Thursday, 12 December 2013

Two Bays training - My approach

While I've been having fun running around in the 2XU Compression socks, there's also been some serious training going on. 

A challenging 28km Two Bays Trail run is only a calendar month away. The nerves are starting to bubble about, as is the growing excitement of a return race. A return race? Have you been injured? What are you returning from? It's a return race because I have some demons to beat from last years run.  

While I loved the run last year, I cramped up and hit the wall at about the 22km mark. I had ran at a hard but comfortable pace up until then before my quads and calves met Mr Lactic and his friend Mr Acid. 

With 6 kms to go I had to revert to the run-walk-run walk method to finish the run. Yes, I was stoked with my 2:40 time, but now I'm hungry for more. 

I'm hungry for more pace. I'm hungry for a stronger finish. I'm hungry for a finish closer to the single digits. 

So what have I done differently this time round? For a start I had some professional technique coaching done in July this year. I feel a lot stronger with my running and a lot more efficient. 

I've also been training under my amazing Sister-in-law, Bec from Staying Power Health and Fitness Coaching. 

Running under a program devised especially for Thisfish, Bec has introduced me into a wide variety of run session throughout the week. 

My LSD or EZ (slow) runs have been a mix of pure trail running with the Dandy Runners ranging from 75 - 120 minutes as the last three months have built. I've been running over a variety of terrain with a couple of flat half marathon distance runs at my 150BPM Heart Rate training zone. 

My Tempo runs have started to really push me. Bec has had me running between 8-12kms once a week at paces varying from 4:30 min/k down to 4:00min/k or my own 'predicted' or 'wishful' race pace. If you want torture, try the 5 x 2km builds. Start at 5:00 or 4:45min km pace and increase the speed by 15 sec/minute pace every 2km. I ended up running my last 2km at 3:45 pace. Ouch!

I have done Wind Sprints - think about finding the steepest possible hill that is at least 2.5km or about 1.5 miles long and then run it for as long as possible at a the hardest sustainable pace. This is a killer on the legs but great for endurance.

She has introduced me to 1 - 1.2km hill circuit AMRAPS (As Many Reps As Possible) that last for 30 minutes. Yup, start that first rep quickly and then realise that you have to do it again and again, and then squeeze one more rep in before the clock stops. 

Finally I have been loving my weekly or fortnightly track sessions. I have been able to get my sustainable 1km time down to 3:20 off 200m walking recovery. 
I've hit regular 2:50-2:55 800ms with 400m float recoveries. 

So, now to keep training smarter and that little bit harder for the next three weeks and get the right taper. 

Two Bays, I'm coming for you!

You can also follow the training updates and find all the stats and distances on my Facebook page: Thisfishcanrun Come and join the conversation!

Cheers, and I hope to see you out there or hear from you soon, 


Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Running like a child - My boys first 'fun' run

Thoughts I'll never know
As he stares down the race corridor, what is he thinking? Is it a long way? Will I run fast? Will other kids be faster? Why am I still waiting here? Can I go for a ride on Thomas? 

On Sunday my little fella participated in his first 'run' run. It was the 3 year old race at the "Run with Thomas" day in Gembrook, Victoria. 

"Thomas" is an old steam train on narrow gauge track, with a Thomas the Tank Engine face mounted on the front. My little guy was going to run against with Thomas the Tank Engine. 

The little fella loves to run along the trail behind our house as we walk as a family. He will run up and down the street to the neighbours down the road, and as all kids do, round and round the house when we are trying to get organised. 

So there we were on Sunday morning, staring down the 150m corridor that was to be his first fun run. As a running dad I was offering all sorts of advice - just have fun, run as fast as you can, don't stop - keep going. Then the parents had to step back and let all of the kids move to the front. It was a strange feeling moving away and letting go of all control. I was nervous for him, excited for him and very proud as well. 

He was all smiles - posing for pictures for the photographers, laughing at the clowns doing warm ups - trying to do the warm ups and looking at Thomas who was puffing away about 20m to our left. 

The Fat Controller (oops, Sir Top and Tails now) rang the bell and the kids were off! Well, most of them were. My little guy just stood where he was, seemed to take it all in and then decided to run after the field. I couldn't have been prouder, watching those little legs go and the arms kind of half hanging by his side, half pumping away as he took off. Watching little kids run is rather amusing. They all ran in a similar way. When does that moment happen when just running becomes running?

I was incredibly proud to watch him run the whole way, to where mum, his sister, the grandparents and a few of the great-grandparents were waiting for him at the finish. 

