Place: 40th (about 80 runners)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

And the Grass Won't Pay No Mind!

Tonight at speedygeoff's training on the oval we ran a couple of warm-up laps before the main set which consisted of two person relays with one person running 300m fast while the other person jogged 100m back to the previous cone where they waited for the first person to reach them and pass the baton for a repeat of this 9-10 times. The wind was very cold although we had experienced a gorgeous sunny day earlier. After the main set we ran another gentle cool down lap of the oval.
Total distance: 7km
Calories burned: 380

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Little less Conversation!

Okay not much less - but I did listen more than Ewen talked cos he decided to set our pace a little faster and our distance a little shorter. The first few kms were a little tough but after warming up it became much more comfortable. We ran our usual route just cutting it short by a km. It was a still, mild evening and only just started to become dark as we almost reached our finish point. Spring is coming, hurrah hurrah!
Total distance: 12.2km
Time taken: 1:10:32
Average pace per km: 5:47
Calories burned: 723

Monday, August 25, 2008

Sweet Caroline

Parts of the cycle course - Mr B on an uphill

Caroline on a down-hill

Mr B finishesCaroline wins Gold!
Smiles for competitors and supporters!
Caroline's proud son!
We have now returned from a lovely weekend in Newcastle where Mr B competed in a challenging duathlon as did a few of our Canberra masters athletes, including Caroline. It was a great course for spectators and there were several laps where we could cheer everyone on loudly (the "toasties" would have loved it)! The distances were standard - 10km run, 40km cycle, 5km run which will be the same as in Italy, the difference being that the Rimini cycle course is flat whereas the Newcastle one was very very hilly - good training! We drove around the cycle course the evening before when the wind was so strong that the organisers could not set up the course markers and instead had to return to do this at 3.30am on the Sunday! During the Sat evening it also rained heavily and we were very relieved when the wind dropped and the rain stopped in time for ideal conditions for the morning of the event. Although Mr B did not gain a medal he still managed a good time considering the cycle course and he did have some serious competition. The winner of his age group beat him by 30minutes!

While Mr B rested in the afternoon I went on a short run of my own as I definitely felt the need for exercise after being inspired by those duathletes. We stayed at Adamstown Heights which gives some indication that hills surrounded us but I was directed to a disused railway line and found a great place to run - a steady gentle incline was involved and the weather was brilliant. Back to work tomorrow - why do weekends always go so fast even when an extra day is involved?

Distance: 14.3km
Time taken: 1:22:54
Average pace per km: 5:47
Calories burned: 820
Oh and yes, Elvis did sing the title of this blog! He just wasn't alone in doing so.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Good Luck Charm!

Happy 38th wedding anniversary to our speedycoach and his speedyjenny today! He wins by a year! Yesterday he led 7 of us in training at Dickson Oval. It was actually quite a mild night for a change with no wind - woo hoo! We ran our warm-up loop (I missed the first loop but arrived in time for the second) and then our main set was 10 laps (unless we were lapped) running fast on the straights and slow on the bends. All except 3 of us were lapped once and consequently only had to run 9 laps - great. We then ran a warm down loop making a total distance of 7.5km.
This morning I tried something different at the gym - a Body Balance class. This is a combination of pilates, yoga, stretching, abs, balance, strength and relaxation in the space of an hour. I had to concentrate hard especially on the core and balancing work but I'm sure a compulsory hour of various types of stretching will help me, especially as I no longer attend yoga classes. It does mean however that I will only be doing two RPM classes a week instead of three - may need to add an extra run in soon to up the ante!
Tomorrow Mr B and I drive to Newcastle where Mr B is competing in a championship duathlon on Sunday - a good practice for the big one in Rimini, Italy next month. It should be good fun cheering him on along with a few other Canberra competitors and I have the opportunity to catch up with my brother there. Best of all we are not returning until Monday - a day off work, woo hoo!! Good luck Mr B!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Help me make it through the night!

