Friday, July 28, 2006

More Running Stuff

In between carving beer cans and folding underwear, I have snuck in a couple of running session to where I have just about reached my weekly program for the Melbourne Marathon, October 8.

Saturday - Long Run 35K
Sunday - Recovery 10K
Monday - Tempo 12K
Tuesday - Run with Pat 11K
Wednesday Midweek Run 21K*
Thursday - Run with Pat 11K
Friday - Rest

Total 100K (62 miles)

* I haven't added the mid-week run yet and my last long run was only 29K so will be adding a few K's to that one as well.

One of the main challenges will be to train faster or else I can not expect an improved time ..... think about this .... yes I know, I'm a genius!

My 3K Time Trial needs to be 11:07 and if I race a Half, the target is 1:29:37 according to McMillan. Thinking this was a bit of a stretch I read this and reevaluated the possibility.

The Tempo is a 6K warmup with 5 minutes as fast as I can consistently go. The idea is to improve lactate threshold and just in case I'm drinking 4 coffees a day to improve my latte threshold (leaving nothing to chance). This is the most important of all my runs (the Tempo) and so far I have hit 20:34 for the 5K. I will try to stretch the Tempo through to 8K over the weeks.

Pat's runs have a variety of speed sessions with 1K reps, 500 x 6, 30 second efforts and the like. It fits in to the program nicely and I need the people around me to make it work. You can see me in his video which explains the whole deal.

August is Mesocycle 2 so I have basically got the Endurance bit (Mesocycle 1) sort of done, and now I am working on Lactate as per the Pfitzinger (kinda). The way I see it, I have a cycle each month ........

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Sometimes I ...... Run!

I thought it was about time I wrote about my running, especially to support my application to join RBF. There I am, number 799 no no no, now I'm 801!

I've read numerous articles and studied, practiced and worked on the various aspects of "the mind behind the run". This includes the use of positive words or verbal chants to trick the mind into feeling good within the run. I've never been good at this and haven't got much passed tourets. The whole concept is very similar to little girls jumping rope.

Whilst researching popular rhymes, I rediscovered the famous Cinderlla title and found out that the Australian version is slightly modified.

Dressed in yella
Went downstairs to kiss her fella.
She made a mistake
And kissed a snake.
How many doctors will it take?
1! 2! 3! 4! (etc.)

An Australian version of this rhyme was very popular in the 1960's

Dressed in yella
Went to meet her handsome fella.
On the way her undies busted
How many people were disgusted?
1! 2! 3! 4! (etc.)

So what did I came up with .......

"McMillan, Pfitzinger,
Time put pull out my finger,
McMillian, Pfitzinger,
My runs are getting bigger,

Run with Pat, Run with Pat, No time to chat, Run with Pat,
Run with Pat, Run with Pat, No time to chat, enough with that.

Now I'n on a mission,
Need to work on nutrition,
Going to Hal with Higdon,
My cheezy poofs, I'm missin'.

Run with Pat, Run with Pat, No time to chat, Run with Pat,
Run with Pat, Run with Pat, No time to chat, enough with that."

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Underwear Origami

It's a bunny rabbit!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Friday Night Proof

One of these is from our trip to Thailand, the other is my handiwork. I could tell you which is which, but I imagine you will still have to examine them yourself to convince yourself that I was telling the truth.

Thursday, July 20, 2006


Just received the following Email from one of the gang at Running School and thought it best to respond.....

>Hi Gang,
>This is a huge opportunity to good to be missed.
>I find myself this Friday night, without kids and with nothing to do. Hard
>to imagine that someone like me would not have a completely full social
>calender, but yet it is somehow true. So rather that sit at home and take
>in the the fascinating comments by mentals giants such as Fatty Vautin and
>Gus Gould on Friday night footy (again), I thought I might actually do
>something. Any ideas are welcome.
>Now, I don't want you all to knock me down at once with great offers, so if
>you could submit invites in an orderly fashion it will make it easier for
>me to respond.
>Yours without even a hint of desperation,


I not familiar with this condition "nothing to do" and can offer you some suggestions:

1. Beer can art. I discovered this whilst holidaying in Thailand and decided that it couldn't be too hard to carve into the humble can to create lovely wind chimes/sculptures. I will send a picture of my handy work if you like, but feel it is best left your imagination and creativity. Preparing the materials isn't too bad either.

2. Internet chatting. Not in the "less savory" way, but there are many forums. My favorites include the music themed sites and I post excerpts of lyrics to see if the geniuses can name the title and artist. Does anyone know who sang the song that goes like .... "I'm not sick but I'm not well And I'm so hot cause I'm in hell"

3. Laundry. Anyone can fold the conventional way but have you combined this with origami? My wife doesn't regard it as so amusing to find her underwear knotted into little swans but I roll around the floor cacking myself (roflmao in txt speak).

4. Do you have pets? .... No? .... OK, skip number 4 then.

5. Decoupage. I know, doesn't sound so blokey (colloquial term for masculine). I'm working on a project where I'm cutting out grocery items from the junk mail and pasting them on to a toilet seat.

So there you have it, 5 suggestions without even trying.

