Saturday, 29 February 2020

Commencing Lent

Quick post tonight.

We're now a few days into Lent and I'm assuredly feeling better for it.

I made it to the Ash Wednesday Mass this week just gone, which was a bit of an achievement: I was  meant to be starting a jury trial the next day!  It was packed and, sadly, it was very difficult to hear the priest.  Regardless, I know what I want to achieve this Lent.  I'll again give up encouraging bad thoughts, and anything that might give occasion for adultery (I'll also go to confession, which I haven't been doing).  I'll pray a rolling novena for souls in purgatory.  That is, finishing it, then saying a couple of other prayers, and then starting again.  And I'd like to make a few donations to charities as well.

It seems perverse to have been looking forward to the penitential season, but I have.  Not, I suppose, out of a love of penance, but out of a desire to change myself.  I can't think of a better season to become the person you want to be.

Wednesday, 26 February 2020

Road to Wollongong Part III: Stronger

Things are on the improve.  Since my last post the weekend has come and gone.  I needed to head back up to the farm to lend a hand with drenching cattle, which meant a lot of time both on my feet and climbing over the sliprails.  And of course, many miles were walked with the dog during the off-hours.
Fairly representative for both days
Sadly, I couldn’t get time to run while I was up there.

I was fairly stiff in the ankles and tendons when I got back to town for the working week.  It was raining on Monday night and so I couldn’t walk home after work.  I made up for it all with a run home last night on the usual 10km route.  This particular run almost didn’t happen.  We’re going through a mind-bogglingly busy period at work following the departure of one of the firm’s solicitors.  It was 10:30pm when I finally wrapped up for the night.  I decided to run anyway given I need the stress relief: the mental pressure at work has been close to clouding my judgment which can only end very badly.

This isn’t the time of day I was running but it’s roughly the area

In the event it was a good run.  I’d only intended to take it gentle but I found my legs felt strong and my knees and tendons weren’t hurting.  Subject to work, I’ll probably try for 13 kms on Thursday evening and another 21kms at the weekend.

Monday, 24 February 2020

Road to Woollongong Part II: my knee hurts!

Last week was a somewhat patchy week for training.  On Sunday - the day after the benchmark run - I needed to go to the western suburbs to see a client (a pigeon racing club, no less!). After I’d seen them I went down to Altona beach to have a beer and chips and go for a walk to stretch my legs out.  
I wasn’t able to run again until Thursday, mainly due to pressure of work. I made up for it with walking home from the office most nights.

I decided to enter the half-marathon in the Victoria Police and Emergency Services games in order to test myself against other runners.  The games are fairly cheap to enter (about $25.00) and always a lot of fun.  It's a mild nuisance that it's on a Friday morning (which means a half-day off work) but on the plus side it's in Melbourne this year rather than Ballarat.

When I finally did get out on Thursday the run was a little troubling.  I settled on my usual 10 kilometres along the Capital City trail.  My legs should have been back to 100% but certainly didn’t feel like it. It took some effort of will to keep going, even if my average pace over the 10kms was fairly normal.

What was a bit troubling was a noticeable pain in my left knee whenever I went downhill (uphill was fine).  In the last three kilometres I was locking the leg in a partly bent position and rolling forward onto my right leg, which was doing all the work.  I'm really hoping the leg comes good, but I'll give it a bit of stretching and yoga on my off days.  I need to go and see the GP re some other things in the next few weeks and if it hasn't come good I'll ask what he thinks.  In the meantime I'll just keep pretending there isn't a problem.

Monday, 17 February 2020

Road to Wollongong: Part I

Hi everyone,

This weekend saw the start of the Road to Wollongong.  I'd decided on a 21-ish kilometre run to see what my pace is over that distance.  I'd have set the run for Sunday, but I was already committed to other things that day and so it was Saturday or never.

The weather made itself known, in the form of 100% humidity and near-constant drizzle with an option on rain.  Anyway, I headed out, since you may as well train in the conditions you might have to race in.  By the third kilometre my sneakers were full of water.  I pressed on through Birrarung Marr, past the Federation bells, and then up the Yarra trail to the Powerhouse Boatsheds.  This meant a quick trip down memory lane for me, to my one brief season as an oarsman countless moons ago.

I turned back  at that point for Church Street and kept going until I hit the Yarra.  Well, actually I stopped short: I didn't know that Church Street came to a dead stop by the Carlton & United Breweries plant.  I weaseled through some residential streets until I found Gipps Street and then picked up the Capital City Trail for the final leg.  By this stage (roughly 15kms) I was feeling the load and hills were a hell of a challenge.  I wasn't even game to free-run down hill on wet ground as I wasn't sure that I could react well enough if I slipped on something.

In the event, my pace was, well, ratchit.  Basically, I need to pare  45 minutes off of this to get back to my best time, and a full hour off this time to feel properly happy with it.  Good thing I like a challenge!

On the plus side, my legs were sore but not smashed afterwards and so I found I'd put up a respectable number of walking miles by the end of the day.  Some of these were to Our Lady's for Mass and then on to the Great Northern for beer.  I take care of body and soul.

So there we have it: I know what I'm running now.  I just need to get fast!

Sunday, 16 February 2020

Road to Wollongong: Prologue

For a while I’ve been thinking I needed another mountain to climb.  I believe I’ve found one.

You remember that I said I while ago that I wanted to try a lot of new things?  Things I’d not done before?  That was brought back into mind recently by something that happened at SES.  One of the newer members who I helped train last year came back from the summer break sporting a healthy pregnancy bump.  This rattled me a bit.  I couldn’t figure out why.  I only know her as a fellow volunteer.  I don’t know anything at all about her private life.  So, why should it matter to me?  The best guess I could come up with was a sense of life leaving me behind.

This lead me to consider finding myself another mountain to climb.  Happily, this didn’t take long.

The Australasian Police and Emergency Services Games are held every two years, and this is one of those years.  The games are open to (inter alia) “registered volunteers … from eligible emergency service agencies across Australasia, including New Zealand, the Pacific Islands and South East Asia”.  Since I don’t meet the criteria to compete in the World Police and Fire Games, this is as high a level as I can compete at.  Further, they’re being held in Wollongong, on the New South Wales coast south of Sydney.  This is reachable from where I live (flight to Sydney; train to Wollongong).

The event I've set my mind on is my preferred race distance, the half-marathon, which will be run on Friday 23 October 2020.  This is 8 months away, and I'll be training up for it: I want to put up the best time I can while the chance presents.

So, expect this blog to get a bit running-heavy for the next few months: Let's see where this road can go!