Monday, November 28, 2011

Wet soggy weather turns to sunshine!

Thursday track session
I arrived with very little time for a warm up before the 6pm 3000m event at the track. Needless to say I didn't run very well as it took a few laps into the race to warm up!
Distance: 3000m
Time taken: 15:27

Fitness walk:
Total distance: 3000m
Time taken: 22mins

Spiral Handicap
Adler 6 lap spiral
Distance: 2.49km
Time taken: 13:31
Average pace per km: 5:09

It rained and it rained. In the morning I went to the gym for my upper body workout and later in the early evening I met Ewen at Parliament House where we donned spray jackets and ran to the lake and round the wetlands (appropriately named) and back again. We were utterly drenched by the time we finished. The rain didn't let up at all. Fortunately there are underground facilities at PH and we were able to change into dry clothes before heading for Kingston to meet up with Jen and enjoy a pleasant meal.
Total distance: 13km
Time taken: 1hr 21mins
Average pace per km: 6:16

Sunday - Vets' Monthly Handicap at Weston Park
This was the final handicap run for the year. It had rained all Saturday and we expected the ground to be muddy and slushy but it wasn't too bad. The run is a two lap undulating course. I ran off Group 19 and felt a bit sore but managed to just trot round in a slow comfortable pace. I came in 40th out of 97 finishers in the long course.
Total distance: 7km
Time taken: 42:49
Average pace per km: 6:07
Later we enjoyed a picnic lunch and champagne in the sunshine with a large group of running friends

Monday - speedygeese at Parliament House
It was 29deg when we set off on our warm up loop at 5.30pm for the speedygeese session at PH. There was a good turnout of speedygeese and the session was lots of fun. We ran a 1km large undulating circuit near the tennis courts incorporating all the fitness equipment on the way. We had to stop to do chinups, pushups, situps, calf stretches, hamstring stretches and tricep dips as we reached each piece of equipment. It meant we had little breaks from the running and it made it interesting and fun. However, more practice is needed on the chinups! We finished with a warm down loop of PH.
Total distance: 7.5km

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Summing it all up!

Is it possible that a month has now flown by since I last updated this blog? I can't believe that I am so busy that it's dificult to fit in the time to blog. It would be much easier if I updated this every day which was the original intention. It's a bit difficult to remember four weeks' worth of activities and also very boring to read! I will just give a rough precis of the past few weeks instead.
I have been regularly going to the gym on Mon, Wed and Friday mornings doing workouts for chest, back, triceps, biceps, shoulders and abs. On Wednesdays I also go to a Body Balance class straight after my workout before heading for the BBQ Stakes handicap 6km run at Woden..
My weeks have been fairly consistent as follows:
Mondays: Gym - upper body strength in the morning; speedygeese session at Parliament House in the evening
Tuesdays: Tuesday group. Because I am still being treated for my back and hamstring problems I have been walking the Tuesday sessions briskly - between 8 and 12km.
Wednesdays: Morning gym upper body strength followed by Body Balance; Lunchtimes: BBQ Stakes 6km undulating handicap
Thursdays: AIS track session - various events but I usually run the 3000m, walk the 1500-2000m and always run the spiral handicap when it is held (4-7 laps)
Fridays: mornings upper body strength at the gym; run with the dog
Saturdays: middle distance run when possible
Sundays: swim 1km - 1.5km

Each day I take Teddy for a walk for at least an hour or 5km and at least once a week I also take him for a run up to 10km. Of course there is also the walking I do with my Avon which seems to take up quite a lot of time!

I missed a few training sessions because of my unreliable back problems but am slowly getting back into it. It's time I increased my distances and looked towards next year's marathon.
Familiarisation of the triple tri run course

Good views from the hills

With Andy and Ewen on Red Hill
With Andy on the familiarisation
The real event - wearing gloves just in case I fall!
A muddy Mr B on his bike leg
Last Sunday I took part in the Sri Chinmoy triple tri. Mr B was also roped in and rode a mountain bike he borrowed from our son for a very muddy slushy off road 35km on the first bike leg for his team. I ran the final leg for my team which was 13.5km of a very undulating, half off road course.  It was heaps of fun and an event I would like to take part in again with more preparation next time. The weekend before Ewen and Andy had run over the course with me to give me an idea of what to expect. It involved a lot of walking in the practice but on the actual day I managed to run most of it to my own surprise.
As for the BBQ Stakes I have been running with my hamstring strapped and with some discomfort. I haven't yet beaten my PB although last week I was getting closer. Today though, although the weather was much cooler, I still didn't run a fast time. I guess more practice will eventually give me some improvement.
Tomorrow it's back to the track. In a week's time I'm off to NZ for just 6 days to celebrate my brother-in-law's 80th birthday. That should be fun but the timing isn't good as I will miss the spiral handicap that week which is my favourite event:(

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ups and Downs!

It's almost two weeks since my last blog entry and so much has happened. I am currently back under physio treatment for sciatica. My back and left hamstring has been causing me grief and I have had to ease off the running over the past week or so. 
Track season commenced a couple of weeks ago and I went on the first Thursday but was out of action last week. 

Thursday 13 October - track
I arrived just in time to run once around the track (400m) before the first 3000m event. It took me 15:38 by my garmin although the official results say 15:49 which is even slower so I have lots of room for improvement! My back was hurting at this stage so I knew I was in trouble. I followed the run with the 1500m fitness walk where my garmin reads my time as 10:39 and the official results say 10:46. This is also slow but as this was the first track session of the season I hope my back allows me to speed things up a bit!
After these two events I went for a short warm down out of the AIS and up through the bushy trails with Ewen and his friend Bruce, who was visiting from Sydney. It was fun.
Total distance for night: 8.5km

Friday 14 October
I spent 3.5hours walking the streets collecting and delivering Avon books and later in the day took Teddy for an hour walk. I think in future I will wear my garmin as it's interesting knowing just how far I'm walking.

Saturday 15 Otober
I met Ewen and Andy at the war memorial and we ran a reasonably gentle middle distance run. We started and finished slowly but in the middle I was running at about 5:20 pace in order to keep up with the conversation! We passed a family of black swans with about 8 tiny cygnets - so cute and fluffy. I hope there are still 8 next time we run there! We ran from the war memorial past the ferry terminal and through the ANU grounds and back. After our run we enjoyed a reasonable coffee but there's room for improvement there too! I think the staff has changed and they need a new barista!
Total distance: 15m
Time taken: 1hr 34mins
Pace per km: 6:18

Monday 17 October
I did my usual gym session in the morning but my back was definitely worse and I made appointments with the physio on Wed and for a remedial massage next week.  It seemed wise not to go to training that night.

