Jul 10, 2014
Seeing as I ran a time trial on Monday, today I did an interval speed work session. Variety is key, so I decided on a session I haven’t run for many years – 10 x 250 metres with a 100 metre slow jog in between each. The course entails a very slight hill, so one sprint is ever so slightly downhill, and the next is uphill.
I really haven’t done this session regularly for nearly twenty years, so it’s an interesting one to compare, not only how I might do in the upcoming races, but also how I’m holding up over the years. I certainly don’t expect to run such a session as fast as I did in my mid 30s, but it’s interesting to see just how much I may have “faded” in the interim.
Today I averaged 38.9 seconds per 250 metres (with a fastest of 37.4), and felt very comfortable throughout. In fact, I felt so good I almost felt guilty that I wasn’t trying hard enough. That compares with the most recent time I did the session (June 2007) when I averaged 34.8 sec. On that occasion I ran Centennial Park soon after in 13:25. Another comparison is with my best ever average for the same session – 32.7 sec from 1997. Then I ran Centennial Park in 12:57 soon after (as well as 9:31 for 3 km and 77:12 for a hilly half marathon).
So I’m slower, but I knew that. But I’m still pretty pleased given the circumstances. I feel like I’m getting faster, and can probably do the same session quicker in a few weeks. That will be the aim.
On This Day
Jul 10, 2012
Distance today = 50.29 km; Total distance = 9052.06 km; Location = Whitelaw, Wisconsin – 44 08.568′ N, 87 50.211′ W; Start time = 0900 Finish time = 1736
It’s amazing how a week of super hot weather can acclimatize you to running in normal heat. The past few days have been in the low to mid 30s Celsius, and I’ve felt perfectly comfortable all day.
Today I headed toward Lake Michigan. I really wanted to visit Green Bay and Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers. This football team really punches above its weight – it has won some memorable Superbowls, even though it’s easily the smallest city to have an NFL team. However, I’ve found myself about two days short of getting there based on my schedule. So it will have to wait till next time.
The day was very pleasant as I ran through green pastures of corn and alfalfa and golden fields of wheat. The region is still obviously a bastion of previous Scandinavian and German settlers, as attested by the headstones in the cemeteries.
Following on from yesterday’s “question” theme, I thought I’d answer one that has been asked often of late – “how’s your ankle?”: I’m managing it quite well with some strapping (simple duct tape), which simulates the role of the sore tendon, relieving it from hyper-extension. Some days it’s great, and some days it’s not. However, it’s never more than an annoyance, and does seem to be getting better over time. I’ll be having a rest day in about a week, which should help as well.
PS The tracker is showing me about 5 km east of my official position.
Jul 10, 2013
(There was no report on this date due to no internet reception on the Nullarbor, so I have included the report from the following day instead)
Distance for July 9 = 57.89 km; Total distance = 22,850.63 km; Location = Border Village, WA (45 km east of) – 31 37.627’ S, 129 27.970′ E; Start time = 0807, Finish time = 1658
Distance for July 10 = 70.05 km; Total distance = 22,920.68 km; Location = Nullarbor, SA (68 km west of) – 31 34.211’ S, 130 11.328′ E; Start time = 0759, Finish time = 1822
Distance for July 11 = 56.54 km; Total distance = 22,977.22 km; Location = Nullarbor, SA (12 km west of) – 31 30.580’ S, 130 45.902′ E; Start time = 0822, Finish time = 1704
Another period of three days without any phone or internet coverage – I’m getting used to it now. I have to admit, it’s very remote out here.
On Tuesday I crossed over from Western Australia into South Australia, which included an hour and a half time zone change. Almost instantly the vegetation went from one of occasional trees to a treeless plain, covered with low scrubby bushes. This is the real Nullarbor. I have heard people say that Nullarbor is an aboriginal word for no trees – well, maybe, if the local indigenous people spoke the same language as the Romans. Nullarbor (null arbor) is actually a Latin word meaning “no trees”. That’s the case now.
I ran a long day of 58 km on Tuesday, finishing near our camp, perched on the edge of the high cliffs overhanging the Southern Ocean and Great Australian Bight. The others (Carmel, Jeff, Michael, Jane, and Peter) set up camp while I was running, sighting a whale below the camp.
On Wednesday I ran 70 km, which is the longest day of my entire world run. It wasn’t easy, as I started in a very strong and cold northerly crosswind. It was the real Nullarbor too, with virtually nothing to look at, except for the occasional glimpses of the ocean. I reckon I did well to get through the day. It was helped by the support crew, who warmed a meat pie in the caravan’s oven, for my lunch.
It was, however, a day punctuated with an unusual occurrence. About half way through, I ran into a guy and a goat in the middle of the road. Jimbo had seen me coming, and got Gary, his goat, to stand in the middle of the road so he could take photos with us both in the shot. Gary was very obedient, standing still for the photo, but, as the infamous Bobby Quin would say, “A good goat’ll do that”.
I was stopped several times by motorists who wanted to know what I was doing. I even picked up a donation to Oxfam from the Mahar family, and another today from an anonymous family.
Peter and Jane left us today for a few days, but we expect to see them again soon. Peter has been cooking wonderful meals at night, so we’ll certainly miss that for a few days. Jeff and Michael have continued to run and ride with me. Jeff ran 7 km and 12 km, and then rode 65 km today. Michael rode 30 km yesterday.
Today I saw two dingoes on separate occasions. They were watching me, trotting along behind, but when I called to them, they both ran away. There was also a dead one on the side of the road, the victim of a car.
I also had many stops today, to say hello to people along the way – two English girls, a Japanese cyclist, and Dave Annandale and his wife. Dave walked from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific two years ago.
Tonight we’re staying at the roadhouse of Nullarbor, with grassy treeless plains all around us. The past two nights have been spent free camping in the wilderness. We are able to watch some TV tonight – I’m looking forward to seeing some of the Ashes cricket, and the Tour de France. I can’t stay up too late, though – I’d suffer tomorrow if I did.