Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Gold Coast Marathon Preview

Its that time of year, no not tax time, but GC Marathon time!

To get us kicked off, it feels very different to my other 3 Gold Coasts - not because of my training, preperation or lack of injuries, but because Jason "Cadel Evans" Paull is absent from the start list.

I can still remember the coolish April night in 2009 when we sat down and registered for GC togther. Back then "long runs" were 16km and my weekly mileage was about 40km per week! How times have changed.

Without crying too much, I am missing the 300 text messages per day from him talking up Gold Coast. How fast we are going to run? What our 10k, 30k splits? The "What if" texts - you know the kind, where your mind wonders off and you start to dream of the perfect day, like those training runs that come very rarely where you just reel off insanely quick kilometers with no effort....imagine IF that happens Sunday....

This week has a different feel, to it. For starters Monica's injury hasnt been responding well, and she has been feeling a bit down about the very real prospect of coming all the way down to Gold Coast to watch. Stuff that, I am a bad watcher - I have been trying to keep her positive "just walk it and get your medal" thats my view. Lots of people (including our mum) think I am crazy for suggesting it, BUT it is Gold Coast. The atmosphere alone just gets my heart pumping.

I know the trail snobs like Mat The Tattoo Runner hate big road races, but Gold Coast is as close to feeling like running in the Olympics for us mortals. There are runners everywhere, the expo is superb, the race is extremely proffessional and the course is flat and fast. The weather for this year looks super awesome too!

So what of the runners making their debut - I am sure to have missed people so I am sorry if you facebooked me and I have missed you off the list.

Greg - ran his first race last year at the Spring Classic and has gone from strength to strength. A minor injury scare last week was a mere hiccup.....looking forward to seeing him run his first Marathon in around 4.30.

Jason Edwards - Luke's brother is having a crack at the full - by Luke's account he is in 4.10-4.15 shape, Jason was there at The North Face. It will be great to see Luke run with him, something that you don't get the opportunity to do very often (run a marathon with someone).

Speaking of Luke - he has flipped and flopped between having a crack at 3.30 or running with Jason. So I wouldnt be super surprised if he got to the 1km marker and dropped Jason for a real crack at a massive PB....time will tell!

Cain also started running last year and was bitten pretty hard by the bug, after running 2 half marathons last year, he finally cracked 2hrs at the River Run. He is sandbagging saying he just wants to finish, so I put him somewhere in the 4.30-4.45 time bracket.

Donna and Veronica from Saturday morning Road Runners are also having a crack at the marathon. I am super excited for them, both have done a HEAP more work than I ever did for my first - so I think they will be in the 4.30-4.45 group also. Being ladies, they will run a sensible race and wont get caught up with running too hard early!

My cousin Cath is making her Half Marathon debut.....if she doesnt break 2hrs she will go very close, she is staying with Greg, Monica and I so will all be getting pumped up together on Saturday night! I cant wait!!

I think David Wilkes is doing the marathon - I could be wrong, but pretty sure Mel made him sign up. He has the Rock and Roll Vegas Half Marathon under his belt on his Honeymoon, respect to anyone who does that! Best of luck to him and Mel, Mel looks like she has shares in a strapping company at the moment. I hope all of that tape can hold her together for the race!

Last Marathoner is Nick who I used to work with at the Rocky Council, I think he is running the marathon - he is Penrith supporter, so I feel a bit sorry for him! I hope he has a good day and takes his kids watch him finish. (Correction Nick is shooting for a sub 2 half marathon!)

This is what is looks like when you finish your first marathon with your kids, it is the BEST feeling (they look so little back in 2009)!

Up the pointy end of the Marathon times will be Paul Tucker, fingers crossed he has an awesome day and runs somewhere near his potential. A sub 2.40, YES 2hr 40minute Marathon is a distinct possibility for Paul. Insane! After being sick at the New York Marathon last November, I really hope he has a better day come Sunday, he deserves it.

Of the next group of marathoners, Pete Wheeler, Michael, Gavin and Benny are all having a crack at sub 3. Michael to me looks to be in the best shape of the 4, BUT who knows. They like Paul are all super nice guys so I really hope they all run under 3hrs. Ben thinks Michael might go under 2.55, which will be super quick for him!

The battle of the 3.10-3.20 group is pretty hot. Leah, Jacob and Polly will be all looking to "crush" each other. It has been really fun for me to watch them try and tear the legs off each other on the training runs. Leah looks in great shape, Polly has been battling injuries, and Jacob struggling with cramps. So the race between these three might be won by who has the most ticker post 30km. It is going to be a cracker, I sort of wish I was watching them race!!!

