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Training Log Archive: blairtrewin

In the 31 days ending Dec 31, 2007:

activity # timemileskm+m
  Run28 39:19:00 311.43 501.2 36034 /35c97%
  Swimming6 3:10:00 3.73(50:58) 6.0(31:40)
  Total31 42:29:00 315.16 507.2 36034 /35c97%

» now

Monday Dec 31, 2007 #

Run 49:00 [3] 9.0 km (5:27 / km)

A nice recovery run of sorts, although a bit hillier than the usual recovery run - four loops of the walking track at Notley Gorge, a patch of rainforest north of Launceston, with the newly married couple (plus mother and sister). This is a reasonably rough track and has a big climb, but the rainforest was lovely to run in on a warm day. An enjoyable effort.

With five hours left in 2007 I think I can now safely say that I've successfully got through 2007 without a lost-time injury, for the first time since 1999 - although in truth I haven't had a new injury since early 2005 (the two missed weeks in 2006 were for surgery to correct the after-effects of my 2005 broken arm). Not surprisingly this meant it was also my biggest training year since 1999, but my performances in the biggest races were pretty disappointing - made too big a mistake in Dubbo and was unwell at Oceania. Hopefully 2008 will give me something to be more proud of.

I haven't got as extensive a list of 'awards' as last year - partly because I didn't go to Europe. Best run: a long one I did on a gorgeous winter morning in Melbourne in early June (probably the best training run I've done in several years), with honourable mentions to Falls Creek on Australia Day, and Neerim South at the end of March. Best race performance is harder; my best result was the National League event at Murray Bridge, but that was a bit of an oddball race and I'm not sure how much the opposition cared about the result.

Sunday Dec 30, 2007 #

Run 2:08:00 [3] 28.0 km (4:34 / km)

A long run in Launceston, starting a bit later than usual post-wedding (surprisingly, I didn't feel too many after-effects of the wedding - the audience may be sniggering at this point, but late nights don't work wonders for training the next morning even if there is no hangover to contend with). Started out near the casino and did a loop out to the back side of Trevallyn Dam, then back to Cataract Gorge and up that - didn't get as far as I'd planned because I was running out of time (having told my parents I'd meet them in town at 1). It was a nice route with some serious hills, especially down, but I had the feeling (particularly in the first half) that there were more interesting options out there had I known the area better.

The first 70 minutes were pretty good, but it was quite a warm day and I started to suffer a bit from that in the later stages; quads also felt the steep downhills a bit. Wouldn't have fancied going out to my usual Sunday 2.30-plus, but there have been plenty of other weeks where I've finished two-hour runs midweek thinking I would really struggle to do another 10 minutes, then handling 2.30 on the weekend with ease, so some of that may have been above the shoulders.

Saturday Dec 29, 2007 #

Run 1:04:00 [3] 14.0 km (4:34 / km)

A pleasant run around the shores of Hawley Beach and Port Sorell with Dion and Kathryn, as we prepared for the wedding later on today. Nice conditions (certainly a lot nicer than they would have been in Melbourne, or even Launceston) and feeling pretty good on the whole. No hills but otherwise a nice place to run.

Friday Dec 28, 2007 #

Swimming 32:00 [2] 1.0 km (32:00 / km)

Had a few hours to spare in Launceston. I thought I was booked on the same flight as my parents, but looked at my itinerary a few days ago and discovered that my booking was only for the return flight. Not being sure whether it was my mistake or Jetstar's (and having checked that my credit card had only been charged for one leg), I found myself having to rebook at short notice (and high cost) and had to take what I could get. (It turned out it was Jetstar's fault and they did have a booking for me on the original flight; by rights I should really be able to get back the difference between what I paid and what I would have paid had the original booking worked properly, but as it is well-known that 'customer service' does not feature in the Jetstar lexicon I'm not sure that I can be bothered wasting a stamp).