Tuesday 18 October
I opted to walk at Tuesday group this morning. I had delightful company and we walked briskly so I didn't feel like the morning was wasted. However we managed to become totally lost and didn't end up at our destination!
It probably didn't hurt to avoid a few hills at that stage anyway.
Total distance: 8km
In the afternoon I wore my garmin and walked for 6.2km with Avon and later took Teddy out for 5.2km. Every little bit of exercise must help although I must admit walking is not nearly as efficient as running:(
Total walking for day: 19.4km

Wednesday 19 October
For something different and to relieve the frustration of not running at BBQ Stakes I decided to go for a swim before my physio visit.
Total swim distance: 1km
Time taken: 26 mins
I was pleasantly surprised at how good this felt. I also had the spa afterwards and it felt wonderful as I sat there letting the jets ease my back.
Later I visited the physio who has given me some specific exercises to do religiously and I'm not supposed to run until my next visit. He checked my last MRI results and it does appear I have some discs out of alignment. Anti inflammatories and pain relief is currently needed. This is a problem that will flare up every now and then. I just hope the timing is not near my next event!
I took Teddy for a 5.3km walk later in the day.

Thursday 20 October
 Margaret and I had a fun day. We decided to take the dogs to Black Mountain Peninsula and wave to the Queen sailing past in her boat. It was a long wait for a fleeting glimpse of her lavendar hat but it was lots of fun especially taking the two Teddies for an 8km walk afterwards. They loved it, especially when we let them go for a swim in the murky water after a hot walk and chase sticks in the water.

Friday 21 October
I only managed to squeeze in a ten minute swim as the pool closed for the morning just after I started! In that time I swam 400m and then headed for the gym to change and do a workout before taking Teddy for his hour walk.

Saturday 22 October
I was a bit naughty and without the physio's ok I went for a short run from home. I ran slowly just testing to see how I would go. It hurt for the first half but I didn't feel too bad after that until much later!
Total distance of run: 10km

Later my daughter and her partner came for a visit from Sydney and we had a lovely family BBQ at our son's new house.

On Sunday afternoon I went for a swim again. I swam 1km in 26mins, stopped then swam 500m in 14mins and then another 250m before I had to stop with a severe cramp in my leg - ouch! But it felt great to be extending the length of that swimming.

Monday 24 October
First thing in the morning a 1.5hour workout at the gym concentrating on chest, biceps and abs plus my physio exercises. Then it was off to another physio appointment to check progress. I was given another elbow treatment in the butt and massage and an upgrade of exercises. Running has been cut back again. If I run BBQ Stakes on Wednesday and some events at track on Thursday then I must refrain from running after that until the handicap race on Sunday. 

Tuesday 25 October
Today our baby daughter turned 28. Now that's scary! It was pouring with rain for most of the day and as I had only planned to walk at Tuesday group Margaret and I decided to opt for coffee at the mall instead! Later in the afternoon when the rain had eased a little I took Teddy for a long rather wet walk for a total of 8km.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wednesday work out!

This morning at the gym, after a warm-up on the cross trainer and 20 push ups, I worked on my back and triceps for 30minutes and did lots more push ups before taking part in a Yoga Fusion class. This is normally a Body Balance session but we had a stand-in leader today who took us for Yoga Fusion instead. There was heaps of very intensive stretching involved and parts of my body are still really sore from it. I'm not too sure if it did me any good or not! However, after hanging out the washing, I headed for Woden for the BBQ Stakes handicap. It had reached a sunny 20degrees by mid-day and felt a lot hotter than usual for the hilly run. Andy ran with me and Jen ran with Kerrie in a much later group. My handicap had been put back to 5:45 as I ran a PB last week. I was 19secs slower today but I still ran as fast as I could. I think the opposite direction which we ran last week suits me better!
Total distance: 6km (plus warm up)
Time taken: 35:04
Later, after a great catch up with Jen and Andy with coffee and lunch, I took Teddy for a pleasant walk in the sunshine. The weather is beaut if the wind doesn't blow.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Bling and a big catch up!

Oh golly gosh, how on earth will I remember what I have done over the past couple of weeks? I really must endeavour to keep my blog updated! I've been going to the gym three times a week working on different areas each time eg chest and biceps, back and triceps, shoulders and back and always abs. I have also been taking part in Body Balance classes once a week and often meet up with Miranda there which is heaps of fun.
Running has been as follows:

Saturday 1 October - long run
I ran 10km with Andy from the war memorial, round and past the museum and back to the ferry terminal where we met Ewen and ran through the wetlands with him and back to the war memorial.
Total distance: 20km
Time taken: 2:09

Sunday 2 October
I took Teddy for a run today. We always have a daily walk but about once a week I also take him for a run. He loves it!
Total distance: 10km

Monday 3 October - speedygeese session at Parliament House
We ran our usual warm up round PH  plus a jog to the rose garden for our main session. This was a winding undulating 200m finishing with an uphill into the rose garden. We ran a total of 12 efforts on 2:30mins including jogging back to the start each time.
We finished with a warm down jog and I ran a little extra at the end with speedygeoff to round up the distance.
Total distanc: 9km

Tuesday 4 October - Tuesday group at Black Mountain Peninsula
I ran with Alan today to the cork oak plantation, over gun barrel hill and near the arboretum. It was a tough hilly run and took longer than it should but I enjoyed the company and the off-road part of the run.
Total distance: 11km
Time taken: 1hr 8mins!

Wednesday 5 October - BBQ Stakes Handicap - Woden - Bling!
Today, being the first Wed of the month, we ran in the opposite direction as we do once a month. For some reason this seems to suit me better. We start on the uphill but the second half of the run has more downhills and by then I have warmed up and can run better. Although I had been to the gym and worked quite hard once I had run the first few kms I felt quite strong. I started with Jen and Andy and ran with them for the first 4km but then they ran ahead and I managed to keep them in sight most of the way. The other thing that happens when we run in this direction is that we nominate our team and of course I am part of the "retired" team. The exciting part was that our team won the challenge this month and I was selected to take home the trophy. Woo hoo, it is a bowl mounted on a block of wood with a plastic steak attached by a cord to the bowl to represent a BBQ! Great fun. Our team members also won a $20 voucher from the Runners Shop - yay! How exciting!
Total distance: 6km (plus 1km warm up)
Time taken: 34:45 (a PB at last)
What a great day!

Saturday 8 October
Over the weekend we drove to Sydney to visit our girls. We had a wonderful time. Before we left in the morning I ran from home towards Gungahlin and back along the cycle track.
Total distance: 10km
Time taken: 58:04

Monday 10 October
I didn't make it to the speedygeese session tonight. Instead I met up with Jen at the lake and we ran together over the bridges and round the museum. The wind was nasty a lot of the time and we had to hang on to our caps. The trouble with this time of the year is definitely the strong Spring wind, especially when it blows you backwards. It's like running uphill at times.
Total distance: 10km
Time taken: 1:01

Tuesday 11 October
Back to Tuesday group this morning. Margaret's car had a flat battery so I drove out to collect her and we made it to the start of the run with 2 minutes to spare! Today we ran the Haig Park route and I ran with Marilyn. It was good to run at her pace as I was feeling a bit stiff and sore, perhaps from the gym workout I did yesterday morning or perhaps backing up after running last night - not too sure, but I felt better the further we ran.
Total distance: 10km
There was an enormous spread today after the run celebrating 4 birthdays so the champagne was flowing and the home made goodies were extremely tempting! I walked the streets with my Avon books for a couple of hours in the afternoon trying to work off the excess consumption!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Woden on a Wet Wednesday

