Sunday, 28 April 2013

The Great Train Race - Me vs Puffing Billy

The above map is an outline of where I am going to be racing the train on Sunday. It's a 13km run through the hills between Belgrave and Emerald. Puffing Billy is a fully working, restored steam train. The Elevation chart shows just why this is such a tough hill climb, and if you're nuts like me, an enjoyable run. 

The scenery is beautiful: Ancient eucalypt gum trees, massive tree ferns, a mix of asphalt and gravel roads and the sooty steam of the great train either leading the way or trailing you. 

The sound of the whistle blowing as it nears a crossing is electrifying and an incredible incentive to run faster. The crowd and families you see along the way are some of the most supportive I've ever run past. It's no wonder that this event sells out within two weeks! 

So how am I going to beat Puffing Billy? It is a race that traditionally attracts a fast field, so I'm being more conservative and hoping for a top 20% finish. With the training that I have undertaken in the last 3 months, I am also aiming to beat the train.

Looking at the elevation I am going to break the race into stages. 

The first 1.5kms is often very fast - people head out quickly and the down hill start can be misleading. I will 'go with the flow' in this section, aiming to run 3:50 - 4:00 km time as I now know that I can do this quite comfortably. 

The first hill is a little like my Wandin to Mt Evelyn run, so I will try and back the pace off to 4:15 - 4:25. Before this seemed fast, but with my renewed focus and understanding of my breathing technique I hope this will be achievable. It's not a long climb and I'll use the down hill to recovery and keep the speed nearer to 4:00kms. 

Hill 2 is a longer, 2.5-3km climb and the hardest section. I know from the Portsea Twilight run I should be able to average 4:30 - 4:45 kms over this section. I will drop the pace to just above comfortable and hopefully tag along with some other stronger runners and use their 'pull' to keep me going. Near the end I expect to push the breathing and have to go 2:1 as I need more air. 

From memory I think there is a flatter section that follows. It rounds a long bend and heads into the last hill. Still a grade 5 climb...This is about a 2km rise, again similar to the hills at home. I'm hoping I have enough in the tank to work it at about 4:15-4:30 kms before the final stretch for home. 

If I say the peak of the last hill is at about 10km, then from 11km it's all down hill. The Dandy runners who've beaten Puffing Billy say that if you can be level, or ahead at Emerald station then you'll be victorious. I like the sound of that. 
My speed runs at home, on similar descent were sub 4kms. If I can run close to 4:00kms for this last 3 km I will be very happy. I'm hoping to hear that whistle and see the steam as at this point the fatigue will be certainly kicking in, but hopefully my learning to run faster downhill will get me over the line...
I've not done the maths, but in 2011 I ran the course in 1:06. This year I am aiming to be 1 min per km quicker and run it home in 50 - 55 minutes. 
Puffing Billy traditionally runs it in 50 - 55 minutes, so it will be down to the line. Fingers crossed I finish in front. 

Keep an eye out for me, as always, I'll have the black and red inov-8 wragg, the all conquering trailroc 235s and either the trademark red compression top or my blue inov-8 tee. 
Say g'day or even come and run with me.

Cheers, and happy running, 


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Thursday, 25 April 2013

How to run faster - How I am running faster

The on going runners challenge, how do I run faster? What is the secret to running faster? 

This is my new goal for the coming Aussie winter into spring season and I hope I can let you into a little secret. 

My last run was: 

1km @ 4:01 into an easy 1k @ 6:10 followed by 1km @3:54

At the top of the 'hill' I had a 300m walk to recover before returning home:

1km @ 3:23 into an easy km @5:25 and powering home for the last 1 km @ 3:34.

How am I running faster?

In my previous post on 'Finding my speed' I told you of of my discussion with Peter, who was running 2:20 marathons in his early 20s. One of his tips for how to run faster was to find a good long, gently descending hill and see how fast you can run down it. Sounds silly, but it is so true. Now to see how to get faster.

Running down hill is how I am running faster. Sure you that know gravity  naturally pulls you down the hill, but you have to make the effort to use that hill and lift your tempo and effort levels to actually start running faster. Think about it. It's easy to run down a gentle hill. It takes no effort. Now, go out there and lift your tempo, increase your stride length and start to push your heart rate. You'll soon find that you are running faster than you thought possible. 