Here to help,
aka Iliketoast
aka Chili Pants
aka GPS Boy
aka I knew your tights before I knew your name
aka [Insert your own name here]

P.S. Will post pictures of my Beer Can Art and Decoupage Project shortly.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Uncomfortably Numb

Katy asked me “what is wrong?” My mood has been solemn, I'm not talking very much and it’s been that way for a few days.

It’s not convincing to say “I’m OK”, “There’s nothing wrong” but it is not something easy for me to explain.

So what’s up?

It could be that I am lacking a mission, devoid of motivation and slipped into a comfort of numbness. Or perhaps that there are things going on around me that make me sad.

Is “sad “the right word? Well, it’s in the ballpark.

We went a saw a French film on Saturday night. Apart from hiding a rubber gecko in our bucket of popcorn (which made Katy shreek), it was a disturbing film. No one does dark and disturbing like the French. Not wanting to spoil the ending for you (hence not giving the title), let me just say that there was a man who’s whole existence had become so unbearable and without meaning to him that he took his own life, and another who was so self absorbed, that the events did little to change him.

It is more than the film though. At breakfast on Saturday, I was asked whether I missed my children and that it must be hard since they live 2,000 kilometres away. My standard response is that there is no point dwelling on the circumstances and I tend not elaborate much. The truth is, that I am sad for my children that they do not have a daily influence from their father. They are missing the attention to their daily development, encouragement and guidance from me. I do not want to deter or cast any negative judgement about those who attend to this now and still believe that this is best for them.

None of this is new ........ and it has been that way for years, so why now? My parents stayed with us last week. First time ..... EVER!!! There has always been an understanding that they love me and I feel the same, but it is rarely said. As such, the times that we do “talk” are more intensive and meaningful. And by “talk” I mean the infrequent conversations that touch on emotion, feelings and items beyond the superficial. At dinner, mum asked how long I was legally required to support Clare and Andrew and this quickly progressed to the time I left home.

First year of a degree in Computer Science (18 to 19 years of age) and I scrapped through the first half of the year without applying myself to the studies, as I had done my whole life. Applied Calculus and Computer Architecture Design failed to spark any interest and I found I was unable to bluff my way through these subjects. There have been few topics I couldn’t get through without using a last minute concentrated effort to “learn” the fundamentals. Those subjects qualified, as did the French language in my first year of high school. I didn’t “get” that language in much the same way as Joey from the episode of Friends, where he blubbered away cluelessly thinking that the noises he made were “French”.

So with a few failed subjects in my first year of a Computer Science degree, I sat down with my parents and decided that I should get a job. For most of my life they had funded my education, they both worked “to get by” and mum said “I’m not doing shift work for you to bludge”. It wasn’t until last week’s dinner conversation bringing this up again, that a wave of guilt washed over me. I can rationalise that my lack of maturity and the history of a spoon-fed college life, more intent on results than real learning, contributed to the situation of my lack of preparedness to support myself. I landed on my feet and got a job that gave me enough money to do whatever I wanted and still without the need or desire to really apply and struggle for a goal.

Clare and Andrew will need support, encouragement and guidance to prepare then for their transition to independence. My thoughts and outlook on how this should be done are probably different than what will happen, but are not necessarily better. It is a tough decision to “take away the trainer wheels” and a tougher one for me to decide I will never get to do it.

These sorts of feelings never leave me and stay below the surface most of the time. My parents visit, a film and couple of brief conversations that would have otherwise failed to register much, have coincided in a lull where Katy’s other interests have left me alone and I am not driven to plan the next adventure or focus on a significant milestone like finding a new house, moving or changing employer. As far as the quiet reflection and solemn mood goes, these are the things I usually keep to myself. Usually I get away with tears in a movie or a chance to contemplate my thoughts out on a long run.

Don’t get me wrong, turn the clock back and it would be not change where I am today. I love Katy and enjoy all that we share, this is one thing that doesn’t apply to her. As for not discussing this, there are two reasons for it. The first is being reluctant to open myself to scrutiny and the other is that I’m not looking for a solution and it's not thoughts I would normally share.

Saturday, July 15, 2006


I have to go back a couple of weeks now to catch up on the Croutons' trip up to stay with their dad for a week. Clare Crouton is getting braces on her teeth (they were put on the week after she went back home) and as I endured this treatment in my youth, was able to pass on my words of wisdom. "Now listen up Clare, there are 2 very important things to remember about braces" ....

"1 ...... Do not play the trombone and 2) Use mouthwash twice a day"...... "Seriously, I tried to play the trombone and it shredded the inside of my mouth".

"Got that?"

"Yes Dad"

Andrew is playing soccer and plays left back, I said that it was better than "Left out" ... he said "ha ha ha very funny dad!" (although I suspect he didn't find it as funny as I did or even as funny as the time when I made Clare laugh and pass juice through her nose)

Clare has started to do a little running of her own and I always like to see them being active.

.... the family theme kept on going ... Mum and Dad dropped in for a few days. Great to see them. Dad walked the legs off the greyhounds and mum ironed my socks!