As I jogged up to the finish his face was beaming. He was barely out of breath and was telling anyone within earshot about his running. He was telling them how he beat Thomas, and can we go for a ride on him, and I'm hungry - what's to eat! 

I gave him a high five and scored an enormous cuddle. 

Can we go on Thomas dad? I'm hungry - what's to eat? 

Maybe that's what he was thinking as we waited at the start about 10 minutes ago. I'll never know.

Earlier I mentioned my wondering about when kids 'run' as we adults would. His sister was in the 5 year older run and she was determined to win. Her age was against her as she had just turned 5 in August. The ages were determined by on the day age so some of the girls were almost 10 months older than her - a big difference in a child's growth and development. 

Mum took her down to the start and I was on catching duty at the end. As we all waited for them to round the corner the nerves were high. Suddenly all heads turned as the kids came into view. There were lots of smiles and a few determined faces. With a keen dad eye I managed to spot her out, near the front of the field. She was running well and was clearly second of all the girls. The little lady who won the race had made that transition from a child running to a little athlete with great form. She will be a very strong runner.

My little girl ultimately came second, about 10m behind the winner and about 10m again from the next lot of girls. She now has that natural lean and quick leg turn over, but there is still that natural flaying or not flaying of the arms and her growing legs have a bit of a gangly stride. But you know what? She loves running and that’s something that can’t really be taught. One day it will all come together and then I think dad will have to look out, or at least have a very competitive training partner in about 10 years!

On the treasure hunt!
Again the pride displayed on her face was priceless. She was puffing and panting but very pleased with herself. Of course she wanted to win and we thought there may have been tears when she was second, but to her credit she took it very well. It’s amazing what the lure of a Thomas show bag and a picnic in the park can do…. Me, I was as proud as punch for both of them.

To the organisers of the Run with Thomas day in Gembrook, a big big thank you! Our children had an absolute blast.

To them the run was epic, the show bags priceless and searching for Thomas and his friends in the ‘Treasure hunt’ made for a wonderful day. 

So, the next time you grab the watch/gps, music player, pack full of gels, ask yourself do you really need them? 

Try just going for a run. Run quickly, go far to slow, go and find out what's around the next corner. Be like your kids or nieces and nephews or the little tackers down the street that just seem to run everywhere. 

Cheers for now, Lachie

Friday, 15 November 2013

2XU Compression Performance Sock - Trail review and testing

When 2XU asked me to road test their new 2XU Compression Performance Socks (A link to the full website specs) I was super stoked. Of course road testing was going to be changed to 'trail' testing! Why the trail? I am in a 'loving the single track' phase where the trails are tight and twisty and the undergrowth is often tearing at your heels and calves. Any muscular support and protection from the scrub gives you that little extra confidence in your run and ultimately that competitive edge. Do I want to be my performance to be 2Xs as good? You betcha! So, when a package arrived two days later I couldn't wait to get into it and get those socks on.

The socks are packed in a cracking little box which looks impressive.
My 2XU Performance Compression Socks arrived!
With an Aussie retail of $50 it does feel like a premium product - that's a lot of money for a pair of socks. Opening the box I was blown away by the Vibrant Blue Canary Yellow combination. How on Earth am I going to make this work with the trade mark red race top and lime inov-8 wragg?

Luckily I also enjoy running in my blue Nike Pro Compression top, phew! The first challenge is getting these Compression Performance Socks on. I have two other pairs of compression socks which I'll mention later, so I was prepared for the compression sock dance that is required to get them on, a little like the compression tight jiggle. 

As this is a trail test, I have to have a starting point for comparison. How else can we tell if they any good? I have an older pair of the 2XU Elite Race Socks which I love - the only problem is they are white. Great for running out on the road and slipping on under the jeans for recovery but I haven't been brave enough to wear them on the trails. I've also got some Sugoi R & R compression socks which are a very cool black - good for the trails but I’ve ended up using them under the suit for post run recovery during the week.

2XU had obtained my shoe size and sent my socks out in the small. As I lie right on the size border I may have elected to get my traditional x- small. As you will see, I am glad they sent me the small. 1st thing, these are seriously compressive. If you going to wear these socks, allow a good few minutes to get them on. After gathering them up I tried pulling them on - bam they are tight. In fact, they are almost frustratingly tight. It took a lot of convincing of my feet to get them on, and I don’t have particular wide feet. Once they were on they felt amazing. The PWX fabric is quite thick, but also thin at the same time. I think they will breathe well.

