Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Meeting Daniel James

Good friend speedygoose Jen produced a beautiful baby boy, Daniel James - 7lb 7oz -at 4am on Monday. She was home by 10am and meeting friends for coffee and shopping the next day! This morning, after my abs class and strength work at the gym, I drove out to visit Jen and little Daniel in her home. She is a beautiful relaxed mum and Daniel is just gorgeous. We went for a walk to the shops and enjoyed a coffee together. Daniel just slept through the entire exercise. He is alert and absolutely perfect. I enjoyed lots of cuddles and had a lovely day with both of them.

This evening I ran with Ewen and Chris on our usual route from Parliament House to the War Memorial. Just before I left home black clouds threatened and sure enough, after a lovely sunny day, the heaavens opened. However, by the time I arrived at PH the rain had stopped and the sun had come out again. In fact while we were running, although there was some wind, it was really quite warm and pleasant - strange Canberra weather!

Total distance: 11.5km

Time taken: 1:16

Average pace per km: 6:36

Monday, March 28, 2011

Only Two Weeks to Marathon!

This morning I rose early and went to a cross training session at the gym which involved abs work, lunges and boxing - a good cardio session in fact. I then managed to get into a one hour remedial massage which was painful but amazing. I have another booked for next Monday.
The problem however was that at tonight's Parliament House session I felt rather sore and sluggish. I joined everyone for the warm up laps of PH at 5.30pm and while they were running hills I headed down to the lake and was joined by Ewen, Nadine and Andy for a flat gentle run. The sun was shining and the lake was beautiful, rather different from the wet conditions last Monday. It was very pleasant and my legs felt much better by the end of the run.

Total distance: 9.3km

Tomorrow is a rest day so I plan to go for a swim.

Photo: A kiss for the bride - speedygoose Abi and Will's wedding on Saturday

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Vets' Handicap at Stromlo Forest Park

Ewen looks as though he's having far too good a time at the Vets' handicap this morning!

It was a great morning - cool, crisp and bright sunshine. There were lots of people at the run who I don't see often and it was a surprise when Jeni from Sydney turned up as she was in Canberra for the weekend. It was lovely too to catch up with Kerry and Kelley who are training some amazing distances in preparation for Kelley's 90km Comrades run in Sth Africa in May.

Part of today's run was around the big grassy loop of the track before we headed out on a dirt trail for a few kms then turned and headed back for a final loop of the grass. It was so much nicer on the grass than it was last season probably due to the rain. The grass was spongy and felt great underfoot. The dirt trail was a bit rough and I did witness one person having a fall flat on his face. He stopped for a moment to recover before resuming the run. I imagine there were a few near misses on the trail and the course was undulating but that is to be expected on a vets course.

Handicap group: 24

Finish place: 77 (out of 104)

Distance: 8km

Time taken: 46:17

Average pace per km: 5:47

Total distance with warm up: 9km

Total distance for first week of taper: 74km

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Earth Hour

I am struggling to type with a torch on one side of my battery operated laptop and a candle on the other giving me minimal light as it is currently Earth Hour and we have turned off the electricity throughout the house. It is eerily quiet with no television or music and everywhere in darkness.
This morning I started my run on my own from the War Memorial at 7.30am and headed down to the lake and back again and round the block until Ewen, Andy and Emma were ready to join me just after 8am. My first 5km on my own was cold and I wore a spray jacket but I felt quite warm by the time the others joined me and continued the run in a singlet top. I wore my new running shoes so wanted to avoid Mt Ainslie and the dusty trails there. Instead we ran back down to the lake and turned right running past the ferry terminal, round the museum and then on to a lovely trail running through the Uni grounds.
We turned at 15km and headed back the way we had come, meeting up with speedygeoff and Mary (who was just finishing her run). Speedygeoff joined us for a few kms and I also ran a few extra before returning to the War Memorial to meet the others for coffee.
Total distance: 26.3km
Time taken: 2hrs 51
Average pace per km: 6:32
Calories burned: 1527
Later this afternoon I joined speedygeoff to watch the gorgeous speedygoose Abi become married in the beautiful gardens of the Commonwealth Club. It was a really lovely ceremony.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Taper Time and Sad News

Wednesday 23 March
I met Ewen a little earlier in the PH carpark so that we could run a few kms before joining Andy for the majority of the run. Chris only ran a very short distance with us as he had to leave early for a meeting. Mr B and I had just returned from Sydney where, on Tuesday, we went to see Dr Zhivago the musical. It was absolutely amazing and we both loved it. We saw the movie in the 1970s so the story came back to us - just wonderful. We also caught up with our younger daughter and her partner for a yummy Spanish meal in the evening.
The boys and I ran our usual war memorial loop running out a little further to make extra distance. It was a pleasant run with lots of good conversation and we did spot a large hare as we ran through the cemetary at St Johns Church in Reid. He disappeared among the tombstones very quickly.
Total distance: 16km
Time taken: 1:44:51
Average pace per km: 6:33

