SIDS Stampede

SIDS Stampede is organised by the Richmond Runners club and is a nice little event run around the quiet country roads of Windsor.

I was in for the half and Phill in the 5km.

This race was an experiment as I was going to run entirely by feel. Im normally so focussed on an arbitary time so I wanted to see how i’d perform using this method. I still wore my garmin so i could review after the race, but i flipped it upside down on race day.

Going into the race, i thought 76 minutes would be a top result given my lack of speed work.

After a quick first kay, I settled into it and ran at a pace I thought I could maintain for the entire race. There was a lead bicycle showing me the route so I just concentrated on that. My cadence felt good and I was enjoying it. At the halfway turn around Wayne Calvert was about a minute or so back and looking good. We high fived and settled back into it.
Effort levels felt the same and it was fun seeing all the other runners.

77.16 for the finish which wasnt all that bad, not magical but I felt damn good at the end. Looking at my splits at the end I was getting quicker and quicker as the race progressed so it was a fair negative split.

This was one of the most enjoyable races and I think that boils down to the fact that I wasnt chasing a time, just running for fun. Had I looked at my watch towards the end I may have been able to sneak under 77 but who cares.

Special mention to Phill for her run too – she looked great out there and fresh at the finish!

M7 Marathon – 2015

This is just a quick race report before i forget the day entirely.
The M7 was my first ever marathon and remember battling on to a 2.48 finsh which I was quite surprised with.

Since then, I’ve run a 2.41 at Gold Coast and a 2.34 last year at Melbourne. So I was keen to keep the sub 2.50 streak alive.

I entered this race a week before, certainly not a goal race by any stretch. After doing more hill work than ever and no fast stuff I thought this would be a good test.

The strategy was to get to half way feeling comfortable and then hopefully push for home if I was feeling ok. Well thats what happened. 82 minutes for halfway and then 80 to the finish. More than happy with 2.42 off the cuff and I think i potentially had a 2.39 in me had I been more aggresive at the start.

As the race bore on i grew in strength so thats a big positive. The legs were lacking in speed but a few weeks of concentrated speed/interval sessions would bring that back – not the focus for this year though as thats not going to do any good at Hounslow!

Glenbrook Marathon

I’m a glutton for punishment which is why i was back at the Glenbrook Marathon this year.

My sole ambition was to break 3 hours which isnt as straightforward as it sounds on a trail course with 800+ meters of vertical.

Last year I came close, in fact I did break 3 hours for the proper marathon distance (42.2km) however the course was long measuring over 43.5kms which pushed my finishing time out to just over 3 hours.
That year I was racing Andy Lee – no slouch and he kept me focus the entire race as I only passed him with a couple of kilometers to go.

I recall (after reading the race report) that I went through half way in 90 minutes so that was the focus this year to ensure I had a chance of cracking that magical barrier.

Before the start Luke Doyle advised that the course was measured correctly this year so sub 3 was on! Sadly Andy Lee or other fast regulars hadn’t signed up so I wasnt sure who my competition would be. Of course Ewan was there but Strava stalking showed that he had 40km+ in his legs from the day before. I did see Philip Balnave at the start. This guy is a bit of an enigma. I’ve met him a few times at races and he is a gun runner with a 2.40 road marathon to his name. If you were to look at him you would think he had just stepped out of his garden after doing a spot of gardening. Think bucket hat, casual shirt and sandals! Looks like a nutter but he can definitely run. A nice guy to boot.
I knew he would be a challenger and one to watch.

With that in mind we set off at about 7.45. The start was fast as I dialled in on the task at hand. The first half of the course I feel is harder than the 2nd half so 90 minutes for halfway would be a challenge and more so without having Andy to chase. I didnt feel as fast as last year and felt like i was working harder to hold pace – in fact I really had to push it to get to halfway in 90 minutes. Once through that part I knew if I’d need to bank time on the downhills for the inevitable trudge up the inclines on sapped legs.

The run to the Nepean turnaround felt great as I got my second wind. Its a nice out and back section and I pushed hard in the hope of getting onto the Pisgah trail before seeing anyone which would mean i was a few kilometers in front. These mini goals really help to maintain focus and make the race fun.

