Sunday, October 28, 2007

Most people I know

My non-running friends are always saying things like: "it's your own fault", "all this running is not healthy", and "you're crazy to run so much". When I get sick, they say "I told you so".

I have a cold. It started on Thursday as a sore throat. The previous evening I'd enjoyed a lovely run with Strewth around the East Basin Wetlands. On Thursday I felt terrible and cut my run short. Obviously I'd caught a virus earlier in the week. Perhaps at the Speedygeese dinner! Was it due to running too much? I don't think so. Anybody can catch a cold.

I had a rest from running on Friday, and, feeling much better on Saturday, set off for a 16k run. Bad idea! I got through it, but my lungs felt like those of a 40-a-day smoker. Today, after 10 hours' sleep and lots of fluids, the cold seems to be on the back foot. Having today off running will leave the diary with a somewhat less than Lydiard-like 73 kilometres for the week.

I've been wondering about how much daily running I should be attempting. Hadd-training, and the base phase of Lydiard, depends on a certain volume of weekly running. Arthur Lydiard experimented on himself with weekly volumes of up to 200 miles, before settling on 100 miles as being optimal for his athletes. Fast runners could do 100 weekly miles by averaging 90 minutes per day. I've been trying to average 15 kilometres per day, which takes me about 90 minutes. Should I run less? More? I'm inclined to try and average 12 to 13 kilometres per day for a while, to see if that volume of running leaves me feeling less like an upturned wombat.

This warning sign on Aussie roads helps prevent wombats from becoming upturned

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Flyest Mudder Rudder

Finally, a Hadd-free post! No mention of running either. If Phil can do it, so can I. For my up-over readers, the following YouTube clip won't mean much. We have an election coming up on 24 November. Yes, all Australians 18 years of age or older must decide who rules!

I enjoy writers who use words creatively. I like good poetry. Is Rap the new poetry? I wonder what Henry Kendall would think? This video by the Axis of Awesome does brilliantly what we Australians love doing – cutting tall poppies down to size – doubly so if those tall poppies are politicians.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Totally Addicted to Base!

This afternoon I was bad. Not the badness that results from inhaling chocolate at KokoBlack like CJ and friends. The badness that results from venturing into anaerobic territory. Running without oxygen is not part of Hadd-training. I've been good for so long – 13 weeks with nary a sprint! Just a diet of upper and lower aerobic runs, fully with oxygen. 95 kilometres per week.

I got sucked in. It was the Monday Speedygeoff session at Parliament House. Usually I'm so damned disciplined, and happily run at the back of the group. This afternoon I was partnered in a continuous relay with Strewth. We were coming last and I impulsively decided to do something about it. I started running without oxygen. I ran four of my relay legs hard – on my final fast one I was chasing Katie and managed, more or less, to keep up! Katie is a fast middle distance runner. My heart-rate soared to 164 at the top of the hill, very close to my maximum.

It was fun, and we didn't come last! However, I won't be doing this again any time soon. I'm totally addicted to base. Arthur Lydiard suggests that aerobic training can go on and on with no negative consequences. Anaerobic training (running without oxygen), although necessary to reach peak racing form, takes "bricks" away from the base. I don't think I've laid all my bricks, so it's back to Hadd-training for another three months. Maybe more.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

My better Half in Melbourne

Me near 12k down by the Bay - photo by pastyboy
It just happened. Despite trying hard to sabotage my race, I finished the Asics Melbourne Half Marathon on Sunday with a new M50 PB. My chip time of 1:40:48 was over 4 minutes quicker than the Gold Coast Half. Hadd-training is working! I'm excited at the possibility of better things to come. Kerryn McCann is running the half next year, so I'll be back again with a goal of sub-95 minutes.

So... how did I almost stuff things up? It was a typical Melbourne "perfect weather for running" day. About 10C, rising to 15C at the finish, with just a zephyr blowing across Albert Park Lake. You'd think a runner of 26 years' experience would be immune to the rush of blood. Race starter Rob de Castella advised the field (the marathon and half started together) to "take it easy at the start" and "try to finish strongly". As soon as Deek sounded the air-horn I stampeded down the first hill with 8,000 others, past Katy (holding a "Not far to go now!" sign), and latched onto the 3hr 15min marathon pacing group.

After 4 kilometres at 4:30s, I belatedly realised I needed to switch to preservation mode. This tactic was surprisingly successful, and I spent the rest of the race trying to guess when I'd be caught by the 1hr 40min group. I survived for a fair way, feeling like the rabbit in that TV ad for the Yarra Valley, running past the brilliant CR cheer-squad for the second time, and back down St Kilda Road towards the city. I was finally captured at 15k, and managed to hang on for another kilometre before being unceremoniously spat out the back.

Pretty soon The G was in sight. It was a finish "to die for". Running 300 metres on the grass of that hallowed ground, then under the finish gantry, to be greeted and handed my medal by yet another smiling volunteer. Melbourne, you were good!

[5k splits: (31sec to start) 22:40, 23:46, 24:13, 24:52 + 1.1k in 5:17]