Sunday, October 11, 2009

Melbourne Marathon 2:34:49

Woke up just before the alarm and had a couple of cups of coffee, a Le Rice and half a banana. I decided to head down to the hotel lobby at 5:30am so that I could get a taxi to the MCG.

I met this lady in the lobby who was looking a little flustered. Her husband who was supposed to be running the marathon with her had been vomiting all night because of food poisoning. She wanted someone to share a cab with so I was happy to oblige.

Upon arrival to the MCG I headed to the media room where the elite athletes were to meet. After getting changed, applying vaseline, etc, we were soon ushered down to the start area. We were able to wear our jackets which was handy as it was quite fresh. These would be returned to the MCG by the elite athlete co-ordinator. Very handy. I met up with my wing-man Sax and we were almost ready.

Deek gave his usual pre-race speech but to be honest I wasn't really listening. I was trying to focus on the job in hand. The weather seemed to be perfect and I was full of nervous anticipation.

The gun went off at 7am precisely and we were off....

It's a bit of an uphill start, and with the crowd at the start, a slow first km is to be expected. Well I spotted the first km marker and the time on my watch was 3:54, perhaps a little too slow but early doors. Settled into a nice group with Sax and didn't spot another km marker until we rolled through the 5km point in 18:21. That seemed about right, felt fairly comfortable, and we were in a nice group of 6-7 runners so everything was looking good.

I enjoyed the section round Albert Park, it's as flat as a pancake, the weather was cool and there was a slight breeze. Excellent for running. The pace must have quickened slightly and that was not intentional. We went through 10km in 36 flat with the group still tightly formed.

The next section had us exiting Albert Park and moving onto Beaconsfield Parade. We were still running in the group, taking turns up the front and we rolled through 15km in 53:19. The turnaround point on the parade was at approx 17km and the change of direction made no difference to the km splits, that was a good sign that wind would not be a factor today. Come 20km we were still tightly grouped and the clock read 1:11:45. Much quicker than planned pace but still feeling comfortable.

Halfway came in 1:15:46. Wow, that was over 30 seconds quicker than the same point in London. Surely I was going to pay for this. At the 25km mark, we were at the southern turnaround point. The time was 1:30:06. My wheels were still attached and I was feeling good.

I've never experienced running in a group like this before. Here we were working together, helping each other out at the drinks stops, it felt like a proper race. In the past I have often found myself running large sections of the race solo. Not today. This was a new experience and made for a more enjoyable race.

The 26km mark was an important one as that was the point in London where it all went ugly. Not today, I was still running smoothly. It was a case of setting mini-targets, and trying to run strong through to these points. So the focus was 28km, still felt okay, then 30km as we moved onto St Kilda Road, still feeling okay. This wasn't normal. The time was 1:49:05. Still way ahead of schedule.

At the 31km mark, the group was still formed, and then the lead 2 females went past. I think that sent a few shockwaves through our group as they looked to be running really strong. At this point I made the decision to try and stick with them. Well the group soon splintered and left me and Sax trying to hang on to the girls. More on this, there was the Japanese runner and Lisa Flint from the NSW team. Lisa was chatting to everyone, looking really strong. She was having a big race and was running just behind the Japanese girl.

Still running fairly well, the 32km mark arrived. So 10km to go in round numbers and time for the countdown home. I can't recall how long we hung on to the lead females, maybe a couple of km. Anyway, they gradually worked away from us and that left myself and Sax as the only survivors from our group.

By 35km, I was still running well under 4 minute kms. We had slowed a bit but not to the extent of my previous 9 marathons. I digress, the time was 2:07:56. I was starting to think sub 2:40 was a real possibility. A quick bit of mental arithmetic, so we have 32 minutes to run the last 7.2km. Surely...

By this stage we were running around the Botanical Gardens. There were a few hills to contend with that I recall, nothing too bad, and quite nice in a strange sort of way. The lead 2 females were still in sight and to my surprise I think I gapped Sax somewhere at this point. Upon exiting the Gardens, we were on the run for home. To my amazement, Sax had worked his way back on to my shoulder. Perhaps I was slowing? The 40km marker passed in 2:26:47. Sax mentioned I still looked strong and that if I felt good I should just go. Good was not a word I would use to describle how I felt at this point....time to grit the teeth and work the last section.

When you can see the MCG, you get a lift. Here we were, Sax and I, still running stride for stride. The 41km mark quickly passed and at this point Sax got away from me slightly. I think he could sense that the Japanese girl was slowing. As we approached the tunnel for the "G", I put in a real effort to catch the both of them. The 3 of us pretty much ran onto the oval together. At this point Sax seemed to take off and I was left to savour the final run home.

Coming round the oval I had gapped the Japenese runner and I could soon see the finishing clock. It started with a 2 and then a 34. I had the seconds on my side so I could do some show-boating and still sneak under 2:35. So the Freddie Flintoff celebration was on show and boy did that last 100m feel good. The time as I crossed the line read 2:34:49.

So that's it. Goal achieved. Sub 2:40. But the time, wow. To run a sub 2:35 was something I never dreamt was possible. I still can't quite believe it.

Here is a quick summary of the 5km splits:

5 00:18:21 00:18:21
10 00:17:39 00:36:00
15 00:17:19 00:53:19
20 00:18:26 01:11:45
25 00:18:21 01:30:06
30 00:18:59 01:49:05
35 00:18:51 02:07:56
40 00:18:51 02:26:47
42.2 00:08:02 02:34:49

Here are the weekly training kms in the 12 weeks up to and including the marathon:

1 77.6 kms
2 76.4 kms
3 57.6 kms
4 70.5 kms
5 93.0 kms
6 97.3 kms
7 88.2 kms
8 100.8 kms
9 70.3 kms
10 92.9 kms
11 67.8 kms
12 64.2 kms

Total 956.6 kms
Average 79.7 kms per week

My nutrition was spot on for this race. I ate much more than I normally would in the couple of days preceding the race and I think this made a huge difference. On race day I took a Powerade gel 30 minutes before the race, then during the race I took a further 4 of these at roughly 30 minute intervals. I only consumed water on the course and stayed clear of the sports drinks. Worked a treat.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


My chiro apt went well. My hips were fine but he had to make a slight adjustment to the lumber in the small of my back. Something like that anyway.

Another pasta lunch and then I travelled to Melbourne. That went well apart from losing my boarding card in the departure lounge!

Upon arrival in Melbourne I took it easy. I went out early for more pasta then a few provisions for the morning. In bed in the hotel by 9pm ready for the marathon the next day.

The weather seemed good and the plan was still going to be to run low 1:17 at halfway, then try and maintain that pace for as long as possible. My "A" goal was sub 2:38, my "B" goal was sub 2:40, and my "C" goal was sub 2:41:21 (my current PB).

Friday, October 09, 2009

Easier Friday

Back to the gym for a very gentle 4km just to turn the legs over. Time 20:00.

I've made an apt with the chiro tomorrow to check my hip alignment as I've had a touch of sciatica the last few days. I'm pretty sure it is nothing to worry about.

The carbo load started with a huge feed of pasta for tea. I'm going all out to eat plenty the next few days as looking back at my London experience, I may have not taken enough carbs on board.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Easy Thursday

I went to the gym and ran 9km easy on the treadmill in 40:22 so that's 4:29/km. Started really slow and wound the pace up a bit towards the end.

Felt pretty good. I had a good stretch afterwards and took it easy the rest of the day.

Another early night.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Nice 'n' easy

I pulled up okay after the 3km race. Phew.

Rested all day and an early night.

Getting close now, only 4 more sleeps...

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Last serious hit-out

I'd heard on the grapevine that the quicks at tonight's 3km were only going to race the first 2km. Plus a couple of my normal sparring partners were injured/sick. Their 2km pace was too quick for me so I was left with the prospect of an out and out time trial running Hans Solo...

I did a 4km warm-up and caught up with Baz for a chat. I changed into my spikes and ran some strides and before long we were under starters orders.

Lets go back a step, I was thinking low 9 for tonight. Conditions were pretty good with a bit of a headwind on the back straight. As always, there was some sub 9 banter before the race with the lads but I was very much talking it down. I'd go out hard the first km and see what happens....

A quick first 200m in approx 32 secs, then settled into my own race with Mark and Cale running up front. I went through the first km in 2:55 which would give me a chance of a good time. The middle km is what lets me down and true to form I started to slow with my 2km split being 6 mins exactly (a 3:05 km or 10 sec slowdown). I was getting a fair bit of guidance from the sidelines and knew that the last 2.5 laps were going to hurt. With 800m to go, I needed to lift and I probably ran a 72 second lap which left me needing a 69 second last lap to break 9. Well I kicked as hard as I could and with 200m to go I lifted my cadence (more coaching). The last 100m was a blur but I crossed the line in 8:58.29.

A very unexpected 3 second PB. Another goal achieved. Plus I won the race with Mark and Cale dropping out at 2km!

A great confidence booster just before the marathon. A much better run than Saturday's race. Easy running for the rest of the week with plenty of rest.

I am a sub 2:40 marathon runner. I am a sub 2:40 marathon runner. That's my mantra for the remainder of this week.