The Pisgah trail is 4 kilometers out and 4 kilometers back of overgrown single track badness. Its a gradual downhill until the turnaround then a gradual uphill. At one point I pulled 3 thorns out of my face but other than that it was uneventful…which is a good thing.

As expected, I saw Philip Balnave crusing as I was on my return. I calculated that I was 3-4 kilometers in front by that stage so barring a disaster I had the win in the bag.

From the Pisgah turnaround its an uphill grind to the 35 kilometer mark. It was hard work as my legs were feeling it by this stage. I even had a 10 second walk up a short steep stretch before pushing on.

Thankfully, the downhill cruise begun and i calculated that i just needed to tick over 4 minute kilometers to get in under 3 hours. I was wary of pushing to hard as last year I started to really cramp up so I was doing just enough to ensure I made it to the finish. With 1 kilometer to go the cramps started to kick in but I was more or less home and dry so it didnt have too much of an impact.

I was a happy camper as I crossed the line in a touch over 2.57.

On reflection the race felt easier on my body than last year. I didnt drink all of the water in my bottle whereas last year I had a couple of refills and stocked up on food at a number of the checkpoints – so thats an improvement. No leg pain or cramping at the finish unlike at 6 Foot where i was hurting for a good 20 minutes after – so i might starting to be getting into shape.

The Running Wild guys put on a great event and id encourage anyone to turn up and give their series a crack.

Bare Creek Trail Race – 10km

The last 3 weeks since Melbourne Marathon have been on the easy side running wise. With the 6ft Track Marathon in March I won’t be worrying about getting the miles in until after Christmas – just nice easy running when I went for the next couple of months. Weekly totals have been 53, 80 and 41 kilometers respectively.

Today i lined up for the Bare Creek Trail Race. This is a cool little race in St Ives run on the trails I regularly train on. Generally a tough little course and I was expecting a battle. I last run this a few years ago and paid the price for going out too hard – it was ugly. This year was going to be different.

Unfortunately once I got to the start it turned out that arsonists had started fires in a number of areas on the course during the night so as it was a crime scene a new course was set up – i was impressed the race was still on.

The new course was probably slightly easier with a touch more road.

The start was frantic with an early 3.16 kilometer. My plan was not to go 100%, I wanted to just do enough to win if possible (of course if that meant going all out then i would). I was in about 5th place until the 3 kilometer mark when I thought I’d push on. There was a lot of heavy breathing around me and knowing the course well I knew I’d probably put a fair gap on people during the climb after at the 5km mark. Thats essentially what happened.

I only took one fall so that was a result in itself. I finished up in a touch over 39 minutes with second place another minute back. I even won a Compex Runner muscle stimulation machine!

Running next week will be light on. The house move is taking place on Tuesday and I cannot wait!’burbs here we come!

Melbourne Marathon 2014 – Race Report

I’d been looking forward to this weekend for a long time and it didn’t disappoint.

Phill and I flew into Melbourne on Saturday afternoon and I spent some time walking around the city, met my godfather and his wife for a coffee and picked up 4 energy gels for the race. I went for endura as it was a choice of that or Gu in Rebel Sport and endura is a bit runnier and easier to get down without fluid.

I set my alarm for 4am as I heeded WatchDog’s advice of not needing a pee at the start line which often happens for me. So i probably had about 500 mls of water and a bowl of museli and yoghurt in 30 seconds and then went back to bed until my alarm went off at 6am. All i then had was a small cup of coffee before jogging down to the start line.

The weather was cool with highs expected of 28 later in the afternoon.

I made my way to the preferred starters section and had a quick chat with Gary Mullins whist we waited anxiously for the start.

My plan was to hit half way in 1 hour 16 minutes and 30 seconds. I knew I would likely fade in the back half but I desperately wanted to break 2.35.

My nutrition plan was 4 gels to be consumed at 7 kilometers, 15 kilometers, 24 kilometers and 30 kilometers. No science to that, just something i decided on the start line.

Before I knew it we were off. I soon found myself running in a small group with the lead female at the time, Sinead Diver. Its a known fact that women pace better than men so I thought it wouldn’t do me any harm trying to stick with Sinead given our pace was similar.