Anyway, with a few hours to kill in Launceston I decided to use some of it to go for a swim. I went to where I thought the main pool was and discovered a building site (probably instalment number 1439845 in the Bass pork-barrel catalogue). Plan B was the open-air pool at Cataract Gorge. It's pretty bare-bones - no heating, no fence, no lifeguards - but served the purpose pretty well (and you can't ask for a much nicer setting). It does get chlorinated - I know this because I was stuck behind a truckload of pool chemicals doing 5 km/h (and stalling twice) on the way up the hill going there.

I thought it would be freezing but it wasn't too bad after the first lap or so. The swim itself was fine and helped my recovery as they usually do. The time is a guess.

Thursday Dec 27, 2007 #

Run 2:02:00 [3] 26.0 km (4:42 / km)

The principal goal today was the back beach track, which in its full length runs from near Sorrento to near Rye (plus a section on the beach from London Bridge to Sorrento). Set out along the bay side of the peninsula through Sorrento and Portsea to London Bridge, then along the back to behind Blairgowrie before returning. The track is sandy in places and has a lot of short climbs and descents always a solid workout and with some excellent views in places, although parts of it are becoming rather overgrown which surprises me a bit as I thought this was a key walking track to be maintained.

The run didn't really live up to its surroundings, especially in the first half, but kept plugging away and the last quarter was probably the best part.

I'll be in Tasmania for the next few days, so updates may be irregular.

Wednesday Dec 26, 2007 #

Run 1:16:00 [3] 16.0 km (4:45 / km)

Down at Blairgowrie for a couple of days - a nice part of the world to run. The end of the Peninsula is full of small sand dunes, most of them built on now, but it means endless short, sharp climbs, especially in those areas where the street pattern ignores the topography. This time round I headed for the back part of Rye, where such hills are not in short supply and unusually failed to get lost trying to come back through the back streets as I usually do in that area. The run itself was mediocre as I adjusted to the many small hills.

Run 41:00 [3] 9.0 km (4:33 / km)

Decided to put an otherwise mundane afternoon session to good use by running the Bushrangers Bay track near Cape Schanck, one I've never previously been on, on the way home from seeing some friends at Shoreham. A bit apprehensive after a big lunch but settled down well, and a very nice second half on the climb back to the main road even if the views were a bit disappointing (had to do some bushbashing for the best coastal scenery).

Tuesday Dec 25, 2007 #

Run intervals ((fartlek)) 38:00 [4] 9.0 km (4:13 / km)

I couldn't remember having done speedwork on Christmas morning before. Some thinking through the calendar explained why - it's been a Tuesday session for me for as long as I can remember, and since I started training seriously the only two times Christmas Day has fallen on a Tuesday have been 2001 (when I was injured) and 1990 (when I was coming into a 5-days that I was taking reasonably seriously). In 2001 my alternative was planned to be riding the 90km from Blairgowrie to Albert Park, but I got two punctures and had to bail out 10km short. Quite often in recent years I've gone long on Christmas Day, although it also features one of the shortest runs I've ever recorded (apart from 800m track races) - the 5 minutes in 2002 which was my first run back after surgery for compartment syndrome.

The session itself started pretty slowly, but got going a bit more in the second half. Fastest loop 9.21. A bit of back tightness early in the second loop but that disappeared as quickly as it arrived. Got the usual Christmas bonus of not having to stop at any road crossings, but all the local kids must have slept in because I didn't see or hear any evidence of them (other than a baby watching his father trim some bushes in the front garden).

Monday Dec 24, 2007 #

Run 40:00 [2] 8.0 km (5:00 / km)

Doing this in the morning rather than the more usual afternoon, but I suspect I would have been stiff whenever I did it, after yesterday's big effort. Loosened up a bit later on but fairly heavy going even then. Plenty of evidence of flood debris (and a few patches of mud) along Merri Creek.

Traffic today was at Cup Monday levels, although as is often the case, the drivers who weren't on the road were the sensible ones.

Swimming 32:00 [2] 1.0 km (32:00 / km)

Should have been a nice session at Fitzroy in the late afternoon sun, but plagued by problems with goggles - had to empty them on just about every lap for the first half. I think I'll need to get some new ones sooner rather than later. Just when that got sorted out, I then got a foot cramp - something that used to plague me swimming but hadn't appeared much (if at all) this year.

