"It's a treat being a runner, out in the world by yourself with not a soul to make you bad-tempered or tell you what to do." - Allan Sillitoe

Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 - Year in review

The graphs above show my yearly kms since May 2007 through to the end of 2012 and then my monthly and weekly kms for this year.

This year's 4840kms is about 1000kms down on last year when I averaged 112km a week across the whole year.  The big contributing facto to that difference was that last year included preparation for two marathons whereas this year only included one (Melbourne in October).

Looking at the weekly graph above, I think one of the reasons why I missed my goal in Melbourne is apparent.  After a good base in April and then a build up starting in May through to the end of July, my weekly volume then became very sporadic with only 4 weeks over 120km and not really stringing together a solid block. I think that the fact that I kept hitting my target paces during my marathon specific long run workouts, lulled me into a bit of a comfort zone.  I'm not going to go back at those weeks (there was a week of work travel and also a bout of bronchitis in there somewhere) but I will make sure that I don't make that mistake again as I prepare for the Canberra Marathon.

I managed to set a couple of PBs this year with 2:44:21 at the Houston Marathon in January and then 1:20:27 at the Perth Half Marathon in August.  My half marathon PB is probably still a bit soft, as I had a crack at running 1:18 at the Perth Half and blew up so hopefully I will get a chance to run a half when I am in good shape at some stage this year.

I also managed to achieve a long time goal by running under 45 mins (44:33) at the City to Surf this year (taking 50 secs off my previous best) and was able to pick up the M40-49 win as well.

I wasn't able to break my 5km PB this year, despite a few attempts late in the year but good runs over 7.5km (26:54 at Deepwater Point) and 4km (13:54 at City Beach) in the same period indicate that it was there for the taking if I had got the right conditions.  My two attempts at a 10km PB were both affected by illness which was a pity because I had managed to put together a solid preparation for both, especially the Bridges 10km.

I am now starting to build my volume through the introductory part of my Canberra marathon training and will really ramp it up in the New Year.  Last couple of weeks have been 111km and 104km so that is a reasonable starting base, especially considering the heatwave conditions we have been experiencing.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Three races - three headwind finishes

Don't want to seem like a whinger but ...

I feel like I am in close to PB shape over the shorter distances but haven't been able to put it together on race day.

Thursday, November 15 - PwC Coolnight Classic 5km:
(9th in 17:58)

Very unusual start which involved running over the mat and then making an immediate 90 degree left turn.

Went out pretty hard with a 3:16 first km assisted by a tailwind.  Dean Menzies and Gerry Hill took off in front.  Dean Menzies was first in 15:44 and Gerry ran 16:01.

I settled into a hard constant effort but did suffer from the hard first km and then the last 2km into a strong headwind.

Ran as hard as I could and pleased that I ran just under 18 mins.  Felt a bit nauseous towards the end which wasn't assisted by a big steaming cloud of cooking sausages over the last 100m or so.
Congratulations to Jodie Oborne who was first female in 20:07.


Sunday, November 18 - Peninsula Run 5km
(2nd in 17:43)

Not a very deep field for this race.  Martin Feichtinger took it out at the front and beat me by about a minute.  One other guy and the first female went out hard but I passed them before the Windan bridge and then it was pretty much a time trial from there.

Hard work into the wind over the last 1.5km and missed my 5km PB by 2 secs.  Legs felt OK and I think if I had pushed a bit harder or had someone pushing me I could have run a PB.


Better run than Thursday with a more even effort (although the headwind was nowhere near as strong).

Sunday, November 25 - Deepwater Point 7.5km
(3rd in 26:54)

I set out in the hope of running a similar pace to last week's 5km but extend it out over the 7.5km.
Managed to hold it for 5km but came unstuck at Canning Bridge up the steep little zig zag path and then the run home into the wind.

Felt like I pushed pretty hard but could have gone harder if I wasn't a bit soft. 

