Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Vets' Monthly Handicap at Mt Taylor

On Saturday I enjoyed a bike ride with Mr B, a long walk with Teddy and saved my run for the Vets monthly handicap at Mt Taylor on Sunday. Mount is the operative word. The run started uphill and continued that way until the last km when it was a lovely downhill finish. I ran slowly in my usual fashion lately. I enjoyed the trails and would have loved the course if I had trained more on hills and was uninjured. It was a struggle but I still enjoyed it on a pleasant almost spring-like morning with the sun shining. The handicap runs are always a great opportunity to catch up with heaps of people who I only see once a month. Later CJ, Jen and I enjoyed a pleasant coffee in Kingston where Mr B joined us after competing in a duathlon.
Total distance: 7km
Time taken: 43:42
Average pace per km: 6:15
Handicap: 22
Finish place: 79th (out of 89)
Monday training with the speedygeese at Parliament House
I arrived at PH just before 5pm and ran a short 4km warm-up with Ewen before the main session.
Because it was a lovely day today there was a good turnout of geese tonight. We totalled 21 which was great and that included three new starters which is always interesting and fun. After our warm-up loop we headed for the grassy bank in front of PH where we were divided into relay teams and ran fast diagonally down the grassy slope, jogged across the bottom short straight, fast up the long straight, jogged across the top straight and ran fast down the other diagonal. We repeated this for 30 minutes - tough but fun.
We finished with a cool down loop of PH.
Total distance: 12km (including early warm-up)
Today I went for a pleasant 21km bike ride with Margaret. On our return trip we came across Rad and Friar waiting for the start of the Lake G monthly handicap. It was a lovely day out there apart from the cold wind!
Tomorrow reality bites as I return to the work force for three months for four days a week. Ho hum!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Long Run on a Friday!

After a fantastic evening with a few Wednesday running friends I treated myself to a sleep-in this morning, making the most of a few more days before returning to the workforce. Instead I ran out the door after 11am for my long run. As my hamstring troubles me every day now I decided to give it a rest yesterday and not run my long run tomorrow as the Vets handicap is being held on Sunday morning.
It wasn't the best day to choose however. I started in the cold struggling against a bitter head wind and headed down to the lake where it started to rain, firstly sleet then steady rain. However, it soon eased off and for a very short time the sun shone through. In fact for about ten minutes it felt quite warm. It took nearly 9km before my leg felt reasonably comfortable and I could run more or less painfree. At 12km I took off my spray jacket and tied it round my waist but I kept my gloves and earwarmers firmly in place! I had no music so instead had to listen to the sound of my own breathing!

After completing the lake run I headed towards Gungahlin through the tunnel and on for a few kms before turning and heading home. Just 1km before reaching home Mr B ran towards me with Teddy running happily to greet me and run home with me. He is now four months old but still very much a puppy so a 2km run is quite far enough to wear him out but he can run really fast so I finished with a quick sprint!

Total distance: 20.02km
Time taken: 2:07:23
Average pace per km: 6:20
Calories burned: 1,175

Photo: Andy, Jen and Richard

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Bring on the warm weather!

6.45am - Gym - 15mins on the rower
7am - 15mins abs class
7.15am - 15mins upper body strength
5.45pm - Running from Parliament House
Only two of us turned up to run tonight and a nasty cold night it was too. I thought we might be running in the carpark but Chris said we should try running outside. It was COLD! I wore my gloves, beanie and spray jacket and off we ran for good conversation and a cold run with splatters of sleety rain on the way out. The wind was nasty at first and it probably took nearly 5km before I warmed up enough to unzip my spray jacket and feel comfortable. We ran from PH through the rose gardens to the lake across Kings Avenue Bridge, Commonwealth Park, Commonwealth Avenue and back to Parliament House. Parts of the run were in shelter and when the wind dropped it was "almost" pleasant.
Without company I would not have been brave enough to face the elements but lots of political discussion made the time pass remarkably quickly.
Total distance: 8km
Time taken: 51.09
Average pace per km: 6:23
I have just been offered a three months contract working four days a week in a government dept starting next Wednesday. Oh dear, I need some warm weather early in the mornings and late in the evenings to make running at that time more pleasant! There are magpies nesting and daffodils blooming - signs of spring everywhere. Hurry up spring weather and lots of warm sunshine!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Hanging Parliament!

