Sunday, August 28, 2011

Goodnight, Irene

I've been back in the land downunder for ten days — that's a week of 9 to 10 hour shifts on the chain-gang, and I'm not enjoying it. Where can I get a job that's a six-week holiday that lasts forever? I read in the news that Hurricane Irene is "set to slam New York and Long Island." How lucky were we to only have to survive a 100 Fahrenheit heat-wave? I wouldn't have enjoyed running up Cat Hill in Central Park with Irene's 80 mph winds blowing into my face.

I ran my first interval session last Thursday on the now very soft grass track at Calwell. Nothing spectacular — just four 1000s at what I imagined to be 10k race effort. They averaged 4:32.5 and the recovery was a 1:55 walk. It was windy. I've entered two 10k races, which I'll regard as over-distance tests in my plan to race well at the 5000 metre distance. The first is on September 11 in Canberra and the second is on October 9 in Melbourne. I'd like to run something close to an M50 PB in Melbourne, so under 45 minutes.

With my running training, I remain extremely curious about the whole 'springy muscles' effect. Do springy muscles (and tendons) give one a 'free ride' when running? I know they produce a longer stride. Can one's training produce springier muscles? If one runs 'a lot' of weekly distance, do muscles become less springy? We all know about the classic 'marathoner's shuffle', which is quite efficient for running marathons, but not so much for racing the 5k distance. For myself, I feel that I'm well advanced in overcoming my marathoner's shuffle (even non-marathoners can run with a shuffle!). My training times/heart-rates are good, and for longer runs (12k!) 5:30 minutes per kilometre (8:51 per mile) is now a comfortable pace.

Everything's big in America - a bloody big U.S. flag!Those canny New Yorkers have decided to protect the New York Stock Exchange against Irene's fury by wrapping it in a giant U.S. flag.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Long Flight to Vegas

I'm on Continental Airlines Flight UA*0052 to Houston, so have some time to write. We're taking the scenic route to Vegas: From Logan Airport in Boston (where we left the Buick, a great car by the way) to Houston, Texas, then 50 minutes later to Las Vegas in Nevada. Five weeks of the trip down and one to go.

I must apologise for being a slack-arsed bastard in not reading and commenting on blogs the past five weeks. I've missed that, but when one is with friends, it's a case of compromise in the time-on-line department. So I've been keeping up with emails, Facebook updates, and my running diary — that's about it. Hope you're all running well and enjoying life.

I've managed to run every day, so that's quite a bit of exploration on foot of the U.S. and Canada. The list: Los Angeles, Washington DC, New York, Boston, Brunswick, Bar Harbor, Quebec, Montreal, Toronto, Niagara Falls, Buffalo, Lake Placid, Killington and Haverhill. Coming up is Las Vegas — don't know where the hell I'll run there!

I'm running well (I think), going by average heart-rates on all my runs (which have ranged in distance from 5 to 10 kilometres). 5:30 per kilometre pace (8:51 miles) is feeling very easy and produces an AHR of around 127. This is a good bit lower than what I was recording before the trip — 130 to 132. Most of the time my legs are feeling springy, so I think it's this that's producing good running economy. I wouldn't have thought that 60 kilometre weeks would give me huge aerobic gains.

I missed my one opportunity to race back in New York City, when the Big Apple suffered a heat-wave and I got lost (took the wrong train) on the subway out to Van Cortlandt Park. I think I could be short of race-specific muscular endurance. I suspect I might run somewhere between 21 and 22 minutes for a 5k race, but proving this will have to wait for my return to Australia. Until then, I hope y'all have a good day, and enjoy your running!

Mirror Lake in the fogWhile at Lake Placid I ran two laps of Mirror Lake. It's there in the fog behind me, not very mirror-like.