The key is to finding the right hill. I am lucky that I live by the Lillydale - Warburton rail trail - a 40ish km hard gravel track that follows the old rail line. 

To go towards Lillydale I have a great 3.5km section. It starts flat for 300m then has a gradual 3-4% incline for almost 3km before flattening out just at the end. To learn how to run faster I had to run up the hill before I could run down. 

Previously I'd been able to hit 3:30, 3:15 and a short blast at 3:00 min/km on the treadmill. Fair enough I had to maintain the speed, but it's not real world now is it? 

To run faster you also need to be able to breathe. Again, in my previous speed post I talked about the 3-2 inhale exhale ratio and the 2-1 ratio when you are reaching your limits. Simply learn to control your breathing - that's how to run faster.

Oh, and you also need to drive your legs forward and up, engage your hammies and use them to help drive your speed. That's running coach stuff, but the breathing and hill speed you can do. 

So, how am I running faster? 

Yesterday I did that 3km out and 3km back run. 

Fast km 1: My first km was the flat before graduating to the steepest section of the hill. I quickly fell into the 3-2 breathing and picked up the pace. 
My breathing really picked up as I had to push the speed up the hill. At about 600m I made the change into the 2-1 breathing as I really found it difficult. Using this method allowed me to push forward wheras in the past I would have been out of breath and pulled up. At the GPS beep - 4:01min I eased up into a jog.  

The easy jog felt ridiculously slow at 6min km time but the recovery is just as, if not more important. 

Fast km 2: At the next beep I took off again. I increased the pace and again got into a 3-2 breathing rythm as I climbed the hill. As my cadence picked up and my stride lengthened my breathing quicked and I had to change to 2-1 to maintain my efforts. It would have been easy to stop but to get endurance you have to push through the pain barrier. By the end I was really breathing hard and the 2-1 ratio just kept me going. Fortunately the trail levelled off for the last 200m and the watched beeped at 3:54.

I allowed a 200m walk to the end of the trail and 200m back for recovery before steeling myself and heading off again.

Fast km 3: I very quikly settled into a fast run and glancing at the watch I was doing 20 kmh, or 3:00 pace! Exciting but I had to sustain it for a km. This is where running down hill is how I am running faster. I had to really work hard on my breathing, and the tempo allowed me to breath 3-2, as my legs were turning over quickly. After 500m I felt I was slowing but it was important to hold my form and push forward. I conciously had to drive forward with my knees and run upright with a slight lean but I was able to hold my nerve and the gps beeped at 3:23! 

An easy jog followed and I was really thankful for it. My breathing slowed and I felt my legs recover slightly.

Fast km 4: 1km to go! Again I focused on my form, driving the knees up and forward, strong and steady 3-2 breathing as I used the last 400m of the down hill to develop the pace. At 500m it flattened out and I was doing all the work. My 2-1 breathing took over and I could feel the heart thumping. Holding my nerve and breathing strong and as deep as I dared with the 2-1 ratio as I could to match my strides, I pushed hard on the last 200m on a slight incline. Beep beep beep, 3:34!

If you told me a month ago that I could run this fast I would have scoffed at you. No way. Now I know the secret of how to run faster:

3:2 breathing to match each stride, 2:1 when the going gets tough and your legs and cadence is faster. 

Use down hills to build your speed - get the feel for going fast and push yourself to maintain the speed. Gravity helps, but if you ease off, you are not running faster, just running at an OK speed with less effort.

Passive recovery is essential! (But my goal is to build in less recovery and more active work).

From here I want to push the length of my fast sections a little longer each time. While I can build speed and power during training and learn to maintain it, when it comes to race day I should be able to drop the pace a fraction to be more comfortable yet still run faster than I was previously running.

Get out there and give it a try. I'd love to hear your feedback on how you improved.

Cheers and get faster! 


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Wednesday, 17 April 2013

When it all comes together... People or Birds

This is an awesome video clip, I just had to pass it on. 