Body Balance was the first exercise on the menu on a cloudy Wednesday. When I emerged from the gym it was absolutely pouring down and I decided against driving to Woden to run. However, after a hot shower I looked out the window and the rain had stopped. My conscience got the better of me and I donned my running gear and headed off for the BBQ Stakes handicap. When I first arrived about 2 minutes before start time there were very few people there but gradually more people arrived. The rain very obligingly stopped for the run but the hills were muddy, slippery and slushy. My shoes collected heaps of mud and my feet felt like heavy lumps of lead. I'm sure they weighed a few extra kilos and dragged me down! Andy ran with me as he didn't want to set a PB and it was great to have company although of course that meant we did talk for the majority of the run. As a consequence my time was slower than last week although the climate was nice and cool for a tough hilly run.
Total distance: 6km plus warm-up
Time taken:37:26
Handicap: 5:30 (group 23)
Place: 34th (not sure how many starters today as they kept arriving late)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tuesday group at Black Mountain Peninsula

This morning I joined the Tuesday group to run from the peninsula out to Scrivener Dam near the arboretum, over trails and mainly off-road. It was an interesting run through fences and muddy puddles. I ran with Marilyn today and we lost sight of Bryan and Alan on the way out so we were pretty relieved when we spotted them on the return loop and knew we had gone the right way. My legs were definitely leaden after last night's speedygeese hills session. Later we celebrated Terry and John's birthdays on a lovely sunny day.
Total distance: 10.3km
In the afternoon after pounding the pavements collecting Avon orders, I took Teddy for an 8km walk stopping half way to have coffee with a friend and a big bowl of water for Teddy!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Training on the HIlls!

Sunday - Vets' Handicap at O'Connor Ridge

We had a busy weekend helping our son's family move house and babysitting but it was very productive. On Sunday morning we made it to the monthly veterans' handicap run at O'Connor Ridge. This is a very undulating course and the weather was bleak with a cold headwind on parts of the run. I ran off Group 20 having been put back a couple of groups since the last handicap. Mr B ran off Group 29, having missed last month's handicap as he was competing in a duathlon at the time.
I actually like this course but I was watching my footing as it was very rough. I passed quite a number of people but a number of people passed me in the last couple of kms including our very speedy leader!
Handicap group: 20
Total distance: 8km plus 1km warm-up
Time taken: 49:08
Average pace per km: 6:08
Age percentile: 72.5%
Finish place: 48th (out of 94)

After the presentations I joined a number of speedygeese to celebrate Heidi's birthday for brunch at Black Pepper in Belconnen. It was great fun and we filled two tables with a gaggle of geese!

Monday - training at Parliament House
This morning I worked on chest, back and abs at the gym for just over an hour before heading into town for a scheduled routine mammogram. Oh the joys of being a woman of a certain age!! I am quite sure a man invented that nasty machine which has now gone digital - I swear it's even worse than it was two years ago!

Tonight after our warm up loops we headed for the bottom of the grassy hill opposite PH. Here we ran up all sections of the long hill and round a loop  back to the bottom of the hill and repeated this 3 times on five minutes. This was one set and we repeated the set 6 times for a total of 30minutes. We finished with a warm down loop of PH. It was a tough hill and a tough session - all in order to make us stronger!
Total distance: 7.5km

Friday, September 23, 2011

Mixing it up a bit!

Tuesday group
I had a lunch date in town at 12noon today so couldn't stay around after our Tuesday group run but I did manage to squeeze in one cup of tea and a short catch up with Rae. The run this week was from the peninsula to the trails of Black Mountain and over the hills. I was very conscious of the fact that last time I ran this route I fell flat on my face so I ran with caution on the rough surface. We spotted numerous kangaroos who were very "close and personal" and it was a pretty run and although a bit cool to start it certainly warmed up quickly on all those undulations! I ran with Brian and Marilyn and a few other caught up and joined us for the last few kms. I do love the trails but I run them slowly as I watch every step.
Total distance: 11km

Wednesday - BBQ Stakes
7am - abs class
7.15am - rower, cross trainer, leg press, chest press, upper body work, stretches, push ups
9.30am - Body Balance - stand-in instructor who took us through a very pilates based class - lots of abs work
I managed a total of 100 push ups on my toes today with rests and a break in the middle for the Body Balance class - 30, 20, (Body Balance) 30, 10, 10. My goal is to do 50 push ups on toes without stopping twice a day so that I can do 100 push ups every day. Hmmmm, it could be a while before I achieve this!

Next I drove to Woden to run the BBQ stakes. My handicap remained at 5.30 and Andy and Jen started with me as neither of them wanted to run fast. However at about 4km I urged them to run ahead. I ran faster than last week but didn't manage a PB. I was about 25secs slower than that.
Total distance: 6km
Time taken: 35:55
I collected my grandaughter from school and had the great pleasure of taking her to her school concert performance and consequently couldn't attend speedygeese training tonight. Instead I took Teddy out for a run during the morning. He was great for the first half of the run but was feeling the heat in the last few kms and we had to keep detouring to the drains so that he could have a drink and run through the water. He does love a good run though and is great company.
Total distance: 10.2km

This morning I went to the gym for another workout. I only did 30 x 2 push ups on my toes today. I did a warm up on the rowing machine then worked on shoulders, triceps and abs. Later in the morning I spent 3 hours pounding the pavements collecting Avon orders. It's surprisingly tiring but the sun was streaming down and although it was very windy at times, it was very pleasant out there.

Monday, September 19, 2011

One Day .......

This morning I had a short session at the gym with a couple of appointments to squeeze in straight afterwards. I concentrated on upper body strength after a warm up on the cross trainer. 3 x 12 sets of each -Squats with a 15kg barbell, tricep dips with one leg elevated, walking lunges with 8kg weight in each hand, shoulder press, biceps curls and chest press with 17.5kg barbell.
In the afternoon I spent over 2.5 hours walking round the streets delivering Avon books. Yes, I have become an Avon lady - yet more exercise. One day I might even get fit!! It was a stunner of a day - the sun streamed down and it felt wonderful out there.
Off to the speedygeese at 5.30pm. One day I will make the 4.30pm early group - one day!
We ran the warm up loops of Parliament House then headed for the lower grassy square in front of PH where we were divided into relay teams of 3 based on height! I was in a team with Yelena and Caroline and Rebecca (first session tonight) ran with me. The main session was: 
sprint diagonal downhill & uphill alongside flag poles, jog backwards & forwards across short side x 2...repeat for 30mins. 
We finished with a warm down jog down to the lake and back to PH. It was a beautiful balmy evening, perfect running weather.
Total distance: 8.7km

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Things that go BANG in the night!

