Monday, May 07, 2012

Still running - blogging somewhere else got a bit busy there, and stuff happened.

Anyway, I am still running, it's actually going pretty well, and I'm making my return to the road marathon in August at the Brisbane Running Festival - good chance of a sub 3, too...

I have resumed blogging, but using the facilities at Coolrunning Australia - you can find my blog at:

Hope to see you there.

I won't be deleting this blog - it's too good a record of the work I needed to do to run 2:48, I refer back to it from time to time.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Weekend update

- decided to bring proposed rest day from Monday next week forward to today. Swimming lesson in the evening
- slow, heavy legged 6.7k run done around the local neighbourhood (so some good climbs) in 35 minutes and little enthusiasm, although seemed to improve as the run went on
- total cycled just under 65km in about 2 hours 20, basically rode from home to group ride start, then the group ride, stopped for coffee, and then rode home. Weird combination of legs being tired and yet quite strong.

Total distance cycled this week is around 225k, which is probably my best ever week on the bike.

Also completed three sets of my core exercises during the week (Mon, Wed, Fri). I will post my routines at some point in the not too distant future.

Weight seems to have dropped a little (maybe 1-2kg since 13/1) but body fat % seems to have fallen 2%, which is pleasing and definitely a positive trend. Definitely looking leaner, core exercises definitely producing definition around the ab region which is a nice plus!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Mid week

- early evening 6.2k run, 2 laps of neighbourhood loop, 29:15 with slightly faster second lap. Pleased I got out, really didn't feel like it, and indeed headed out with the intention of only doing one lap
- morning 51k ride, including failed attempt at Mt Coot-tha (quads still stuffed) and River loop to city, just under two hours
- afternoon, just over 18k straight home from work, fairly grindy, just under 45 minutes

Monday, January 18, 2010


So, haven't posted. Lazy, busy aaaaaaaaaaand so on. Had considered pulling the pin on this, but might be a good record of thoughts on how things are going.

2010's gradually being planned out. Current schedule
- Brisbane RoadRunners events. Try to do these, for both running and social purposes. So far so good, two for two
- bike events, Mt Coot-tha Challenge and Ipswich 100 (miles) in March
- Glasshouse, most likely the 50k in May and possibly the 100k in September. Sadly our team won't be appearing at the Kokoda Challenge this year. Having a bit of a sniff around for potential teams, but a bit unfussed about it at the moment
- Brisbane to Gold Coast 100 bike event in October. Managed to crack 3 hours for this in '09 which was pleasing as I didn't think I was in particularly good shape
- possibly some triathlon club events late in the year

Accordingly, decided to really hammer myself in January to set up a bit of a platform for planned events in March (two bike rides) and May (Glasshouse 50k). Haven't had a drink since Jan 2, been working hard on core strength. Back/hip are still playing up when I run, but have a bit more control over it now - just a fact of life, suck it up.

Looking at the training diary, done the following this year:
Sun Jan 3 - 5k road race (run) Brisbane Road Runners 21:49. Pleasing, thought I might have been around 22:30 shape
Mon Jan 4 - 77k bike ride, just under 3 hours. Yes, I stopped for coffee (at 56k)
Tue Jan 5 - short running intervals session (about 4k, 20 minutes all up), kind of 100-200-300 pyramid thing. Long grass, just mucking around really.
Wed Jan 6 - a bit over 30k on the bike first thing in the morning around the local suburbs, for about an hour and quarter, including some good climbs
Thu Jan 7 - 6.2k run around the local neighbourhood, just under half an hour. Got a good little 3.1k circuit with some good climbs
Fri Jan 8 - (well earned) rest day
Sat Jan 9 - 86k on the bike (broken into four rides with short breaks in between), just under 3 1/4 hours, including my cycling group
Sun Jan 10 - Just under 8k trail run in a bit under 45 minutes (hilly) at the back of the Enoggerra Reservoir
Mon Jan 11 - rest day
Tue Jan 12 - rode 38k to work including climbing Mt Coot-tha in just under 1h45m, then 22k home in a little under an hour
Wed Jan 13 - 6.2k run around the local neighbourhood, bit quicker than the previous week
Thu Jan 14 - rode just under 50k to work in just under 2h, then 19k home in a little over an 50 minutes. Swimming lesson early evening
Fri Jan 15 - short running intervals session (about 3.2k, 15minutes all up), just 100-200s
Sat Jan 16 - just under 29k on the bike in a little under an hour with my cycling group (easy ahead of a race on Sunday)
Sun Jan 17- 7.5k race (was meant to be 7, but there was a problem with the course) in just under 32 minutes. Was about 30 seconds faster through 5k than a fortnight prior and just under half an hour through 7 which was my target. Swimming in the afternoon - just repeating some drills from the lesson on Thursday.
Mon Jan 18 - 110k on the bike in a little over 4 hours, including 91k around Brisbane's River Loop at just over 28km/h all by myself. Was wrecked on the 20k ride home, quads started playing up at about 80k or so. Quite hot late in the ride.

This will the basic two week structure for a while, working around my fortnightly RDO. It will basically look like this:
M (RDO) - Long ride M Rest Day
T Interval or 3-9k run T Ride to work/home (inc Mt Coot-tha)
W Ride to work/home (inc Mt Coot-tha) W Interval or 3-9k run
T Interval or 3-9k run. Swimming T Ride to work/home. Swimming
F Rest day F Interval or 3-9k run/swimming
S Long ride including group ride S Group ride only
S Trail run, add10-20m each run. Swim S BRRC race

Mods will need to be made as weeks vary, but that's basically the structure.
So yeah, been smashing it a bit. Feeling better and leaner for it, be interesting to see where we are at the end of January.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

100 in the Bank

Must confess I didn't do anything through the week - combination of sinus troubles after the dust storms that hit most of the Australian east coast, plus a change in work locations/duties.

Anyway, got up at some FMS-forsaken hour on Saturday morning, got ready and after wandering around aimlessly for half an hour or so finally forced myself out the door, into a dark and humid Brisbane morning.

Actually felt okay, and had a fairly strong morning. Pretty similar to last week, except the group ride was a bit shorter and the ride home was a bit longer, so I managed to clock up just over 100k averaging a little over 29km/h. Last 20k was a bit of a struggle, every time I stood up it felt like the quads wanted to cramp, although they never did.

So, longer than last week and the speed up a bit. The Gold Coast 100k ride is next week, and the course basically flat, so it should be a good solid ride. I managed to ride the Ipswich 100 at just under 31km/h over a harder course and I was probably a little heavier and less fit, so something a little faster than that would be good, although there around 10 times the number of riders so the start will be congested!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Pre-Gold Coast 100 cram

Back to the usual Saturday morning ride, trying to cram some miles in before the Gold Coast ride on October 11.

