Monday, 5 December 2016

Summer is here already

And boy is it warming up. The HuRTs sets are hot but I am trying to turn up as much as possible. Good for the motivation slump to at least put in for the hard sessions. My mileage is still hovering around 80km so another thing I am now finding I have to watch is my weight. All the eating and drinking I can do on 130km per week starts to show on just 80km. Hoping to increase the mileage soon.

I missed out on the Berlin marathon lottery so will try for the first charity spots this Wednesday. Failing that, it's over to using a travel company or just not doing it. But seeing Neil having just run 2:28 yesterday has provided hope that I can still run low 2:30's if not under.

Short post this week. Not a lot to report.

Mon 28th Nov: 12km easy Cent Park.
Tue 29th: Hurts 3/2/1 fartlek session. 45mins continuous of 3min(1min), 2min(1min), 1min(1min) cycles. Managed to go through 10km in almost a minute quicker than the race 2 days ago. So obviously I was not in great condition Sunday morning. 12.7km for the 45mins with Darren Moyle and Nick Roberts most of the way. Tota; 16km
Wed 30th: 13km across 2 runs (both slow with clients)
Thur Dec 1st: Hurts 3 x 2km set at Barangaroo. Warmed up well, stretched and even did strides to pump myself up for this. I wanted 3 reps at 6:20 or better if possible. Off the mark I bolted a little too fast - going through 1km in 3:05 before settling down a bit and running 6:16. 2mins recovery and off again. This time with Darren and Kevin Batt with me. Kev is a sub 14min 5000m runner so any pace any of us could muster up would still be a tempo for him so I just put him to good use and he blocked the wind for me. 6:21 back to the overseas passenger terminal. Feeling it now already. 3rd rep, Barts decided to switch on and with Darren, myself and new guy Darion, we went through in around 3:10 before my legs started fatiguing. I surged and got back on once but Kev was also finishing it off strongly. I faded but still managed 6:26 which wasn't a disaster. Total 13km.
Fri 2nd: 8km marking out the Sat rejoov cross country loop session.
Sat 3rd: 4km just marking out the session etc. I had Jaden so I couldn't run which felt surprisingly okay. This onset of apathy needs to be addressed I feel. Greta on the other hand raced well at the Curl Curl 3 points race coming 2nd in her age and 7th overall. She also be Adrian McGarvar (sorry Mac, couldn't help myself there)
Sun 4th: 20km with the Eastside Hurts guys before rushing off to drop Jaden & Greta to the airport for their week in the Alice.
Total for the week. 86km

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Nov 14th - 27th update

Another 2 weeks (and a bit) have flown by and a kick up the arse today by Tom to update my blog. Post JP Morgan, not much has happened really. Some HuRTs sessions, a lot of downtime from running (less mileage), the HuRTs awards night and our running camp at the Entrance.

Mon 14th: 10km in 37deg temps along Scarborough Beach Perth - 4min pace. Felt ok but felt a lot better jumping in the ocean afterwards.
Tue 15th: 14km across 2 runs again beachside in Perth. 2nd run involved a 5km tempo (17mins)
Wed 16th: 20km around Kings Park, Swan river foreshore. 90mins
Thur 17th: 6km early morning run before flight home. Straight to the HuRTs awards night and took out the first man standing award. Certainly wasn't going to win last man standing. Fun night with a big cheerio send off when it was time to pull up stumps.

Fri 18th: 7km easy CPark
Sat 19th: 11km incl 7km tempo (with hill) in CP.
Sun 20th: 28km with the Manly Hardcore. Barts, Tom, Erika, Darren, Justin, Toby and even Jerome joined the darkside. Fantastic again to jump in the ocean afterwards then tuck into an Emporio B&E roll.
Total for the week: 96km