Liam Fuery 1st, Mark Lee 2nd, me 3rd with big gaps between all of us so again a bit of a time trial.

1:49 (0.5km @ 3:39/km pace)

Pretty satisfied with this as it is partial redemption for my effort here over 7.5km in 2010 when I went into the race feeling good but ran like complete dog in about 28:15.  This year, based on my Garmin splits I went through the 5km in 17:41 which is equal to my 5km PB and have gone under 27mins for the 7.5km.


I have been getting in one or two quicker sessions a week lately.  The sessions I have done include a modified Mona Fartlek (2 x 90secs; 4 x 60secs; 8 x 30secs with equal time float/recovery after each); 10 or 12 x 1min on / 1min off and also a Ladder Down workout which consists of a warm up then 6min, 5min, 4min, 3min, 2min, 1min, 30secs with half duration jog recovery between before a cool down.

I have had a tight left hamstring which seems to be referring from my adductor or glute.  A couple of massages from Nathan have improved things considerably.  I can't feel it when I am running quicker but it seems to be most noticeable before I have warmed up and when running more slowly, especially if I have to step up a kerb or similar.  Nothing major and easily manageable at the moment.

Next race - City Beach on 16 December

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Jack Daniels' Running Calculator

Like many others, I have been a long time user and advocate of the McMillan Running Calculator.  However, Jack Daniels has just put out his own online running calculator which builds on and is based on the formulas, theories and approach in his highly regarded book Daniels Running Formula.

Similar to McMillan, it allows you to quickly calculate the appropriate training paces for various workouts necessary to help you reach your goals. The calculator also provides equivalent race performances. One big difference is that you can use it to calculate how much conditions like wind, temperature or altitude had on your performance or will have on an upcoming workout or future race and can also be used if you’ve run a race and want to find out what effect wind, temperature or altitude had on your performance.

Another big advantage is that you can enter custom distances to calculate from instead of just the standard distances. For example 7.5km or any distance that you may have run in training/time trial.

Interestingly it calculates that my 26:54 over 7.5km @ Deepwater Point eqautes to a 17:33 5km time which would be a 8 sec PB.

I haven't played with or tested the wind, temperature, altitude aspect of it yet.  My own personal observation in the past has been that Americans in particular, seem to over estimate the impact of warmer temperatures on performance, whereas it is something we are just used to.

Anyway, here is the link which can also be found in the sidebar of this blog.


(It works fine on Google Chrome and also Safari on my iPhone but having a bit of difficulty on Internet Explorer at the moment).

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Hitler's running injury

I know there has been hundreds of these Downfall spoofs but after finding this on Youtube the other day I had to share.

It's hilarious but of course it comes with a language warning.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Freo Fun Run - 4km with Sammie

Great run by Sammie as she took 3 minutes off of her 4km PB running 24:44.  Had a difficult patch between 2km and 2.7km when she was expecting the drink station to be at 2km.  It was also a bit windy along the wharf.

She finished really strongly and once again beat her Dad ...

Splits were 5:40; 6:05; 6:47 (inc walk thru the drink station); 5:52; 4:15 (last 55m).

This was a pretty good event for a fun run but wouldn't have been too great for the quicker 4km runners who ran into the back of and had to finish with the slower 10km runners down a pretty narrow chute.

As the 4km started 45mins after the 10km we were able to see the finish of the 10km.  Dean Menzies, Cody Angell and Todd Ingraham were top 3.  Dave Bryant looked like he had a good run finishing about 7th.

Rox took quite a few good photos.

Start of the 10km

Start of 10km

Sammie with Aaron Sandilands - he is a big unit!!

Dean Menzies winner of the 10km

Cody Angell - 2nd in the 10km

Todd Ingraham - 3rd in the 10km

Dave Bryant
With Sammie before the start of our 4km

Start of the 4km

Start of the 4km

Sammie all smiles at the start of the race

Sammie exhausted after a 3 minute PB - 24:44

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Post Melbourne

This finally turned up in the mail

I have definitely been easing back into things since Melbourne.  I didn't run at all for the first week after the marathon apart from some long strides on grass down at little athletics training.  Because we went through a few groups and were running 200m-400m reps, I reckon I probably got in about 3km all up but with lots of breaks between.