Monday, October 05, 2009


Did nothing on the running front.

It was Marion's birthday so we had a nice day. Cake and beer is a nice combination and is a good form of carb loading.

Back to serious business tomorrow. The 3km at Mingara...

Sunday, October 04, 2009


Woke up to more wet weather, but decided to get out there fairly early to get the run out of the way. I drove down to LCNP and thought I'd run for about and hour and a half.

Again I ran the Striders 10km course. Despite quite heavy rain at the start, this soon became light drizzle and turned into perfect running weather. I finished the first 10km in 43:31, then doubled back and did the majority of the same route again missing out the Scribbly gums section. I slowed a little as I didn't want to get carried away. Total run time 1:26:33 covering 19.5km (4:26/km).

So that's 67.8km for the week. Next week will be very easy. I'll rest Monday, maybe do a 3km race on Tuesday, rest Wednesday, 10km easy on Thursday and that will be it until the race on Sunday.

If the weather is like today next Sunday in Melbourne I will be licking my lips...

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Striders 10km Homebush 5th in 34:26

Woke up this morning not too bad. I limited my beer consumption to 4 beers (pints), so should be able to get away with that...

Weather was ordinary at best. Lots of rain and heavy winds. I decided that in these conditions I'd be happy with 34 anything. Quicker than that would be a great run.

Started with a quick first km in 3:15. Then struggled to keep the pace up from there on. I went through 5km in 17:01 and knew at that point that sub 34 wasn't to be. Tried to keep the effort up on the 2nd lap but it was difficult running solo. The weather wasn't as bad as I had feared and it was quite pleasant running in the light rain. There were a few windy sections but overall not too bad. I finished in 34:26 and 5th overall so that will do. Neither a confidence booster or shatterer. A par run.

Spoke with Saxon at the end. We were talking pacing strategy for Melbourne. The early money is on a low 1:17 first half and then try and hold that pace for as long as possible thereafter. If it looks like bad weather then there will have to be a rethink.

Friday, October 02, 2009


I had a massage at 8am. The muscles were not too tight so it wasn't a real painful affair. I suppose that's testimony to not having any real niggles at the moment and running well as a result.

A few beers planned this evening with Shark and Worky. Will try and keep a lid on it as I have the 10km race on Saturday...

I didn't hear about the job interview from yesterday. Back to the drawing board I guess...

Thursday, October 01, 2009


Up early for a run at LCNP. Weather was already heating up at 7:30am...

I did the Striders 10km course in 44:20. Then doubled back up Scribbly gums again, then turned round at the 3km marker back to the finish. Estimate this to be 15.3km all up in 1:08:24 so that's 4:28/km.

Not a great run but felt strong at the end. I've got it into my head that I've gone off the boil a little bit. I need to be thinking more positively.

Tomorrow is a rest day and I have a massage booked.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Easy 8km in the gym in 35:40 (4:28/km).

Job interview tomorrow...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Back to the gym.

I ran some uphill km reps. Only 4 this time with 1km warm-up, 400m float, and 1.8km warm-down.

All up 8km in 31:51. Feeling tired at the moment. Need more rest/sleep.

Monday, September 28, 2009


A very slow 4km in the gym just to turn the legs over.

Time 20:06.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Last Long Run...

Woke up not feeling great. Too much cheer the night before...

Drove to the Bay and did the same run from 2 weeks ago. The Bridges run was completed in 1:49:11 (slow - over 3 mins slower than last time), then a quick lap of the Bay (also slow - estimate 28:45), then 5km as a "warm-down". All up 35km in 2:37:30 (4:30/km).

Not a particularly enjoyable experience. It was very windy and was almost impossible to run quick. I could not string together 4 minute kms during my quick lap of the Bay which was a little bit of a concern. The cross-wind was so strong coming over Iron Cove bridge that it almost tripped me up several times. Very bizarre.

So that's 92.9km for the week and I can now kick back and enjoy the taper.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Central Coast 5000m 15:57

I left home at just gone 7am for the trip up the freeway. It felt like I was back to work.....

The weather was a big concern. Very windy on the freeway and the air quality was poor due to the second dust storm in a week. Not good.

Arrived at the track and did a couple of kms warm-up including some strides. It was very blustery and the wind was swirling in all directions. Soon the race was underway and we ran a slowish first half lap (estimate 39 secs). Mark went off the front and left a group of 5 of us to chase with me last of this group. I settled in for a couple more laps and we went through 1km in 3:07. At this point I made the decision to work a bit harder so I used the next lap to get to the front. My immediate thought was that this was a big mistake as parts of the back straight and the final bend were very windy and it felt like I wasn't moving. Anyway, I continued to work hard and to my surprise those behind me started to string out a little.

By 3km the time was 9:36 and I though it would be a good effort to get a sub 16 from here on in. I continued to run out by myself focusing on the last 5 laps. With 2 laps to go only Josh was left close behind me and he put in his customary fast finish leaving me in his wake. I really pushed the last lap and crossed the line in 15:57 finishing in 3rd place behind Mark and Josh.

Overall I was very pleased with that given the poor conditions. I felt very strong throughout and I could definitely improve on that time given better weather. Another PB which seems to be a bit of a habit at the moment. I ran 3 kms as a warm-down.

All up 10km for the day.

Tonight we have a baby-sitter and Marion and myself have a night out! Looking forward to that. Not looking forward to the 35km long run in the morning though...

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday Nowt

Took it very easy. Went for a walk with Conor for 45 minutes in the stroller....I was the one pushing.

Looking forward to tomorrow. Should be a great race with a high quality field. I'll be lucky to make the top 5.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Longish Thursday

Up nice and early for a 7am start. I ran from home to LCNP, then 10km on the Striders course, then back to Pymble (very uphill finish). All up 18.9km in 1:27:37 (4:38/km).

Took it nice and easy and was surprised that my time was slightly quicker than last time I did this run. Felt strong at the end. All good signs.

Nothing planned for Friday. I'll freshen up for a day then run my guts out on the track Saturday morning. I'm starting to think that sub 16 should be very achievable and if I run well, it could be nearer 15:30.

The marathon seems to be coming round very quickly. Only 17 more sleeps. I need to start thinking about my race strategy...

I went and collected my NSW running gear this afternoon. I need to have a few runs in the new shorts and singlet to avoid all sorts of nasty rubs come race day.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Midweek Trundle

An easy 10km in the gym in 44:33.

Felt really easy.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Happy Birthday To Me

I'm 38 today and in the best nick of my life!

I went to the gym to do some uphill km reps. Same session as before, 6 x 1km with 400m float in between. The float was at 4 minute km pace so not slow. All up 10km in 38:50 and felt good although I was sweating profusely and probably attracted a few funny looks.

Another session to tick off the schedule. Looks like I'm racing on Saturday at Mingara where they have a track 5km. Another chance for a PB. Looking forward to that.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Recovery Run

Legs were a bit sore this morning, especially the calves.

I did a 9km run at the gym at a very pedestrian pace. Time was 42:14.

Back into it tomorrow with some uphill km reps. No point changing a winning formula now. Consistency is the key.

Head was also a bit sore this morning. Can't think why...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sydney Half Marathon

It was a fantastic morning for a run. Not too hot with a nice breeze. I got to the start area about 5:45am and dropped off my bag. Then a quick pitstop and I lined up at the start. Didn't bother with a warm-up as the road was closed but decided 21.1kms is plenty of time to get the motor running.

Settled into a nice group of 3 early doors and we kept the pace honest averaging just under 3:30/km. By the time 10km came round my clock read 34:43 so already I was ahead of schedule but still feeling good. The group split with one guy going off the front, one off the back and me in the middle. After the turnaround point you were running directly into the sun and despite a few tough kms, the wheels were still firmly bolted on. Some of the km markers at this point were ridiculous, I recall a split of 2:01 for one km. If only. Another tough section as you twist and climb through Pyrmont but the time I got back onto the expressway back into the Sydney I was running strongly. Hickson Road is a long flat stretch and suits my running perfectly. I was running at 3:28/km pace along there and felt great. By the time we went under the Harbour Bridge it was a case of keeping the pace honest and holding on for the Opera House finish.

I crossed the line in 1:13:48 as per my watch which was a huge PB of over 2 and a half minutes. Very pleased with that time which is a shade under 3:30/km. Still felt strong at the end which has to be a good sign for the marathon in 3 weeks time.

Finished up with a massage at the Skins tent, then a further 6km run around LMC and back to Milson's Point as a warm-down.

So that's approximately 27.1km for the day and 70.3km for the week. Next week I'll ramp up the kms again, then it will be a 2 week taper before the big one. Everything well and truly on track.


1 00:03:31 00:03:31
2 00:03:29 00:07:00
3 00:03:18 00:10:18
5 00:06:55 00:17:13
6 00:03:28 00:20:41
8 00:07:01 00:27:42
10 00:07:01 00:34:43
11 00:03:32 00:38:15
12 00:03:44 00:41:59
13 00:02:01 00:44:00
14 00:04:56 00:48:56
15 00:03:38 00:52:34
17 00:07:13 00:59:47
18 00:03:28 01:03:15
19 00:03:28 01:06:43
20 00:03:10 01:09:53
21.1 00:03:55 01:13:48

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday on my mind

I went to the gym and ran a very easy 5km on the treadmill in 23:24.

