"The goal is to become the unique, awesome, never to be repeated human being that we were called to be." -Patricia Deegan

Monday, November 5, 2012

Track n Trails

Only four weeks before I head east for Coast to Kosci! I'm really looking forward to this one. I haven't raced hard since the May-June TNF100 and Kep Ultra, so I'm itching to go!

John Gilmour 10k track night
And the training is really enjoyable so far, too. I haven't hit a "sick of this" phase yet (plenty of time, with 4 weeks to go!). I'm being very good with my body's self-care (well, massage therapist Nathan would say I could always do more, but I did ice my Bib foot at least once last week). I've even booked an extra 30 minute massage into the week. And the Bib foot is tolerating speedwork. I just enjoy the weird throbbing and pins-and-needles at random times when I'm working at the computer. I wonder if my foot will ever be normal again.

On Tuesday, I skipped the track session because I had a hammy insertion/popliteus tightness that I didn't feel comfortable to push. So opted for a tempo run that felt fine and more self-massage and stretching to get the niggle out. Wednesday night was a half marathon of mostly hills. Thursday night, a short easy one. Friday night I heard about a 10k track race, so went down to that. Most races are on Sunday mornings, which always clash with my long runs.

I aimed for a sub 42 minute goal. Aimed and missed by 10 big fat seconds. Yes, it was a 2 second PB. But no, I'm not happy. Here's a Garmin lesson for anyone who uses it as a lap timer as I did: Every time you hit "lap" (as I did every 400mtr), Garmin writes a bit of info into a file. It takes about a second to do that. Then it starts counting again. Yes, the main timer keeps counting accurately. But when I'm on the track, I don't look at the main timer/total lapsed time, because I can't add 100 seconds to each lap whilst running my guts out. So I just keep the "current lap" on the screen. For the 10k, I aimed for 100 seconds per lap. That would give me a 41.40. I figured I might fall adrift, but would try to stay under 42.00. My first lap was 97sec, second was 99 sec. Then I settled in. Several got away on me at 101sec, but the last was 92sec. Thus, I was stumped when I saw my total time as 42.10. And when I got home and reviewed the file in Garmin Connect, each lap seemed one second longer - I was seeing a lot of 102sec laps. How did it happen?

I woke up Saturday morning at 6.30 AM with the revelation that there must be a 1 second loss on the lap counter as Garmin is writing to the file. So I tested it, running my Garmin and a stopwatch side by side. After 10 x 100 sec "laps" I was out by 10 seconds.

Crossing Sullivan's Rock at the beginning to cache water for later
Further proof I didn't run the race right was that my HR was back down to 38 that night and I ran 15k the next day with nothing noticeable in my legs. Damn. How frustrating! The thing that made my night, though, was watching my great running mate, Karen, smash out a 3 minute PB! A great reward for her last season of efforts.

On Sunday I loaded 9 hours of fuel into my pack - Hammer Perpetuem, Solids, a few gels (I'm starting to enjoy the occasional gel for variety, where I never much used to). Also for variety I packed a couple BelVita breakfast bars. It's a strange story about those bars! One morning I got up early, opened the door, and there on the porch was a box of the bars with a helium balloon tied around them. I thought they must be targeting the neighbourhood. But no, no one else seemed to have them. I can only think that Woolworths used my Everyday Rewards card info to somehow decide I might be good to target. Well, if that was their goal, I guess it worked to some extent! As a packaged food, there's no way I rate it as high quality. (But miles ahead of those awful muesli bars I see people trying to eat on long runs!) And they have 15.5% fat, which is certainly not needed during a run. The fat is to be expected, of course - it's a biscuit. When Halloween came last week, I was in the shop, stumped at what I could buy for any kids who came by. It wasn't going to be artificial colour white sugar lollies. Not from me. What would be "treat-like" but still sit well enough with my ethics? I spotted the BelVitas - and they were on sale for 50 cents!