Usual format - leave at some absurd early morning hour, ride to Toowong to meet a mate, ride a loop around the uni and Chelmer, back to meet the main grop at Indooroopilly/St Lucia, do the group ride (lap of Chelmer, Tennyson, Yeerongpilly, Yeronga, up the Corso to Dutton Park and then up Highgate Hill and then down to Hill End, up to Montague Road and finishing up at the cafe strip at Southbank. Rode home through Highgate Hill, Dutton Park and Fairfield before cutting west through Tennyson to hit Oxley Road and make my way down to Oxley and across to home.

Covered around 88km for the morning at around 28km/h average or so. Quads pretty much shut down at about 80km, making the last of the ride a bit uncomfortable, but overall went okay.

Tossing up whether to go for a ride or run tomorrow. Heck, might even be both.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

After the dust clears...

Was planning to run on Wed afternoon, but with the dust storm rolling through Brisbane there was no way I was going to head out in that - memories of January 2004 in Sydney when bushfire smoke shrouded the city. I went out for a run in that and was coughing up soot for a week - no thanks.

So, back on the indoor trainer this evening, resting HR 42, weight 82.8 (down a kilo on Tuesday?). Pretty similar session to Tuesday, with a couple of little variations - just wante to spend a little more time on Level 5, rather than spin myself silly @ 120 on 4 and 5:
Time Interval Level Cadence
0:00:00 0:05:00 1 Easy
0:05:00 0:05:00 2 Easy
0:10:00 0:01:00 3 90
0:11:00 0:01:00 2 Easy
0:12:00 0:01:00 3 100
0:13:00 0:01:00 2 Easy
0:14:00 0:01:00 3 110
0:15:00 0:01:00 2 Easy
0:16:00 0:01:00 4 90
0:17:00 0:01:00 2 Easy
0:18:00 0:01:00 4 100
0:19:00 0:01:00 2 Easy
0:20:00 0:01:00 4 110
0:21:00 0:01:00 2 Easy
0:22:00 0:01:00 5 90
0:23:00 0:01:00 2 Easy
0:24:00 0:01:00 5 100
0:25:00 0:01:00 2 Easy
0:26:00 0:01:00 5 110
0:27:00 0:01:00 2 Easy
0:28:00 0:01:00 4 90
0:29:00 0:01:00 2 Easy
0:30:00 0:01:00 4 100
0:31:00 0:01:00 2 Easy
0:32:00 0:01:00 4 110
0:33:00 0:01:00 2 Easy
0:34:00 0:01:00 3 90
0:35:00 0:01:00 2 Easy
0:36:00 0:01:00 3 100
0:37:00 0:01:00 2 Easy
0:38:00 0:01:00 3 110
0:39:00 0:01:00 2 Easy
0:40:00 0:01:00 3 120
0:41:00 0:03:00 2 Easy
0:44:00 0:02:00 2 Easy
0:46:00 Total

28.15k according to the bike computer, average HR 125 (down a bit on Tuesday, cooler conditions I suspect), peak HR 170. Good hit out.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

On The Road To Nowhere

Well, 45 minutes on the indoor bike trainer in the garage, which amounts to the same thing.

I've abandoned plans to do long, steady state sessions on the indoor mag trainer - I just can't do it, even with some sort of video distraction. I find it even worse than the treadmill in terms of boredom factor. Doubtless, if there is an afterlife, there is an indoor trainer sitting in a particularly airless and hot part of hell with my name on it. Probably with an uncomfortable seat.

Anyway, with the Gold Coast 100 coming up in a couple of weeks, thought I'd keep the theme of crammed preparations going by restarting my interval training on the aforementioned indoor trainer. I find I can do up to about an hour of these sessions, as long as I keep the reps between 1 to 5 minutes.

Took a quick resting heart rate (43 - good, considering it's late afternoon after a day at work on my feet), weight (83.8kg. Oops), so as to establish a baseline for the coming months. Whacked on the heart rate monitor and fired up the trainer.

I use the fifth gear on the rear derailleur, and the big cog on the front - a cadence of 90 gives around 30km/h. Effort at a cadence works out to low 40's or so, which feels commensurate with the effort.

So, the session went as follows (level refers to the level on the mag trainer:
Time Interval Level Cadence
0:00:00 0:05:00 1 Easy
0:05:00 0:05:00 2 Easy
0:10:00 0:01:00 3 90
0:11:00 0:01:00 2 Easy
0:12:00 0:01:00 3 100
0:13:00 0:01:00 2 Easy
0:14:00 0:01:00 3 110
0:15:00 0:01:00 2 Easy
0:16:00 0:01:00 3 120
0:17:00 0:01:00 2 Easy
0:18:00 0:01:00 4 90
0:19:00 0:01:00 2 Easy
0:20:00 0:01:00 4 100
0:21:00 0:01:00 2 Easy
0:22:00 0:01:00 4 110
0:23:00 0:01:00 2 Easy
0:24:00 0:01:00 4 120
0:25:00 0:01:00 2 Easy
0:26:00 0:01:00 5 90
0:27:00 0:01:00 2 Easy
0:28:00 0:01:00 5 100
0:29:00 0:01:00 2 Easy
0:30:00 0:01:00 4 90
0:31:00 0:01:00 2 Easy
0:32:00 0:01:00 4 100
0:33:00 0:01:00 2 Easy
0:34:00 0:01:00 4 110
0:35:00 0:01:00 2 Easy
0:36:00 0:01:00 3 90
0:37:00 0:01:00 2 Easy
0:38:00 0:01:00 3 100
0:39:00 0:01:00 2 Easy
0:40:00 0:01:00 3 110
0:41:00 0:04:00 2 Easy
0:45:00 Finish

Average heart rate 133 (inc warm up and cool down), peak 173. Pretty warm in Brisvegas today, so sweated up a storm.

We're on our way.

Oh yeah, the massage went okay. Hips are a little rotated and the right hammie niggle was a little more serious than I initially thought, but feels like it's sorted. Back in three weeks.

I use Kath Phillips at Toowong Village Physiotherapy Centre (but she also practices in the city now), in case anyone was wondering.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Back in the saddle

Had a pretty self-indulgent week post-Glasshouse. Oh well.

Intended to ride Saturday, but ended up staying in Toowong on Friday night, and was all set to go, to the extent of being dressed and poised with the bike at 4:50am, when I realised I felt a bit 'exposed'. No helmet! Frak!

So, after an offer from my usual riding companion on Saturday afternoon, I lined up at about 6:30 Sunday morning for what had been promised as a 'long slow ride' of around 2 hours. A couple of the Saturday group somehow got involved, so the long slow ride involved leaving Toowong for an immediate attack on Mt Coot-tha (failed to make it to Channel 10 by about 400 metres) and then a lap of the river loop - basically back to Indooroopilly via the NE end of Chapel Hill, over the bridge to Chelmer and then Tennyson, and up the east bank of the river to West End for coffee (as you do) and then back to the start at Toowong. Did a touch over a marathon (42.2k) at reasonable pace considering the mountain climb at the start.