Thursday 24 March
It was a much cooler day today and there was a bitter head wind when I headed out for my run in the early afternoon. I was on roster at track in the evening so needed to get my run in first. I ran from home and included 3 x 10 min tempo runs with 3 minute jogs between. Strangely enough my 11th km was my fastest. Going out I battled a head wind which turned with me. However, for the last few kms the wind finally dropped and I felt much better and faster.
Total distance: 11km
Time taken: 1:04:43
Average pace per km: 5:52
Calories burned: 643

Friday 25 March
I started the day early with a Body Balance class before heading into The Runners Shop to buy some more shoes for the marathon. They are the same sort I'm running in already so I will just run in the new ones tomorrow and try to keep them clean for the big day. There are now just over two weeks until the race and the taper began this week which meant a rest day from running on Tuesday and today. Tomorrow my long run will be 8km shorter than last week!
I met up with Jen for a long coffee this morning. Her baby was due two days ago so she is jumping out of her skin (not literally of course but it is exciting)!
CJ had bad news from the physio today. Her hamstring is torn and it no longer looks as though she will be running the marathon this year. She damaged it during the half marathon a few weeks ago. She is quite naturally devastated.
I also had extremely sad news today from a close friend who we caught up with while in NZ a couple of weeks ago. We have been friends for many many years and her 30 year old only son (just a year younger than my older daughter) fell off his horse two days ago and was badly injured. It was a head injury even though he was wearing a helmet and he is now on life support. The prognosis is not good. His parents have to make an extremely difficult decision in the next day or two.
We wait for news with heavy hearts and know that sometimes life can be very sad and cruel.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Great Weather for Ducks...

....and black swans and a few straggly geese! It was raining steadily when I drove to Parliament House well in time for the 5.30pm session. A few soggy geese (Craig, speedycoach and Tim)arrived after their early run and we were soon joined by Rachelle (who ran a speedy 4km), Andrew (new starter) and Chris (who turned back after 2km). It was still raining but the underground carpark was busy and noisy so we were happy to head out and run in the very fresh air! I ran with Craig at a comfortable pace while the others raced ahead. When Tim and Andrew turned back at 4km speedycoach joined Craig and me to run out a further 2km before turning back making a total of 12km for me, 20km for Craig and 25km for speedycoach. I really appreciated the company in such wet weather.

We were soaked through, running through deep puddles and muddy slushy grass. A quick dry with a towel and a hot shower as soon as I reached home made me feel much warmer. I had already prepared dinner so just had to heat it up which was so good.

I returned to the gym this morning for the 6.15am cross training class, this time a fitball class. It has been over two weeks since I've been to the gym and it hurt. It also hurt when I followed the class with some upper body strength work.

Teddy was lucky as the rain held off long enough for me to take him for a walk and a good run at the oval this afternoon.

Total distance for run: 12km
Time taken: 1:18
Average pace per km: 6:32

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Return from Aotearoa - Part 2

My last post was becoming too long so I decided to split it into two parts for easier reading.

Monday 14 March
Another very hilly run from my sister's house in Wellington
I started running from her house in one direction going up, up, up and then turned and ran back down and up the other side. I was proud of myself that I didn't stop to walk some of those hills. The views were stunnning but some of the steep cliffs I was looking out on made me feel quite dizzy!
Total distance: 11.18km
Time taken: 1:12:28
Average pace per km: 6:28
This was my last run in Wellington before flying home the next day. We had a lovely holiday, catching up with so many friends and enjoying magnificent scenery. It is a green and beautiful country and we were very lucky with the weather.

Wednesday 16 March
It is good to be home and back running with my friends. Tonight I met Ewen earlier than the others at Parliament House so that we could run 6km before joining Emma P, Chris and Andy to run another 13km. Emma then ran another km with me to make up my distance. It's great having company for the entire run. I hadn't quite recovered from my trip and was very slow.
Total distance: 20km
Time taken: 2:10:32
Average pace per km: 6:31

Thursday 17 March
I met Ewen at the AIS track at 6pm and we ran out to O'Connor Ridge where he led me on some very rough trails before relenting and heading for more even ground. After a couple of near misses I was a bit worried about going for a big fall just before the track event. We ran a warm-up of 10.5km before heading for the start of the spiral handicap.

