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Training Log Archive: blairtrewin

In the 31 days ending Dec 31, 2011:

activity # timemileskm+m
  Run30 34:57:13 260.32(8:03) 418.94(5:00) 54564 /71c90%
  Pool running4 3:00:00 1.74(1:43:27) 2.8(1:04:17)
  Swimming5 2:56:00 3.11(56:39) 5.0(35:12)
  Total39 40:53:13 265.16(9:15) 426.74(5:45) 54564 /71c90%

» now

Saturday Dec 31, 2011 #

9 AM

Run 1:11:00 [3] 14.0 km (5:04 / km)

Finished the year off with a Saturday morning jaunt southeast to Balwyn (although across the top rather than the hard way up and down the side ridges) and back across the Bulleen hills. A reasonable run with Achilles at manageable levels. Starting to get pretty warm by the end; this run was OK, but twice as far tomorrow in potentially more difficult conditions (although with an earlier start) will be more of a challenge.

Cracked 40 hours this month for the first time since 2009 and also had my biggest year of running for three years, mainly because this year I didn't have a major post-season injury - my only significant lost-time injury was the bizarre drivers' ankle after WA, which claimed a week which would have been an easy recovery week anyway. Hopefully 2012 will see some rewards for the groundwork laid this year (something which can also be said for other parts of my life; March is going to be a big month).

Best race of the year: probably Venice for intensity, the WMOC final for running a controlled race on a tough day (and it's a positive that my two biggest international races of the year both make this list). Locally I'd probably look at the Australian Middle Distance or the NSW Long as performances, although the best result on paper involved channelling Steve Bradbury at the SA Championships.

Worst race of the year: undoubtedly the Saturday night street-O on OA Conference weekend (I'm still trying to work out how I could make so many stupid mistakes on the same night). If you want something that actually matters, the Tasmanian middle NOL or day 2 of the Swedish 5-Days, although both had extenuating circumstances (illness and injury respectively). Tasmania was probably the biggest disappointment of the year because the long race would have suited me well had I been healthy and a top-six result was there for the taking with a good run (that said, one of the features of the last 18 months has been struggling more than I'm used to with the longer distances, hopefully something that a good summer will fix, although the last three Sundays have hardly been encouraging).

Best run (non-race): no contest here - the Pyrenees epic in late November. An honourable mention to the -22 degree one in Oslo in February.

Friday Dec 30, 2011 #

8 AM

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

Not a bad session, slightly later in the morning than usual, and no sign of the lower leg cramps which have troubled me occasionally in this session of late. Might have spoken too soon about the Achilles, though....

Somebody from the Herald-Sun must have been on holidays in the same general area as me and spotted people jumping off the cliffs at the back beach at Blairgowrie because there was a full-page spread today, complete with SMS poll, about how dangerous it was (although the lack of any reference to any deaths or serious injuries suggests pretty strongly that there haven't been any, in a spot which my parents tell me has been used for this purpose for at least 50 years; there's a rockpool below the cliffs which is several metres deep and very clear). The Herald-Sun in Something Must Be Done mode is a force which few public servants or politicians can stand up to and I expect the end result will be the closure of the beach to public access. Naturally this will not stop the Herald-Sun from railing against the evils of the nanny state.

And this may have been a short session, but I'm prepared to bet that it's longer than anything that Mace will be able to log for December 30...

Thursday Dec 29, 2011 #

7 AM

Run 2:05:00 [3] 25.1 km (4:59 / km)

Officially we're supposed to be on a break until 3 January but if I did such a thing an awful lot of stuff that needs to be ready to go on 3 January wouldn't be, so my break is over - but at least there are positives to working when no-one else is, such as half-empty trains and not needing to get up at 5 to get a Thursday long run in because there's no-one around to care that you got in after 10.

Today wasn't the grinding-the-gears start that many recent runs have been, but never got above a simmer. All the small hills felt like hard work but strangely the big one (across Montmorency) didn't. Took advantage of the last cool day for a while. Achilles continuing to improve with only occasional twinges, so I'm hoping the most recent flare-up was simply a case of not being able to handle sand well.

The side mission today was to get a more comprehensive look at flood damage than yesterday. There's lots of it in the Diamond Creek valley below Eltham (much less so in the Plenty River valley, which suggests that Eltham got a fair bit more rain than Greensborough's 92 in six hours and 61 in one) - perhaps most impressively, the stripping of all the decking from the footbridge next to the Main Road bridge (the one near the old McCrae residence for those who know the area).

Wednesday Dec 28, 2011 #

8 AM

Run 1:05:00 [3] 13.0 km (5:00 / km)

Headed north, partly to check out some storm damage - and found some, most strikingly a formerly gravel path in Macleod which had been stripped right down to its base. Nice in the bush part of Gresswell even if the footing was a bit rough at times. Still a little sore climbing, but as a run this felt as good as anything has for a couple of weeks.