Brenden or "Big M" could be in that 3.20 group with his insane 1.35 half marathon at the river run, Brenden is an enigma - he looks too muscular to run a marathon yet ran 3.33 last year. Pat Carrolls plan has him peaking at the right time to really tear his PB to bits! I know he can do it.

Of the sub 4hr group, Trisha will be looking to improve on her Canberra time (and should) and Kathryn will also be looking to improve on her recent debut marathon of 3.45. These ladies do a LOT of work on their long runs, and I would be surprised if they took big chunks from their PBs come Sunday.

Which gets me to my own race predictions. To be honest I am looking to go under 4hrs. I have run 3.48 in training so I sort of know what that feels like (regarding effort). I would love to be somewhere near 3.45ish. Again, I havent been doing too much marathon specific training - so I am a little unsure how it will all play out.

I do know one thing, I am going to ENJOY Sunday. Really soak it up. After the race, I am going to head up to the Grand and celebrate hard with the debut marathoners - I am so eager to hear about how the marathon has changed them for the better and how they are ready for their next adventure, I know I always am.

Have fun this weekend if you are racing. Drink water early. Take it easy till you get to the 15km turn around and rip in coming back to the start finish - then be prepared to suffer for the last 12.195km!

OH and pose for the Camera's on course!


PS - Good luck to Coach Roger running his 79th (I think) marathon and 23rd Gold Coast this weekend! You are an inspiration!

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Broken PB's

Last Sunday, as usual I am in a mad rush getting the gear ready for Sunday morning football. Water bottles to be filled, Hayden’s double knotted footy boots to sort out, the endless search for his missing mouthguard....
My phone rings, it is my sister Monica. I grab her call and she is crying, she has fallen over whilst running. She explains she has blood coming from her nose and her wrist is really sore.
She doesn’t know how she fell over, but she has fallen awkwardly on her right wrist and somehow landed on her face.
Now I am a bit of a “tough love” sort of brother. Monica often calls saying she has had a long day at work and is going to skip her running session – I always guilt her into running, telling her to suck it up. 99% of the time it works, and normally I get a phone call back an hour later saying it was just what she needed.
So on Sunday I was pretty sure that she hadn’t done anything too bad. I said that she should get a lift home if she thought she couldn’t drive and go to the doctor if it was still sore. I told her she will have to get her run in on the Monday as she couldn’t miss this session leading up to Gold Coast.
Monica has been training like a champion and is on track to finally break 2hrs for the half marathon. I know she can do it, and finally she is starting to believe that she can do it too. The previous week she ran a very solid 20km at 6.01 pace at the Brisbane Road Runners and it puts her on track come race day to tear her 2.08 PB to pieces.
Sunday afternoon – she calls again and says she has had an X-Ray on her wrist but the doctor doesn’t think it is broken, they will know for sure the next day when the radiologist has a look over the X-Ray. Great news I say, have a day off it is sore – then get in a smash that 15km that we had planned.

“Ring Ring”
Me – Hey whats up?
Mon – My wrist is broken!
Well that was surely a surprise to me!!! Who would of thought you could snap your wrist by falling over whilst running!

Monica's Arm :(
The first thing that strikes me is that she is so super positive. She says she still wants to run Gold Coast and give it a crack. This is such a change in attitude, and it proves she is on the way to being a more positive thinker.
As Rodney had done a lot of running earlier in the year with his arm in plaster, she knows you can do it. There are even running articles encouraging it!
So what does this mean for the PB attempt??
I guess Monica and I are in a similar situation, she is now not expecting to PB as she will probably be racing with her arm in a cast. And I have really embraced the “enjoy the day” “run naked” approach to this marathon. We both don’t expect too much, and to be perfectly honest the approach probably suits us both.
I know she can do it, even with a broken wrist. I hope she puts the hammer down next week and just goes for it. Nothing to lose!
On the subject of injuries, many new runners often experience an overuse injury right before their first big race. Jason and I had both experienced this, Jason often struggling with shin splints, and I have run 3 marathons with groin/foot /ITB issues. Facebook was alight with injury issues over the weekend.
My advice is to take it easy, rest up and re-evaluate your goals for race day. I’ve tried to run crazy PBs in marathons with injuries before, and from my experience 42km is a long way and you need everything to be going your way to PB. 
Big blog next week! Gold Coast Marathon race preview!!
Crew Chief Monica on the left, at Nerang 50k Ultra

Saturday, 16 June 2012

I am doing a NUDE race!

