8 Oct 2013

The End of my Aussie Sweep at Melbourne Marathon this weekend

Yes this Sunday I will be running onto the MCG to finish my 4th Melbourne Marathon, but more importantly, it will mark the final race in my Australian Sweep of marathons for the year!

I'm hoping to see as many of you fellow runners, tweeps, friends and family either in the days prior, on the course on race day, or afterwards to share in the experience of one of my biggest achievements in running to date - hopefully capped off with a new PB!

I've spluttered around on Twitter and Facebook about various meet-ups so as promised I'm posting my plans up here to see who can make it wherever possible - happy to catch with anyone just drop me a line if you have other plans, so we can link up!

So here's my schedule for the weekend...

Lygon Street Carlton
Friday Dinner - Lygon Street  - I won't be getting into Melbourne until late, but if you are interested in doing the proper Carb-loading session on a Friday night, you should join my old mate Digger - he'll likely be organising dinner somewhere in Lygon Street with a group  of awesome runners - I went last year and it was an easygoing evening where I got to make some new friends whilst stuffing my face with pasta! If you want to know more, check out this post in the Melbourne Marathon Facebook Group

Saturday Lunch - Richmond Hill Cafe - I plan to be in the City in the afternoon and will head to the expo first then I'll be meeting some runners for coffee and cake at the Richmond Hill Cafe & Larder on Bridge Road in Richmond at 2pm. It's only a relatively short walk from the expo and all are welcome - I'll probably end up there for a few hours so hit me up on Twitter or Facebook if you want to catch up and you can't find me.

Saturday Dinner - Mt View Hotel - I will join Digger and his crew for the ritual Steak and chips at Mt View Hotel again on Bridge Road in Richmond which should be anything from 5pm onwards to cater for everyone looking for an early night. It's a great chance to meet some seasoned runners and shake off (or possibly worsen) those pre-race nerves. Post up on the Melbourne Marathon Facebook group if you want any more info on this, or again, hit me up directly on Twitter or Facebook.

Sunday after the race - Transport Bar - I'll get cleaned up and then head to the Transport Bar in fed square for a light feed and some heavy drinks. This is a popular post-race location with runners as you can (hopefully) sit in the sun enjoying a few refreshing beverages as you watch the battlers still finishing their marathon. I'll probably get there about noon and hang around for a few hours with my fellow Aussie Sweepers Simon and Dilwyn as we will all be celebrating in a big way, so make sure and congratulate them too!

Sunday Afternoon - Mt View Hotel - I'll be joining Digger and hopefully a large group of awesome Facebook peeps at the Diggers after Melbourne Marathon get together - back at the Mt View Hotel in Richmond, from about 3pm onwards. This will be held in a function room and a small fee will be required to cover snacks for all, see the Facebook event for details.

After that I'll probably head somewhere in search of my usual Post-Marathon-Curry-Feast but I have no idea what condition I will be in, no doubt I'll be tweeting drunken gibberish, so you have that to look forward to! :)

Anyways that is MY plan for the weekend, I can't wait to run this race and I'm super keen to hear everyone's own tales afterwards!

7 Oct 2013

Happy Birthday to Me, Spent my Birthday in Sydney

So the day after Sydney Marathon was my birthday and I shouted myself an extra night in Sydney after the race to allow me to "celebrate" a little more!
I thought I'd do this in a separate post to the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival post so I could bombard you with more of my pictures from my Sydney "holiday"

obligatory selfie time!

Although not much happened beyond me finding a whole bunch of places to drink... I did have a great stroll around Sydney CBD Sunday afternoon and totally abused the crap out of the fact we could travel on the trains for free with our finisher medals...!!

6 Oct 2013

Blackmores Sydney Running Festival

So it's actually been four weeks since my last marathon. I have managed to slip back into my Melbourne Marathon training program from last year with some improved targets. As a result I've hit quite a few speed sessions, long runs, and even gym work during this "break". I was feeling confident and was planning to take Blackmores Sydney Running Festival Marathon on as an aggressive training day. Work has been, as usual, a bit too hectic but I've also had Little Miss J in my care the past few weeks leading up to the marathon so sleep has been a little lacking, otherwise everything has been going well!

On the Saturday before the race I flew into Sydney nice and early, found my Hotel which was closed and unable to check in or even dump my bags until 2pm - but no complaints, you get what you pay for, and this place was cheap!
Redoak, Awesome!

So I headed off to a nearby boutique brewery called "Redoak", where I sampled several of their beverages and enjoyed an epic pulled pork pizza. This place was fantastic, the service was great and both the beer and food were delicious and they even let me charge my phone whilst I sat at the bar, so I highly recommend you check them out if you are in the city!
Next up was a quick trip to the expo to collect both mine and Simon's race kits. I thought I would have some time to kill there, being an expo, but it was nowhere near as big and glorious as the Perth expo (City to Surf), so I was out of there as soon as I snapped my picture for instagram to enter into the Asics competition!

After finally getting checked into my Hotel, next up was a quick meet up with @EwenThompson and @FionaABennett for afternoon tea near Hyde park, we had a great old chat about race strategies and general running business, before wandering off through the park to check out where they had this wondrous scaffold bridge setup for the marathon the next day!

checking out the fun part of the course ;)

Then I just had to go for a run, the weather was fantastic, I had time to kill and I was curious about the time it might take to get to the start line from our hotel, so I headed off on my own little 8km scenic tour of Sydney!

