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Training Log Archive: blairtrewin

In the 31 days ending Mar 31, 2011:

activity # timemileskm+m
  Run33 34:10:00 238.42 383.7 2120184 /195c94%
  Swimming5 2:56:00 3.11(56:39) 5.0(35:12)
  Pool running3 2:15:00 1.3(1:43:27) 2.1(1:04:17)
  Total41 39:21:00 242.83 390.8 2120184 /195c94%

» now

Thursday Mar 31, 2011 #

7 AM

Run 1:44:00 [3] 20.2 km (5:09 / km)

A different location - from Essendon because I was picking my parents up from out that way this evening. I thought this might be better than recent Thursday runs because it wasn't coming off a Wednesday night race, but in fact it wasn't too different - although reasonably happy with the way I handled some of the steeper hills in the second half. Ended up going around Essendon Airport and out into Keilor East before dropping down to the river. Cut it a few minutes shorter than planned in the name of making the 8.24 train - I needn't have bothered because it was 10 minutes late. (This is something of which Essendon has a proud history - in the early 80s the Public Transport Users Association caused a certain amount of political embarrassment by getting the 8.08 from Essendon listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the world's most frequently late train).

Transport issues of another sort were the subject of much work conversation today because quite a few of my colleagues are going to a conference in Cairns next week, and Jetstar cancelled the 4pm Sunday flight and rebooked them all on the 6am flight without bothering to tell them about it (sound familiar?). Not sure if one of them was terribly impressed when I suggested he should look on the bright side because (a) 6am Sunday is really 7am because of the end of daylight saving and (b) his 18-month-old son will probably have woken him up at 3am anyway.

It hasn't always been the most comfortable month of training, but it has been my biggest month since August 2009. Hopefully it will do me some good.

Wednesday Mar 30, 2011 #

7 AM

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

Fartlek session on the usual loop, if not the usual day. Promising start but gradually drifted out of it; not one of my better efforts in the end. Being a Wednesday, spotted the bunch returning from the Tour de Eltham on my way back home.

Tuesday Mar 29, 2011 #

7 AM

Run 1:00:00 [3] 12.0 km (5:00 / km)

A bit of reshuffling this week, running street-O on Tuesday rather than Wednesday, which meant a morning run from the inner north, starting on Arden Street and going north around the top of Moonee Valley racecourse. Definitely grinding the gears for the first 15 minutes - wouldn't have wanted to be doing speedwork this morning - but gradually got into it a bit more. Handling climbs reasonably. Achilles a bit sorer than usual and didn't really settle.

Heard one of the better scrutineering stories I've come across for a while, from Saturday's NSW election. A would-be informal voter (a commodity probably not in short supply on Saturday) left the ballot paper blank, except for scrawling a word referring to a certain part of the male anatomy across the name of the Labor candidate. However, the way it was done the 'I' landed in the box, and it was counted as a valid vote for Labor. I'm guessing this wasn't the voter's intention.
7 PM

Run race 36:39 [4] * 7.6 km (4:49 / km) +80m 4:35 / km

Street-O at Kensington, across the road from Flemington racecourse and starting outside the Marathon dim sim factory (now we know where the slow horses end up). The newer part of this would make a decent sprint area although I'm not sure how we'd go with permissions.

The area is on the small side which means doing something a little unusual to keep people out for something close to the full quota. This time round it was having two maps, but in a score event there was no reason why you couldn't leave some controls from the first map and pick the second one up early. I left two controls from the first map to get later. Schweppes took that strategy further and went more or less straight to the map change, only to find that the maps hadn't got there yet. He lost a bit of time there but it was more or less cancelled out by stumbling across two controls from the second map before he actually had it (he ended up doing 90 metres longer than me and beat me by 1.40).

With a lot of controls to punch and a few stairs and other bits of awkwardness, this was slower than recent weeks but felt like a decent run (the margin to Matt suggests that too). Blew 30 seconds or so when I had trouble pinpointing 10. Quite a warm night although 27 at 7pm feels much less hot than 27 at 11am. Achilles better than it was this morning.

Monday Mar 28, 2011 #

8 AM

Swimming 36:00 [2] 1.0 km (36:00 / km)

Slept better last night - in fact so well that I didn't really feel like getting up with the 5.59 alarm and used the snooze button for once, so this swim was a bit later than usual. A bit of stiffness to work out (most noticeably in my back when I ran across Alexandra Parade to catch the last of the green pedestrian light) but otherwise OK, if slow.

And my pool running belt was where I thought it might have been - safely retrieved now.
1 PM

Run 44:00 [3] 9.0 km (4:53 / km)

It's a long time since I've run at lunchtime - mainly because the main reason why I might do a Monday run at lunchtime is because of having a Labor policy committee meeting on Monday evening, and there hasn't been one since the start of last year's federal election campaign. This meant it's the first time I've been on the Tan for a while (thus ascertaining that this isn't a good year for running a fast time, thanks to building works), and also the first time that I've had to dodge the Arts Centre building works too.