Tonight Ewen and I ran our usual route out past Molonglo Reach and back struggling with a head wind after the turn around. That wind was cold! We saw numerous rabbits on the way including one poor little prostate one which we suspect an eagle may have attacked! The evenings are staying lighter later now but I still needed my headlamp for the return trip. After intensive treatment at the physio yesterday my leg was still painful for the first half of the run but I have committed to lots more stretching and will need to do this in order to continue to run without discomfort. It seems to take about 5km before my legs are operating in a normal fashion. It would probably also help if I had more sleep and didn't burn the candle at both ends watching Olympics late and going to the gym early! I had to make two pit stops tonight - defnitely a bad move to celebrate a work colleague's birthday with icecream cake!
Total distance: 14km
Time taken: 1:25
Average pace per km: 6:08

Monday, August 18, 2008

Girls, Girls, Girls!

It's a bit difficult to drag myself away from the Olympics long enough to write up today's entry. After RPM this morning I did go to work for a few hours before whizzing home at lunchtime to watch the women's tri. Wow, I'm so glad I didn't miss it - just the best watching those Emmas win gold and bronze - just awesome!
Tonight at speedygeoff's PH training we ran a couple of warm-up in and out loops of PH before running 5 x [600m fast out and slow back] along the top flat grassy bank by the road beside PH. I'm still having trouble with my leg and it seems to take me about 4km to warm up but it was a good fast session. Tomorrow morning I have a physio session. Jimmy has had a bike accident and fractured his collar bone in four places (ouch) so I have a different person tomorrow and obviously a very different injury!
Total distance tonight: 10km
Calories burned: 600m
After our training tonight we celebrated Helen's birthday, Yelena's PB in the 3ooom at the High Noon meet yesterday and Rae's 3rd place in her age group at the C2S - lovely bubbly supplied by the birthday girl went down very nicely thank you!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Just a Closer Walk with Thee!

Saturday's run was not very memorable. It looked like a lovely day and the sun was shining but there was a cold headwind for a fair bit of the way and I didn't take off my long sleeved top until about 8km into the run. For the first 5km my legs felt like blocks of lead and everything hurt. It was not good at all. I did have a very late night on Thursday but hey that was two nights ago - no excuse for such a bad run. I think a physio appointment is in order this week and I think I have also made up my mind to go with Mr B to Newcastle next weekend and cheer him on in his duathlon instead of competing in the Canberra Masters' Half Marathon where a satisfactory result would not be likely at the moment. Besides Mr B is very keen on having me as his cheer squad!
Distance: 15km
Time taken: 1:30:25
Average pace per km: 6:05
Calories burned: 874

Today, Sunday, the weather was absolutely stunning - the wind didn't pick up until late afternoon. We spent the morning watching the women's marathon and the 1500m men's swim before being on babysitting duties for the rest of the day which resulted in us taking master 2 year old for a 7km brisk walk in his pram - at least it was some form of exercise and enabled us to make the most of the gorgeous sunshine.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

'He is My Everything'!

