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TOUCHING BASE AGAIN AFTER A LONG HIATUS

September 18, 2021

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.

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