The rest of the day was spent at the cricket, once I had finally made it inside - this year all the seats are reserved which slows the queues down to about 10% of their usual pace. I would have got a ticket online but Ticketek's computer doesn't give you any say in where your seat is within a given price category and kept trying to put me in the middle of Bay 13 or behind the sightscreen.
7 PM

Run race ((street-O)) 36:05 [4] * 7.74 km (4:40 / km) +140m 4:17 / km

Summer Series at Mullum Mullum - for the second successive week a fair bit shorter than advertised. Also a weaker field than usual (no Bruce or Bryan, and Ian Davies jogging round with his kids), but it ended up being one of my better head-to-head scraps of the season.

The warm-up was quite encouraging and I went into this with some optimism, but had it knocked out of me pretty quickly after botching the creek crossing between 13 and 18 - I saw an easy crossing, took it, and then realised I was on an island with a deep crossing beyond, and a simple one 50 metres to the left that everyone else was using. That mishap cost me 45 seconds or so and left me playing catch-up for a while. By halfway most of the catching up was done and it was down to a head-to-head, with someone I didn't know who was hesitating a bit on some of the navigation but running at comparable speed. He then slowed coming into 6 (the 14th control) and I thought he might have run out of steam, but then blew back past me coming into the second-last. I tried a last-roll-of-the-dice route choice from the last control to the finish and made up a bit of ground (and would have made up more had the bridge I was using not had an angled ramp), but I think he would have been able to sprint away from me at the end if he'd needed to.

Not as good a run as I'd hoped beforehand - still having trouble finding something extra uphill - but probably the best since coming back from Geneva (which isn't saying much), given a few bits of terrain running.

Tuesday Dec 27, 2011 #

Event: Xmas 5 Days
9 AM

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

Regular fartlek loop. A bit better than last time and felt a little lively at times but mostly nothing to get too excited about. Achilles continues to be annoying without really impeding anything. Got to see a bit of flood damage too, although I expect most of the really significant stuff remains to be discovered on runs later this week (a damage inspection tour is planned for Greensborough on Thursday's long run).

Monday Dec 26, 2011 #

8 AM

Run 42:00 [3] 8.0 km (5:15 / km)

A shorter run out to Koonya and then back along the coastal track - another classic run (or a minor variation thereof) here - it's been an intermittent regular of mine since I was 13. Took some time to get going and again Achilles wasn't great on the softer dunes, but settled down again once on firmer ground which wasn't really the case yesterday. Track seemed to be in slightly better condition than last year when parts of it had almost disappeared.
1 PM

Swimming 37:00 [2] 1.0 km (37:00 / km)

Swim at Northcote, a location governed partly by where I was at 12.30 and wanting to fit as much of the swim as I could into the lunch break of the Test (a task made considerably easier by virtue of said lunch break having its length doubled by rain). The water is always very warm here, which wouldn't be ideal for serious training but is probably not a bad thing for muscle recovery, which is a major reason why I do this session. Felt a bit unenergetic. Hardly anyone else around.

Given yesterday's events I was a bit apprehensive as to what I might find when I got home, but all looks OK (apart from the tree most badly burnt in the fire a couple of weeks ago). The really serious action was a few kilometres to the north - checking out what this has done will provide a theme for a couple of runs later on this week.

Sunday Dec 25, 2011 #

7 AM

Run 2:01:00 [3] 23.0 km (5:16 / km)

What's now becoming a bit of a tradition - this is the fourth year in a row I've gone beyond 2 hours on Christmas Day, this year with a brother-in-law for company. It was perhaps a bit overambitious - a long run on sand dunes was a bit more than my Achilles could handle, and in the end it was towards the short end of what I had in mind for today.

It had been a somewhat boisterous night, meteorologically speaking (sign of the times: when thunder woke me up about 1.30 my first instinct was to check the radar on my phone), and there was another thunderstorm shortly after we headed out. The run was a bit of a variation on my traditional Peninsula long run - out along the front side of the Peninsula to Portsea, and back along the back beach and the coastal track - but this time we went a little into Point Nepean and cut across on a track to London Bridge, something I haven't done before. It's almost unrelenting small hills after Sorrento - apart from the Portsea beach. By Diamond Bay the Achilles was getting worse rather than better and we decided to bail out to the road in the name of stopping it from getting worse. Did have enough for a lap of the block to get it beyond 2 hours.

It was a very humid morning which meant dripping a lot of sweat on our return, creating marks on the floor which seemed to horrify my parents - something which made me think of something I'd read yesterday about a study (the lead author of which was an Oxford University researcher, one Bridget Anderson) of domestic work in various countries which found in essence that the amount of housework done expanded to fill the time available to do it.

Not surprisingly I was a bit sleepy through much of the rest of the day, at least when I wasn't eating or admiring storms. I didn't experience any of the major storms in person but was impressed by the radar. I was also worried that my parents (and my car, which they were using) might have been caught in the thick of one of the major hailstorms in the course of dropping my grandmother off, and with good reason - it turned out they were maybe 1km south of the really serious action.

Saturday Dec 24, 2011 #


Just added a log entry for my first long run (the one where I ended up in Jase and Belinda's current street without any clothes on) - check out the archives for March 1973. Tooms Two still has a few months to beat that if he wants to...