The run wasn't as bad as I'd feared in the morning, although still felt like it was reasonably hard work for a recovery run (it was somewhat faster than an MFR Monday night which makes a difference). I'd also thought that going at lunchtime might be useful for warm-weather acclimatisation but it didn't warm up until after lunch. Maybe tomorrow.

One of the new sights on Southbank was something called The Ludlow Formation, which turned out to be a restaurant. This reminded me of one of the more memorable discussions in the Sydney Morning Herald's Column 8, which was about which piece of NSW road infrastructure would make the best title for a Robert Ludlum novel. Their initial suggestion was 'The Calga Interchange', I liked someone's suggestion of the tale of a Perth drug lord, 'The Western Distributor', but Victoria can surely outdo anything in NSW with 'The Arcadia Duplication' (a new bit of freeway on the way to Shepparton).

Sunday Mar 27, 2011 #

6 AM

Run 2:00:00 [3] 23.2 km (5:10 / km)

I woke up with a bit of a sniffle and having had very little sleep (the only reason I can think of for that was drinking a Coke with dinner), which didn't fill me with confidence about a long run on a tough course - almost chickened out and headed for the plains to the north of Trafalgar, but stuck with my original plan, which involved a flat first 20 minutes before a major climb of 350 metres in about 4km.

The run started OK and I adjusted quickly enough to running with a headlamp for the first time in a while (6.15 start, so in the dark for the first 40 minutes). Big hills are sometimes easiest when you can't see what's coming, but I already knew from the map that the first part of Earls Road was the steepest; it eased off after that, but still seemed to go more or less forever. Had reasonable strength for this, though, which will help build some confidence.

The next section was a little disappointing. I thought this run might catch alight once I got to the top of the hill and the road would have been ideal for that - gently rolling hills in the countryside, more down than up - but wasn't feeling great through that part (perhaps I was disappointed that low cloud only meant limited views). Will have to try this again on a better day. Got a bit of a surprise hitting Sunny Creek Road at the saddle rather than a couple of kilometres south of it (the VicRoads map was misleading), which meant not doing a climb I had been preparing myself for. Rob's version of this loop goes up again from this point, but I didn't really want another big climb and was running a little short of time (plus I wasn't confident of finding the top end of Old Thorpdale Road), so headed down the bitumen of Sunny Creek Road. Some nice stretches on the flat in the last 20 minutes, although with a feeling I might have struggled if tested much further.

All in all, not too bad a run in the circumstances.

There was a big storm here on Tuesday night (the rain gauge I gave Kathryn and Rob for a housewarming present got 112mm worth of use), but there's surprisingly little damage - I was expecting to see a lot of washouts and other such damage but there was no real evidence of it. Wilsons Prom is a rather different story...

Saturday Mar 26, 2011 #

5 PM

Run 1:02:00 [3] 11.8 km (5:15 / km) +380m 4:32 / km

It's the Gippsland Field Days weekend but not as I usually know it, as instead of our usual base at Neerim South I was staying at Kathryn and Rob's place in Trafalgar. It's not hard to work out why Rob was so strong on the big climbs up Ainslie a couple of weeks ago - any decent long run from Trafalgar involves climbing the escarpment south of town, which depending on where you do it involves anywhere from 200 to 350 metres climb.

Headed out after a day's work into the Moe South plantation (used for what must have been a pretty tough MTBO three weeks ago). Essentially uphill for the first half and downhill for the second, apart from a brief reversal halfway on both. Not easy but reasonably happy with the way I handled it for the most part. Insides a bit shaken up towards the end. The eucalypt plantation area looked surprisingly runnable and could, with good course-setting, support local club events if one became established (although Kathryn tells me the trees get felled every 10 years on average).

The field days were much as usual (three climate sceptics today, but no aggro ones). Also managed to pick up a few Gippsland goodies, hoping that I wouldn't be noticed because the stand selling them was next to the Citizens Electoral Council. I'm not exactly Public Enemy Number One in CEC-land (that position is reserved for Prince Philip), but I do probably rank higher in that list than I do in the current IOF world rankings. One spinoff of the CEC's presence is that the Scientologists are now only the second nuttiest people with a stand at the Field Days.

(The DPI stand, which we were near, had a big section on a cause close to the heart of the orienteering community - getting rid of blackberries).

Friday Mar 25, 2011 #

7 PM

Swimming 35:00 [2] 1.0 km (35:00 / km)

A new pool to experience today. I was on my way down to the Gippsland Field Days via an afternoon talk at CSIRO in Aspendale, and decided that Fountain Gate was the most conveniently located. (Yes, Fountain Gate actually exists, although Kath and Kim was mostly filmed in Patterson Lakes). I might not have reached such a conclusion had I known what evening peak hour traffic across the southern fringe of Melbourne was like, the lowlight being taking 40 minutes to go 2km in Hampton Park. (The puzzling thing about this was that the roadworks which caused it were readily avoidable by anyone who knew of their existence and knew the area, so why weren't all the locals avoiding them?).

