A new weekly distance record

Well, due to my guilt about my lack of motivation last month, August has started out with a bang. I’ve started supplementing my evening road runs with morning 5km treadmill pyramid runs (9, 10.5, 12, 10.5, 9km/h for each km). Add to that two back-to-back 18km runs on the weekend and I logged 66.1km, and that was with missing TWO evening runs due to work commitments.

If all goes to plan this week I’ll run 69km, the following week 80, and the week after that 76.

trail running

Not bad for a wimpy kid :)


Fremantle Fun Run 10km 50:07 PR

I knew better. Even at the time I knew better.

I’ve been on holidays back to the US this last month, pretty much writing off 3 weeks of training. I ran once in my first week (the day I arrived to try and run the jet-lag out of my body on a fairly hot Southern California afternoon), three times my second week along the beaches of Orange County and once in Ohio, all fairly easy paced runs. Yet this was not an important race to me. I have the Perth Half Marathon in two weeks, and the City to Surf Full Marathon two weeks after that. But I was looking forward to running with my ‘boy’ (he’s a wonderful, very fit, 22 year old young man) and a nice beach-side breakfast at the Fickle Pig (er, Pickled Fig) afterwards. There would be no attempts at PR’s. I even told the young’un “We’re aiming for 55 minutes, 5:20/km at the most, just a training run.” …Even though I knew better.

I started my race morning as has become my habit, with a smoothie 2 hours before race time. Berry, mango, banana, yoghurt, chia seed, and for a change some almond milk and a dash of fruit juice. Of course, just TRY to make a single serve of smoothie. I sure can’t do it! I drank one and looked at what was left and decided “It’s only a 10 k, I can have another half a smoothie” …Even though I knew better.

It was warmer than my last few race starts have been, about 8c, but I still wore my full length 2XU compression tights, and two-layers of technical shirts, even though I knew better.

There were only about 935 competitors in the 5 km and 10 km combined, and we all started together with a course change about 3.5 km in to separate the two out. Amazingly, the boy and I started fairly near the front so didn’t have too many issues with initial crowding and ran the first km in 5:02. The second came in at 5:03. As usual, I was going way faster than I had planned, the undoing of every “bad” race I’ve run. But…. everything felt good so I decided to go with it and see what happened.

3rd km 4:59
4th km 4:57

At the halfway point, I knew I couldn’t hold the pace. But rather than give up, I gave myself an intentional rest break and ran the 5th km in 5:21 (the boy’s reply to my “We’re going to slow it down for this kilometer” was “Thank God!” *lol*)

At the 6 km point I started building up the speed again, bringing it in at 5:09.

Kilometer 7-8 showed us back at 4:57, my son being noticeably quiet behind me. I resisted the urge to see if he was still with me and kept to my race.

With 2 km left to go it was time to burn up whatever I had left. While I wasn’t quite able to maintain the 9th km’s 4:45 in the final stretch, my son was right there with me as we pushed out a massive sprint for the finish, crossing side by side with a 4:47 for the last km, my heart pounding, my legs burning, and… what was that? My stomach heaving! Just as I reached for the papers being handed out by a cute blonde young lady a few steps past the finish line, her eyes widened in horror as she saw what was happening with me and tried to back away, but had a fence behind her! I felt the bile hit the back of my throat but the survival part of my brain told me the only thing worse then puking in front of everyone at the finish line, would be puking ON someone at the finish line, and I managed to, er, contain myself. By the time I made it to a remote tree to puke behind, the desire had passed. I knew I shouldn’t have had that second half a smoothie!

Freo10km finish line

In all the excitement, I forgot to turn off my Garmin watch, so the time’s run past the actual race period:

Freo10km pace


Gun time was 50:54, but Strava.com took my 10.0 km time down to 50:07, 1:19 faster than my previous best. Not only a 10 km PR, but also a 5 km, 2 mile and 1 mile PB.

Freo10km PRs


I look at that 1 mile PB and remember back to when I was 20/21 years old, running 5 minute miles for 4.5 miles. I’m sure I could improve it from where it’s at today, but I can work on  short distance speed or long distance stamina, not both, and I do enjoy the long distance events.