The first 5 km’s ticked by in 18.06 according to garmin which ended up overshooting by 300 meters in the end which seems to be the norm.

The next 5 km’s were slightly quicker, 17.51 but there didn’t appear to be any noticeable increase in pace. I was making sure to grab water at every aid station. Water and hydralyte was being handed out in small plastic cups. When you are running at pace the most you can hope to successfully retrieve is a small gulp as the majority is list in the handover! Because of that, i really couldnt have had much more than 300 ml’s over the course of the race.

The next 5 kilometers went by in 17.52 and so far so good. At times I remember looking at my watch and thinking I must be flying along and then seeing my average pace hovering around 3.45’s! Not a great feeling. Whilst I was still moving well I could definitely notice some tightness in the legs.

My garmin beeped at the 21.1km mark and showed a time of 1hr 15 minutes 30 seconds however I crossed the official half marathon signage on the course pretty much dead on 1 hour 16 and 30 seconds. This gave me a boost although I was hoping that things would be feeling a little easier at this stage – truth be told I was starting to hurt. This is evident as my 5 kilometer split from 20 – 25 was 18.15.

During this stage we were overtaken by Nikki Chappel who went on to dominate the womens race and win comfortably. I remember noticing the definition in her hammys as she ran past, pretty impressive! I didn’t even bother trying to hang on to her pace, that would have been suicidal.

The 25 – 30 kilometer split was 18.12 and the small pack I was running with started to drift apart. I was now trailing Sinead and she was beginning to stretch the elastic!

I hit my lowest point going through the 30 – 35 kilometer section. I entertained thoughts of pulling out or at least walking through the drink stations. I was really struggling. That 5 kilometer split was 18.18 so a significant slow down.

Now it was game on. I had to think back to all the hard sessions i’ve done, did I really want to give up now. Sinead was still only 20 meters or so in front of me. Having her there gave me something to concentrate on. But boy was I hurting!

My slowest split of the day was between 35 – 40 kilometers. 18.48. I was doing everything in my power to keep my splits under 4 minutes.

Then with 2.2 kilometers to go life became good again and I was able to lift myself out of my funk knowing I would make it. The goal now was to see if I could sneak in under 2.35 which thankfully I managed to do – 2 hours, 34 minutes and 35 seconds. Job done!

I then spent the day walking around Melbourne with Phill and she clocked up over 25,000 steps on her fitbit so that was a decent cool-down for me!

Achieving this time has given me hope that a 2.2x is doable in the not too distant future. I can’t keep doing what i’m doing though. There’ll be some training changes, probably the main change being my easy runs carried out at an easier pace and my quality runs done with more quality!

The next attempt will be to target 2.32 but I’ve no idea when I’ll have the chance to do that as my life is going to change dramatically next April as a mini-me or mini-phill is on it’s way. That being said, I have a chance of giving 6ft Track a real go and it’ll be nice to get back on the trails again.

With Gary at the finish. Goals hit. Happy chappies!

With Gary at the finish. Goals hit. Happy chappies!


Another week in the bag

So thats one more step closer to Melbourne Marathon. I finally strung together a pretty decent week by my standards.

Monday/Tuesday – Now spring is upon us my running route home has been extended again by a couple of kilometers as I can now run through the Botanical Gardens. So about 13.5km’s in a little over an hour for both runs.

I took Wednesday off. Not sure why. Makes sense to have a day off somewhere though!

Thursday – My legs were still feeling heavy from the half but I decided to go out and do 14 kilometers at marathon pace. In reality this should be feeling relatively easy at this stage but it buggered me more than the race on Sunday. I really had to work to hit my splits and my hear rate was hovering around the late 170’s for most of the run. In the end I finished up in 50.27 averaging 3.36’s which was a little quick. Stuffed.

Friday – I took it really easy and ran to Phills work (7.97 km’s averaging 4.18’s). I was keeping an eye on the heart rate after yesterday sessions, hovering around 148. Then I walked home with Phill, so another 5.85 kms. Lovely.

