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)!!