Friday, October 30, 2009

A New Blog ... PB Down Under

With the completion of my 2009 Marathon Campaign it is time for a new blog - and one whose name will endure beyond a single event. So here it is: "PB Down Under" - a blog about my otherwise ordinary athletic endeavours.

Thanks to my friends in the blogosphere who made suggestions for the new name. You each gave me some ideas which helped with my choice. A special commendation to Spike with his proposal "Disco Underlord of Running" - you've no idea how close I came to using that one!

A Run and a Swim
Had my first good run after the marathon on Tuesday. A little bit warm and I didn't have great rhythm, but banged out 5km over the loop around home in 22.22mins. Happy with that time. My left calf is still not 100% but is mostly ok.

And on Thursday morning I went for my first early-morning, and longest, swim in five years. Not that it was any epic effort or anything, just a steady 1.5km but my swimming is basically non-existent these days so good to at least get something on the board. Covered the journey in a (slowing) 32.03mins. Ok for a first effort.

Went to the pool with my neighbour who has convinced me to enter the Pier to Pub Ocean Swim here next January. It's a 1.2km swim from the Lorne pier to the Life Saving Club (originally it finished at the pub hence the name). It's a classic swim now in its 30th year. I've done it about six or seven times, the last one in 2004.

Lots more work to do before then!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

First run back, next event and the hazards of running ...

First run back today after the marathon. Was looking forward to this as my legs have felt really good the last few days. Then I started running (easily) and realised that I still have some recovery to go. Covered 5km at a gentle pace but my baby cows are now very unhappy! Will continue to take it easy for another week or so.

I have decided that my next big running event will be the Great Ocean Road Marathon next May. This 45km event runs from Lorne to Apollo Bay along one of the most spectacular coastlines anywhere in the world. At this stage I don't plan to run it hard, just coast along and enjoy the scenery.

Finally, saw these two articles recently about strange things that happen in marathons. The first was in the Des Moines Marathon where a train (!) stopped the leading runners 400 metres from the finish of the race. Bizarre! Would never happen here, of course, because our trains are so hopeless they wouldn't likely be running in the first place!

The second one was the sad passing of three runners in the Detroit Marathon and Half Marathon. Crikey, how often do you hear of even one runner dying in a race, let alone three. That race director must have really annoyed some black cats or something.

Finally, I need a new name for my blog. "2009 Marathon Diary" is so passe now. Any ideas?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Reflections on Race Day

 These are some thoughts on my race day and how it unfolded.

Race Morning
  • Woke up at 4.45am.
  • Shower to help warm up the muscles .
  • Breakfast of oats and peaches.
  • Take my drugs (antibiotic, vitamins and ventolin - so I can breathe!)
  • Taxi picked me up at 5.30am.
  • Everyone else still asleep!
  • Weather is perfect, 9 deg's or so and no wind.

At the MCG
  • Got out of taxi just before 6am at Hisesnse Arena where a dance party was still in full swing.
  • I looked at the people coming out of the party and thought "you guys are nuts."
  • They looked back at me probably thinking the same thing!
  • Walked over the footbridge to Gate 2 at the MCG and entered the stadium
  • A quick visit to the loo then up onto the concourse to look around
  • First time I have been to the MCG since all the stands were redeveloped ... it is amazing
  • Sat down and took in the atmosphere while listening to some music
  • Feeling pumped, but relaxed, this will be a big day
  • Walk down to deposit clothing bag then over footbridge to start - lots of up and down stairs here; must be careful not to trip (that would be embarrassing)
  • Woman in front of me (talking to her friends) says she hopes her bra doesn't fall off during the race. I said I hope so too cause I'd hate to trip on it!
Race Start
  • I desperately need to go for (another) pee. I remember all the talk about police not tolerating peeing behind trees. Too bad. (Sorry tree.)
  • Rob De Castella (Marathon World Champion, world record holder, Boston winner, multiple Comm. Games champ, etc.) gave the pre-race rev-up speech. Just fantastic! This guy has no time for wimps.
  • Get a spot in the front corral very easily.
  • They introduce (the late) Kerryn McCann's son who will start the race. His mum won the 2006 Commonwealth Games marathon here at the MCG in an epic race. Feel sorry for this kid.
  • The gun goes off at 7am and we are off. Only takes me 10 seconds or so to cross the line and I am running basically straight away. No problems there.
  • Glad to be on my way.

