Two Fruits

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Monthly Handicap - O'Conner Ridge

Race plus warm up: Distance - 9.25 km
Race: Distance: 8.0 km
Time: 36' 53"
Rate: 4' 37" per km
Group start: 37 Finished: 38th / 75
Weather: cloudy, showers just finished by race start, temp 15 degrees, humidity 87%, wind northerly 15 kmph
Week: 9.25 km, Year: 3791.65 km
October: 247.8 km in 15/31 days at ave 16.5 km per run day

Rain overnight and early morning reduced the numbers today combined with a local triathlon & the Fitz's Challenge for cyclists.
However, the showers cleared by race time and we had a dry run on a nice soft fire trail surface around the O'Conner & Bruce ridges. This race has the highest course difficulty factor of our events over the year.
Started out Ok but the others in my group soon ran off into the distance, couldn't keep up the pace. That's more a sign of lasting fatigue from two weeks ago and a lack of running since. Felt Ok, it took me long time to catch CJ, finally caught Ewen, but Strewth had long gone. A big improvement for her to finish 6th over the line and 4th eligible.
I have pencilled in the Lightning Strike 30 km run during the Stromlo Running Festival on 20th Feb next year. Another case of running a different event, this time locally over tracks I will know, or at least be reasonable familiar with from our Cotter running.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Honeysuckle to Orroral Valley Bridge

Distance: 18.55 km
Time: 2 hrs 21 mins 28 secs
Rate: 7' 37" per km
Altitude gain/loss: 680 metres
Weather: sunny, temp range 12-20 degrees, humidity 85% down to 60%, wind calm
Week: 38.45 km, Oct: 238.55 km, Year: 3782.4 km

Next Sunday is the running of the Deep Space Mountain Marathon plus associated shorter but just a difficult events.
To reacquaint ourselves with the terrain, I accompanied Softshoe over the 2nd half of the course, the nice trip to the new concrete bridge over the Orroral river.
We arrived at the old tracking station to find the campground full of tents and young school kids all enjoying breakfast around the campfire on a nice warm sunny morning.
We set off and in less than a km, we found the first of many short up hills that we walked. It was only a sightseeing outing so we took it easy. We passed the spot where the drink station will be as we continued up to the old tower site to find a couple of cars. One had a mountain equipment sticker on it so we presumed someone had gone off rock climbing. There are many spectacular rocks about that would be ideal to climb for those interested. No me, I'm scared of heights !
Back down to the drink station location, then down to the new bridge over the Orroral river. It looks a little out of place and not really environmentally sensitive. However, it will be there for a long time.
The return is tough up hill, and those going the full distance will be looking for the finish line. The kids had gone when I returned.
Last time I was out there was in 2008, when we ran in the snow in November. A day that all who attended will remember for a long time.
A good outing today, thanks to Softshoe for his invite to attend. Well worth the trip in to the Namadgi National Park.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Calwell Oval - Lane 5

Distance: 7.85 km in 35' 48" at ave 4' 26" per km
Weather: sunny, temp 22 degrees, humidity 40%, wind calm
Week: 19.9 km, Oct: 220.0 km, Year: 3763.85 km

Rode the mountain bike down to the running track on Calwell oval. Grass surface in great condition, nice and soft, a bit of give due to recent rain but firm enough to be able to comfortably in bare feet.
I shared the area with a couple of guys trying to get their kites up in to the air, but just not enough wind, a lovely afternoon. I was there from around 3:30 to 4:30 pm.
Started with 15 laps in lane 5, changed direction after each 5 laps, bare feet. Not sprint pace and probably too slow to be tempo, but cruising along covering 6.5 kms at 4'40" ave pace.
Then, after a drink & short rest, 4 x just over 230 metres in lane 7 at ave 3' 44". Felt Ok without pushing. Warm down lap to finish, then ride bike back home.
A really nice afternoon on the grass track. I will endeavour to get down there more often, it certainly pays off, and is a nice change from the ups and downs of the hills.
I couldn't see Ewen's footprints in lane 6, but it is inviting to run on one of the best grass tracks in Canberra.
It may also be peek into what may be on the horizon some time next year.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Vinca Plants

