Category Archives: Training Run

Still Rolling

So about 30km run last week. I did the sensible thing on Sunday and just did a 16km loop down and around the Torren’s by the light of the sparse streetlamps mainly. It felt both easy and hard at the same time. Easy – because I didn’t feel like I raised a sweat or got my heart-rate very high…definitely aerobic zone. Hard – because my legs would not let me go any faster…but I can live with that, I probably won’t start pushing them for at least another week.

This week I have dragged myself out for an 8km dead flat lunchtime run around the Adelaide Southern parklands and then this morning I went out around the NE suburbs for a 10.5km loop and pushed the legs a little harder. Unfortunately the GPS on my phone dropped out after 3km so I can’t see how hard I was pushing, but it doesn’t really bother me right now. I do have 3 different garmins laying around…but unfortunately they are old (201 and 2x 305s) and both 305s suffered from the dreaded internal corrosion due to poor sealing. I did crack one open, clean up the battery contacts and silicon it shut, which worked for a while, but then it must have come loose a little as it will no longer charge (but will turn on). Alas I am resigned to using the aweful GPS on my Galaxy S4 phone.

Today I will have more outfit changes then a Lady GaGa concert, guess I will be doing my own washing. Get up – run clothes on, then home again and casual clothes to walk the kids to school, then home again and bike kit to ride to work, then shower and work clothes. Back to bike kit for the smelly ride home. Home again and shower and casual clothes back on, or visa versa depending on timing and home duties. I guess I could go for a swim at lunch-time or something just to add another lot to the pile…but I am lazy.

Currently watching the parcel tracker for my headlamp…it arrived in Melbourne and cleared customs on Tuesday…hope it arrives before the weekend!

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Time to start.

Well, I stopped running early December following the completion of the Corporate Cup and started concentrating on bike riding for the TDU community challenge stage. Done and dusted that so now here we are at the end of February and the time has come to start ramping up running. I am currently 4 runs in and following the 100% rule…oh wait I made that up, it is supposed to be the 10% rule.

Firstly, I am still a 5 day a week bike commuter, so that accounts for 180km a week of cross training, so I started 2 weeks ago with a Sunday morning 8k run…not too bad, a bit rusty in the legs and slow, pulled up a little sore the following day or two. Gave it a week then went out again last Sunday…5am…hill run. I ran (pretty much in the dark because I am a fool…actually I was up half an hour early than I had planned due to the eldest child being awake that I hit the trail half an hour before first light). I ran the Main Ridge Track up from Amber’s Gully…and when I say ran…I mean “I ran”. Surprisingly I ran all the way up where in my past running life I would have walked most of it. The only time I walked on this occasion was when the trail was too rutted and rocky to run safely by starlight. (Needless to say I got straight on the web when I got home and looked up headlamps…one is now on order).

While this new found hill running ability was quite surprising, the state of my legs the next day was no surprise. I spent the rest of Sunday, shoveling and wheelbarrowing gravel and doing general garden duties, getting up from my chair at work for the next two days was quite awkward…but surprisingly once up and going for a 10 or so seconds, or while on the bike riding, my legs felt a little tired but generally pretty good.

A nice flat run on Wednesday around Victoria Park at lunch time went some way to clearing the rest of the carnage from the legs and an early morning 5km on Thursday…while tough on tired/recovering legs was also satisfying…now I am just debating what kind of run to do on Sunday….should I run the main ridge track again? Sans light? or just throw in a longer 15km run on the rolling hills around the NE suburbs where the street lamps are enough to get by (this is probably where my mind is at until the headlamp arrives in the post).

I wouldn’t really be bothered right now uploading route, splits, elevation profiles etc from runs…so if you are interested you will have to follow me on Strava.

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Meerkat Time

Why Meerkat…well I have had my head down for almost 5 years now and just stuck it up to take a quick look around the plain and check to see if anyone still has me in their RSS feed ;).

Out for a run at lunchtime today and spent most of the glorious 8km thinking about the possibility of running another marathon next year. Why? Because I am in the best shape of my life and I don’t want to waste it! I want a sub 4 hour marathon time to my name.

More on that to come.

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Marathon a go go.