As luck or bad luck would have it, I landed funnily on my ankle while playing around with the kids and had a little residual ankle pain, along with a little calf tightness. This road test was going to start right now with the 'recovery' phase. The website touts ‘Graduated fit to promote circulation for muscle performance and faster recovery’ and ‘Heightened proprioception – awareness of limb placement for agility’.  As soon as I started to walk around I could feel little twitches in my calf muscles, both along the main muscle at the back and my anterior muscles where I have been a little tight. I think this was the heightened proprioception as I certainly knew where any tightness or niggles were. Within minutes I had forgotten the socks were on, which is a big tick for something that was initially so tight. To achieve the performance multiplication that these socks provide, they have been engineered to meet the standards of medical compression. They are a step up from the older Elite Race Socks. 
I like this part of the test!
Love the blue and yellow...

As the wife was out for the evening it was time to put the feet up and ‘Rest, Ice (not this time), Compression (oooh yeah) and Elevation.’ By the end of the evening my legs felt quite relaxed. Getting the socks off was just as challenging and fun. If there is an easy method, I’ve got to work it out! The next morning my ankle felt really good and I was able to do some light barefoot running with the kids as they played out the front.

On Sunday morning I had planned a trail run with the ThisFishCanRun Facebook group and the Dandenong Trail Runners. With my gear ready I spent another couple of minutes getting the Compression Performance socks on and hit the trails. Interestingly once again I could feel my calves twitching in the car on the way. On the morning I was the only one in Compression socks, but I think that will change next time. The initial real world response to the colours was mixed. A few of the crew thought they were a little out there, while others thought I’d matched up my top and socks really well. Me, I felt confident and loved them.

Plenty to catch you out here...
The trails we tackled were mainly undulating single track which was starting to get a little overgrown, with a couple of 10-17% climbs on quite slippery, muddy trails to keep us honest.  Through the single track (narrow paths really only suitable for single file) the course had many twists and turns, ups and downs and a few leaps over logs for good measure. To move at pace required quick and nimble steps and sure footing, just the thing I was hoping the Compression Performance socks would provide. To be honest, I felt really good. I’ve always loved the grip of my Trailrocs and the added support and structure of the compression socks gave me that little bit of an edge, knowing that I could plant my feet, and that my ankles and calves were well supported and would respond just how I wanted them to. As the day before had been quite wet our shoes soon wet through and I could feel the socks start to get that wet sock feeling. I did feel a little concerned that my feet would slide a little but after a few minutes that feeling lessoned as the socks/shoes drained. Perhaps some additional grip points might help if these were to be a true trail sock as you natural encounter a lot more twists and sudden movements that you don’t encounter on a wet road.

As we raced through the scrub and undergrowth I could feel ferns, blade grasses and sticks catching on my shoes and the socks. At one stopping point a couple of the other runners pointed out some new scrapes and scratches. Me, the 2XU socks provided great protection and nothing came close to leaving a mark. In fact when I got home I noticed quite a few grazes and pulls, almost to the point of tears in my Skins A400 compression shorts. 
The PWX material did not
catch or tear like this.
Although my thighs had been protected from the bush, these shorts had not held up as well as the thicker PWX weave in the 2XU Performance Compression Socks. This is another big plus for trail runners.

In all we covered 17km or just over 10 miles. In the past I’ve had a little tightness in my calves nearing the end of the hills that we ran, this time my calves still felt strong. My hammies were however a little sore.

So I took them out and got them dirty. I hope 2XU was expecting that. How well did they wash up? After a spin in the machine they came out as good as new. The following day I was able to put them under the jeans for a little added recovery. Again I got that heightened sense of muscle proprioception but by the days end and after a little stretching I had my full range of movement back. Earlier I mentioned my older 2XU Elite Race Socks. I’ve had these for a couple of years now. Although they’ve greyed a little, they are still hold their shape just as well as when they were new.
If the new Compression Performance Socks are constructed to the same level then they will be with my for years The Sugoi socks never felt as though they had the same level of compression and are now starting to tear apart at the ankles after just 9 months. This lack of compression for me, lead them to fall slightly when I was running which is why I wore them as a recovery aid.
So, are the new 2XU Performance Compression socks worth the premium price tag? As an avid trail runner, yes.

The PWX material is extremely compressive and does give a heightened sense of muscle awareness. If you have the older Elite Race socks these are certainly worth the investment as an upgrade. 
I found that they provided exceptional protection from the undergrowth and scrub on the trails. While some of the others runners ended up nursing cuts and scrapes, I was as good as gold.