Sometimes things just work, particularly in running. And when it all comes together something magical happens. Like that time you first got up that crazy hill, or smashed out an amazing 5k or 5m and hit a new PB.

Although it's not about running, this YouTube clip all comes together. 

Enjoy: It's titled people or birds

Sorry I don't have a fancy pic, but it keeps the mystery alive just that little bit more...

Monday, 15 April 2013

Finding my speed - how do I run faster?

Ah, the joy of a good run! Today I could no longer hold back, I had to run. 

It's been 8 days since the Geelong Half (my reality check race here) and I am feeling much better. I had itchy feet so couldn't resist a quick run. 

It was also a great way to speed test the inov-8 Bare X-Lite 150 shoes (my review here). 

On my last Dandy Runners run (my enjoyable runs) I was chatting with Peter and got talking about how fast I can run. I happily do 4:15s of a good day. 'How fast can you go?' was his question. To be honest, I don't know. Now I do. 

After a 7 minute warm up on the bike I hit the tready. I was aiming for:

400m @ 4:30 then 60 sec rest (All mins to the km)
400m @ 4:15 then 60 sec rest
400m @ 4:00 then 60 sec rest
400m @ 3:45 then 60 sec rest
400m @ 3:30 then 60 sec rest
400m @ 3:15 then 60 sec rest

and 400m @3:00 then hopefully be still standing!

I also wanted to try out the 3-2 breathing to footstrike that I had read about in the April Runners World.

Essentially it is inhale for 3 strides and then exhale for 2. The theory is that you are stronger when inhaling and the 3-2 ratio means that you land on alternate steps for each exhale. Landing on alternate steps minimizes the risk or repetitive stress injury to a set side. It was time to learn the correct breathing while running and how fast can I run.

At each of the 4:30--4:00 minute reps I felt really comfortable. I was able to breath at a comfortable rate and really managed my breathing rate - alternating the exhale on the left and right each time. It felt good and I felt strong. 

At 3:45 I had to increase my tempo and my breathing rate naturally went with it. I was breathing more quickly but did not feel under stress. I felt as though I could manage this pace for a longer distance - perhaps 3-5km but that was not the purpose of this test. 

At 3:30 I felt I needed to stretch my stride a little and again my tempo and leg speed had to be upped. The inov-8 Bare X-Lite 150s felt great. I was running fast and they were responding. At this point Leigh from Refine Training told me to run more on my fronts as I was landing more heavily on the tready, a sign that I was starting to push it a little? Or was I more focused on matching my breathing rate to my foot strike?

3:15 was manageable for the 400m. I could just keep the 3-2 breathing ratio but I'm not sure I was getting good deep breaths. I may need to experiment with the 2-1 Inhale exhale ratio next time. 

3:00, this pace really pushed me. I let my breathing focus go and just did what felt natural. I really had to push my leg speed way up there and extend my stride. I felt I was able to keep my natural form and felt lighter on my feet but I was happy to run 300m and back it off before I did any damage. 

I finished with 400m @ 4:30 pace (it felt like a stroll in the park) before an easy 5 minutes on the bike. 

What did I achieve today? Well, I can answer Peters question now. I can run at 3:15 minute kms for perhaps a km. I feel as though I could run 3:30s for 3-5km if I get the right breathing pattern, a flat road/track and a nice tail wind. 

Where to from here? I want to find the right balance between power and speed, recovery and a weekly long run. I want to be a faster 10km runner for the Winter Trail series races that are about to start.

How will I do it? I need to talk to the right people, but I feel I can do a weekly 8-10km tempo run incorporating 3:30s to 4:15s and either active (walking) or complete rest sections. It will be quality, not quantity. These runs will be city block to city block at the 3:30s - 4:00s pace, then a 4:15 block, back to 3:30s followed by complete rest or walking recovery - teaching the body to learn to run fast and make it the norm.

Once a week my circuit class will incorporate HITs on the treadmill doing 400-600m blocks at sub 4min pace with quality rest and recovery periods. I will be building the pace and distance in a pyramid style to work towards my anaerobic/aerobic limits - learning to run faster.