Since then I ran every second day in the second week, with a couple of bike rides on non running days and a rest day on Saturday.  About 45km of running made of three loops of the bridges and one run to the Narrows and back.  The Friday bridges loop of 12.5km was at a moderate effort of 4:10/km average.

The following week I ran 5 days with Wednesday (very early breakfast function) and Saturday off.  Thursday's Bridges loop was at around 4:05/km average pace and then on Friday I ran a 6km recovery run in the morning and in the evening went down to the John Gilmour 10,000m at Coker Park to pace Craig through the first 6km of the race.  With a warm up and a cool down it made for a 16km+ day.

Felt good on the track and definitely could have run the full 10km but wouldn't have got near a 10k PB and probably would have compromised my training for at least the first half of this week, so I did the sensible thing and pulled out at the 6k mark.

Craig wanted to run around 36:30 so the plan was to knock out 88sec laps.

Here are the splits from my Garmin:

1 1:21.2

2 1:23.4

3 1:25.4

4 1:26.0

5 1:25.9

6 1:24.8

7 1:26.4

8 1:27.4

9 1:27.3

10 1:27.3

11 1:27.9

12 1:28.9

13 1:28.4

14 1:28.7

15 1:29.3

So basically I got in 20 mins of quality work at quicker than tempo pace.

Craig ran 36:20 so a good night all round.

This week I have run each day with Tuesday being a quality day where I did a modified Mona fartlek of 2 x 90secs; 4 x 60secs; 8 x 30secs with equal recovery after each rep.  This was a pretty good workout as even though I felt like I was running more slowly than I should be on the float/recovery parts, I still ran as far as I did last time I ran this workout which was in the last week of marathon training before I started my taper (21 September), so on that basis, I haven't lost too much fitness over the past three weeks.  

My left hammie is a little tight so I shall have to monitor that. 

Plan is for more easy running Thursday morning and then some hill reps on Friday morning but that will be dependent on the hammie.  

Rest day Saturday as I am on starting duty at little aths and have to be there at 7:15am and then on Sunday, Sammie and I are running the 4km Freo Fun Run so hopefully that goes well.  Next Thursday I am running the 5km PwC Coolnight Classic in the evening after work and then will decide whether or not to run the WAMC Peninsula Run and if so, what distance (5km or 10km).

Friday, October 19, 2012

2012 Melbourne Marathon photos

Just before 20km
Turning onto Flinders Street with about a mile to go

On Flinders Street (looking a bit stronger than I felt)

Just before the finish inside the MCG

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

2012 Melbourne Marathon - 2:45:39

No PB this time unfortunately.  Finished a minute and 18 seconds outside my Houston time and about three minutes slower than my goal time.  I was right on track until about 26-27km and then went from feeling great to really struggling within the space of a kilometre.

We arrived in Melbourne on Thursday.  I didn't run that day as it felt right to have a rest day and also we had to pack and return the campervan before flying out.  By the time we got settled at the hotel it was late afternoon and it would have been a bit awkward to head out before dinner.  That night we went to a Korean BBQ restaurant which was good for the first night of carbo loading as it was an all you could eat buffet.

Friday morning I headed out for a run around Melbourne which included a lap of the Tan.  Basically headed out to South Melbourne and then ran back in to the Tan, a lap around and then back to the hotel.  About 11km at approx 4:40/km pace.  The weather wasn't that great that day so we saw a movie and did a little bit of shopping.  I also found a place for a one hour sports massage.  Was about the right intensity for a couple of days prior to a race and I felt better for it.  My glutes had been a bit stiff after the run/hike around the gorge in Launceston and this loosened them up.  That night we went to a cafe on Swanston Street and I had pizza.