Performance wise I had complete confidence in my feet, ankles and calves as I knew exactly how they were feeling. I do question possible slippage in the shoe when they are wet. If I get a really wet run in these socks I'll post an update.

I found them to be extremely comfortable as a recovery sock, although I don’t think I could get away with the blue under my suit pants.

In summary I really enjoyed running in the 2XU Compression Performance socks. The socks can be picked up at any good sports store or online. My Aussie and Kiwi readers can hit up 2XU Australia, or TCL Sports or 2XU UK you’re reading from a European location.

As always, enjoy your running,

Cheers, Lachie 

*These socks were provided by 2XU to be road tested by ThisFishCanRun. I hope that I've been able to give an honest insight as to how I got along with the 2XU Performance Compression Socks. 

Thursday, 10 October 2013

A year in reflection - ThisFishCanRun turns 1!

How to start this post? Always the question I ask. This post is a reflection of the 2012/2013 season, or a wrap up of my first year of blogging.
An epic way to wake up - getting out to run this trail!
During the week I was looking back through the blog and some of my earlier contacts with to see where I have come from as a runner and where I hope to go in the future.

This is what I found:
12 months ago I started writing as thisfish and I set myself some goals that I hoped to achieve:
·        To finish in the top 10% of each of the races I entered.
·        To hopefully place in the top 10 of a race.
·        To work towards bringing my 5k time down to break the 20 minute barrier.
·        To work towards bringing my 10k time down to break the 40 minute barrier and
·        Run a sub 1:30 – 90 minute ½ marathon.

So, how successful was I in meeting my goals?

In the races I entered this year, I was successful in achieving a top 10% finish in all of them except for three. In the 2013 Two Bays run I finished 180th, a massive effort in my first real trail run. In April I entered the Geelong Half Marathon after a week of illness and finished in the top 50% and a month later I took 8 minutes off my 2011 Puffing Billy ‘The Great Train Race’ time and finished in the top 13%.
It looks like thisfish is flying...

Was I able to obtain a top 10 finish? Yes,in the Marysville 10km race in November I finished 5th, my first taste of success. Throughout the Rapid Ascent Salomon series I went from strength to strength and managed two top 20 finishes, one that saw me place 9th in my division and another that placed me 12th. To then finish the series in 7th place  overall was an amazing feeling, and I’m already thinking about how I can push for a top 5, if not a podium placing in next year’s series. I was a little behind the leaders who ran some incredible times, but with a little luck and the right determination I might just be able to take that next step.

Did I break the 20 minute barrier over 5kms? Yes, in training I have achieved that three times, but it’s only official on my phone (and mapmyrun account) and on the Garmin watch. Perhaps I might have to find a nice local 5km event and see what I can do on the right day.

Breaking the 40 minute 10km? No not yet but I can feel it happening soon.
One thing I will take away this year is learning to run faster through my initial experimentation with breathing techniques and timing, and then taking it to another level with my Pose coaching experience with Sally.

I can now say that I do know how to run fast. In my weekly training I can regularly hit 3:25-3:35 minute/km during my interval sessions. Yes, it takes considerable effort and focus on technique to get to that speed, but I can do it in a fairly relaxed and comfortable form with just a little in reserve, rather than the all-out exertion it required in the past. What I am now learning to do and training my body to do is to push these out to 1.1k, then 1.2 k to build my endurance with less recovery running or rest in between, with the ideal outcome stretching these out to a 5k streak. I also love my regular track work sessions.

Time to follow this advice!
My goals for 2014 are to again finish in the top 10% of each of my races, and I’m going to really push the desire to look for a few genuine top 10 finishes in the trail racing scene, hopefully finding a podium finish somewhere along the line. I’ve re-entered the Two Bays 28km run in January and will rerun the Salomon Series in 2014, as well as looking to enter the Rollercoaster run and a few of the Trails+ 10k events.

I've also put in my application for 'Team inov-8'

So, thanks for reading over the past year and I’m really looking forward to seeing what next year brings and hearing about how all of you guys are going as well. 

Would you mind sharing your goals with our running community? Comment here on the Thisfishcanrun Facebook thread. 

Cheers and happy goal meeting for 2013/14!


Be like thisfish and get your gear from Wiggle! Yes, it supports this blog :)

Friday, 4 October 2013

Thisfishcanrun goes Facebook

Good evening cheery readers. I was looking back at the blog recently and realised that it is almost ThisFishes birthday! That's right, my first post was almost 12 months ago on 18/10/2012.

