Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The everlasting stars

I was well into the second lap of the Sydney Half Marathon, running through the lovely park called The Domain, thinking to myself 'this is going quite well'. I'd passed the 15 kilometre marker in 79:06 and realised a time of 1 hour 50 minutes was possible. I waved to Beki and BB, who were running side-by-side down to Mrs Macquarie's Chair.

My cautious start was paying off. At 7:20am, I'd lined up with Luckylegs in the middle of the field and it took about a minute and a half to reach the start line. I was quite relaxed, as the chip timing would provide a net time for the race. The first 3k was a little hectic, weaving a bit to find vacant space in which to run. No wonder they limit the field to 5000 starters!

On various places on the course I was having fun trying to spot people I knew. On the sidelines... Gnomey, Lulu, Tasdevil and Pat Carroll (behind the microphone). In the race... Luckylegs, Aunty Jac, Superflake, Tiger Angel and Ellie80. Afterwards I caught up briefly with a happy Rachel49 (who broke 2 hours and beat Simlin), Wildthing and Gronk.

So, down Hunter Street, my race cut it's way towards Circular Quay. I spotted LLs running back up Pitt Street for the last time and thought once again of the Banjo Paterson poem:

In my wild erratic fancy, visions come to me of Blondie
Gone a-runnin' "down Range Road" where the Mittagong runners go;
A herd of cows slowly moving, Blondie takes photos of them mooing,
For the pointy end has pleasures that most runners never know.

I turned right after the Quay, ran strongly though The Rocks, then plodded up Argyle Street for the last time. I was still passing more runners than were passing me – a good feeling. The final long drag down Hickson Road found me starting to feel the missing miles in the legs. Even Pat's frenzied commentary to "get these runners under 1:50" was to no avail. I crossed the finish line in 1:50:47, but with a chip time of 1:49:10. On a perfect Sydney day, I was perfectly happy.

I walked back up the course, then joined Eagle and Horrie, who were Luckylegs' 'mobile guard of honour'. We three rather fancied we'd rather change with Blondie, and take a turn at running where the seasons come and go; leave behind the ceaseless tramp of feet, and run at night under the glory of the everlasting stars.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

A vision splendid

This coming Sunday, I'll be running the Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon in a Susanesque state of preparedness. My panic is due to falling in love. Actually, that should be 'back in love' – with racing. Falling head over heels has led me to neglect the long training runs.

I've commenced a plan to race, pretty much weekly, over the winter. There have been three recent affairs: A 6km cross country run (28:54), the Nail Can Hill Run and a 5km road race last Saturday (22:34).

Nail Can Hill was on Sunday 6 May. I like that race. It's like a mini Six Foot. It has a great vibe at the start with 1200-plus runners setting out on an 11.3k point-to-point journey. It has a hill – 2km up instead of 8.5km. It has a great fire trail through the Aussie bush. It has a thrilling and fast descent to a long finish chute, well supported by spectators. I had a goal this year of running 56 minutes, but finished in 59:17. Nevertheless, it was a great fun day, helped by perfect weather.

On Sunday I'm hoping for a similarly enjoyable experience, this time, as Clancy would say; "in the gritty of the dusty dirty city, rather than with a vision splendid of sunlit plains extended". Good luck to my CoolRunning and blogging friends who are running. See you at the start!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Completely Inelastic

It comes as a shock when you unexpectedly see yourself on TV, or, in this case, YouTube. I was minding my own business crossing the road, looking for fresh pasture, and I end up in a rock video! Speaking of YouTube, I must be the last person in the world who has seen Jeong-Hyun Lim's virtuosic guitar playing. Simply amazing.

Thanks friends for your birthday wishes. It's a little overwhelming. Thanks Dave for the tip on canvas bags. It's tough, but I'm getting used to being really old. I wonder how I'll feel when I'm truly ancient? CJ, Geoff, and Strewth – your invitations weren't lost in the mail. I didn't have a party. On my birthday, I worked late, then fell asleep in my lounge chair while watching television.

My birthday didn't go uncelebrated, as last Saturday night, Joy and Mal took me out to dinner at Rocksalt. Also enjoying the lovely meal were Mal's sister Kath, better half Steve and another old motorcycle mate of mine, Jim (who currently rides an Aprilia SL1000 Falco). I also had a family celebration whilst in Wagga over Easter.

Tomorrow morning the alarm is set for 3.15am. My running rival Jim W is driving myself and Bob down to Albury to do the Nail Can Hill Run. Last year it poured cows and dogs. This year, settled dust is all we want. It should be fun.