Did some stretching afterwards. Feeling good.

The plan for Sunday is to go through 10km in somewhere near 35 minutes. Then run the next 10km in about 36 minutes. Then a final effort for the line to get me home in 1hr 15 minutes. Lets hope it doesn't get too hot out there (should be okay with the 6:20am start...), and that I can run better on the dreaded Westlink than I did last year (I'm not a big fan of this course). Time will tell.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thursday Intervals

I decided to run some cruisey intervals to sharpen up for the half on the weekend. It was getting late so I ran down at LCNP. I did 3.5km warm-up, then did 10 x 400's with 40 secs walk recovery, then a 6.5km warm-down. All up 14km in 1:06:31 (this includes the recovery time).

The 400m was an estimate based on time but I think it was pretty accurate. The times I recorded were:


Very hot out there, even after 6pm. Glad to finish this session as it was very dark as I did my warm-down through the park.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Treadmill 10km Yawn

Started off slowly and gradually wound up the pace. Finished the run at just over 4 minute per km pace. All up the 10km was completed in 43:45.

Had a good stretch afterwards. Still undecided on what run I should do tomorrow. I usually run a hilly 1hr 30 but may change that in order to freshen up a bit for Sunday's half. We shall see.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Same Old Same Old

Uphill km reps (x6) on the treadmill again. Repeat of last weeks session.

Total time 38:57 for 10km.

Calf seems to have settled down and all in all the old body seems to he holding up well.

I entered the marathon today as an "elite" and the NSW team uniform has been ordered...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Monday Morning

Decided to do some easy stuff in the gym to try and free up the legs.

I did 23 minutes on the bike then 4.2km on the treadmill in 20 minutes. Had a good stretch afterwards.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sunday Long and Hot

Started my run at 7am and the temperature was already 19 degrees....

Ran my old route of the Bridges run followed by the Bay. The Bridges run was completed in 1:45:42 (maybe a PB - need to check), then did a quickish lap of the Bay (27:47), then a very slow 5km shuffle at the end (22:43 - so just over 4:30 per km and still overtaking people!). All up 35km in 2:36:29.

Was pleased to finish this run. It was very hot at the end and upon return to the car I was informed it was 29 degrees....we are only just into spring...

That's 100.8km for the week. The first time over 100kms post London.

Calf felt good and left knee was a little sore. When I say sore it was still very good, just a little reminder that I can't run huge distances being an old fart.

Next week I'll wind back the training and have a mini taper for the Sydney half. I seem to be in very good shape so would like to run 1hr 15 or thereabouts. Time will tell. In the meantime I'll have a few Coopers to keep me honest.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Saturday Intervals

I'm not following a set schedule this time, instead I'm sort of making it up as I go along. I'd usually do a tempo run today but decided I best do some intervals as it has been a while since doing this type of stuff.

Went to LCNP and ran a 6.5km warm-up. Then did 6 x 1km efforts with 90 secs walk recovery. Then a 3.5km warm down for 16km all up. The efforts were between the 3km and 4km markers of the Striders 10km course which is a flattish section.

My times were 3:24, 3:20, 3:11, 3:16, 3:13, 3:17. These were not run flat out, just at a notch or two down from that. I'll save my quicker reps for the track with this type of training being as much about strength building as opposed to raw speed. Plus it was hot today - summer has arrived already!

Right calf still a bit tight. Hopefully I can survive a long run on Sunday then I'll rest up on Monday.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday Rest

Went for a massage in the morning. My first one since before London. Surprisingly it wasn't that painful - perhaps I'm getting used to them. Not too many sore spots except the calves which were both very tight, especially the right (sore) one from yesterday. I don't think I have anything to worry about and a day's rest should see me back fighting fit.

No running planned today. Just a few beers in the evening from the 2 cases purchased...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Thursday Hills

As I am no longer working (did I forget to mention that I was made redundant on my return from England!), I no longer have easy access to Ourimbah forest, So Instead I've been running local and doing some hills in LCNP.

Marion was at mother's group so I dropped her off at Roseville Park then ran from there down to LCNP, then ran the Striders 10km course (in 40:50), then ran back to Roseville with an extra loop thrown in at the end to get the time up.

All up 21.8km in 1:35:40. Thanks to MapMyRun for the distance info...

My right calf felt very tight during the run. Will see if I can get a massage on Friday.

Had some good news later in the afternoon - I've been selected in the New South Wales marathon team to run at the Melbourne Marathon. Looks like an all expenses paid trip too. What a country.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

More Easy Stuff

Back to the gym for another 10km easy on the treadmill. Completed in 44 minutes so 4:24/km on average.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Treadmill Reps

This is a session I have done a few times now. Running on the treadmill is not really my thing but it's better than not running at all. You have to be a bit creative with the sessions as the treadmills only go up to 16.1km/hour which is 3:43/km.

So I've been doing a km warm-up, then 6 x 1km efforts with 400m recovery. Then a km warm-down. To make the reps progressively harder I do the first one on the flat, then for each subsequent rep put the incline up by 0.5 so the last one is at 2.5. All up 10km on the knocker.

A good session and certainly gets you blowing a bit.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Monday Easy

I ran an easy 35 minutes in the gym on the treadmill.

All up 8.0km or 4:23/km.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Long Run

Ran from Pymble to Terrey Hills and back. I then did an extra 4km in Pymble to get the time up.

All up 24.3km in 1:54:07. Took it very easy.

That's 88.2km for the week. A pleasing week with my 1st and 3rd quickest 10km races on record. Hopefully I can keep this going for another 5 weeks.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

North Head

It was a great morning for a run. Ran about 3km as a warm-up then lined up for the start. My best ever start and I quickly settled into the top 10 runners. In my haste to get there on time I had forgotten my watch but decided to run blind; not a bad thing really.

Settled into a nice group of 3 for the first 6km. I was hanging off the back, feeling okay but the legs still felt a little sore. I asked for the split at 5km which was 16:45. That felt about right and by 7km the group had split, one runner out the back, one up front and me in the middle. At 9km I thought I could chase down the runner in front but to no avail. I just didn't have that extra gear today. Having said that, still a very good run finishing in 33:46 and 5th place overall. My best ever Striders finish.

Did a couple of kms warm-down for 15km all up. Irish ran 34:48 running a PB post 2nd baby. Leigh finished in 42:52.

The course is quick but still makes you work. It seems to be either uphill or down with very few flat sections. It's difficult to get into a rhythm, but compared to my last run at North Head just before London, I'm nearly a minute quicker. That must be a good sign.

Longish run tomorrow. I'll see how the legs feel.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Welcome Back

It has been a few months so time for an update...

After London, I've kept plodding away. On return to Sydney I ran the May half in 1:18:49 (legs felt good until halfway then I rediscovered the marathon soreness). I then ran the July and August Striders 10km races in 35:00 and 34:51 respectively. Then on the back of that I had a great race in the City to Surf posting a new PB of 48:28. Then I backed up and ran the Hidden Half in Bankstown in 1:17:18 which was a pleasing run given the tough nature of the course.

The big thing is that my left knee finally seems to be getting better. The last few weeks I'm running pain free for the first time all year. It all comes down to stretching. I've been stretching like mad focusing on the calves and that seems to be doing the trick.

Oh yeah, this week's big news is the 10km track race from Tuesday night. I ran 32:35 wiping almost one minute off my old PB. I never though I'd break 33 minutes so I was thrilled with this run. My 5km splits were 16:25 and 16:10 so a very pleasing negative split in there.

To summarise my training the last month, the previous 4 weeks I have run 57.6km, 70.5km, 93.0km and 97.3km. The reason for the build in kms is that I have decided to have another tilt at the marathon! Yep, Melbourne it is in just over 5 weeks time. So the focus will be on getting some long runs in between then and now and trying to remain injury free whilst collecting a few more kms.

The next race is the Striders 10km tomorrow at North Head. My second 10km for the week so it will be interesting to compare how the track 10km translates into road form. I don't think I'll smash it as my legs are still sore as I right this from Tuesday.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

London Marathon 2:41:21

Woke up at around 6am and went back to my original hotel room to gather my gear. I woke up my Dad who was unaware I had moved rooms for the night...

Breakfast was a cup of coffee, a banana, some rice pudding. Delicious.

We were leaving at 8am to get to the start. I met up with the rest of the CoNAC runners in the hotel lobby and we had a short walk before catching 2 trains and the light railway to Greenwich.

I made my way to the blue start and started to get a bit nervous. The enormity of this event was starting to hit me. There were runners and supporters everywhere.

I headed over the Championship start area. We had our own section to get changed, drop off bags, go to the toilet, warm-up, etc. Again, the organisation was first class. At about 9:30 I dropped off my bag, had my first energy gel, had a quick toilet break, and started to line up with the other Championship runners. I was fired up and ready to go. The quads were still a little sore pre marathon bashing but I was confident the knee was going to be okay.

We were slowly edging up towards the start line. Once we arrived at the start, the elite runners were then called in front of us. I would estimate I was 3-4 rows from the start right behind Marty Dent. It was showtime.