No kids turned up. So I had 6 packets sitting around. I figured at an easy pace on a training run it would work fine - similar to a PB and jam sandwich. I just made sure to time when I'd eat them...like at times when I was running easy or waiting to regroup. Never during a hard-work time like a climbing or "chasing" section.
Mt Cuthbert, I think. Always mixing up the two names!

I headed out with some Phat (Perth Hills and Trails) runners to do variations on a "6 Peaks" theme. Mileage choices ranged from 31km to 61km. We started almost right away with a climb to Mt Vincent at about 500 mtrs, then down and back up over 2km to Mt Cuthbert. The weather was a rollercoaster, as well. We started in the sun at 7.30 AM and were routinely wind-swept, drenched, and baked with sunny humidity every 45 minutes. We did an out-and-back for the first section, so got to bag the "peaks" twice. After 30-odd kilometres, Tash and I farewelled the blokes, who all had their excuses ;)

We then headed out on a fairly flat 5k section towards Mt Cooke, to bag a fifth peak. It's a beautiful summit with great flora and big boulders and mostly very runnable terrain - and climbs to nearly 600 mtr. From there we could catch views north to Cuthbert and Vincent and beyond and south towards Dwellingup. I had some moments to enjoy the views, as my last time up there was a year ago almost to the day when I was doing the Bibbulmun FKT record. That morning on Cooke, after 101km the day before and 4 hours sleep at the roadside at Sullivan's Rock, I didn't enjoy any views!
The climb of Mt Cooke

I ran down the backside of Cooke a few km, whilst Tash started her run back towards the car. I wanted one more hill climb. So down I went, in order to go back up! I got back to the summit and was so happy to be on the home stretch, facing a great big descent, ready to chase down Tash somewhere ahead. I love those descents where you get in the zone and just feel like you're flying and hopping from one point to another - it was great to just be focused on the terrain and my body's movement in space.

It was almost an hour before I caught Tash! And she was out there to set a PB that day, too. She had been inspired by our little Muay Thai kickboxer powerhouse Jamie from the rogaine. Tash had never run more than a marathon in distance and certainly not with the hills we were doing. She said, "I'm not stopping until I get to 50k. Wanna stay with me?"

"Hell, ya!" I said. Though I couldn't promise not to cry, because I do get a bit emotional when I see people achieve amazingly cool goals they set for themselves. We needed another couple km to get to her goal, so I found a new bit of fire trail we could do. I dug around my pack and found some of my favourite Buderim Gingerbons, which picked up Tash's spirits and soothed her tummy.

Somehow, ironically, I lost Tash in the last 500 mtrs to the carpark! You come off the trail onto Sullivan's Rock, which is a huge granite slab. Cairns mark the way. I ran to the second one and looked back. She was gone. I thought, "How strange, did she vomit? Or fall?" I ran back and yelled. Then out to the granite again. Getting off the slab can be tricky, because you can't see the tiny single track bush trail in the distance at the bottom. But if the cairns are built up, you follow those. I thought they were quite built up. But had a look around and couldn't see her trying to get off the slab anywhere else. Back to the bush to yell. Back to the cairns.... Okay, time to try the carpark. Sure enough, there she was!

Tash and my Garmins - 111km between us for the day!
Tash got her 50k ultra and I got 61k with the sheepdogging and extra I did off the back of Mt Cooke. Plus 1700mtr gain.

My week's total was 130km with 2200 mtr gain. So using the 100mtr gain = 1km rule, it's good for about a 150km week of "flat" running (though I definitely don't want flat running!). Very happy with that and especially because the body is doing so well.

I'm finally shedding the extra kilos I put on after TransAlps, too. I hate having to calorie restrict! But by just being that little bit more careful for a few weeks and running a bit more and harder sessions, I'm getting the results. And still enjoying my huge mound of cereal, no fat yoghurt, chia, and Udo's Oil every morning! Yum! The best part of my day.

Wednesday I become Aussie and am celebrating with a 35km trail run. All welcome to join me :)

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