Thirty seconds after leaving the house for a run the rain came down. Fortunately it stopped after only a few minutes but the temperature was really cold and on the way out I was struggling against a head wind. I wore a few layers and eventually was able to take off the gloves, ear warmers and spray jacket! On the return journey the wind eased and it became more pleasant as the sun shone in brief bursts.
Total distance: 12km

I did forget to mention that over the past two Wednesdays, due to constant rain, I ran with Chris and Ewen for 7-8km in the Parliament House carpark. When we were tired of running in one direction we turned and ran in the other direction. Great conversation made for good company and helped pass the time. There was even some political discussion which put me in the right frame of mind for when I was asked to meet with speedygeoff and Roger as representatives of the baby boomer generation to give our views of the election campaign to the Canberra Times. They had also interviewed the Y and X generations earlier. It was fun and resulted in an article in the paper just before election day.

Of course now we are still waiting to find out the final results of the election. In the meantime it looks like we have a "hung" parliament.

Photos show Roger, speedygeoff and strewth in Parliament House ready to be interviewed

Saturday, August 21, 2010

It's Been More than Two Weeks since I last Blogged.....

And so much has happened in that time. However the title could well be the same as my last one - it's still cold, windy and raining a lot. I am so looking forward to warmer weather - not HOT but warm and still - I have had quite enough of this cold weather!

A brief outline of my runs since I last blogged:

Wednesday 4 August
Total distance - 16km
Friday 6 August
Total distance: 8km
Time taken: 47:45
Average pace per km: 5:58

Sunday 8 August - City to Surf
We had a fun weekend in Sydney catching up with Canberra friends and our daughters who live in Sydney. I felt very comfortable throughout the run but decided to run gently as my hamstring still hurts when I try running with any speed especially up hills. Instead I was happy when Margaret caught up to me and we ran and talked most of the way together. At the start of the run while running alone I thought it felt quite tough starting on a hill but with company (and I don't mean the 70,000 other runners) the real hills felt easy. I just decided to enjoy the day and it was fun with no records broken!! What is more, my hamstring felt ok. I lost Marg in the last 2km when we were interweaving among the runners ahead but our times were only 30secs apart.

Total distance: 14km (plus a 2km walk/jog to the start from our hotel)
Time taken: 86:37
Average pace per km: 6:08
This was one of my slowest C2S runs ever but sometimes it's more about the fun and friendships than the time taken. It was lovely to catch up with Marg's identical twin Gwen from Queensland who also ran a little way with us. Their beautiful mother had died just a couple of days before and they decided that she would have wanted them to run anyway. They are two very brave and special ladies.

Tuesday 10 August
We made it a long weekend in Sydney and drove back in the late afternoon on Monday arriving too late to attend the speedygeese session. Instead I ran from home on the Tuesday for a total of 8km.

Friday 13 August - Jen's birthday
Today, for something different and in order to catch up with Jen on her birthday, I decided to run the weekly Customs Run in the middle of the day. I used to run this event years ago in my lunch break when I worked in the city and it was fun to return. I will try to do this run as often as I can when I'm not working. They are all such a friendly group of runners. It is a handicapped event and I had to guess my start time. Jen ran at my pace to show me the route and it was lots of fun. Later we enjoyed a good coffee at The Deck.
Total distance: 5km (plus 1km warm up)
Time taken: 28:36
Average pace per km: 5:49

Saturday 14 August - Off to Melbourne to crew for Liz
Before heading for the airport I ran from home and down to Lake Ginninderra for a lap of the lake. I haven't run this course for ages and it felt good. The only problem is that my ipod has been playing up and it stopped dead after 4km so the majority of the run was without music. This happened to me at the C2S too but at least there I had company. This time I just had to listen to the sound of my own breathing!
Total distance: 17km
Today (14 August) was our 39th wedding anniversary but no time for fanfare on the day as at lunchtime Mr B took Ewen and I to the airport where we flew to Melbourne to meet up with Liz at the lovely apartment where she had organised for us to stay in order to head for the Tan (a track round the botanical gardens) the next morning to crew for her 100km run.