Saturday – Up at 5.50am and out the door by 6am. No breakfast just a small glass of water. I decided to run to ParkRun in Mosman which started at 7am. I covered the 11 km’s there averaging 4.14’s then straight into the 5km ParkRun. Its a 3 loop course with a short steep climb at the turnaround. This zaps the legs quite nicely. A group of 3 of use led out the race pretty fast for the first 600 meters or so at about 3.05 pace. We then settled and I gradually pulled away putting in a gap on each of the climbs. Finished up in 17.19 with 2nd place not too far behind. I then ran back home with the aim of finishing up with 7km’s at marathon pace. I got to the park having run 29 kilometers and the heavens had opened up which I was grateful for as this means the park would be fairly empty – no dog hopping! The target pace was to hit 3.40. I thought it might be a challenge with lack of fuel and tired legs but that was the whole idea. At the 2 hour stage in the marathon proper i’m going to be hurting so I wanted to try and replicate that feeling. I ended up feeling really good and average 3.34’s for the 7km effort which was a good confidence boost. 36km’s all up in 2hrs 24 (4.00’s)

Sunday – Phill and I spent the morning looking at French Bulldogs so that was a bit different. We got home this afternoon so I had a chance to run in the sun – 25 degrees today. Awesome! I thought I’d run down to Middle Cove and do an out’n’back on the trail there. 5km’s on the roads there averaging 3.37’s. Legs a little heavy but glad to get the pace up. Slow going on the trail to be expected. A little boggy in parts and my road shoes have zero grip. 4km’s averaging 4.36’s. Then a run to the shops to pick up food. 2kms in 3.54’s. So 11kms’s all up averaging 4.02’s.

That brings my weekly total to a respectable 102 kilometers. The first time since May. More of that next week please

Easy week

Yet another week under 70 kilometers. This is turning into a bit of a habit. I wonder how many runners have gone sub 2.40 averaging 70 kilometers a week..

In my defense this was a recovery week of sorts after Glenbrook last Sunday so I’m not going to stress about it.

I took Monday off and then hit the treadmill to flush out the legs on Tuesday. Just an easy 5km and that seemed to help a lot as I was pretty sore after the race.

I didn’t get around to running on Wednesday and Thursday and Friday involved the typical commute home – 11km’s averaging 4.21’s – 4.25’s.

On Saturday the plan was to just take it easy as I have one eye on the Sri Chinmoy Half Marathon next Sunday. We were looking at house in Normanhurst so I decided to run back from there via St Ives and Frenchs Forest. A few pinchy hills but the pace felt easy enough on the flat stuff and the legs weren’t complaining too much.

The pace was fairly erratic throughout ranging from easy to faster than marathon pace. A nice drizzly afternoon for running but I was glad to be finished at the end. 30.31 kms in 1.58 (3.55’s). I had envisaged averaging 4.20’s but this felt easy enough.

Today I fished out the HR Monitor for the first time in years. I always get so frustrated with the garmin strap as it tends to give spikes and cuts out so I normally give up after a few goes. I’ve been reading Maffetones book which is all about training by heart rate. The idea is to really build up the aerobic system, so by the end of the training period you are running distances faster than you first did but with the same heart rate. It sounds sustainable as you are not thrashing yourself and keeping an eye maintaining your HR in the max aerobic zone which for me is apparently between 145-155 (no higher than 155).

Now all my training of late has been at a good effort, i would guess easily with my HR over 155. I know this isnt a sustainable way to train and after Melbourne i’ll use the Maff method during the long build up phase.

So just 10km’s today. The heart rate creeped over 155 just a couple of times and all in all i managed to maintain it quite well. At times it felt like i was just shuffling along but thats the whole idea. No doubt I would have gone alot faster without it which isnt great for recovery.

So 40 minutes 25 seconds (4.02’s). Not too slow so thats encouraging. Faster kilometer was the 2nd one at 3.41 and my slowest was the 10th at 4.12.

Just 67 kilometers for the week. Next week probably wont be any higher either as I wont run on Saturday to rest before the half on Sunday. I’ve no idea how i’ll go but next week i’ll run with HR monitor to ensure i’m not overreaching so I can go full pelt on Sunday. I’d be chuffed with 75 minutes