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Training Log Archive: blairtrewin

In the 7 days ending Aug 19:

activity # timemileskm+m
  Run6 4:10:53 21.06(11:55) 33.9(7:24) 41534 /39c87%
  Total6 4:10:53 21.06(11:55) 33.9(7:24) 41534 /39c87%

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Sunday Aug 19 #

1 PM

Run race ((orienteering)) 37:05 [4] **** 3.0 km (12:22 / km) +145m 9:57 / km
spiked:11/13c

North American Middle, 3rd. Made the most of a very technical course, with only one error of any size (about 1.5 minutes on 10) to get probably my best result this year. Wasn't running terribly fast, but this wasn't an area for it - rather it was an area for avoiding disaster, particularly on the flat and scary section from 4 to 9. Apart from 10, I was a little wobbly on the way to 1, but ended up hitting the control OK. Didn't run any of the steep hills, but I'm not sure if too many others did. Definitely a day for the navigator (although astonishingly Timo Sild did under 7 mins/km on this). About 2.30 off the lead - was actually in front before my mistake at 10 (it's been a long time since I've seen a red number against my name on Winsplits).

Very scenic arena with a backdrop of Lewes Lake and the mountains beyond that, although fine dust became more of a nuisance as the day went on.

Yesterday we were sharing a course with the M18s, today it was the W18s. I know the junior fields here are some way below full (North American) strength but the results were still a bit of a shock - fastest time in W18 was 110(!). By way of comparison, I'd probably expect to beat the current crop of Australian junior women in this type of terrain, but would expect at least some to get within a few minutes. (In less technical terrain, some do beat me at least some of the time - Asha gets me every now and again in Melbourne Bush-Os, for instance).

Saturday Aug 18 #

12 PM

Run race ((orienteering)) 1:02:48 [4] *** 6.8 km (9:14 / km) +195m 8:05 / km
spiked:11/12c

NAOC long, 6th M45. Brent (on his home turf, although he hasn't run on this specific area) won with 51 but no-one else was under the high 50s.

Apart from the first control this was a pretty good run. I was wobbly on the first, having a bit of trouble getting into the map initially - didn't actually go too far off the line but had enough hesitations and pulling up short to drop a couple of minutes (according to the split comparisons I've done so far). From there, although I was still finding it hard to hold a bearing in the flatter regions (I wasn't the only person to notice that my compass had trouble settling, presumably due to the proximity of the magnetic pole), it didn't really cost me anything. There were a few controls in vague and greenish terrain (4, 9, 10) where I wasn't confident but was very pleased to hit a flag more or less right on. Also running reasonably well by recent standards, with no injury issues.

Quite a nice area to be in; good running on the higher ground but harder work in the softer lowlands. Reasonably happy with the outcome too, although getting edged out by Nick Duca by 30 seconds was a bit disappointing (we've been crossing paths for more than 20 years - having first met as co-commentators at JWOC 1996 in Romania).

Friday Aug 17 #

Event: NAOC 2018
 
12 PM

Run 24:00 [3] *** 2.4 km (10:00 / km) +75m 8:39 / km
spiked:12/14c

NAOC model event. As usual, a fairly casually-paced attempt to come to grips with the terrain - not so different in its landforms from some of what I've been in in Europe. Main take-home from this was that I'm more used to 2.5m contours in areas with this level of contour detail, so will need to get used to the idea that quite big features are represented with a single contour. Didn't feel great running, but that often happens in model events.

It's quite cool and dry here (although it's forecast to warm up), and it was quite a novelty to finish without being drenched with sweat. Summers are short here; it dropped to -4 in Haines Junction this morning (+3 in Whitehorse).

Thursday Aug 16 #

Note
(rest day)

Walking through the streets of Skagway with my gear at 1am (the place I was staying was a bit over 1km from the dock), I did muse that travel puts you in some slightly oddball situations. It was a fairly quick turnaround, because I thought I was on the 7.30 train out of town. I wasn't - I got to the ticket office to pick up my tickets and saw that they had 12.30 printed on them. This actually worked out OK, as it meant I spent a few hours in Skagway instead of a few hours in Carcross (where I basically wouldn't have been able to leave the bus stop because of the NAOC sprint embargo), and they let me leave my pack at the ticket office. Just would have been nice to know ahead of time so I could have had a bit more sleep...(I probably wouldn't have tried to fit in a run anyway, with orienteering on 7 of the next 8 days).

Skagway, a town which got its start as the port for the late 1890s Klondike gold rush, has its character although it's hard to know how authentic the buildings actually are. Wasn't quite as overwhelmed as I thought it might be with three cruise ships in town. The train trip was scenic, and so was the connecting bus; I was by no means the only Australian here, sighting Liz and Bruce, the Meekings, Jones and Brownlie couples.

Wasn't quite the last of my transport-related misadventures, though - I'd booked to pick a car up from Whitehorse Airport, but have found out that whatever it says on the Budget website, the desk is only open to meet incoming flights. I'm currently sitting around the airport for a couple of hours waiting for the next one.

Wednesday Aug 15 #

3 PM

Run 40:00 [3] 6.6 km (6:04 / km)

Perhaps it was as well for my mental health that I was off the ship when a subsequently-rescinded announcement was made that we wouldn't be leaving Ketchikan until Wednesday morning. This morning I found out a bit more of the story - they thought they were going to have to fly a part in from Anchorage, but someone managed to track the relevant part down at the Ketichikan Wal-Mart, and we ended up leaving Ketchikan around 9pm, now 11 hours behind schedule.