Today was the last day of work for the year. Assuming that no-one finds me in the next week, my tally for the year is 207 media interviews. The most memorable of these (if not necessarily the most enjoyable) were sparring with Alan Jones early in the year, doing an interview with an Adelaide radio station whilst naked just out of the shower, and the Al-Jazeera interview a couple of weeks back which got aborted because someone blew up a Lebanese general. Did a couple of interviews today, although the Christmas Day news is normally so predictable that you could run last year's bulletin for most of it and no-one would notice. If you feel like bingo, try ticking off the following on tomorrow night's news:

- the Queen's message
- the road toll
- Santa at the Children's Hospital (or whatever the equivalent in your state is)
- a charity somewhere serving Christmas dinner to the homeless
- a bushfire/flood/cyclone somewhere in Australia (bonus points if the bushfire and flood are in the same state)
- Northern Hemisphere travel chaos caused by a blizzard in the US/fog at Heathrow
- the cricket
- the Sydney to Hobart yacht race

Normally the only thing that changes from year to year is the location of the crashes and the name of the opposing team in the cricket.

Sunday Dec 23, 2007 #

Run 2:44:00 [3] 37.0 km (4:26 / km)

An excellent long run in ideal conditions - cool and dry with moderate southwest winds. (I'll want to be tested more in the heat between now and Dubbo, but don't mind cool days for the really long runs). Started out through Viewbank and Montmorency, crossed the Yarra at Eltham, then a long stretch up the Yarra and Mullum Mullum Creek, before striking out across suburbia to pick up the Eastern Freeway trail at Blackburn Road. (The negative of this trail is that it's near a freeway, the positives are that you don't notice it that much because of sound barriers and there are no road crossings for 10km).

The suburban bit took me up plenty of hills and past Milgate Primary, which brought back memories of state election day 2002 and the 16.2% swing we got there. (This helped to get a friend of mine, who'd put her hand up six weeks before polling day to avoid the embarrassment of leaving the seat uncontested, within 200 votes of getting elected in a supposedly impossible seat). I was feeling a bit less favourably disposed towards the locals in 2007 than I had in 2002 on discovering that 'Residents Only' signs had sprouted on the entrances to the local parkland areas. (Naturally I ignored these whilst thinking under my breath 'you miserable (expletive deleted)'). Maybe that's why what would otherwise be an ideal (if slightly steep) street-O area has never, to my knowledge, been used.

The start of the run was a bit iffy with some Achilles soreness that took longer to disappear than it usually does, but I handled the long climb up Old Eltham Road with ease which was an indicator that it was going to be good. The next hour was excellent, flowing beautifully and handling the hills with ease. In the last hour muscle stiffness started to come into play but my running strength was as good as ever, with the last 5k being the fastest section of the whole run. A very encouraging performance.

As for the tooth, the good news is that it's been sorted out (and getting an unbroken night's sleep was nice), the bad news is that it's just as well I recently paid off my house because the visit cost about as much as I used to be paying each fortnight on my mortgage.

Saturday Dec 22, 2007 #

Run 1:11:00 [3] 15.0 km (4:44 / km)

Two not-quite-accurate predictions in yesterday's entry. I did make it home before the deluge really started (20mm between 7 and 7.30), and the toothache came back with a vengeance. Almost as fun as the pain itself was trying to find a dentist who isn't at Portsea or (insert name of northern hemisphere ski resort here) for the next three weeks - finally succeeded at about the 10th attempt. Will know more this afternoon.

I wasn't expecting a great run against that background but felt OK most of the way, especially in the last 15 minutes (although the gentle downhill through Rosanna Parklands is always a kind way to finish a run). Still a bit slower than I'd expect for this type of run. It was remarkably dark for 9 on a mid-summer morning, but there wasn't much rain during the run (plenty of debris left over from the last two nights, though, and more than one person on their roof checking and/or cleaning gutters).