Two weeks to my half marathon, and it will be on the Perth Swan River foreshore, a track I’m very familiar with and flat enough for a PR, but will I go for the PR or follow my plan of running it at marathon pace (5:50) to be ready for my full marathon two weeks after that? I’d like to say “That’s the question”, but I think we ALL know what I’ll do *laughing*



Perth Marathon 2013

The Perth Marathon had a 7:30am start this year, not too early, but it was bloody cold out! Around 2C as I set off, and you know it only gets colder at sunrise.

I had my traditional berry, chia and yoghurt smoothie and a banana about 5:30. Dinner previous was a nice pasta meal without overeating. I was wearing a new pair of long 2XU compression tights. I’d never run in them before, or even tried them on! I chose not to take music but did strap my phone on to my arm for emergencies. Four Gu Vanilla Bean gels, and my four bottle fuel belt with electrolytes. Having never run this race before, I erred in that, with it starting at the Western Australian Marathon Club offices, I could have worn warm sweats there and left a bag in the clubhouse, but instead I kept active, stretching and warming up to keep from shivering worse than I was.

South Perth Foreshore

We started off northbound from the clubhouse. The weeks leading up to the race had been a massive quandary for me. My previous marathon distance attempt (unofficial) was a major bonk. My target was 4:15 but I “ran” it in 4:53:30. Running my previous two races (a 10km and a half marathon in the last two months) through the online calculators told me I should be able to run this marathon in 3:54-4:02. My Yasso 800 trials said I could do the marathon in 3:50. So we’re talking AN HOUR faster than my previous attempt! That’s huge! Too huge? Therein lies the quandary. Do I still aim for my original 4:15 target? 25 minutes difference between my realistic goal and dream goal is a pace difference of 36 seconds per kilometer (5:27/km to 6:03/km). Oh the mental dramas I went through *lol*. If I aimed for my dream goal, the risk is bonking and not even making my realistic goal. In the end I decided to aim for a 5:50/km pace. If it felt too hard I could still drop down to my 4:15 finish hopefully without bonking, and if things felt good I should be able to break 4 hours.

The first kilometer was the typical mix of excitement and dodging the crowd. 5:47. Not too bad! And this is all area I know well, have run often. The next 6km’s ranged from 5:27 to 5:38 with an average of 5:31.5. Too fast! I tried to bring it down but just couldn’t until the 8th km. 5:43, 5:49, 5:43. That’s better. I let my mind go into cruise mode.

Maybe that was my mistake.

Evidently my body wanted to run faster. As I “cruised”, my speed ramped back up to 5:27-5:35/km. An average of 5:31.4 over the next 9 km (kilometers 11-19).

There was a route change at 20kms. rather than the flat, rivers edge path we’d been running (with the exception of two bridged river crossings), construction forced us on to surrounding suburban streets, and a long nasty hill that had most people walking. This slowed me back down to a 5:51/km but the downhill side km 21 was 5:28/km. At the half marathon point I was only about 1.5 minutes behind my HM PR, really, that’s too fast for a marathon pace.


My pace was starting to catch up with me now. At about 26.5 I finally dropped down to a walk break, which worried me, because to my thinking, once you take one break, it’s all downhill from there. It wasn’t a long one and I berated myself back into a run again which lasted until about km 28 where I had another short walk break. But this time I told myself I was going to break through this wall. And I did! I got another 4 km’s out of my tired legs before they gave way at almost exactly 32 km. The dreaded wall point. 32 km is about where your body runs out of fuel. To quote the Australian marathoner Rob de Castella, “The marathon’s about being in contention over the last 10K.  That’s when it’s about what you have in your core.  You have run all the strength, all the superficial fitness out of yourself, and it really comes down to what’s left inside you.  To be able to draw deep and pull something out of yourself is one of the most tremendous things about the marathon.”

I bonked/failed. Badly.

Final time, 4:25:12. I should be happy! I took almost a half hour off my previous time! But I should have been able to hit 4:15, and if I’d run the tactical race I was supposed to, instead of letting my body run free, I would have, if not a four hour. Average pace for the last 10 km was 7:58.8/km as I walked most of it.