Got a few niggles (left hammie, quads, etc) and a massage lined up tomorrow that will hurt. Oh well, suck it up. Back on track now.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Glasshouse 50k (east course)

Off to Beerburrum State School for the 50k run of the big weekend of the Glasshouse Trails calendar, which includes the main event, the 100 miler, a 100km, the 50, and on Sunday a 30 and a 12. I was travelling with the leader of our Kokoda Challenge, who although training well of late had copped a stomach bug during the week, and a friend from her gym who had never gone past 21km. They would be in for an interesting day!

There had been a fair bit of toing and froing the week prior about the start time and location, which was originally intended to be at Checkpoint 8 at 10am, about 11km WSW of the school which was the finish point. It was a little inconvenient but we had planned appropriately, but it became apparent that the beleagured race director was under considerable pressure to change the start time and location.

I'll refer to the checkpoints, which can be accessed here (PDF file). Note this shows the original 50k course. The new one went Checkpoint 2, 2A, 3A, 4, 5, 6 (via south route), 5 (via north loop), 1A, 3A, 2. This is my Garmin plot.

So, the start time was changed to 7am, now starting and finishing at the school. This was a better solution for a number of reasons - earlier start, interaction between us and the 100km/100 milers, start and finish at the same location, good tour of the east course, which means between this event and May's 50k I've seen almost the whole course - but I'm a little annoyed that some people appear to have entered the event without planning transport to Checkpoint 8, and making plans to get back to that transport after finishing, and then managed to get the event changed to suit their needs, adding further load to the race director's already heavy workload and forcing those who had planned appropriately to change their plans.

To be fair and honest, it ended up being a lot more convenient, and to be frank, better, but the circumstances leading to the changes were not what I'd call ideal.

Anyway, caught up with a few people I knew at the start, and got ready. I wasn't taking the event super-seriously, feeling that I was a bit underdone post-Kokoda, but had trained well in the couple of weeks leading up to the event, and had had a good carb-load. I hadn't really formulated a race-plan, but thought something under 6 would be nice, and that something between 6 and 7 would be satisfactory.

So, after watching a few of 100 mile boys come through, we started. From the start at Checkpoint 2 (?!) it was up the concrete path to the top of Mt Beerburrum. This was horribly steep, and my legs were fearfully stiff. On the way down, dumb-dumb here stood on some leaves on the inside of one of the hairpins and become very unbalanced, and after stumbling down the path for 20 metres, finally managed to fall. Fortunately I was wearing gloves and fell forwards, but one of my bottles came out and fell into the scrub, so I had to get that as well as endure the humliation of falling on the only paved section of a 50k trail run. I'm fine, but I do look like I've been in a fight with a small wildcat, perhaps a serval. Hands are fine, though, thanks to the gloves.

I won't go into too much detail about the course, but it is generally flatish to rolling, except for the horror sections in the loop from Checkpoint 5 to 6 and back to 5, which were steep, in very broken up condition with huge ruts, mud in a lot of places and rocks in others - really jungle like in a few places.

In terms of the event itself, I felt in great shape pretty much up until Checkpoint 5, where I'd been holding between 9.5 to 10km/h very comfortably. I was thinking sub 6 was in the bag.

At Checkpoint 5, I made mistakes. I took a mouthful of Endura (mistake) and half a cup of Coke (huge mistake). I came out of the checkpoint and within 5 minutes felt oversugared and like my heart was racing. I felt nauseous pretty much all the way through the 5-6-5 loop, and coming out of the off-road loop on to Connection Road I was pretty much out on my feet, and had resigned myself to pulling out on my return visit to Checkpoint 5. My legs were gone, I felt crook, I was done. The final climb up on to the road felt like my final effort - I had to stop twice on the way up.

I managed to self-talk myself into thinking that once I got on to the road (unsealed) I'd probably feel a bit better, and logically it had to be downhill for a while (going on the profile of the ridge I could see as I climbed) so I might be able to get it together. Not far behind me, Tuttle emerged as well - he'd been 3-400 metres in front between Checkpoints 3 and 4 and disappeared - I'd assumed he'd gone ahead during a section in deep scrub, but he'd missed a left turn that I must confess I nearly missed, so had done about an extra 1 - 1.5k or so in getting back on track.

He said he was stuffed as well, also being underprepared after Comrades. I think the combination of seeing a friendly face and getting back on the roadway lifted me to the point where I could see myself finishing, and so off we trudged, walking punctuated with stiff little jogs here and there.

We ground it out and managed to jog the last 500 metres or so to preserve some dignity, crossing the line in just over 6 hours 31 minutes.

I guess the time was pretty much what I'd expected, but I'm disappointed in how it was achieved - some dumb errors plus falling for the sucker punch of feeling good early.

Having had a good carb-load I really should have laid off any additional sugar sources until much later in the event. The Endura they serve doesn't agree with me, I mixed my Staminade too richly (although you can get around that with appropriate supplementary water) and I should have gone with my small Camelbak rather than my Fuel Belt. The Coke was a massive error, and is now banned.

I was underdone, but I knew that. I don't know that going out more slowly in the first 20 would have made much of a difference - I don't know how much energy I would have conserved, although I could have walked some of the uphills early on.

In terms of training and preparation for next year:
- lose 10kgs. Seriously.
- try to do more 'solid state', constant running. Training at Gold Creek Reservoir is well and good, but from a running point of view it becomes an interval session. Looking at the area, South Boundary Road seems to be a better bet to actually run on, and I need to look at doing actual long runs there rather than just time on feet/distance covered.
- continue with one speed session a week, plus an interval session on the bike just for cardio fitness
- for future events, take a few days annual leave beforehand, and get a massage. I think half the reason I felt tight, and later quite weary in the legs was that I'd been on my feet on concrete surfaces in the week prior. My calves were particularly tight.
- think a bit more about my nutritional strategy through the event.

Oh well, two finishes at Glasshouse know I've seen most of the course. Two coffee mugs, I won a watch in the lucky dip, I learned some things and have some things to address. A mixed day for my travelling companions - my Kokoda leader had her stomach bug catch up with her at about 25k or so, and she had to DNF, whilst our 'anything north of 21k debutant' did very well, finishing in around 7 1/2 hours, and was rightly quite pleased with himself. It'll make his first road marathon a doddle!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Mid-week bash

Haven't done much since Sunday's run. Back's been a bit angry, probably as a result of smashing the downhills in my vain attempt to catch my training partner. Did some exercises on Tuesday which seemed to help.

Also started carb-loading as per the AIS plan, and feel enormous. And gassy. So very gassy.

Finally got out for a bit of a run around my 8k or so course around the back of Mt Coot-tha. I'd meant to go yesterday, but forgot my runners. D'oh. Finall got out there this afternoon around 4, in very pleasant conditions.