Tomorrow I have been married 37 years to the same wonderful caring man who has learnt to share my love of running and fitness and understands my idiosyncrasies. To quote a well-known movie which we both enjoyed, "he completes me". I am indeed very blessed!
Last weekend we both competed in the City to Surf. I was excited with my time on Gandalf which stated I ran it in 78:43 which would have been a PB by 1min. However, in the paper it tells me my chip time (my official time) is actually 80:25. How can this be, I wonder? Is Gandalf speeding me up? I pressed the start as I ran across the timing pad at the start line. How mysterious and how frustrating. Mr B ran a PB in 70:58 and is obviously very happy with that. We both enjoyed the run. I felt the hills at the start but after settling in to my rhythm barely noticed heartbreak hill. The most difficult part for me was wending my way around so many people, purportedly 70,000 starters. The morning dawned very cool but the conditions were actually ideal with no wind and definitely not too hot. Later in the day it poured with rain and turned extremely cold so we were very lucky to have had a clear morning. We saw a lot of familiar faces out there, a large contingency of Canberrans. We spent a lot of hours later just watching the Olympics on the telly in the hotel room - very relaxing.
Stats from Gandalf 2
Distance: 14.12km
Time taken: 78:43 (official chip time: 80:25)
Average pace per km: 5:34
Calories burned: 824
Fastest km: 4:50
This afternoon Ewen was unable to join me for my mid-week run so I took my courage in my hands and ran on my own. I didn't start out until 5.15pm which was later than usual but I took my ipod for company and at the half-way point turned on my headlamp. I also wore ear warmers and was very glad of them on my return journey. My right leg has been playing up and is stiff and sore causing me problems sleeping. It was ok running C2S although it was aching the day before. On my run this evening it hurt for the first 5km then seemed to settle down and I managed to complete the run comfortably. By the time I reached Molonglo Reach it was dark and I turned on my headlamp. The second half of the run was tough. There was a bitterly cold fierce headwind and it was dark and I was a tad scared out there on my own. My imagination was working overtime and I turned my music up loud to drown out the noise of the wind! Ewen, I missed you out there - don't leave me alone again - eeeeeek! However, I made it home in record time avoiding a few potholes and running as fast as possible to try to find some light. I can't say I particularly enjoyed the experience but I'm glad I did it! It was very necessary as I have to squeeze into a new little black dress for an awards night tomorrow night! This of course means that I will miss training AND that Mr B and I will have to celebrate our anniversary dinner on Sat night instead!!
Distance: 14km
Time taken: 1:22:24
Average pace per km: 5:52
Calories burned: 829
Fastest km: 5:34
My son has sent me an interesting link to an article about how running after 50 slows the aging process. This seems to me a very good reason to continue running! Take a look http://www.theage.com.au/world/running-slows-aging-process-study-20080812-3tqg.html

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Only the Strong Survive!

Wednesday morning after a tough RPM class we had an equally tough abs class. Then after work I met up with Ewen for a 14km run. We were joined half way by Grant, a visitor from Sydney who was keen on running by the lake but unsure of directions. He was pleased to run some of the distance with us. Although cold it was a still night and the conditions were good. My garmin was playing up a bit and tells me I ran a faster pace than Ewen's garmin which was obviously incorrect but I'm still going to report what mine says cos it sounds better! Besides it felt fast even if it wasn't.
Total distance: 14km
Time taken: 1:22mins
Average pace per km: 5:57
Calories burned: 800

Thursday - speedygeoff's training at Dickson oval
Tonight would have had to be one of the coldest nights we have run at Dickson this winter. It was really really cold yet 9 people still managed to brave the freezing temperature and turn up for training. We started with a couple of loops of the entire oval then the main set was :
12 x [45secs fast followed by 75secs slow]
We then finished with a cool down loop of the oval.
Total distance: 8km
I did strip down to my t-shirt and off came the gloves but when I stopped it felt like I was going to freeze to bits so I jumped into a hot shower the moment I reached home and by the time I emerged Mr B had the dinner on the table. Aah, I love having a retired hubby who cooks me meals (on the nights he's home anyway)!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Beyond the Bend

Oh dear me, I now have some catching up to do! On Saturday for some crazy reason I decided to run in the Cross Country 10km event from the Boathouse at the lake. It started at 1pm and by that time the wind had picked up and the weather was cold and bleak to say the least. I felt ok for the first half but after the turn-around it was like running uphill against the strong wind - really tough. I couldn't catch Caroline who finished 2 minutes ahead of me although she was only one place ahead. I finished 85th in a field of 95 - at least I wasn't last!!
Total distance: 10km
Time taken: 55:39
Average pace per km: 5:33
Calories burned: 617

Monday - speedygeoff's training at PH
Tonight was the first of the training for track season. After a couple of loops of PH for a warm-up our main session was a series of 400m fast/400m jog for 30 minutes running fast along a grassy bank edge beside the road just up to and around the bend in the road then a slow jog back to the start. We followed this with a cool down loop taking us back to the start. I found the first 4 fast 400m really tough, my legs didn't want to run. They felt very heavy perhaps because we had an extra track at RPM this morning or perhaps through lack of sleep. However by the 4th repeat I was feeling much stronger and felt I could have run more than the 6 fast repeats I managed in the time frame if only I hadn't been so slow at the start. It seems to take me ages to get into my stride and warm up properly in this bitterly cold weather although it was actually a still night with no wind which made it ideal conditions for training (just a pity it wasn't slightly warmer)!
Total distance: 9km