So much has happened since then. My running has improved phenomenally and hopefully my writing has as well. 

I've had some great adventures with my family and I'm feeling great.

I've enjoyed some brilliant training runs with the Dandy Trail Runners group, met some inspirational inov-8 athletes and really enjoyed following all my favourite bloggers from here in Australia and to those in the States and Canada. 

In racing land I've been able to meet my top 10% goal in nearly all my runs and even had success in placing in the top 10 for my division in the Salomon trail series.

So whats next? I've got some new personal running goals to set for the next 12 months and beyond. 

To sort of celebrate I've launched the Thisfishcanrun Facebook page. This will be where the little things happen: Training updates (yes some facts and figures and trail stories), running and training questions and 'running community discussion' starters and hopefully a little more. 

So, if you're out their in Facebook land, like Thisfishcanrun and join in on the fun. 

Cheers for now, much more to come! 

Monday, 23 September 2013

2013 Salomon Trail Series - Race 4 results

Well folks, the 4th of the Rapid Ascent Salomon Trail Series has been run and done. 

I was able to get the family to the 1st of the races in Kew, and it was brilliant to have them come and cheer me home at Anglesea on Sunday. 

I had entered the 'medium' race series with the intention of enjoying the trail racing circuit in a range of new locations and hopefully racing with some level of success. 

Earlier this year I set my racing target of finishing in the top 10% of each race. So far I have hit that goal and more , especially in the Salomon series where I have finished top 35 @ Kew, top 15 and top 10 divisional @ Studley Park and in the top 20 at Silvan. I had set a secondary goal of finishing in the overall top 50 for the entire series, so you could imagine my excitement when the September newsletter hit my inbox and I was sitting 4th in my male 20 -39 division! Woo hoooo! So I was equal 4th with 6th only 3 'placings' behind over the first three races. Things were looking pretty damn exciting! 

So it was with a little in-trepidation that I made my way down to the race expo at Anglesea. How would I go? What would the field be like today? Would the conditions suit me? 

As dad dropped me, off I saw inov-8 athlete and trail racing superstar Brendan Davies making his way across the car park towards race headquarters. Brendan had run in Saturdays Surf Coast Century 100km event, finishing an epic 3rd, in an amazing 8 hours 55 minutes. I was a little bold and caught up with Brendan to say G'day and congratulate him on his efforts in the SCC 100. For such a superstar, Brendan is an amazingly humble and welcoming guy (perhaps the inov-8 wragg and the trailrocs broke the ice). We eased into a great conversation about his run yesterday and what our plans were for today's race (yes, he was backing it up with the 14km race today). I was also lucky enough to meet inov-8s Shona Stephenson who battled out an incredible 55km before having to pull out. Shona was also such a welcoming person to talk to, and she was chomping at the bit to get out and run... I can't thank Shona and Brendan enough for their words of encouragement and the way they the two of them made me feel like I was one of the family. I had to be a groupie and ask for a happy snap!

Ultra elite atheltes - ThisFish with invo-8s Brendan Davies and Shona Stephenson

Well, time had come and I made my way down to the beach for the race start. I caught up with a few of the Dandy runners: Patricia, Travis, Bryan and Lucy (who had finished 2nd in the 100km and was also running again!!!). It was a little quieter down there without CammoMan.

The gun went and we took off down the beach for a 300ish out and back section on the sand before smashing our way through river mouth and up onto the path that lead us along the clifftop beside the caravan park. I settled into a moderate pace and was enjoying the atmosphere, but was soon hit by a bunch of doubts. I was thinking about my pace, was it fast enough, could I hold it, why was my calf talking to me so early and 'what am I doing here?' 

The course elevation and map
After a while we turned off the paved path and onto a gravel track that started the first climb. It wasn't steep but it was constant. I played cat and mouse for a while with a number of runners, mainly Emily who I had raced home in the 3rd race and the leading females. At this stage I was happy to let them pull ahead, but I was always just a corner behind them. The race then hit the trails and the fun factor was ramped up big time. 

If anything, I'm calling that this race was the best 'instinct' running. There were low and fallen trees, massive bush grasses and shrubs trackside puddles and ruts all over the trails. It was truly the time to run on instinct, as when you weren't running through a puddle or sidestepping and angling up the track to avoid the holes and scrub you were ducking a branch or having a near miss with a tree (and I'm all of 5"6!). It was why trail running is dangerous, but also such great fun. 