So I have been on the look out for the next challenge, sure I want to run faster BUT there are some other crazy things that sound like fun. Marty (White Caviar) just came back from a 48hr adventure race, it involved a team of 4 to trek, mountain bike, swim, raft there way through a course. Marty's account sounded bloody insane, the trail running was more like bush trekking - no trails just searching for checkpoints!

Jason said a couple of weeks ago that I should do a race NUDE. I thought about it for a while and yep I am going to give it a go!

So I went home and found this link to a race in the States http://www.skinnydippersunrun.com/

I told Jason about it, he said not a NUDE race, but run a race with no Garmin or watch, no pressure just go and enjoy it.

Now that is scary! Imagine turning up to a race, or even a training run and not knowing how far you have run, what pace you are doing, if you are on track for a PB, how many calories you have burnt and what your average pace is!!

I am a numbers man, I love the data of a GPS, I love knowing how fast, far etc I have run.
Its been over 2 years since I bought her, and we have been around the block a "few times"! I am an addict, I never ever run without my Garmin 310XT. Every run, she is with me, that familiar beep when I turn it on, beep and vibrate with every km passed, the split time on the screen after each km, average pace and distance when I am finished. I love it.

But the Garmin is also a curse. Sometimes you are having a strong run, but the numbers tell you that you are running slow turtle pace. Other times you look down and think, gee that's too fast I better slow down, which you do. The Garmin provides instant feedback, the data sometimes is at odds with how you are feeling, either during racing or training.

I've accepted Jason's challenge and committed to my first ever NUDE race, it is going to be Gold Coast Marathon this year. I will be running IN CLOTHES but with no watch. To be honest I would rather be running in the nude than without the watch!

The plan is to just enjoy Gold Coast, I have no real time goal. Sub 4hrs would be nice, but I plan to just run this race and enjoy it. Obviously after TNF I need to give myself some time to chill out and relax about running. Marathons, particularly Gold Coast are so much fun - big mega events like GC have an awesome atmosphere. So that is what I plan to do. Go down, soak up the atmosphere and just RUN on Sunday the first of July.

I would love to hear from you if you are running any of the races at Gold Coast this year, send me a message or an email, or facebook us at www.facebook.com/HREoz - I will feature everyone who I know that is running in next weeks blog. I will make you famous!

2 weeks till Gold Coast!!!

Time to taper


Friday, 8 June 2012

Debuts, PBs and the RunLisaRun Interview

Last weekend was INSANE for racing! It has been hard to keep up with all of the results - those of you who raced, who PBed and who crashed and burned.

So firstly this is an apology - sorry if I miss you off the blog. If you smashed a PB or ran a distance for the first time and you don't get a mention, let me know! I will be sure to give you a shout out next week!

Last weekend we had HRE athletes at the Cairns 70.3 Ironman, Doomben Half Marathon and Rocky River Run. Jason also raced in Bundaberg at some Queensland Cycling Series, but I will save his results for next weeks post.

Starting in Cairns at the 70.3 Ironman - Rodney went back to make up for his disappointment from last year. His goal was quite ambitious of going under 5hrs, but I knew he had been doing a heap of work, even with his dodgy left arm from the accident in January. It was awesome to get home on Sunday and watch his race splits online, watching him get closer and closer to the finish on the run - it was something else. I was texting and facbooking his wife while he was racing, so I knew he was close to breaking 5hrs. When he finished in 5.04 I was pumped but a little disappointed. Then I found out he penalised for a drafting penalty (who doesn't draft in triathlon!) his penalty was 5 minutes!!! So close but yet so far!

He has another 70.3 coming up in Yeppoon in August so I am sure he will be ready to go under 5hrs "officially" by then! Best moment for Rodney - was when Connor went up and gave him a massive hug after the race. I love that feeling that your kids idolise you and are so proud you have a medal (Joel still thinks I win every marathon)!

Rod smashing it at the end!
70.3 Done and Dusted!

Onto Doomben Half Marathon in Brisbane, my sister Mon and my cousin Cath were running. Cath PB AGAIN over the 10k and is on track for a great half marathon debut at Gold Coast. Mon's race didn't go as we had hoped, we had pretty similar races where we felt tired and couldn't get out of first gear. Doomben also had some pretty terrible rain, I have never run GC in the rain - I hope we don't have a wet year this year. I know Mon will go under 2hrs - she just has to believe it herself.

Cath and Mon

Which gets us onto the Rocky River Run. Our local half marathon her in Rockhampton, it used to be the only half marathon BUT HRE will be having a half marathon at the CQPhysio Group Spring Classic on the 16th of September (lock in that date local runners).