First 10km

  • The biggest "hill" on the course is over within the first 400m as you rise up on a bridge over the train lines.
  • Through the first kilometre in just over five minutes, feeling good. The 3.10 pace leader is behind me already. Hmmm.
  • Running along St. Kilda Road, fellow blogger Jason runs up beside me and says g'day (first time we have met!)
  • Worry a bit at the second km sign as I have either slowed dramatically or it is way later than it should be.
  • Cruise up St. Kilda Road enjoying the scenery, take a drink at the first aid station.
  • Through 5km in 22.59min (target was 23.10) so happy with this start.
  • Round the corner into Fitzroy Street; young female copper gives a "Go Cool Runner" to the guy beside me.
  • Onto the Grand Prix track around Albert Park Lake. Notice lots of swans beside the road; they seem oblivious to the thousands of runners passing them by.
  • Ask a guy beside me what time he is planning to run. He says 3:15. I think that is quicker than I plan to do. Not sure if I should slow down. Pace feels easy, conversational.
  • Take a drink and gel at the 9km aid station and wind our way back up from the bottom end of the lake.
  • Pass through 10km in 45.26min (last 5km in 22.27). Plan was 46.20. I know I am going fast, but is it "too fast?" (How fast is too fast anyway????) Still feels easy.

10km to half way

  • Glance over and can see the u-turn at the very bottom of Pit Straight - further down than I thought it was going to be. I know the Elwood end of the course must now be different (shorter) to what I though too.
  • Over a timing mat, around the corner then down into Pit Lane. No need to put on my 'speed limiter' but have to shuffle over to get another drink. Try a water sachet and cop a face full as I open it.
  • Have been running with my CR mates for 6km now. They say hello to every other CR out there. I wonder if they can keep it up.
  • We exit back onto Fitzroy Street then run down to the beach and turn right towards Port Melbourne.
  • I feel comfortable along here. It is my 'stomping ground' and I know every landmark up and down this stretch.
  • See the two Ethiopian leaders going back the other way. Gosh, they look quick!
  • Through 15km in 1:06.55hrs (last 5km in 21.29). Plan was 1:09.30. Is this marker in the right spot ... seems awfully fast. Doesn't feel that fast.
  • After my really successful run on the second half of this course a few weeks back I am just looking forward to getting to half way.
  • Beautiful conditions along the beach; make the turn at Port Melbourne (think of mum and dad - who live nearby).
  • Another drink, gel, water sachet at the aid station; not losing time now. 
  • Through 20km in 1:29.51hrs (last 5km in 22.56). Plan was 1:32.40. This is definitely going too quick. Anyway, almost halfway now. Have a neat group forming around us as we move through to St. Kilda.
  • Over the halfway timing mat in 1:34.45hrs. Ok, this has definitely been too quick. Plan was 1:37.46 or up to a minute ahead of this. But three minutes quicker! Curse myself for doing this. Suspect I am going to pay for it later (soon).