A switch to plan B was required when I discovered that my pool running belt wasn't in the car (hopefully it's in the lost property bin at Fitzroy), which meant switching to a swim. (As it turned out the pool would have been no good for pool running anyway - too shallow). Felt like I was really struggling to get going but not the worst of results in the end.

Thursday Mar 24, 2011 #

7 AM

Run 2:03:00 [3] 24.0 km (5:08 / km)

Again from Clifton Hill - something which used to be a reasonably regular occurrence when I was getting needles stuck into my calves every second Thursday but not something which has been common of late. Headed initially along the Yarra and then Gardiners Creek as far as Burke Road, heading back through the suburbs, involving a few more major routes than I'd planned on once it became apparent that my originally intended route was going to be 2.15-plus.

Again not a great run, again struggling whenever I needed to lift the intensity. Will be interesting to see how it goes next week when I won't be coming off a Wednesday night race. A bit of a left calf twinge appeared at about 45 minutes and was intermittently troublesome, but went away in the last 30 minutes. Tiredness was also an issue later on the day; my intermittent 2pm Thursday flat spot was a 5pm flat spot today, which I tried to push through but shouldn't have; I realised afterwards that I'd made a mistake and everything I'd done in the following hour was going to need to be redone tomorrow morning anyway.

Saw Kirsten walking the dog towards the end, and also saw why we haven't seen much of her this season (evidently I missed a Significant Announcement while I was away).

Wednesday Mar 23, 2011 #

7 AM

Run 1:00:00 [3] 12.0 km (5:00 / km)

A run based on the Yarra from Clifton Hill. Had its moments but nothing to get too excited about - remaining rather weak on the hills (is this sounding like a broken record?).

Sounds like the people's revolt was a bit of a fizzer (and whoever thought it was a good idea to have Tony Abbott in a position where he could be photographed underneath a 'Ditch the Bitch' sign should be seeking alternative employment immediately). I wonder if the bus which was coming up from Berwick via the Latrobe Valley got stuck in the floods?
7 PM

Run race ((street-O)) 46:21 [4] * 10.2 km (4:33 / km) +170m 4:12 / km

Final Summer Series at Maroondah Triangle. We were expecting a quirky format but it turned out to be quite straightforward - score event but with only 15 controls counting, so for those of us who expected to be able to get 15 in time, it was just a case of dropping the five lowest-scoring (only one of which would have been worth getting even in a 15-out-of-20 scatter event).

Everyone started together and there was an obvious first control which meant losing some time at the scrum around it (and to a lesser extent at the second, too). Was feeling OK through here. The only real route choice followed shortly afterwards (to get 5 early or late). I chose late, but not many others did so I was on my own through much of the middle third (I'd thought I might be in for another drag race with Martin Steer, but we split here). Let myself drift a bit through that section, but finished reasonably well with a result which indicated very gradual improvement (although Bruce had a flyer). One minor time loss at 4 when I started up one street too early.

The only real drawback to the route was an extra two crossings of Mount Dandenong Road, some of the driving on which reminded me a bit of the fatal hit-and-run a couple of weeks back (that one had the added twist that the alleged driver dumped the car down the road and set it on fire - unsurprisingly he was "known to police"). A less serious car-versus-bicycle altercation explains the absence in the last couple of weeks of regular opposition in the last two years, Ian Davies (apparently nothing too serious but enough to stop him running for a bit).

Tuesday Mar 22, 2011 #

7 AM

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

A bit more lively than last week and a bit less slow too, but still not under 10 which remains a long way below par. At least my second loop was back to its usual situation of being a few seconds faster than my first, rather than the reverse which has been the case recently. In general I feel reasonable for power - which explains why I wasn't losing much ground on the scrambling out of erosion gullies last weekend - but much worse for endurance at or near threshold.

Monday Mar 21, 2011 #

8 AM

Swimming 36:00 [2] 1.0 km (36:00 / km)

A reasonably standard Monday morning swim at Fitzroy. Didn't feel too bad (although not really awake at the start - something which has been quite common in the last couple of weeks), but pretty slow. Did pick up the pace a bit at the end.

And today my attention was drawn to a new unit of measurement: measuring radiation exposure in terms of how many bananas you would need to eat to get a similar exposure (bananas are naturally slightly radioactive). Read all about it at I think the peak levels at Fukushima have been something in the order of 1 million bananas per hour.
7 PM

Run 38:00 [2] 6.5 km (5:51 / km)

Monday night from the place formerly known as Liggo's (he still owns it but the residents these days are Reuben and Morten), down along the river and past the Batcave (which seems to be creeping slowly upriver). A nice night for a casual run. Some meatier discussion topics than usual, particularly in relation to Libya. Knee fine on the run but felt a bit odd afterwards.