It was such an exciting weekend. The weather was dodgy to say the least and Sunday (event day) was no exception. Liz had arranged for her brother to bring us a canvas shelter to protect us from the elements. However, the organiser of the run requested that it be taken down as the council would not allow it to be erected. Fortunately Steve's wife had a table on which we could store the refreshments and food for Liz and protect the bags under it during the inclement weather.

We did experience four seasons in one day - rain, wind, sun and cold. It was definitely good to have several layers of clothing and umbrellas for protection! The run started with a 500m out and back before they had to cover 26 laps of the Tan within a 12 hour cut off time. It was great to see Steve and Nick in the 100km event and John and Di in the 53km event which started a couple of hours later. There was one big hill on the lap of the Tan - Anderson's Hill - and it must have felt like a mountain after running it a few times. Many runners selected to walk the hill which was a wise decision!

Liz ran a brilliant run finishing as first female in an amazing time of 9hrs 47mins 10secs. It was a real buzz being her support crew and we had a ball. Her brother ran a couple of laps with her, Ewen ran four laps and I managed three. We had to wait until she had run 70km before we could possibly keep up with her pace!

It was a great day and an awesome experience. We managed to fit in a little shopping, good coffee and yummy food over the course of the weekend. It was a memorable time indeed.
Monday 16 August
Liz flew home first thing on Monday and Ewen and I flew back at lunchtime after enjoying a lovely coffee and chat with Bev (Liz' mum) and a little local shopping. I joined the speedygeese for their main session at 5.30pm running in teams of three. My team was made up of Yelena, Ewen and me and we had to run fast diagonals and up the long straights by the grassy bank in front of Parliament House. The grass was full of potholes and we ran with care.
Total distance: 8km

Thursday 19 August
Today the Dickson oval was closed again due to yet more inclement weather over the last few days. Margaret and I decided to run earlier in the afternoon from my place and down past Giralang and through the tunnel which has been closed for renovations for some time. It was a slow run but good to chat.
Total distance: 10km

Sunday 22 August - Vets Half Marathon
For some bizarre reason I had decided to run in the ACTVets Half Marathon, mainly as a training run for the half marathon in Melbourne in October. It turned out to be a beautifully sunny day, cold - yes, extremely but no rain and little wind - ideal conditions. At 7am I had distress call from Marg who had a flat battery and couldn't start the car. I fast tracked and dressed quickly and drove out to collect her before heading for the start. It was probably the closest we have ever been to missing the start. We had opted for the "over 2 hour" start at 8am and after collecting our numbers and the quickest loo stop ever we ran to the start line just as the starter called out "go". Phew - there was a quick adrenalin rush and no time to feel nervous.

We ran together most of the way. The first 5km felt tough because the only warm-up we had was the run to the start!
The course is a run to the carillon and back and then a run round Lake Burley Griffin which is quite undulating. That last hill at 18km feels very tough indeed. Towards the end I put on a little spurt and finished in 2:06:40 - slow but comfortable. The amazing part was that I still managed to win gold for my age group. The fast 60 year olds obviously stayed home! Margaret was only a few seconds after me but won the bronze - the silver medal went to another Margaret who had run in a later group. CJ, Jen and Michelle ran awesome times and won well-deserved medals. The lovely surprise for the day was that Norma W80 (Luckylegs) turned up from Mittagong to run and in 2hrs17mins not only won gold but beat her own Australian record. Wow!
Total distance: 21.1km
Time taken: 2:06:40
Average pace per km: 6:01
Calories burned: 1231
Later Marg and I headed for the Deck for a relaxing coffee and cake! After that rushed start we needed a coffee break. :)
Nick, Steve and Liz
Liz receiving her medal for first woman finisher at the 100k Tan ultra
John and Di after their 53km ultra
Margaret, Ruth, Margaret medallists at the Vets Half Marathon
Ruth, Margaret, CJ, Jen - medallists
Norma, Ruth, Marg admiring Norma's trophy for age percentage
Liz running the Tan - in the rain!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Battling the Cold Air!