With the official results for the Barossa Half marathon about to be released I can tell you that my official time was 1hr54min20sec, or 8 minutes faster than last year and 173rd out of 266 runners. I suppose one day I would like to be in the top half of finishers, but at the moment I am just happy with the improvement.

Now with three months to go until my second marathon…what am I going to do differently to improve my time?

For starters I am going to run a different race plan (ok, ok, I mean stick to my race plan), which will hopefully mean that I can run out the 42.2km, rather than walk the last 10.

I feel like I am not running as much as I did in 2007, though my log would seem to indicate that totals are about the same. I don’t think I am putting in the same number of runs, they are just on average longer.

The biggest difference by far is the quality of the runs. This year I am running them faster and harder then in 2007 and it is to this that I contribute most of my faster times so far.

My weight is about the same as it was in 2007. I have tried to get it down, but to no avail…I like food.

What I want to do now, while there is still 3 months to go, is build from my 2 halves and the 28km Pioneer Women’s Trail Run this month and get in a lot more 30+ kilometer runs than in 2007. If I can get 2 of those in during the month of June I will be 2 ahead of 2007. Add to that 2 four hour long runs in July and I will be smashing my PB come August.

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Pioneer Women’s Trail Run

  Pioneer Women's Trail 10-05-2009 Set on Mother’s Day of all days, the Pioneer Women’s Trail is the trail the Pioneer Women of Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills used to carry their fresh produce to market in Adelaide before any roads were built.

Me getting my bus ticket. The trail we ran today was not the same as the original trail, but rather the trail marked out by the Department of Recreation and Sport (who by the way haven’t finished the trail yet because of the little matter of a $400k footbridge at Vurdon).

In excess of 80 people had signed up to participate in at least some part of the trail run and in the gloom of the pre-dawn day most gathered at the finish (Hazelwood Park, Burnside) for the bus ride up the Freeway to Hahndorf.

start The bus ride, on a double decker bus mind you – to fit all of us in, didn’t seem to go as long as the bus ride the previous week to Athelstone for the Greenbelt Half. This to me was a good mental sign that I was going to have a good day as this run was 7km further (if you didn’t take any wrong turns) than a half marathon.

We were greeted and set on our way in Pioneer Park, Hahndorf, by the mother of descendents of the founding families of Hahndorf, and the chief ambassador for the marking of the trail. Following a brief recount of some of the trials and tribulations of previous walks of the trail, we set off down the main street of Hahndorf on our journey to Adelaide.

hahndorf streets Don’t get me wrong, with the official trail markings and the detailed trail instructions and maps, you would think it would be easy to make it all the way to Burnside without making a wrong turn. History tells us that this wouldn’t be the case and it was barely 5 minutes later that reality set in.

Terry C had made an announcement minutes before that we were turning left at The Cedars, the home of Hans Heysen, but as The Cedars came into view we were greeted with shouts calling back at least a dozen of the front runners who were obviously too busy nattering away to notice it.

It felt like minutes later that I looked at the Garmin to see how far we had come and lo! we had already covered 7km. Gee time flies when you are having fun and then to cap things off an unexpected drink station appears before you complete with lollies and chocolate.

In defense of all those who took a wrong turn, or missed a turn somewhere, the autumn colours of the leaves did a marvelous job of camouflaging the trail signs and you had to be really alert to see some of them thanks to some challenging placement by the trail markers (Rec and Sport).

frankFRANKY! That was my cries as we emerged from under the bridge in Bridgewater to be greeted by the medicated wares of Frank and his beautifully arranged water stop at the Old Bridgewater Mill. The Mill was the gateway to yet another stunning part of the trail through wooded forest like landscape.

carey gully roadThe hardest part of the run for me, started on Old Carey Gully Road. We came out from the Mt Lofty Golf course onto the road and began the slow climb up over the freeway into Stirling. Not actually knowing the exact route I approached the intersection with Spring Gully Road with trepidation.  I knew if we turned up that road I would definitely have to give it my all to get to the top without walking…we have history, that hill and I. Fortunately for my legs we passed by without turning and I think I became lazy after that as the fog started to close in. I stopped frequently to walk and take photos. 

