A big fat DNS at Six Foot Track Marathon. Just when it was looking like I was coming into some form, with my 2nd fastest time and a comfortable win in the Striders Equaliser two weeks ago. But the kids have been snotting on me for the last couple of weeks and the day before the race I woke up with a sore head and scratchy throat. I did an easy 20 mins hoping to shake it off, but felt worse afterwards and during the drive up the mountains. During the night I woke at 2:30 am with a throbbing headache and sore throat and knew I wouldn’t be racing that day.
It was interesting to watch the finish line. Everyone looked a lot more buggered than I expected. Maybe it was the heat and humidity, but the runners I spoke to said it wasn’t especially bad. Excellent debut by Tom Do Canto who I’d expect to break the record if he enters the race again (his 52:19 KOM record kind of destroys the “trail running is special” theory). Remarkable running by Brendan Davies (2nd) who was first to cross the river in 59:11 alongside record-holder Stu Gibson. To put that into perspective, when I ran my 3:24 PB I crossed the river 5 minutes(!) slower. But Stu struggled and Brendan held on well, actually posting a faster Pluvi-Finish split than Tom. I reckon everyone went out a bit too hard though. Vajin Armstrong (3rd) had the fastest Pluvi-Finish split at 1:25:07 which is not especially quick. Pace judgement is tough on a hot and humid day.
The ladies race was exciting and keenly fought. Ella Jamieson flying under the radar to take the win in 4:14. Erika Jordan running well after a great build-up and taking second in 4:20, and Sophie Brown taking 3rd (4:23) off Greta Truscott with just 500 m to go! Its great to see some good battles for the podium.
I wasn’t too upset to miss the race. I had some quality family time instead and got to be support crew to Amanda (5:08 & 34th – not too shabby). But watching it has lit a fire in my belly and I can’t wait for the winter season and next year’s race.
Catching up after a manic busy week at work. Late nights combined with heavy training = extreme tiredness!
Last week was a moderately big week, with Hurts 2x 20mins on the Tuesday (solid session), some decent volume and the first Striders 10 km Race on Saturday at Homebush. The turn-out was a bit thin, with quite a few opting to race the Sun Run instead. I followed Cam Arnold for the first lap, with Eoin Reville and Mike Lichtwark alongside and Macca just behind. We were holding 3:25~3:28s. Mike and I caught Cameron coming around Wentworth Common and by the time we hit halfway in about 17:15 Cam was fading. Mike and I took turns to set the pace and kept things pretty even for the second half. I got ahead of Mike on Wentworth Common and was still ahead as we double-backed on that sharp pinch onto the finish straight. But as we rounded the corner Mike suddenly surged alongside and got his nose in front. I fought hard for 100m, but there was no kick in my legs and by the chute he was a half second in front. 34:41 was the official time and I’m pretty happy with that. Big improvement over what I was capable of just a month or two ago. There were some good photographers on the course for this one…
The following morning I took myself down to Bulli Pass for a long hilly trail run. I headed up Rixon’s Pass to Brokers Nose, following the power line trail for a 16k loop. Then back down Rixon’s and a further 20k on the Lower Escarpment Trail though Corrimal Colliery to Woronora and back to the car for 36 km and >1000 m vertical. Beautiful running weather and some nice wildlife including a couple of red-bellied black snakes to give my heart a start! Also bumped into some familiar faces from the old KJ’s mountain running series. Hoping to go down for the same run this Sunday too.
Amanda and I entered as a 6-hour pair in Running Wild’s Knapsack Lap Race. The format is quite unusual: a 5 km off-road course, as many laps as you can handle within the time limit, starting your final lap before the 3 (or 6) hours is up. I’d not done this one before, but Amanda had – ending up in Napean hospital having her knee stitched up after a nasty fall. This time around she took the first 3 hours and I arrived later with the kids to take over. We had a bit of a communication breakdown and some indecision, which meant she probably did one lap too few (5 laps = 25 km) and I did one too many (8 laps = 40 km), but to be honest that was to my advantage training-wise. By the time I started at 10:30am it was hot and humid following an earlier shower. I had also completely underestimated the course. I was expecting fast undulating fire-trail. Instead, I got rocky, winding, slow single-track on which passing was difficult. Fortunately after a couple of laps many 3 hour solo runners disappeared and it became less crowded.