Mon 21st: 12km easy Cpark
Tue 22nd: 12km HuRTs session - 1 x 20mins (10/10 progressive), 1 x 10mins. Guts feeling crook so had to pull up short. Finding it hard to get a full session out right now.
Wed 23rd: 15km very easy Cpark
Thur 24th: 11km with 6 x 400m reps on McKay Oval, half of which has bindies. cut my feet up a bit for a few days. Managed 70secs for most of the 6 reps.
Fri 25th: 8km at The Entrance with Beck Munro. Everyone else stuck in traffic so just the 2 of us for the first session of our camp.
Sat 26th: No run - 30km cycle around The Enrance / Mingara. Legs felt ok on the bike. Actually quite enjoyed this session. Followed by a beach swim session including some pretty big waves.
Sun 27th: Central coast 10km (half marathon festival). Woke up feeling pretty groggy after a big bbq dinner, drinks and celebrity Head tournament. Didn't really want to race but went through the motions of coffee, toilet, slow warm up, run throughs and then I was off. Tried to be competitive for as long as possible but just faded at the 2km mark. Didn't have any fight in me. Legs obviously stuffed from the ride, head stuffed from the drinks, stomach heavy and with the stress of camp organisation it only got worse. One by one they cruised past me including Mike L relegating me to 7th overall in high 35mins. Not a great run for me. Couldn't even run back. Thanks to Craig Wiseman for the lift after he also struggled around the half course (won't go into details with his time).
Total for the week: 73km

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

JP Morgan

Well it's been another two weeks since posting and during this time I have raced, partied, trained fast but certainly not long. The motivation to build the miles has not come back to me and so I am enjoying the faster efforts, and less weekly kms. I seem to have almost knocked off for the year but we shall see what's around the corner.

The highlight of the week before JP Morgan (running wise) was probably the HuRTs 8x400m/200m float session at Rushcutters. Also called Deek's quarters (despite Monna also smashing this each week for most of his career), this session in my book is in the top 3 hardest. It's short but it's intense. Hard efforts at sub 3min pace ideally and floats at 3:20 pace for 8 cycles of 400/200m.

The few days prior included:
Mon 31st Oct: 8km easy
Tue 1st Nov: Melb Cup day - so I jogged up to the park and ran the first 1550m of the JP Morgan course 3 times as an attempted rep with a jog down the hill recovery. At the time they hurt - 5:30/5:25 & 5:20 but I knew I wasn't pumped up and in race/session mode so I predicted perhaps 5:10 through this marker next week in the race. Total 10km
Wed 2nd: 5km. Yup 5 whole kms. Told you I was struggling.
Thur 3rd: HuRTs 8 x 400m. In Tim's absence I took on cone duty to set up the 400m track on this silky smooth grassed oval. After many warm up laps I felt it was as close (perhaps 5-10m over) to 400m as I had time for. JFen agreed which was all I needed really. There was a huge turnout of Hurts guys and girls (hmmm JP Morgan must be close) with the one noticeable absentee being the initiator of this session - John Bartlett. With no Barts I tried to fire JFen up to have a crack but he was not buying in. Always the smart trainer that one. I then tried to pump everyone up with a description of the session and that they should be doing some run throughs to get the heart rate up.

They weren't buying either. There was too much gossip to cover. Who would take out the Serge award this year (so many options), how to get our hands on dodgy JP Morgan bibs, even - who was Jerome dressed by that day!

So we launched and in true CT fashion I took off fast. Best form of defence is offence. If a session, hill or race intimidates you, get angry and treat it with contempt. Well that's one approach and sadly one that often fails ha! But it's fun to give it a crack. I tracked around the first 4 efforts at around 72-73secs with a 43-44sec recovery before my fade tapped me on the shoulder and told me to slow down. Still I battled on ensuring there was a shift in pace each time and ended up falling over on the ground at the finish in 15:40 for the 4.8km with JFen coming in with a solid 16:30. Everyone gave it a red hot go which was impressive to see. Easy cool down with Brendan, Enda & JFen. Total for the session 12km.
Fri 4th: Forgot to run. Yep serious. Got to 7/8pm and thought - 'shit I haven't run today' and that was that.
Sat 5th: Rejoov runners Sat session. These are gaining in numbers and we were even graced with Ireland's number 1 - Enda Stankard who is trying to put 48hrs of continuous training together at the moment for the Tokyo full in Feb. The session was 10 laps of a grassed hill loop opposite the CP main café. 5km worth of tempo - a nice 350m down section with a sharp biting 150m climb back up. Again I started off well going through in 8:05 before slowing for a 8:30 in the 2nd half - 16:35. Enda coming in soon after considerably stuffed and facing a cool down back to Nth Bondi - ouch! Mine - 13km total.
Sun 6th: 20km easy with the Hurts and Rejoov gang in the park.
Not a bad week really - 68km

Then it was JP Morgan week. Last year Tom, Quentin and Barts were all on fire leading in and it was always going to be a tough race for me (out of the mix coming 10th or 11th - can't remember).