Saturday we caught up with our friend Kimberley and I went to the pre race briefing at the MCG to find out about the elite athlete arrangements and to pick up my race bib.  I was number 22.  The arrangements are first class and the athletes are really well looked after.  It was certainly a taste of the treatment that professional athletes get and was much better than than the usual preferred start that is the best that us weekend warriors can access.  It took away the stress of the bag drop, warm clothing, queuing up for a toilet, warming up and getting a decent start position completely.  Despite the fact that it was a major marathon with over 7000 starters, it was as easy as the Perth marathon.  Saturday night we went to a restaurant called the Spaghetti Tree on Bourke Street.  I had spaghetti bolognaise (with extra spaghetti) and pancakes for dessert.

Sunday morning, I was up at 5am for the usual Up and Go 2 hours before race start.  I left the hotel just after 5.30 for the 15 minute walk to the MCG.  Was able to get myself well prepared including a nice easy 6 minute jog out on Brunton Ave before heading back in to head off to the start.  Once we got to the start, there was plenty of room at the start and we were able to warm up some more before a very easy and uncrowded assembly at the start line.  I got myself a spot about 5 rows back from the start as I had no intention of going off too quick.

I wore the same Saucony Fastwitch 4s that I wore for Perth last year and Houston in January.

Despite my intentions, I still went out a bit quicker than my intended 3:48-3:50/km pace and had a couple of kms that were quicker than the 3:46 limit I had set myself.  But overall, I was around 3:48-3:49 and felt like I was rolling along comfortably.  Unfortunately, one of the gels I had on my race belt had worked itself loose over the first 4km and I lost one on St Kilda Rd.  I had 4 on me and I have never taken more than 3 gels in a marathon but it was one of the first two that I was intending to take which were the SIS Burner gels.  They contain L-Carnitine which is an amino acid which aids the fat metabolism process. L-Carnitine transports fatty acids to the mitochondria, which is where they are essentially burned as fuel. 

I took my remaining SIS Burner gel after an hour when on Beaconfield Parade.  Shortly after this, I started running with a guy called Ewen "Smurf" from the Melbourne Midday Milers.  We had a bit of a chat and he had quite a lot of support out on the course from teammates as well as friends and family.  I was getting the occasional shout out from other WA runners as well as from Raf Baugh who was out on the course on one of the European-style hire bikes that they have in Melbourne and which they are looking to introduce in Perth.  The main thing holding these back are our compulsory helmet laws, or more accurately the failure of to find a solution to providing hireable helmets that won't spread head lice.

Anyway, Ewen and I were cruising along nicely between 3:48 and 3:51/km for about 10km between 16km and 26km.  Just before the turnaround past St Kilda on Ormond Esplanade, there was a little detour in around a car park area where there was a drink station.  Ewen seemed to pick up the pace here a little and when I checked my Garmin, it had us going at 3:44/km pace so I let him go.  He was keen for me to catch him up but that pace was too quick for me at that stage of the race.

I had slowly been pegging back Kevin Matthews who had gone out quickly and had been probably a minute in front of me at one point.  At the turnaround, I had got this back to about 50 metres so was anticipating catching him somewhere before the 30km mark.

I'm not really sure what happened here, whether it was breaking the rhythm that I had got going with Ewen or the fact that I was now running on my own slightly uphill, but my pace started to drop off and unlike when this had happened in Houston and in my training, I wasn't able to get back on pace.  I hoped that this was just the inevitable bad patch that comes up during the later stages of the marathon and that I would get through it.  I hadn't run Melbourne before and was unfamiliar with the course so wasn't really aware of how difficult this part of the course is.

