13 December 2016


Annual review

2015 finished with me injuring my back which affected my performances in Japan but meeting up with Mike Trees and Andy Green provided me with the motivation to push hard for the year where the goal was always Perth and the World Masters Athletics Championships at the end of October beginning of November.
The year started off with me trying to increase my standard mileage from 70/80km per week to 100+.
I tried to improve my diet by going alcohol free and cutting out chocolate cakes and biscuits. The aim was to get to under 60kg to help improve my chances of faster running. I'd previously thought 62kg was my ideal weight and have variously bounced around between 60 to 65kg.
Back in January I did a 26km run with a North Lakes parkrun 17;01 thrown in at 18km.

The following week I did a more conventional 3km warm up and ran 16;24.
My increased mileage did not last very long as the niggling plantar factitious I'd carried for the previous 12/18 months started to flair up. 
16:24 North Lakes parkrun my fastest for the year

I spent the usual small fortune trying to find resolution. Ultra Sound, Cortisone Injection, ice, Spiky Massage ball, wore the half moon boot through the night (I am still wearing it as I still get flare ups). MRI, Consultant  x 2, Podiatrist gait analysis, heel cups, strapping and rest! 
If you have heel Achilles problems get yourself one of these off ebay for about $25 well worth it.

Well I didn't actually rest. Midway through February I stopped running and started cycling again (this worked well for me when I had a year off with PF in the right heel a few years back).
I tried running after 4 weeks cycling in mid March. 
It was too soon as though I managed 2 or 3 weeks of running, the pain was still too much.I had too judge what was the maximum amount of rest from running I could afford without cutting my Perth preparation down  too short? 
April and May were spent on the bike. I clocked up my 1000th 10km loop around North Lakes on the bike (10,000km around the same loop). 
The colder weather was on the way which I hate cycling in, so I was super keen to get running again.
At the end of May I strapped up the heel and started to run again. I had one blip during June where I jumped back onto the bike convinced I still wasn't right but 4 day later I started to run again on 12th June.
The countdown for my preparation for Perth had started.
Could I get back to my peak in 4 months?
I thought I could and I promised myself not to make any silly mistakes like cutting down trees or twisting my ankle running on a trail or injuring myself with a 2 hour  shoe less beach run. I also decided that I shouldn't let running totally dominate my life and relaxed my diet to include beer again (6 months without beer was more than enough and I am sure my wife appreciated having the old me back).
I had to miss out on racing at Gold Coast, Bridge to Brisbane, Redcliffe, Noosa and Gladstone.
So I started to build my mileage through July, getting a regular weekly interval session and a Sunday long run. I started to run a couple of double runs a week and managed to keep my weight at 60kg.
The last week of August and the first week of September I managed to peak at 130km weekly mileage.
16;29 North Lakes parkrun 20th August
September was  tricky trying to balance my non running life with my running life.
We celebrated  me turning 55, Natalie turning 50 and our 25th Wedding Anniversary all in the same week at the end of September beginning of October. 
We went to the USA to visit Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon (South Rim), Yosemite National Park and San Francisco. I managed to find a track in LA and another in Las Vegas and fitted in a good variety of runs and sessions. Although the holiday wasn't the ideal preparation for Perth it perhaps helped prevent me from over-training at home and besides was a fabulous family celebration.

We got back from the States on 4th October and I had 3 masters races planned prior to departing for Perth. First up was a  3000m in 9;42. Nothing to write home about as I was hoping to run sub 9;20. Then I ran a 5000 and again underwhelmed with a 16;47. I was hoping for low 16's and this form was disturbing. My seed time for Perth was 15;54 which I ran in January 2015. I was well off target.
The Final race in the Perth build up was a mid week evening Masters 10000m. I had run a 34;13 10000m session at the end of August so I decided I'd run this race the same way, Hard/Float respective laps. In tough Brisbane conditions (humidity) I managed a 33;34 Queensland M55 record by myself. Which gave me a heap of confidence heading into Perth. I was happy with that performance and putting that time into the calculators suggested I would be happy with any distance from 1500 to Half based on equivalent performances.
On my knees following a 33:34 in Brisbane humidity!
And so to Perth. 
How lucky was I, to turn 55 the month before and have a World Masters on my doorstep (compared to France/USA/Brasil/Finland previous host countries) ?
I shan't go back in any great detail over Perth but suffice to say the Championships were a fantastic celebration of Masters Athletics, brilliantly organised in a beautiful city.
Getting to meet some of my fellow Master's from around the globe was an awesome experience.
The 8km Cross Country was run as a combined M50 and M55 race. Bruce Graham (Aus) and Anders (Swede)  got away early but myself and Paul Thompson (GB) pulled them back in (or did they hold up as a tactical consequence of having gone off to quickly ?)
Anders and Bruce had raced in Lyon at the Worlds, finishing 2nd and 3rd M50 there. The four of us ran together for 6km with the race only unfolding in the last 500m or so as Bruce skipped away for a much deserved win. I took the M55 honours and we also took the M55 team Gold.
The sprint for home with Anders (M50)