Halfway to 30km

  • Looking forward to this next stretch down to Elwood and back. I know this bit really well too and expect to see family and friends at the turn.
  • There is a big crowd on the "hot corner" at Fitzroy Street as they cheers runners going in three directions. Gives you a lift!
  • Just after halfway the "3:10 bus" comes up behind me ... and passes me by. I have also lost my earlier CR companions too.
  • Nearing Elwood I have my first signs of discomfort. Not major problems; just not as relaxed as before.
  • Do a right-left-right-left combo at Elwood Beach to get through the carpark; then another left after 100m to head back to the road. This is the only "technical" (as they'd say in cycling) section of the course.
  • Through 25km in 1:52.19hrs (last 5km in 22.28). Plan was 1:55.50. Have held on nicely through here. Am getting further ahead of schedule, now up to 3.31.
  • Turn right to head down to turnaround at Kingsley Street (where my mate lives). He is there with his son Colin and - most importantly - my crew are there with him (Fiona and our girls Brooke and Keira)!!!
  • Stop to say hi to all and give the girls a quick kiss. That's not outside assistance is it???
  • Run away from them back towards St. Kilda, trying to look strong and relaxed, even though I don't feel that way. Am later told I looked ok (not great) but a lot better than some!
  • Still feeling ok, but I know it is getting harder. The return stretch to Fitzroy Street seems longer than I would have thought.
  • Love the crowds up here and make the turn onto Fitzroy Street. Do not notice what many people call "the hill" along here.
  • Cross 30km in 2:15.58hrs (last 5km in 23.39). Plan was 2:19.00. Even I can do the simple maths - still 3.02 ahead of schedule; but now losing time instead of gaining it. The tide has turned. Time to dig in.

30km to The Finish

  • 250m further up the road and OMG ... there is a wall of half marathon runners streaming out in front of me.
  • I go from having plenty of space and a few marathon runners to pace off to havingwhat feels like the entire universe of slow runners blocking my path.
  • We turn onto St. Kilda Road in the service lane where we will be crammed together for the next four km. 
  • I dodge and weave through the crowds whilst trying to maintain my diminishing pace. 
  • I miss an aid station because I cannot get near it for the crowds.
  • I miss three of the next five km markers as you cannot see anything for all the runners.
  • I hope the half runners will keep going straight at the Arts Centre so I can get some peace! Aargh! No such luck, they make the turn with me.
  • Through 35km in est. 2:40:48hrs (last 5km in 24.50). Plan was 2:42.10. I still maintain a small buffer of time to my goal.
  • Finally, just before 36km, they turn off and I am alone with a rather diminished field. I have my first bad moments around here and need to stop to yell at myself! Come on, I am so close now, just keep going.
  • The 37th km takes 5.37 which will be my slowest of the day. Stop some more. Beat my thighs and yell at them some more. I am still 5sec in front of my target time; but I know this will be the last time I am ahead.
  • Round the bend onto Domain Road and a gentle downhill. Pass by a spectator who yells out "you're a gladiator." I don't really feel like one but this lifts my spirits and gives me an emotive soundtrack for my brain. Just the tonic!
  • Turn back onto St. Kilda Road. There are now people walking, running and everything in between. I go past the "Cobbers" memorial to the battle of Fromelle. Remind myself of what they went through and how weak I am in comparison. Resolve not to stop any more.
  • This resolve is good - while it lasts - but I have a couple more bouts of stopping for a few seconds over the next km or so. Not sure why???
  • Have merged back with the half runners but try to ignore there presence. 
  • Through 40km in est. 3:07.28hrs (last 5km in 26.40). Plan was 3:05.20. If I can hold it together I'll run 3:18 or so.
  • Go through Federation Square and right onto Flinders Street. Must run it home from here. Soon the MCG looms large in my vision as we veer right and down a gentle hill to Jolimont.
  • Less than one km to go now and my time is good. I start to get a bit emotional but keep it in check. Run around the outside of packs of half mara runners; feeling strong.
  • Left into the MCG tunnel and out onto the arena. What a buzz, running on the MCG. Start out running on the matting, but quickly decide to run on the turf.
  • An official shunts me across other runners into the marathon finishers chute. I choke up with emotion as I cross the line in 3:18.38hrs. Woo! Hoo!
  • Am filled with a feeling of sheer relief. Eight months of preparation, lots of problems along the way, but I DID IT.
  • I lay on my back and notice the heat in the sun for the first time. Just stare up at the grandstands in awe of them and of what I have just done.