Everything was wrapped up earlier than usual, allowing me to get home in time to see Media Watch do a job on the climate sceptics and their many friends in commercial radio.

Sunday Mar 20, 2011 #

12 PM

Run race ((orienteering)) 50:40 [4] *** 7.0 km (7:14 / km) +220m 6:15 / km

Eureka Challenge at Petticoat Gully (under a new name) - the first time we've raced on this part of the map for about 10 years. It's still got plenty of goldmining detail and we saw plenty of it in the first two-thirds of the course.

This was a good technical race though the detail, although my running was still patchy. Bruce caught me two minutes at 9. I was able to stay in touch through the rough stuff, but he blew me away once things opened out after 16 and got three minutes on me from there - I drifted a bit on both 17 and 18 which will have contributed to this. I still don't have the pace to attack gentle to moderate climbs, which counted for a bit in the pine forest section at the end which had plenty of them. Ended up fourth, thereby narrowly missing out on what would have been my first career prizemoney (which after entry fees would have been a net $4), but just heading the cluster of M40+ (one M40++) of Jim, Eddie and Liggo. Warmish again, returning to the 1990s tradition whereby the Eureka Challenge weekend coincided with Melbourne's last 30+ day of the summer on, if I recall correctly, four years out of six.

A few hints of right knee soreness at times, although in a different place to the area that troubled me late last year.

Saturday Mar 19, 2011 #

6 PM

Run 1:04:00 [3] 13.0 km (4:55 / km)

An evening run after I'd been up in Ararat with the comrades for the day - not my usual timing but not such a bad thing, if only because I should be taking all available opportunities to run in relative warmth (23) in the lead-up to WA. Didn't feel great at the start; never sparkled but gradually improved as it went on, and quite reasonable on the later hills climbing back through Ivanhoe.

Part of this run involved checking out the small tracks on the east side of the Yarra down towards the Veneto Club. A lot of this area has been flooded and it showed - plenty of mud and lots of debris in places - but nothing to seriously impede a run.

One for the this-wasn't-quite-thought-through-properly department, from the upcoming Tasmanian NOL events:

Advertised middle distance first start: 3.00
Middle distance last start if men's field is the same size as it was at the equivalent event in Tasmania in 2008: 4.32
Sunset on 21 May at Diddleum: 4.57

Not sure what they're going to be able to do about it, as the gap between the sprint and middle is already tight and I know people who have already booked flights on the basis of the advertised 11.00 sprint start.

Friday Mar 18, 2011 #

7 AM

Pool running 45:00 [3] 0.7 km (1:04:17 / km)

It's that time of year - starting a session in the pool in the dark, which always feels a bit weird in the couple of weeks a year when it happens. A bit more crowded than usual, including a couple of water polo players (I later found out) who were doing short sharp bursts and hard to stay out of the way of. At least they didn't appear to be practising their underwater scratching, gouging and squirrel-gripping. A reasonable session which blew out a few cobwebs.

As well that Easter's late this year; York has had only one day under 30 so far this month.

Thursday Mar 17, 2011 #

7 AM

Run 2:01:00 [3] 23.5 km (5:09 / km)

Last night may have built up confidence but today knocked a bit of it down again - never woke up properly despite again going out a bit later than usual (this time because of a 9am meeting with the OA auditors). At least, unlike last week, I didn't fall apart at the end but instead felt uniformly mediocre throughout. I suspect my recovery skills are not yet back up to handling the summer series/long run double - which means it may be as well that next week is the last week of the summer series.

Had my first road rage encounter for a while - someone who took exception to my running straight when he was wanting to turn right and accelerated and swerved at me. It's probably an exaggeration to say he tried to run me down because I'm fairly sure the intent was to scare rather than anything worse. Unpleasantries were exchanged (from a safe distance).

Wednesday Mar 16, 2011 #

7 AM

Run 1:01:00 [3] 12.0 km (5:05 / km)

A morning run from Canterbury Station out through Surrey Hills and Balwyn, a bit hillier than some of the runs I've been doing of late. Fairly similar to most recent runs, a slow start, hills less than inspriring, but a few good patches at times through the middle. Did manage to find a bit in the last 10 minutes when I thought I'd be struggling to get the train I wanted to (which, as it turned out, was 10 minutes late and a sardine-tin when it arrived - we're rather spoilt on the Hurstbridge line).
7 PM

Run race ((street-O)) 49:15 [4] * 10.7 km (4:36 / km) +190m 4:14 / km

Street-O at Canterbury. I thought 'here we go again' when I struggled up the first hill and Bruce was at least 30 metres clear of me by the first control, but it got better after that, not exactly sparkling but moving OK on flat and downhills. My route was slightly better through the first few, after which we split more significantly and I was on my own through the middle. Went through Martin Steer on the steep Union Road hill at about three-quarters distance - as strongly as I've attacked a hill for a while. Martin, though, hung in there and was still only 30 metres behind me with three controls to go, at which point I knew I was in a contest. Unlike some other races of this type this season (being dropped comprehensively by Rachel Johnson and Ian Davies at Croydon comes to mind), I actually felt like having a crack at this. Martin clearly felt likewise which set the scene for my best kilometre of the season; it wasn't quite as fast as his, but just enough to hold on by a few metres.