(Not 100% certain on the date - Mum remembers my approximate age, the weather and that it was a Friday - I think I've narrowed it down to two possible dates).
9 AM

Run 1:00:00 [3] 11.4 km (5:16 / km)

A bit of a balancing act this morning - should I sleep in (by my standards) and potentially pay the price of a hotter run? I suspected (correctly) that my nephew in the next room would make the decision for me. As it turned out it was cloudy all morning (although rather humid) so the start time wasn't critical.

Out to the back side of the peninsula, along the coastal track for a while, then back through the back blocks of Rye (which I'm never quite confident finding my way through). Found the sand dunes hard going with the Achilles, both the soft ones on the coastal track and the paved-over ones in suburbia, but settling OK in the later part.

The last Christmas present was acquired by 3pm, which is more organised than I usually am.

Friday Dec 23, 2011 #

7 AM

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

In the spirit of the season of goodwill, this session was preceded by a horn blast because in the act of parking outside the Fitzroy Pool I'd delayed somebody in their journey to the next red light by, oh, two or three seconds. I'd blame excessive testosterone but that's not applicable in this case (unless the offender was on the same stuff the East German swimmers used to be on). Perhaps it was appropriate that the last (official) working day of the year started this way, in a year when the zeitgeist seemed to be that being civil to other people in the public arena was for sheilas, wimps and poofters (with the carbon tax debate, which I had the good fortune to be overseas for the most virulent phase of, serving as exhibit A).

Once in the pool it was a strange sort of session - was feeling like my leg was about to cramp almost from the beginning, for no obvious reason, but it never did. For many this is already a holiday and the holiday crowd was starting to gather by the end.

Heading down the Mornington Peninsula tonight for the next three days, still with at least one minor epic in mind.

Thursday Dec 22, 2011 #

7 AM

Run 1:30:00 [3] 18.0 km (5:00 / km)

Continuing my easier-than-usual few days with a significantly-shorter-than-usual Thursday run, not one to get wildly excited about but nothing really wrong either. Not sparkling on the hills but better than yesterday. Quite wet feet despite a dry day, thanks to some very heavy dew in the long grass on the riverside paths.

I've given the Boorondara Council a spray in these pages a few times before - their low point to date had been threatening to ban the Kew Little Athletics Club because one person complained about the noise from the starting pistol - but they've surpassed themselves this time by banning Twenty20 cricket matches from all grounds in the municipality because too many sixes were being hit (

This, in turn, made me think of the six that could have changed the course of world history. It was in an inter-house game at Canberra Grammar in 1988, in which I was a spectator rather than a player (on the grounds that my score at the end of 20 overs would rarely reach double figures). One of our batsman hit a straight six which bounced back off the top of the fence; had it been a couple of metres higher it would have gone straight into the passing motorcade of then Soviet Foreign Minister (and later president of Georgia) Edvard Shevardnadze. Convincing the Soviets it was an accident would have been challenging, at best.

Wednesday Dec 21, 2011 #

7 PM

Run race ((street-O)) 30:53 [4] * 6.8 km (4:32 / km) +125m 4:10 / km

Street-O at Jells Park, a venue I haven't been to for about a decade - not sure how much of this is quirks of the fixture and being away/injured at the wrong times, and how much is it being in the Monday night series instead of the Wednesday one some years. I was expecting some hill-climbing as it gets very steep on the slope climbing up to the Police Academy, but the course turned out not to go there - which may as well given how badly I was running the much more modest hills that did exist.

Not sure where the course-setter got the estimate of 8.5k from. Got the route choice right but again sluggish or worse despite the easy week so far - in the end a fairly similar result to the last couple of weeks, although the result looks better because I got the route choice right and Bruce wasn't there.

Quite a bit of excitement at work today - there's always a bit of excitement when a significant record is 'on' and the prospect of a rare 50-degree day in Australia (there have only been four in 100 years) was definitely enough to get us going. In the end the highest we got was 49.0 at Roebourne, but tomorrow looks at least as hot. (It would have been splendidly ironic if the Australian record had fallen on the day that a certain national newspaper with an interest in climate issues ran a full-page spread on how cool summer has been).

Tuesday Dec 20, 2011 #

7 AM

Run 1:06:00 [3] 13.0 km (5:05 / km)

Northwards from Clifton Hill. Feeling sluggish, half-asleep and very slow for most of the first 40 minutes, picked up considerably after that (partly by necessity as I was running late) - perhaps also because the Merri Creek was the nicest part of the run (despite the inevitable illegally-off-leash dog).

The northernmost limit of this was roughly Normanby Road, a regular route for us between grandparents in the day. The intersection with St. Georges Road used to feature a novelty for Canberrans of the 1980s, a fast-food cluster of which only Hungry Jacks survives (Canberra at that stage had only a couple apiece of McDonalds, KFC and Pizza Hut, none of them anywhere near Aranda). Such clusters still exist elsewhere in Melbourne, as Bruce related from his trip to Epping on the weekend, finding the trifecta of McDonalds/KFC/Hungry Jacks (as well as Autobarn/Repco/Supercheap Auto).