And to add insult to injury, as I was coming down the chute to the finish line, ahead of me was an older gentleman with three ladies running crew for him, going really slow and in obvious pain. A finishing time wasn’t on my mind at this point, just getting the race over with, and I tried to slow down to let him finish ahead of me, I really did! But I would have had to walk to do that and I was damned if I was going to walk across the finish line, so with no disrespect to him, I passed him and finished, only to find out that he’s 74 years old and has run all but two of the Perth City Marathon’s ever run. Yeah, I felt like a real heel :(

Oh, and that old chestnut about never try anything new on race day? Had some wonderful chafe marks inside my upper thighs from my compression tights!

In two months is the 2013 City to Surf marathon.  It was the 2012 City to Surf 12km race that really kicked off my current running, and I look forward to running my marathon CORRECTLY this time. It’s a hillier course, but I will, I will, I WILL, run my planned race this time.

I hope.


The Further Outback Adventures of Myles (from anywhere)

Today’s episode finds our gallant hero setting a fierce pace in his recently purchased New Balance MT10V2 Minimus with his loyal sidekick Industrial Relations Man running beside him. They  head away from their remote Australian outback mine site into the harsh, unforgiving Pilbara desert as the sun sets and a winters wind, cold as only desert winds can be, sets in.

Suddenly, the empty silence of their surroundings is broken by a loud, deep “WOOF”! They turn to find that fierce hunter of the outback, that Australian subspecies of the gray wolf, Canis lupus dingo, only thirty feet away and charging towards them! (okay, maybe trotting quickly).

Knowing that the only thing standing between himself and certain death (or perhaps a minor gnawing of the lower leg) was to not show fear, Myles turns to face the ravenous beast, yells loudly while stomping his foot, and only deposits a small load in the back of his spandex running shorts inners. The evil dingo, recognizing a superior alpha male, stops and shivers in fear  (although other reports have it quaking with laughter).

Turning away from the beast with a haughty sneer, Myles once again resumes his record setting pace, doing his best to calm Industrial Man and restore blood circulation to IRM’s pale features, a result of his close brush with the grim reaper.


But wait! A glance behind him shows Myles that once again they are being stalked by this fierce predator. Has our valiant hero finally bitten off more than he can chew? Loud strident background soundtracks ensue, amping up the already unbearable levels of foreboding!

There is only one thing left, only one way for the pair to survive. They will have to battle the dingo directly!

Searching around wildly for something, anything, to help him get away, Myles considers tripping up Industrial Relations Man and turning on his after burners. After all, Myles doesn’t have to outrun the dingo, he only has to outrun Industrial Relations Man! But one look into those worried, trusting eyes tells Myles that this is not the correct course of action. With only seconds to spare, Myles reaches down for a fist sized rock and hurls it at the dingo, scoring a direct hit between the eyes, knocking the beast senseless.

Victorious, our pair head off further into their run, only to find a truck driver hopelessly lost in the remote bush, with only them to save him from a fate of having to eat endangered animals and drink his own urine to survive. But that, my friends, is a story for another day…

(EDITORS NOTE: No dingos were injured in the above story. Truth be told, as soon as it saw me picking up the rock it hit the hills as fast as it could *lol*)

A Day of Milestones

Today has been a day of milestones. Last nights second 18km run of my weekend back-to-backs took my weekly total to 64.5 km (40.07 miles), a new weekly distance record for me. Yes, I should have been recovering from last weekend’s half marathon race, but the idea of being able to do a sub-4 hour marathon has me pushing myself, probably to the point of  negatively affecting my marathon :)

And this morning when I weighed myself, my trend line on my weight graph went below my target weight to 74.4 kg (164 lbs). So now the challenge is to change my eating habits to maintain at this weight and not lose any more!

Libra_2013-05-27 lbs Libra_2013-05-27 kg

At the very least, I’m having fun playing with my body, molding it with diet and running. The site gym should open in a couple of weeks, so then I can start doing some gym work as well as my running, trying to maintain this weight while still lowering body fat and putting on just a bit of upper body muscle. It’s like a big experimental game with me. But one that will hopefully affect positively on my life span :)


19/05/2013 21.1 km 1:52:18 – WAMC Joondalup Half Marathon

I must admit, I hadn’t put a lot of effort into the lead up to this race. I missed a couple training sessions in the last two weeks, and mentally I didn’t feel as if I’d prepared at all.