By the time I got to 30km I was getting pretty worried as my overall pace was now at 3:49 or 3:50/km and I knew I had to get back onto 3:50/km pace if I was going to stick on 2:42 goal pace but I was running 4:01/km pace so well off where I needed to be and struggling.  Kev and Ewen were disappearing ahead of me and while I wasn't being passed by other runners yet, I wasn't passing others which was not the situation in my previous 3 marathons (2010 Gold Coast, 2011 Perth and 2012 Houston).

As my overall pace continued to drift out, I was making mental calculations of what I needed to do to still run a PB which I hoped I was a chance of doing.  The course didn't get any easier though and the section through Southbank and then back up into the Botanical Gardens had some steady uphills.  Despite digging as deep as I could, my 37th km was 4:22.  Funnily enough, it is this section that is providing me with some reassurance in my ongoing assessment of the race as I second guess the decisions I made at the time such as, should I have surged and stuck with Ewen at 26km and then kept with him for as long as possible (went on to run 2:42:05), should I have pressed on at caught Kev and then tried to stick with him?  Maybe one or both of these may have worked, but the way I felt over the last 10km, I really don't think they would have and I may have completely blown up.  The last 10km were as mentally and physically hard as any run I have done (including Rottnest 2009) and I think it just wasn't my day.  Maybe I overdid it in my preparation (I certainly felt great about six weeks ago) and would benefit from a shorter 12 week marathon specific program.  Or perhaps my taper wasn't the best.  Driving around Tasmania and finding somewhere different to run everyday probably wasn't as good as running on flat familiar territory.

I had another gel at 1 hour 40mins and small amount of my last one at 2 hours 10 mins.  I didn't feel like I ran out of carbs or that I bonked or hit the wall, I just couldn't hit my pace,

After coming out of the Tan and back on to St Kilda Road, it felt like we were finally getting some downhill but despite having a crack, I couldn't capitalise on it.  I was passed by one female and two male runners in this section and by now my goal was just to stick with it at what ever pace I could muster and finish.  I did pass one runner as we turned off of Flinders Street onto Wellington Parade.  (He was actually someone who I had passed at around 26km and who hadn't passed me back and was running slower than me so I expect he will be disqualified for cutting the course at the Tan as he does not have a 40km split in the online results).

As we turned off Brunton Ave to go into the MCG, I was passed by the 5th placed female.  I managed to pass her back just as we got onto the ground but she went past me again and y the time I had decided that it wasn't a good look to try to outsprint a female to the line, she was gone anyway.

I was pretty relieved to finish and was a bit wobbly on my feet.  I must have looked average because two or three medical people asked me if I was OK.  One guy encouraged me to keep walking "because then I won't have to carry you as far" but luckily it didn't come to that.

Caught up with Kev Matthews who ran a 2:43 taking 2 mins off his PB and who looked like he could almost go around again.

It was very nice to be able to make my way into the elite area, get a drink, go and get a massage and then have something to eat before having a shower and getting changed.  Good to catch up with the other WA runners, most of whom had great runs, Lauren Shelley was first female in 2:36 and gained selection for next year's World Championships in Moscow, Chris O'Neill 2:27, Adam Martin 2:34, Gerry Hill 2:37 despite really struggling over the last 5km, Tim Oborne 2:49 and Jodie Oborne 3:12 both of which were big PBs.

I hadn't achieved the goal I had set myself and which all my training had been aimed at so I was quite disappointed at the finish although 2:45:39 is still my second fastest marathon by about four minutes. On reflection though, I pretty happy that I could have a bad run, feel awful over the last 14km and still run 2:45.  On that basis, I am still hopeful that if I can get things right and have a good day, I am capable of running 2:42.

We flew home on Monday on a delayed Jetstar flight (you certainly get what you pay for) and since then I have done a bit of thinking about what I might do running-wise over the summer and next year.  My thinking at the moment is that I think I will run the Perth Trail Series over summer to try and work on my strength, do a 12 week specific prep for the Canberra Marathon in April and then have another crack at Melbourne in October.

These are my splits from my Garmin which show quite clearly when things turned for the worse.

Avg Pace