After my run, Simon finally arrived in Sydney so we went to a place called Hotel CBD where we had, probably the worst pre-race meal we've been served to date, half cooked hamburgers :)


The Blackmores Sydney Running Festival Marathon course is superb - from a tourists perspective. Lots of switchbacks, but no laps! The course takes in a heap of the wonderful sights of Sydney crossing the iconic Harbour Bridge, running through places such as Centennial Park and Hyde Park, and passing by other icons like the SCG and Circular Quay with the finish line right at the Opera House.
Very concise maps for the Blackmores Marathon

19 Sept 2013

City to Surf, Perth Marathon, my new favourite race!

Well, City to Surf is a whole race series with events all over the state climaxing with the marathon in Perth! It appears to have only been running a few years, but its well backed by the community and state. I absolutely loved this race, so many aspects of it just made me so happy to be a part of this, hopefully in the coming blocks of text I can convey everything that I enjoyed about it.

It's only been a week since my last race,  and I've only managed a few short runs this week. At the tail end of the week I got really sick despite feeling invincible at the start of the week! Glands were swollen and I had a fever, but no way in hell was this going to stop me working, let alone running in Perth!
I flew on the earliest (and cheapest) flight I could get to Perth, 7:15am, so again, I slept in my car at the same rest area the night before my flight. I learnt my lesson from last time and booked ahead for my car parking, checked in via the web, and started my car as soon as I woke up to defrost the windscreen! Everything went to plan this time and I was at the airport nice and early, stress free!


Once I got into Perth, I made my way into the city and checked into my hotel. Speaking of which - the Pensione Hotel in Perth was amazing, super accommodating, good value, great service... it was a most enjoyable stay.. they let me check-in super early and then also let me have a late checkout for after the marathon at no extra charge!
This is all I could capture of @michloise lol
I met with my friend from twitterdom @michloise for a 1 hour jog along the river followed by an epic mission to find lunch on the Saturday, hunting for pasta. It was great meeting yet another tweep and we had a blast running and chatting!

Fellow sweeper Simon was splitting accommodation with me again so we met up after lunch and then went off to check out the expo. We were pretty late, but the expo was fantastic! Amazingly well setup, catering for all sorts of running related things and had all your pre-race needs covered. Signups, Helpdesk, warm clothing drop off, race kit collection... So much stuff, I was in awe! Let's just say, if you head along to this race, make some time to really check out the expo!

As I tweeted, the forecast was very dire, with thunderstorms and rain predicted. It looked like this was going to be a rough one weather-wise... Low of 10 high of 21 sounded great except for the 90% chance of 10mm rain!
As it turned out, it did rain, but only a casual light rainfall that peppered the course for the first 20km, enough to make it greasy, but not bad enough to really soak us. The rest of the thunder and lightning stayed away and I doubt we came near that promised 10mm of rain :)

As you can see the course profile gets interesting in the second half!

I didn't research the course prior to the race, so we got our first glimpse of the map when we saw it at the expo. The course is designed to take in the sights in and around Perth before sending you off to City Beach to find the finish line. It consists of an initial 21km loop through Perth and along the river, which is all pretty flat and easy. It then goes back through the start line and heads straight up the first of a few hills. It weaves around Kings Park and through the course of several switchbacks before it trundles on towards City Beach for the finish area.

23 Aug 2013

Alice Springs Marathon, outback time!

Alice Springs Marathon (running festival actually), one of only two marathons in the Northern Territory, was chosen partly because of its date but also because it's cheaper to get to. This is my ninth race for the year, and fifth in my Aussie sweep!

This week has been less insane than others and I'm feeling better prepared for this race. I've had a little bit of training and even popped a long run in on the weekend. My flight to Alice was at 8.45 am on Saturday. This was the first time I've ever been running late for a flight! For starters I slept (very well) in my car at a rest area near both the Melbourne Airport and an Anytime Fitness club. I was up at 5.45, but it took me longer than expected to get moving because my car windows were all frosted up!
The plan was to get to the gym, have a short run then shower and head to the airport parking. So I went for a run, probably ran longer than I should've, but I felt like I needed it.
After my shower and forgetting a few things I'd almost left at the gym, I was on the road. By the time I got to the airport I didn't have enough time for parking at long term and checking in. So I parked at short term, ran to the terminal, checked in, then ran back to my car and drove out to find long term. After 20mins getting lost around the terminal area trying to find the long term parking entrance, I snapped up a park in the "D" area. Buses come through every 10 mins or so to take you straight to the airport, of course the next two buses were full so I was waiting. By the time I caught a bus and got to the terminal, they were calling my name for boarding my flight! So another run all though the airport to my gate just in time to get onto the dang plane!
I managed to get what was probably another 3km of running in for the day, yay me!
I'm starving now as I type this on the flight to Alice Springs, bring me my food I haven't eaten all morning!!!
The lesson I've learnt from this, always use the web check in and book-ahead for parking!!
checking out the 'Anzac Hill' lookout
(a popular hill training spot in Alice Springs)
The weather for Alice in winter is typically super cold at night with near 30s during the day. Humidity is really low and that's probably my biggest concern coming into this event. Keeping hydrated!

The race course for the Alice Springs marathon is very simple. We start at Araluen Arts Centre (which is a few k's out of town) and run out the highway about 15km before turning left onto a secondary road that runs passed a caravan park before turning around at the half way mark (also the half marathon start line) and heading back into town on the opposite side of the road. It is pretty flat for the most part, a little rise and fall on your way out of town but gentle enough to go almost unnoticed.