Two Fruits

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Monthly Challenge aka The Monthly Handicap


The challenge is returning to the running scene after a demanding adventure such as the long run I did a couple of weeks ago & detailed in my last post.
I have been through this before & I know exactly what to expect.
After the last run day there is the euphoria of finishing, a good result even if not the adventure being a race.
During the following week, providing there have been no injuries ( there were none, not even a blister), the excitement continues, probably the adrenaline still working overtime. A bit of excitement as well being out in unexplored territory. That's the good part.
Second week comes the start of the let down, mostly mentally as the body is fighting to recover physically. The excitement is slowly fading, almost yesterday's news as the body repair takes time. Rest & good sleep is hard to get. Seems parts of the body are in go slow, and other parts want to move on quickly. Mentally, you now want to run again. Physically, there is still so much residual fatigue. Then there is the immune system fighting as it always does to keep you healthy. As expected I have picked up some blocked sinuses, the body just can't fight both fatigue & sickness at the same time. I'll be fine by mid week, just in time to go back to work.
I generally use the weather as a guide here. A rough day, cold & windy is an easy way to say don't go out. A nice day, sunny, warm & calm usually is an excuse to try to do a little bit of running.
Yesterday, I joined my mate to very slowly amble ( a bit of running & a lot of walking) around the local trails. I won't publish the figures, too embarrassing. But, the 20 kms done still goes in the training diary.
Today, knowing I was nowhere near recovered, I still ran the monthly handicap over 8 kms from near the Bruce CIT in O'Connor. A beautiful morning, sunny, mild to warm ( no long sleeves needed today).
Luckily, I has Jen as company with both of us comfortable, and slow enough, to chat all the way.
I finished 41st out of 53, running the 8 kms in 42' 15" at 5' 16" pace. I was in with a slight chance in the yearly points, but this one has finished that off. However, 2 gold medals in one year is a great result.
Happy to get it done, a wonderful morning to catch up with others.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Darling River Run


Where: Bourke to Wilcannia, NSW

Distance:  335.95 kms
Total time:  6 and half days
Running time:  34 hours 48 mins 23 secs
Running rate:  6' 13 " per km
Altitude gain:  240 metres
Weather: mostly sunny, temp range 8 mins rising to 20 degrees on day 1, then gradually increasing to 32 degrees on days 6 and 7.
Surface: first 5 kms on sealed road then all gravel outback roads
Shoes: except for first 2 hours on day 1 wearing NB 860 road shoes, remainder in same pair if Asics Kahana trail shoes.


Running:  3349.0kms in 38 weeks at ave 88.1 kms per week ( up from 85.7 kms at end of week 35, last report)
Sept:  352.8 kms

Altitude:  58,255 metres in 38 weeks at ave 1,533 metres per week ( down from 1,655 metres at end of week 38, last report)
Sept:  406 metres

The last 3 weeks have been taken up with getting the Darling River Run done. A few days to get to the start, then a week to run, 4 days at the finish town to rest, then time to travel back home.
The run went really well, no problems with the running. I had tried to factor in the wind before deciding on how to do this run. But basically, I tried to follow the Darling River downstream.
However, although I had perfect days, cool mornings, warm daytime temps and a mostly a good flat dirt road to run on, the wind did blow for the first 3 days.
A southerly head wind certainly hindered progress and took more out of me than I expected. Running into a 25 kmph head wind with no respite was not easy. This was always going to be for fun, a solo effort just because I could. The wish list was to make 520 kms, more than my previous PB form 2013 when I ran along the Birdsville Track in outback South Aust.
This time, with only my wife as support, we took it more casual averaging about 52 kms per day. We stopped for a morning tea break, 20 mins usually, then stopped for lunch, about an hour. Also had quite a few stops during the day to chat to other travellers who were interested in what I was doing. Most were very interested although I imagine after leaving the discussion would have been Why!
The wind dropped out after day 3 then swung around to assist, so a tail wind from the North East. But then the temps started to rise closer to 30 degrees in the afternoons. Much more to my liking with very little humidity. Still drank around 6-7 litres of water a day, and was eating about every 20 mins.
Passed by some very small towns such as Louth & Tilpa once ports of the paddle steamers back in the mid 1800's. Now days, these town survive on a pub serving the passing travellers & a few locals coming in from a cattle farm.
We decided to finish the running side of the journey at Wilcannia, a town with a poor reputation from years ago. These days, the crime rate is well under control. The small and new caravan park just outside of town is a beauty, we stayed 4 nights.
All was still good with the running, but going solo was proving a bit tougher mentally on both of us with no one else to push us along. Continuing on would have been a long stint of 150 kms to Menindee on a road we drove last year and actually not close to the river at all.
A good decision as after a couple of days, I felt as though I had not ran anywhere near the distance. I'll put all of that down to those altitude metres ran, walked and climbed so far this year, figures in the stats above.
In comparison with the Birdsville run of 2 years ago, this was easier. The km rate was much faster although the daily distance covered was 8 kms less on average.
Would I do it all again? Yes, for sure. But, I would go way outback to the desert again as I get more of a sense of " being out there".
For now, and this year, nothing planned, just get back into a routine and find something for early next year. Probably involve hills & mountains, that's my favourite training.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Week 35 & All Done - Tapering

Running - Year to Date

Distance: 3,000.6 kms in 35 weeks at ave  85.7 kms ( down from 86.6 kms last week)

Last week:  57.1 kms in 5 days

August:   513.6 kms in 27/31 days at ave  19.02 kms per run day 

Altitude:  57,941 metres in 35 weeks at ave  1,655 metres ( down from 1,658 metres last week)

Last week:  1,558 metres in 5 days

August:  10,205 metres in 27/31 days at ave  378 metres per run day

On the taper & easing up caper now as run day approaches on Tuesday of next week from the small outback town of Bourke in NSW.
The plan is to follow the Darling River as far as possible hoping to pass through the even smaller town of Menindee after 520 kms which will be my all time PB distance. Any more kms done will be a bonus.
All good at this stage. As every runner will say, I could/should/tried to do more/smarter/better training in the lead up. But, you can't change the past. I deliberately increased my hill running for strength and partly eased back on distance.
I think it has worked as I'm basically as fit and healthy as I have ever been. No injuries, niggles and any fatigue will disappear as the resting helps.
I have gained about 2.5 kgs in weight in past 10 - 14 days and that will be used plus more over the run time.
Probably have little to no internet connection for a couple of weeks. This is outback Australia, vast distances between small towns with few facilities.