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RACE VLOG: BRIDGE2BRISBANE 2021, WELL I DID GET THROUGH IT

Decided to try to capture as much of the weekend’s festivities as I could with the trusty mobile. Glad I actually finally figured out which way to hold it so it doesn’t looked all squashed up, not to mention easier in the edit suite to work with. One of these day’s I’ll just use a Go-Pro or something like that to record rather than feel as though I’m stopping and starting (well not exactly stopping, most of the time during the 10km I am on the move at a reasonable clip) and costing me a little time which for other events will become more important.

After the run I did manage to find time to get into the pool at the apartment block for a half hour wade which actually felt good once the body was used to the cold temperature. Felt a little sorer on the Monday but I should be right to do a little more training on Tuesday. I have only a few weeks to work out a strategy in how to get where I want for the Gold Coast 50, be it chasing a time or just completing the second lap which last year I couldn’t manage. Once again the camera will be out for that one, although it may be just pre and post race only. I certainly won’t have done the kilometres I’d have hoped for but at least this year I’ve managed to get out on the roads for a few kilometres here and there, and if I can manage a similar time for the first 10km in this one, then perhaps I’ll be in for a decent day, well that and staying upright.

BRIDGE to BRISBANE 2012 – YES I’M GOING RETRO

This year marked the 9th year since my first ever running event outside of school based carnivals. Partially on a whim, partially because the schedule with work and football worked out positively I was able to enter the 5km event of the 2012 Bridge to Brisbane. So what relevance does this have for 2021? Well it turns out that once again the work schedule was advantageous to me and Covid forced a switch of date from the football season and I was able to run the 10km event for just the second time (the other was in 2013), and perhaps the memories came flooding back. This year’s race run was recorded and a Vlog will come later in the week, with so much editing to be done in the interim.

Back to 2012, and after the footy season ended with me recovering from a calf injury and the team eliminated early, I was able to lodge an entry literally a week before the race itself. The difference this year was that my entry came a fortnight before the run once I knew work wasn’t going to be an obstacle in attending. However this was also a weekend and indeed a day where the Brisbane Lions were playing the Western Bulldogs in what amounted to be a meaningless final game of the 2012 AFL regular season with neither team in contention for finals, so I was able to tag along with the old man and one of the younger siblings along with some other mates of my father that weekend. This however did pose a problem as their mode of transportation on the Saturday involved a 7 hour drive meaning that I would need to find another way to collect the race bib, as like this year there was no race day bib collection. It did facilitate a rather rushed trip down to Brisbane during the week with the only purpose being to obtain my race number.

Unlike most of the other events I’ve done over the years, the start time for the 5km in 2011 was at a comparatively reasonable hour, but the location of accommodation in Kangaroo Point did make transportation a little trickier. Fortunately there were buses that would take me from Wolloongabba bus station (which will soon be an underground train station, that project was started and designed long before Brisbane would become an Olympic City) to the finish precinct at the RNA Showgrounds. From there it was another bus ride to the start line located at Hercules Street Park near Hamilton (the suburb of Brisbane, not the Victorian country town or Canadian or New Zealand provincial city), where it was a long wait. It was during that long wait where I discovered the shorts I was using didn’t have pockets to carry my phone, motel room key or wallet. Yes I was aware there wasn’t a bag drop facility but this was so last minute and so novice that I didn’t think about how I was going to run with those items on board. I thought it would be OK to tuck them into the top of the shorts but the chances of them dropping onto the road and being either trampled on or forgotten about with so many behind me would be too great.

The run itself was largely uneventful, with my only real concern was a re-aggravation of the calf issues. I wouldn’t say it was a flat out sprint although at that stage the legs had substantially fewer kilometres on them and the weight was much lower than it is today. The final time of 27:08 these days would be the time I would be happy with at Parkrun whenever I can get out there, but at the time I had no idea of how fast I would, could or planned to go. It was all about simply finishing more than anything else. It was also by far the highlight of the day for the football later that afternoon was decidedly average and I had an early flight home to get back to work the next day to look forward to as opposed to another 7 hours in a car.