Friday Dec 21, 2007 #

Swimming 32:00 [2] 1.0 km (32:00 / km)

A pretty slow swim at Richmond after an ordinary night's sleep thanks to a toothache (much better now). I suspect my bike may be staying in the shed at work over the weekend - our short-range model is predicting 50-100 millimetres of rain for Melbourne in the 3 hours from 5 to 8 this evening. I suspect half that amount is more realistic but that's still plenty.

Thursday Dec 20, 2007 #

Run 2:09:00 [3] 27.0 km (4:47 / km)

Pretty good for the first two-thirds, certainly a lot better than the equivalent run last week, and taking on some quite hilly country, particularly a section through Apollo Parkways where I go when I'm looking for a serious challenge (it's steep enough to have (steep) alongside the street name in the Melway, and is probably the sharpest hill within running range of my place). Faded considerably beyond 90 minutes, particularly up hills (all of them a lot shorter and less steep than the aforementioned Apollo Parkways), probably because of inadequate fluid levels.

I was surprised how much fluid I lost on this run; it was 22 degrees with occasional light rain, and quite humid, but didn't have a real sense of being hot, but I came in at 69kg afterwards which is about 3 below par for me. With back-to-back Christmas parties this afternoon/evening I will have ample opportunities for fluid replacement. The second of them, for the local ALP, is likely to be particularly celebratory, although I'm not sure how we're going to get everyone into the office of the state member for Eltham. (George Seitz allegedly once managed to get 497 people into his Keilor office for a meeting, but given his reputation as the Victorian ALP's most notorious branch stacker - and the competition is tough - most of us suspect the meeting in question never actually took place).

Wednesday Dec 19, 2007 #

Run 1:12:00 [3] 15.0 km (4:48 / km)

A pretty nondescript run from East Camberwell (positioning myself for street-O tonight), as far out as Wattle Park. Came back through some of tonight's area which I normally prefer not to do, but would have had a few more major road crossings otherwise. At least seemed to side-step the chaos on the railways created by the latest bunch of copper thieves, probably because my train originated from somewhere closer in than where most of the action was happening.

Run race ((street-O)) 39:00 [4] * 9.8 km (3:59 / km) +140m 3:43 / km

Street-O at Camberwell Central. This is a map I have a fair bit of experience of (it seems to get used every year), and I've had some memorable races there. One which stands out was in winter 2004 when I had probably my best physical race anywhere in the last few years - it was one of those days when my body just kept wanting to go faster and faster - but I spent most of the way trying to get ground on a young runner I'd never seen before. In the end I only got him because he made a mistake on the last control. Adventure racers (and mountain runners) will recognise the name - Jarad Kohlar.

The course forced us into a big route choice decision early. I thought I'd got a big jump on the field but it turned out to be only a small jump, and I came out when we rejoined at halfway 20 metres behind Bryan and 20 ahead of Adam. Both were a little faster than me and pulled away gradually over the second half, although Adam died at the end and I got within striking distance of him (and might have got closer without an untimely railway crossing, although I expect he'd have won a sprint if it came to that). Only felt moderate, although better than last week, and did cope with the heat (30) with no real difficulties.

Navigation highlight (or lowlight) of the night: heading across an oval to number 10 (described as 'gap in fence'), I saw a gap in the fence and something orange sticking up from about 50 metres away. It was a little left of where I was expecting but street-O control placement isn't always as precise as it should be, so I ran straight for it, expecting to see a punch, and got there to be greeted by - an apple core. Didn't lose any significant time but a good story.

Tuesday Dec 18, 2007 #

Run intervals ((fartlek)) 38:00 [4]

Felt pretty good on this run but surprisingly slow (9.22) for no obvious reason, especially given how good yesterday was. Only thing I can think of is that I went out a bit earlier in the morning than I usually do.

It's been quieter for me in the media lately than it was early in the year (expect this to change in January), but there was a front-page piece in today's 'Australian'. Unfortunately when I spoke with Asa Wahlquist I didn't know that the Cooma-area property their photographers were going to was Gaerloch (which covers the open areas of the Badja maps) - had I known that I might have been able to slip in some references to the major events held there (to say nothing of the quirks of the local microclimate - it's very exposed to easterlies, being the last range before the coastal escarpment, and can therefore pick up quite a bit of moisture in low cloud and drizzle in the type of easterly set-up that we've had for much of the last few weeks).