My little course starts at the Bielby Road entrance to the Mt Coot-tha west trail section, and heads west along the Bellbird Trail to Gap Creek Road Reserve, through the everpresent dust cloud that covers Gap Creek Road and into the trail complex there, towards the Boscombe Road exit where you pick up the Curlew Circuit Trail and then head immediately left into the Ironbark Trail, which you continue to follow north until it dips into a little bridge over a creek and cut left up the hill on to the Coucal Trail which takes you to the northern most part of the gravel section of Gap Creek Road. You follow the now sealed Gap Creek Road up two particularly nasty hills into Highwood Road and then hook left into the 1 mile predominantly downhill Quail Trail which plugs into the north end of the grassed section of Gap Creek Reserve. You run south through the reserve, resume the Quail Trail except now you're heading east, back to Bielby Road.

The Garmin typically reads around 8.2k or so. It has some good climbs, but is runnablem, and indeed I 'ran' the whole lot of it tonight. Managed a little under 44 minutes tonight, which is my best time around there, but I haven't done this course since before Kokoda.

Truth be told this was kind of a conscience thing - I was feeling a bit guilty about not doing that much in recent weeks. So we're going okay, just a bit concerned about what the back 15k or so will be like at Glasshouse on Saturday.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

A PB, and still beaten home...

Little to report over the last week - took the week off after smashing myself up last weekend, and work was pretty physical which didn't help much. Still, felt like I had earned it.

Last week, my training partner proposed a challenge - I would give her a 45 minute start, and we would see who would complete the anti-clockwise version of Pinnacles first. Her best time around there is about 2:42, mine 1:54. So, basically, to be first home, you had to do a PB. Seemed a good race simulation, with the added bonus of not knowing where the other was.

We were joined by the third member of our Kokoda Challenge squad, who was the one who actually completed the event with me. I think she'd been suffering a bit with the old post-event let down, but news during the week that she was pretty much qualified for Six Foot has apparently perked her up and given her new focus. She is very strong and should go very well there - some work to do, but we're six months away...

So, they set off at 5:30, which is when I was getting up. I arrived a bit after 6 on a slightly overcast, cool and humid morning, got set up and did some stretching, and at pretty much 6:15 on the dot, I went.

Managed to jog the first mile or so of what is basically all climbing from the start. The first target is the old gate at around 10.3k or so, and when pushing I'm generally looking to hit this gate in under 65 minutes - today it was about mid 63, which is a touch outside my best to this point (long term goal is to get through there in under an hour) but I knew was only a matter of seconds, so well in touch.

The next target is the second gate, at around 12.6 or so. There are some nasty climbs, and some good downhills through this short stretch, and I'd normally be a little over 16 minutes through here, today it was a bit under 15 minutes as I was starting to imagine catching my quarry. Amazing what a little competition will do.

From there, the course pitches and rolls a lot, with some of the tougher climbs, but also with some of the sharper downhills. The good thing today was that with the rain on Friday and Saturday the surface was much more stable so I was able to attack the downhills much more confidently, even sections I'd normally crab down.

So, on top of the 2 minutes I'd gained between gates 1 and 2 on my best around here, I picked up another 3 1/2 minutes over the last 5 1/2 km, desperately pushing to see if I could run down my opponents. I feel a lot faster on good quality downhills now - even the small amount of speedwork seems to have helped my form here.

Into the last stretch it became apparent the girls had beaten me home but it was still all to play for, with a major personal goal of sub 1:50 around here attainable. I made it home with a bit to spare, at 1:49:22, so a great result, the outcome of the handicap race notwithstanding. Credit where credit's due - the two girls had huge PBs today and should be very pleased with themselves. The comment was made that they were dawdling along at one point when one of them raised the spectre of my bearing down on them (must have been around when I was starting) and mentioned that I wouldn't be slowing to chat or showing any mercy. So they motored off...

Which I wouldn't have, and didn't. That's the point, right? Competition improves the breed.

This should become a regular part of our training - it worked really well, and to be frank I'm not 5 minutes faster than 10 days ago. Just properly motivated!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The compulsory faith-tester

At about the 5k point of the second lap I knew it was going to really, really suck. Problem was, there was still around two hours to go, I'd made an error just taking a bottle of sports drink and leaving the Camelbak in the car after the first lap and I suspected I was dehydrated...

It all started out well enough - met the leader of our Kokoda Challenge team at around 5am to start a pretty relaxed anticlockwise lap of the Pinnacles course at Gold Creek Reservoir. It was very humid at the start, and it seemed as if heat was radiating from the very earth itself. I was immediately sweaty on the initial climb.

The norwester was very strong along the top of the course, the leaf litter on the trails a testament to how strong the winds have been during the past week - if you're out on the Coo-tha or Brisbane Forest Trails in the next week, I'd be very wary of branches coming down - the breeze was just cooling, but was strong enough to prevent conversation as it blew threw the trees. There is plenty of scorched earth about after burning off in the past fortnight.

We got through the lap in comfortably under three hours. I said farewell to my training partner, dropped my Camelbak at the car and headed out to do an anticlockwise lap (basically the other way). I was strugging after the initial climb, and the legs were as dead as wood. I started wanting water rather than sports drink, and kicked myself for leaving the bladder behind.

At about 4k in saw my first snake for the season - I think it was a black snake, with a black back and around 3 metres long, but had really unusual side markings that were a really bright/yellow green. He was crossing the trail, draped almost completely crossing, and it was with mild interest he watched me run around the back of him.

Black snakes are pretty easy to deal with - just don't go near the pointy end.

It pretty much got worse from there and even the gentle jogs down hill became hard work. Funnily enough, the climbs weren't too bad but I suspect it was the complete lack of attack on my part doing that.

To give some perspective I finished the second lap about a minute quicker than I've walked it in. I was just grateful to get in the car and go.

On the plus side, I've knocked over a hard 54k in less than twenty four hours, so hopefully that'll cap off what I need for Glasshouse.

Saturday, August 29, 2009


So begins the last weekend of serious effort before Glasshouse in a fortnight's time. With recovery from Kokoda taking a little longer than it probably needed to [:)] it's been the training equivalent of cramming before final exams.

After a physically hard week of work, which including a full day Wednesday, then backing up from 10pm to 4am packing up a job in Fortitude Valley, a day recovering (in total zombie mode) Thursday and then moving the office on Friday, it's been a weird few days.

Hit the Gold Creek Reservoir at around 3pm in warm conditions and pounded around the clockwise course, as opposed to the usual anticlockwise course we've been doing. I'm of the opinion that the clockwise version is harder than the clockwise, as the longer gentle downhill sections you get going anticlockwise aren't quite runnable (well, in my current state) and I think at my present level of fitness it's 5 to 7 minutes slower.

Pushed reasonably hard for a couple of minutes over 2 hours, which is about 10 minutes slower than my best going anticlockwise.

Pulled up okay, and heading out at sparrow's tomorrow morning to do 36.

Like I said, cramming...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Two wheel commute

As mentioned, no running/hiking today, 'just' the commute to and from work. Left at some ridiculous hour, covered the just over 30k distance in about 1:06 and felt reasonably decent. Roads are reasonably quiet at that time, mostly just buses and tradies, and everyone pretty much keeps to themselves. S'good.