I'm not getting too carried away about this - I'm still short of the 4.30 pace I would consider acceptable, let alone the 4.15 I'd be reasonably happy with - but it's the first time for ages that I've felt as if I've actually been racing, and as such will hopefully be good for my confidence.

Tuesday Mar 15, 2011 #

7 AM

Run intervals ((fartlek)) 41:00 [4]

Not as lethargic as last week but no faster, which is something of a worry. The weekend's activities do provide a bit of an explanation but not one I'm happy with, especially as in six weeks' time we'll have to come up from a long race, probably in similar conditions to Sunday, the next day. It probably won't be 2.07 but it could well be 1.40 or 1.50. Nice morning to be out with a hint of autumnal mist.

A bit of a twinge before starting in my left hip; a non-issue on the run but noticeable at times during the day. Will need watching.

And everyone's favourite ACT orienteer is back making a nuisance of himself again...

Monday Mar 14, 2011 #

10 AM

Run 42:00 [2] 8.1 km (5:11 / km)

Recovery run before a swim at Ivanhoe, venturing into Darebin Parklands for the first time in a while. The creek was up - obviously there was more rain in the northern suburbs than there was in the city - but not enough to cut off the footbridge. A few new fences have sprouted there - didn't check out where the bike path ends now. More of a surprise was the number of new buildings being erected near Banksia Secondary College with a federal economic stimulus sign out the front - only a surprise because I thought the school was closing at the end of this year and being merged into another school to the north. Either I was mistaken or the buildings are for something else.

As far as the run went, I felt rather heavy but not as stiff or sore as I might have expected after yesterday's effort, and was reasonably satisfied in the circumstances.
11 AM

Swimming 36:00 [2] 1.0 km (36:00 / km)

A stint in the water at Ivanhoe - as always, water that is a bit warm for its own good. Didn't feel too bad while swimming, and loosened up nicely, although not as much energy as last week - no surprise there. Knee stiffened a little at the end for no obvious reason but no trace of issues afterwards.

Today was a little unusual - it's the first Labour Day in four years when I haven't worked (at least in the job I'm paid for - I spent a fair bit of the day working on the OA accounts).

As for the rival demos on Saturday: the accounts I've heard of the numbers are 8,000 pro (Andrew Bolt accidentally on purpose lost a zero from the end of this number) and 400 against.

Sunday Mar 13, 2011 #

11 AM

Run race ((orienteering)) 2:07:07 [4] *** 15.5 km (8:12 / km) +710m 6:40 / km

NOL long at Mount Ainslie. This was expected to be tough - a long race, plenty of climb, and a warm day - and I wasn't overwhelmed with confidence after the last week. Part of me was thinking to treat it as a weekend long run, except for the minor detail that my recent weekend long runs have been done in temperatures anywhere from 25 to 50 degrees colder (it was 24-27 during the race, and quite humid).

As expected the first leg was very long but there was only one real option, so it was mostly a track run as I fell gradually off the bunch, realising as I did so that today was going to be about enduring rather than racing. Started to settle through the butterfly section and work my way through the midfield pack, getting to near its front by the end of that section. Hit a very low patch on the next long leg (where I went left) and had about a 10-minute section where I was really struggling. Caught Murray coming out of 10 and got a second wind from that, which meant not being too rattled by the annoyance of a mistake on the supposedly trivial 12 in the CSIRO grounds going into the map change.

I'd slowly realised on the first loop that it hadn't really had that much climb (unless you went straight on 1 and 10), so was anticipating a lot on the second loop - perhaps a leg straight up the mountain. That bit was wrong - we went up the mountain in four legs rather than one. In a sense, though, it wasn't such a bad thing for someone who was struggling a bit - I was walking for most of the big climbs but so was everyone else. Came in low to 16 and dropped another minute or so, bringing me there just in front of a few others. Several of them were gone by then and posed no threat, but we emerged from the top of a climb with a pack of 3 - David Brownridge and Matt Parton being the others.

The descent to 18 was technically scary; I wasn't sure whether I wanted to lead and told Dave so (and he felt likewise), but with a track only a couple of contours below I was comfortable with a straight attack with a ready bounceback option, which wasn't needed. A small climb out of 20 was enough to drop Matt, and by 22, the last bush control, we'd gone through Aaron and were almost on Evan. Dave, whose endurance impressed me today, had a bit too much left for me then, and we couldn't quite get Evan. I thought I'd struggle to hold a 30-40 metre gap on Aaron, too, on the last 300 metres across the ovals, but managed to do it.