This morning I concentrated on my upper body strength at the gym and this afternoon I took an early mark to come home to re-make grand-daughter's 6th birthday cake - a mouse! My first attempt was a disaster as overnight it gradually sunk, sunk, sunk and all the innards slowly seeped out of the undercooked mouse! Attempt number two was considerably more successful - one brown chocolate mouse to be delivered safely to birthday girl tonight!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

C'mon Everybody

At speedygeoff''s training tonight we did the reverse of last week. We started with a couple of warm-up laps then our main session consisted of:
3 x [300 easy/200 hard; 300 easy/300 hard; 400 easy/500 hard] - I think!! I was a little confused especially when I had to race off for a loo break towards the end of the second set and then had to attempt to catch up!
We had a warm-down lap of the oval for finish.
Total distance (for me - I missed half of the first warm-up loop) - 9km
Calories burned: 500
It was a small group tonight - only 9 of us turned up which is unusual - the cold must have frightened everybody away! However we did welcome one newcomer so that was good.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

One Boy, Two Little Girls

Ewen runs 3km with a "little" competitor at High Noon

This morning was the usual RPM class followed by abs and after work this afternoon Rachelle joined Ewen and I on our afternoon run from the office to the lake and on to the bridge past Molonglo Reach where we turned and returned to the office. For the first half of the run my legs felt heavy and tired but after the turn-around I started to feel quite good and a whole lot more comfortable. It was a very cold night especially when the breeze picked up. We did take our long sleeves off for a short time but on the return trip the wind picked up and we were glad to put them on again! At one stage I tripped on a rock and nearly did a CJ but managed to stop myself just as the ground was rushing up to meet me - phew! Rachelle struggled a bit with a sore foot and when we finished our run Ewen gave a demo on a different way of tying shoe laces!

Total distance: 14.12km

Time taken: 1:25:34

Average pace per km: 6:03 (exactly the same as last week)

Calories burned: 826

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

You Gave me a Mountain!

No sleep-ins for me this weekend with the Bush Capital on Saturday and on duty at Mt Taylor on Sunday. I had opted for the 16km distance for the Bush Capital on a very very chilly morning.
Although our start was not until 9.10am it was still bitingly cold. I started off with a long-sleeved top but I did discard my gloves and ear warmers and ran in shorts rather than leggings. It took me nearly 5km before my frozen fingers had any feeling in them and another 5km before I wrapped my long-sleeved top round my waist. There were lots of hills but also lots of lovely downhills which I treated with much respect as there were lots of loose stones and I didn't want to fall flat on my face (again). This was probably wise as there were a couple of nasty falls from others on the course. The sun shone through the clouds and it turned out to be a lovely day (sunny anyway, but still cold). I passed a large group of curious kangaroos and stopped to check on a fellow runner who had stopped breathless due to a nasty cold and was walking with difficulty.
It was a lovely off-road run - tough but really pleasant and although I was slow I enjoyed the event and may even consider upping it to the 25km course next year. There were so many friends out there running in different events. Jen (from Sydney) ran really well in the 10km event and Mango, CJ and speedy speedygeoff in the 25km while Mr B and Rachelle ran good times in the 16km, Kelley blitzed the 42.2km and Steve ran an awesome 60km (phew)! Later in the afternoon when all the races were over I met up with Rachelle, CJ, Aki, Jen and later Mango at Tilleys for good coffee and to hear all about Jen's forthcoming amazing adventures.
Distance: 16km
Time taken: 1:36:45
Average pace per km: 6:04
Calories burned: 925


I was on duty at the Mt Taylor handicap in the morning - another freezing cold day when I probably would have been better off running to warm up. Rachelle and I whizzed out to the AIS track after the run to cheer on Aki in the 800m and Yelena and Ewen in the 3000m as well as various other runners we recognised. It was fun and they all did great times.

The long and the short of it!

Yelena is flying!

