Tuesday, May 30, 2006

1st Day of School

Today, was like my first day at school. All my life I have been uncomfortable turning up to big gatherings. But it is something I've done over and over again. First day at a new job, first day at school, going away camping, travelling, sporting events, gym, even the "single" scene for the time between marriages. Come to think of it, I have gone out and done many things alone. In reflection, this is when I have had the best times.

I have developed a number of coping strategies for such an occasion.

1. Go straight to the bar and get a drink as if you know where you are
2. Find an isolated stranger and start a conversation

This morning, I was a little lost and apprehensive, with the desire to run away and go back home. The bloke of the left runs a large running group. Despite appearances, he has run 2.09.39 min for the Marathon (1995) and 61.11 for the Half Marathon (1994).

I didn't know anyone until Tesso came up and gave me a hug. It got better from there and I enjoyed the warm up and cool down runs with Chelle. At the end Chelle told be a few things that were so right ... 1. I'd feel good all day ..... 2. I'd want to go to sleep at 3 o'clock. Apart from seeing Robbie, Matty, Phil and Gerard .... Clairie was there! She's the kid who takes your hand and takes you into the classroom, leaving your mum behind. I think she would also be the milk monitor ... thanks for the Up & Go (milky drink that makes me think of Hannah's comment part way through running the 25K Kurrawa race, "My Up & Go is about to Up & Go".

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Katy has started to tell the story

You might find this hard to believe, but I didn't meet Katy because of the photos you can read about on her blog. It was simply because she was interesting, challenging, engaging and lived inside my PC.

Yes, we meet on the internet ............... just happened to be in the same place at the same time back at the end of 2000, and we stuck. There was never ANY intention to meet and so our friendship started with the safety of being able to talk about anything and everything. Katy was online 10 to midnight every night, 7 days a week. Even when she wasn't actually there, I could Email.

But more importantly ...... on another related subject ....... pay back!

You heard about the sabotage to my IPod ... Air Supply indeed!!!!!!! .... Last time my retaliation worked a treat. The old rubber snake, next to the car, in the national park, trick. For the extra touch there was the "don't worry I'll get it" and flung it wrapping around her leg whilst she did some sort of screeching, jig, hopping, dance moves.

Do you know the song "I'm too sexy" by Right Said Fred. Well it seems this is now Katy's greeting on her mobile phone. Aint I a stinker?, as Bugs Bunny would say.

Those with more culture than myself ... and I know there are a few out there .... may know the music out of our stereo as Il barbiere di Siviglia, Overture by Alceo Galliera. But for me, it is Bugs Bunny music.

I live in fear. Yes I do. Sometimes I park the car and run into a shop with Katy in the passenger seat. I run back and turn the car on to find the windscreen wipers, stereo up full volume and hazard lights going. We have two rubber gecko that are always finding their way into lunch boxes or shoes. Did I say Katy was challenging?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Warwick Part IV

Part IV .... Yes Part IV ... what an epic!

3 races down my mortality set in, it was back to the base camp for a few quiet beers before the gathering of the masses for the evening banquet. 8 o'clock felt like mid-night, so it was an early night in preparation for the next day's battle.

Race 4 was a 10K Assent. Broken down it was 5K to the mountain and then a climb. My game plan was 1. Breath 2. Forget the watch and 3. Look for who is around and try and keep my place in the queue (this turned out to be between Nick and Liz).

It took me about 1 or 2K to settle and then I just sat on the heels of a couple of runners that I knew would take me through at about the right pace. Nearing the mountain, Liz surged ahead whilst I backed off to ensure I was rested when I hit the mountain. I caught and passed Liz and then stayed between her and Nick, who was just ahead. Running up the mountain was slow going, so I broke up the first couple of K's with short walks. This meant that Liz would catch up when I walked, before I'd run off her again. At 8K I decided to finish without any more walk breaks and caught and passed Nick. When Nick was behind me he changed his breathing and took off like a steam train, so I let him go (no choice).

I coasted home as Clairie caught Liz and then stuck with her through to the end.

Race 5 was 1500 through town. Not much to report except my legs still felt good although there was some anxiety about breathing (I really need to get some help with this). All up I was just under 3:23 for the combined runs but I don't count that in the highlights.


1. Seeing Tesso and Glenno finish all events since they were so sick and
injured in the months before it
2. Feeling like running another race after the last one finished
3. Doing what I love to do whilst my friends were doing the same
4. Coming home feeling like I had been away on a long holiday
5. Having an excuse to get Katy back for messing with my Ipod (last time involved a rubber snake in a national park).

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Warwick Part III

Firstly this is from the first race with Tara ahead at this point.