Proceeded from the run to a long-overdue massage, which was a sufficiently painful experience to put me in mind of the Susie Power quote to the effect that childbirth was nothing compared with some of the massages she'd had (those who've actually experienced the former are free to disagree).

Some excitement at work today with the possibility of a Christmas cyclone somewhere in the vicinity of Darwin, a prospect which will no doubt receive sober, scientifically accurate and non-sensational coverage in a well-known Darwin newspaper. Given who it is who shares a name with the previous Darwin Christmas cyclone it's an interesting coincidence that this one, if it happens (and if the likely Coral Sea one forms first), will be called Grant. If you're looking for other orienteering cyclone names, we'll see a Jasmine (5th on the list) in the next couple of months, and a Bruce (18th) probably sometime in 2013 - the full list is here. (If, on the other hand, the powers that be want a more contemporary Australian list next time round, they could always try here instead).

Monday Dec 19, 2011 #

7 AM

Swimming 37:00 [2] 1.0 km (37:00 / km)

Didn't wake up as stiff as I did on the last couple of post-long run days but didn't have much energy in the pool either - one of those days where I feel as if I'm flailing around (even more than usual, some would say), and that was reflected in the time.

The various local governments haven't been talking with each other very much, because four adjoining councils (Melbourne, Yarra, Moreland, Boorondara) have all closed one of their pools for long-term reconstruction at the same time. It doesn't really make a difference at the times of day that I'm around but apparently Fitzroy is getting pretty crowded in the afternoons.
1 PM

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

A fairly nondescript run, more or less par for a Monday although done at lunchtime rather than in the evening. Left shin a bit sore for the first 15 minutes or so; suspect it's another manifestation of tight calves (which will hopefully be sorted out after tomorrow).

This was a big day for school excursions and office Christmas parties; I'm assuming the pile of 30-odd empty champagne bottles around the bottom of a bin next to the Yarra was from the latter rather than the former.

Sunday Dec 18, 2011 #

8 AM

Run 2:08:00 [3] 26.0 km (4:55 / km)

For the second week in a row I didn't get through everything I'd planned for Sunday, although I got closer to doing so than seemed likely 45-50 minutes in, when I had no energy and every step was a struggle. I suspect I wouldn't have got as far as 2.08 had it not been for Bruce dragging me along. It was a general lack of energy (the Achilles was behaving itself today). The time seems right to back off a bit for a few days and then set myself up for another big six-week block.

I had been pondering the question of what went so right three weeks ago, and although part of it was probably the setting and part of it was that -2 is a better temperature for long runs than +25, it's also occurred to me that that day was one where I started the run wondering if I'd overeaten for a pre-run breakfast; perhaps I'm not eating enough before these sessions? (If so, this would have been exacerbated today by an unusually early dinner last night, thanks to the cricket).

Speaking of the cricket, does anyone else think there was a bit of a sponsorship conflict created by the two major sponsors being KFC and Jenny Craig? Most new batsmen (I refuse to call them "batters") and bowlers were introduced with the line "thanks to Jenny Craig", although one who wasn't was Daniel Smith, who appears, by some margin, the player in most need of Ms. Craig's services.

Saturday Dec 17, 2011 #

9 AM

Run 1:10:00 [3] 14.0 km (5:00 / km)

A very similar run to Wednesday - the Achilles started hurting in the middle of the day yesterday for no good reason (I don't think working through some challenging data from Tennant Creek constitutes a "good reason"), and didn't really settle through the run although stayed at manageable levels (probably at least in part because most of the run was flat along the Yarra and through Wilsons Reserve before coming back through past the Repat). Might need to think about scaling back tomorrow if it's still bad although so far it usually hasn't had two bad runs in a row. Starting to come to terms with warmer weather a bit more now. (Had I stayed in Geneva, this was a day where stretching one's arms out would probably have been enough to end up in Lausanne - I'm assuming that the forecast of 155 km/h winds at 2000m was enough to put paid to a colleague's planned weekend on the ski slopes).

Cultural assimilation department: seeing a man with a Scandinavian accent playing cricket with two boys (presumably his sons) in an Ivanhoe park. This may be the approximate equivalent of the group of African cross-country skiers I saw on the trails at Holmenkollen in February.

My most impressive performance of the day was still to come, though: managing to get through Northland, with five shop visits en route, in less than an hour from car park entry to car park exit. This included performing the important uncle's function of buying noisy toys.

Friday Dec 16, 2011 #

8 AM

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

Stiff early but worked it out reasonably well in the pool.

I don't really enjoy bike commuting this time of year - everyone's on edge and the traffic is a bit too frenetic, with the environs of the Queen Victoria Market a particular trouble spot. Tonight could be an interesting ride home as half the Melbourne CBD (including us) has had their work Christmas parties this afternoon.

(And speaking of Christmas, we've seen our first sighting this year in the Daily Telegraph of a school which has "banned Christmas" in the name of "political correctness". Unusually for such stories, it does actually name a specific example, before going on to elicit outraged comments from the usual Dial O for Outrage exponents).