The afternoons, however...gah. After a pretty physically tough day I gave up on alternative routes and just took Sandgate Road, which provided a rolling fest of trucks, buses, Mum's in 4WD's, utes, vans and so on. The added bonus was riding pretty much into a headwind the whole way and it was with much relief that I finally rolled into the driveway.

Still, 60k and 2+ hours on the bike - good base. Problem is, I've got to head out at about 9:30pm to go back to work for a few hours.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Hot Rep

Ducked into Chapel Hill Park, just off the Western Freeway, on the way home for a few 'experimental' shorter reps. Experimental for a few reasons:
- I'd not run there before, so had no idea of the surface condition. It was actually pretty decent, and not too hard despite a near complete absence of rain for a few months
- I had a feeling I could set up reps of around 400 metres in a straight line if I went diagonally across the three rugby/soccer grounds and cricket oval. Went pretty close, think around 360-370 metres
- I wasn't sure if I could get a little session before the soccer kids started practice. They were starting to mass as I left
- I'm not fit, so I knew there wouldn't be many reps, and they would suck.

I did a short warm up, and then four reps. The first and third reps were into a pretty strong wind, and were pretty ordinary, the second and fourth not so bad. Did a little cool down, and went home. Very warm conditions, around 35 according to the car, but at least the humidity was down.

My hip/back was pretty grumpy initially but seemed better after the session, and seems okay right now. Plan is to swap between longer reps up at Bielby Road and this session, and gently build the number of reps up, just to see how the back responds.

The cardio won't go astray in any event.

Tomorrow's challenge - commute across Brisbane by bicycle. Done it before, the tricky bit is working out how to get home without using Sandgate Road or Gympie/Lutwyche Road.

Monday, August 24, 2009

So - a bunch of stuff happened....

Been a lot happening on the home front, so that combined with laziness basically meant the blog fell to the backburner...and then down the back of the stove...where it sat for a while...and I knew it was there the whole time but never quite got around to fishing it out from there...and now I have...


Okay - Kokoda was an interesting experience. As per what I put up at Coolrunning:

Yeah, pleased to have got home before the sun came up again! I reckon if I'd been solo, I'd have given 20 hours a big fright, but it's a team event and I think a certain spirit needs to be maintained. As I mentioned above my remaining team member (Claire, who could make a really good ultra-runner if she decided to - she should do around 6 hours at Six Foot if she decides to give it a go) and I made a big effort to help the two members of our 'adopted' team get to the end as a thank you for letting us join them at the environmental centre after the loop. I must admit I got a bit teary when Matt, who had really been struggling, put his hand on my shoulder to say thanks and that there was no way he'd have finished if we hadn't stayed with them.

Long and boring story follows...

We lost two of our team members, one at about midday and the other mid-evening. First to drop out at about 25k or so, our team leader, seemed to get really knocked about by the first couple of big climbs - very pale, and a lot sweatier than you'd have thought in the circumstances. She'd been diagnosed with very low iron levels during the week and said later she hadn't had a great week physically, so whether that was playing on her mind I don't know. She had certainly been doing the training and indeed had completed the event the previous year.

The second to drop out was her husband, mid-evening (at around 55-60km), had been battling with stomach issues for a while. He has had a bit of a battle with stomach dramas since the start of the year, but I suspect he may have made some nutritional errors, using a slightly diluted sports drink in his bladder pack (e.g. Camelback) rather than plain water with sports drink supplementing fluid intake - i.e. I think he may have been oversugared. You could probably make an argument he was underprepared - it had been a concern of mine that he hadn't done enough specific training, even though as a gym owner/fitness instructor he has excellent fitness/endurance and kicks my arse on a road bike.

We'd been on target for something around the 20-21 hour mark, and if it had just been the other girl and I, we would have done it, but you can't have two on a team out in the field, has to be a minimum of three (safety reasons - if something happens, one stays with the person in trouble while the other goes and gets help. Very sensible, and it is worth remembering the background to the event). We managed to join up with another team who had lost their team leader at the point where we lost our second team member, so there was the five of us.

These guys had a similar target but seemed to get slower as the event wore on - suspect they were probably a bit underdone for the time they were targetting. Over the last stage one guy in particular started to get into a bit of strife and we think vomited a couple of times, so we were in a position where we were trying to keep them moving, and also keep on eye on him. He seemed to come good over the last hour or so, and they were very grateful for the assistance.

So, the remaining team member and I finished feeling very strong, indeed I think could have done another 20 or 30 after the finish. I had a couple of wobbly moments out there (as you will over 23 hours!) - the hills were quite a bit steeper and longer than I expected (the first two were a real "holy crap, what have I got myself into?!?"), and I had a moment around mid-race distance between the hall and the environmental centre where I didn't think I could make it to the top of one hill, and felt like I couldn't do another if I'd had to, and another stint at around 3 in the morning where I was almost asleep on my feet and felt quite light headed - took a punt that it was lowish blood sugar, had a muesli bar and was as good as gold almost immediately.

Great experience, though, and a very well run event for a very worth cause. Worth a look for someone looking to dabble in ultras (ahem, uh, yeah...).

Dunno how people can be out there for over 36 hours, though - frak me, that is a long time to be out there. I really didn't want to see the dawn again while we were still on the track. The night does seem to pass quickly, though - I reckon after going all day, the night goes quickly because your world is limited to the extent of your headlamp and there's much less visual information to process. There were some stunning views of the entire Gold Coast suburban strip lit up, though.
So, that was that. The pain in my foot turned out to be strained extensor ligaments, and that took a couple of weeks to come good.

So, next event is the Glasshouse 50k on September 12. I feel underprepared, although I did manage to get a couple of laps of the 18k Pinnacles course at Gold Creek Reservoir, Brookfield in last Thursday and Saturday (including cycling the 40k round trip on Saturday) plus another 14k hike/jog from Gold Creek Reservoir up to Mt Nebo Rd to the lookout, and back via Hell Hole Break (which includes a horrific climb up out of the river...).

Felt a little beaten up today so have given myself a day off. I'll endeavour to get up to the trails, possibly at Bielby Road, Kenmore Hills, and belt out some longer reps. Tried it last week and it seemed to free up some speed without too much drama for my back. Planning to commute to work (about 30k) on the bike on Wednesday, which gives some good impact-free endurance background, and possibly a lap of Pinnacles on Thursday evening. Planning 8k on Saturday (wil probably ride with my cycling group on Saturday morning) and a 36k hike/run (probably two laps of Pinnacles, one clockwise one anticlockwise) as a final smash up ahead of Glasshouse.

I should come clean now and admit a few things:
- my road running career is probably over. I'm finding that if I run more than twice in three days it is murder on my back, and I get bad referred pain into my right hip. I could probably get away with the odd road event here and there, but there's no way I could withstand ongoing road training
- I'm really loving the trail running
- I can feel the lure of ultras calling me (curse you Blue Dog!)

I have a few targets for 2010 - a return to Six Foot Track, the Glasshouse May 80k event, and a 100km TBA. I probably won't be fast, but I must admit the race element isn't particularly important at the moment - it's more about getting out there and taking on challenges.