Moving forward to this year, the time was ordinary and the aims were about as simplistic, but that story in video format will come in the coming days as well as an updated schedule for later on.

CAIRNS MARATHON VLOG 2021: NOT ACCORDING TO PLAN

Going back to the vlog format to chronicle the events of last Sunday, which didn’t go how I had intended or even dreamed of. Thanks to the nurses, doctor and physio in Cairns Hospital for their assistance.

Still hoping to start on the Sunshine Coast in a couple of weeks, although I may consider downgrading to the half marathon owing to the fitness levels. That decision will be made closer to the Saturday before the event.

TOUCHING BASE AGAIN AFTER A LONG HIATUS

It seems like a while since I bothered to post a blog or a vlog, I suppose the situation has probably claimed a few scalps figuratively and literally over the last 18 months or so. While I’m not going to use this platform to portray my thoughts either way on the issue, for the first time in ages I feel as though I can at least plan for the future with some degree of certainty. Of course things can and probably will change as we go along, but from now until July next year I at least have a plan of attack of where I want to go and what I want to achieve.

This year hasn’t been a total write off, for there was a window between February and late April where I was able to take part in some runs and feel as though not much has happened in the past. Big ticket item of those was the Canberra Ultra which was postponed and eventually canned in 2020, but was back in just about all its glory in 2021. Certainly it was a cold morning to the extent where for entire race I wore 2 layers on top and for the first time since Comrades 2018 I even wore gloves. Embarrassingly the “pair” I had was basically 2 left hand gloves with open fingers, so it was lucky that wearing one of them inside out was sufficient for the right hand. These were discarded about 18km into the run, which is where I felt I lost the time that saw me run outside of my goal time of 5:30. In the end I was actually a little disappointed despite feeling a degree of satisfaction in finishing in a 5:50:32, knowing that in my view I dropped about 20 minutes from the time I discarded the gloves until the 40km marker (2:09 was the 21km split, 4:47 was the marathon distance split, felt I could have easily gone 4:27 given the conditions, and I expected the drop off in the last 8km).

Prior to that was the Port Macquarie Treble Buster trip which upon reflection was one where I was almost laughing, not because of how I ran, but because the town was obviously blessed (I have been known to use different, less PG terminology in other discussions) to be able to get through the event in successive years. Last year as we know about 3 days after the finish the obsession with case numbers began in earnest. This year it was a flood that destroyed a number of businesses a week after the run. I guess the run is best described in my own words rather than my prose (NOTE: This was recorded at a time where Sydney wasn’t locked down in March, and incorporates a trip down memory lane)….

A week after Canberra came a return to Robina to run a 10km event which I hadn’t attended for a number of years. Pretty easy day considering that I did run the 50km the week before so I was glad to tack onto the 60 minute pace runner and cruise for about 8.5km or so. The last 1500m I decided it was time to find another gear, and it felt great…..until about 300m from the stadium when a BMW driver decided it was also a good time to find another gear, and interrupt the final sprint into the stadium for a couple of others let alone myself. Still ran a decent 57:46 and everything seemed on track for the scheduled return visit in July to run both the half and full marathons given the cancellation of Comrades for the second consecutive year (I suppose attending was going to be problematic too given the international travel situation in Australia).

After fulfilling a commitment to run the local Rocky River Run half marathon in May, where I felt the pinch of playing a hard game of footy the previous day on the second lap to end up running a rather pedestrian 2:06 (1:02 at the halfway point of 10.5km, which actually was decent just hanging onto the tail of the 2 hour pace group), the manure hit the fan yet again. Gold Coast was canned in the week leading into the scheduled event, Sunshine Coast was postponed to Melbourne’s Date, Melbourne was postponed to later in the year, Auckland was pulled with travel bubbles canned with issues across the ditch much less in Australia and the body started failing me at the wrong time of the footy season. Still there’s some sort of “normality” in Queensland right now and with the promises of states opening up pending vaccination rates hitting certain thresholds I felt it was a good time last week to at least lock in some sort of tentative schedule from now until next year. Thus I have determined that from now until July 2022 I have the following plans.