Post Race
  • Down the ramp into the bowels of the stadium to collect my gear and finisher medal. Why didn't we get the medal as we crossed the line like every other event I've done?
  • Have a piece of banana and a drink. It is very crowded down here.
  • Wander over to the physio section where my mate Rob O'Donnell is running the show (Southern Suburbs Physiotherapy Centre). Because I am a client of theirs I get straight in. Woo! Hoo! No queue.
  • A quick rub down then back up into the sunshine to find my mate Roger.
  • Leaving the 'G I collect a Timex Ironman watch for my wife (with iPod control for only $50) and also my race kit which has the most pathetic souvenir towel in the history of crappy souvenirs. Who cares ... my finish time is my souvenir!
Days Later
  • Learning to walk again :-)
  • My cold, for which I have been on antibiotics, gets dramatically worse. No real surprise there.
  • I take an interest in the Boston Marathon for the first time. After all, I do have a qualifying time!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

3h 18m 38s

I have seen many people break down in tears at the end of athletic events and often wondered why. Today I found out. As I entered the Melbourne Cricket Ground for the final 300m of the marathon I could barely hold back the emotion. And once I crossed the line it all came out. These were not tears of joy - and certainly not of sadness - but of sheer relief. Eight months of absolute hard effort distilled into a single moment and it was too much.

The clock read 3h 18m 38s. When I started this marathon journey in February I would have laughed if someone had told me such a time would be possible. And this week when I was sick and on antibiotics (still am) I thought it had evaporated. Today I cannot imagine that it is reality. It will take time to sink in.

After all of the cr@p weather (read: chronic winds) we have had in Melbourne over the last few months it was an absolute joy to have relatively benign conditions today. No wind to talk about and reasonably cool for the most part. This was one out of the box.

First 10km - the warm up
By all accounts the first 10k of a marathon should be a bit of a stroll in the park. Time to look around, enjoy the atmosphere, say g'day to fellow competitors and generally get into the groove. For the most part I did this (even bumped into Jason for the first time!), but found pacing rather difficult as the organisers seemed to be having problems working out where to put the markers. That said, I was probably going a little quick. My target pace was 4.38m/k and I hoped to run the first half in around 4.35's so 10km in 4.32's probably wasn't the best idea in the world.

To Halfway
By 10k you are running on the Melbourne Grand Prix track which circumnavigates a local lake and is a regular road most of the time. It is pretty cool running here and even the swans come out to say hi. From here you pop out onto Fitzroy Street and down to Beach Rd where you'll spend the next 15km.

I have run up and down this stretch of road more times than I care to think about in the last 20-odd years so I know it fairly well. I think that familiarity may have bred contempt - or at the least complacency - as I went through the next 10km a minute quicker than the first 10; crossing halfway in 94.47min.

Now, to put this in perspective, my time at halfway was only a minute and a half slower than my super fast half marathon time in May. And I was running ahead of the 3:10hr pace leader. I think I knew then that I had stuffed this one up. Only a few km later I knew this was the case as I could feel myself slowing.

The Premiership Quarter
I knew that the third 10km of the race would be where I needed to work really hard. It is here that fatigue really starts to set in and you can see your time goals disappear at a rapid rate. The bulk of this section was down to Elwood and back - again, a road I know well. I also knew my family and friends would be at the far turn so I wanted to (hopefully) look strong when I passed them - mostly so they didn't think I was about to expire.

By about 24-25km I was having the odd wobble and definitely wasn't feeling 100%. I knew that my pace had slowed but it was still 4.36m/k so I was actually putting more time "in the bank" which was great and what I had hoped for. So whilst I had gone out a bit too quick, I ran this 10km right about where I would have hoped. It just felt slow!

Just after the 30km mark was where the hoardes of half marathon runners joined the course (they started an hour after we did). From there it turned to crap!

The Business End
Everyone knows that marathons don't really start till about 30-32km. I had looked forward to this fact as I really wanted to explore my own character in being able to run through what would occur to me at this point.