This year we had Barts who was playing down his chances even more than the Aussie cricket team were against the Sth Africans. Quentin unfortunately out of action with illness, Tom who simply loves to get drunk, forget where he is and fall over and sleep, then me who after the dismal Melb marathon effort was even more unpredictable. So the banter went back and forth. Neil was included in the list of potentials (can't fly under the radar anymore mate) as was Hoey IF he raced it.

Mon 7th: easy 11km
Tue 8th: easy 8km

Wed 9th: JP Morgan - and yes the rain moved in at the same time as the crowds. It is an unlucky event on average with regards to the weather and this year was no different. It fell heavier from 6pm to the race start of 6:30pm.

Keeping us back on the start line was none other than Benny Saint who dressed in Corporate event attire (with black leather shoes) could have easily beaten us all dressed as is. Nothing like a dose of perspective on a start line full of pumped up corporates.

And away we went - I jumped well and immediately led the race. Wasn't trying to and weirdly it kept going up the hill. Wait a minute - what? Leading? WTF. I was supposed race this year differently. That involved a slower start and coming home harder. But it did feel slower even though there was a river flowing down the same hill towards us. Apparently everyone else had the same idea. Around the top corner near Paddo gates and Tom levelled up with me. We cruised through 1km in 3:18 which was at least 10secs slower than our 2015 fast start. Tom surged, I matched, then I surged and he matched so we just settled in a bit around the very top of the Woollahra gates right turn and down the hill to record a swift 3:05 for the 2nd km. We both thought we had it - racing for 1st and 2nd. Umm nope. Reality kicked in as the other groupies decided to make an effort and catch us. Neil, Barts, Holt Hardy even bolted past at 2.5km as if it were a 3km race. I questioned Tom whether Holt was in fact in our race.

Neil particularly ran strong and despite willing my legs to go faster and beat him, he pushed away with Tom in tow. They chased Holt and I was left in 4th place. I ran the next 2km much stronger than last year but others were looming and also running well. This race is the only one of the year that takes me back to my school cross country days and nervously pushing for that top 6, top 8 spot to make it through to zone, regional and state. Here around my backyard, we tussled but from nowhere the eventual winner, Brett Halls flew past to gather us all up. Being an experienced 1500m runner obviously counts for a lot in this race with 2 of them ahead of me (Holt Hardy) however while Brett continued on, Holt faded and I passed him at the Robertson gates just as Barts passed me and headed onwards to Neil who was also coming back to me. Others had caught me and I managed to push away again. No sign of Hoey. Not sure why he didn't race it. He's a young'n and should not let these opportunities pass but he does deliver in the marathons I give him that.

5km mark was 15:48 which was pleasing but it was hurting. Behind another fellow HuRTs Toby Hedgeland was making a push for home with Darren Moyle in tow (casually listening to the best of Barabara Streisland possibly on his headphones). I made the last right hand turn in 5th waving to Greta and Jaden and thinking 5th was pretty good. Barts, Neil and Tom were just ahead so all good but suddenly heard - "cmon CT"from behind. Not quite a heckle but Toby who was obviously on EPO decided to try and rev me up as he then quickly bolted past in what was the run of the day to many. Well done mate. So I finished 6th in 17:42 which was similar to last year despite a much more exciting race this year (and smarter).

Tom was 2nd behind Brett with Barts 3rd, and Neil 4th. Solid all round with HuRTs men taking out 6 of the top 7 spots.

What then followed can only be summed up in pictures so enjoy.