It was a 6 lap spiral and I started in Group 27. Coincidentally there were 27 finishers and I came in 5th overall which really pleased me as I gained 47 points. I am currently 3rd place out of the women and as there is only one more spiral this season I have no hope of moving up a place now. However, it is a fun event and defnitely my favourite one on the track calendar.

Distance of 6 lap spiral (according to gandalf): 2:56km
Time taken: 12:20
Average pace per km: 4:50 (4:42 according to official results)
Handicap group: 27 (now re-handicapped to 28)
Finish place: 5th (out of 27)
Total distance for day: 13km

Friday 18 March
Friday is usually my rest day but as I didn't run on Tuesday because of travelling I ran a short run today instead. It was embarrassingly slow however! I think I was recovering from last night. My legs did not want to cooperate!
Total distance: 8km
Time taken: 51:24
Average pace per km: 6:24

Saturday - long run
This morning would have been my dad's 108th birthday. He was born in 1903 and died in 1988 aged 85. I remember him with love and pride.

Today was also my last long run over 30km before the marathon. How scary is that! I ate my toast and honey at 5am and left the house at 6.40am to run on the cycle track and footpaths through O'Connor and into the city. When I reached the ferry terminal I turned right and headed for the museum and then ran back to meet up with a couple of Metro runners, speedygeoff, Emma P, Andy and Ewen. There were a few very light sprinkles of rain but the weather was basically perfect for running, too cloudy to wear sunnies but not cold or humid.

We headed out to Molonglo Reach and spotted Thea on the way who turned and ran a short way with us. Chang and Anne turned back at Molonglo and the rest of us ran past Campbell Park and towards Mt Ainslie and up, up, up to the saddle. It was lovely to hit the trails but I had forgotten how steep they are. Some of the trails had been graded which made it so much easier to negotiate the footing. There was a large group of mountain bike riders heading up the hills, some struggling but not envying us and an old friend who called out to me on his way up. It was lovely.

We ran back down past Glebe Park, over the swimming pool bridge and back to the ferry terminal. Here speedygeoff and I ran a few more kms to make up the required distance before Ewen drove me back to the War Memorial cafe to meet up with Andy, Liz and her lovely mum, Bev, who had come for a flying visit from Ballarat. It was so good to catch up with her. Jen joined us too with her two young sons. Her baby is due in 3 days and she looks amazing.
It was a good morning made even better by the knowledge that the hardest part of the training is out of the way now.
Total distance: 34.5km
Time taken: 3:42:02
Average pace per km: 6:26
Calories burned: 2004
It will not be a fast marathon but I think I will make it to the finish line!

Sunday 20 March
I had to run Tuesday's run today to make my distance for the week. Ouch, did my legs object for the first few kms! However, after that I felt a bit better and ran along the cycle track through the tunnel towards Gungahlin for 6.5km before turning and running home. I incorporated 3 x 4mins steady with jogs between. I remembered the program incorrectly as it should have been 5 x 4mins but I don't think my tired legs would have liked that anyway!
Heading out there was a head wind and a slight uphill rise all the way which felt like a mountain running against the wind. The return run was much more comfortable.
Total distance: 13km
Time taken: 1:21
Average pace per km: 6:15
Calories burned: 766
Total distance for week: 100km
Tomorrow the taper begins!
Photos :
  • Out for lunch with Rex and Kerry. Kerry was Wellington's Mayor for 9 years and has just been voted out. She has no intention of slowing down however and is already on 9 Boards.
  • With my sister Cathy in Wellington. She is 71.
  • Sunset by the beach in Plimmerton, Wellington where we ate fish and chips with Barbara
  • Fence around Zealandia Nature Park, Wellington
  • With friends from Mr B's Uni days at Backbenchers Pub where the politicians hang out. It has become a tradition for us to meet there whenever we return to Wellington.
  • Zealandia Nature Park, Wellington
  • Tauranga Beach
  • Napier
  • Auckland - Mr B's sister's property. Mr B with grandson, Sam.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Return from Aotearoa! - Part 1

We arrived back in Canberra on Tuesday night after a lovely 11 day holiday in "The Land of the Long White Cloud (Aotearoa)" aka New Zealand. We were lucky with the weather, the wedding was held in a beautiful setting at a winery in north west Auckland. We caught up with friends and family and refreshed our accents!

We hired a car a few days after the wedding and drove down to Wellington via Coromandel and Rotorua, stopping with friends in Tauranga and making overnight stops in Napier and Masterton. In each place I ran tried to stick to the marathon training program although last week was a little lighter than it should have been!
Sunday 6 March (morning of wedding)
Short run in rural Auckland (very undulating)
Total distance: 8.38km
Total distance for week 28 Feb - 6 March: 97km

Monday 7 March
Run rural Auckland (lots of hills)
Total distance: 18.7km
Time taken: 1:5:39
Average pace per km: 6:07

Wednesday 9 March
Run in Tauranga suburbs
Total distance: 12.14km
Time taken: 1:18:10
Average pace per km: 6:26 (slower than the hills!)