In one sense I'm reasonably happy with lasting this one out, and 12th is a result I bettered only twice last season, but I was still a long way down in time, and this is exactly the sort of race which I would have expected to challenge seriously in if I was in the shape I'd like to be. If part of it is about the heat then another few weeks will help that a fair bit.

Saturday Mar 12, 2011 #

9 AM

Run race ((orienteering)) 40:26 [4] *** 6.0 km (6:44 / km) +150m 5:59 / km

First round of the National League at the familiar venue of Bruce Ridge - although, as with tomorrow at Mount Ainslie, it was strange to run a proper race there (the most significant thing I've done there was winning M12 at the 1983 ACT Schools Championships). It turned out to be a bit more interesting than I was expecting, partly because it's greened up a bit (probably in part a legacy of the wet summer), and partly because it's now riddled with mountain bike tracks - Vancouver three weeks ago turned out to be excellent preparation.

This was generally a decent run technically - a few minor wobbles but nothing more than 10-15 seconds. The same couldn't be said for my physical performance - top gear is still missing and the small first hill was a bit of a shock to the system - but I did settle down a bit later on, especially after I caught David Brownridge late on the first loop (I then broke away on a route choice on the final sprint-style section). The result, just above midfield (equal 14th), is one I would have settled for at this stage; I'm certainly not hopelessly uncompetitive as I was in Armidale. Will be interesting to see how tomorrow goes; the longer distance will suit me, but I'm not sure the hills will.

Perhaps the biggest challenge of the day was getting there. Our headlights blew on the way out of Albury, leaving us to continue with either high beam or parking lights - this was just about manageable on the freeway (apart from annoying a few truck drivers) but challenging at best on the non-freeway sections through Holbrook and Tarcutta. Not fancying tackling the final section into Canberra, we pulled up at Gundagai and continued this morning. Got it fixed today otherwise we wouldn't be getting back until Monday.

I wasn't required for an official Victorian team - we've got a surplus of blokes - and hence decided to sit out the mixed relay, in the hope of keeping myself a bit fresher for tomorrow.

Friday Mar 11, 2011 #

7 AM

Pool running 45:00 [3] 0.7 km (1:04:17 / km)

Felt significantly better this morning. A reasonably routine session at Fitzroy; the other regular in the lane must be very observant as she'd spotted that I'd had a haircut since last week.

I was here a bit earlier than usual and thus found that the traffic in Alexandra Parade was worse at 6.55 than it is at 8.30, presumably because the clearway further up the road starts at 7. This was changed back from 6.30 by the new government (after complaints from all the struggling small businesses which were going to be sent into oblivion if people couldn't park outside their front doors between 6.30 and 7) - if the local ALP were suitably opportunistic they'd be out there with signs to remind people in the traffic jam who to blame for it.

On the subject of campaign strategy, I think the anti-carbon-tax people have made a major strategic error with the location of their first demo on Saturday (outside Julia Gillard's electorate office in Werribee). Firstly they've picked Melbourne where the shock-jock culture has less influence than in any other large mainland city, and secondly they're holding it in an outer suburb which means they'll be lucky to get a quarter of the crowd they would have got in the city (and I wouldn't mind betting that for a majority of the crowd that does go, it will be the first time they have set foot in Werribee). This strongly increases the chance that the counter-demo, which is in the city, will have a much larger crowd (not that you'll read about it in the Australian or hear it on 2GB), not a turn of events I would be overly distressed by.

Thursday Mar 10, 2011 #

8 AM

Run 1:46:00 [3] 21.0 km (5:03 / km)

I thought this might be a fairly straightforward long run, partly because it was shorter than usual (a concession to the fact that I'm racing on the weekend), and partly because it was later than usual because I was picking my bike up from the bike shop which doesn't open until 9.

For the first two-thirds it was indeed reasonably straightforward, occasionally showing promise but otherwise a bit of a slog and struggling a bit on hills. However, I then fell apart badly in the last 20 minutes, to a much greater extent than I would even at the end of a much tougher run. This is a significant worry with racing on the weekend. I suspect the cause may have been salt depletion as I was cramping quite a bit in the hour or two afterwards and it otherwise felt vaguely similar, although not as severe, as January 2009. Why it happened today is a bit of a mystery - in January 2009 it was the middle of Melbourne's severest heatwave and the morning after my hottest-ever run, whereas this morning the conditions were benign, if a little humid. Hopefully taking in more salt during the day will have helped (I certainly felt significantly better riding back from work tonight).

Riding into work from the bike shop was a bit of a challenge - OK while I was moving but threatening to cramp whenever I stopped. This provided some entertainment for the busload of (at a guess) Year 2s I was next to at traffic lights when I had to dismount in a hurry and do some on-the-spot stretching.