Thursday Dec 15, 2011 #

6 AM

Run 2:10:00 [3] 26.1 km (4:59 / km)

A longer long run than previously midweek, although the degree of difficulty on this was relatively low - a flat course (through Northcote to the Fairfield boathouse, along the river, then loops around the Boulevard and the Banyule ovals), a cool morning and a less demanding Wednesday night than a lot of them are. (I'd originally planned to do this from Fishermens Bend, where my car was getting serviced, but some tradespeople were coming in the morning so I did it from home instead).

The first half of the run was unexciting but fairly smooth. Hit a bad patch around 90 minutes when it felt as if my quads were going to struggle to go the distance, but got a bit of a second wind on the Yarra Flats section - as rural-feeling as it gets in middle-suburban Melbourne - and finished off pretty well. Will be interested to see how I come up tomorrow. Achilles a bit touchy up hills but there weren't many of those today.

Wednesday Dec 14, 2011 #

7 AM

Run 1:11:00 [3] 14.0 km (5:04 / km)

My Achilles has good days and bad days. This wasn't a good day.

Once it became apparent that it wasn't going to be a good day I planned a reasonably flat run, including my first post-return inspection of the Banyule Flats single track (still pretty muddy for this time of year) before heading up into Macleod. A fair to middling run if I could ignore the soreness.
7 PM

Run race ((street-O)) 39:15 [4] * 8.6 km (4:34 / km) +140m 4:13 / km

Street-O at Belmore Parklands. Wasn't feeling too sparkling but led for the first 50 metres before Bruce took over. Such touch as I had with Bruce and Ian Davies disappeared when I once again ran into fence trouble (a gate I was expecting to be open wasn't, I confused it with one which wasn't supposed to be open but was, and that one dropped me into an area with no exit). This proved to be a point of controversy because it turned out the whole area was out of bounds anyway but that wasn't visible on Bruce's map (or mine) because of a dodgy photocopy.

On my own after that, plodding a bit but enjoying myself more than in the second half last week, and then got a big stitch halfway through. This is the first time it's happened to me in ages and I'm not sure why - perhaps it was the mere thought of tobacco smoke after reading the draft-for-review-and-reissue* Bureau policy on smoking in the workplace, which takes three pages to say that smoking is not allowed in the workplace. (In practice, in Australia smoking scientists are almost as hard to find as smoking orienteers, although I've seen a few in Europe).

The stitch limited my enjoyment and enthusiasm for the last half of the course, although I kept plugging away. Definitely sluggish this week, but then I'm not trying to reach a performance peak in December. Also took a fair bit less out of me than last Wednesday did - in conditions which were a good deal kinder. No Achilles issues tonight.

(* - I can only assume that there is a requirement that every policy be reviewed after X years, because smoking in the workplace has been banned on all Australian government premises for more than 20 years).

Tuesday Dec 13, 2011 #

7 AM

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

OK, so maybe the reason for last week's performance was the lack of a long run in the preceding days, because this was back to the days of near-10 mediocrity. Lacking a bit of energy and still a bit stiff, especially early on (and not terribly energetic through the rest of the day, either).

And I'll have to wait a week longer for the massage I'd been hanging out for, as well (my regular one turned out to be away this week and the message hadn't reached me).

The ride into work was hard going into a stiff southwesterly wind, although I'd still much rather be riding into central Melbourne from the northeast than attempting to drive into it from the southeast (a crash closed the Monash Freeway and there were prangs on both the other alternatives, too).

Monday Dec 12, 2011 #

8 AM

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

Added a new entry to my list of swimming pools visited, thanks to the location of tonight's run - North Melbourne. It's not at the top of my list of best pools, partly because of the lack of proper showers (just cool outdoor ones). The pool was a bit on the cool side too, but that side of things I can handle.

Very stiff this morning but worked a bit of it out in the swim. Also slept until my alarm this morning (with a couple of interruptions) which is progress. Time is a guess as there was no clock.

Best protest sign I've heard of for a while: at a demo against alleged election-rigging in Russia, '146% of Muscovites support fair elections'.

And news which might be a bit alarming to some - apparently Warney is now down to 78kg, which means a lot of blokes now have to confront the knowledge that he weighs less than they do. (I've still got a few kilos in reserve but it's a little too close for comfort).
7 PM

Run 42:00 [2] 7.2 km (5:50 / km)

Monday night from Ilka and Vanessa's with a small bunch. Quads felt like bricks in the opening minutes but eventually freed up into a run which was passable but never brilliant (and slow even by Monday night standards). Parts were hillier than I had thought possible in Royal Park with Vanessa showing us some of her favourite haunts. Very nice cool evening; there's a lot to be said for cool summer days in Melbourne (assuming you're not into being on the beach).

Sunday Dec 11, 2011 #

6 AM

Run 2:17:00 [3] 27.0 km (5:04 / km)

Ran out of legs in the end and pulled up a little short of the 2.25-2.30 that I was hoping for, but I shouldn't be too upset after a tough three days. Perhaps I might have found enough to go round the long side of the last block had I known I was a minute short of my longest week for three years. Can't be too upset to put together a week as big as that in my first week back, and with Wednesday night's dramas thrown in.