Thursday 8 Sept - speedygeese training at Dickson oval 
There were 15 at the speedygeese session tonight and after our warm up loops we were divided into relay teams of 3 or 4. I was in a team of 3 with Miranda and Colin. I don't think I've ever run harder in a speedygeese session. Colin is probably our speediest goose and it meant there was not much rest between sprints. We alternated between 300m and 200m sprints with 100m slow between. We fnished with a slow lap of the oval.  
Total distance: 8km 

Friday - a rest from running but I did go to the gym for some upper body strength work. 

Ewen and I ran a gentle off road run to stretch our legs on the Mt Ainslie trails. We ran out for 3.5km then turned and ran back the way we came out.
Total distance: 7km (slowly)

Sunday 11 Sept- Canberra Times Fun Run
The weather was almost perfect (just a little wind in the last few kms) for the annual fun run. My legs felt a bit heavy at the start and I took off a little fast which made it difficult to keep up the pace.I think Canberra has a bit to learn with fun runs. There were not many spectators out there cheering and no bands or music like the City2Surf. I usually wear my ipod and don't notice but this year I ran without music and it did seem remarkably quiet! However, it's always fun afterwards when we catch up with lots of friends and compare results. In spite of the ideal conditions I still managed to run about 40secs slower than last year. In fact each year I seem to have run a little slower than the year before. Next year I should try training for this event or push myself a little more perhaps! 
Total distance: 10km
Time taken: 57:01

Monday - speedygeese at Parliament House
In the morning I did an upper body strength workout and later it was off to the speedygeese session. It was a stunning evening as we ran on the grassy diagonals in front of PH tonight. There was a full moon glowing and old and new Parliament Houses were aglow. The evening was still and quite balmy for this time of year. We ran in relay teams of three fast up and down on the diagonals and slow on the staights. Our team ran more gently as we were all suffering from annoying niggles and didn't want to make them worse. We finished wth a warm down loop. 
Total distance: 8km 
Tuesday run 
This morning we followed the edge of the lake past the National Museum to the globe just past Commonwealth Ave bridge where we literally "ran around the world" before returning the way we came. I ran out with Steve for company giving us a chance to have a catch up chat and on my return I ran with Alan who usually runs with Bryan who wasn't there today. It was a good social run but although the sun was shining the wind was a bit nasty, a head wind even after we ran round the world! 
Total distance: 11.5km 

Wednesday - no PB's today:(
First thing this morning I headed for the gym for an upper body strength session followed by a Body Balance class.Then later it was off to Woden for the BBQ Stakes 6km handicap. My hamstring has been playing up all week and today was no exception. Jen was recovering from the flu so was happy to run at my pace. When the headwind blew it felt like even more hills than there actually were. I found the run very tough today and as a consequence my time was nearly 2 mins slower than last week which was disappointing. 
Distance: 6km 
Time taken: 37:29 - my third slowest time:(

Thursday - training at Yarralumla 
Speedygeese training on Thursday evening was at the Yarralumla Dog Park as Dickson Oval is closed for a couple of weeks. We ran a warm up jog and then did a hill power run before heading for a lovely green, spongy oval.There was nobody else around so we had the oval to ourselves. Although it wasn't lit there was enough light shining from nearby houses to make it possible to train there for the entire half hour of one lap intervals with a lap jog's recovery, run as a relay in teams of three. I was in a team with Bronwyn and Colin - oh the pressure! Colin suffered an injury and had to pull out on about the third sprint and speedycoach took his place for the other three fast efforts. It was dark by the time we finished so we just ran back along the road to the dog park to collect our cars. It was great to try a different place to train on such a lovely surface.There were ten of us for the main session although Tori and Nadine left after the warm up after they had done an early run with speedygeoff. 
Total distance: 8km 

Last night was rather eventful. Mr B was in Rockhampton playing squash all week so I was on my own. At 2am I was woken by a huge banging followed by two more. I had been in a deep sleep and was a bit confused, thinking "is that a noisy possum on the roof?" or is it gun practice somewhere?? Strange how the mind works. I eventually went back to sleep only to be woken again at 3.20am by a text beeping on my mobile from emergency services saying there had been a chemical incident in Mitchell and we were to stay indoors. The actual message read like this: "The ACT Fire Brigade responding to chemical 'insadent' in Mitchell. 'Resadents' of Franklin, Crace, Harrison, Watson, Downer, Kaleen, Lyneham, Hackett stay indoors." I think someone overlooked the spell check!! I then lay awake for ages before crawling out of bed, checking the radio for approval to go out and heading off to the gym to work on chest, triceps, shoulders, abs and stretches.
Later in the afternoon I took Teddy for a lovely walk along the North Lyneham ridge on a stunning evening. The view was glorious and the evening calm and beautiful. 

At 8.55am Ewen and I ran from the War Memorial along the Ainslie track, through the bush to Campbell Pk, Duntroon, the Wetlands and back over Commonwealth Bridge along Anzac Pde and back to the War Memorial. We stopped on the trails to stare at what looked like a frill-necked lizard. It was so cute basking in the sun but a bit vulnerable so Ewen touched its tail so that it ran off under the safety of a tree. Later we enjoyed coffee and lunch at The Terrace Cafe at the War Memorial. 
Total distance: 16km
Tme taken: 1:46:18 
Average pace per km: 6.39 

Sunday 18 Sept 
This afternoon during what was probably the hottest part of the day when it was about 24deg I took Teddy for a run along the cycle track to the tunnel heading towards Gungahlin and home again. We had to stop 3 times for loo stops for Teddy (he's worse than his owner) and 3 times for him to drink from the drains but apart from that and three dogs to meet, he was pretty good and we had a pleasant run and definitely felt the difference in temperature! Total distance: 8km

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

BBQ Stakes Handicap at Woden

This morning I went to the gym for some strength work followed by a Body Balance class and a catch up with Miranda. Then I changed into my running gear and drove over to the south side for the BBQ Stakes run. My handicap is now 6 minutes. Last week it was 3:45. As this is the first Wednesday of the month the course was run in the opposite direction and Brian Wenn volunteered to run with me so I wouldn't get lost! However, there were plenty of people around to follow and after the first steep hill Brian zoomed ahead although he did turn to check I was ok. It was ideal conditions, a bit cool to start but the sun was struggling through and it was great running weather. I managed to run just 10 seconds faster than last week so I'm very gradually getting faster.
Distance: 6km
Time taken: 35:30 (according to Gandalf - last week 35:40 officially)

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Spring Sunshine and Showers!

Thursday last week
Speedygeese session at Dickson oval and I was hurting. My hip/back gave me heaps of pain after the warm up and during the 200m sprints. We were divided into teams of three for a relay and I was with Marg (great to see her back running with us)and Miranda. The goal was to run 12 x 200m fast, tag the next team member and run a recovery jog back for approx 100m while waiting to be tagged. I was in pain for the entire session and even found the warm down tough work. I went to bed with two heat packs and lots of panadol.
Total distance: 8km

Friday - I didn't run and avoided the gym. I did lots of stretching and took the dog for a walk trying to ease out the soreness - more drugs:(

Saturday - YCRC 10 miler
I was determined to run this so rubbed in the deep heat, took a couple of tablets and registered for the run from Black Mtn Peninsula. I probably shouldn't have run feeling like I did but I hate missing opportunities to run relatively long distances with other people. It was freezing cold to start and I kept my gloves on for most of the way although I did still run in singlet and shorts and certainly warmed up eventually. Jen was kind enough to run beside me and I kept the metro runners in sight. In hindsight I should have stayed with them although it would have only given me a few more seconds. I was definitely not in form and had to be careful every step of the way.
Distance: 10 miles (16km)
Time taken: 1hr 39:40 (a PW by about 7 minutes!!)
Average pace per km: 6:11
Finish place: 69 (out of 78)
Here's hoping I can well and truly improve on this abysmal effort next year!