It was not far past Spring Gully Road that David C, Zacman and Chilliman came up from behind…”Where the hell did you guys come from?” I joked. Another bunch of lost runners. They had been on a detour up the Heysen Trail to the the Scout Camp on Spring Gully Road. I suppose it helps that I was always following people who knew where they were going, with the downside being that I have no stories of misadventure to report.

CrafersAt this point I wondered why the Pioneer Women had weaved around to Stirling and then back to Crafers when they could have headed straight over Mt Lofty, passed the Scout Camp (well obviously the Scout Camp wasn’t there in the 1800s) as these three had tried to do. It was not to be the last time I thought the Pioneer Women of Hahndorf to be completely barking mad masochists.

Chilli in the mistThe scenery through the Crafers/Stirling area of the trail was stunning. The dark autumn reds and yellows of the trees as seen through the mist were splendid and complimented the historical buildings beautifully.

Across the freeway on the footbridge and we were in Crafers preparing to makeSimlin on the run the last uphill climb before the descent from Eagle on the Hill to Burnside – The Old Bullock Track. The random assortment, or pack, of runners I had been running with since the start had spread out over the slow climb up to Stirling (with me bringing up the rear) and I thought I had been left behind.  But lo, as I came over a little rise on the way to Eagle on the Hill, there was the rest of them still “galloping” along. Had they slowed down? or was I going faster? Charging on, suddenly the group splintered again and I sprinted up the short hill to the final aid station as Chilliman fumbled in his bag for his camera…just getting it out in time… 

Pioneer Women's Trail 10-05-2009, Elevation - DistanceAfter the long gradual 18km of uphill it was refreshing to be finally running down and the legs just ticked over, drawing me quickly to the finish.

The top gate of the bullock track (otherwise known as “The Big Kahuna”) by the Friday Morning Running Group came and went. I knew how far (well I though I did) it was to the finish now!

Old Bullock TrackThough I have seen it before, many times up the Big Kahuna, the view of Adelaide as you round the Mt Osmond golf course still took my breath away.  Everything was so green, the sun was shining, what a beautiful contrast to the autumn colours and mist of Stirling and Crafers.

This is were things got silly. Instead of heading straight down the “Centre Track”, the trail wound itself around the hillside in what seemed like never ending zig zags. At one point we ran a kilometer and were only 10 meters further down the hill! WHAT WERE THEY THINKING! “Surely the Pioneer Women were barking mad.” someone muttered, “If it was the Pioneer Men’s Trail we would have gone straight down the hill” someone else muttered (OK, that might have been me).

finish

So add two kilometers to how far I thought it was to the finish at the top of Mt Osmond and then fast forward through zig after zig and zag after zag – there is me, belting down Glynburn Road at 4:30 pace, sprinting like a mad man for the finish – because I can, there was sausages to be eaten.

Now in the defence of the Pioneer Women, I am informed that the original trail did infact go straight down the hill and it was the wise old heads at the Department of Rec and Sport that decided it was too steep and that, in the interest of safety, they would add an infuriatingly frustrating wiggly bit to the end of a stunning trail.  (more photos)PWTpanorama

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Victor Harbour Trail Run

Saturday morning didn’t start very well as I woke up with a cramp in my left calf. Never a good start. I have a feeling it was rather self induced following a hard run up The Goat Track on Friday morning and two too many amber ales on Friday night. This combination almost inevitably leads to a night time wake up call from a calf.

Victor Harbour StartDespite the initial pain, the calf didn’t feel too bad once I was up and moving and Mrs Simlin and I set off for Victor Harbour. In all honesty, when Mrs Simlin asked me on the way how many people I was expecting to be at the run I estimated a dozen hardy individuals would make the trip.

Woah! 39 people signed up, not to mention the supportive families of a few runners. Following a few words of wisdom from TerryC and the trail coordinator Paul, we set off at a gallop for the first head land.

Climb up to the cliffsThe first 6 kilometres was like one big photo shoot. Everywhere you looked there was stunning scenery. Around the first headland the track wound off into the distance atop Waitpinga Cliffs and the galloping gave way to rock hopping as we all turned into Mountain Goats.