The gun went off and we were racing. The actual race itself was a bit of a blur. I knew straight away that the knee felt good. The first thing you notice is the crowd support. Absolutely incredible. In some places it is simply a wall of sound. I had written my name on my singlet and that was one of the best decisions I made. People cheering you on as if they are your best mates. I was in awe of this.

The pace I started out at was too quick. It was difficult not to get carried away, the adrenaline was pumping. I went through 5km in 17:40 and 10km in 35:32. I felt good and my instructions were to go out hard if feeling this way. The first half of the race was over in a flash and I remember seeing the clock at the half marathon point, 1:16:20. That's only a second outside my half PB, surely I was going to pay for this.

Sure enough, the mile splits were getting slower and slower and by 16miles, the goose was cooked. I was going to have to hang on the last 10 miles. That's a long time. The legs were feeling very heavy and I could feel the elbow impressions from the massage on Friday. That said, the knee was giving me no problems.

So the sub 6 minute miles were creeping up to 6:30's. By the time I reached 20 miles in just under 2hours I knew it would be a huge effort to get the sub 2hr40. It was a case of concentrating on the next mile and when that felt like a long way, breaking it down into even smaller units of distance or time.

I was struggling and despite getting overtaken by numerous runners, some of them women, I knew that my actual running was okay. Not quick but I was not grinding away on my axles. Slowly but surely I got to 40km in 2hr32 and knew that I had no chance of running the last 2.2km in under 8 minutes. So I put the head down, gritted the teeth, and went through each long slow minute. The final section up the Embankment seemed like an eternity. A mate of mine in the crowd started running beside me, the other side of the crowd barriers. I was so exhausted that at first I hardly recognised him but when I did that certainly gave me a lift. The final turn and I could see the finishing clock. A bit of show-boating later I had crossed the line in 2:41:21 finishing 207th overall.

So am I happy? Absolutely. Okay I missed my goal time of sub 2hr 40 but to still run a 2min 34 second PB was great. It just means that I'll have to run another marathon to reach my goal time...!

Here are my mile splits:

1 0:05:44 0:05:44
2 0:05:45 0:11:29
3 0:05:34 0:17:03
4 0:05:43 0:22:46
5 0:05:44 0:28:30
6 0:05:45 0:34:15
7 0:05:52 0:40:07
8 0:05:48 0:45:55
9 0:05:55 0:51:50
10 0:05:52 0:57:42
11 0:05:57 1:03:39
12 0:05:56 1:09:35
13 0:06:04 1:15:39
14 0:06:02 1:21:41
15 0:06:11 1:27:52
16 0:06:11 1:34:03
17 0:06:30 1:40:33
18 0:06:10 1:46:43
19 0:06:30 1:53:13
20 0:06:30 1:59:43
21 0:06:35 2:06:18
22 0:06:41 2:12:59
23 0:06:31 2:19:30
24 0:06:32 2:26:02
25 0:07:06 2:33:08
26 0:06:45 2:39:53
Total 0:01:28 2:41:21

Here are the weekly kms in training for the 15 weeks up to and including the marathon:

1 76.5 kms
2 82.5 kms
3 92.9 kms
4 80.2 kms
5 94.5 kms
6 100.8 kms
7 92.0 kms
8 80.2 kms
9 105.0 kms
10 90.0 kms
11 67.2 kms
12 69.7 kms
13 91.7 kms
14 64.6 kms
15 66.2 kms

Total 1254.0 kms
Average 83.6 kms

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Travel to London

We left Norwich at 10am and headed for London. We were staying just outside London in Barking, Essex. We had the sat-nav programmed so all was good. As we approached the hotel we had a few dramas with missing turn-offs, doubling back on ourselves, and Saturday football traffic. It must have taken well over 1 hour to get the final few kms to the hotel. Anyway, we arrived safely and checked into the hotel.

We decided to head straight to the expo to pick up my race number. We got a taxi there (1o quid), and then quickly picked up my race number and chip. All very well organised. As my Dad said, he had never seen so many thin people in one place. Lots of stands to see at but we didn't spend too long looking round as I wanted to stay off my feet. We hopped into a cab back to Barking and encountered the same traffic again as we had done earlier. 30 quid later we were back at the hotel....

Another mate of mine was at the hotel and my Dad and him planned to go into town to watch the Spurs play Man Utd in the afternoon. I decided to stay put, have some food in the hotel restaurant then head to bed for an early night. The start of this all went to plan. I had plenty of carbs, but Spurs got hammered in the football, so the 2 drinkers were soon back at the hotel making themselves very familiar with the bar. I stayed up with them a while but at about 9pm I decided to head to bed. My Dad who I was sharing a room with soon joined me and quickly fell asleep in the bed next to me. Little did I know that he was the loudest snorer in the northern hemisphere. I gave this about an hour before I made the decision to move to a new hotel room. Not what I need the night before a marathon!

Friday, April 24, 2009


Managed to stay up until 9pm the previous day which was a good effort. Woke up this morning at 6am, not a bad first day post travel.

Tried another light run and still very painful in the left knee dept. Action was required. I phoned a local sports clinic and manage to get a sports massage at 11am on the Friday. That's cutting it fine but I have to keep trying to get the knee fixed as to run the marathon in this state would be slow torture.

The next day I had the massage and made sure he went in deep. He concentrated on the inside of my left quad and all along the ITB. Very painful (as is the norm), though he wasn't as brutal as in Sydney. Elbows in the quads would fix the problem was my mantra. Anyway, he told me to do a light run in the evening and then I would rest up until the marathon on Sunday.

Despite the massaged areas being very sore, the test run in the evening went very well. Knee pain had virtually disappeared. This was a huge relief. The quads were still mighty sore but I still had a day and a half to recover. This gave me a huge lift. Thanks to James - if I'm ever back in Norwich I will definitely be back for more.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Didn't get a chance to squeeze in a run on the Monday - too much to do. My knee was getting worse so I made another dash for a massage in the evening. I'm not sure if it did any good but I at least had to give it a go.

On Tuesday I went to work in the morning and then headed to the airport in the afternoon. The flight was at 4pm so I checked in (no extra legroom available...), and soon I was on the flight. The actual flights were not too bad. I drank a few glasses of red wine to help me relax (5 to be exact). Good company on the plane which made the time go quicker. The amount of room you get on the flight is criminal but survived and a day later I was in Heathrow where my Dad was waiting to meet me. All good so far but the knee was still a big concern.

Drove back to Norwich where the plan was to keep a low profile until post marathon. So no going out, just plenty of rest and try to get over the jetlag as quickly as possible. In the afternoon (Wednesday), I went out for a light 40 minute jog and the knee was very sore. I kept telling myself it would be better the next day....

Sunday, April 19, 2009

One week to go

I ran a very easy 1hr30 whilst watching the Canberra Marathon. Knee still far from great but seemed to settle down about 30 minutes into the run. I'll put this down as 18km as I was not running quickly.

Good to watch the marathon, it has certainly got me fired up for next week. Great performance from Dave. He just goes from strength to strength.

Incey ran a 3:20 (PB), Worky 3:48 (PW) and Clare 4:07 (mara)/4:57 (50km). I dare say they had a very big drink in the afternoon.

I drove back to Sydney in the afternoon and was absolutely shattered. In bed by 9pm.

All up 64.7km for the week.

A very easy week next week. I might try and squeeze in an easy 45 mins on Monday or Tuesday. Then a couple of light runs later in the week. Watch this space.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Canberra 10km

I drove down to Canberra at arrived at about 2pm. The knee was still not great, especially sore at the back of the knee where I had the massage the day before.

I started warming up at 3:30pm (30 minutes before the race) and was having second thoughts about racing. The knee was smarting every foot strike. I decided I needed to toughen up and so I lined up at the start....

The race itself was a real struggle. I was 10:10 at 3km but from then on I was hanging on. I was 17:17 at 5km and just managed to get in under 35 with a time of 34:53 finishing 9th overall (and being out-sprinted by a 16 year old at the finish).

So the knee was obviously a factor. Plus the legs didn't feel great. I think there was still some of Tuesday's 5km in them. I'll put this down as a bad run and move on. So no sub 34 to get the confidence up. A great run Tuesday and now a disappointing last hit-out.

All up about 14km with warm-up/down. My main priority now is to rest as much as possible and try to get the knee back in reasonable shape for London. More massage required...

Friday, April 17, 2009

Friday Rest

Woke up this morning with a very sore left knee. I must have aggravated it at track the previous day.

No run planned today but decided to get an emergency massage in. I was only there 5 minutes. Lots of pulling around at the back of the knee that seemed to help. Not good at this stage. I thought I was over the worst of this injury...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thursday on track

Ran the usual Hansen's Road warm-up.

Then on the track for 6 x 400's on 1 minute recovery. Target times were 75 seconds and although I missed the first one running 76 seconds, I then followed up with: 73/72/72/72/70.

Felt pretty good. Ran a couple of kms warm-down. All up 10.5km.

So that's my last track session for a month I'd say. All my training buddies wished me well for London. Baz gave me a mystery envelope to be opened just before the marathon...

Good to see Matt back tonight. He seems to be in good nick.