I woke up still sore, definitely pinpointing the lower back and left hamstring so I avoided the gym and decided to stretch out by taking Teddy for a very long walk. I organised to meet Marg and her little dog (also Teddy) on the way. We walked towards Gungahlin and covered a distance of 11.2km, managing to walk 1.5km of it with Marg's company which was fun. Teddy loved it!
speedygeese session at Parliament House
I ran the warm up loops and we headed for the hills. I was a bit uneasy about running the hill repeats so although I ran all the repeats but for most of them I only ran 2/3rds of the way up the hill as I didn't want to make the pain worse. I also ran gently. After 12 repeats of 100m hills on 90secs we ran some attrition sprints up the top half of the hill. Three of us girls were eliminated in the first sprint but were given the opportunity to run one more sprint at the end. I was still last but it was much closer that time. We ran a warm down loop of PH and I didn't appear to have any ill effects.
Total distance: 6km (a shorter session than usual)

Tuesday group at Black Mountain peninsula
This morning the running route was from the peninsula to the Cork Oaks Plantation and the arboretum and back. There is a very steep hill on the way and it is mainly offroad - a good surface. We ran past curiously lazy cows who just stood and stared at us on the way out but on the way back (love those downhills) they didn't even bother to stand up as we passed them. It had rained heavily earlier and the ground was wet but we were so lucky as the conditions were ideal, if a little cool to start, when we were running. I kept Bryan and Alan in sight and when Alan took a slight shortcut ran the remainder with Bryan. I always enjoy listening to his stories. Marilyn joined us on the return leg. I felt so much better today than I have these past few days.
Total distance: 12km
The rain decided to return when I took Teddy for his walk later in the day and we returned home looking like a couple of drowned rats!!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Quick Update on the last day of Winter:)

Sunday Vets' Monthly Handicap - Mt Taylor
Conditions were good for the hilly Mt Taylor run which starts uphill. It was rough and uneven underfoot but not as bad as I remembered from the past. I did at least manage to run all the way in spite of all the undulations. I was however slow!
Group start: 21
Distance: 7km (plus 1km warm up)
Time taken: 44:41
Pace per km: 6:23
Finish place: 75th (out of 89)
After the presentations we headed for Chifley to A Bite to Eat for brunch with a number of our running mates. It was a great catch up.

Monday - Gym and Run
This morning I headed for the gym for a much needed upper body weights session. In the evening it was back to Parliament House for the speedygeese hill session.
After our usual warm up loops of PH we headed for the hilly grass and ran 12 x 100m hills on 90seconds. Next we ran to a different slightly less steep hill where we ran 8 x 85m repeats on 90seconds. To finish we ran a reverse lap of PH. It was a tough session running all those hills after yesterday's hilly handicap!
Total distance: 8km

Margaret and I drove to Black Mountain Peninsula for the Tuesday group run. Today we ran to Haig Park via O'Connor and the Uni. This is the course where I managed to become lost three times when we last ran it, so this time I made sure I stayed near Bryan as a guide! It was a good run when going the correct route!
Total distance: 10km

Another long trip to the gym this morning. This time, after 40mins of upper body strength work, I went to the Body Balance class. Miranda goes to this class too so it's a great chance to catch up with her beforehand. It's also an excellent stretching class. After this I drove over to Woden to take part in the BBQ Stakes handicap. I was supposed to run off 3:45 but I ran off at 3:30 with Caroline as I wanted to run with somebody. However, this meant that I don't get given a time or points so next week I will be brave and run from my own start group and keep an eye on the person in front of me. As it was, Caroline was not having a good day and I ran ahead and followed the people in front of me anyway. I ran much better than last week on this lovely, sunny day. Next week we run in the opposite direction so it will probably be slower as I'll be concentrating on directions!
Distance: 6km
Time taken: 35:38 (last week was 37:10)

On these lovely sunny days I have been taking Teddy for very long walks and making the most of the beautiful sunshine.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Saturday run from War Memorial

This morning I ran on my own from the war memorial, down to the lake and to the ferry terminal where speedygeoff caught my attention as he was doing some warm up moves there. He pulled off his jumper and long pants and joined me for about 6km of my run. It was lovely to have some company. We ran to and round the museum and back to the ferry terminal where he left me and I continued on back to the war memorial. It was a stunning Autumn day in Canberra - blue sky, no wind and bright sunshine.I ran comfortably in singlet and shorts.
Distance: 10km plus 1.3km warm up untimed = 11.3km total
Time taken: 60mins for 10km
Average pace per km: 6mins
After my run I headed for the cafe to meet up with Emma P and Ewen for coffee and a very long catch up chat sitting outside in the sunshine. It was very pleasant indeed.

This weather is just so lovely at the moment and Teddy dog is really appreciating some very long walks as he gives me a good excuse to enjoy the sunshine.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Spring is on its way!

The past few days in Canberra have been just stunning weather wise. The sun has shone in a bright blue sky - just beautiful!
Tuesday Group
I have no idea where we ran today but it was a pleasant off road run from Black Mountain Peninsula and I was very lucky to have the company of Steve and Bryan which saved me becoming lost! It was great to welcome Steve back to Canberra after his amazing road trip holiday in warmer climes. Tuesdays are a lovely social run and I really enjoy running off road. I just have to stay upright!
Total distance: 10km

This morning I went to the gym to do some upper body weights. While there I saw Miranda and decided to join her in the Body Balance class at 9.30am - lovely time of day. It was a good class and great to catch up. Later I headed for Woden to the BBQ Stakes handicap and arrived just as Caroline was about to run so I joined her as my navigator. It was a lovely day and actually quite hot at lunchtime when we ran. I managed 40secs faster than last week so a gradual improvement is better than no improvement.