The night before the race, I attended my daughter-in-law’s 35th birthday party. So my pre-race dinner consisted of sausage rolls, mini quiches, buffalo wings, and dim sim. Not exactly what the books suggest :) I did keep my alcohol intake to only one drink.

I managed to get to bed at a decent hour and breakfast at 5:30 the morning consisted of a banana, mango and berry smoothy with chia seed. I still managed to forget both my water bottle and energy gells but otherwise got to the race area on time, grabbing some jelly beans on the way. This went against the cardinal rule of race day, “Never Do Anything New”, as I’d never tried jelly beans before on a run.

It was a beautiful morning, about 16C, the sun coming up over the hills across Lake Joondalup. I did some warm-ups, put a quarter of a bag of jelly beans in each pocket and chucked the rest out.

Lake Joondalup Half Marathon 2013


The race started out over a fairly rough track in a 3.8km loop back to the starting point to make up our 21.1km. My jelly beans made a rather pleasant jangling sound as I ran. One guy ran past me and started laughing and said “You’ve got a lot of jelly beans!”, obviously a seasoned partaker of jelly beans himself. By about the 5-6km mark though, the jangling stopped as my sweat and the morning humidity turned my glucose bullets into a rather large sticky mass in each pocket.

My goal for the race was 1:55:00 and an average pace of 5:26/km. I really struggled in the beginning trying to keep my pace down. In fact, I failed miserably to keep my pace down for the first 6km! 1) 5:28 (initial bunching on a narrow path), 2) 5:12, 3) 5:03, 4) 5:00, 5) 5:15, 6) 5:20. This was an average pace of 5:13/km which was faster than my first 5km on last month’s 10km race. Yet I wasn’t worried, because everything felt really good. My form felt good, I was running fairly steadily, running my race. I popped a jelly bean pretty much every kilometer.

Kilometers 7-17 went by in a range of 5:21-5:33/km. And went by they did! It seemed at times my Garmin’s kilometer vibrations were coming at really quick intervals. I thanked all the traffic control and water station volunteers I came across, because without them we wouldn’t have a race. I did request the traffic controllers get signs that said “FAST” rather than “SLOW” as I took that rather personally :)

Still feeling good at 18km, and remembering when that was the furthest I could run without a walk break, I decided it was time to pick up the pace and go for the negative splits. 18) 5:12, 19) 5:30 (due to one water station and a long uphill), 20) 5:13, 21) 5:18 and the final 300 meters of the course in a 4:33/km pace. Garmin time for the 21.3km was 1:53:33 but strava.com trimmed it down to a flat 21.1 @ 1:52:18, an amazing time for me, my previous PB was 2:02:19, so a full ten minutes off!! I don’t have the official gun time as of this writing but I hit the starting line 29 seconds in I think, so that should be about 1:54:02

As I walked off the race, drinking down my litre of chocolate milk for recovery, I ran across a co-worker who had just finished the half marathon as well except that he’d signed up for, and expected, the 10km race. He lined up for the wrong race LOL. Still, he finished only about 30 seconds behind me and had never run 21.1 before in his life, so well done to Wayne.

It was a great race. Unlike my 10km last month, at no time did I feel not in control or have doubts about my ability to finish strong.

But do you want to know the really scary part? Next month is the Perth Marathon where I’ll run my first ‘official’ marathon distance. Back in December, when I ran my own private marathon, I shuffled across the finish line in 4:53:29. According to my race equivalency calculator, which was pretty accurate basing my half marathon time on last months 10km race time, I should be able to run next month’s full marathon in three hours and fifty five FREAKING minutes! I get scary goosebumps just thinking about that! Almost a full hour off my marathon from 6 months previous. Admittedly, I had only trained from a sedentary desk jockey capable of 12km in 1:10:13 to my first marathon distance in only 4 months. That’s just not enough time to build a marathons worth of stamina for anything better than just completing it. So, a voice in my head says maybe I really can pull off a sub 4 hour marathon. Fingers crossed I keep healthy and injury free for the next four weeks.

Race stats from the day can be found here.