Monday Dec 17, 2007 #

Swimming 31:00 [2] 1.0 km (31:00 / km)

Morning session at Northcote before dropping the goodies for tonight off at the Arthur residence (rather than have them stew in my car for the day). Felt OK most of the way once loosened up. The Northcote pool has a somewhat eccentric sense of timekeeping - in the few minutes around 7.20 I saw clocks on the premises which read 6.20, 8.20, 1.15 and 7.18.

We often get asked around this time of year about Christmas Day forecasts. (Personally, I care less about Christmas Day forecasts than I do about Boxing Day ones, but I am prepared to say that Christmas will be warmer in Melbourne than it was last year). The perils of such forecasts are perhaps illustrated by the two headlines that I saw from some years ago in our newspaper clippings files (both from the 'Age'):

24/12/1988 - 'Weather will be just fine for Christmas'
26/12/1988 - 'Christmas Day deluge a record'

Run 42:00 [3] 9.0 km (4:40 / km)

Went out at lunchtime, unusually for a Monday, because of our Christmas frolics tonight which won't count as a training session. It was a lovely day for running (20 degrees, sunny, cool breeze, not particularly humid) and I made full use of it around the Tan - even having to sidestep all the strollers on Southbank didn't seem like much of an inconvenience. Sometimes threatened to become a truly stellar run - didn't quite make it but still very enjoyable, especially compared to usual Mondays which are often a bit of a struggle.

The new Melbourne Central YHA (to be located in a rebuilt former flophouse on Flinders Street which had been derelict for years) still has a banner on it 'Opening late 2007'. It still looks pretty derelict so I don't like their chances. Nor do I like the chances of a similar deadline being met for the redevelopment of the old railway sheds next to our office (or, for that matter, the weed-filled vacant lot near the Fairfield pipe bridge where the sign says 'Construction Commences Q1 2007'). At least there seems to be some headway being made in ridding Melbourne of the Lonsdale Street power station tower and the shell of Coburg High School, both of which have been the subject of games of pass-the-parcel between would-be developers for almost as long as I've been in Melbourne.

Sunday Dec 16, 2007 #

Run 2:33:00 [3] 31.0 km (4:56 / km)

I've spent the last four Sundays either racing or in the air, so this is the first time in more than a month that I've done something that looks like a normal Sunday morning summer long run - the longest this season to date (at least on time). Spent the first 90 minutes with Bruce along the Yarra as far as opposite the Abbotsford brewery, then did a second lap up to Eaglemont Flats and back through Darebin Parklands. Almost entirely off-road until the last 30 minutes, which was enjoyable (but did account for the relatively slow pace - some of the tracks along the Yarra are pretty rough). A steady run, a bit tired on the section going across the hills of Ivanhoe and through Darebin Parklands, but felt good in the last 20 minutes and definitely had a lot more left in me. I'll have limited opportunities for really long runs this summer but next weekend is one of them, so will be aiming for something reasonably big. (I've noticed from my schedule that a Sunday morning a few weeks hence has a fair chance of finding me somewhere in the vicinity of Tallahassee, and given how much fun the Hoggster had of finding somewhere decent to run for 30 minutes, I don't like my chances of finding somewhere decent to run for 2 1/2 hours).

The conditions were ideal - cloudy and 16-17 degrees (on the equivalent weekend last year it was 41 on Saturday and 42 on Sunday), with the sun just breaking through in the last few minutes. Only sour note sounded by going past the debris of a Saturday night (the shattered remnants of a bus shelter - perhaps whoever thought of the circular concrete bunkers they use in Canberra was on to something).

Saturday Dec 15, 2007 #

Run 1:09:00 [3] 15.0 km (4:36 / km)

A steady run in steady rain. Got a decent night's sleep for the first time in a while and felt a lot better than I did in the middle of the week (especially Thursday). A little bit of adventure in the second half because the track coming back through the bush at Macleod no longer existed and there was a bit of unplanned terrain running.