.... in a couple of weeks, Katy's mum is coming over for a short stay .... I'm also looking forward to that ... who doesn't love mother-in-law who can mix a mean margarita?! .... Sharon's birthday will coincide with the visit, so I've started thinking about where to have dinner that night ..... I think it would be nice to invite her as well!

AND ... in a couple of weeks, I'm going down to Melbourne to see Andrew play soccer and Clare perform as a singing, dancing horse in the school production ...

AND then we see them all again in at the Melbourne marathon in October.

AND we are also finalising plans to be in Honolulu for the December marathon. This will allow us to meet Katy's dad over there as well as catch up with Sharon again!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Mark's Mail Bag

Guess what we received in the mail today?

Give up?

No, not that!

and CERTAINLY not that ... behave yourself .... although we did get one of those, but that's another story.

A very noble and generous Sir Black Knight has showered us with the most wonderful gifts ......

behold ....

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Weird Feelings

There is one thing that I feel a little weird about ....... OK, you're right, there are many things but ...... one of the things is that with the running group on Tuesday and Thursday mornings there's a box to drop one's keys in and collect after the session.

Well it's just I have heard of too many stories about certain parties ... do you know what I'm talking about? .... don't make me spell it out. OK, if I must ......

How do I explain this? .... Here goes ..... The party is for people who are keen to "meet" someone new ..... and, as far as I can work out .... having never been to just a gathering ..... well let's just say all the keys go into a box, and then someone who doesn't own those keys does a lucky dip and holds up the keys for all to see ...... then .... the way this game is played, the one holding the keys "meets" the owner of the keys ......

Knowing my luck, my keys would be in the hands of a Klingon woman and I'd be sneaking out the back and walking home.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

March of the Black Knight Army

What a buzz!!!! About half way through the race I turned and a called out to the horde just behind me ….. “I’m feeling great, how are you guys feeling?” … “Great!” came the chorus of a hundred voices ….. and then I said “Is it just me? Cause I’m still just a little bit excited and have been since we started!”

The rewards of pacing the 4 hour marathon are far greater than I could have dreamed. It’s like having the excitement of 10 marathons in one. Unlike running my own race, I was running for all those around me. For four hours I harnessed extraordinary energy, never tired, always focused on achieving consistent splits and completely tapped in with positive thoughts to the point of invincibility.

Through the first 10k I had to keep pulling back the pace, as several runners in the group would surge ahead before sticking with me, and we crossed the marker within 1 second of the goal pace. 5 minute 41 seconds per km so 10k was 56 minutes and 50 seconds. After that, I was still controlling the flow but allowing us to creep ahead a little, around 5 seconds per km. We crossed halfway at 1:59:13 and from there sat on goal pace right through to the end.

The whole experience started two days before the start. I looked after the expo booth and answered the questions of nervous runners and reassured them what was going to happen. They hung on my every word and it dawned on me there and then, that they had placed a lot of trust in my hands.

Clive was one of my favorites, he was on my shoulder for 36K. When I ran around someone ahead, he made the same move. I think he bumped into me about a dozen times on the day. It was really sad for me when Clive slowed down with 6K to go. I dropped back and tried to get him to come with me but he was done and I had to keep on the job. At least Clive has the photo taken by his fiancee taken on the course with me waving my arms and a big grin just behind him. He'll see it when he gets home. The people above are some of those that worn the black pace band and marched with me through the day. Each has a story, that I can tell you, and just looking up their photos online and checking their times as I have done for the last few hours makes me wish it never ended.

Hang on a second .... can't remember seeing one in pink pants!!! How did that get in there?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

We have a ..... errrr .... winner!

Nice choice buddy!

Ciaran beat off tough competition (47 bids in all) and help raise some money for Queensland Cancer along the way. Thanks to everyone who put bids in.

I got tagger so here goes ....

4 Jobs I have had ....

1. I used to pick up golf balls on a driving range ..... when the golfers were still hitting their bucket of balls and using me for target practice. I wore a helmet until I learnt to dodge the balls in flight. I got hit twice and have to tell you it hurts ... a lot!!!

2. I was a caddy for about $4 a day ... this and the one above might have something to do with why I gave my golf clubs away later in life.

3. Professional gambler ... 3 hands of blackjack anyone? To be a little more accurate it was part of a mystery shopping assignment.

4. Stadium lolly boy (lolly as in candy, chips, soft drinks, coke) on 5% commission.

What were the other questions?

Monday, July 03, 2006

There’s a Gecko in my pocket!

It has been a very very busy week in the land of toast. In summary, the croutons were here, Katy and I both ran marathons and my employer decided it was end of financial year and that we should acquire several new businesses all at the same time just because there wasn’t enough going on.

So as the dust settles on Monday morning, I find myself back in the office and happen to brush my top pocket to notice there is something in there. My fingers are greeted by something lumpy, that I figure had been through the wash, but noooooooo …. There’s a rubber Gecko in my pocket.

Posts to come:

We have a winner (Auction Results)
Croutonopia (Clare and Andrew hit the big lights of Brisvegas)
March of the Black Knight Army (account of 4 hour pacing a marathon)