It was an early start before the OA Conference but as it turned out I was awake from 4.30 anyway like I have most other mornings for the last week. (I still slept better than would have been the case at home, thanks to the person or persons unknown who set the cubbyhouse in the front yard on fire in the early hours of Saturday morning - fortunately the neighbours got on top of it before it spread any further).

Started out down through Belconnen, inspecting the now non-existence of the old bus interchange (scene of one of the more unfortunate design stuff-ups of living memory - it was designed by an American who didn't realise we drove on the left in Australia), then past the east side of Lake Ginninderra with a pitstop on the way - at least that part of my body clock is getting back closer to normal - before going to the AIS to link up with Bruce, Jenny and Craig. By this stage it was looking extremely black out to the west (although the early-morning sun exaggerated that), and we were in steady rain for most of the rest of the run, although only one clap of thunder. Spent most of this sector of the run on Black Mountain, around the secondary park and then down to Rani Road before coming back around the bottom of Aranda Hill and back towards the AIS. Broke off from the others after crossing Belconnen Way and headed back home.

Things I should have thought of earlier: my shoes were soaked and I didn't have another pair for the rest of the day (other than my O-shoes, which might have made for some interesting moments with airport security this afternoon). Fortunately my father is a similar shoe size.

I'm also continuing to get occasional spasms in my lower left leg - I'd initially attributed this to cramp after Wednesday but it's persisted too long for that to be a plausible cause. Isn't interfering with running (at least not yet). A massage this week will be long overdue.

Saturday Dec 10, 2011 #

8 AM

Run ((terrain)) 43:00 [3] 7.0 km (6:09 / km)

OA Conference weekend, which traditionally starts for me by taking advantage of the family home's location next to some bush to do some terrain running. This time round I went across to Black Mountain to do it as the long grass on Aranda Hill looked ferocious (discovering in the process that my Achilles doesn't like uphill starts at the moment). Not too bad once going although uphills a bit unsure.
6 PM

Run ((street-O)) 47:00 [3] * 8.8 km (5:20 / km)

The OA Conference event, combined with a street-O (Melbourne style, although with enough off-road to get a decent number of grass seeds into my socks) around Bruce and the AIS. It was probably close to the least important event I'll run this year, which is just as well because I combined more technical misadventures into one course tonight than I've had in the last few years in Melbourne put together.

It's never a good sign when no-one else goes your way from the mass start. My route choice did indeed turn out to be disastrous but not for any reason that could be determined from the map, something I found out on the first leg when two unmapped locked gates meant an unscheduled 300-400 metres around the indoor arena. Twice more this direction of travel fed me into uncrossable fence 'traps' (once a gate at the far end was locked, once the control circle position suggested the control was on the other side of the fence to where it was in reality); neither would have been an issue going in the reverse direction.

I wasn't feeling brilliant, and with three or four minutes already blown in the first five controls decided to turn this into a training run, but my mind must still have been steaming because I did something I haven't done in 17 years of Melbourne street-Os and missed a control - and celebrated by doing it again not too far down the road. I didn't realise either of these until a point where the least inefficient way to get it was a 1.5k out-and-back at the end of the course. Motivation was definitely an issue at this point. Plodded home to swap tales of epic misadventure.

Bruce did 2.5k (and 20 minutes) less than I did. A lot of people will have claimed my scalp for the first time tonight (Jenny is definitely one of them).

Friday Dec 9, 2011 #

6 AM

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

I was a bit apprehensive about this one, still not really feeling normal last night, but seemed in much better shape this morning - still waking up at 5 of my own accord rather than through an alarm, but it suits me for this to remain the case for the next couple of days.

It was a warmish morning (low 20s), though I took advantage of my knowledge of the valley bottoms where cool air was more likely to be found. Planned a route with a number of bailout options but in the end didn't need them; it was a run which felt a bit on the edge at times but ended up being reasonably solid, even downright good at times in the third quarter going down the Darebin Creek valley. About as good a session as I could reasonably have expected, and hopefully a sign that a difficult 36 hours or so is behind me.

Thursday Dec 8, 2011 #

8 AM

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

Sometime around 3.30 in the morning, having woken up for about the fifth time for the night with lower leg cramps, I decided that any attempt to do a long run this morning was liable to end in tears; it seems that when unacclimatised, 27 degrees takes as much out of me as 42 degrees did in January 2009. (I've been drinking, and eating salty things, all day and still don't feel quite right; will see how things are before making another attempt tomorrow morning). Perhaps treating the recovery from a round-the-world trip as if the trip didn't exist is something that didn't quite work either.

Instead I took to the pool (and got a cramp there too, although that's not especially unusual). Started OK but felt rather washed-out by the end.

Wednesday Dec 7, 2011 #

7 AM

Run 1:06:00 [3] 13.4 km (4:56 / km)

From Clifton Hill upriver as far as the Kew underpass, back across the Studley footbridge. In contrast with yesterday, nothing particularly special although did finish off more or less OK.