Monday - Parliament House
Not many of us fronted up for training tonight - probably related to the after effects of a big weekend and to the extremely cold evening which grew even colder when the wind set in towards the end of the session. After a couple of warm-up laps we ran on the grassy bank in front of PH jogging the diagonals across the grass and sprinting up the hills on each side (about 90m each hill). We repeated each set 10 times. Our top layers came off as we warmed up but soon went on again in time for the cool down.
Total distance: 10km

Incidentally I highly recommend Mamma Mia as a light entertaining and "fun" movie which Mr B and I throughly enjoyed on Sunday night at the premium cinema!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Such a Night!

Sometimes it proves difficult to match Elvis songs to the training session. In response to his comment NEVER will I "move on" from my training partner, Ewen. It's awesome running with him for company on a Wednesday. We have such interesting conversations!
Tonight, however, I went to speedygeoff's session at Dickson Oval. I started off wearing earwarmers, a long sleeved top and gloves but did strip down to a singlet without gloves and earwarmers by the middle of the main set.
Rachelle and I missed the first warm-up lap but managed to fit in one loop before the main set. It was different tonight. We ran: 3 x [500 hard / 400 easy + 300 hard / 300 easy + 200 hard / 300 easy] in lane 2. Some of the faster people, including our very fast new starter, Steve, managed 4 sets but 3 sets was quite enough for the rest of us mere mortals. We finished with a warm down loop of 1.2km wrapped up in all our warm gear again - brrrrr! It took ages to feel warm again afterwards. This has been a very cold week with frosty early morning temperatures of minus 2 to minus 4. Dress warmly on Saturday Jen!!
Total distance: 8km

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I'm Movin' On

I forced myself out of my warm bed for an RPM session this morning with minus 4 being the outside temperature - brrrr! I was glad to warm up pretty quickly at the RPM class followed by killer abs - those side planks are gruesome!
Ewen met me after work for a slightly shorter run than usual. We ran for 7km which was just before crossing the bridge after Molonglo Reach then turned and ran back. The evening was perfectly still, the lake was perfectly still, even the bunnies stopped to stare before running off. It seemed we were the only ones "movin' on" until a few cyclists raced past with their bright headlights. On the return trip the lights on the lake were beautiful and the carillon especially looked fantastic. It was a great evening in spite of the cold and we ran at a comfortable pace.
Total distance: 14km
Time taken: 1:24:43
Average pace per km: 6:03
Calories burned: 830

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

It Keeps Right On A-Hurtin'

Mr B and Carolyne at the turn-around

Robyn smiles at the turn-around

Mr B runs to his bike after the first run leg

Caroline at the bike transition

Is that pain on Mr B's face?

Well done duathletes!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Husky Dusky Day

And so another week begins! Yesterday Mr B completed a great race in the duathlon. As predicted it was a freezing cold morning but at least it didn't rain until the afternoon when it was a beautiful steady fall which lasted for hours. In the morning however the rain stayed away and it was cool with cloud cover but fortunately no mist. In fact the conditions, although very chilly, were really good for at least the running part of the event and by the time they rode their bikes they had warmed up so it wasn't so bad apparently AND there was a coffee machine which, as a cheersquad person, I took full advantage of!
This morning our RPM Monday/Wednesday instructor had returned from a cycling tour in Cambodia ready to motivate us with a hard session and encouraging us to take part in a similar tour in the future saying it was just fantastic - sounds a great experience indeed.
Later in the early evening it was back to the hills at speedygeoff's Parliament House session. After a two loop warm-up we ran 20 x 100m hill repeats, with the time being called out by our speedy leader as we approached the top of the hill each time, putting the pressure on, to say the least! Then a warm-down loop of PH.
Total distance: 8.2km
Calories burned: 485

Footnote: speedygeoff has inspired me to use Elvis Presley songs for my blog title. He uses the Beatles so I will use Elvis. There are hundreds of them so I may become tired of them before I run out!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

De-stressing on the Hills!

Yesterday my only exercise was a tough RPM class at the gym before work. This morning however the sun was shining and although the air was very fresh the sky was blue and a run was definitely the way to go especially after the absolutely horrible day I had at work yesterday. I do think runners have a great way of relieving stress! It really does help.