Running: Nil

Didn't venture past the front gate today, instead tried to tidy up the back yard.
In our yard we have had an unknown vine type plant that has very nicely covered over the back fence. Drought & heat tolerant, it has survived for many years. Plant nursery told us it was a Vinca, a plant not a climbing weed or creeper as I thought.
With recent rain, it has gone berserk, now almost out of control. It has a small blue flower, 5 petals, they look nice.
It has put down roots with every stem into the ground, mostly very hard to pull out. Good cross training, upper body strength of which I have not much.
Question ? How do I kill off most of this plant without killing everything else in the garden ? It's probably holding the fence up so I can't get rid of all of it.
Otherwise, an easy day, no sunshine, no rain, yet!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Slow Return

Distance: 12.05 km
Time: 72' 24"
Rate: 6' 00" per km
Weather: part sun/cloud, temp 21 degrees, humidity 35%, wind light northerly at 10 kmph
Week: 12.05 km, Oct: 212.15 km, Year: 3756.0 km

Back home after almost 2 weeks of non stop travelling. First, a flight to Cairns, then a drive and run in the rain forest on the tablelands, then a flight back home on the Monday.
Pack up and away on Tuesday to drive to Newcastle for a couple of days. Then up the coast looking for a new home on wheels which we found at Coffs Harbour.
A couple of days to get back to Newcastle in pouring rain, it stopped for one day while in Coffs. We decided to come back home, no point being up there with little to do, may as well be at home where there is plenty to do around the garden which is almost out of control. Bring back the drought.
Today a real struggle to get the legs moving after 9 days of nothing but sitting and eating. At least the sun was shining between the high clouds to generate some warmth.
Try to get out again each day from now on. I need consistency with only a few days off now and again or it's too hard to get fitness back.
Nothing big planned in to the future, just the local mountain running events and trying hard at the last two monthly handicaps. I have a chance to get 2nd or 3rd in the overall yearly points.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Spiny Cray Ultra - Qld

Cairns, Qld.
Friday: Distance - 3.5 kms in 18' 45" at 5' 21" per km
Weather: cloudy, temp 27 degrees, humidity 90%, wind calm

Distance: 57.0 km
Time: 6 hrs 46 mins 20 secs
Rate: 7' 08" per km
Finished: about 14th overall
Altitude gain & loss: 1000 metres
Start altitude: 420 metres, turnaround 1200 metres
Weather: cloudy, temp range 21-28 degrees, humidity 80%, wind mostly calm
Oct: 200.1 km, Year: 3743.95 km

Flew to Cairns on Friday morning via Brisbane to find the weather very warm and the first dry sunny day they had seen in weeks. A few laps of the school oval while the local training group were running 200 metre repeats.
Next day drove with my brother and sister-in-law to Port Douglas for lunch and to watch the horses run in the Caulfield Cup on a wet, heavy track. May be an omen for Sunday where there has been plenty of rain as well in north Qld.
We then drove up the mountain to Julatten where the run was to start at the Highlander Hotel. Rained all night but the track was reasonably dry, just a little muddy in places. Start time at 7 am found 33 starters in the longer 57 km event and about the same in the 21 km run.
After 1.5 kms down hill on the road, it was all up hill with some down hill to make the return journey interesting, if not tougher.
I ran really well to the turnaround, but faded on the return as the down hill on the way up, turned into to real slog coming back. Where did it all come from ?
Then to keep things interesting, snakes alive. I saw one, the leaders saw 4, and most other runners saw 2 or 3. Mostly red belly blacks, but mine was not black, a grey colour, not sure what it was! And not staying around long enough to get a closer look.
Passed by a couple of girls runners, looking very strong and eventually finishing about 15 minutes in front. The sun came out at times through the thick rain forest. The image above shows just how thick the forest is. My GPS lost the signal for most of the return journey. A few creek crossings as well allowed for water bottle refills but that also meant wet feet for the almost 35 kms of the journey.
A tough day out, really enjoyable, something very different in a far away place.
No injuries or sore spots except normal tiredness, a couple of days and I should be back in business. Two weeks holiday now will help that as well, hopefully away from the cold and rain.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Rough Tracks at Cross Country Club

Distance: 6.45 km
Time: 34' 20"
Rate: 5' 19" per km
Weather: cloudy, light drizzle, temp 15 degrees, humidity 90%, wind calm
Week: 13.3 km, Oct: 139.6 km,
Year: 3683.45 km in 41 weeks at ave 89.8 km p.w.

Finally started to run easy yesterday which is just as well as there are only a few days to go before Spiny Cray. Even better a light drizzle during the run made conditions some what as I will expect in the rain forest. Pity about the extra 10 degrees warmer it will be.
Nothing to report, no one else about in the wet weather. No running today then a light jog on the school oval in Cairns on Friday afternoon while the kids training group do there sprints.
It's a pity the ACT Cross Country Club will fold due to legal problems, but such is the nature of many sports these days, it's all about money. Many years of history will be lost, but hopefully out of the ashes, something new and better will emerge.