19 SEPTEMBER 2021: CAIRNS MARATHON

The next Blog/Vlog Posts will be previewing and reviewing the race.

10 OCTOBER 2021: SUNSHINE COAST MARATHON

This was originally going to be run in late August with Melbourne scheduled to be on this date. Issues around the date on the Sunshine Coast meant that race was originally postponed, and issues in Melbourne leading to a postponement until December avoided a clash of events.

28 NOVEMBER 2021: GOLD COAST 50

What may well be the goal race, especially after recording an injury enforced DNF last year following a tumble on a section of course run on boardwalks as opposed to tarmac or concrete.

12 DECEMBER 2021: MELBOURNE MARATHON

8th scheduled appearance for me here, pending work arrangements and (more importantly) a re-opening where quarantining isn’t required.

6 MARCH 2022: TREBLE BREAKWALL BUSTER, PORT MACQUARIE

5th appearance running the treble, which is actually a personal big deal considering only a handful of others have done all 5 editions to date and not many others are also with me with 4 finishes. Hopefully too the transportation will be easier than this year in the hope that Brisbane-Port Macquarie flights with Virgin/Alliance resume as opposed to this year which involved train rides from Sydney and a Qantas flight back.

20 MARCH 2022: WANGARATTA MARATHON

Ran this even in 2020 and will have different goals this time around. Last time was about the kilometres with Comrades in mind, this time will be about just that, the time.

10 APRIL 2022: CANBERRA ULTRA (50km)

I believe this will be my 5th finish if I make it to the end after a DNF at the first attempt.

24 APRIL 2022: GOLD COAST RUNNING FESTIVAL 10km

Actually ideally placed where I don’t have to miss a day of work, and this may well be seen as sprint work rather than endurance running.

22 MAY 2022: ROCKY RIVER RUN HALF MARATHON

Obligated to a degree to run the home event pending work, looking for a sub 1:55 here.

12 JUNE 2022: COMRADES (DOWN RUN), PIETERMARTIZBURG

Well we can all dream now can’t we? By then travel to these places will be possible although quarantine arrangements are unclear (who knows with both this Government and the Opposition who may well claim power at the next election which needs to be held no later than May, but this isn’t a political blog), and the entry from 2020 is still valid so that’s a few hundred dollars saved. Plus flights are available at a relatively cheap price even if I won’t get any frequent flyer points from it…..

2/3 JULY 2022: GOLD COAST MARATHON

If the schedule that was proposed for this year remains it will be the half marathon on the morning of the 2nd, and the marathon 24 hours later. If Comrades isn’t viable next year then this will be a major goal for next year, if I do manage to get to South Africa then both of these will be fun events, if you can call 63km over 2 days fun.

At this stage I haven’t planned for anything further than this, partially because events that are usually run in August and beyond haven’t confirmed dates for 2022 if indeed they are going ahead (for example Perth’s City to Surf which I have run multiple times hasn’t gone ahead since I ran it in 2019 and I’m unsure if that will return, ditto Sydney’s City2Surf which is virtual again, virtual racing for time holds little to no interest), and partially because even though I’d have an idea of when events are scheduled accommodation cannot be booked more than 12 months in advance in almost every instance, hence penciling in events can wait a little while. You may also notice that Point to Pinnacle, an event where I’ve been a regular at for the last few editions and a rare event where running the virtual last held interest (rather than time the organisers decided to have their virtual based on elevation change, the point of difference luring me), isn’t on the list. It’s not because I can’t get to Hobart from Queensland or need to quarantine, but work commitments on the day of the race and the close proximity to Gold Coast 50 mean this year I’ll bypass the trip to the Apple Isle. But I’ll certainly come back to that event when the schedule allows.

COMRADES 2020 – COVID-19 INSPIRED VLOG

Just a blog recorded of thoughts for my upcoming schedule as Covid-19 climbs to levels before a plateau of fresh cases arrives sometime in the next 6 weeks or so (probably, who’s to say?). If there are any further changes or will likely be based on official correspondence rather than social media scuttlebutt which is the primary fear driver.

In case you can’t hear it, the gist is that I’m still intending to travel in June, with possible deletions to the schedule between April and early May.