On to Race 3 .... if we must

Saturday 3pm, and by this stange I was getting a little toey! I brought out my new black iPod Nano and meticulously selected 5 of the most pumpy, upbeat, heart kicking tunes I could find. What the hell, I even did a couple of warm up
exercises and was ready to hit this one at full speed.

Hang on, I have to go off at a tangent at this point and let me tell you about my Ipod Nano ... since I was in a hurry to be ready for Glenno to pick me up, I asked Katy to charge the the thing for me ....... I should have known better ....... so I had a look at my Ipod in the car, to find "a few extra hits" carefully selected by Katy and Mary. Actually I didn't mind starting the half marathon with the Macarena but I draw the line at the high pitched "la la la la la la" of Loving You...... anyway back to Race 3 ....

I got a clean start and was surpirsed at how fresh my legs felt and was moving fast (for me) with little effort. The music (of my choice) blasted into my head, which meant I couldn't hear myself breathe. To be more accurate, to listen to the fact I probably wasn't breathing. So after the first few turns, I was quickly approaching the gate out onto the open road approaching the first K marker when I was shot down. At first, it was a sudden sharp stabbing pain on the left side of my mid to lower back, which was immediately followed by an equally sickening thrust into the other side. Imagine a duck soaring up into the sky to be taken out by a hunter and so you have me the duck spiriling out of control headed straight back to earth. I pushed on for a short time before my chest had constricted so much that getting air into my lungs was near impossible. So I stopped.

Tara and Ciaren overtook me whilst I was doing my best to reinflate myself. I waved that I was ok (well sort of) whilst hanging onto the edge over an involuntary hyperventilating meltdown. Clairie was next to come by and I remember this moment clearly ........ she touched me behind my arm and said "come on, I'll run with you". So I did.

We basically held our positon as I sucked in and expanded my lungs back into shape. I was stretching out my diaphragm, which had kinda cramped, and it was getting easier to breath after awhile. Whilst doing this I was releasing "a few vocal pain noises" and trying to reassure Clairie that I was getting better despite this. A small kid just in front of us was terrified and I reckon I would have been too, if I was him. I worked through it and recovered, you have to do this in endurance running, it comes with the territory.

So with a the last 2K to go I did my best to encourage Clairie whilst she encouraged the kid in front. Poor little fella was probably half scared out of his wits.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Warwick Part II

I hardly remember the road trip or even what Tesso, Glenno, Lizzo and I talked about (they don't all end in o's but I was on a roll). Warwick is a small country town, 2 hours drive from Brisbane but it seemed to take no time to get there. It is a rural farming town that sits on a plateau next to a mountain range that has heavy forest and spectacular rock formations. I had the usual restless night before running and the start of the half-marathon was a small gathering of about 100 runners doing their best to stay warm in the thick fog.

My plan was to practice race strategy by starting easier than normal and negative split the race. Clairie promised that she would stay with me at 5 min per K pace, although it turned out a little quicker, even though we had gone our separate ways after the first few metres or so. What happened at around the 14K mark completely changed the whole weekend for me.

Tara came strutting past looking fresh and gave out a spritely "hello". I just about stumbled off the road into the gutter, I was so stunned to see her. I'm pretty sure I said something like "What the hell are you doing here?". It had never occurred to me that the people I enjoy long runs with every Saturday would be running around me during a race. Previously we had spread out, some in front and some behind, but never constant passing and being caught by each other in a race. Tara surged ahead and then slowed on a hill which allowed me to pass. She caught up with 2K to go and we stayed together until about the last K when we gathered a little momentum. Tara surged and left me with 500 metres to go and had about a 20 metre lead. She seemed to slow a little nearing the end of the race and I measured a fast finish to pass her at the end. The honorable thing would be to cross the line together, but Tara wasn't exactly waiting for me!

After the half marathon we headed out to a dust bowl to gallop around 4.6K of equestrian jumps. This time I didn't dare look behind me after the start and wasn't at all surprised to see Liz fly past as she is all head down and flat out on such runs. Tara popped up at 2K with another spritely "hello" but didn't stay too long ahead of me this time. Now I can look back and see how the various strengths of each person really showed over the weekend. Liz with her determination, Nick's ability to kick when challenged, Clairie's strength on the hills, Tara's strong efficient style over distance and Ciaren's speed launching down blistering the 1500m course.

The third race hit me really hard .....................

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Warwick Part I

More than 5 races over two days, the trip to Warwick is hard to describe. Glenno was right it was my kind of event.