Monday, October 11, 2010

What's This Weather

Distance: 5.85 km
Time: 33' 21'
Rate: 5' 42" per km
Weather: cloudy, temp 15 degrees, humidity 90%, wind easterly 10 kmph
Week: 5.85 km, Oct: 133.15 km, Year: 3677.00 km

Nothing too exciting about the run home at lunch time. It was slow, but it felt better than during the last couple of weeks.
The humidity was there today, looked like rain all day but nothing happened, but the warmth is still missing. So much for getting some acclimatising before this weekend in FNQ.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Short Two Fruits Loop

Distance: 21.25 km
Time: 2hrs 18 mins 15 secs
Rate: 6' 30" per km
Weather: cloudy, temp range 11-14 degrees, humidity 78% down to 66%, wind calm
Week: 94.05 km, Oct: 127.3 km, Year: 3671.15 km

With no GPS this week, I stuffed up the number of kms to do today to get to 100 for the week. Didn't matter, I finished up well short, and really didn't want to do the extra 6 kms to get there.
I met Softshoe on the fire trail behind Theodore then followed it around the back of the houses to the drain near Calwell oval. We crossed Johnson Dr to go behind Chisholm & Gilmore houses to the sub station near Rose Cottage.
Then finally some nice down hill on Isabella Dr as we passed Fadden Pines to turn at the top of Isabella pond, followed the bike path until we parted at Johnson Dr.
A nice slow outing, nothing for me to prove today with a tough ultra next weekend in Qld. The taper will start now, something easy and short tomorrow, then a mixture of rest days and short easy jogs.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Absolute Shocker

Distance: 13.0 km ( approx)
Time: 80' 26"
Rate: 6' 11" per km
Weather: sunny, temp 17 degrees, humidity 50%, wind NE 20 kmph
Week: 72.8 km, Oct: 106.05 km
Year: 3649.9 km in 40 weeks at ave 91.2 km

It all fell apart today on a really nice sunny day. Conditions could not have been better, but I felt lousy all day. No excuses I can think of, may be just tired and need a good night's sleep and a rest day.
The distance is a educated guess, the time is right due to the stop watch part of the Garmin working. I ran out to the Kookaburra gate and back. On the track well away from water was a small turtle, long neck that was pulled in as I got closer.
I hope it found somewhere safe to go, it was gone as I returned.
Softshoe has very kindly lent me his old Garmin 201 to use until I buy a new GPS. I have looked around and it seems the only GPS worth buying is the Garmin 310. I don't need the heart rate monitor, I have had one for 10 years and don't use it.
Most of the GPS models have too short a battery life, at least the 310 will last close to 20 hours. Always these techno gadgets fail just prior to a major event, Spiny Cray in a week's time. It hasn't stopped raining in FNQ for 2 weeks, so looks like a wet track with plenty of creek crossings and wet feet, again. So much for the dry season.
Calwell oval looked a picture last week when I ran half a lap in lane 5. Lane 6 just needs a friend. Image of Calwell oval courtesy of Ewen from a couple of years ago. I like this picture.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Garmin, Garmin, Gone

Distance: 10.0 km
Time: 55' 44"
Rate: 5' 34" per km
Weather: sun/cloud, temp 21 degrees, humidity 50%, wind calm
Week: 59.8 km, Oct: 93.05 km, Year: 3636.9 km

A couple of weeks ago, my Garmin would not down load to the Training Centre where I keep all my the running data. I thought the copper or brass conductors on the back of the watch had worn down and would not allow the transmission of the data.
The watch would recharge Ok, but that's all. Now, the watch will not pick up the GPS signals from the satellites so all I have is a stop watch, without the auto pause.
I will now run on familiar courses with known distances until I buy a new GPS.
Next problem is the new ones have short battery life, 8 hours in some cases. Not much good recharging every few days or not long enough with insurance for a descent long training run.
But they are water proof to 1 metre for 30 minutes if I fall in at Vanities Crossing and decide to wait on a hot day.
Thanks to Speedygeoff on the information about the Cotter parking closure. Not sure if we can park somewhere away from the construction and still run out there on our usual trails.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