Rest day tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Elbow time

Started the day with a 7am massage. Left hip flexor was tight so warranted some 2 on 1 action. Straight in with the full force of an elbow at various angles. Worked wonders. A happy ending of sorts. Knee felt much better straight away. The rest of my leg muscle groups were not left out. Abductors, quads, hammies, calves, the full shooting match.

Decided to run after work so headed to Chittaway point. Ran at a very slow pace, say 5 mins per km and all up covered about 9km in 46 minutes. Nice to run with no goal, just to turn the legs over. As it happened both legs were quite sore (track from yesterday and massage). Hopefully I'll be fighting fit tomorrow ready for an easy track session.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

5km Time Trial

I ran Hansen's Road as a warm-up then changed into my spikes ready for the 5km.

The instructions were to run 16 anything at even pace. Well there is a big difference between 16 flat and 16:59 so decided that 16:30 would be a fair target. That's 79 second laps. I wasn't to run it flat out, just comfortably hard. I decided not to run with a watch as we had a lap counter. I say "we" as Mark was also doing this and his aim was to try and break 15 minutes. Yep, that's a different gravy. So I thought that if I could avoid being lapped I'd be doing well.

I did some run throughs and headed over to the start. And we were ready to go. Mark quickly opened up a gap on me but decided to run to my plan. I went through the first km in 3:14 and that felt good. From then on I was trying to keep the lap times 79 seconds or under and I seemed to be doing that by a second or two. With 2km to go I was still running strong, trying to maintain my pace. Then a final push and with a strong last lap (72 secs) I crossed the line in 16:05 (3:13/km). And I didn't get lapped!

A lot surprised by the time as I hadn't intended going that quick and although I was running hard, it wasn't an eyeballs out type affair. It leaves me wondering what I could do if I raced this distance properly. The good news is that's a PB! Not many of them to boost about recently. I'll take it. Could I be peaking at the right time? Oh I do hope so. For the record Mark ran 15:10 and was a little disappointed.

So that's another session to tick off the schedule. The last biggie is the 10km race on Saturday. If today is anything to go by then I should be in sub 34 shape. That would be a nice confidence booster.

Lots of people at track commented on how strong I looked tonight. Watch out Geoff Capes. I'll need every ounce of that strength in 12 sleeps time...

With a 2km warm-down I ran 13.1km all up. Massage in the morning...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Another rest day

Did some study and then went on a shopping spree. Bought some clothes for my upcoming trip to old Blighty. It ain't long now....

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Two hours plus

I was back to the Bay. I started at the bubbler and ran the Bridges run. Felt pretty comfortable and ran this is 1:45:50 (quickest this year - 4:36/km), then a 5km tempo run at the Bay in 19:27 (3:53's), then a couple of slow kms to finish with.

All up 30km in 2:14:42 (4:29's).

The knee was the same as yesterday. Not getting any worse.

The weekly tally comes in at 91.7km. The last 4 days have been tough running 71km in 3 sessions. But that's just about it now volume wise. Next week I am at the track for some sharpening up. A 5km time trail on Tuesday (not planning on running this flat out), then some 400's on Thursday, and the 10km race in Canberra on Saturday (last hit-out).

Glad that I now have a rest until Tuesday night. A big sleep in planned tomorrow.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Hour and a half with some tempo

Decided to run at the Bay. I was planning 3 laps with the 1st and 3rd easy and the 2nd at marathon pace.

The first lap was run in 30:22. Then the tempo lap of 26:21. Then the final lap of 30:47. All up 1:27:30 for 21km. Averaged 4:10's.

Knee not great again. I need another massage but due to the long weekend it will have to wait until Wednesday.

Tomorrow is the last long run. And then it's only 2 weeks until showtime.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Friday Struggle

Hungover all day long. No exercise planned. Sat watching TV feeling very sorry for myself. Managed a bit of study in the afternoon but it wasn't really registering. Tomorrow can only get better....

Thursday, April 09, 2009

State Forest

Last visit to the forest for a while. I was 13:04 at the top of the first hill, 30:22 at the roundabout and 47:05 at the T. Then turned for home and finished in 1:29:04. A slight PB.

I was deliberately holding back on this run. I could have pushed it a bit more but made the decision to keep a lid on it. A very good sign. Just one of those runs that felt very easy. I suppose the cooler weather helps a lot.

All up 20km. Rushed back to Sydney for what was touted as a few beers. It turned into a 4am special. When will I learn?

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Easy 10km

Lunchtime 10km course. Out in 21:40, back in 21:40. Total 43:20. How's that for consistent pacing!

Pretty cruisy effort. Knee still not too bad. One more killer massage will fix it once and for all I hope.

Last visit to the forest tomorrow for a while...then a few beers to start the weekend off in style.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Race Night

The pressure was on to run a quick time tonight...

I ran an easy lap of Hansen's as a warm-up with Barry. Then changed into my spikes and before I knew it the race was underway. I went through the first km in 3:01 which was a bit disappointing. The second km was run in 3:05 and I managed to quicken slightly running the last km in 3:03. All up 9:09.

Felt pretty strong throughout and pleased with the time which is my best 3000m at Mingara. I finished 3rd overall with Mark winning and Cale running second. I'm confident of breaking the 9 minute barrier later in the year with focus on speedwork on the track.

I ran 1.6km as a warm-down so all up 10.7km. Knee behaved also which hasn't been the norm lately...

Monday, April 06, 2009

Monday Nowt

Scheduled rest day.

Tried stretching the hip flexor as much as possible but I fear it's tightening up again. Another visit to the torture chamber looms.

This week is my last big week. Track Tuesday for a 3km race, easy 10km on Wednesday, the final Ourimbah on Thursday and long runs both Saturday and Sunday. Might touch 90km this week then wind it right back in the final 2 weeks.

I dread the 3km race nights. Seven and a half laps of pain....

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Sunday is for running

Headed out to the Bay for 3 easy laps. Legs felt okay from the race the previous day but the knee was a little sore (bloody hip flexor).

This run felt very easy. I ended up running the 3 laps in 1:30:20 and felt very comfortable. All up 21kms averaging 4:17/km. Each lap got progressively quicker.

Another week over and the marathon is now only 3 weeks away. Starting to get a little edgy...

Weekly total 69.7km.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Striders 10km

The rain held off and the conditions were pretty good for this morning's race. I did a 2.5km warm-up and the knee felt much better. Soon we were off and I ran a quick first km and settled in to the race. Scribblies was tough as was the big climb to the turnaround. Felt good on the way back and crossed the line in 35:05 finishing in 8th position. I pretty much ran the whole race by myself which was a bit if a shame.

A bit disappointed to miss out on the sub 35 but a good run nonetheless. I seem to have recovered okay from last week's half.

I ran 2.5km warm-down with Bob. All up 15km.

Knee still feels good. I'll keep doing some hip flexor stretches in the hope that it doesn't tighten up again.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Dodgy Hip Flexor

A scheduled rest day today so no training. But I did have the small matter of a massage to get through.

As I suspected my left hip flexor had locked up. It was very stubborn (and painful) and after 30 minutes of continued elbow and thumb work some movement had returned. I won't miss these massages when the training is over. As a result the knee has immediately improved. I dare say it will tighten up again after tomorrow's race....

So the race plan is to beat my last time at Lane Cove from 2 months ago (35:59). Sub 35:30 would be good and sub 35 would be exceptional. I need to run a half decent time to get some confidence back so no pressure...I think my course PB of 34:32 is very safe which I ran just before last year's City to Surf. Cooler weather will help as last time it was very muggy.

A big rest planned for tonight. Lots of sleep and no beer.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Track Session

Ran the Hansen's Rd loop as a warm-up (6.1km) then changed into my spikes ready for a track session.

The plan was to run 8 x 400's with 400 jog recovery. Efforts were to be in the 72-75 second region. Actual times were:


Pretty pleased with that. The knee was ordinary throughout so I'm hoping the massage will help tomorrow.

I ran 1.6km as a warm-down. All up 13.7km.

I've now got my plan for the remaining 3 weeks. Another big week next week then things become a little more manageable.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Lane Cove

I dropped Marion and Conor off at the airport and now have 3 weeks home alone.

Decided to run the Striders 10km course at Lane Cove in the pouring rain. Again I took it easy finishing in 45:08.

Left knee getting worse. Massage booked for Friday morning.

And went to see Elbow last night at the Metro. A very enjoyable evening but it was a late night and I had too much to drink....

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

10km Easy

Ran my usual 10km course at lunchtime in the pouring rain. I didn't mind this, it made for a pleasant change to the scorching heat.

Didn't push the run at all as I need to recover fully from the weekend's half. Time was 43:14.

Knee felt okay. Maybe it has gone backwards a little. Need to keep having the massage sessions to keep on top of it.

I'll do something similar tomorrow.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Monday Rest

Legs were not too bad after the half. The knee was a little sore (to be expected after racing a half in flats), so I iced the knee in the evening and will continue to do so just as a precaution.

I'll have another massage later in the week just to make sure the muscle groups are still nice and loose.

Easy week planned this week. Light runs Tuesday and Wednesday, some sharpening up on the track Thursday (400's). Rest on Friday ready for the Striders 10km on Saturday.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Herald Hill to Harbour Half Marathon

The left knee felt good.