Monday, May 25, 2009


RDO today, so I got out just before lunch to do a lap of the Pinnacles course around Gold Creek Reservoir. Well, that was the plan.

I hadn't done anything on the weekend. It was too wet and rain affected to ride on Saturday, and my back/hip were still pretty angry after Tuesday and Thursday's run, plus three straight days on my feet. Interesting how the back flares up if I'm just standing around - jumping in and out of cars, up and down ladders and general movement doesn't seem to worry it, improves it if anything.

The day was quite cool, and underfoot was still damp with the terrain showing signs of high volumes of flowing water having been through and quite a bit of land slip on the edges of the trail. I'd be very wary of going through there after high winds as it's more than likely a few gums are going to come down.

So, headed out, thinking maybe 2 hours would be okay. That was of course until I went straight on instead of left at about 2.25k, and didn't realise the error until I was almost at Mount Nebo Road. I had a couple of goes at trying to find the correct place to turn which generally involved side tracks down to piles of gravel under the two high voltage lines that run through the area. My little transgression ended up adding another eight kilometres to my hike.

Of course, since I'd planned to be out for two hours, I only had a 750ml bottle of sports drink (which in hindsight I mixed a bit rich) and a muesli bar with me, so things started to get a bit grim over the last hour or so and it went from a pleasant hike/jog to a seemingly endless death march, where every turn revealed yet another impossibly steep climb.

It was with more than a little relief I finally staggered to the gate, covering 26.64k in a bit over three and a quarter hours averaging around 8km/h. I was utterly spent, my legs quite painful, which made for an unpleasant drive back through Kenmore to the freeway and home (especially with wretched Moggill Road traffic and the kids coming home from school). I'm guessing I'm not quite as recovered from the two 50km's in two weeks as I thought I might have been last week.

I did console myself with the thought that this was one of those days you remember during the event you were training for, so that you can convince yourself you deserve a good result. It's worked before, it can work again.

Friday, May 22, 2009


With Brisbane having been inundated this week, and the area I would normally go trail running particularly affected, I haven't had a chance to hit the trails. I had visions of getting out for an hour last (Thu) night, but after being on my feet all day (which usually doesn't help the ol' back/nerve compression/hip thing, and yesterday was no exception) I really felt flat, disinterested and my legs felt lifeless and grindy. Turned around early to just do around 4k in a bit under 20 minutes - effort was fine, just felt like I was damaging myself.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Pretty much recovered

I had vague aspirations of a short spin session on the indoor trainer on Monday as some sort of recovery, but was pretty much exhausted during the day, to the extent that I was using the drives between jobs to snatch little 10 minute naps. Fortunately I wasn't driving. So I opted for a 45 minute nap instead. Slept like the dead Monday night.

Which reminds me of an old joke - I want to die peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather, not screaming in terror like his passengers. Badoom tish.

I digress.

I was pretty stiff in the legs during Monday, but had no soreness, and my feet, which were a bit blistered up on Sunday afternoon, actually came up pretty well and indeed today didn't really need the tape I put on them.

Felt pretty good today. Work involved a pretty big job plodding around a muddy construction site (kudos to the inventor of gumboots) but wasn't too strenuous. Felt pretty good on returning home and decided to bolt on the ol' Brooks Infinitis (in case anyone is wondering what road shoes I'm using at the moment) and do the "run for an hour but actually it's out for half an hour and see if I can negative split it home and usually I do so it isn't really" thing.

My usual route out from home to the Centenary Bike path is straight out the door and into an immediate 300 metre drag up a fairly steep climb (probably explains the negative split home). Felt pretty good on the climb and pushed reasonably hard to cover a bit over 6.4k in the first 30 minutes, turning around just after Counihan Road in Sinnamon Park (basically follow the bike path to the Brisbane River, then follow the river east). Pushed hard along the river and the bike path to Sinnamon Road to put some time in the bank before the tough climbs to Dandenong Road and Sumner Road. Managed to knock over 12.87k in 58:47, 4:34 pace according to the Garmin.

Pretty hard work coming home but just kept pushing. Funny how old memories return. Had some level of low grade pain in the hip on the way out, but it seemed to abate going up the hill. Bit hobbly now, but nothing unusual.

I'm currently having a think about medium to long term goals, and putting together some ideas about a running regimen, and how to fit cycling in around it. I'm convinced the long cycling rides have helped me retain endurance and some leg speed, and during this seeming return phase I would definitely like to keep it in there as it helps with both fitness and weight loss, and, I think, some injury prevention as it provides those benefits whilst not impacting too severely on the running muscles and back. Not to mention the social aspects.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Insert pun about stones and Glasshouses here

Well, that was a lot of fun.

After arising at an obscene 1:15am, I headed over to meet my fellow team members a bit before 2, and then headed north for Woodford. We had one drop out after copping the flu during the week, so it was just the two girls and myself. Eh, could be worse.

We arrived wide-eyed (coffee is awesome when you don't drink it much) and nervous at the Woodford pool a bit after three, registered, weighed in and got ready. There was a bit of a chat about directions (most of which went in one ear and out the other), and just after 4 am, under half a moon, Mars, a very bright Venus and the Milky Way, we plunged into the forest. Conditions were still, clear and quite cool (around 8-9 degrees).

I won't go into too much detail about the course and the race, since it was a training run. It is quite flat and sandy initially, working its way through the Beerburrum West State Forest to Glasshouse Woodford Road where the road rolls up and down to the first checkpoint and turn around on Millwood Road. You then head back down Glasshouse Millwood Road and head on to the path under the high voltage lines, where it starts to get interesting - or 'shiatty technical' as trail runners would describe it.

You then head down to McConnell Road and down to the twin loops around checkpoint 8, where we inadvertantly reversed them, doing the short 8b loop (with the big climb) first, then the long, 'technical' loop 8a second. It was a popular error!

From there, back up McConnell Road heading north into the forest and east for home.

We just had two goals for the day - stick together as a team, and finish under 8 hours (7:47 for the record). I felt very strong throughout the day, all the work around Mt Coot-tha paying off, with just some soreness in the last 7 or 8km (the sand not helping!). Of the two girls (Kokoda Challenge veterans) one finished very strongly, the second had to work hard in the last 20k but did a great job and finished well - she will take a lot mentally and physically from the event. I'll put it this way - she'll probably be back in September.

As, indeed, will I. I really enjoyed it. A great, well run event.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Early or late?

This brings back memories...

Is 1:40am early or late? I am insane.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

So, uh yeah....a 50k 'race' in the morning

Well, it's pretty much public knowledge that I make my long delayed return to racing with the Glasshouse 50k event tomorrow morning. It all began so innocently....(cue flashback sequence)

Background summary - joined gym in Brisbane, joined cycling group through invite of gym owner. Left gym but remained friends with gym owner through cycling. Gym owner's wife bit of a runner and knows of my running background (also works at gym), did Kokoda Challenge in 2008 in 29 hours, targetting 24 hours in 2009. Team member drops out in late March due to injury, I get a call from said gym owner asking if I'd be interested in joining the team. I say I'll try a couple of walks and hikes and see how it goes. Walks and hikes go okay, I accept. Subsequent training draws me in like a moth to a flame.