The trail continued to climb, and the twists took a little of the sting out of it. But damn the legs were starting to hurt. The game of chasey continued as I passed a few and had a few stronger runners pass me. The doubts were starting to disappear as I enjoyed constant challenges being thrown at us by the trails. 

About 7k in we reached the peak and went down this amazing descent through the bush on a steeply raked track that had all sorts of twists and turns. The terrain was quite varied, dirt, rock and a little sand and I don't think there was a stretch that was straight for more than 50m. You really had to be quick on your feet and just hit your mark. This is the section where I felt most at home and was able to make up some ground on the runners ahead. LOVED IT!

The trail flattened out before another climb and I was able to pace really well with those in front. We passed the Hydralite station and after a quick top up started on a short section of gravel road which was really soft under foot. This soon leveled out before it became another risky and fast downhill section. I call it risky as it was a little clayey and extremely rutted. You ran at your own risk - I had a massive smile on my dial. From here it turned into the last of the climbs as we headed back up to the cliff top track. I was able to pace well but could feel the enthusiasm starting to lag. I managed to run with a few other runners and had a bit of a motivational chat as we neared the top. From here it hit the Surf Coast trail path and leveled out a fraction before the most crazy section of the trail - rather large boulders pretending to be stairs with hairpin turns. It was a real high speed high risk section. I remember saying few choice words about this part of the trail and wishing it would end. I just wanted to get out safely

As it bottomed out we ran along some great little boardwalks and the gravel trail again, mingling with the short course runners. A few of the runners I had been running with pulled ahead and I steeled my nerves to try and hang on my placing. My watch said we were about 13km in and I thought it was closer to 15km to the line, so I plugged on, just wanting to see the beach again and that finish line. I dug a little deeper and as we entered the path along the caravan park I figured we were close to the end. 

Finally we turned onto the little ramp that hits the beach and it was game on. I could hear my family in the distance 'wheres daddy? he must be coming soon) and the adrenaline hit. It's amazing what a little voice saying 'there's daddy!' can do for you. From there it was all smiles as I made one last crossing of the river mouth and waved to the kids and my mum and pushed it hard to the big blue flags that lined the finishing chute. 
So the tide was out....
My emotions - relief and excitement. I was relived that I had finished, that I had battled a few demons and made it to the end. I was excited about what I had achieved and that my family were there to celebrate it with me. 

If you know me your waiting for the stats... Well as posted here they are:
43rd over the line, (top 10%!) and 29th in my division. 

When I looked at the quality of the field today I am stoked with my finish. Did I retain that 4th position in the overall standings? I think it was great to see while it was there but... I'm super stoked to finish up equal 7th! Woooohoooo!

The trail running bug has certainly bit me, I've got 12 months to enjoy the Dandenongs and fine tune my technique, build up my endurance and learn to run faster and harder. 

Rapid Ascent, can I sign up for 2014? - get your Aussie inov-8 gear here - fish10 makes it cheaper!

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Salomon Trail Series - Silvan Dam - 2013 Race Three results

Not the trail...
Another race, has come and done, with this post I’ll share the fun!

The week before was wild and windy, cold and wet.
Yet at Sundays start the weather was clear,
So the Fish lined up, his mind all set. 

The gun went off and so did the Fish,
He had a plan, to go out hard and run near the lead,
How long would it last? To the end was his wish.

Now this is where the plan went astray...  

So much for easing the runners in as they hit the first hill,
The Fish ran with the pack, he would ease right in, let others lead the way.
The climb was gradual, the track was tight.
Shadowing those running on in front,
Quick, nimble steps, dodging trees and ferns, a turn to the left and then the right.

The famous saying, what goes up must come down 
(Now he pushed, gave it a crack),
So at the crest an additional burst, accelerate beyond the rise!
The descent began, then another hill, don’t drop back.

At 5ks in the Fish felt good,
All runners kept on moving, past tracks and tanks,
The climb ahead, he understood
Would make or break a runners heart.
His mind not to be deterred by those running ahead,
When the going gets the tough he’d make his move
To run this hill was the plan from the start.

As the ascent went up and the track became more brutal,
The pace now slowed from a race to a crawl.
Some racers pushed on, some held back or kept things in check.
The Fish made his move and gave it his all.
To master this climb you needed light steps and good form,
So the Fish picked up his cadence and attacked to the top.
Taking care with his feet, slippery tracks after the storm.

It was brutal, it was tough.
How long could he push it, picking up a few places,
The mind saying stop it, the legs screaming enough!
As the peak was then reached the Fish was relived.
But from here, the course was yet to ease,
To succeed you push on, was what the Fish firmly believed.