Good weather for running, nice and cool and very little breeze. I did a couple of kms warm-up, then lined up for the start (which was slightly delayed). Soon we were off and I settled into the run in 4th place. The first few kms were flat and the first climb wasn't until Fort Scratchley where the course became more technical and this was made worse by the course not being marshaled at key intersections. Luckily for me, I don't think I made any wrong turns but I certainly was slowed to ask people the way! The hills were brutal but I felt good on the flatter/downhill sections. I decided not to bother with the km markers as they seemed to be missing or inaccurate.

The second big climb was as we approached the turnaround point, followed by a long downhill section to the 10km mark. Then we had to run a lap of a park which again was poorly marked adding more confusion. By this time there were 3 of us vying for 3rd position. The climb back from the turnaround was a killer - it must have been close to 2km. At least we were now on the return part of the course so there should be no more course confusion. By 15km we had to climb up to Fort Scratchley a second time. Again very technical with lots of twists and turns. The last flatter section of the course to the finish I had fallen into 5th position but I still thought I could catch the 2 runners who were just in front of me. But it wasn't to be. I finished in 5th place overall (the last 2 kms were run in 7:09), and my finishing time was 1:18:19.

A very tough course not made any easier by the course being poorly marked. Despite that, I was pleased with the run though the time was slow. I still felt strong at the end - a good sign for the marathon.

And the left knee is still good. That's a major positive.

All up 67.2km for the week.

Friday, March 27, 2009

30 Mins

Knee felt a lot better this morning. But the real test was to try a run. I ran for 32 minutes from home, up to the nearest grass oval for some laps, then a jog back. Estimate 6.5kms. Knee was as good as it has been all year - a huge improvement.

Stretched and iced the knee afterwards.

I'll drive up to Newcastle this afternoon and plan to have an early night. Tomorrow's race could be anywhere between 1:16 and 1:20. We shall see...

Knee Progress

I've had a look few some older posts and my blog reads more like a weather and injury report. If only the focus was more on the running....

I've struggled with niggles all year and whilst I haven't missed any sessions, I can't recall running "pain free" in 2009. It's getting to a point where a lot of the enjoyment from running is fast disappearing. So my focus today was to try and get this bloody knee sorted once and for all...

After reading lots on patella tendinitis on the web, I decided to do a number of things:

Icing - I started this yesterday and the knee feels marginally better this morning. Will continue on with this.

Structure - have this checked by a chiropractor. I had an appointment this morning and my hips were slightly out of whack and I also had the tracking adjusted slightly in my left knee. Noticed no real difference afterwards.

Massage - another appointment this morning. Same old, same old - muscles were too tight. I got them to pay particular attention to my quads, abductors, ITB and hip flexors. The hip flexors were very tight (read massage agony as 2 people were working on my left side). In doing this, an extremely sore spot (agony and then some) was located at the top of my groin/lower abdomen which may have been a trigger point. Again lots of pain to try and get this to let off (still sore 7 hours later as I type this). But straight away I could notice an improvement in the knee. Could we be on to something?

Today was a scheduled rest day anyway. I'll ice again tonight and try a light 30 minute run in the morning. I'm very confident the massage will have made a big difference in only a relatively short period.

I'm starting to think of Sunday's Half and a race plan. Go out hard and hang on is my first thought...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Final Tune Up

I ran 2 slow laps of Hansen's Road (11.9km) in 57 minutes.

Then a 4 lapper on the track running 200 slow, 200 quick. The time for this effort was 5:33 (1.6km).

Then 1.2km as a warm-down. All up 14.7km.

Arrived home and iced my knee for 20 minutes. I'll see how it is in the morning.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Easy 10km

Ran at lunch on the normal 10km course. Very hot (30 degrees) and ran 44:15. Left knee still sore. I've made appointments to see the chiropractor and then a massage for Friday morning to see if they can help out. I may start icing it as well after exercise. If it stays the same then I can put up with it until the marathon....but then I will need a good rest.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Back to the Track

Started with an easy lap of Hansen's Road. Ran with Mark and completed this in 29 minutes.

Then a quick break and it was 5 x 800 with 200 jog recovery (about 70 secs). A good crowd again with the same faces from the last couple of weeks. My brief was to keep them all in the 2:30 to 2:35 range. Actual times were:


Opened up a bit on the last one just to keep Paul honest who was nibbling at my heels. Finished up with 2km warm-down. Mark was flying and running them all well under 2:20.

All up 12.9km and felt pretty cruisey. Knee still not great but I just have to put up with this for the foreseeable future.

Monday, March 23, 2009


Nothing scheduled today.

Conor has not been well and after a visit to the doctor's it looks like he has bronchitis. Hopefully he gets better soon.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday Medium

I was late getting out this morning so decided to run local at LCNP. I did a lap of the Striders 10km course in 46 flat. I tagged on the extra section the other side of the river (12 mins), then repeated the Striders course again (45 mins). I then ran an extra 2 mins to bring up the 1hr45 then called it a day. All up 23km.

Knee was a little sore (again) so stretched loads at the end.

That's 90km for the week. Good sessions on Tuesday and Thursday (especially), but a sense of going through the motions over the weekend.

This next week will be used to freshen up. I'll do a light track session on Tuesday (5 x 800's) and then decide what to do in the lead up to next Sunday's half.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Same As Last Week

A family outing to the Bay.

I ran 2km warm-up, 14km at marathon pace, then 2km warm-down. Knee was a little sore so I again decided to run in the 2140's. Struggled today to maintain the pace but still ended up with 53 minutes on the knocker for the 14km. Same result as last week for more effort.

I suppose it was quite warm out there today. Any excuse will do.

All up 18km and another session out of the way.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Easy Friday

Nothing scheduled today. A few beers and a nice meal planned for tonight with the wife.

Had a bit of time to look at my Ourimbah runs this year for the "T and back". Here is a quick summary:

1:47:59 Jan 20th
1:42:16 Jan 29th
1:41:12 Feb 5th
1:37:55 Feb 12th
1:40:03 Feb 19th
1:33:26 Feb 26th
1:36:19 Mar 5th
1:31:38 Mar 12th
1:29:15 Mar 19th

Seems like I'm doing something right. Almost 19 minutes quicker during that time. That's a combination of cooler weather and much improved fitness/leg strength.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The State Forest

Left work for a 4:30pm start and was a little concerned with the temperature shown in the car - not ideal at 28 degrees!

Was running solo so went out quick. Same as last week - run the hills hard. I was 12:57 at the top of the first hill, then it took a while to get back into a rhythm. Still on track for a good time with 30:23 at the roundabout. A final push up the hills and I was at the T in 47:08. I then did an extra 10:30 loop at this point then ran strongly back to the start. The total time for the run was 1:39:45 and I estimate a total distance of about 22km.

The good news is that the time for the T and back was 1:29:15 which is my quickest time. That's a very good sign. Knee was a little sore and the calf behaved.

I put a lot of effort into this session. I was a shell come the end but despite feeling tired I was again running strong. I can honestly say I've never trained this hard before.

So I'm getting to the end of my main 10 week block of training. A long tempo run on Saturday; just under 2 hours on Sunday and then I can freshen up for the half. It will make for a nice change to run on fresh legs.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Lunchtime Wobble

Easy 10km at lunchtime. Cruised out to 5km in 21:30 and ran back for a total time of 42:01 (4:12's). Knee and calf both okay.

Tomorrow is the last Ourimbah for a while. Again it will be a sprint up the hills. I can't wait...

I will enter the Hill to Harbour half this week. I've spoke to a few people and read a few reports that the course is very hilly. So maybe this will not offer up a PB but will certainly be a good hit-out before London.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

More Long Reps

Back to Chittaway Point for 10 reps. I spoke with Paul at the start about my continuing niggles and he assured me that this was a good sign that I was training hard enough!

A good crowd again today: Me, Baz, Paul, Mark, Cain, Cale and Jeff. The instructions were to start slow and gradually build up the pace and run the last 3 in 2:50ish. I decided to wear my 2140's to give me extra support so that would make this session a little harder.

The calf was tight but functional. This morning I did not think I would be able to run but it improved as the day progressed. I started with a 4km warm-up and the calf felt okay. The first rep was 3:20 and felt easy and from then on it got quicker and quicker. The 8th one was where I had to drop the hammer and luckily I had Mark to hang on to. This was a 2:49 but took a lot of effort. The next one was a 2:50 and I finished up with a 2:53 (legs had turned to jelly at this point). The full times were:


I had a discussion with Mark about the exact length of this rep. We both agreed it would be about 920m. So the times are by no means lightning quick but the ground is a little tricky so you have to be careful (tree roots, potholes, etc).

Finished with a 4km warm-down. All up 17km. Pleased to get through this session and the calf seems okay. The knee was good tonight - probably as good as it has been all year. Go figure.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Calf Issue

The niggles continue...

Woke up this morning with a very tight left calf. Tried stretching but didn't seem to be doing much good. Decided to have some massage after work which was absolute agony and I'm not sure if this helped or not. Still very tight and sore. At least today was a scheduled rest day.

