The humid weather broke last night with a lively storm which had the pups twitching with fear and Penny anxious to share my sofa with me (I drew the line at that).
The result was a cooler and restful night before my Sunday long run. Last week it was gently suggested to me that I participate in the North Face 50k, a trail run in the picturesque New South Wales Blue Mountains, and like a starving trout I snapped at the lure without thought and signed up. Thoughts of doubt passed through my mind as I laboured through today’s run but I did finish 18k and have the reassurance I have a further sixteen weeks to prepare. I have to be confident I can do it, particularly as I talked my daughter into doing it also.
One other stray thought I mused on through my run was the reason for a politician’s visage taped to a pole above a bus stop. The election has come and gone and the politician, a previous minister, is now in opposition. What meaning is attached to his supervising the traffic and bus passengers along a main road or it it just a random act of nonsense which quite often besets members of Darwin’s population.
A running news item in the local paper this week has been the inability of both police and council personnel to capture some renegade pigs who have been running across a busy road and back between a tourist beach and a public golf course. One of the porkers eventually found its way home itself but unfortunately its siblings were shot by police.
This pie graph represents 8.4 hours and approximately 64 kilometers of running, 6 hours and 13,900 meters of swimming, and 5.6 hours and 120.74 kilometers of cycling – all in 12 days. I am smugly pleased with myself.
To Archie – my swimmers are awesome in their fullness of youth and I would hardly think to think to emulate them. They are 8 weeks out from a major Championship, completing eight pool sessions and two dry land sessions a week whilst I have made a volume milestone of 3.2 Open water swimming today supplemented by pool work during the week. I am not a fast swimmer but there are two things I try to do each time in the pool a) reduce my stroke count for each length (50m pool); and do a speed subset – my favourite is 8 x 50 as 50 fast 50 easy followed by 8 x 25s, again fast and easy. Eventually I will put the two together – less strokes with sustained speed. Maybe :). With the kids I am working on developing their aerobic capacity further for another week. Today they did a competitive team pursuit – teams of three over 450 to 500m x 3, a lot of underwater streamline work, and 100m repeats on a descending cycle from 1.40 to 1.20
The week’s highlight was a visit to Crocodylus Park with my 15 month grandson where we were amazed and delighted, not with the crocodiles jumping for their dinners, but with the tigers who on being released into their public pens languished with obvious delight in their personal ponds seeking relief from the 33 degree (Celsius) heat of the early morning.
At first light I was out the door to see a glorious sunrise and begin a run which took 2 hours 15 mins and covered 17k.
My companion, as always, was Penny, a Staffy Cross who was abandoned as a pup but now keeps my life interesting managing her territorial instincts. On the plus side how she loves to run!
Her running prowess goes beyond the forays with me. She is the reigning champion of the Annual Darwin Surf Club Dog Race event despite a protest and re-run from the previous champion of three years. Penny was dominant and resisted the barging into her from her rival on the match up re-run to leave no doubt who was fastest. Her reward was a medal and her name on the Champion trophy.
Yesterday was a bust, Janathon speaking, but a wonderful day nevertheless as I took my 15mth old grandson to the Territory Wildlife Park and enjoyed the spectacles of nature involving the “Bird of Prey” show, a stroll through the nocturnal house and tropic forest, meeting new dingo cubs, and taking in the wonders of the aquarium.
Therefore yesterday became my official rest day.
Today was again a late start, but only because I had to coach first and did not manage to get out the door before the 6am swim coaching session began. The result was interval work mid morning, which proved an insane decision given the heat. Intervals included 3 x 1 min with 3 mins easy; 3 x 2 mins with 2 mins easy, and 3 x 4 mins with 1 min easy. Never again at that time of the day.
However I have an interest in “found” and “street art” and as the track runs past a local community garden I discovered a new installation, a mini-scarecrow sculpture which made it worthwhile after all.
Janathon has begun more as a series of hiccups rather than a lovely flow of relaxed exercise. On Thursday I fell victim to the evil influence of procrastination sourced by reading blogs, following twitter referrals and pondering email messages. The result was that I found myself unexercised and well into the day with temperatures steadily rising past 33 degrees (centigrade). The thought of such early failure in Janathon forced me out of the door. My plan was to ride my mountain bike along the shady trail leading into Lee Point, lock up my bike, and run to the beginning of the trail and back, then ride home.
Along the way I encountered these magpie geese (transformed into a dream sequence by post processing).
My turn around point was the site of a world war 2 defence installation responding to the Bombing of Darwin by the Japanese.