Just when you thought the ascent was done
And a fast descent let the legs get loose,
The killer climb had now begun.
The track was steep and made of mud
Below his feet the slipping, oh what fun,
Grabbing at branches to keep going forward and avoid a thud!

Two more climbs were to lie ahead,
So not to walk a hill was the plan. 
But the degree of difficulty would make you draw breath with dread.

Movement here was slow and steady,
Each new step closer to those in front and the peak.
Breathing relaxed, pushing on and ready.
Finally almost 10ks had gone by,
The depth of the run had be conquered.
Two runners ahead, now the Fish would try.

To reel them in k by k
As the track went down, the speed went up,
That long downhill stretch, the fastest of the day.
The last of the bush was entered with pace,
Another sign here, another turn there.
A runner only just ahead, it was time to race

The single track was was fun, it was epic
Twists and turns, still dodging more trees and ferns
At long last we burst onto the road, finally giving hills the flick.
Medium and long distances combined,
They all hit the road for the short stretch home.
Some passed the Fish, just one more burst could he find?

A final right and a short short track,
Past the car park and to the line.
The Fish dug deep, for one final crack!
Powering on past the longer runners,
Where would he finish?
The elation, no other finish had been any funner!

14kms and some epic hills,
Amazing scenery and a crazy track!
The Fish was lucky to avoid some spills,
To finish 17th and was a massive thrill.

This run was the most challenging of the Salomon three,
And almost more fun than last at Lower Plenty.

So now I sign off, to prepare for the last
Bring it on at Anglesea!

Get your inov-8s from, remember fish10 makes them cheaper :)

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Feeling goooooood

Good morning all, 

Nothing fancy to report today, other than I'm feeling good and pumped about the third of the Salomon Trail series runs on Sunday. 

It's 14km of undulating hills and with a couple of serious climbs. Best of all it's only 6km from my place. 

So this morning I took to the tready for a fast interval session:

800m x 2 @ 3:18km pace or 5:52 mile pace on 1% incline

600m x 2

400m x 2

200m x 2 at 1.5% and 3:00km pace to bring it home.

Each repeat was off 2 minutes full recovery. 

It felt good. I could have pushed it out to the full km but that wasn't the purpose of this session. 

I focused on my quick cadence and breathing and it all came together. 

Bring on Sunday!!!

Cheers, the Fish

Monday, 19 August 2013

My inov-8 f-lite 252 review - the perfect running shoe?

Hello again fans of trail running and inov-8 shoes. 

I think I've found the perfect running shoe - the inov-8 f-lite 252. (following the link will support this blog) put them out there on sale and I couldn't resist.

I've gone for the black and lime f-lite 252 - a perfect amalgamation of my black inov-8 Road lite 155s and my lime green inov-8 trailroc 235s! There's even a hint of the red from the blue bare x-lite 150s and the Road X 233s. 

Thought I'd give the shoes a wash while I waited for the f-lites...
Like magic - the f-lite 252 appears to have taken the best of the former three!

I say I think they're perfect as they are a 3mm drop trail bred shoe that looks to be easily transferable to the road, as well as in the gym. The stack height is about 14mm.

They are also built on inov-8s natural last - meaning that they are wider in the fore and mid foot sections than the classic f-lite range. 

Having worn them for a few runs and couple of weekends, I can so far say that I love them. 

When I read a review I want to know how a shoe fits. Will it be true to size if I'm ordering off the net? Firstly the color is awesome and for walking around in they fit beautifully. The laces are the flat type and tie easily - I always double knot and have never had a pair come untied. For the first time ever I have noticed the 'heel' in them. I never noticed it before in my x-lite 155s but when wearing these casually I have an awareness of the 3mm heel drop.

I actually sized up with the inov-8 size chart and ended up with a 1/2 size smaller than my other inov-8s. I admit that I really like the feeling of having a shoe wrapped around my foot again. Saying that, there is plenty of wriggle room for my toes and forefoot. So, using the inov-8 size chart, for me the fit was perfect.

I now realise my other pairs are perhaps a 1/2 size too big. 

For something different, I've posted this review in three sections, as the inov-8 website touts this shoe as a cross-fit/gym shoe that is also developed for someone with an established natural running style. - 

1) The f-lite 252 as a trail and off trail shoe.

So, I was amped to be able to get out in the 'nongs' and do my first night run. I had the head torch charged, the rain jacket on the ready and the f-lite 252s all laced up. 