I'll be hitting the Dandenong Ranges for a weekly 10-20km long run, which will be a mix of hard and fast hills, long slow hills, flat fast sections and flat, slow sections. 

My aim is to be faster over 10km. I want to break 40min on a flat and be consistently faster on the trails. 

Keep following to find out how I go...

Monday, 8 April 2013

Inov-8 Bare X-Lite 150 - The best running shoe review

The Inov-8 Bare X Lite 150s
If you've been following my blog you'll know I was rather keen on the new Inov-8 f-lite 232 and the amazing looking Road Extreme 138s. Both are part of the new 2013 range, offering the Inov-8s wider anatomical last and zero shock (0mm drop). 

So why did I use my hard earned coin on the older series, the Inov-8 Bare X-Lite 150? What made me go a little old school? 

It was the lure of the additional 3mm stack height, the total 7mm of blown evo foam that would offer my feet that little extra protection underfoot while out on the roads. While it is the lightest shoe in the Inov-8 Bare-X range, it's not the most minimalist, and I'm glad for that. That prize went to the Bare X-Lite 180, or now it's the Inov-8 Road Extreme 138. 

Ash at wrote a brilliant comparative review of the Bare X-Lite 150, 180 and 200 - the three shoes in the Inov-8 Bare-X range. It went along way to helping my decision as well:

Between the Skora Base offered at for $99 and the New Balance Minimus 10v2 at the I was almost drawn away from Inov-8, but I wanted to finish my natural running journey. 

Inov-8 Road Range - Red Road X 233, Black Road X-lite 155
and the Blue and Red Bare X Lite 150
I'm also at the point where I have no hesitation in pulling on my zero drop Inov-8 Trailroc 235s (Look in shoes and stuff to see my review) and hitting the trails for a 20km plus run. Time to make the move onto the roads. 

Over the Easter break I bit the bullet and ordered the Bare X- Lite 150. I was taking the first step to completing the natural running journey with Inov-8. I had read they were generously sized so I ordered a 7, down on my usual 7.5. Kudos to and AustPost for the great 2 day turn around from the Sydney warehouse to my doorstep. 

My initial impression was that I was stoked that I went with the blue with the red quicklace. They look amazing and felt feather light. Big ticks in a go fast shoe. Putting them on, they felt larger than anticipated, I was hoping for a more snug fit but I was soon able to adjust the quicklace system to get them feeling just right. The kids also loved the bones on the sole.

The quicklace system? For these shoes Inov-8 have ditched the traditional laces for a slightly elasticity lace that is embedded at the base of the midfoot area in the overlay (see the pic, it makes so much more sense than my guff).

Quick lace meets at the bottom of the blue mesh
The laces meet at the top and are neatly held together with a plastic clip which you squeeze and pull and magic, the laces are done! Not everyone has agreed with it, but so far I've found it very effective and... quick! 

So, shoes on, how do they feel? As I mentioned earlier, they are roomy, but as I wore them and my feet warmed the felt just right. I have a little length in my right foot, but when your left is a size bigger that'll happen. I have ample toe room, yet the mid foot feels just right. 

The mesh overlay and quicklace system work harmoniously together my feet are held nicely in place. 

A lot of people have talked about ground feel, especially in the more minimalist type shoes. At this stage of my running it is not a crucial aspect, and I got thinking about what it really is. So in the past few weeks I've taken extra notice while running in my Inov-8 X-Lite 155s. Yes, the road feels hard. I can feel the cracks in the pavement and little stones and pebbles on the footpaths as I run. So I devised a little side by side comparison test. 

The Bare X-lite 150s and the X-Lite 155 both have the same blown rubber, fusion sole. They are incredibly soft yet strangely firm. They bend and twist anyway that your foot does, even more so cause I don't know anyone who can bend their foot in half or squeeze to meet in the middle vertically. 

With one foot clad in black and the other in blue I threw some twigs and stones out on the footpath and went for a walk and a run. Walking along i could feel the cracks in the pavement, the twigs under-feet and the stones hurt, especially in the more tender mid foot areas when I stepped on them. 