I set off from home about 10am (very civilized hour indeed in this cold weather) and ran to Rachelle's house where we waited for Jodie to join us before running to collect Miranda from her house, then off we all ran to O'Connor Ridge and on to Black Mountain Reserve and the Botanical Gardens, through the gardens and back the way we came. It was a lovely run, hilly, mainly off-road, definitely tough in parts but pleasant and different. I even wore shorts and wrapped my long-sleeved top round my waist after about 5km.

Total distance: 20.15km
Time taken: 2hours 17mins

Average pace per km: 6:48 (blame those hills!)

Calories burned: 1137

Tomorrow's forecast is not good and Mr B is competing in the duathlon first thing in the morning. I will be there to cheer him on but hopefully the rain and wind will stay away - nothing worse than battling the elements while riding a bike except perhaps spectating in the freezing cold - hope they have coffee!!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Wombat Wednesday and speedy Thursday

Yesterday it was back to the 'after work' run with Ewen, both of us warmly dressed for the cold weather. In fact it was much milder than anticipated and I even took off my long sleeved top and tied it round my waist. The evenings stay lighter about half an hour longer now as we are past the shortest day but once the light disappeared at about the 8km mark I tried out my new ultra-light (no pun intended) clip-on head lamp which PRB gave me to try. It was very effective indeed.
We had a pleasant run but it felt faster than it actually was. My hamstring was niggly (still) and I had strange twinges in my knees which I didn't like but after the warm up things improved and we ran the second half comfortably. We ran from work down over the bridge past Molonglo Reach and back and saw heaps of active bunnies and ducks on the way and even spotted a huge water rat heading off into the marsh by the lake. There's always heaps of interesting creatures (apart from us) to spot on our Wednesday runs.
Total distance: 16.01km
Time taken: 1:39:25
Average pace per km: 6:12
Calories burned: 954

Thursday - speedy's session - Dickson Oval
Tonight I managed to leave my Garmin seeking a satelite on my windowsill at work - oops! Thus I had to calculate the total distance which we estimated to be 7.5km. We ran two 1.2km warm-up loops and followed this with all of us running 600m as fast as possible in order for speedycoach to establish our handicap. We were then split into teams of two for a relay of 4 x 600m sprints with a 200m jog back to the start. I was partnered with Rod who is one of the very fastest runners in the group which meant there was little rest for me on reaching the starting point each time. It was challenging but fun. We finished with a warm down loop of 1.2km.
Total distance: 7.5km (estimated)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Just another Manic Monday!

Back to RPM this morning for a tough hilly climb in and out of the saddle just to start my week right!

After work Rachelle and I headed off to Parliament House for speedygeoff’s session which took place as follows:

Two warm-up loops of PH followed by 20 x 100m hill repeats on 90 seconds finishing with a warm-down loop of PH.

Total distance: 8.6km

I found the first warm-up loop quite tough and felt rather sluggish but I took note of the advice of our speedycoach and took the hills gently. I felt quite comfortable and even managed to push myself a little for the two “fast” repeats that we incorporated. On the whole it was actually fun (did I say that, about hills?) and I was glad that I decided to accept the challenge and take part in the session rather than jog off for a longer run.

There was not a huge turnout tonight which I put down to school holidays which affect some of our group. However, there were still enough of us to make the warm-up and warm-down a great opportunity to catch up with everyone’s news.

Tuesday - Today
I recovered well after yesterday’s session and managed a thorough upper body weights session at the gym early this morning. Tomorrow I will return to my Wed mid-week run with Ewen after work. We have some catching up to do after the Gold Coast.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A Slow Off-Road Run to Stretch the Legs

At the very civilized hour of 11am I met up with Rachelle and we ran to meet Miranda and from there ran on to O'Connor Ridge for a hilly off-road gentle (?) run. This was my first run since the GC marathon and I have to admit the first 5km really hurt. I felt pain where it had never been before and at the top of one very steep hill where we all resorted to walking I spent some time stretching before we resumed our run. The next few km felt much better and after leaving Miranda at her house, R and I continued on to Tilleys where we spent 2 1/2 hours over a very leisurely lunch and a coffee or two. It was so relaxing and pleasant. The weather, although brisk (very), was at least sunny and it was lovely to run slowly on those hills. I think it helped me although I do wonder if I'm doing the right thing by having entered the 16km Bush Capital event in a couple of weeks - lots of hills there. Hmmm, am I crazy I wonder? These poor legs definitely suffered today.
Total distance: 10.07km
Time taken: unmentionable!!
Calories burned: 600

No PB's this time!