Monty Python fans will be disappointed to hear that the 'Romans Go Home' graffiti on a Wellington Street building has become a casualty of construction work.
7 PM

Run race ((street-O)) 51:00 [4] 11.1 km (4:36 / km) +140m 4:19 / km

Street-O at Forest Hill. I'd almost talked myself out of it before the start - it was a warm day (27-28 at start time) for which I wasn't properly acclimatised, it was a score event which meant it would be longer than usual, and I've been struggling in the afternoons.

Went a different way to most others early but reconverged with them shortly afterwards - after the dust had settled a few controls in, Bruce was a couple of hundred metres behind me but with a control in hand. I felt sort of OK for the first half but then started fading quite quickly, and lost motivation once Bruce had passed me. By three-quarter distance I was starting to feel a bit dizzy and light-headed and knew I had to back off, but managed to finish without further incident - not competitively though.

I was 3kg lighter at the end of this run than I was yesterday morning.

Had planned a long one for tomorrow but am not sure how I'll back up from this - will see how I am in the morning.

Tuesday Dec 6, 2011 #

7 AM

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

I thought jet lag was supposed to reduce your athletic performance. It certainly didn't do so today - instead, after having barely been able to get under 10 for this circuit all year, I suddenly popped out a 9.34. Flowing well down the hills, and reasonably strong elsewhere as well, although it didn't seem that much better than previous occasions.

This is the first time in three years that I've put together a proper first part of the summer build-up season and perhaps it's showing. Tomorrow night will be interesting - I won't beat Bruce (unless he does something silly) but I'd be hoping to be more like 2 minutes down than the 4 that's been par for the course so far. (That said, I hit the wall this afternoon and evening, more so than yesterday, and if the same thing happens tomorrow it won't augur that well for performance).

Connoisseurs of exotic soft drinks may be interested to know that both L+P and Irn-Bru have appeared at my local supermarket (and yes, the latter is in the drinks section, not the paint-strippers one).

Monday Dec 5, 2011 #

8 AM

Swimming 33:00 [3] 1.0 km (33:00 / km)

Another not-in-Switzerland-any-more moment, but this time a positive one: Fitzroy Pool under the summer morning sunshine (having managed to sleep sort of OK and woken up only 20 minutes before my alarm). Felt pretty good and it was reflected in my best swim for a while.

The water was a bit cooler than usual (24.something) and there was talk in the changerooms that some of the regulars had chickened out and gone to Richmond, to which the general response at our end was along the lines of HTFU.

And it looks like I missed a change to the road rules while I was away - apparently now vehicles turning right have right of way over those going straight in the opposite direction.
7 PM

Run 38:00 [2] 6.7 km (5:40 / km)

MFR Monday night from Dion's, distinguished mainly by the first appearance (at least while I've been there) on a full run of a member of the next MFR generation - Max Dalheim, who went the full distance (albeit a distance shorter and slower than might sometimes by the case). Down around Studley Park and the newly-opened-up Victoria Park.

It was a pretty comfortable run: I was a bit concerned about it when, after doing well most of the day, I hit a flat spot about 5pm, but was fine again by the time the run started.

I think Max was quite impressed by the distance-measuring watch: possibly a request to Santa coming up?

Sunday Dec 4, 2011 #


Geneva-Abu Dhabi-Melbourne, arriving in Melbourne about 7.45 Sunday evening, only slightly late. A reasonably painless flight. Etihad obviously haven't yet learnt that you can make some money by charging extra for exit rows because we got on at Abu Dhabi to discover that (on a plane that was about 60% full) all eight exit row seats in our section were unoccupied. Naturally this was a state of affairs which did not persist for long (and I was one of the beneficiaries).

Got to see some new country on the first leg - it's the first time I've crossed Turkey and the Middle East with a window seat in daylight. This area has been on the other side of the big high-pressure system over Europe and has consequently been colder than normal, although still quite dry - Ankara has been below -10 almost every night for the last week and a half, about 10 degrees below normal, and in eastern Turkey above the snowline there are places which have been getting down around -25. Seemed a bit odd to be flying over the length of Iraq, and eventually the Iraq-Iran border, and thinking about all the fighting that has taken place beneath over the last 30 years (in particular we flew straight over the waterway which was the prime subject of eight years of 1980s stalemate and perhaps a million lost lives between Iran and Iraq - of course, in those days we were on Saddam's side).

Returning home I took a seemed-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time decision to use public transport, which gave me a pretty good reminder that I'm not in Switzerland any more. Compare and contrast:

Geneva, 11pm last Sunday night: fly into airport. Get one of several trains per hour to main station. Miss tram by 30 seconds. No problem, there's another one in 5 minutes. Total cost: zero (you get a ticket in the arrivals hall that gives you 90 minutes free travel anywhere in Geneva; for the rest of your stay, at every place I've stayed in in Geneva, a public transport pass for the duration of your stay is part of the deal).

Melbourne, 8pm this Sunday night. Bus to city. Discover trains aren't running between the city and Clifton Hill because of building works. Train to Parliament, bus to Clifton Hill, 30 minutes sitting on platform, train eventually arrives, make it home after close to two hours. Total cost: $19 ($16 of it for the airport-city bus).

We really don't do public infrastructure very well in this country, do we?