I certainly felt more through the black X Lite 155s, which I was hoping as it has 4mm less in the sole. Remember I'm after that little extra cushioning. Score one to the Inov-8 Bare X Lite 150.

Not all paths are perfect
But these are running shoes. So lets run. I eventually found a rhythm that would let me hit the cracks in the pavement and I landed on the sticks and stones enough to break my bones. No, not really but if you want to go out and land on every stone you can find, these are not the shoes for you. Again, I got great feel and some pain from the black 155s, the blue 150s certainly gave me more cushioning from the stones. Score two to the Inov-8 Bare X Lite 150. 

So far the Inov-8 Bare X Lite 150s have had all the boxes ticked. Great fit, good cushioning but still sound road feel, awesome colours so now it's time for a run. 

My first run was a quick 4km. I varied the tempo from 5 min kms to as quick as 4:05 min kms and the felt fast. They rewarded a quicker tempo and cadence and I felt like a kid again. Just running because I can. But 4km is not very far now is it. How about 21km? In a half marathon race? 

Why? Why not? On the trail I would pull out the Trailroc 235s without a second thought. I'm comfortable with the Inov-8 range and essentially these are a very similar shoe with that additional cushioning. 

Out in the race they felt great. I hit a natural rhythmic pace quite quickly and they felt good. I was getting good feel off the trail/footpath and had to think about my form but it was positive thinking. After 7-8km they began to give a little and I felt more and more comfortable underfoot as the race went on. At this point there were no hot spots, no rubbing or slipping and I was very comfortable. 

By 15/16km I had begun to fatigue (I went into the race after two days in bed during the week) and I had to really work on my running. My quads we heavy and my hips became noticeable but my feet were still comfortable. When I was able to put in some quicker spurts I was again rewarded why a more natural run, so I know that I have to keep working on this. Perhaps for me I am still suited to 3 or 4mm underfoot in the longer races, but for 10kms and under the Inov-8 Bare X-Lite 150 will be the shoe I use. 
How cool is the bone pattern on the White Bare X?

So 25km is not all that far in a pair of shoes. I know that they will hold up as all the reviews I read prior to writing mine have praised their durability. My Inov-8 Road X-Lite 150s have done nearly 400km and although wearing at the high contact points of my running cycle, there is still a lot of life left in them. 

Speaking of soles, I had to race across wet brick pavement the other day and the 150s got me across safe and sound. On my recent runs in the rain they have be terrific - no grip problems at all. 

Well, I've now got a couple of hundred kms on my Bare X-lite 150s and I still love them. The sole has molded to my foot and the grip is wearing quite well. If you look at the tread it does wear according to how you land, I am obviously quite heavy on my right foot compared to my left. 
Cushioning wise they are good, I can do my 5 - 12km runs in them and the feet still feel fresh at the end. 

I would perhaps like a little more strength or firmness in the sole as I get a little underfoot muscle tension after the occasional run - perhaps these are a good training tool, rather than the race day beast I thought. Having said that I'm trying to get more track work into my routine and these are great for my speed work. 

If you like the sound of them, I'm part of Wiggles affiliate program, so why not head on there via my link and check them out :)

Cheers and happy running, Lachie

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Saturday, 6 April 2013

Geelong Half Marathon - April 2013

Well, so you've been hanging by a thread, waiting for these results. They're in... But first you have to re-run the 2013 Geelong Half Marathon with me. 

Firstly, a little note for my international readers (or Western States). 

Day light savings: A system used in Eastern Australia to extend the 'usable' daylight hours in Summer. How? Turn the clocks forward an hour in December to make the 'daylight' seem longer during the day. 

Last night it ended, so at 3am it became 2am, or at 10 pm if you're like us it became 9 pm again. So this race was looking good as we already had a sleep in. 

6 am this morning the alarm went off and Em and I got out of bed, showered, had breaky and race ready, sorted out and played with the 2 year old for a bit and at 7:00 drove into Geelong for the 8 am start. 

The set up was good. Ample parking, a quiet (music free) but good vibe. A big kudos to the Geelong Cross Country Club for their organisiation of this 25th Geelong Half Marathon. After a warm up run, some dynamic stretching and seeing 7:55 we were ready to roll. 