The course is 2 loops and crosses the "Old" Bridge and the train bridge, starting and finishing at the Huish Drive Park. It is relatively flat, but isn't that quick with parts of the run on grass and rough roads. Again this year rain threatened to spoil the show but it didn't - but conditions were the hottest I have felt for the past 4 years.

Up the pointy end of the field local legend Paul Tucker won comfortably in 1.15.55 - comfortably in front of Michael McGrath second place in 1.24.10. Women's winner Anna McMurtrie started the race late, but that didn't worry her, going on to win in 1.25.01 - she screamed past me at about the 2km mark on a mission. Big surprise packet was Raleigh Wallace smashing a 1.26.10 - very quick time, more impressive is that he has been smashing himself on the bike getting ready for the Yeppoon Ironman 70.3 (I say sell that bike).

TNF Bucklers Benny, Marty (White Caviar) and Gav all ran strong. Ben went 1.27.06 (for 7th) beating Marty (no official time) and Gav in 1.33.20. Leah (TNF Crew Chief) was very impressive in running a strong 1.32.28 setting her up for a massive Gold Coast.

Special mention to Brenden Motley who also smashed a half marathon PB going under 1.35 for the first time. He is definitely on track to crack 3.30 this year for the marathon at Gold Coast.

Onto two of my running proteges, both have signed on to do their first Marathon at Gold Coast. They ran very strongly. Cain ran 1.59.37 - first time under 2hrs, so very excited for him and Greg ran a 1.47.40. Both Greg and Cain are new to running - I am proud to say I played a small part in getting them both started and staying on track. I'm so impressed with their times, it was a massive PB for Cain and Greg's first ever half marathon!

Onto Veronica who also smashed the half marathon in 2.09.28. Well done! That was my time from 2009 - my first ever race. Hard work pays off!

Which gets me onto the Interview part of the Blog. I am yet to meet Lisa but she has been following my blog and has just started her running journey. It is a bit daunting knowing she reads the blog as she writes for The Morning Bulletin and has her very own successful blog The Yank In OZ. Whilst I have been concentrating on the runners getting ready for the marathon at the Gold Coast - Lisa ran her first 5km on the weekend!! I love that! I just had to do a quick interview to see how it all went!

1.     So yesterday was your first "race"? Surely you ran at high school in races?

Yes, the Rocky River Run was my first official "timed" race.  I ran a 3k "Fun Run" last year that wasn't timed, or fun. I hadn't built my cardio at all at that point but was getting fit.  I started swimming first and when I was up to around a kilometre a swim, I started running again.  I did run during high school but was not on the track team.  I actually used to run alone, outside on a levy behind my house.  I took some running classes at uni.  My best mile was around 6:18 then.  I ran again before kids and then gave it up until recently.  And I'm only really enjoying it now. 

2. What does your training week look like? You train on the dreadmill* don't you? *dreadmill cause I can’t stand running inside!

My training week I did a couple of runs around 5k. Both unfortunately inside.  My husband works at the mines and I have a small child that isn't in school that I need someone to watch while I run.  I do, do runs outside whenever I have the chance and prefer it, mainly because my times are better, ha ha. I took a couple days off before, which I didn't know to do.  I thought you were supposed to train until the day.   I also made sure I ate really well, although many more experienced runners told me not to worry about it for a 5k.  But honestly, I wanted it to go as smoothly as possible so if laying off the unhealthy stuff and charging my body with good stuff made it easier, I was onto it.  I am so-so when it comes to healthy eating but have been getting better.  I've noticed my runs are a lot easier and better when I take time to rest and eat well.  Duh, I know, but I'm slowly learning.  Like I said, this is the first time I've really taken it seriously.

3.     So race day was wet, were you worried about anything? Like puddles, see-through shirts

Ha, funny you should mention the rain.  The Only thing I prayed for, besides making it through the race, was a rainy and/or overcast day.  Mainly because I didn't want it to be hot.  I guess training at the gym has made me soft in that aspect.  I didn't even think about slipping until a mate of mine mentioned it right before the race.  Chalk that up to blissful ignorance.  But then I got caught up behind some people and had to hop over the leg of a sign and did a little slip which made me even more aware of it!  Oh, and didn't even think about see-through shirts.  Good thing I wore black!