The cricketers at Macleod were already packing up at 9.30, which saved them from a few hours sitting around waiting for nothing to happen (it's still raining four hours later).

Friday Dec 14, 2007 #

Swimming 31:00 [2] 1.0 km (31:00 / km)

Built quite nicely through this session and got quite a bit of stiffness from yesterday out of my system by the second half. Also didn't seem as bored as I usually am in the pool.

Hanny missed a golden opportunity yesterday - the field for the women's Zatopek 10K was extremely weak (most of the top Australian women are injured) and I think she would have had an excellent chance of winning had she come. While there is only a certain amount to be gained by beating a weak field, a national title is still a nice thing to have on the CV.

Thursday Dec 13, 2007 #

Run 2:00:00 [3] 26.0 km (4:37 / km)

Felt half-asleep at the start of this run and struggled through most of it; my worst run for a while. Thought early on that it might be one of those that came good later but it only showed signs of doing so in the last 10 minutes. Quite pleased to get this over and done with.

A significant stretch in the middle was heading due east and sun-glare was an annoyance, but I did explore a couple of creeks in the Reservoir/Coburg area I hadn't previously been to. This area was a bit hillier than I'd imagined.

Wednesday Dec 12, 2007 #

Run 1:15:00 [3] 16.0 km (4:41 / km)

A somewhat patchy run, a bit later in the morning than I'd planned after one of those morning when nothing quite goes right in getting ready (especially when it comes to misplacing various small-but-important objects). Lovely conditions, cool and dry. At its best in the last 20 minutes through Studley Park, particularly up some of the hills.

This morning's news carried the shock revelation that a study commissioned by the AFL had found a relationship between excessive alcohol consumption and player misbehaviour. I sometimes think wistfully about what Orienteering Australia could do with a 0.1% cut of the money that comes into the AFL and stories like that do nothing to discourage me in that. I don't know how much they spent on the study but I hope it wasn't too much.

Run race ((street-O)) 43:00 [4] * 10.4 km (4:08 / km) +220m 3:44 / km

Slightly unconventional route to this event. I was supposed to be doing an interview with Al-Jazeera International at the Channel 9 studios at Richmond, and was all miked up and ready to go, but got bumped when news came through that someone had tried to blow up the President of Lebanon - something which probably happens about as often as drunk Australian footballers getting into nightclub incidents. (It turned out that the initial reports were wrong and the target was actually an army general). There's nothing a 24-hour satellite news channel likes more than a good bombing so I wasn't surprised to get punted.

(It is perhaps instructive that on the same day a few months back, a bomb blast in Algeria killed about 20 people and a flash flood, also in Algeria, killed about 50 people. Guess which one was on the front page and which one got a paragraph on page 17?).

Once I made it to the event at Mount Buller (well, actually Croydon Hills), it was an enjoyable course, but I didn't run as well as I would have liked, with a few irritating problems like a stitch on the steeper downhills, and a weak third quarter. Adam Scammell and David Kipp disappeared almost immediately, taking alternative route choices which proved to be suboptimal (very suboptimal in David's case), which left me with Bryan Ackerly. We were together or close to it almost all the way, but I had the feeling that Bryan was only doing as much as he had to. It therefore didn't surprise me when he made his move out of the second-last control, but knowing what he was going to do didn't mean I could do anything about it.

One interesting diversion was provided by the leg between 16 and 10. This took us across the oval of Croydon Hills Primary, who happened to be hosting their Christmas concert, providing a certain amount of musical accompaniment. Some people said they'd heard it from a long distance but I only noticed on that leg.

Tuesday Dec 11, 2007 #

Run intervals ((fartlek)) 37:00 [4] 9.0 km (4:07 / km)

I've felt myself coming back into decent form in the last week or so and today was more evidence of that. Felt a bit light-headed early on but still ended up with comfortably my best fartlek session of the current training cycle (fastest loop 9.09). Hopefully I can hold this form for a while (is 3 1/2 months too much to ask for?).