Meet the Inov-8 roaf range: Blue 150s, Black 155s, Red 233s
My shoe of choice was the 4km old Inov-8 Bare X lite 150. I must say in the Blue and Red they look awesome. Why the 0mm drop racing flats? And why break the no untried equipment in a race rule? To be honest, if it were a trail race I would not think twice about wearing the 0mm drop Inov-8 Trailroc 235s. The Bare X - Lite 150 actually have an additional 4mm of stack height and padding (7mm total) compared to all my other Inov-8 shoes, so I was confident that they would serve me well. I was actually looking forward to a little more underfoot cushioning.  As I'd had my crazy sick day in bed on Tuesday and half of Wednesday I also made decision to run with the Camel Pak for extra hydration. Later dad would tell me that I'd given myself a 2-3kg handi-cap. If his race horse had been given an extra 3kg and blown to 12-1 odds, there's no way his money would be on it...

Back to the race. I'm finding races have two sorts of starts. One is super organised, elites and waves in corals behind the ropes and everyone toeing the line. 

Not this one. Today we were read the race advice, heard from Mayor and then moved down to the start line. By the time I wished Em best of luck, got into the early runners mix it was 'go!'. 

I call this start the 'keep them hanging around for a while and then 'bang' let them go approach'. This approach I'm not as keen on. 

So I took off, running under a revised 'B-B' race plane (Thanks Stan for the Post last week). B-B being Body and brain. Listen to the body and let it dictate the pace and feel. Listen to the brain - go harder if you can or are the signs telling you to slow down?

I went off at a comfortable pace and rounded the corner for the initial lap of the Common. A nice cruisy 4:25 pace on the footy ovals and grass. I let the body dictate and this meant passing a few and letting a few pass me by - 21kms can change a lot of things. 500m wasn't going to win it for me. The 1:30 paceman came and went - if I was going to get him I'd have to do it later.

As we finished the common and were guided onto the running track I struck up  with another runner and my usual run and chat routine began. She had run some 10s and was training well and this was her first half. She was hoping to run sub 1:40 and I was happy to do the same. We were running a steady 4:27-4:35 pace and were situated well. The field had spread and we were holding our form and race position. From here we ran past Landy Field (The legendary 'John Landy' aths tracks), on past the rowing houses and under the James Harrison Bridge. We discussed the racing line through corners, first and second 10km splits and had it all laid out. We were going to romp it in. 

The first 7km came and went - approx 33 mins and I was feeling great. At about 9km I took on a gel, more water and picked up speed. I so wanted to ignore the watch but a check said I was doing 4:28s-4:33s so I was happy with this. The course meandered along the river, it was very peaceful and calming. At bout 10k my race mate took off and I watched her race off into the distance. What ever gel she had, I want some :) 

From 11 it got tougher. The B-B plan was shaping up. I didn't need to look at the watch to know that I was slowing. I think my man-flu was still hanging about. That and there were a few little rises to deal with. At this point a few runners started to pass and keep ahead of me. At 14km I ran through the check point past the Pub and back down towards the river again. I was down to 4:55s and was losing my mo-jo. I had a few quick walk breaks and got back into the packs. Its funny. I should have been kicking my self and trying all sorts of psych ups but the body was telling me just to take it easy and plod on. I was not intentionally running slower but it was the only way forward. Time to listen to the body. 

As my total race pacing had now dropped to 5:00km average, I knew Em wouldn't be too far away. The 1:45 pace man came and went. I was eagerly looking for her but alas, she was not there with him. Runners came and went and there she was. Looking strong but I think she was glad for support (and very surprised to see me). While her goal was slipping away there was still some racing to be done. At this point we both beeped for 16km and we were ready to say enough. But no, we had to finish. Em was running better than me and I stopped for a quick walk and let her slip ahead. We played tiggy along the track for a while, she would run on ahead and I'd catch her again and we'd run for a while together. Em would slip ahead again and I'd catch her again. 