I ran one of my favourite loops, roughly 12-13kms on some rough 4WD tracks, walking trails and through the bush on single tracks. The elevation levels varied from flat and fast or rose to 7-15% inclines and descents over varying sections. To add to the excitement it had rained the previous couple of days and was raining during my run. Score! This was going to be a make or break for the 252s.

So this was almost a literal 'blind test' for the f-lites, as I had good but limited vision of what lay beneath me. 

On the 4WD tracks I really enjoyed running with these shoes. I was able to run at a good 5:00 min kilometer pace and not have to be too concerned about my grip. I got great feedback on the trail but enjoyed the added protection of the Dynamic Fascia band that is embedded in the sole. I've never been too worried about how much I feel rocks and stones through the trailroc 235s, but these made running a pleasure. I could tell the surface was rocky and uneven but there was minimal to no discomfort. 

When I had to tackle the hills and climb the shoes gripped really well. I've spoken of running with a quick tempo before and again, this really proved to be the key to running with these shoes. Running over a mix of stone and clay based surfaces, I never felt like I was going to slip. The few times I got sloppy, the f-lite 252s grip was strong and steadying. In the single trail sections I could plant my feet where I needed to and use the track to my advantage. Need to place your foot on a 45 degree slope to avoid a fallen tree, no problem. Need to leap onto a fallen log to push off, grip is ample and secure.  

At one stage I hit a sharp descent down Camilia Track and got caught out by the change to a clay surface and started to slide down the hill. Once I was able to reassign my weight and regain control it was just a matter of shortening my stride and using more of the Pose 'lift' and place technique. Once I did this I felt in full control and was able to rely on the grip of the f-lite sole to halt any further slides, or was able to safely ride out the slide. At the end of the descent they were almost mud free on the soles - no extra weight! 

In summation, everything I encountered out on the wet trails was handled with ease. Drainage in the 252s is also excellent. At the runs end my socks were damp but not wet. After about a 1/2 hour in the sun the next morning the shoes were again dry. 

The inov-8 f-lite 252s were so jealous of all the shoes getting a run at the third Salomon trail race! At race four these bad boys will be getting the run. 

2) The f-lite 252 as a road shoe for my weekly tempo and easy sessions around the streets and:

After a few good 45 - 60 minute runs I can report back that I really like the fit. 

The f-lite 252s feel quite firm underfoot and you do become more aware of your foot strike, but with a developed natural running style they're not uncomfortable. You just get a sound awareness of the pavement or road that you are running on and good feedback of your form.  A big positive is that they really grip into corners and you feel like you are turning on rails. So on concrete and asphalt they have great levels of grip. They also rewarded a higher cadence and true mid foot strike. 

As each run run progressed I could feel them molding to my feet, especially under my right foot. The Dynamic Fascia band also works really well in this shoe. I could feel it rebounding with each step, almost pushing me to run faster. I was worried about the smaller than previous sizing I had chosen and how it would go in a longer run, but at the runs end my feet feel really good. 

3) The f-lite 252 as a gym shoe. 

I'm not into crossfit or any really dedicated program. I enjoy my spin session, leg workouts and I also do a light weights routine. 

For me a gym shoe needs to be comfortable on the bike, provide great stability for my core routines and have the right stability grip when I'm doing the leg workouts. 

So, the f-lite 252 are great on the bike. They lock into place nicely in the cage and the dynamic fascia band gives you a little bit of flex and lift when you 
push down through your calves. Previously my New Balance 890 V2 were a little stiff and using my Road X-lite 155s lacked structure in the sole and caused a little discomfort on the pedals. 

The wide surface area of the natural last provides great stability when I'm doing my squats and core exercises. Previously I did them barefoot, but the f-lite sole helps grip into the carpet and stops me sliding around and losing form. 

The Meta-flex in the fore foot does give great flexibility to the shoe and allows you to do lifts and raises easily. It also works in your favor when your stretching out the legs. 

Finally, I couldn't resist a rope climb to test out the new rope-tec in the mid foot section. I don't do it a lot but I could really lock the feet in place and 'hang out' for the photo shoot. 

Big thanks to Leigh from Refine Training in Kew for the pics. 

So, do I recommend the inov-8 f-lite 252? 


In fact, I ordered the blue and red pair to keep for the roads, and I'll dedicate the black and lime pair for the trails and tracks.

If you like the sound of them, I'm part of the affiliate program with wiggle, so I recommend looking there as your first stop.

Cheers, Lachie - Australias leading inov-8 store