Saw the aftermath of a car-versus-bicycle on the way in this morning. Hope it wasn't too serious but it didn't look great.

Monday Dec 10, 2007 #

Swimming 32:00 [2] 1.0 km (32:00 / km)

First time back in the pool for more than a week. (There is actually a water park in Hanoi - I saw it at the far end of my run last Thursday - but I suspect lap swimming isn't at the top of their priorities, plus it was closed for winter - I also recall hearing about a Chinese city where foreigners weren't allowed into the public pool unless they could produce a medical certificate to prove they didn't have AIDS). A fairly mundane session.

Run 40:00 [2] 8.0 km (5:00 / km)

Bigger crowd than has been usual of late for Monday night. I thought I might have been the one with the most travel stories to tell but Kirsten upstaged me, having just returned from several months in South America. Robbie and Kathryn were there as well. Spent most of it on the smaller Yarra Bend tracks starting from Bruce's place; felt good, and a faster pace than usual for a Monday night.

Sunday Dec 9, 2007 #

Run 1:02:00 [3] 13.0 km (4:46 / km)

Did this pretty well straight after arriving home and struggled as expected - never really felt at all comfortable after not getting a lot of sleep overnight and eating something on the plane which didn't quite agree with me (having survived Hanoi with no problems of that sort whatsoever). Happy to get this over and done with. A bit of a shock to the system to experience some hills (Hanoi has none unless you count the river banks).

Saturday Dec 8, 2007 #

Run 2:09:00 [3] 28.0 km (4:36 / km)

The last run in Hanoi. I thought being a Saturday morning might make the traffic a bit easier than during the week, but it wasn't (if anything it was more awkward in places as more footpaths got taken over for markets). Most of this run was a big loop around the outside of the central city area, although I did an out-and-back section to the other side of the Red River, crossing possibly the most-frequently-bombed structure in human history (during the war it was the only crossing and therefore a regular target of the Americans). I must be getting used to the local conditions - I don't think I would have been standing in the middle of the road in front of an oncoming bus waiting for a gap in the motorbikes this time last week. Wandering dogs in places were a bit unsettling - I suspect rabies is rife in these parts - but none gave me any trouble. (I don't expect Hanoi has a dog pound - one imagines any strays end up on the barbeque).

The first half-hour of the run wasn't as good as some this week, but gradually built through the middle, and once again had plenty left at the end.

Spotted a sign which appeared to say 'no horn-blowing'. If the Vietnamese government levied fines for all cases of horn-blowing they could abolish all other taxes and still have a multi-billion surplus to spare. (I also read somewhere that motorbike helmets are being made compulsory next year, but I'll believe that when I see it).

And - we have a winner in the 'unusual loads on motorbikes' contest. I went to a pagoda about 30km out of Hanoi today and saw a motorbike with a cow on the back of it. It wasn't a very big cow but it was definitely a cow.

Friday Dec 7, 2007 #

Run 40:00 [3] 9.0 km (4:27 / km)

Another decent run once initial stiffness had loosened up - really surprised at how well I've been going this week given the less-than-optimal training environment. Some of this one was devoted to trying to find a functional ATM (without success in the morning, but got one at lunchtime).Towards the end passed a sign displaying Hanoi's road toll (415 this year compared with 522 last year; about 2.5 times that of Melbourne, a similar-sized city, which isn't as bad as I thought it might have been).

The workshop finished today - a really good group to work with. I said in my closing talk that I hoped to get to everyone's country eventually, which might be stretching it a bit, but Bhutan and Nepal would definitely be especially high on my to-do list. One thing which did take me rather by surprise was when the representative of a certain SE Asian country whose repressive government has been in the news a bit lately (who was, after all, an employee of said government) got stuck into his country's rulers in no uncertain fashion over afternoon tea.

I fly out tomorrow night, so probably no updates until the end of the weekend.