At this point my legs were feeling really heavy and I was considering my choice of shoes. Until now the Inov-8 Bare X-Lite 150s had been great - I was getting great feel off the track and was really aware of my form and it still felt strong. But at 18-19km I was really having to work hard. Was it harder than I would have worked with the Inov-8 Road X 233s or the Road X-155s that I could have worn? I'm not sure but I certainly had to work on my cadence and strides. (Ah hindsight - as I sit here the next morning my feet feel great. I've no calf issues no bruising or underfoot niggles. Big tick to the 150s).
Almost there...

With the last of the little hills behind us I caught Em at the 20km mark and we pushed on for home. This last section was flat and fast but seemed to take for-ever. I'm sure she was sick of me telling her she could do it and that it was almost finished and we're nearly there, but it certainly helped me get to the end. 

At 100m to go the watches beeped for one last time and like in all the great movies I grabbed her hand and we powered towards the line. We passed Grandma and Grandpa and the kids and crossed the line together - 1:48:01. We had came and conquered the 2013 Geelong Half Marathon.

Cruelly my race number 303 saw me finish in 345th and Em 346th. But, Em, you've done it. Your first half and you not only finished it, you finished almost as quickly as you dreamed. Any mum of two would be proud of that and I'm very proud of you!

So what should have been a fast course was the toughest half I've done yet and the slowest by 12 minutes. Still - man-flu can do that to you. I felt great for 9-10km but then just naturally lost the pace. I listened to my body and let it do what it wanted. There is always Puffing Billy next month to run and I can come back next year for another crack at it. 

I caught up with my running mate who was really happy to have finished in 1:35- 1:36. For someone who was running in her first half, a big congratulations. Sneaking a peek at her results I later found that she finished 2nd in her division and just just shy of sub 1:35. Nice work! Next time I'll have to stick with you. 

Lessons from today's run:
1. Man flu the week before a run really sucks.
2. Maybe the Camel Pak was a handi-cap? Carrying almost 3-5% extra body weight might not always work. Though I did appreciate having water on tap. I'll have to speak to my supporters about getting a water belt or some hand-helds for my next road/trail race. 
3. It's rest days on Monday and Tuesday before more hard and fast training starts on Wednesday. I've got a train to catch. 

Thanks to - Get your Inov-8s there! 
Followers of This Fish can obtain a 10% discount with the code fish10. 

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Getting my Mojo back!

Ok, so Tuesday was a shocker, Wednesday was manageable and today I'm feeling almost ready to run. 

I've got three more sleeps until the Geelong Half and I'm starting to chomp at the bit again. 

I've teed up to borrow an all singing and dancing GPS watch to track the time and speed, and...  my brand spanken new blue and red Inov-8 Bare X-lite 150 shoes arrived early this morning. Bonus! And a two day turn-around from once again...

How I felt the last couple of days -  I would have ran about as fast as Harry here...

Did I mention that they were delivered by a very personable, very cute young AustPost deliver driver, not the usual chain smoken, grumpy ol throw the package down the drive regular driver? Double bonus! 

Why the Bare X-Lite 150s? Well, a full review is to come, but after much thought and pondering (and that they are on sale at, that helps the decisions a little) I wanted the 'comfort' of the 7mm midsole of the Inov-8 Bare X-Lite 150s to help ease me into the final transition of the Natural running journey that I started last August. 

So with a couple of teaser pics - including my ingenious road feel test:

I leave you wondering 'is this guy going to crack the sub 1:30 time on Sunday?'

Cheers and happy running, 


I should also mention that I bought my bare X 150s with my own pocket money :)

  Use the code fish10 to obtain a 10% discount off your order 

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Blah - again!

Not the worlds most exciting blog entry but it's an entry. 

The Geelong Half marathon is 4 days away and I spent 90% of yesterday in bed with the shakes and a rotten sore throat. 

I'm hoping I can recover enough to be able to run the race with my amazing wife and help her to achieve her race goal of a sub 1:45.

I think the sub 1:30 will have to wait for now. There will be other races - two trail series coming up and more road runs than you can poke a weekend at! 

For now it's suck it and see - fingers crossed I can get out there and run with the wife. If not, I'll be there on the sidelines with the grandparents and our kids cheering her on! 

Cheers for now,