Monday, February 27, 2012

And so it ends...and begins again.

Make dinner, sit down, open up the laptop, stress out.
Back to uni we go!
There was little time to reflect at the end of the holidays; I flew back into Brisbane at about 7pm last night, had dinner at mum's, and was off to bed after an hour on the phone.

But the last couple of weeks have been packed to say the least.

on Saturday the 11th I went up to Caboolture intending to crew for Nat in the six-hour race. I came back down to Brisbane with a first place trophy for the half-marathon and a huge sleep debt.
Hurtling around the track was alot of fun and very difficult to say the least. I scored a bonus 500m aswell, great value for the 30-something-dollar entry fee!

After the well-earned rest day on Sunday four days of small forays into Cootha ensued, punctuated by a trip to Glasshouse with the boys on Valentine's day.
Steep rocks, the beach, multiple kebabs.
On Thursday, Mandy and I went for a longer outing around the mountain. I showed her some of the least-known non-trails of the motherland while we engaged in some pretty deep conversation.
On Friday night it was back down to Sydney, and then to Canberra on Saturday morning. Another wise rest day was this one - we were saving up for a solid Sunday long run.
The next morning, Nat and I ran from our hotel to Mount Ainslie, down past the war memorial, along the lake, followed a powerlines cut up Black Mountain, descended the trail and pounded the road back to the hotel. A solid 2:50 all up.
Back to the Hills District on Sunday night, then up to the Blue Mountains on Monday.
Starting out at the haunted hospital in Wentworth falls, we made our way down to the valley floor, across the river and up Mount Solitary. The humidity was stifling and we had a few navigational difficulties near the summit, but a great climb was had by both of us. Down the glorious razorblade that is the mountain's Northern ridge, and when we hit the bottom and could actually run again, the sky fell. The water cooled us down considerably, and by the time we'd called it a day at the top of the Furber Steps in Katoomba, Nat was shivering and I was dogged.
The next morning saw us run back down the Furber Steps, turn North along the cliffs and run up the Leura Cascades. The steps were relentless and unending. I was happy to be able to run all of it, but my partner in crime seemed still to be feeling C2K in her legs.
And back to Sydney it was.
A casual 45 minutes on bike paths the next morning, before my flight down to Launceston, Tasmania.
I got to Grandma's for what she calls tea (dinner), had a reasonable sleep, and was up early on Thursday for some sprints across the farm and some road-running. We went to Sheffield, the town of murals, for the afternoon sampling the work of Tasmania's Riveras and Orozcos. Family dinner that night at Uncle Dale's.
Friday involved a run down to the beach at Cooee, a quick swim and boulder, and back to Grandma's for what she calls dinner (lunch). Out to Wynyard that afternoon to see some vintage cars, motorbikes and bicycles.
Saturday morning came, as did another run down to the beach, this time without a swim. at 8am, I went out to our family's old farm in Highclere and spent the whole day pulling out an old fence through thick scrub. That was just as good and hard as running an ultra.
Sunday was a rest day, as I felt like I'd been hit by a bus. We still got to see Cataract Gorge in Launceston before I flew home.
Wow, I'm home.
One round of insanity is over. Let the next begin.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Feeling it again...Tentatively

Now that my galavanting about the Eastern seabord has come to a temporary pause, I find myself in a decent daily rhythm. Touch wood.

I've been listening to some sweet leftist cuban music:

Among other latin grooves:

Playing guitar as often as possible;

Working 25-35 hours per week;

and running for around 90 minutes every day.

I type this with extreme caution lest I should jinx myself and be condemned to another four-month form slump, but I feel good. The hamstrings have softened their chiding groans, and the uphills have been more welcoming. I've been able to recover while climbing and use a variety of paces that have not been available to me for much too long. I still have a minor ankle issue that must be managed, but it is improving.

Here's to a positive final month of the holidays.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A multitude of adventures...but it's time to refocus

Since the road-trip, I've been back down South a couple of times for various reasons.

The first involved alot of swimming, bouldering and trail-running around dad's place in Mosman.

The second included more trail-running, hiking, and cliff-jumping (into water, obviously) in the Blue Mountains and the Berowra Valley.

A few observations from the two trips are as follows:
a) The area between the harbour bridge and Manly, in which my father resides, is perfect for someone who wishes to train monastically. The trails are sweet, the hills long, the beaches sheltered (for swimming), and the headlands rocky (for bouldering).
b) The Blue Mountains are the motherland. I have never seen more waterfalls, steeper stairs, or more perfect trails in one place in my short life. I will be spending alot more time in the area in the coming years.
c) Running (and eventually crawling) for 4.5 hours without food, a shirt, or water in the middle of the day in the middle of summer is not advisable. Luckily Nat was there; we absorbed eachother's misery and created a really positive experience from the rather stupid self-imposed circumstances.

But now, it's time to get back to business. The pesky hamstring tendonopathy has been sticking around without showing any sign of letting up.
Dave C very kindly offered his professional services over the phone; after that one call I now know what must be done to fix the issue. Thanks a million Dave.

Run more. Run more often. Strengthen glutes and core.

This translates to 60-120 minutes of running per day; with a set of pushups, chinups, core and glute excercises before and after each run. I'll also be stretching my hip flexors after sitting down for long periods, and massaging the hammies/lower back.

Get into it.