So, as part of training, she suggests doing the Glasshouse 50k as a team. I'm of course suffering delusions of potentially taking up ultra-marathoning, and think 'hey, this could be a great way to ease my way in' and approve.

So, there we go.

Much of my training has been focussed around Mt Coot-tha and the Gold Creek Reservoir. A visual summary would look like this:

So far so good. Highlights so far have included a 51k hike in about 7 1/2 hours, a 33k effort in 5:20 that finished in darkness, and a tour of the Pinnacles course. I hadn't done a lot of running, just some downhills and flats during hikes, but as part of 'sharpening' this week managed to push out a 10k in just under 50 minutes from home along the Centenary bike path to Jindalee and back, negative splitting up the hill, which was pleasing. The hip didn't really play up, I was kind of just aware of it. Seem to be reasonably strong at the moment, just need to lose some weight and work on the abs and lower back.

I think I had some good endurance and strength from the bike - I'd been average around 100-140k a week, including a 80-110k effort on Saturdays (although somewhat broken up) - so that's probably provided a good lead-in.

On the Kokoda Challenge: this event is coming up in mid-July, and is a 4 person 96k hike/run/whatever, Queensland's equivalent to the Oxfam Trailwalker I guess. The team's name is 16 Feet (I believe a reference to last year's 8 Feet team name).

We do need to raise some money, and I could really do with a hand here - just go here to donate. We'd really appreciate it - it is a very good cause. From their website:

Our Mission:

To promote the Kokoda Spirit, especially to the benefit of the youth of Australia.

Our Major Goals:

Raise public awareness of the importance of the 1942 Kokoda campaign to the Australian people.

Identify young Australians at a crossroads in their life and provide support to help them reach their potential.

Support the Kokoda community and the descendants of the Fuzzy Wuzzy angels.

Our Values:

Endurance: We believe that tests of endurance are a way to promote personal growth.

Courage: We support and encourage our people to stay the course even when times are tough.

Sacrifice: We are an organisation that is built on the sacrifice of volunteers and the community spirit this inspires.

Mateship: We believe in the value of teamwork and of providing support for each other.

Environment: We value the natural environment and aim for all our activities to have a minimal environmental impact.

Youth: We believe in the potential of our youth to create a positive future.

Our background

The Kokoda Challenge Association is a not for profit organisation that was formed by founder and Chairman, Doug Henderson in January 2005.

In July 2004, Doug was at an RSL conference when a guest speaker spoke of Australia's military history, in particular the battle of the Kokoda Track and the Pacific Campaign.

Doug, who has been at the forefront of Veterans issues for the past decade, was profoundly affected by what he heard and overcome by shame about the fact that so few Australians knew the real story of how significant the Kokoda military campaign was to Australia's history.

Doug was compelled to be involved in promoting awareness of the Kokoda Track and believed that incorporating young Australians was the key to raising the profile of the history of Kokoda.

The Kokoda Challenge Association was established in January 2005 with two main aims;

1. To educate youth and raise general public awareness of the gallant victory by Australian soldiers in 1942 on the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea – a victory which undoubtedly saved Australia from Japanese occupation.

2. To identify young Australians who are at a crossroad and support them through a 12 month community counsel – The Kokoda Challenge Youth Program. This requires the participants selected to undertake a 12 month commitment to a community program, designed and supported by the Kokoda Challenge Association, which encourages participants to develop self-awareness within the wider community and prepare them for the challenges of life. The Kokoda Challenge Youth Program culminates in the participants using the skills and training to undertake the challenge of walking the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea.

To enable to Kokoda Challenge Association to achieve these main aims it was decided that funds would be raised by conducting a yearly Queensland Kokoda Challenge Event – to be held in the Gold Coast Hinterland.

Funds raised from this event finance the cost of the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program, which includes training and bush camps and the associated costs of travel to Papuan New Guinea to walk the Kokoda Track.

Working in collaboration with

The Kokoda Challenge Association developed early ties with the Gold Coast Bushwalking Club to design the route for the Kokoda Challenge Event and gather volunteer support. The Kokoda Challenge Association support and endorse the Bushwalkers Code of Conduct and the protection of the environment for the enjoyment of future generations.

The Gold Coast State Emergency Services work closely with the Kokoda Challenge Association and indeed provide upwards of 100 volunteers on the weekend of the Kokoda Challenge.

The Gold Coast City Council, the Department of Main Roads and the State Parks and Wildlife Services all provide the vital support necessary for the success of to the Kokoda Challenge.

The RSL’s, Police Citizen Youth Centres and High Schools and a number of youth support organizations contribute to identifying young people to be participants of the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program.

Wesley Mission Brisbane has also provided vtial support to the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program and have assisted the Kokoda Challenge Association to develop best practices for managing the youth program.

Whilst the Kokoda Challenge is currently managed entirely by volunteers and accordingly the operational cost are able to be kept to a minimum, however this will not always be the case. As the Challenge grows and demand is placed for access to the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program the administrative and management needs will of course grow. Like any professional organisation professional staff will need to be engaged.

The Kokoda Challenge Association however is working towards establishing strong corporate partnerships which will eventually cover the operational and management costs of the Kokoda Challenge and the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program.

Once these goals have been achieved the Kokoda Challenge Association will be able to allocate all of the funds raised through the Kokoda Challenge directly to youth orientated programs.

I'll let you know how it goes and provide updates (for real this time) on how training progresses.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Oops! Catch up

Sorry for the delay in posting - got a bit busy, fell behind, and so on. I have been good, though.

First things first - I have decided to stop running for the moment, until I get the weight down to a certain target and build up core strength. It's not a six/twelve month thing, the weight goal's only 4 kilo or so away (and have already lost 3 since mid December), and I'm attacking it with being a bit more sensible about food, doing two 40 to 45 minutes (will get longer) interval sessions on the bike and indoor trainer in addition to the Saturday 100k+ ride, plus a weights session three times a week which includes a good abs and back workout (which I hate, but eh, gotta do it). Plus work's a bit more physically active at the moment, which helps.

The reason for the little delay is I felt I was kind of getting nowhere, with treatment (physio and massage) doing little but keeping me rolling along semi-okay, and that there fundamental issues there that needed to be addressed - i.e. weight and core strength. I'm only two weeks into the weights regime but it does seem to have helped - tone is improved, at any rate.

In terms of work done, I've kind of been alternating weeks of 210k+ (generally doubling up with 100k on Sat and Mon when I have an RDO, including a ride to Nudgee and back) with weeks of 110k+. The last couple of weeks has seen the introduction of interval sessions on the indoor trainer, which are basically a 5 minute warm up, then a minute at 90 cadence, a minute easy, a minute at 100 cadence, a minute easy, and then a minute at 110 cadence with a another easy minutes, before repeating the process at a higher level for the work periods. I have a rough session mapped out which goes level 2, 3, 4, then 3 and 2 on the wind down for a 45 minute session. I'm interested to try doubling up on that, might give that a go next week.