Unusually for me, I made a special effort to keep well hydrated, averaging about a litre of Tailwind (new favourite!) per hour. This worked well and I had good energy levels right through the race – just a gradual slow-down due to heat and associated fatigue. Unfortunately I got cramps on the final lap, which confirms my theory that cramp rarely has anything to do with hydration. The cramping is a bit of a worry for Six Foot, but hopefully just a symptom of fairly heavy training load recently. Final result was 2nd place in the 6-hour mixed pairs category and a couple of handy Running Wild beer mugs to replace the chipped ones back home.
While I was out running the older kids did a 3 km “Trail Kids” race and thoroughly enjoyed it. Great event all round really, and a nice way to spend Australia Day.
I gave up both morning run spots this weekend, so waited until late in the day in the hope that the temperature and humidity would drop. The temperature dropped but the humidity did not.
5 km tempo around Iron Cove Sat night, solo in 17:15. Did not feel good at all and depressingly slow. I really thought I would run comfortably sub-17. 13 km total.
23 km easy on Sunday night. Started slow and gradually increased the pace. Felt good by the end, but these late nights aren’t helping. I feel like I’m building a sleep deficit again.
Rest day today, in preparation for a 3 hour stint tomorrow at the Knapsack Lap Race. Although I feel a lot like I’m fighting a virus or something…
Thursday was a long day of design reviews. Finally managed to get out at 7 pm for an hour and a half of thunder, lightening, puddles, floods and cascading waterfalls around the streets, paths and parks of Mosman and Neutral Bay. Quick (cold) shower back at the office and then on to the Tilbury for drinks with the Hurts crowd to farewell Mike Durante.
Wednesday was forced rest, as I was busy taking the kids to FIRST Australia’s Robot Camp at Macquarie University (great organisation – full of massive nerds). In the evening I took the initiative and decided to cut the boy’s hair. This proved difficult as we had left it so bloody long! Anyway, several episodes of Chuggington later, I was pretty happy with the end result (even if BOTH grandmothers are furious with me for cutting off those curls – you can’t please some people!).
Monday: 1 hour very easy. 12 km.
Tuesday: 6x 1200m on Petersham Oval. Warm and humid. Legs still a bit heavy from the weekend, but methane assisted after beans for lunch. 4:04 average. 11 km total.
After a few easy days (Wed 1 hr, Thurs 1:45, Fri rest) I headed up to the Blue Mountains this weekend for the Six Foot Training Camp. I was invited to lead some of the running groups and be available to give advice in return for free accommodation & food. A pretty good deal! Coach Tiger thought I wouldn’t do enough running, so he gave me a hilly tempo session at Narrowneck Ridge on the way there. So in the early mist and cool drizzle I parked at the locked gate and did 4 km warm-up, 6 km hard, 2 mins rest at the turnaround (no view, too foggy), another 6 km hard and 4 km easy. Then on to Jenolan Caves where I arrived just in time for the out-and-back familiarisation run from the Six Foot Track finish line: 3 km of steep uphill, followed by an easy 3 km back down. Then lunch, a very interesting talk by physio Lewis Ingram, and sales pitches from Hokka and Tailwind reps. After that we drove out to the crossing on Jenolan Caves Road for my 3rd run of the day: 35x hill reps on a 1 minute cycle, led by Sean Williams. With legs somewhat tired from the earlier tempo session, I kept it relaxed and comfortable – something like 90~100 metres per rep. Here we all are about to start:
Sunday morning we drove out early to the Deviation camp ground and split into pace groups. Myself, Dave Byrne and Ben Duffus were joined by a few of the faster guys aiming to reach Cox’s River before turning around. It was a stunning morning and we jogged out at an easy pace before some faster running on the big descents. We reached the river (19 km) in 91 minutes, regrouped and started the climb back up Mini Mini. By now, my legs were feeling the effects of the previous day’s mileage and the earlier descents. But it was good race preparation to do this on tired legs. It wasn’t a fast run, but good time on feet and getting used to the prolonged climbs again. We got back to the Deviation in about 3.5 hours with 1500 m of climbing in the bank. I decided to try out the Tailwind samples on this run and was quite impressed. Good energy throughout the run and no gut issues at all. I might get by on this stuff alone on race day (it’s going to be on the course).