Will hope for improvement by tomorrow as I have a very nasty interval session on the cards. Although I am dreading this, it's a session I don't want to miss. Must be sensible though and not run if it's aggravating the problem.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

More of the Same

Started at the Bay as per normal. Ran the Bridges run in approx 1:46 (not sure of the exact time as I stuffed my watch up). I then did a lap of the Bay in 27:49 and followed that up with a very slow 3km warm-down. All up 33km in 2:29.

The knee was same old same old but the left calf was very tight post the hour mark for the remainder of the run. It still feels tight so hopefully resting up until Tuesday evening will allow the old body to recover.

Spotted Worky (Harbour Bridge) and Boots (Bay).

So I think that's 105km for the week. Probably my highest weekly tally ever. I feel very tired and thankful that I only have one more week of high volume training left. I don't think my body would put up with this for much longer. The knee is still a concern but I'll continue to grin and bear it and do all I can to keep it functional (stretch/ice/massage/drugs/prayer).

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Longer Tempo

I decided I would run 2 laps of the Bay at marathon pace. I did a couple of km warm-up and was ready to go. My handicaps today were my heavy joggers (race flats are no good for dodgy knees) and the fact that it was 24 degrees and very humid (not good for the 6 footers).

The first lap came and went in 26:30 and I seemed to feel a bit stronger on the second lap which was 26:28. So this was around 3:47/km pace. So I just need to keep that up for 42.2km and I'll have my sub 2:40....

Ran a couple of km warm-down. All up 18km. The left knee can at best be described as okay. It was a little sore to start with but the pain soon subsided. This will be a familiar story over the coming few weeks...

Tomorrow long and it will no doubt be the Bridges plus some Bay kms.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Massage & Rest

Massage at 7am. Funnily enough the knee didn't pull up too sore after yesterday's assault.

All the focus was on the left quad which was locked up. Elbows, fists and thumbs were involved and the pain was excruciating. It's over now and the knee already feels a lot better. It was like they let off a big pressure valve and I'm hoping this will finally do the trick. I'll rest up the remainder of today and do a longer tempo run tomorrow.

I'm a lot more upbeat after today. Get through Sat and Sun and I'll have another 100km in the bank.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Attacking the Hills

I tried not to think about the left knee today. It was sore and especially painful going up stairs.

Anyway, met up with Baz at Ourimbah and we cruised up to the top of the first hill. Same as yesterday, the knee was painful to start with but the pain soon subsided (in less time - say 10 minutes). The time at the top of the first hill was 14:14 so I was already a minute+ down on last week. The brief tonight was simple, get to the top of the first hill then attack all the remaining hills hard. I quickly picked up the pace and left Baz. I didn't feel great on the hills (it was quite warm), but I gave them all I had. My Achilles heel would be hills and what is quick for me would be slow compared to a decent hill runner. Anyway, I was 31:24 at the roundabout and 48:31 at the T (I blew up running one hill and had to walk for 10 seconds!).

I did a 26:04 loop after the T (13 minutes out and back), again still running the hills hard. Then I ran strong for the remainder of the run despite feeling tired (the second half of the run was cooler which helped). Total time was 1:57:42 (estimate 25km).

So my normal run of the T and back was 1:31:38 which I think is a PB. That was a bit surprising as although I ran hard, I didn't feel like I was killing it. So very pleased with that.

I was absolutely spent at the end of this run. I gave it everything I had. I spent at least 15 minutes at the end drinking, eating and stretching to try and feel normal again. The knee felt good but the damage done won't be known until tomorrow. It feels okay as I write this so fingers crossed.

Massage tomorrow morning and then rest until Saturday.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Kneesy Does It

My left knee was aching during the night and still very sore this morning. I did some stretching at work and decided to try out a lunchtime run. I was expecting pain.

Started off on the grass running very gingerly (some would say gay-like). It was painful every left foot strike. It gradually improved and by the time 15 minutes had elapsed the pain had subsided a lot but there was still a dull ache. I continued on for 10km in just under 45 minutes. At the end I did lots more stretching...

I was expecting the knee to become more painful in the afternoon after I had cooled down (with patella injuries this tends to happen). But it wasn't too bad. Not good by any means, but it had definitely improved post run. I have booked a massage for Friday morning, so I just have to get through Ourimbah on Thursday and hopefully some elbow treatment in the quads will help fix things further.

Maybe I jarred the knee on Tuesday without realising it. Hopefully it gets better still tomorrow. I suppose the good thing is that I still managed to run today and the knee seems marginally better as a result. I have to remain positive.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Chittaway Point

A good crowd today. Me, Baz, Mark, Cain, Jeff and Cale.

I'd started my session early. I ran 5km as a warm-up, then changed into my flats for the dreaded 10 reps. It's not a km, closer to 900m. The instructions were not to run them flat out, keep the times consistent, and alternate 60 secs/90 secs recovery after each rep. Times were as follows:


The last one required more effort, but apart from that it felt pretty good. After the run I was doing a warm-down and noticed my left knee had become very sore (I didn't notice this during my reps). The dreaded left patella. I ran 5km regardless but I fear this may be an issue. I'll see how it is tomorrow. I will definitely need another massage plus lots of stretching.

All up 19km.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Monday Rest

Nothing planned for today. Complete rest and an early night.

The next 2 week I will ramp things up. Longer reps on Tuesday starting with 10 (ten) x 1km at Chittaway Point on Tuesday. Then I'll start attacking the hills hard at Ourimbah on Thursday during my 2 hour hills workout. Tempo run on Saturday and 2.5 hour long runs on Sunday. I'm getting tired at the very thought of it...

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Another Week Completed

I ran 2 laps of the Lane Cove 10km course. Took it easy and finished in 1:29:31 (4:29's).

So that's 80.2km for the week. A good start to the week with the 3km race, but still a bit disappointed with yesterday's 10km. I'll get over it.

The next 2 weeks will be 100km weeks, then I'll taper it down for the half marathon at the end of the month.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

North Head 10km

I had a good feeling about today, the weather was close to perfect and I was tipping a good run.

The race started a little late but we were soon off. The plan was to go out hard and hang on and the first 3km rolled by in 9:54 and I felt in control. But then I started to struggle in the climb after the turn at the stone archway - I found myself hanging on for the next 7km as I continued to slow. I missed the 5km marker but would estimate 17 flat, so I have then run the second half in 17:41 for a total time of 34:41. I was disappointed not to run strong the second half of the race as this is normally where I come into my own. I was overtaken by 2 Striders in the last couple of km and did not have any fight to try and stick with them. Overall I think I made the top 10 so whilst the time was disappointing, the position was good. Perhaps it was a bit humid out there which may have slowed everyone down.

As for the new course.......didn't run well so blame the course! I'm joking, it's still a good quick course but I really felt the long uphills from the turnaround.

All up 15km with warm-up and down. I'll put this down as a mediocre run and move on.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Friday Ponder

Nothing planned today exercise wise.

I seem to be showing signs that I'm in good nick so tomorrow's 10km race could surprise me. I've decided to go out hard (and hang on) to give me the best chance of a sub 34. A top 10 finish would be nice but that's only ever happened once before...

Feeling a bit tired so it will be an early night and hopefully I'll be jumping out of my skin in the morning. Watch this space.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Hills Make You Stronger

Back to the Forest for some mountaineering. I had to run easy tonight and keep the lid firmly on.

I decided to do the T and back (no further) and I completed the run in 1:36:19 (quite quick....). Splits were 13:05 (top of 1st hill), 31:36 (roundabout) , 50:26 (T).

All up 20km and felt very comfortable. Conditions were perfect tonight and the run felt good.

Then afterwards I went to see Gary Numan at the Enmore Theatre. Also enjoyable. So an evening of running, a few pints and live music. Tucked up in bed by 1am.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Lunchtime Trundle

I turned the legs over for 10km at lunch. Decided to put a brake on the pace and just take it easy. Even though it was a bit cooler today the humidity was awful. Anyway finished in 45:36 and did some stretches afterwards.

The left knee is still not right but has definitely improved and no sign of a cold (I was probably a little run down).

Forgot to mention yesterday that I got some new racing flats - very nice indeed. The latest Brooks ST racers. These will be my weapons for London. I may even try them out on Saturday.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

On Track

I dread these 3km races. Tried not to think about it too much all day. I did my usual lap of Hansen's as a warm-up (6.1km). Then a quick change of shoes into my racing spikes and I was on the start line.

It was a red hot line-up tonight - which was a good thing. There would be a few people to try and hang on to. I settled into a nice early rhythm and sat in behind Josh and Dom. I went through the first km in 3:01 and that felt comfortable. I was considering pushing past these 2 but decided to sit there for another km although I could feel the pace had slipped a little. The second km came and went in 3:08 and I decided to push for home. I eased past and tried to open up a gap. Whilst I dropped Dom, Josh sat in behind me and out-kicked me on the last lap. I finished in 9:11 so very happy with that. A 3:02 last km was a nice way to finish.

Lots of positives to take out of this race. I was 18 seconds quicker than last month and to be honest this race felt a lot easier. Despite having not done much speedwork I ran a quick time purely off my strength training.