So at the point when I most needed to be able to run my own race, concentrate on my own pace and rhythm, I found myself dodging and weaving (literally) through thousands of people running another race. For the next five km I could barely find a distance marker and could not get to an aid station because they were so clogged. For a major marathon this was a disgrace.

There was some respite for 3km (36-39km) where our courses diverged and we marathoners were once again left to ourselves. Ahhh, the serenity. It was here that I had to stop a few times and beat my thighs and yell at myself to get going. I was now running slowly (5.15-5.20m/k for a few) and was doing it tough.

As I still harboured dreams of a sub-3.20 (and a Boston Qualifier Time) I knew I had to keep going. So I willed myself to continue. With about 4k's to go a spectator yelled out "you're a gladiator" to me and that fired me up, giving me a vision and some useful theme music to play in my head. No more stopping now, must run.

The last couple of k's are quite easy. A bit of downhill, you can see the stadium in the distance, you know you are home. Just run it strong to the finish I told myself - which I did.

The last few hundred metres is like a major Olympic Marathon as you come through the "tunnel" into the stadium and run a lap to the finish line. And the MCG is a modern-day colisseum befitting a race like this. It is just sensational!

I yelled with joy as I crossed the finish line in 3:18.38hrs. Sure, a couple of minutes slower than my target time, but who cares!!!! A massive PB for me by over 12mins (and that time was 12 years ago at age 29).

All my goals were achieved:

1. Finish
2. Run the whole way (I say I did this cause I stopped a few times, but did not walk!)
3. Run a PB (sub 3.30)
4. Beat my good mate Roger's best time (3.24)
5. Run a Boston Qualifier standard (3.20)

Like most marathoners, I'll need a bit of a break to recover physically from this one. I'll also need to find a new goal or two ... anyone know which way Boston is from here?

PS - I am now walking like this:

Intermediate Splits (some of the km markers were way off!)
1-10km 45.26min (5.03/10.40/-/-/22.59/-/31.48/36.30/41.10/45.26) -4.32m/k
11-20km 44.25min (50.06/54.28/-/62.28/66.55/71.28/76.02/80.35/85.13/89.51) -4.26m/k
21-30km 46.07min (94.19/(half 94.45)98.47/103.15/107.45/112.19/117.01/121.43/126.25/131.12/135.58) -4.36m/k
31-40km 51.30min (-/147.12/-/155.53/-/165.44/171.21/176.39/182.00/?187.28) -5.09m/k
41-42.2km 11.10min (192.56/-/198.38) -5.04m/k

Course Map

Friday, October 9, 2009

Last Thoughts

It is Friday morning and as I sit here I know that in less than 48 hours it should all be over. Done in the blink of an eye. And that's the thing with big events like this. You spend a very long time preparing for them, thinking about them and then - in no time at all - they are gone. So I thought I would take this time to reflect on the last 8 months and the amazing journey it has been.

How it Began
It all began in February with an email from a friend (thanks Kim!) inviting me for a run and asking if I'd be interested in running the marathon in October. I was dreadfully out of shape at that time, with not much running for a number of years, but decided to give it a go. My best time was only 3.30hrs and my last marathon was in 2002 (3.47hrs) and I always felt that I had never really run to anything like my potential, so this was just the excuse to give it another go.

I also set myself a two-year goal which was to run a faster marathon time than a good mate of mine (thanks Roger!) This would mean running better than 3.25hrs. I hoped that this year I might be able to run close to 3.30hrs - maybe even a PB - and then next year, with lots of miles under my belt, I could give 3.20hrs a shake.

So I began running again in mid-February with only a broad idea of how I should structure my program. I printed out a 'Runners World' plan and began to follow it. The part I did not like - have never liked - about these running plans is they all have you running 5-6 days per week. I knew that I'd be unlikely to sustain this level of consistency so looked around for an alternative.