Thur 10th: 6km recovery jog.
Fri 11th: 8km easy
Sat 12th: Rejoov session in CP. 2 lap progressive of the white fence. Wet again but ran ok. 13:10 then 12:10 for the laps. Total 14km
Sun 13th: No run - too hungover from our Rejoov xmas party  / wine tasting night. See below for the pics. Fun night. Thanks to all our Rejoov Runners including those Hurts guys and Girls who have run with us, come away with us or have supported us throughout 2016. We're sorry we couldn't invite
absolutely everyone - one day with a bigger pad perhaps.  

Total: 60km for the week. No wonder I'm putting on weight.

And to round out this blog - below is none other than Enda leaving the party early yet again. Always first to dish out the digs when I leave 2mins before him, this picture says it all. Just gone dark and he's off home. Cheerio mate!

Monday, 31 October 2016

A New Start

Two weeks post Melbourne marathon and I'm starting to enjoy my running again. For the past many  years, I have always had an event to train for at most stages of the year. This time last year it was 6ft track looming in March. But there is nothing on the horizon for me as it stands now. Sure I may do JP Morgan if Tom comes through with a bib from an Allens employee who thought it was a good idea at the time, but nothing major - at all.

This will no doubt change but I am enjoying just training from day to day. Mileage is easy, sessions are starting to pick up so perhaps starting at the bottom again (5km) and working back up will be the go.

The week post Melb was pretty much a non training week. All about recovery, eating, wine, beer, TV and playing with Jaden. I'm absolutely loving watching him go at Friday night Little A's.

Mon 17th Oct: No run (casual walk around the Tan track). Absolutely perfect conditions - go figure
Tue 18th: 5km very easy on grass - Falkner Park Sth Yarra
Wed 19th: 6km around Albert Park Lake - legs very sore. Why do the bad marathons also yield even sorer legs?
Thur 20th: 10km Cent Park easy
Fri 21st: 8km easy
Sat 22nd: 10km incl 6km tempo at 3:45's in CP with the Rejoov Runners squad. Feeling a bit better
Sun 23rd: 10km slow again
Total: 49kms. Feeling very relaxed.

Mon 24th: 8km at 4:30's
Tue 25th: 5 x 5min efforts with HuRTs. Started with 2 easier efforts pacing my brother Pete through in around 3:50 pace. Feeling a little looser in the hips and hammies so gave it a nudge for the next 2 and managed to keep up with JFen, Barts, Quentin and co. Felt pretty good but left it at that and ran the last one easier again. Total 12km
Wed 26th: 10km very easy
Thur 27th: Monna Fartlek with HuRTs. Started at the Overseas passenger terminal and headed around to Barangaroo following Barts, Brendan and JFen in the first 90secs. Got a little annoyed with Japanese wedding parties and the general lack of space so went to the front on the float. I have run this session almost 100 times so I know it very well and I feel confident with it. I surged away at 3:10 reps and 3:30 floats going through 5km in 16:30. Finished with 6.1km. First decent session post marathon. Total 11km
Fri 28th: 6km easy
Sat 29th: Rejoov Runners Interval session in CP. 4 x 1450m Busby lake intervals off long recoveries (8min cycles). Ran them hard and finished with 4:28, 4:28, 4:26 and 4:26.
Sun 30th: 18km with the Hurts and Rejoov guys in the park.
Total: 77km

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Melbourne Marathon obituary

Dramatic header I know but it would not have been out of place in Monday morning's newspaper section on the weekend's deaths.

"7.00am - 9.47am. Started his journey hard and fast despite adverse conditions. Did his best to battle through over the mid race crisis and whilst he didn't turn it around entering the later stages, he was determined to the very end. May he Run in Peace now"

My marathon demise was pretty epic. It was fast and it begs the question - is it time to reset the old time expectations now I'm at the ripe old age of 42. Here's a list of excuses off the bat to get it out of the way:

- Hurricane winds - yep behind us occasionally but any runner knows they don't assist us to the level that they hinder us when attacking us from the front.

- Shoes: Went with lighter racing flat style shoes. Could have impacted the legs more

- First 5km in 17:12. Eighteen seconds quicker than planned. Was it over already at 5km?