It's made a surprising difference on the road with the Saturday group - I'm actually able to keep up with a couple of guys I'd been battling to stay with, so fitness is coming along quite nicely (plus a little weight loss helping too, no doubt). I'm a firm believer interval sessions are great for weight management too, so they should help.

So far, so good.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Afternoon into town

Decided to roll over and go back to sleep when the alarm went. Seemed to be pretty tired through the morning and after a massage and some errands grabbed a quick nap before lunch. Good to be on holidays!

After some self-conjoling managed to drag myself out the door a bit before 4pm into a bright and fairly warm afternoon. Rode into town via the Centenary Bike Path and Coro, turned around at the Botanical Gardens end of the Goodwill Bridge and back home again. Didn't push particularly hard, and seemed to catch every single set of lights at the worst possible time. 36.26km in just over 1:24 - would have been stopped a couple of minutes at least.

Still, glad I got out.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A tour of the NSW North Coast

Down to Kingscliff Sunday afternoon. Very easy drive - from our place, quick tour down to the Bogan, sorry Logan Motorway, right at the Pacific Motorway, through the brilliant Tugun Bypass and you're pretty much there. Highlight of the drive was the motorbike copper with the lidar as you went through the first of the tollgates - cruise control plus 60km/h on the GPS = me giving a smile and a wave as I glide past unmolested.

My mate and I hit the road at pretty much spot on 6:30am NSW time and basically rode down the Pacific Highway to Brunswick Heads, had coffee, and then rode back to Kingscliff. Only events of interest were a puncture to my back tyre (who the hell leaves brass staples by the side of the road?) and a self induced 3.9km induced penalty on the return journey as dumb-dumb here, who decided to finish on a bit of a time trial, for some reason decided to ride to Tweed Heads under the impression that it was Kingscliff. As I approached the Tweed River I realised my error, scooted over the roadside barrier and on to the footpath that lead back to Kingscliff.

Funny thing with the puncture - I was looking at the back tyre on Friday as I got the bike ready for Saturday morning and was concerned with the number of nicks in it, and just had a feeling I was going to cop a puncture today. Stupid thing is, the puncture had nothing to do with the nicks, none of which had penetrated the carcass of the tyre - that staple would have gotten into a new tyre and caused a flat anyway.

The ride was pretty even with a few gentle hills along the way (nothing really requiring getting out of the saddle, but you would on occasion just to vary the muscle workload), but quite noisy with a host of trucks and cars flashing past. Ended up doing just short of 100k in a bit under 3 1/2 hours, but to be honest I took it pretty easily, leading my mate most of the way - he's making a bit of a return after a bit of a work induced lull in training.

I'd also had a little fiddle with my seating position, bringing the seat forward a couple of millimetres as I'd felt like I was continuously edging forward into the front of the seat. Seemed to work pretty well, felt a bit more comfortable.

Good to be out somewhere different, and there certainly is excellent scenery with the mountains providing an excellent background. I'll get down there again in the new year - it would be good to do something different and get up into the hills (although I'll no doubt be singing a different tune afterwards).

A couple of guys from the Saturday group were planning to get out tomorrow morning at 6 - I'm hoping to get out and join them for a shortish ride.

I might try and get out for a run at some point before Xmas - I had my third physio session in a week which has helped free my back up quite a bit.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Short Saturday morning

Ah, 9 days in a row off! RDO Monday, and public holidays on Thursday and Friday meant taking Tuesday and Wednesday to give a full week off was a no-brainer, even over Christmas.

Have done nothing this week - combination of being busy and some back trouble, which two physio sessions have helped considerably. Oops - not the ideal lead in to Xmas.

That said, with the week off, have arranged to head down to Kingscliff on Sunday afternoon, stay overnight with friends and get out on the bike early Monday morning and do a bit of an epic. With that in mind, decided to keep it fairly short this morning, got up at 5, cycled to the start of the group ride (a bit over 14.5k), did the group ride of a bit over 21k in 39:02 (I was hoping for a time, but no-one went with me after Highgate Hill and I had to do the last 6.5k on my own! The bulk of which was into the wind!) and a pretty gentle cruise home of a bit over 26.5k to give about 58.2k in around 2 hours. Legs felt fresh throughout, but a week off and doing the group ride not having already done 40k or so helps, I guess.

Oh yeah, and the location's fixed - ta, David.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

90k in the morning

Out the door at 4:20am for the usual Saturday activities - ride to meet a mate in Toowong, cruise around for an hour to the start of the group ride, do the group ride, have a coffee, cruise home. Total today was about 90k (good progression from last week) in a little over 3 hours, so the average speed was about half a km/h quicker than last week.

Group ride started from a slightly different place this morning as we went to the aid of a group member who had suffered a flat on the way to the start. So the ride was about 400 meters longer, but only took 2 seconds longer - 21.5km in 38:29, compared to 38:27 for 21.04, so the average speed was 0.6km/h higher, and I probably spent more time in front or leading today as the groups broke into two pretty early and I was the strongest of the second group.

Took Friday off as I was still pretty beaten up. I also weighed myself during the week and was pleased to see weight and body fat % moving in the right directions, albeit slowly.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Beating the storm home

Got home from work and managed to talk myself into getting into my bike gear and going for a ride. It was a warm afternoon in Brisbane with storms closing in from the south, but it looked like they were going to miss Centenary....

Headed west and followed the river about as closely as you can through the Centenary estate, joining the Centenary bike path at Jindalee. Rode into town, and along the river (well, as much as you can with part of the river walk being out of action at the moment in a stupendous piece of civil engineering) through the Botanical Gardens to the Storey Bridge, over to the Goodwill Bridge and back home.

From Toowong onwards it became apparent I was racing the storm home, and it got uglier, greener and more mottled as we went. It had just started with winds and big rain drops when I got home, and about 30 seconds after I got inside it started to rain heavily. Fortunately we missed the worst of it, but I've no doubt someone's getting smashed somewhere.

Still, 50k in a bit under two hours, so well worth the effort of getting out.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tuesday and Wednesday

Got out for a spectacularly ordinary swim on Tuesday after work. Got some work to do on that front, oh yes. Won't tell you how far I swam or how long it took - far too embarrassing. Still, if memory serves the distance comes up pretty quickly if you keep at it.

Went for a run after work this evening - just a slow plod in the mid-afternoon heat (low to mid 30s - at least there was a breeze) basically up Sumner Road and through some parks and reserves in a hilarious failed attempt to follow the river north from the end of Sumner Road. I had visions of running for a bit longer but finding myself back on Sumner Road heading back home proved too tempting and I just did about 9.5k in just under 50 minutes. It's over 4 hours and a shower later and I'm still sweating.

Bike tomorrow. Probably. Depends on the weather.