In The River

Distance: 8.05 km
Time: 46' 08"
Rate: 5' 44" per km
Weather: part sun/cloud, temp 21 degrees, humidity 60%, wind calm
Week: 49.8 km, Oct: 83.05 km, Year: 3626.9 km

Nothing special about today. Ran home at slow rate trying not to push to consolidate the weekend's running without getting run down or sick.
Drove car back after lunch, stopping at the river for 10 minutes in the water to help a couple of tired legs. Felt much better afterwards. Now the water temperature is bearable to stand in, that will return to being a regular event.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Mt Rob Roy

Distance: 26.25 km
Time: 3 hrs 10 mins 29 secs
Rate: 7' 15" per km
Weather: cloudy, temp range 12-16 degrees, humidity 90%- 70%, wind calm
Week: 41.75 km, Oct: 75.0 km, Year: 3618.85 km

Run No 38 to the top of this mountain, close to home and high enough to be a challenge at just over 1100 metres above sea level.
I met Softshoe on the fire trail behind Theodore, then through the bush to Conder, up the recently sealed track up to the nature park entrance. We crossed the open paddock to the back of the mountain getting a light shower of rain on us, nothing too much.
The back trail is easily runable when fit enough, but I'm not quite there so I forced myself to run/jog as best I could.
We made the top, not the trig point, to find a couple with their mountain bikes. They had come up the same way as us and were having a rest. A short chat and away we went confident they would not catch us. The trail has been graded and cleaned up and much safer than before. However, the steep down hill remains which is were we got away from the bike riders. A couple of kms going down we met two walkers also out to enjoy our public holiday. We stopped at the gate that leaves the nature park after waiting a short time to see the bikers. They were taking it very careful on the down hill.
Between this gate and the exit gate, there is construction work, the track has been graded, and it looks like some towers may be erected. Ewen, please help, any ideas?
Back to the sub station, then behind Theodore houses to Calwell oval ( in very good condition, barefoot running looking nice) and finally home.
Conditions similar to last few days, too cool, need more heat with this humidity. Still walking some of the up hill, getting better, today felt like a nice turning point even allowing for the slow km rate.
A good distance covered over the last 3 days, 75 kms of a mixture of hills and flat without any problems. Should be right now for FNQ.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Not the Right Conditions

Distance: 15.5 km
Time: 1 hr 29 mins 41 secs
Rate: 5' 47" per km
Weather: cloudy, temp 16 degrees, humidity 65%, wind easterly at 20 kmph
Week: 15.5 km, Oct: 48.75 km, Year: 3592.6 km

I need much warmer conditions under these cloudy conditions to be some what similar to that expected in far north Qld in two weeks time.
We don't really have too many trees either to resemble a rain forest. So it's hope for the best on race day. There has been plenty of unseasonal rain recently as well up there, so a wet track is almost certain as well as plenty of creek crossings. All part of the fun.
Afternoon run today hoping for the sun to peek through the clouds, but it didn't happen. Not much top report, just a normal run down to Point Hut, along the river track to Pine Is, then back home via Gordon. Only a few kangaroos out enjoying the damp conditions.
A trip up Mt Rob Roy tomorrow morning to complete a good long weekend of running.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Cotter Under Cloud

Distance: 33.25 km
Time: 3 hrs 39 mins 01 sec
Rate: 6' 35" per km
Cotter Run No: 148
Weather: cloudy, temp 11- 15 degrees, humidity 80% down to 60%, wind calm
Week: 60.0 km, Oct: 33.25 km, Year: 3577.1 km

The training plan was to run all the way to Bulls Head and back. However, an injury and a head cold during the week curtailed that plan. Three others joined in today with one a new guy from USA out here to help build the new Cotter dam. Seems he can run and will enter the Fitzroy Falls Fire Trail marathon new weekend. He should go Ok, but hasn't done a lot of running in the two months he has been in Aust.
Cloudy conditions with the thread of rain kept us to lower heights as we made our way from the car park via Vanities Crossing to Drink Station 7 on the Brindabella Classic course. Turned around there, back on Warks Road to DS 8, left on to the 21 mile trail to near Padovans, then back to Vanities.
Water level has dropped slightly, still very cool and mid thigh height on me. Quite refreshing. I'm still too slow from there back to the start but good to see Mick has the distance down to a respectable 32 minutes. That's where I need to be for that last 6.3 kms.
Plan to run 15-18 kms tomorrow, with a trip up Mt Rob Roy on Monday. I really need a week of warm weather with high humidity to get ready for FNQ in a couple of weeks.