For the record I finished 4th overall! Mark ran 8:36 and is in a league of his own. Then Matt and Josh finished just in front of me. A sub 9 is not too far away if I keep improving at this rate.

Finished off the night with another lap of Hansen's as a warm-down. All up 15.2km.

Monday, March 02, 2009


Nothing planned today.

I feel a bit sniffly - please don't be a cold!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Sunday Long

I rattled out a repeat of the last few weeks. The Bridges run was completed in 1:47, then a sub 28 minute lap of the Bay, then a couple of km slow warm-down. All up 32km in 2:25. I'm getting slightly quicker each week - that's not intentional, I think it's more a sign of improved running efficiency.

Total for the week 92km. I'm pleased with the week given the poor start. Now it's time to wind it back and freshen up for the 2 races on Tuesday and Saturday.

The last 5 weeks would go down as my highest ever block of training. I've been averaging over 90kms which is big for me. Next week we will see what sort of shape I'm in. I certainly feel like I have lots of strength but leg-speed remains a concern. Hopefully the speed will come...

On a side note my wife and I went out to Doyle's at Watson's Bay for our anniversary lunch. Very nice indeed. And I had my first alcohol in over 4 weeks - a few glasses of wine and a beer. Boy did it taste good.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Tempo Tempo

It was a family outing to the Bay this morning. I had no excuses at the ready (well if I was being really picky it was slightly too warm).

Ran 4km warm-up, then a tempo Bay lap, then 4km down. This week was a bit quicker (24:05) so pleased with that (3:27's). On this form I'll be looking to run sub 34:20 next week at North Head.

All up 15km. And the last day of my beer drought....

Friday, February 27, 2009

Turn The Legs Over

Decided to run a very easy 10km. Legs were a bit stuff after yesterday's long run so this would help with recovery. Plus I wanted to keep the kms up after missing Tuesday.

10km in 46:33. Just nice to run easy with no specific target. Call it junk kms if you will....

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Worm Has Turned

I was really up for this session. It was nice and cool and I wanted to smash myself.

Usual Thursday run at the State Forest. I was 13:03 at the top of the hill, 30:47 at the roundabout and 47:37 at the T. I was working the hills which made for a nice change as previously it has all been about survival. It didn't feel like I was flying but it did feel really easy.

Did an extra 26:22 loop past the T and then picked up the pace again coming back. I met up with Baz just before the roundabout and we ran back together. The pace had fallen away slightly but we were still shifting.

Total time was 1:59:48 for say 25km. So a quicker time than last week with an extra km thrown in. I could have gone a fair bit faster so this run has given me a bag of confidence.

For the record the time for the T and back was 1:33:26 so my quickest so far this year and only 1 minute slower than my PB. If only every session felt this easy.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

10km Easy(ish)

Today was to be the am I or am I not injured test.

Usual 10km lunchtime route. All felt good and no calf pain. I picked up the pace in places as I was feeling a bit guilty about missing the session yesterday, plus I wanted to test the calf. All up I covered the 10km in 40:46 (4:05's) so pleased with that given the warm weather. Very happy to pull up with no soreness either - it seems I have dodged another bullet.

Having a couple of days off isn't a bad thing. I had freshened up no-end. Normal training to resume tomorrow with a trip to Ourimbah for the hills from hell....

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

More Ouch

Massage at 7am. It seems I have a knot or maybe a small tear that should settle down in a day or so. I was given a good going over and although the calf let off slightly with lots of massage, it soon tightened up again.

So I canned the 8 x 1km reps I had planned for today. Instead I will take another rest day.

I'll try a lazy 10km tomorrow and see how I pull up. Fingers crossed it is only a minor setback.

Monday, February 23, 2009


I woke up this morning with a very stiff calf - not good. Tried stretching it, but didn't seem to be doing much cop. Feeling around the calf there was definitely a very sore spot with what seemed like a lump. Anyway, I made an apt to have a massage just as a precaution for tomorrow.

No run was planned today so nothing was lost.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Raises the Bat

Another repeat of last Sunday. I need to come up with some new stuff to keep it interesting.

Ran the 23km Bridges run in 1hr 48. Then a 28 minute lap of the Bay. Then a couple of kms as a warm down. All up 32km in 2:26 and change.

Total for the week 100.8km. I think I've only ever run 100km+ on a couple of occasions so this was a big effort. In summary it has been an up and down sort of week. Started the week feeling I was getting sick. Managed to dodge that bullet and had a good track session. Then the heat returns and I struggle. Finished with an okay long run but the right calf feels very tight. Maybe another massage required...

I'll do one more week of big kms then ease off for the 3km on the track and the Striders 10km the following week. These 2 races will be the first indication of current form. I certainly don't feel like I'm shooting the lights out but lets remain positive.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

A Hot Lap

A repeat of last Saturday's session. Venue - the Bay. 4km up and down with a tempo lap thrown in the middle. Time was 24:44 which was a bit slower than last week. But conditions were not great - very, very, humid. I was sweating buckets even after a slow warm-up.

Total of 15km. Never good to be getting slower but the weather gave me a good excuse.

Tomorrow long. Might even crack triple figures for the week....

Friday, February 20, 2009

Sort of Rest

Easy 10km at lunchtime. It was hot, I was slow (45:49), nuff said. Knee still improving.

No beer for 20 days now. I'm spitting feathers of the ostrich variety. March the 1st falls on a Sunday. Which is nice.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Forest of Hate

Same run again starting at Palmdale.

I was 13:52 at the top of the first hill and 33:27 at the roundabout. Reached the T in 52:22. Wasn't feeling particularly great, a little low on energy, plus the heat (30 degrees) knocking me around. I did an extra 20 minutes or so past the T (10 mins out and back) and finished up with a total of 2:00:43. The time to the T and back would be 1:40:03 so a little slower than last week.

I still think I'm recovering from that killer massage. All up 24km. Oh yeah, the left knee - definitely an improvement but it still needs to settle down a bit.

I may do 10km easy tomorrow as I missed this run on Wednesday. I'll see how I feel.

Plus Conor said his first words today: "Da da". Well done son!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


The massage ranked as the second most painful of all time. No surface stuff, straight in with deep massage. Made all the worse when 2 decided to have a go at the same time (one to hold me down and the other with an elbow and full weight behind it in my abductors). Not pleasant. I left there as white as a ghost and feeling quite ill. Still my left knee felt a lot better.

No point running today as I needed the recovery time. My left quad was sore to touch and I was convinced it was going to bruise. Seems okay though.

No pain no gain....

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

4 Lappers

Was still not feeling great today but thankfully no worse. It was threatening heavy rain all day but by some miracle it held off.

Started with a lap of Hansen's Road. Then on the track for 4 x 1600m. Target time was 5:30 and I had to work 100m of each lap (the back straight) to break it up a bit. I ran the first one in 5:18 and that felt very comfortable. Recovery was a very slow jog/walk lap (approx 4 minutes - very ample). The next 3 were 5:17, 5:17 and 5:17. Felt very good throughout and was never struggling. These were run at a similar pace to my 800's from last week but they felt so much easier. Finished with another lap of Hansen's as a warm-down. All up 19.8km.

Probably my best session of the year so far (and I was convinced I was getting sick). Knee was a little sore but hopefully the deep massage will help sort that out.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Monday Caution

Woke up this morning not feeling the full 100% - a bit of a sore throat. Not a good sign. So being a bit paranoid, I proceeded to take some Nurofen, a Berocca, tea with honey, etc.

Not getting any worse so hopefully I feel back to my normal self tomorrow. And to help with my knee I have made another apt for a massage on Wednesday morning. It will be all elbows to the ready in the left quad.

Finally, I entered the Sydney half today. I got a preferred start which is handy. Not sure I'll be in great nick after spending 2 weeks on the shant in England and Ireland....

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Long Run Day

Started from the Bay and ran the Bridges Run (23km and a bit) in 1hr 49. Then ran a 7km lap of the Bay in under 28 minutes, then 2km warm-down. All up 32km in 2:26:39 and conditions were great.

Felt good during the Bay lap and the pace felt quite comfortable. It's very important to run some of your longer runs at something near marathon pace. I don't buy into the theory that it doesn't matter what pace you run your long runs at, it's all about time on your feet. Well if I was doing all my long runs at say 4:45/km pace, and on race day I'm looking to run close to one minute/km quicker, then after a while my body simply says "nah, forget this". Well that's my opinion and I'm sure it's not the same for everyone.

So another week on and that's 94.5km for the week. Definitely making progress now and feel like I've gone up a level. My only concern is my left knee - I'm beginning to sound like a broken record.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Bay

Conor slept in until 8:30am this morning. What a god send.

Drove to the Bay as I wanted to run on the flat for a change. Conditions were perfect - nice and cool and not too windy.

Ran 4km as a warm-up (2km out and back). Then ran a tempo lap in 24:26 (3:30/km) which I was very happy with. Then another 4km warm-down. All up 15km.

If conditions hold up there should be some good times run at Homebush tonight. I would have loved to run 10km on the track but it doesn't really fit with my training at the moment.

Tomorrow is going to be a long 2hr 30 run. I'm going to throw in 7km at sub 4 minute km pace after running for 1hr 45mins. That should be fun.