Wednesday Mar 9, 2011 #

8 AM

Run 1:00:00 [3] 11.7 km (5:08 / km)

Didn't expect a great deal of this morning, after a night which will be familiar to at least some readers - being awake from 1 to 3 and taking forever to get back to sleep. The difference is that in my case it was talking scientists (I had an international teleconference) rather than screaming small children.

My lack of expectations were largely realised, although it wasn't horrible. Rather annoying that every time I looked like getting into some sort of rhythm I got held up by traffic (the price of being out a bit later in the morning than I usually am). Humid but without the anticipated rain.

My bright idea (with street-O tonight at Scotch) was to leave the car at Kooyong for the day and get the train in (I'd normally ride in such circumstances but my bike's being serviced). I just missed the train I was aiming for, which caused more of a delay than anticipated because the next train ended up stopped a couple of kilometres up the line with someone splattered across the front of it (whose intentions can safely be gleaned by virtue of the fact that the news reports of the incident finished with the contact numbers for Lifeline and Beyond Blue). I presumed (correctly, given that various colleagues on the same line ended up getting into work well after I did) that the promised buses would be some time in coming and switched to plan B (tram to Glenferrie, then train on a different line).
7 PM

Run race ((street-O)) 43:15 [4] * 9.0 km (4:48 / km)

Street-O at Scotch. After last year I thought it might be a short sprint-style event as it was last year, but it was a conventional scatter event, on one of the more interesting areas in the program - the Yarra, the freeway and the railway line provide plenty of opportunity for route choice triumph and disaster. Tonight's course-setting encouraged that, with an awkwardly-placed cluster of five controls which we had to get at least some of.

After a straightforward first few legs I decided to do something radical, as evidenced by the fact that no-one else was anywhere near me. This probably meant either triumph or disaster, and I suspected the former. To some extent this was true, although Bruce found a variant which was similar; we got a big jump on the rest of the field though. What's still missing is my next gear; I felt better than I did last week but ran a similar pace (although there was enough mud and stair-work around on a wet night to slow the time down a bit). I felt I needed to gain three or four minutes on the field on route choice to have a chance, and in the end it was probably more like two.

There was plenty of visible evidence of Scotch's money at work (it's rumoured that the budget of the Scotch rowing program is bigger than the budget of Rowing Australia). They haven't, however, been able to buy decent batsmen if the scoreboard on display (all out 54 in 23 overs) is anything to go by.

Tuesday Mar 8, 2011 #

7 AM

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

Every now and again I have a morning when I've slept particularly well and don't feel properly awake even an hour after getting up. Usually the start of a run is the prompt to start feeling awake (more or less). This morning it wasn't. A rather pointless exercise in the end, at least from the point of view of doing anything fast.

A rather warm morning, which will be useful in getting at least a pretence of acclimatisation for the weekend.

Monday Mar 7, 2011 #

7 AM

Swimming 33:00 [2] 1.0 km (33:00 / km)

A sunny morning when more or less everything went smoothly (apart from the Volvo driver who was reinforcing stereotypes of Volvo drivers), and that flowed through into a good solid session in the pool. Quite a lot of people in the water this morning but most of those in my lane were of a similar (lack of) speed to me, so it wasn't an issue.
7 PM

Run 41:00 [2] 7.3 km (5:37 / km)

MFR Monday night from Jasmine's place in Brunswick, up Merri Creek to a point far enough north for some of the group to engage in some fig-picking. Took a long time to get going but eventually felt reasonable, not that this had any great intensity. No shortage of insects out, although still probably not as unpleasant as the Bendigo spider plague (anyone know if we've got this to look forward to in Canberra this weekend?). Followed up by dinner to the backing of Vanessa's band (or a recording thereof).

Sunday Mar 6, 2011 #

12 PM

Run race ((orienteering)) 16:39 [4] *** 3.0 km (5:33 / km) +50m 5:07 / km

Victorian Sprint Championships at Monash University Churchill, south of Morwell. This is not exactly the usual territory for Victorian orienteering - symbolised by passing the hopefully-soon-to-be-former Hazelwood power station on the way in - but Rob's doing his best to get things going in this part of the world. The terrain was reasonably standard campus-sprint variety, although without enough breaks in the main building complex to set up a lot of really good route choices.

(Another bit of quirkiness was that the assembly area was next to, among other things, a Muslim prayer room, which reminded me of the 1980s ACT event which started next to the Canberra Mosque, and had the master maps lined up so you were facing Mecca as you marked your course).