Next up was the 5000m. I had two guys much faster than me this year Alex (Hol) and Stuart (Can). The conditions were shocking (windy) but perhaps gave me a tactical advantage. Rather than sitting in and making a planned break with 2000 to go, we played cat and mouse for 1600 before I decided the safety of running by myself would beat a trip/fall/push. l made a break with 3200m to go. Neither Alex or Stuart went with me so I was home free winning by 100m from those two super quick finishers. I love my finish line photo, rarely do I show much satisfaction or joy when running. My time was 16:42
The satisfaction of the win

The 10000m came three days later. I expected to win this one and decided to again run it hard/float/hard. Conditions were pretty warm so it was tough hurting myself when I was so far clear but I was pleased with the performance given the circumstances. The finish line photo showed I'd truly smashed myself 33;15.

The Half Marathon was 5 days following the 10000 so I was well rested but still, 4 tough races in 11 days would take a toll on anyone. The key ingredient a Kenyan M50 or M55 runner who had told me he expected to run a bloody quick time. He looked good, like maybe only African runners look. Super light on his feet and fast. Conditions were hot and windy on the way out and I was suffering but so was he. After tracking him past half way I hit him with my best effort for about a KM and was able to hang on to win the M55 in 73;42.

Back in Brisbane and the Summer humidity combined with a lessened motivation as I came back off the boil to close out my year. A 16:22 5000 the only performance worth mentioning.
There are lots of goals for 2017 based around the Queensland M55 record books.

08 December 2016

5000m 16;52.84

I brought my racing year to a conclusion last night at QSAC with a 16;52.84 5000m at a rare Queensland Masters  evening Meeting.
Conditions were extremely humid (80% and 26 O C) and windy down the home finishing straight.
There was also a plague of flying ants!
The field included a bunch of youngsters, the usual Masters and Clay Dawson and Osman Saleh.
Clay and Osman immediately gaped me at the start but I had help from Andrew Willey for 5 laps.
Andrew kindly offered to pace for 2000 and managed 6;30.Our first Km was about 3;08 so we were slowing and when Andrew stepped off  it was just a case of survival. I really suffered both because of the conditions and my fitness level. I wore the heart-rate monitor and managed another 179bpm maximum and 166bpm ave.
I need to regroup and target over the next 4 weeks. Since Perth I have been using races instead of sessions and racing in warm weather with high humidity seems to be taking a greater toll on me.
As mentioned previously I will be looking at racing and training more for 1500 for the  rest of the Summer.
Next winter I will probably race the Half at the  Gold Coast on 2nd July and try for some quick times on the road at 5KM and 10KM.
Andrew Peter Me Paul and Clay
 Results from 7th December

05 December 2016

Sandgate parkrun 1st 16;32

It was oh so sultry at Sandgate Saturday morning 7.00am parkrun start. 25 O C and 80% relative humidity. I'd done a 3.5km 'warm-up' . Back to the car to put on my Asics Racers and singlet and the sweat is pouring off me. I toed the start line and smashed out the first K in a way too fast 3;05 - what was I thinking! I   reigned  back the pace. This was my first time on the new course where we head South to the Pier run 800m to the end and do a 180 O turn and trace our way back. The pathway is much wider and better condition than the one we used to run. Some sea spray dampness and sand on the cement pathway added technical consideration to the run. The Shornecliffe Pier was redeveloped just a few years ago so the wooden pier is fine for running on when dry. The 180 degree turn costs a few seconds but the old course also had a 180 0 turn.
The conditions really began to bite after about 3km but I managed to hang onto the same pace (3;22) for K's 2 , 3 and 5 with a two second drop on the 4th K3;24

you can see the 180 O turn and also note the maximum HR was right up at my max 178bpm and ave 167bpm.
Sandgate parkrun 303 finishers 
IO smashed out the first KM in 3;05
I took it incredibly easy and just jogged in !
Sandgate Bramble Bay, Pacific Ocean
Shornecliffe Pier