Run Less Run Faster
In late March it happened, my epiphany as I called it when I discovered the Furman FIRST guys and their book "Run Less Run Faster." This was the breakthrough for me. Finally a program that I knew I could stick to. Three runs per week, no easy stuff, just high quality running. I immediately set myself to use this program for my Half Marathon (Sri Chinmoy at end of May) and marathon (Melbourne Marathon in October).

I found this program took some getting used to. The long run pace, in particular, I found to be quite quick. It was certainly no "easy long run" as I had typically experienced in the past. On the plus side, since I was coming off a reasonably low base, my fitness was constantly improving so I adapted quickly to the intensity of the sessions.

Half Marathon
Going into the Half Marathon I was confident that I could run the target pace (4.45m/k) I had set a couple of months earlier. In fact, I had found the tempo run pace (4.38m/k) so controlled that I optimistically decided to recalibrate my target time to run 4.39m/k (1.38hrs) for the distance. I figured I had improved heaps in the two months so why not give it a go!

Well, something amazing happened, and on race day I ran a 1.33hr time. To this day I am still not sure how I ran that fast, but it felt great. A wonderful race strategy executed to perfection. Of course this meant I had to totally rethink the marathon plan as this half mara time indicated I could run somewhere near 3.16hrs for the big one. Hmmm.

Marathon Program (Weeks 1-5)
The first part of the program would culminate in a 30km run at the end of July after which I would make the final decision on whether to commit to the marathon or not. And it was a close thing. The early track sessions were a disaster. I found the Furman target paces way too quick and was blowing up after a couple of reps. I eventually decided to run to how I felt (ie, as hard as I could go!) and these times matched what Greg McMillan indicated I should be doing so I once again felt like I was on target.

I was no sooner on track again when sickness struck. A diabolical case of sinusitis laid me low for a couple of weeks, causing me to miss a couple of sessions and cut a couple of long runs short - and run them horribly slow!

I went into the Sri Chinmoy 30km event not really expecting much but hoping for the best. And the best was what I got. This time in the form of 'Tiger Boy' from the Cool Running chat site. He drove the 5-min/km bus to perfection that day, motivating us all to a great result. On the back of this effort I entered the marathon.

Marathon Program (Weeks 6-13)
These are the long serious days of the program. This is where the big efforts are done and the big gains are made. I knew if I could get through this part then I'd be mostly there as there were four 32km runs in these 8 weeks. Over the course of these runs the improvement flowed: from 5.16m/k for the first 32k effort right down to 4.45m/k for the last one.

Thrown in another bout of sickness, my fastest City to Surf in six years, a couple of good track sessions and this segment had a bit of everything. Importantly though, I came through it in good form, injury free and in good health. Only the taper to follow!

Marathon Program (Weeks 14-16)
The final three weeks of the program is the taper period, time to freshen up and peak before the race. For me it also signalled the onset of more sickness. What started out as tightness in my chest has now developed into a nasty throat infection, runny nose and a dose of antibiotics. Not exactly what I was hoping for.

I've had some great runs in there too, including a good 21km over the last half of the marathon course a couple of weeks back. So here I am two days out from race day with nothing to do but rest.

Of course, I could not have reached this point without the support and inspiration of so many people. I have already mentioned Kim who inspired me to take on this quest; and my good friend Roger who has not only supplied a target time for me to beat, but has more importantly supported/sledged me along the way. Thanks mate! To my mate Andy, I promise to Go Hard or Go Home. What would Jens do, eh?

To my work colleagues, neighbours and friends who have heard me endlessly rabbit on about this race for more than six months. I appreciate your good humour in listening to me. Rest assured, it is almost at an end now.