- Sickness: on and off all winter. Two weeks ago Homebush 10km showed warning signs.

- The marathon hype: the build up is hard not to get sucked into. The marathon stands alone when preparation, mental focus, taper, nutrition, gear etc etc are factored in. We just overthink this distance too much I feel.

- Wrong distance / speed: The 100km I found easier but my pace was 1min slower per km so eating was easier. The marathon at 3:30kms is run on a knife's edge and unfortunately it might be time to bump that goal pacing up.

- Still trying to live the dream. I'm glad I ran under 2:30 way back in 2001. At the time I did not think for a second that it might be the quickest I would record. I have felt (and 5% still do) that there's still a chance of a PB but it's gradually fading.

- Enjoyment: I don't enjoy them. Sorry to say this. You all know I love my running and I especially love racing but the marathon - computer says no!

My taper was pretty much spot on last week. 35km total across 6 short runs. A day off Sat. Flight down, relax, average sleep but everything to plan right up and including the start.

Hoey, Brendan Davies, Alex Rodgers, Neil Pearson and Mick Donges all grouped around me to form the pack we had planned and were hoping would carry us all through to past 30km. 17:12 as mentioned through 5km was too quick but the wind was behind. 34:58 at 10km after battling head winds around Albert Park Lake, then at 14km I slipped off the back. I had already surged once to get back on and that alarm in my head went off as I slipped again. Within 7km to halfway I lost 3mins to the pack - that was the extent of what I was feeling. My half was 77min even and I was thinking, what do I do? Do I turn left and just run back to the finish? Gotta do that anyway so I might as finish the race, show the crew I can battle on and am not just a fair weather runner and hopefully inspire them along the way to run well.

Meanwhile Brucey, Elle, Ruth, Maya, Matt Hutton and the Vonk-o-nator (Robin) were all facing their own struggles. Robin fairing the best by far as he cruised past me just after halfway. He was still on for a PB (sub 2:43) so a glimmering light on a dull day.

On the return stretch from Elwood to St.Kilda, I spotted everyone even my sister Jenny who was running to finish and try to enjoy a full for a change. Elle, Ruth and Maya were separated by 30-40secs each which was frustrating to see. Bruce was with Jeet and had a grimace working well across his face. Robin was gonski way ahead and Matt caught me at the 32km mark. I remember exactly as I said to him "I'm not really leading by example today am I?" to which he tried to motivate us with saying we only had 10km to go.

Only?? I had been in pain since 18km but I wanted to finish and as such just shuffled on even having a few better kms at around 35-38km (4:05-15 each). Meanwhile I wasn't sure what was happening with my original sub 2:30 group. I was positive at least one or two would do it but it was not meant to be. Hoey crossed with another great result 2:32 and the others faded to run 2:36-39. I passed Alex Rodgers at 39km which was little reward as we were both gone. Gary Howard struggling to maintain his supportive chants as he saw our pain, simply saying in the end - "just finish it off" and that's what I did. High fived Liam Adams as I entered the MCG congratulating him on Rio in the process, ran the 250m on the grass and didn't really care less where I was. Could have been the moon the way I was feeling. Then practically fell over the line to join the other Hurts guys already dissecting their race. Great runs from Robin 2:42, Mike Litchwark, John Binfield and Justin Bromley who eased past me without a word at 35km. Also Darren, Jeet and Laura who battled on to finish. Hats off, the marathon is truly the great equaliser.

Besides Robin, none of my guys and girls ran a PB. Not many did, The winning time by Tom DoCanto

You have to take the good with the bad. Time to move on and get some speed back over summer. Try out some cross training perhaps (swimming and cycling) and enjoy a break from dedicated races.

There were plenty of others racing the half (Sammy Johnson running well), Rachel, Cormac, Corky,Tom, Erika etc and the 10km, Juny and Scotty O'Connor also running sub par to record 32:30.

Mileage for the week 78km

Here's the pictorial wrap of the day including a fun afternoon at the European Bier café in Melb CBD.