28 November 2016

1500m 4;35.8

Saturday at QSAC Nathan 8;00am start, typical humid warm and windy.
I think I have run 1 x 1500m in the last 5 years. My aim this year is to try and break Alan Bradford's stranglehold on all Queensland 1500m records from M45 to M65. His M55 mark is 4;27.4 and its possible that with the right conditions and in the right condition I could get close.
I have been no where near his marks at
M45 = 4;03.16 (my best was 4;18.3@ age 47)
M50 = 4;08.09 (my best was 4;22.5 @ age 50)
M55 = 4;27.40 (my best is 4;35.8 @ age 55)
However, this is a whole different world of pain than that generated in a 5 or 10,000m.
On Saturday our race field was about 15 strong (including two walkers). I immediately led and worked hard. Getting to 300 in about 50 (the stadium finish line clock was running 5 seconds slow showing 45 and I was thinking blimey that's quick! Through 700m in 2;05 and the lactate feeling starts to take hold! The finishing straight wind was causing me to work very hard and sensed I was 'tieing up' but tried my best to relax. It is a horrible feeling but I will do a few more 1500's as I feel they will help my 3 and 5K times. 4;35.8, it wasn't long ago that I was able to run two of those back to back in a 3000m - the tragedy of ageing! Can I knock two seconds a lap off that time? I'm currently at 73.x and I need 71.x to run 4;27.3.

25 November 2016

3000m 9;43.54

This race open meet is put on by the University of Southern Queensland Athletics Club the track is at Sippy Downs about 50mins North from my home. I saw a 3000m advertised with an 8.00pm start the hope was for calm benign conditions and fast open age runners to drag me around to a sub 9;30. I'd rather race than do a track session by myself.
The day was really really hot. Where I was working in the city and Caboolture the temperature had got to 34 O C early so I was a little concerned that heat was going to be a factor. However a wind blew up in the arvo that cooled things down unfortunately the wind didn't die down and at start time was blowing at 32kmph with gusts to 41kmph (according to BOM). The field comprised Sam Blake (a hugely talented kid) who was aiming for sub 9;00 Adam Hulme (Phd student doing doctorate on running injuries) aiming for 9;30, myself and Zac (goal high 11;00).
Just before we started John Lean (age 20 who had run  a 1;56 800m earlier - in that wind!) agreed to jump in to pace us for a KM which was fantastic especially as he stayed on track for 2km.
Sam disappeared off the front after 400m (about 70) John Lean led me and Adam sat on my tail. Unfortunately John was always a touch too far ahead to provide any wind break and besides the wind was coming diagonally (Adam was able to position himself on my right shoulder every time we hit the wind in the finishing straight). We ran 3;08 first Km 5;44 at 1.8km. With 600m to go Adam rounded me and offered wind protection for the last two laps but I was gone and he gaped me a massive 15 secs by the finish! Adam ran about 9;26 and as I crossed the line they called 9;41 'highs' but not sure what my official time is yet. I stopped the Garmin past the finish.
My glute/hamstring that has been given me gip  since the winter was quite sore during the race. I am using the hand held roller on it and get it worked upon when I get massage.
I'm going to run a 1500m on Saturday which should be interesting.
I have done no appropriate speed work at all and expect to suffer horribly. My goal is to run close to 4;30 but would like to under 4;27 this summer with a little appropriate training.