Thursday Dec 6, 2007 #

Run 1:58:00 [3] 26.0 km (4:32 / km)

Started out by heading past the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum and then did a circuit of the West Lake, the main lake in the Hanoi area (unsurprisingly its eastern shore plays host to some of Hanoi's most highly desirable real estate). The advantage of circling a lake is not too many road crossings, although there were still a few hairy sections where the footpath disappeared. A solid run and still had plenty left at the end - am surprised by how well I've been running this week given the environment. A hint of right knee soreness at one stage but that quickly disappeared.

Seeing people texting whilst riding a motorbike has become commonplace this week, but someone today added degree-of-difficulty points by balancing a baby on their lap at the same time.

Wednesday Dec 5, 2007 #

Run 1:12:00 [3] 15.0 km (4:48 / km)

Headed west today, and was out earlier in the morning (the traffic was almost light at 6.15), both of which made for a more pleasant run - the newer suburbs west of the canal have larger blocks and decent footpaths (at least where they haven't been appropriated for impromptu markets), and there was a long stretch through suburbs largely under construction where there wasn't much traffic at all. I wasn't entirely sure of where I was here (and unsurprisingly the map only bore a passing resemblance to the ground) but it worked out OK. Felt pretty good too.

The workshop organisers were appalled by the thought that I would rather walk 10 minutes to the venue than have them send a car to pick me up. I wonder what they would think if they knew what I was doing beforehand?

Motorbike sight of the day: someone riding a motorbike alongside a rickshaw and pushing the rickshaw along with their outstretched foot.

Tuesday Dec 4, 2007 #

Run intervals 39:00 [4] 9.0 km (4:20 / km)

Found a reasonably traffic-free path around a lake to do a good intervals session (10x1 min, 1 min in between). One of the better speed sessions I've done for a while with quite a sharp feeling, especially in the middle repetitions. Still fun and games getting to and from the lake.

I'm quite happy to go local when eating in foreign countries but went past one place tonight which was a bit too local for comfort (dog roasting on the spit). One thing, though, which is entirely globalised seems to be TV - 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire' is on. I presume the top prize (of $120,000) is in US$ as a million dong is about $70.

Monday Dec 3, 2007 #

Run 41:00 [3] 9.0 km (4:33 / km)

A fairly similar type of run to yesterday, although felt better than yesterday. Either the traffic was a bit lighter or I'm getting more used to it - I suspect the latter.

Largest items I've seen transported on a motorbike so far - a ladder, two bookshelves and a double mattress. Makes the Chaser's effort of seeking to move house by public transport seem tame.

Sunday Dec 2, 2007 #

Run 59:00 [3] 13.0 km (4:32 / km)

My first go at running in Hanoi. Traffic was predictably chaotic, although a bit easier to cope with once I took a 'when in Rome,do as the Romans do' approach and let all the motorbikes get out of my way rather than vice versa. At its most enjoyable picking my way through the back alleys of Hanoi suburbia - I always enjoy using runs to explore bits of cities that a normal tourist wouldn't touch, plus there were mazes of narrow passages and more than a few dead ends (would make great sprint terrain without the motorbikes).

As for the run, it was only so-so, as you'd expect coming off a flight and a long day yesterday. Pollution a little bit of a factor too.

Saturday Dec 1, 2007 #

Run 2:29:00 [3] 32.0 km (4:39 / km)

I had my first experience for a while on Thursday of starting a run at a time with a 5 in front of it, but today was even earlier, thanks to wanting to get a long run before the OA meeting. Somewhat to my surprise, Rob Walter was keen to keep me company (obviously being a new parent has turned him into an early-morning person) and joined me for the middle half.

Started from my parents' place in Aranda across Black Mountain to the city, then up Ainslie, then back across the northern suburbs and Bruce Ridge before a final loop around Aranda Hill and Cook. Not a bad run on the whole, and handled the climb up Ainslie better than I thought I would - I haven't done a climb like that for a while (and have been struggling at times on much easier hills). Started to fade away around 1.45, but kept plugging away and never looked like hitting the wall the way I did in the last 10 minutes on Thursday. Very humid after last night's heavy rain.

Updates may be a bit sporadic for the next week while I'm in Hanoi. If you haven't heard anything from me by next Sunday I may have had an unfortunate encounter with an errant motorcycle.

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