While the ride was pleasant due to a cooling breeze, the run was horrible as my legs did not want to work they way I wanted them to and the perspiration which was flowing freely tended to entrap the numerous mosquitoes. However I got it done and the end result was a 17k ride and a 4k run and I even managed to make it home before the encroaching storm.
2013 is hopefully the year I run the New York Marathon having entered the lottery three times previously. I have been carefully preparing for the past year ensuring a slow build up and staying injury free. Cross training has been significant in ensuring that this happens and has lead to some enjoyable events including participation in a 20k team swim at Lake Argyle in Western Australia and two 100k+ plus cycle events.
On Jan 1 I ran to Lee Point for a 15k run; today I swam and blogged for the first time in two years. That’s a start.
After a great (on reflection) January and a spotty, but generally consistent, February, (cyclone and all), March finds me struggling in terms of managing time, tasks, and myself!
The problem is competing commitments and lack of flexibility in prioritising said commitments. This leads to pressure, feeling of guilt and the occasion panic attack. Physically it literally feels like being squeezed in a vice, mentally my brain is a puddle of superficialities lurching figuratively from problem to problem, with me getting cross in the process.
So is the answer to tough it out and drop the less important commitments until a stable state is reached? I suspect so.
On a more satisfying note, I spent the weekend in Penrith, NSW, for the Australian Open Water Championships. The frenzied rush of eighty young swimmers in the first few metres of an open water race is an inspiring sight.
Open water swimming itself is a fascinating sport because of the tactics involved. A pack can always move faster than a lone swimmer but if a swimmer impedes another then he or she will be disqualified. Also the swimmer in front will not benefit from the drafting involved in pack swimming so the swimmer will need to drop back into the competitive pack to save some energy or take the risk of being run down in the final kilometer.
Whilst in Penrith I stayed in pleasant surroundings by the Nepean River and was greeted each morning by singles, doubles and foursomes sculling past. Alongside the river were pastoral green banks and English style gardens which provided enjoyable vistas as I ran along the river paths.
I really do have to do something about time, priorities etc but in the meantime I think I will throw off these worries and just wing it a little bit longer.
Time pics courtesy of google images
Two days after TC Carlos the foreshore looks more than a little forlorn. Last week the park land looked delightfully rustic. Now it is definitely a bit mussed up …
To add to the ambience I could hear a plaintive squawking which came from a wet and bedraggled looking black cockatoo huddled high in the trees and continuously croaking out a cry of complaint (or so it seemed).
Clean up crews were extremely busy with the chainsaw whine buzzing as they did an initial clearance along the path.
In contrast the evening high tide changed the low tide landscape as shown in the following pics. The sheer volume of water is astounding.
and from this
On Tuesday afternoon I spent two hours poolside in pouring rain determined that my squad would get in a good session before the tropical low lashing the city intensified into a cyclone. Which is what happened.
I woke Wednesday morning to see that a large coconut palm in my back yard had toppled undramatically during the night leaving me to wonder if the companion palm would go also as the now named TC Carlos continued to hover over Darwin.
It began outside my front door and continued all along the foreshore.
It is chastening to think of these trees, the large ones especially, toppling in the dark of the night, unseen through the veils of water and unlit darkness, and unheard through the unrelenting rattling of rain and the whine of the wind.
This was not true of those who were affected in their suburban homes. Many woke to the crash of a tree on their roof or large broken branches battering their vehicles.
There was a malstrom of frentic activity during the day as Carlos sat and threatened to intensify once again. Cars with lights shining wetly on the roads raced to the supermarkets and service stations to store up. A severe cyclone would mean the city could be cut off from food and fuel trucks for an indefinite time. Schools and businesses were closed. Many at home regulalry posted on Facebook to check on friends and family while the tweets were awash with updates and wry comments. My favourite is one from the local cartoonist, Colin Wicking.
Stupid cyclone lurching around like a drunk who won’t leave the party. #tccarlos
The afternoon was a little more sobering because wind and rain were intensifying and conditions were being compounded by a late afternoon high tide. Earlier in the day I noticed that the entry bridge to the Jingili Water Gardens was submerged by a now aptly named and swollen Rapid Creek
The high tide resulted in the expected flooding and at 5pm my street across the road from the intersection looked like this.
At 3.30 this morning I woke to quiet; no wind, no rain. It was very unsettling but Carlos had unfolded on himself and was no longer a threat. Today has been a muddle and it was not until late this afternoon that I began an attack on the bouganvillea out front which had lost much of its foliage and twisted itself into a barrier against a visit from the postman.
Being a great fan of mail from all parts it was essential that I not dissuade the postman from visiting me. It began raining again while in the middle of this task and I now find myself at 8pm not having gone for a run. I have not missed any other day so here’s to another drenching.