20 November 2016

5000m 16:22.04

This was a Queensland Athletics Open meet at the Queensland State Athletics Facility ANZ Stadium Saturday evening. Start time 6:00pm just a bit too warm at that time and wind blew up after it being calm all day. Only 8 entrants in the men's two in the girls , only one showed up so we went off together.
Originally they had scheduled two women races and two men's and a 7:00pm start time would have been far preferable.
The state of track distance running is shocking if we can only get 8 entrants for a 5000m race. The 800m had 4 heats, which shows that the Athletes are there but they don't want to run 5000 on the track. Big shame for me as I had been hoping to get some help to run 16:00.
Saying that, there were two quality guys in our race Aiden Hobbs and Charles Chambers
with Brendan Press providing 3:00km pacing duties for 3km.
At the gun the 3 young dudes headed off to immediately gap Peter Bracken and myself, as I tucked in behind Peter for 200m but 38 was way too slow so I took his lead and picked it up. There was no time at the 200m mark (race start line) just at the finish line an official appeared to be calling out random numbers that hardly corresponded to our actual times or even lap times.
Did hear 3000m was 9:45 so I had fallen off pace suffering in the wind and heat. Peter (age35) stuck to my arse like a leech with occasional moves to my shoulder but never took it on once!!!
Well not until the final 120m when he rounded me and sprinted past like he was racing me! We get very few opportunities to run 5000m in evening track meets (only two a year!) So it was disappointing to not get the entrants and not get any help to run a quicker time.
Saying that, 16:22 puts me #3 in the M55 World Rankings this year, and by way of further context only 5 pommie M55 have ever run faster (all time) and it ranks about 30th fastest athlete on the all-time World M55 list.
M55 5000m 2016 World Rankings

M55 5000m All time World rankings

M55 5000m All time British Rankings (Power of 10)

08 November 2016

World Masters Athletics Championships Perth Half Marathon M55 1st 73:42

I had a 5 day break between the 10000m and the Half, where I just 'ticked over' in training and lazed about. I saw Deep Water Horizon and The Accountant. Both excellent films. My mate Stuart Moore works for BDO in Perth, one of the main sponsors of the Championship, so we attended the Athletes Party with sponsors tickets. Among others we got to meet Stuart Galloway from Canada, 3rd in the M55 5000m and 1st in the 1500m.
He is retired from work! I can't believe people my age are so well set they are retired at 55! Really nice guy.
So to race day. 
Conditions had cooled down from previous day's 33 O C but the wind was blowing a gale for the 6:30am start and the temperature was about 20 O C. The race plan was to win the M55 first and foremost but have a crack at the M50's. 
At the 10,000m a Kenyan sat down next to me and we got talking. He told me he was entered wrongly as a M50 but was actually M55 and only doing the Half!!! I asked him what time he expected to run and he said 67mins!!! (3 minutes under the M55 WR !)
I later Googled him and saw a 78min result probably in hot Kenyan conditions on crappy roads - definitely a threat. His name Stephen Kihara. 
The Race starts and the strong headwind meant a lead group of Kenyans and others formed, as we hammered along narrow bike or pedestrian Swan River side pathways. 
It was a surreal moment where it felt like I was watching an elite big city Marathon TV coverage.
They (the Kenyans) hand signaled the numerous street furniture hazards (bollards or slower moving earlier starting Marathoners).
At about 5km the younger Kenyans and Portuguese M45 Davide Figueiredo gaped our group that comprised the young M45 Dutch guy Patrick Kwist, a tall Czech M35 Vladamir Srb, the M55 Kenyan Stephen Kihara,  M50 Pommie Paul Thompson, the M50 Swede Anders Dahl , M50 Aussie Bruce Graham and myself.
The Kenyan looked good, very good as he took turns to lead our group. I was worried. The left glute was painful, the heat was building, I managed a gel at 10km but no water. Our first 5km was run in 16;53, the second 5km wasn't much slower @ 17;11, so 34;04 for 10km (my Garmin lost GPS tracking so I'm giving Paul Thompson's splits).
The course was difficult to navigate as we past more and more Marathoners who had started 20 minutes before us.
Finally we reached the turn around (Bruce Graham and Anders Dahl had been dropped), I was hoping to benefit from what should have been a following wind. However that also meant we would start to heat up. I followed behind the Kenyan and he started to drop off our small group. The 3 gaped us and I was happy to sacrifice possible M50 success as Paul Thompson pushed on. I spent about two km following the slowing Kenyan before I decided to make my break for category victory at about 13km. I kicked in a hard K and dropped the Kenyan!
Then it was basically 'hanging on', hoping I could coast in without too much effort as the pain of the campaign started to bite. I ran the last 8km by myself.
My friend Andy Green had counselled that at some point 'its going to hurt' and his prophetic words rang loudly in my head. 
Very happy with 73:42 because I reckon that's pretty good (ranks me 14th best M55 All-time) and in a one off, cooler, less windy race, I think I could still knock a minute off that time.
It was a fantastic experience meeting like minded Masters runners who love doing what I love doing and what a joy to get to the start line and be able to perform to the best of my abilities.
The early leading pack, Czeck, Dutch, Kenyans, Pom and Aussie.