Some of the port stops are reasonably long for reasons which were not immediately obvious to me. Petersburg's was only 45 minutes, but that was long enough to find a place with decent coffee close to the terminal (none of the terminals except Skagway's are close to the centre of town, though Petersburg's, like Ketchikan's, is still in the urban area). The one in "Juneau" (the terminal is actually 25km out of town, to avoid the ships having to do a big out-and-back - the passage north of Juneau is too shallow for shipping) was about 2 hours. I didn't think that was long enough to hire a taxi to go to the Mendenhall Glacier, but it was enough for a run.

A look at a map in the ferry terminal suggested that, after about 1km on the highway (which at least had a decent shoulder) there was a coastal trail, and so it proved - a nice spot to be in, partly coastal rainforest and partly beach. (Beaches are actually a pretty rare sight in this part of the world - typically the forest comes right down to the waterline). Felt better on the run than yesterday, although that's not an especially high bar to clear.

As expected, the trip was highly scenic, getting progressively more so as we went further north (one upside of the delay is that we probably got more of the good bits in daylight and in decent weather than we would have on the original schedule). Eventually made Skagway about 1am - brownie points for the B+B host who got/stayed up for me (I'd rung from Juneau to let them know what was happening).

The ferry was definitely a travel experience. You get to see most of what the cruise ship passengers see at a vastly lower price and without being in the company of several thousand of your new best friends anywhere you go ashore (and, although it was still mostly an older crowd, there were a few people, other than the crew, who were younger than I was). On the downside, the system is clearly starved of funds - although apparently a couple of the older ships (mine was 55 years old) are being replaced in the next couple of years - facilities on board are reasonably basic - definitely not a Baltic Sea vessel - and the food ranges from passable to almost inedible.

Tuesday Aug 14 #

2 PM

Run 40:00 [3] 7.0 km (5:43 / km)

Well, this isn't turning out quite as planned. The first bit which didn't go quite to plan was that I headed out to the ferry terminal about 10pm to sit out the last 3 1/2 hours before departure, to find the place deserted and a notice on the gate saying that the departure had been rescheduled for 8.45. Fortunately the taxi driver hadn't (quite) left yet, so I was able to flag him down for a ride back to town in search of a motel (found at the first attempt, and at a fairly reasonable price and quality in the circumstances - local knowledge is useful).

The first leg then wasn't quite as scenic as hoped for because of low cloud and mist, although it had started to lift enough to give some decent views for the last section in Ketchikan. This was our first port of call, and we had long enough there for me to plan for a short run there (even if it was in the afternoon rather than morning as originally expected). This was partly in pursuit of some logistical goals - finding an ATM to get US currency, and finding somewhere to get some fruit (there's none for sale on the boat and you can't bring it across the border - got to protect those Alaskan banana crops). The former objective was a bit trickier than I expected because the only outdoor ATMs I found were at drive-through banks. Got just about to the centre of town, where I did my good deed for the day (drawing a woman's attention to the fact that she'd just dropped her purse), before heading back. The run itself was pretty poor, with back not 100%, especially in the first half.

I got back, quite proud of what I'd managed to get done, and had just got out of the shower when an announcement came over that the ship had a mechanical issue and would now not leave until at least 8pm. That puts us 10 hours behind schedule (although we'll be able to make some of it up with shorter port calls, assuming we actually get away at 8). I'm starting to get a little nervous about my Skagway arrangements, although it would need to be 15 hours late for me to miss my connection there.

And, for the record, since I (and no doubt most of you) have heard a few horror stories about US border officials in the Trump era, the official I dealt with today was just about the friendliest and most helpful such official I can remember encountering anywhere. (Border agencies do seem to attract the occasional person who enjoys a power trip - the worst such official I've crossed paths with was in Amsterdam - but it's good to remember that even in Trump's America, most of them aren't like that - or maybe it's just that Alaska is different).

Monday Aug 13 #

9 AM

Run 47:00 [3] 8.1 km (5:48 / km)

In Vancouver as a staging post on the way north, staying towards the eastern end of downtown in just about the only place I could find for under $500 a night (fairly basic but OK; apparently prices skyrocket around cruise ship departures/arrivals). Decided to save Satnley Park for the trip back when I'll be staying closer, and instead headed down around the top end of False Creek - nice once on the south shore. Went a little bit further than I intended, partly because getting on the Granville bridge was a more convoluted process than I anticipated, but that's no bad thing - might as well take advantage of days when things are functioning reasonably well.

This afternoon's leg was to fly to Prince Rupert. We got as far as the end of the taxiway before returning to the gate - the weather observations system at Prince Rupert had gone down and, with fog looking like it was just clearing at the time, the pilot wasn't prepared to risk it without better information.(Meanwhile, a lot of flights to the interior of BC were being delayed or cancelled because of heavy smoke, which was making its presence felt in Vancouver too - you could only just see the mountains' outline from downtown). The second attempt, 1.45 late, was fine, and once clear of the smoke it was as spectacular as I expected.

Being late wasn't actually a bad thing as it means I only have eight hours to kill in Prince Rupert instead of ten, ahead of tonight's late-night ferry departure. Arriving at Prince Rupert is a bit different to the usual; the airport is on an island (not enough flat land on the mainland) so you have to get a ferry to town - I have seen this before, for Horn Island/Thursday Island in the Torres Strait.

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