Saturday Dec 3, 2011 #

6 AM

Run 1:13:00 [3] 15.0 km (4:52 / km)

An early session, as much as I could realistically get in before heading to the airport (at least without getting up at a totally ridiculous time, although I did once go for a run at 3.45am before leaving for a school ski trip at 5). Didn't feel brilliant on the flats but reasonably strong uphill again. A bit of a sniffle which hopefully won't turn into anything more substantial, although with a long-haul flight ahead I'm not terribly optimistic on that score.

Headed through the old town initially, then out on the other side of the lake as far as the UN building - a regualr run when I was staying on the other side of the lake but not this time. Saw the beginnings of the setting up for a big fun run in Geneva today (or rather a series of them - the streets of the old town can't cope with 20000+ people so they're breaking it up by age group into about 15 different races which run all day), with the police doing an efficient job of towing away cars parked on the course and the Tardis farms starting to sprout in various places. (Had the run been a bit longer I may have needed to make use of one of them). Somewhat incongruously, the tents around the finish are interspersed with the tents of Occupy Geneva who are in the same park.

The overnight rain (and a bit of wind - there's even a dusting of snow on the higher peaks) brought down plenty of leaves which were a month past their use-by date, but it was dry by the time I headed out. Not too upset about this - I didn't really want to be packing wet gear (or wet shoes).

Now at the airport. All smooth so far but there's a long way to go. Thought about getting the souvenir stuffed cow which makes a cow noise whenever you tip it to throw into the $10-maximum pot at the work Christmas lunch but thought the sound would drive me nuts for the length of time it took to transport it back.

Apart from the work aspects of the trip (and making good use of the weekends), it's been a pretty solid four weeks of training; hopefully I can settle back in quickly after getting home and continue in a similar vein. A lack of heatwaves or extreme humidity would be nice (or, if they must happen, if they could stay clear of Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays).

Friday Dec 2, 2011 #

7 AM

Run 42:00 [3] 8.0 km (5:15 / km)

Unusually, running on a Friday because of the likely lack of a Sunday run this week. Reasonably mundane for much of it, although took the opportunity of being out in daylight to explore some new paths (and finding some stairs on the way). Suddenly hit a very nice rhythm about 10 minutes for the end and floated along for the rest of it, making me a little disappointed that the run wasn't planned to go for longer.

What a difference a year makes. This time last year I was trying to find a way out of Geneva as plan A became a casualty of snow and plan B looked like it was in danger of going the same way. This year it reached +16, only a couple of degrees cooler than Melbourne (although it finally rained a little in the late afternoon).

And we had a meeting yesterday afternoon to follow up countries that hadn't responded to a request for information we'd put out. One country (an African country that never makes the news but by all accounts is a basket case regardless) hadn't responded, which elicited a comment by an African WMO person - "oh, he's in jail - he got on the wrong side of the President's son". As far as is known no directors of national meteorological services are currently in jail for redirecting meteorological service funds to Swiss bank accounts.
1 PM

Swimming 34:00 [2] 1.0 km (34:00 / km)

One thing I won't miss about Geneva is the crowdedness of the pool at lunchtime, and today was no different, but at least I managed to get through the session without crashing into someone or being crashed into. Otherwise a fairly standard session.

Finished off at WMO this afternoon (for the time being). I fly out tomorrow morning.

Thursday Dec 1, 2011 #

6 AM

Run 2:10:00 [3] 26.0 km (5:00 / km)

A steady and mostly smooth effort after the initial warm-up, a bit longer than recent midweek long runs to partially offset the lack of a weekend long run (I fly out too early on Saturday for a long run then to be a realistic option, and don't get in until Sunday night). Most of this was fairly routine - good for midweek long runs to be becoming reasonably routine, although I'm not doing this off a race - although Achilles was a bit touchy at times, and it wasn't that quick.

The plan was to head east, mostly in the name of staying in places likely to be lit for the first hour until it got light before getting a bit more adventurous in the second half, which meant about half-an-hour in France. It was the clearest morning since I've been here, which meant the bonus of the shape of Mont Blanc and associated mountains gradually appearing in the first of the sunrise.

I've previously been heard to refer to Annemasse as Geneva's Queanbeyan (with the addition of the collection of shopping centres you'd see in Queanbeyan if the NSW dollar was worth two-thirds of the ACT one). This route didn't take me through as many trash features as last time I was out this way and it was too early to sight any bogans (French bogans do exist - I once spotted a hotted-up car with doof-doof and fluffy dice outside the Notre Dame in Paris), but it still won't feature in any list of France's most attractive towns.

Back in Switzerland, the quiet creekside walking track wasn't quite as quiet as it seemed because it ran past the building site for what appears to be a new prison, perhaps to house the perpetators of the crime wave that the local media keeps going on about (a crime wave which I suspect is as well-founded in actual crime statistics as similar phenomena reported in Australian tabloid papers). Apart from that it wasn't a bad section. Finished off OK through some of the more pleasant suburbs.

It was 0 overnight and there was plenty of frost on cars, which suggests either that it had warmed up a bit by the time I headed out, or I've acclimatised too well for my own good considering I'll be back into summer in four days' time.

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