Distance: 6km
Time taken: 37:10

This evening was the speedygeese session at Dickson Oval and finally the weather was good enough at that time of day for us to strip down to singlets and shorts. We ran a couple of warm up laps of the oval before the main session. This was a two lap timed run (ie 800m) followed by three more two lap runs, with handicap starts. Of course I started on zero as I am the slowest but in the very last repeat Jeni just passed me in the home straight whereas on the previous laps I was outrun by quite a few people. Possibly I had warmed up by then!! To finish we ran a cool down lap of the oval.
It was great to catch up with Jeni who was making her fortnightly visit from the coast a day early so could join us.
Total distance: 8.5km

Today is my rest day but I did go for a very pleasant cycle with Margaret on a stunning Autumn afternoon. I had to make a statement about some property that had been recovered from the burglary we had in May and who should we see as we entered the police station in our cycling gear but Flashduck and Flashdrake who had just returned from several months in Queensland. It was lovely to see them looking so fit, brown and healthy.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Training at Parliament House

Tonight I went to speedygeese training at Parliament House. My legs were a bit slow and did not want to cooperate by running fast. After our warm up loops of PH we ran several repeats of 400m sprints fast and slow along the straight by the road, keeping to the left! We finished with a cool down loop weaving in and out of the trails.
Total distance: 9km

Vets' Half Marathon

Yesterday morning, on a calm overcast day, I ran in the 30th Veterans Athletics annual half marathon. This has been run by the vets for those aged over 30 for the past 30 years with Bryan Thomas as organiser. However, this year sadly he has decided to retire from this responsibility. It is such a well organised event and I do hope it will continue this way. There are three starts catering for slow and fast runners. I opted for the early start at 8am knowing that it would take me more than two hours to complete.
As Andy was going to do his long run anyway I suggested he keep me company to give him the long slow distance. It was so good to have him there so that we could chat and make the time go quicker.
Interestingly my finish time was exactly, to the second, the same time as last year. What are the odds of that! I checked last year's time when I arrived home and was truly amazed. With serious lack of training this year, carrying a few extra kilos and entering on the spur of the moment at the last minute I was actually happy that I managed to complete it and feel quite comfortable throughout the run. I know I didn't really push myself but I did enjoy the calm weather and the company.
I was delighted when I ran to the start to find Norma (Lucky Legs) lining up again this year. She is such an inspiration to me, at 82, completing the run in 2hrs 19mins and winning not only her age group, but the age standard percentage as well.
Later I was joined by Ewen, Liz, Andy, Jen and her children, for coffee and food at The Deck which was very near our venue. It was so good to see Liz and Ewen after a very long time. Ewen has been gallivanting in the USA and Liz has been busy running the Townsville Marathon and the 50km ultra at the Tan among other things - hard to believe that we were in Melbourne twelve months ago when she ran 100km there - wow! I am so lucky to be surrounded by amazing and inspiring friends. It was great to see lots of other runners there too and catch up with a few more lovely people.
Time taken: 2:06:40
Average pace per km: 6mins
Place in age group: 3rd

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A huge weekend of celebrations!

On Friday night we celebrated our son's 34th birthday, a week after our grandaughter turned 9. Next morning Mr B and I headed to Sydney to run the City to Surf on our 40th wedding anniversary on Sunday. We stayed at the Sheraton on the Park which was absolutely fantastic and just opposite Hyde Park where we lined up for our starts. It was a bleak morning, having rained all night and in fact it stopped raining just after the Red group started at 8am. I was in the Green group which started at 8.10am. With no more rain, no wind and cloud cover for the entire run the conditions were ideal. It didn't become hot but it was not nearly as cold as Canberra has been this week. If I had been race fit it was a good opportunity to run well. Although I didn't walk at all my time was still five minutes slower than last year. The undulating C2S is always a fun event and this was no exception with nearly 69,000 finishers.

Distance: 14km

Time taken: 85:24
Place in age group: 30th (out of 856)

Pace per km: 6:06

That evening a few of our friends joined our daughters and their friends for a lovely dinner in Bondi. We shared a degustation menu and a few glasses of wine. The music was loud, as was the conversation, but it was lots of fun.

On Monday Mandy took Mr B and me out for an amazing lunch at Manta in Woolloomooloo to celebrate our anniversary. It was truly lovely. Later, much later, we drove back to Canberra.

On Tuesday I ran with the Tuesday group from Black Mountain peninsula. This is the 4th time I have run with this group and the 4th different route. I ran with Brian to save becoming lost. We ran along the lake through the gardens and eventually along the old vets Rani Road handicap course. Unfortunately as I ran over the rough ground listening to Brian's interesting story and tripped falling hard on the ground. I managed to recover quickly and we continued running although a little slowly! By the time we returned I had blood dripping down my leg and was feelng a bit sore and sorry for myself!
Total distance: 11km
Yesterday I still felt stiff and sore and as a consequence I didn't go to the gym or to BBQ Stakes. Instead I met up with Jen and Andy for a lovely lunch and coffee and did no exercise whatsoever.
Today, Thursday, the sportsgrounds were closed because of all the rain we have been having and as a consequence I ran from home instead of going to the speedygeese session. I wore leggings, a spray jacket,gloves and a beanie and just ran round the block.

Total distance: 6km

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Second Run at BBQ Stakes Handicap

This morning at 6.45am I returned to the gym AGAIN. I seem to be always going away, coming back and returning to training. I need to get serious. It was tough work in the abs class and even tougher lifting weights and giving my upper body a well overdue workout!

At 12.15pm I ran at the Woden BBQ Stakes handicap for the second time. Last week the course was run in the opposite direction but today we ran it the usual way. As I have never run the course this way before Andy ran with me and we chatted all the way. It was fun, difficult but very enjoyable. My handicap time was starting at 1:19 and we ran in first which will obviously change my handicap next week and of course as it's only my second run it doesn't count.
Distance: 6km

Time taken: 37:50 (still slow but nearly 2 mins faster than last week so I will improve)

I know I won't be able to find my way on my own so hopefully there'll be someone else starting at the same time as me next week:)

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Notching up the kilometres!

Speedygeese at Parliament House

Last night I was about 3 minutes too late for the early start and arrived as speedycoach, Nadine and Craig were leaving. However I ran with Jen down to the lake and across the two bridges and we ran our 8km arriving back at the same time as the other early starters. There were 14 of us for the main session and after a couple of warm up loops we ran around an undulating trail in semi darkness for about a 860m loop alternating between fast and slow although I think I ran all mine at much the same speed - not very fast! I managed five before we ran the cool down undulating loop to finish.
Total distance including warm up: 16km

Tuesday Group at Black Mountain

Margaret and I returned to Tuesday group with our home baked cookies for a pleasant social run. This time I stayed with Brian as I didn't want to get lost again. We ran from Black Mtn past the Museum along the dirt track and on to the lake for nearly 6km then turned and ran back. Clare joined me for the last km.

Total distance: 11.3km

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Running a little longer!

This morning at a very civilized hour I headed out for a longish run and Mr B joined me for part of the run which was fun. We ran down to Lake G, round it and Mr B headed back while I ran an extra couple of kms by running back past Giralang. The rain had stopped and the sun came out while we were running and it felt quite warm. In fact the conditions were beautiful and there were a lot of people out enjoying the weather.
Total distance: 16.5km
Time taken: 1hr 40mins
Aveage pace per km: 6:06

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Trying something new!!

On Thursday it was back to speedygeese at Dickson Oval. We ran a couple of warm up loops of the oval and the main session consisted of 3 x 1k with a 1k recovery jog between each set. We ran in lane four and each kilometre included pace variations such as 2 x 200m or 400m fast and 100m float. I found it hard work, especially the last set but as speedycoach tells me it's the only thing that will make me faster, that and losing the extra kilos I've gained I imagine!!