The going was initially slow, 45mins for 4.5kms, but with all the rock avoiding and phototaking it was an understandably slow pace. The spectacular vistas of the Waitpinga Cliffs soon gave way to a few boardwalks and firetracks as we started to make our way around the boundary fence of Newland Head Conservation Park.

Cliff Top RunningThe firetrails weren’t that much different to parts of other trails we have covered this year in our monthly trail runs except for the sand. Being close to the sea, the trail got very sandy in places (which put a strain on the post-cramp calf) but the pace did lift a little.

I will be the first to admit that I found the run around the boundary fence quite boring compared to the clifftop running of the first 5km and I was glad to finally come upon the camping ground and a patiently waiting Mrs Simlin, which marked the far end of the trail run.

Ken and Sonja on the boardwalkThe group I was with pushed on quickly from the campground but I stayed around waiting for the rest of the runners as Mrs Simlin was going to give a few of them a ride back to the start. After a brief sit down and bottle of water I couldn’t bring myself to punish my legs (which were complaining horribly) any further by continuing on, especially with the convenience of a ride back to the start.

I later congratulated myself for making a wise decision as I hobbled around for the next two days with a very sore left calf.

Waiting PatientlyOn the way back to the start we made a brief site seeing detour to Waitpinga beach and then returned to greet the walkers who had finished their walk along the cliffs.

The battle reports of the return leg talked of a long steady 2k of uphill out of the camping ground fighting against the deep sand and surprise tree root attacks, followed by the rocky clifftop path on tired legs. Some even ventured into the ocean at the little beach just before the finish for a cooldown. Needless to say everyone returned to the carpark tired, weary and dirty (or wet) from a 27km trail run, wishing they had been no-where else on a fine Saturday morning.

More Photos.

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Race Report – Carisbrooke Classic 2009, 10km trail.

Race Carrisbrook Classic 29-03-2009 On a beautiful Sunday morning, I made the short trip to the Harry Bowey Reserve for what would be my 3rd Carisbrooke Classic 10k. The weather was perfect (I think the Englishman used to training in -8 degrees I passed at the end of the first lap who seemed to be melting in the sunshine would disagree), the grass was green and the event well organised.
I use this event to gauge how my fitness for the year is progressing and then attempt to set realistic goal times for the Greenbelt and Barossa Half Marathons in May. Because of the trail like nature of the Carisbrooke course and the great training I have been doing at the monthly Trail Running Group runs I felt confident I could beat my previous best time over the Carisbrooke course of 55mins.
Standing around acquiring my race number and trying in vain to pin it on my top straight I thought the numbers looked down on last time, but as soon as John called us over to the start line I found myself surrounded by a throng of runners keen to get underway.
My race strategy has always been – start out slowly and conservatively and build up to a decent pace, so I placed myself at the back of the field and waited for the GO signal. Soon a cloud of dust was the only thing remaining at the start line as I quickly discovered that my slow, conservative pace, was no long a “back of the pack” slow and conservative pace. Alas, I was stuck there now until well after the first turn around where I could veer out onto the grass around some other runners to find some clear track.
Race Carrisbrook Classic 29-03-2009, Pace I soon found some other runners to pace off and continued my way around the first lap trying to give encouragement to all runners I knew coming the other way. I ran past the start/finish area for 5km in 26mins and fell apart. The 6th kilometre has always been the hardest for me at Carisbrooke and this time was no exception. The runners I had been pacing off pulled away and I was left struggling, unable to maintain a 5min/km pace. The mood soon passed and I found my second 10k wind, but there was nothing left for the faster paced assault on the final 2km, which I normally enjoy thanks to the lax start. I had lost the mental battle and finished the second lap for 10k in 51min55sec by my watch. Not bad, and a 10k PB for me, so it looks like I will have to set my sights on a half marathon PB in May.
Post race turned into the usual banter, finding out who had run well, commenting on the accuracy of the course (no doubt as an excuse for a poor time, hehe), watching the pre-teens busting a gut over the 1km dash and complaining when all the random draw prizes seem to go to the place getters. No shoes for me again.
I hope there was a sizable amount of money raised for the Melissa White Foundation because the sausage sizzle was great, the marshals and drink station attendants were appreciated and this is one of my favourite events on the SARRC Calendar.

Panorama 1

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