5 sets of clothes and the physicals demands of racing with a two hour gap between races to tackle completely different terrains and distances is only half the story. What makes this experience so much better is getting to know people and sharing their highs and lows. Everyone had at least one bad race or moment but can also take away an equally significant highlight.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Left to my own devices

I found an iTunes widget that posts the lyrics to a song, so it makes the Mac a Karaoke machine. Perfect for me, since Katy is up in Cairns with Mary, I can sing along to songs whilst the dogs do their best to ignore me. I dropped Katy and Mary at the airport on Friday morning and they won't be back until Wednesday night. I've been rattling around a quiet house and doing a few little repairs to pass the time. Tamale has a new friend called Jonesy, who appears to be a sweet dog.

In the next days, I hope to create a new culinary delight, utilizing the items that have spent too long in our refrigerator, there is a basket of laundry to be folded and precautions to be taken guarding our couch and day bed from being invaded by the new dog in a midnight raid. I've got my work cut out for me.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Perfect Combination

Some things just go together and work well. But NOT a sore foot picture like this, whilst snacking on Guacamole, as recommended by Bella.

My foot feels alot better, although I can't seem to feel my big toe!!!! Enough of that nonsense .... I'm offically downgrading my foot from 'stress fracture" to a "bruise" based on NO medical expertise, NO evidence or any such analysis or logic whatsoever. OK it hurts a little but If I ignore it I expect it to go away.

Today's run I discovered the Clairie Farlek. After crossing the Storey Bridge there is a choice of running about a 1K horseshoe or cutting down a sidestreet. Clairie cut down the sidestreet and told me I had to catch up to her .... so I picked I put the foot down and it took me the rest of the run to recovery back to the nice comfortable jog I was enjoying until that point.

Next weekend is ........The Warwick Pentath-Run. 5 runs over 2 days equal to a marathon distance. The 5 events are 1/2 marathon, 4.6K cross country, 5K road race, Day 2 10K Assent (as in, a bloody big hill climb) and then 1500 meter race through town to end. I'll be sharing a room with complete stranger called Ironbee.

Glenno says "it's your sort of weekend" .... ok, we'll see!

Glenno in full flight, taking out the Brisbane Running Buddies trophy for 2005.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Mary's Here!!!!!!!

Katy's friend from 5th grade is here ..... we are so excited to have her stay with us.

So in honour of the occasion I have stopped training to rest a little. The Physio on Monday thought I had stress fracture in my foot. Won't be going back there unless he gets a positive attitude.

I decided to do a little cross training so figured an IRONMAN couldn't be too hard. Quite frankly I don't see what all the fuss is about!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Pumping Yourself Up!

Let me ask you a question. How do you pump yourself up?

This post is not just about running, but running is the medium for my explanation. While running along with Tara today, she asked me how do I run up hills. I explained how I imagined I was nordic skiing (my inner Sven) and pump the arms in unison with my legs like a cross country skier. This is one of the methods I use to tackle this topic .... imagination or visualization.

Another way I use to pump myself up is inspiration (Hmmm .... "imagination" and "inspiration" .... starting to see a pattern and a need to keep using "I" words). Inspiration can come from learning about the feats of others but also from overcoming my own barrier, achieving a goal and then taking the feeling through into the next day.

The reason I'm putting this post together, is that I see a lot of my friends are working against injury, looking for motivation and I hope I can help them in some way. It's been a tough week for many and you know who you are. Some injuries have been going for a long long time and it gets you down.

I also had a moment of realisation, that simply telling myself I feel good, can't be faked because deep down I will know it's a scam. When I have done this (just telling myself I feel good) in the past it hasn't worked. I have to believe it and truly get lost in the imagery from my mind or challenge myself to a physical session/workout to inflate that positive vibe.

Sometimes I pickup Sammy's training diary and look at what he writes. "How did you feel before your race?" ..... "How did you feel after the race?" For me, it's all about the feelings and capturing the positive ones and using them. But like I said, this isn't just about running, it works for me in other ways too. Maybe later I'll post about my inner Giovanni, the opera singing, red wine swilling, pasta chef. It might not make the food taste better and scares the dogs, but I do feel good about making dinner.


P.S. Please share you mind tricks if you would like to or blog your own post on the subject.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Speaking of which

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In other news ........

Katy and I have had a really ugly run tonight .... 1 hour .... after which Katy had a hot bath and then proceeded to do stretches whilst knitting in nothing but a towel .... would have posted a picture but I do love her and wish to remain married.

On Monday we did a 3K time trial after a 2K warm up .... this includes me barking at Katy as she sweats it out along the Brisbane river and finished just under the target time .... I'm all high fives and she is "I'm about to kill you"