Easy few weeks for me coming up.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Melborune Marathon - taper time

Still slightly sick with sinus issues but the anti-biotics seem to be clearing it slowly. The plan for Melbourne is 74-75mins through halfway depending on how comfortable this feels. Ideally sub 2:30 is still the goal so it will need to be an even split which I have basically never done before let alone a negative split. (ironic how a faster 2nd half is called negative with my usual outcome called positive - nothing positive about it).

This week will be 70km in total so along way down from those 160km weeks. Also ironic how I was healthy the entire 3 weeks then as soon as I dropped, bang sickness again. I think Neil Pearson and Brendan Davies may be onto something with just racing a marathon every other week. Saves the overthinking, and the mentally taxing build up. Not ideal for the body though.

This week including tomorrow looks like this: Oct 3rd - 9th

Mon: 10km at 4:05's feeling pretty good
Tue: 12km HuRTs session with 6 x 3min efforts mostly around the 3:10 pace mark. Very busy around the botanic gardens. JFen, Darren Moyle, and Brendan keeping me honest.
Wed: 10km at 4:25's
Thur: 8km with 2min efforts
Fri: 5km along the promenade at Surfer's Paradise (quick work trip)
Sat: Main Beach Park run. Had a big buffet dinner that didn't end till after 10pm last night so didn't sleep much at all and with the sun up at practically 3am up here, woke early and with a full stomach. Went through all the motions and jogged up to the start, stretched out my tight hammies and hips and got into it. Fast to start with a young rabbit on the footpath - 3:08, then the concrete turned to trail with dirt, gravel and soft sand plus a few little climbs, oh and no idea where I was going. Guessed correctly but faded to a 3:26 for the 2nd km. The 3rd km was rougher 3:30 before I managed to reel it back in a bit as the trail hardened up 3:20, and finally a fast last footpath km in 3:10 for 16:35. Total 15km which will act as my long ish run this weekend.
Sun: 10km with the CP crew to make 70km for the week.

Next week 30-40km easy and we'll see how Sunday goes.

Greta raced a splash n dash type biathlon during the week with Spot Anderson's squad. Wow talk about tough - 500m ocean swim, 800m (approx.) soft sand run, 500m swim, 800m run then a 3rd 500m swim.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Miserable Man Flu

It's a very short one this week. Yet again I have been struck down with a head cold that saw me fail in last Sat's striders 10km being the one lead up race I wanted to nail before Melbourne. Starting to come good and feel like I should be healthy come race day but it does mess with the mental game associated with final marathon preparations.

Mon Sept 26th: AM: Easy 9km (5min pace) PM: 10km at 4:15 pace
Tue 27th: 13km total - Monna Fartlek in CP. Same course as always but quite short of last time. Just made the 6km mark on 20mins but with the onset of a cold and the high winds I may have been too hard on myself.
Wed 28th: AM: 6km coastal run. PM: In bed sick
Thur 29th: Easy 10km at 4:40 pace
Fri 30th: Easy 8km at 4:30 pace. Actually starting to feel slightly better
Sat 1st Oct: Woke up not feeling too crash hot but I know from experience that after a coffee, the drive, a warm up and strides that great races still eventuate so I went through all these motions and arrived on the start line pumped, snotty but ready to race.

Straight out of the gate with Scotty O'Connor the only other person to go with me. My whole sense of pace judgement must have also been off (more than usual that is) as I twisted and turned my way around the carpark and through to the 1km mark in 3:02. Ouch a tad fast but what the hell, Scotty was right there and so I thought we could push through the wind together on this course. But this was not meant to be. Scott surged past at 2km and I caught him just once before he again pushed away convincingly and ran on well. I was the opposite. I blew completely at 3-4km and managed to hold between 3:25-3:30's all the way to the end to record 34:14 over a minute behind Scotty.

Robin finished just behind with Neil not so fresh off his Berlin marathon (6days) after him. Another well organised race by Paul Hannell and the Striders crew. Total 18km

Sun 2nd Oct: Descended again after the race and awoke feeling crap. Waited a few hours then went out for a 10miler at midday in the warmth. Feeling very lethargic and wobbly. Bugger
Total for the week 90km.

Here's hoping with less than 2 weeks to go.