To my fellow bloggers, you have each provided more inspiration, encouragement and laughs than you can imagine. Your stories of struggle, achievement, good times (and bad) have more than once made me wonder why I have bothered to publish my own drivel on the internet. (Even my wife doesn't bother to read my blog!) But I will think of each one of you at some time during the race and draw upon your efforts as motivation for my own. Thanks!
Finally, to my family: Fiona, Brooke and Keira. You remain the most important thing in the world to me and I would not be here without your love and support. Thank you. Brooke, I am sorry you won't be able to run the final 200m with me as you normally do in my races. Perhaps just as well. Might be a tad embarrassing to be outrun by a five year old proudly proclaiming to have "crushed her dad like a paper cup!"

I'll let you all know on Sunday how it went.
Paul :-)

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Not the preferred title for a blog post three days before the marathon but one which actually pleases me as it means that I at least have a fighting chance of getting to the start line feeling ok.

After spending this week getting progressively worse I finally managed to see a doctor today. And the marathon gods smiled on me a little as this doc was himself a marathoner and knew what I was going through, what I am going to go through (!) and what I needed.

So I am on the drugs now and am happy about that. A day of rest at home tomorrow (I have a very understanding boss too); easy Saturday - then the big race.

This morning I went out for a 5km run which I did in 23.40min (4.44m/k). I felt very ragged, far from smooth and with no rhythm at all. Not the best final run I could have but not really of much concern as I just wanted to roll my legs over.

Now to Sunday!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Farewell to the Track

In preparation for the marathon this weekend I have run down at the Moorabbin Athletics Track 22 times this year. More than 130km. Over 320 laps. Any way you look at it ... a lot! Mostly in the dark. Very often windy. Sometimes with unexpected canine company. Rarely with any other runners.

Tonight was my last session there (for a while at least) and it felt kinda strange. Like saying goodbye to a friend for a while. As it was, this 'friend' served up a bit of everything. Plenty of wind, the odd spot of drizzle, and a few fast laps. A reasonably good summation of our relationship this year!

The main set today was:
6 x 400m (1.28/1.31/1.27/1.28/1.26/1.24) (400m RI)

Did this whilst still battling my throat lurgies.

Happy with these times.

One more run then race.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Consistency and My 100 Runs

One of the hallmarks of my return to running this year has been some proper consistency. Week after week I have recorded my three planned runs with only an occasional miss due to extreme illness. As more than one friend has pointed out - imagine if you had trained like this 20 years ago. Hmmm, I wonder.

Today I clocked up my 100th Run for the year with over 1200km covered. This year is now as big (by total km's) as the last five combined. (Says more about the last five than this one in all reality!) But no wonder the results have come.

Today's run was 16km at marathon pace (4.38m/k). I have not been able to overcome this minor chest infection and it was just plain annoying today. I feel like it is holding me back about 5% and no amount of magic potions seems to get rid of it. As long as it gets no worse I'll be happy.

Other than that and a minor left calf strain the run was good. Nice conditions, sunny with a light wind. And a small neg split. All is good.

Total run: 16km in 1:13.39 hrs (4.36m/k)
Lap 1 36.53 (-/4.35/4.34/4.35/4.32/4.36/4.41/4.45/-)
Lap 2 36.46 (-/4.41/4.37/4.34/4.32/4.31/4.33/4.38/-)

Saw the first weather forecast for next Sunday (race day) too:
Mostly sunny. Winds northeasterly averaging up to 25 km/h.
Min 7. Max 22.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A final tempo run

These tempo runs have variously been fantastic, uplifting experiences or outright disasters during this prep. Today was the third time I had run this particular set: 10km with 5km in the middle at short tempo [aka hard] pace. The tally stood one great run and one disaster. I am feeling a little sore in the throat and tight in the chest right now, so what would the decider be??

In short - a winner! Not exactly sure how much of a winner as my watch ran out of recording memory (100-laps and I have none free!) But, as I glanced down each km I could see about four and a quarter minutes flashing by so it was aroud 21.15min for the fast 5km which was exactly where I wanted to be.

I am really counting down now. Only four more runs till THE BIG ONE. I am nervous as all heck. Every day I pass by the MCG going to/from work and I just stare at it. We have a big date, a rendevouz. I just hope we will be nice to each other.

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