Thursday 10 March
Run in Napier (by the beach)
Total distance: 8km
Time taken: 47:32
Average pace per m: 5:56

Friday 11 March
Short Run in Masterton
Total distance: 7.6km

Saturday 12 March
Wellington - hilly!
Total distance: 7.23km
Time taken: 47:04
Average pace per km: 6:30

Sunday 13 March
Run with Barbara Tucker by the Hutt River (flattish)
It was fantastic to spend the day with Barbara who used to run with the speedygeese in Canberra before returning to Wellington a couple of years ago. Barb ran 19km with Mr B and me and I continued on for another 11km. Lots of catching up took place for the first 19km!
Total distance: 31.3km
Time taken: 3hrs 26mins
Average pace per km: 6:30
Total distance for week 7-13 March: 85km (8km less than planned)
  • wedding group of our family and relations on Mr B's side. The bride is his niece.
  • our grandchildren and flowergirl (great niece)
  • Mt Maunganui (in Tauranga)
  • Barb and Mr B studying flora and fauna in Zealandia Nature Park (Welllington)
  • Coromandel Peninsula
  • Wellington cable car

To be continued.......

Friday, March 04, 2011

Happy Half a Century to CJ!

Today is CJ's 50th birthday. She has been my inspiration since we started running together 15 years ago. She boggles my mind with her achievements and her dedication and is a wonderful friend.
I am writing this post in haste as tonight we celebrate CJ's birthday at her favourite restaurant and tomorrow morning we fly to NZ for a niece's wedding in Auckland and a ten day holiday driving down to Wellington to visit friends and relatives. I still have heaps to do before flying out in the morning. A good friend will be staying in our house and looking after Teddy.
This morning I rose at 4.30am to have a couple of pieces of toast before running out the door just afer 6am to fit in my long run before meeting CJ and Liz for coffee before Liz had to dash off for an International Women's Day lunch. They too were running 34km this morning. CJ and I stayed on to enjoy brunch. We were starving!

It was freezing cold at 6am and I regretted not wearing gloves as my hands positively ached for the first 5km. However, after that I thawed out and it really was a perfect morning for running. I ran from home along the cycle track in Lyneham to the ferry teminal and from there round the West Basin of the lake then a couple of extra kms before heading home. I ran home a slightly different way and consequently ended up with an extra km. I felt good and comfortable almost all the way. There were lots of people cycling to work and balloons floating over the still lake. It truly was a stunning morning to be out there running. I felt so lucky and happy to be fit, alive and running.
Total distance: 35km
Time taken: 3:42:16
Average pace per km: 6:21
Calories burned: 2049

Catch up on week's runs:
Tuesday - summer series at Weston Park
I ran a km before Ewen joined me for a further 4km warm up before the race. It was rough ground and parts of it were through long grass on a narrow trail so it was a case of watching ones footing. As a consequence I didn't manage to run it at the same pace as last week. However I still came in ahead of Ian and just two places behind Ewen.
Total distance: 5.08 (according to gandalf)
Time taken: 28:32
Average pace per km: 5:37
After the race Ewen, speedygeoff and I ran another 5km warm down.
Total distance for day: 15km

Wednesday 2 March
I went to the gym in the morning for my abs class and upper body strength work and in the evening met up with Emma P, Ewen, Andy, speedygeoff and Chris for a middle distance run. On the way we were joined by Tom, a NZer who saw us running and asked to join us as he was only here for a couple of days on business. It's always fun to run with someone. Chris and Emma were running well ahead and the others weren't far behind but speedygeoff and I stayed at the back running more gently after a couple of tough runs on the previous days. We all ran together for the last few kms when both Chris and Emma had to leave a bit early.
Total distance: 16km
Time taken: 1:45:53
Average pace per km: 6:36
Yes, it was very slow, in fact much slower than my long run today! I think my legs were tired and today they felt so much better.
There was no track yesterday as the championships are on over the next couple of days. Instead I ran from home in the morning at a comfortable pace. I ran a 15mins warm up heading out towards Gungahlin then ran a tempo run for 15mins before heading for the hills where I ran 4 x 1min hills with a jog between. Then I ran gently home again.
Total distance: 12km
Time taken: 1:14:59
Average pace per km: 6:14
I have a feeling this marathon is going to be run at a very slow pace judging by my lack of speed!