This morning there is a white frost out there but it looks like being a lovely sunny day which is more than I can say for the weather over the few days we were at the Gold Coast. However I do believe that the day after we flew back to COLD Canberra Mr B returned to the beach for a swim and the sun was warm and beautiful - grrrrr - the green-eyed monster has reared its head! CJ and I flew to Brisbane on Friday where Mr B met us and drove us to our apartment at Berriwa Waters. We then went to registration to collect our numbers, time chips etc and spend money at the Expo where we caught up with a few familiar faces. That evening we met up with Luckylegs, Ewen and Roger for a lovely meal at Main Beach after which we walked round to admire LL's absolutely fabulous apartment. She had been upgraded from a one bedroom apartment to this exotic dream of a place where one would never want to leave - it was amazing to say the least!
On Sat we met up with Ewen and Katy (ihatetoast) for a lovely long relaxed lunch. It was awesome to have the opportunity for a real catch-up. As the day progressed so did the wind. In the evening we were staring out at rain and fierce gail force winds. During the night we could hear the wind rattling the windows and we were just a tad worried about conditions next morning. However, although there was still a cold wind when we were eating brekkie, by the time we headed down to the start of the half for Mr B the wind was minimal and although it was cold and bleak the rain had stopped and the conditions were reasonable - sigh of relief! Mr B's race started 20mins before ours and we just managed to see the start after three nervous loo visits!
I started quite near the four hour black balloons intending to keep them in sight. At about the 3km mark they were already heading off into the distance. For a while there I kept them in distant sight and then I resigned myself to the fact that this time I was not going to set any PBs so I decided to settle back and enjoy the atmosphere and the day in the best way possible. No point in stressing about time, better to just do it. Indeed there were a few times during my training and injuries before the day that I seriously didn't think I would make it to the start line so I felt lucky and happy that I was actually here and running another marathon.
It was a huge event and there were lots of people running who I recognised. I missed catching up with lots of Cool Runners but I did see a great crowd of them cheering towards the end and indeed I caught up with quite a few old and new friends before and after the run which was great. In the middle of the run I felt comfortable and relaxed. I ran with my music as there were not many spots where spectators could cheer. I tried to stay in the middle of the road as I found the slope of the road on each side of the white line difficult to negotiate. Although it was not a hot day by any means the humidity was noticeable for us Canberrans and I tended to take a drink at every drink station. When the sun came out for a brief glimpse it felt quite hot in fact!
Mr B finished his run in 1hr41:39 on his chip time. He had a good run but still needs to keep running to beat his goal of 100mins.
I ran my second slowest marathon, the slowest since my first one in 2001. However, it was my first Gold Coast marathon and the only marathon I have run out of Canberra so it was a new experience for me. I loved the social aspect of it but summing up I think I prefer the Canberra course, in spite of the hills and the altitude.
Total distance: 42.195km
Time taken (chip time): 4:10:14
Category place: 13th (out of about 68)
Average pace per km: 5:53
Calories burned: 2527
And now it's back to the drawing board. The sun is calling me - I am ready to run!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Countdown - last entry before the Gold Coast!

This afternoon I flexed off work early and went for a very slow gentle run before tidying the house and packing for tomorrow. As my hamstring was still uncomfortable I only ran 5km and applied a heat pack at the physio's suggestion this afternoon. Perhaps two rest days will help (fingers crossed)! I can't do anymore than this - just think positive and just do it! I'm really looking forward to catching up with lots of friends at the Gold Coast and to much warmer weather and a lovely mini break! Woo hoo - stay away wind, come in sunshine!