4.     How did it go? Did you have any dumb first runner questions like where do I put my number?

The race itself actually went really well.  I was a bit concerned I wouldn't know where to go on the course but once I got going, that worry left me.  I was probably a little bit too excited about pinning the number bib to my shirt and (don't tell anyone) wanted to keep it on the rest of the day.  The run itself was a lot better than I had anticipated.  I had checkpoints in my head and had planned to up the speed on the last leg (third water stop) but it was so close to the end, by that point I'm not sure running faster added much.  I wish I would have gone and seen the course first.  There were points I ran faster, once my breathing felt balanced or the music moved me.  The only "dumb new runner" thing that happened was me trying to get a sip of water.  Not really sure how you continue running, get the water in your mouth (not down the front of your shirt) and get a drink before having to throw it in the bin.  Wow, that was probably the hardest part of the race.  Think I'll get one of the water bottle hand straps next time.

5.     Did you run with any other runners? Did you have a watch or just ran to feel?

I started with a friend, Mary-Ann Charles, but we split up pretty early.  I moved ahead, then she'd come out of nowhere, then I'd be ahead. I think I finished like 20-something seconds before her.  I did have a watch (not a Garmin, sin, I know) but I just didn't want to look at it.  I wanted to just go by the official time.  I didn't have a "time" in mind before starting, although I'm sure that will change with experience.  But I know at the gym, my time is one thing, outside is another, so I said somewhere between 30 and 60 minutes.  Of course, I secretly would have been sad had it been 60. 

6.     Honestly did you have to stop, or did you run the whole way?

My ONLY goal during this run (besides finishing) was NOT stopping...and I didn't.  Not once.  Not on the muddy, stupid hill coming onto the bridge, not on the other slightly less stupid little hill, not when I got stuck behind a group that stopped suddenly, not once.  After my surprisingly lacklustre performance at Chris Gale's clinic, I said I wasn't going to stop no matter what.  I don't stop at home or at the gym, but I stopped at the clinic and was very disappointed in myself.  I knew I could do it without stopping and I didn't care how long it took even if I slowed my pace.  I know for the experienced runner to see 33:45 for a 5k, in your mind there is a chance I could have stopped.  But that's smashing it for me.  :)

7.     How did the finish feel, what was it like running down the finish chute? Feels pretty good doesn't it!

It's funny because compared to the first place finisher of the half-marathon, me coming across the finish line is a bit of a "so what" to most spectators.  But to me it felt like I had won the Boston Marathon.  I think that is what a lot of experienced runners forget about when they are around new runners.  They used to be like us.  The spark is there.  We want it too.  A helping hand is INVALUABLE and I'm thankful to those that take the time.  Like you, Sean and of course, Chris Gale.  One day maybe I'll have that feeling and it will be at the Boston. 

8.     You mentioned a 10k...is that next on the list? Any chance you might have a crack at a half marathon or 100km in the bush?

I keep track of my fitness on an app called Runkeeper.  My "goal" on there is to eventually do a half marathon.  Right now my goal is a 10k.  I'm unsure whether I should work on maybe being able to smash a 5k, or just training for a 10k.  Is a 10k the next logical goal? Or should I be able to finish better at a 5k?  Either way, I want to eventually move on to a 10k, then a half.  As of right now, a 100k in the bush or a flat, no-hill, conveyer belt highway is not even on the radar.  It seems impossible to me.  That being said, I spoke with Gavin and Raelene Bendall and I remember Gavin saying that five years ago he was doing his first 5k.  I guess I thought someone at that level would have been smashing marathons when they could first walk.  So it was good to hear that although I'm not that far along, I can set some higher goals for myself.  I never thought I'd even be here in the time that I have so who knows?  Never say never.  But for now I'm happy just inching up the goals and training smart.  That 5k definitely sparked my competitive edge.  I didn't like getting passed.  But I sure enjoyed passing...  Oh, and I'll be moving to Byfield so no more "dreadmill".  Only real bush tracks.  :D

9.     How did you feel for the rest of the day? Did you feel tired or buzzing!!
Surprisingly I wasn't tired or sore at all.   I definitely was buzzing and a bit disappointed the whole thing was over.  Hence the reason I'm already signing up for other races, lol. 

Run Lisa Run

Awesome! Thanks so much for sharing your race experience, there is nothing like the finishers chute!

My own race on the weekend was pretty weird. I went out with Brenden and we went through the first 5km on pace at 21.30, then my legs just got really heavy and I couldn't generate any pace. I ended up with a 1.43 a minute outside my PB. In hindsight, I cant expect too much 2 weeks after TNF.

Bring on Gold Coast! I have never had a good race there! This is my year! 3 weeks to go!

Stay safe on the roads!


P.S Phil of Phils Photos does a bloody awesome job at our local races! This is a great shot of me being a jet from Sunday - I wish I was feeling good instead of struggling!