Yesterday I met up with Margaret and we went for a very pleasant cycle. Roy joined us half way through and my total distance was 32km. Mind you I had to wear four layers to keep the cold at bay!
The temperature today has been no better. It's just plain cold. I went to the gym at 6.30am for ten minutes on the rower and upper body strength work followed by a 15mins abs class followed by more upper body strength work. Then it was home to change into running clothes and Marg joined me on a run in the mid morning.
We ran from my home past the back of the AIS to O'Connor Ridge and Bruce Ridge where we ran lots of trails and hills on both sides of the ridge. We then returned via Dryandra Street, through Lyneham and back home past North Lyneham along the undulating cycle track. It was tough and slow and very cold especially in the exposed areas of the hills! However, we ran it all and there were lots of steep hills and the company was good. Hopefully that will be good training for the City to Surf on Sunday! At least Sydney will be warmer!
Total distance: 16km
Calories burned: 910

Monday, August 02, 2010

Winter has returned in full force!

Brrrr, it was a cold bleak day today - nasty! I went to the gym for a 6.15am cross-training class. This is a new class for me and is apparently different every week. It's a full hour of a variety of exercises. We started by warming up jogging backwards and forwards across the gym. We followed this with drills, high knees and butt kicks. The main session consisted of all sorts of contortions with the fitball - some very difficult and some requiring balance - lots of abs work and leg and hip exercises. It was quite tricky.
4.30pm - Early training at Parliament House
I made it to the early session tonight and met up with Craig, speedygeoff and Ewen for a gentle 8km run. It had been raining during the afternoon but stopped for our training tonight. It was only 4degrees and I didn't remove my spray jacket and leggings all night. My legs felt tired and the hamstring very sore but fortunately speedygeoff ran slowly with me as his hamstring was hurting too. We ran towards Kingston and back by the lake, a total of 8km.
5.30pm - Hill training session
There were only nine of us for the main training session tonight. I think the cold and unpleasant conditions kept everyone away. It wasn't too bad once we warmed up once more but nobody stripped their top layers off! After a couple of loops of PH we ran up a 100m hill 15 times on 2 minutes. I found it hard work but managed the whole session without coming last!
Total distance for both sessions: 15km

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Bush Capital Running Festival

Talk about lucky! After huge threats of rain and bleak conditions the weather for the bush capital events yesterday were ideal especially at 9.30am for the start of the 16km. It was cool but still and overcast with a very light splattering of rain - in fact quite ideal conditions really for a very undulating bush capital run on the trails and hills of Mt Ainslie. Margaret and I started together and finished only 6 secs apart. I managed to run almost all of the way leaving Marg behind on the hills but she caught me on the downhills and flat. I still have no speed! I did have to walk a little on the very steep rough rocky part of the course but I was happy to at least have finished it in one piece although my hamstring was pretty sore in the evening. It was, as always, a well run event with lots of lovely cake, fruit bars and soft drinks at the finish and of course the bush capital mug!
Total distance: 16km (plus 2km warm-up)
Time taken: 1hr 44mins
My time was 8 minutes slower than when I last ran it in 2008. Age has defnitely wearied me!!
After the run I enjoyed coffee with Liz and Ewen at the war memorial cafe where we discussed plans for our pending trip to Melbourne in a couple of weeks where Ewen and I will crew for Liz' 100km ultra run of the Tan. This should be an amazing experience and I am so excited and very flattered to be asked - wow!