Total distance: 9km including cool down.

Saturday - Rogaining

This morning about 22 of us met up at Nadine and Brett's house in Nicholls for the inaugural rogaining event which they had organised. Most of us had never done anything like this before and it was challenging and loads of fun. We were given a map with checkpoints marked and which had very few street names on it and two pages of questions to answer. The idea was to run round the very undulating suburban streets and try to find as many checkpoints as possible writing down the answers to the questions as we found a checkpoint as evidence we had been there. It didn't matter what order we found the checkpoints but there were 52 and nobody achieved nearly that many. We were age handicapped with a time limit which in theory meant we would all arrive back at the same time. Of course some of us arrived back much later and for every minute late back we lost ten points! At the start of the event it started to rain and our papers and maps were a bit soggy but the heavy rain held off until we finished and after that it really teemed down so the timing was pretty good really.

Bronwyn won the women's trophy but she had to dash off to footy before it could be presented to her so that should be a nice surprise for her. She was the only runner who arrived back within the time frame! Mr B won the men's trophy even though he lost heaps of points for being late back. He obviously has a much better sense of direction than me!! I ended up with 130 points so at least it was in the plus side rather than the minus!!

I reiterate it was loads of fun and we enjoyed champagne and yummy home baked cooking afterwards celebrating Nadine's birthday the day before. I believe the plan is to repeat the event annually. Thanks so much to Nadine and Brett. I'll be back, but I might brush up on my map reading skills before then:)

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Living the Dream in Paradise

We returned to Canberra late last Wednesday night after an amazing week in Vanuatu. The main purpose of the trip was to take part in the Round the Island Relay. This covers a distance of 140km and is run in relay teams of ten people. Fourteen of us went from our Veterans Athletics including four supporters. The actual race day was very hot especially in the middle of the day when the course was very exposed and undulating. I was runner six and lucky enough to run at 9.30am as we had split starts. Our first runner started at 5am in the dark and had a very long steep hill to negotiate. Although it was quite hot even at 9.30am and undulating at least I didn't experience the intense heat of runners 7 and 8. I was lucky too in that I had the company of the Townsville runner and we had a lovely conversation along the way. We also experienced some shade where there was gorgeous plant life and delightful village children cheering us on. Mr B was the last runner in our team and he had the fun of running through the finish line to the sound of all the cheering and happy supporters.

I ran my 13.3km in 79mins but have no idea where our team came overall. We do know the Townsville team finished third which was quite exciting for them as most of the winners were local runners who were very fast and very young! Some even ran in socks or bare feet. However, the Townsville team did have the advantage of having a couple of local runners in their team as substitutes for two of their team members who were unable to run on the day.

We had such a great week in Vanuatu. Apart from the run itself and all the celebrating afterwards, we had tours of the island which included hot water pools, mud baths, swimming in a blue lagoon and experiencing great local food. We tried Kava at a Melanesian feast, learnt to dance with the locals, went bush walking, visited a tiny bush school where the children never stopped smiling, swam in waterfalls, visited interesting food markets and clothing markets, went sailing on catamarans, snorkelling which included a visit to an underwater post office and ate at some beautiful restaurants trying new foods such as coconut crab, semolina cooked in a hangi and the most amazing fruit cocktails. Some of us girls had our hair braided in tiny tight plaits and enjoyed a great massage. Even when it rained the temperature was pleasant enough to swim and we enjoyed the resort pools as well as the beach. We stayed in little huts or "fares" and they were just delightful with great views of the lake.

The company was great, everybody bonded happily and we filled every minute with fun and friendship. It is an experience I would love to repeat as there is still heaps of things to see over there. We stayed at Port Villa in a resort which included amazing breakfasts with eggs made to order including delicious omelettes, and the most fantastic fresh tropical fruit. The grapefruit, tiny bananas and coconut were probably my favourite.

We loved how the children everywhere were so happy. They were happy kicking a ball made of paper mache, thrilled to bits when we threw them lollies out of the bus windows on race day and just seemed to love life in all its simplicity.

Port Villa itself is quite run down in some ways. The roads and footpaths are in a state of disrepair and we nearly stumbled several times over the rough ground. Although our resort was cleaned regularly early in the morning with palm branches being used as brooms, often the towels in our 'fare' were not replaced and time was relaxed. But I think this all added to the charm of the place and I loved it.

The school children all have machetes which are used to cut down bananas or slice through coconuts or cut branches out of their way when ploughing through the bush. Some days they are kept home from school so they can help their families.

It is a very different lifestyle to ours. We were told that there are no real road rules, no enforced speed limits and no traffic lights. There are also no taxes taken out of their wages. Not surprisingly there are a number of Aussies and kiwis who have chosen to stay there for extended periods. One of the runners in my leg of the relay was an ex patriot kiwi who has lived in Vanuatu as an engineer for 13 years. He has no intention of leaving. Not surprisingly, he loves the relaxed lifestyle there.

On the day after our return, Thursday, I had a short run of 7km with kiwi Barbara who flew back to NZ next morning. On Saturday I ran 8km and on Sunday I ran at the Vets' monthly handicap at Blewitts Pines. This was a tough hilly off road run but I managed to run (slowly) all the way. With a handicap of 22 I finished 67th out of a total 86 finishers in the longer course of 7.2km. It took me 46mins which is pretty slow but I'm carrying a few extra kilos at the moment and have some work to do!

On Monday I returned to the speedygeese session at Parliament House where the main part of the session included 4 x 600m fast, jogging slowly back to the start inbetween. With the warm up and cool down I ran a total of 9.5km.

Tuesday I went to Black Mountain and ran with the Tuesday group. This is made up of mainly retired Veterans' Athletes although there are also some part time workers. It starts at 9.15am and is about 10km finishing with announcements and a great morning tea made up of food which everyone contributes, usually home baking. Oh dear, it's difficult to lose those kilos when I consume the calories I run off! Margaret and I attended the Tuesday group before I went to Vanuatu too as that was just after kiwi Barb arrived and we could run together which was fun. This time however I was running on my own and managed to get lost THREE times. Oh dear, I have absolutely no sense of direction. Next week I will stay with someone else or at least keep them in sight! We ran to Haig Park via the university grounds and back again. It took me 62mins to run 10km!

Today, Wednesday, I had another first, I attended the BBQ Stakes handicap run at Woden. There were 60 runners and I recognised lots of familiar faces. Jen had persuaded me to go and offered to run with me so I wouldn't get lost! It was 21deg, sunny and a stunning day in Canberra. The course is undulating, part road and part dirt track, a lovely run but tough. I enjoyed it and until that time of day becomes too hot in the summer months I will continue running it as the hills will do me good! It took me 39mins to run 6km but hey, I will improve (eventually)!!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Toughing it out at training!