Didn't have a lot of pace on the first couple of uphill legs. Got into it after that and was navigating pretty well, just a couple of trivial hesitations at the start of legs, and avoided falling into any of the traps which were set. Ended up about where I expected to be at this stage, a bit under 3 minutes down on Bruce, which is probably about a minute away from where I'd want to be, but there are still seven weeks to do something about that.
1 PM

Run 11:20 [3] *** 1.9 km (5:58 / km)

Ran the short course backwards as post-race training, not at full racing speed but faster than just a warm-down. Didn't feel too bad and navigated reasonably well, on a course which was probably more technical than ours.

Saturday Mar 5, 2011 #

9 AM

Run 1:32:00 [3] 18.3 km (5:02 / km)

Lovely morning to be out - cool and sunny. Not such a lovely run, although certainly improved on Wednesday and Thursday - getting back into a normal sleeping pattern helps. Achilles not having the best of days.

Noticed that Bundoora Secondary College now has a proper running track - worth noting for future time-trial reference.

Friday Mar 4, 2011 #

7 AM

Pool running 45:00 [3] 0.7 km (1:04:17 / km)

Back in the pool for a nice recovery session. Seemed to be working fairly well, after a first night of sleeping properly (and of still being asleep when my alarm went off). Plenty of people at the pool despite the cool morning - it's school swimming carnival season and a squad was there a couple of lanes across.

Statistics interpretation fail of the week: to those (and there have been multiple offenders) who have included a reference to the Queensland floods and Cyclone Yasi in reporting on the latest economic growth figures. This sounds all very well except that the figures were for the quarter ending in December, and unless consumers and businesses are much better forecasters than I think they are, it's hard to imagine how they could be affected by floods that happened (mostly) in January and a cyclone that happened in February. I'm not sure if blame lies mainly with the journalists or the politicians whose quotes they were reporting.

Thursday Mar 3, 2011 #

6 AM

Run 2:02:00 [3] 23.4 km (5:13 / km)

A Wednesday/Thursday combination which I haven't attempted for two years, prior to which it was a regular feature of my training. After last night's dismal effort I thought it might be hard going and it was, with hills particularly weak. Slow early on with some newsletter-delivery (and the darkness), before heading out along the river to Finns Reserve and back, and a final loop through the lower part of Heidelberg. Picked up a bit in the last third, and the last 10 minutes were the best of the whole run. Had originally gone out with 2.10 in mind but was happy to settle for something starting with a 2 in the end.

It's tempting to attribute this performance to the first attempt at a demanding combination, but as I was starting to feel not quite right running yesterday morning, I suspect sleep issues may have something to do with it too. Hopefully I'm not in the process of getting sick (although with all the recent travel it would be no great surprise if I did).

Wednesday Mar 2, 2011 #

7 AM

Run 59:00 [3] 12.0 km (4:55 / km)

Not quite with it this morning for a run from near tonight's street-O venue, then down through Toorak and Malvern, taking a lot of expensive real estate en route as usual in these parts. It must also be private schools athletics/cross-country time as I saw groups of runners from Carey and Scotch on my way to the start, and then Mandeville Hall while I was running. The run improved a bit at the end.

That then set me up to negotiate the obstacle course involved in riding from there to the city these days. I'd hoped that a month away might have been enough for at least one of the building projects currently obstructing access to Docklands to be finished but no such luck.
7 PM

Run 45:18 [4] * 9.6 km (4:43 / km) +170m 4:20 / km

Really not with it tonight - perhaps my body still thinks it's midnight (or is expecting the driving blizzard I was running in this time last week). Weak throughout but especially up the hills. The one positive to draw from this is that I produced a similar performance on a bad night to that which I was producing on a good night six weeks ago.

Hanging off the back of a bunch until about halfway when they went their separate ways, whereupon I was more or less on my own for a few controls (amongst A grade anyway). Rejoined 100 metres behind Ian Davies with three controls to go (somewhat to my surprise, as I thought his option wasn't a good one at first glance). Took enough ground out of him by the last control to give me some vague hopes of pulling him in - Ian doesn't have a sprint - but it didn't happen. About 3.5 minutes behind Bryan; Bruce didn't show tonight.

I suspect this map has different contour intervals in its eastern and western halves (5m in the west, 10m in the east). Not quite as bizarre as the map (no longer in use) which has different north-south and east-west scales.

Tuesday Mar 1, 2011 #

7 AM

Run intervals 20:00 [4] 3.2 km (6:15 / km)

8x400 on a 2.5 minute cycle at Clifton Hill, times 81-87. This was the first time I've tried to go really hard for a while. Was worried based on my performances in events like the 5-days and the January street-Os that this was going to be totally embarrassing, but it ended up being on a similar level to most of last year - still not great but a platform which can be built on. Faded away a bit on the last couple. A blustery morning, although the tailwind was in the last 100 which is better than the alternative.

Had a massage afterwards, which was definitely badly needed. Legs still feel a bit swollen post-flight but better than yesterday.

Run warm up/down 20:00 [2] 4.0 km (5:00 / km)

Warm up/down from the intervals session.

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