Last Sunday Teddy and I ran 8km which we tend to do on the days I'm not running with other people and have shorter distances to run. He's getting much better although he is still distracted by other dogs.
On Monday I returned to the speedygeese session at Parliament House. Oh boy, I found it tough! After a couple of warm up loops of PH we were divided into teams of two for the main session. Yelena and I were put together. We ran fast down the diagonal grass in front of PH and straight up the hilly edge (just under 300m), tagged our team member and jogged slowly across the top straight while waiting for them to do the opposite diagonal and run uphill to tag us. The plan was to repeat this 12 times although we only managed nine repeats before the fastest team finished. We finished with a cool down loop of PH. It was of course freezing to start and I wore long pants and long sleeved top although I did strip down to a t-shirt as we warmed up.
Total distance: 8km

Another 8km run with Teddy.

This morning, after a weights session at the gym and a 15mins abs class, I ran with my music, from home down to and round Lake Ginninderra and back again. I haven't run that course for ages and it's also the furthest I've run since before my trip so it was challenging.
Total distance: 15km
Time taken: 1hr 33mins


Tonight I returned to the speedygeese session at Dickson. Brrr, such a cold open place to train. Having said that it was great to meet up with everyone and to welcome a few new people to the session. We started with a couple of warm up laps and then were divided into relay teams of two like on Monday. I was put with Cinea who was brand new to the speedygeese. However, this time one team member ran 300m fast, tagged the other person, then jogged back 100m ready to be tagged after the other team member had run 300m. Again the goal was 12 repeats and we managed 11 although our team finished after everyone else had stopped. We warmed down with a long lap of the oval.

This morning I met up with Andy at the war memorial for a run at the civilized hour of 9.30am. There was lots of cloud cover but it had reached 5deg by that time after minus 2 overnight so I even wore shorts and later in the run was running in a t-shirt instead of long sleeves. Because there was no wind for a change the temperature felt more comfortable although I did keep my gloves on for the duration of the run.
Total distance: 15km
Later Jen joined us for a coffee at the War Memorial and this time the coffee was lovely - yay!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Shaking off the Jetlag

Our long flight home was not without its share of dramas. The first glitch happened at Barcelona airport when we were told to take our stamped "tax free" receipts through customs to the Blue stand on the other side.. Once through customs you are classed as being in another country and cannot turn back. When we handed them over we were told that the shop stamps were not sufficient but that we should have had them stamped by the Spanish customs on the other side. They were therefore invalid for our hoped-for tax refund on our purchases. Good start!

Next stop the British Airways Club which has a reciprocal arrangement with Qantas club. This was not our day however as apparently our Qantas Club card did not have sufficient status for this BA Club and we were unable to use their facilities.

We should have stayed downstairs where there were heaps of cafes and shops to browse around. On this side of the barrier there was a McDonalds, a small magazine shop and a loo. It was a long wait until the next flight.

Fortunately at London airport we were welcome at the BA Club. It was so pleasant and relaxing that we were the last passengers on the next flight - you know that moment when everyone stares as you try to find your seat just before take off! You probably don't, but I know it well being married to the most laid back man on this planet:)

At Hong Kong airport the plane stopped to refuel. This meant we all had to disembark, take our boarding passes, walk downstairs and through the bag check area again before reboarding the same plane. When we reached the bag check area Mr B discovered that he had left his boarding pass on the plane after having carefully remnded me to take mine with me! Back to the other end to have a new one issued then to do the entire process again. Ho hum! Of course I had my laptop in my hand luggage and so all this had to be checked through twice. At least it filled in the refuel time!

At Melbourne Qantas club we freshened up with a shower and oh boy was it good! And then it was a very quick flight back to Canberra with no more dramas, just a very long, very cold, wait for a taxi!

So there it was Wednesday and that day was really a complete write-off - unpacking, Washing updated, food shopping done and a quick lie down which turned into a five hour sleep in the afternoon!

Next day my beautiful Teddy dog was returned and on Friday I took him on an 8km run in our local area.

Still feeling slow and lethargic I met up with Andy at the war memorial for a run down to the lake, on to Molonglo Reach and back to the War Memorial carpark. It was sunny but fresh and on the return we were hit by a head wind which slowed us down even more. It was a great catch up time but I have lost a lot of fitness and speed.
Total: 11km
Time taken: 1h13mins
Later the coffee at the cafe did not fulfil my expectations. I have yet to consume that perfect coffee!

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Adios Espana

Our final two nights in Spain were spent in Tarragona, a major industrial port which has preserved many remnants of its Roman past, which of course means there were lots of ruins to explore. Unfortunately we only had one full day in Tarragona on Sunday when most of the tourist spots were closed and we were unable to enter the closed gates although there was still plenty to see.

In the town square there was a very "different" statue of hundreds of men standing on each others shoulders like a human tower. Apparently this is a rendition of what actually happens at the Terragona festival when there are contests held to see who can build the highest human tower!

We had a couple of lovely meals for our last evenings in Spain, enjoying tapas and sangria on Sat evening and on Sunday night I had the best duck breast ever, cooked in the most divine sauce.

The sales were in full force here and a little last minute shopping just simply had to be done before leaving at about mid- day on Monday to drive to Barcelona.

Feeling a little nostalgic from our last visit to Spain in 1973 we stopped at Sitges for lunch. This is a delightful little beach resort (supposedly known as a "gay" resort) with lots of seaside restaurants and lively bars. We enjoyed a lovely "menu de dia" at a restaurant facing the sea watching the little fishing boats with the Sitges' landmark, the 17th century church of Sant Bartomeu, standing on the hill in the distance.

Sadly this was our last stop before heading to the airport, returning our hire car (not without some drama as the location had moved) and commencing the long trip home with short stops at London, Hong Kong and Melbourne airports on the way.

Adios Espana and Portugal. We have had an awesome holiday.

A taste of heaven at the Costa Blanca!

On 1 July we reached Eastern Spain to spend a night in Alicante in the Costa Blanca. We were on the 5th floor of the hotel and it was accessed by a lift surrounded by glass like a bay window on the outside of the building giving the sensation of actually being outside. The beach was a drive away and took several roundabout ways to find where to park as we always ended up going past it in the wrong direction and not able to turn around. Eventually we found an underground carpark and at 8pm on an overcast evening we jumped into the waves. I was a bit dubious until my bare feet touched that water. It was just amazing. It felt like a tepid bath except there were great waves for fantastic body surfing. We had a glorious swim. I couldn't believe how beautiful the water felt and how long we stayed in there at that time of night without sunshine.

Later in the evening we found the most fantastic little restaurant where we chose a very large plate for two of prawns cooked in a variety of ways. Yummo - it was divine and the bottle of vino was great too.

Everyone at all the little restaurants on the hill where we were, was serenaded by an accordian player (who was actually really good) and his partner who was playing the tambourine. When they finished she turned the tambourine upside down and approached everybody for a donation. We responded positively as we enjoyed the music. However, we didn't buy the red roses, glow sticks, watches or shirts which we were also offered during the course of the evening!

Next morning we had time for a run before breakfast. We ran from the hotel to the beach and along the boardwalk enjoying the sea air. With less hills we managed to run our 9km two minutes faster than our previous run.

Later we went for an explore and discovered that all the sales started that day, on 1 July, just when our suitcases were already full (almost) to the brim!