I made only one grab for water = unsuccessful!

I carried a gel till 11km

Closing in on the finish, "what's my lead on the Kenyan?"

The pain of 4 races in 12 days starts to bite and the head wind that we battled on the way out died down on our return (note the limp flag) so the heat was building

They said it was flat!

Immensely proud

The main threat in my Category coincidentally sat next to me 5 days earlier.

M50 winner Paul Thompson a New York based Pommie!

Bruce Graham unfortunately born just a few months too young to make the M55 nevertheless had a sensational Championship competing in the same events as me

Skippy HuRTS squad member Andy Hayden finished 4th M40 behind three Kenyans

02 November 2016

World Masters Athletics Championship Perth M55 10,000 1st 33:15

I was confident I could win so long as no last minute Kenyans came out of the woodwork! So the plan was to run it, the same as the last time, Hard lap, Float lap. Keep it going as long as possible, no particular goal times to achieve.
Conditions were warming up and still blustery for our race though the wind thankfully was calming down and nothing like the 5000m gale!
70/72 first lap!, a Masters World Championship race will give you a few seconds boost! Into my 'Float' and I didn't particularly slow down much, covering the 1st KM in 3;09.
From there it was pretty much a case of trying to keep the hard efforts to raise the tempo and the float laps honest.
I guessed I was clear but had no idea other than a vague inference from the announcer (who I only heard in the home straight).
There was a clock on the start finish line but I didn't fancy the mental arithmetic to work out my laps. There was another electronic board that scrolled the competitors names, order and laps to go or completed (not sure). I only looked at it once. I was aware that I'd covered 5200 a little faster than 3 weeks ago, and was later told I'd gone through 5000 in 16:25 which was motoring considering all the factors.
Edit; I actually went through 5000m in 16;16.
Inevitably in the second half I started to tire and slowed down. I think I went through the first 6km in 3:15 average and the last 4km in 3:25 average.
I was happy with 33:15, which ranks 11th all-time M55, though getting the bell in 32:00 and realizing back in 2011, Keith Bateman would have lapped me on his way to the WR 31:51 was a sobering thought.
I heard afterwards that I had lapped the field by lap 15 and was on the way to double lapping the field, winning by over two minutes.
I have five days to rest up before Sundays Half Marathon. Today I went for an easy 11km run along the Mara course with M55 5000m 2nd placer Alex Stienstra (Netherlands). A really nice guy with very quick 1500 and 5000 times this year 4:22 &16:02. Unfortunately injuries kept his training to a minimum these last few months, so he was ecstatic to win the Silver. I hope he gets a result in the 1500 though of course I want my Aussie mates to likewise.

30 October 2016

World Masters Athletics Championship Perth M55 5000m 1st 16:43

Actually I had been dreaming of this race for 5 years since Perth were awarded the host city at the 2011 WMA Champs in Sacramento. When the day finally dawned I was still in doubt about my tactics for the race. The conditions though made that choice somewhat easier as a horrendous wind up the finishing straight meant attacking from the gun would be foolish, I'd bear the wind and Alex, Stuart and the others would have to chase. So the decision was to sit-in behind whoever wanted to lead and see how things would play out but with a vague idea I'd go from 3000.
So the first four laps were run at a dawdle. About 80 second laps or slower, the wind was a nightmare. Things were OK whilst a Columbian led with me trying to find the best position behind to shield, but when the others started to come around we all started to chop and push.
I had my heels clipped a few times and was this close to turning around and swearing but I only turned and did the glare!!
My thoughts now were someone is going to trip over and who knows what will happen then! So in an instant I decided to go for it and smashed out a fast lap. Afterwards Alex told me he instinctively went with me for 10m before he reconciled defeat to me and dropped back into the pack. I quickly built a lead to 100m and up to 150m by the last lap but was closed back down to 100m by the extremely fast finishing Alex (16:02 this year) and Stuart (16:27 this year Canadian M55 record holder). 
It was extremely hard work running up the finishing straight into that wind and I wrestled with the madness of my choice to break so early.
I was seriously happy to win because my race execution worked out beautifully. I really needed a large buffer to give the speed merchants no hope of catching me.
The win sets me up nicely for the 10,000m on Tuesday.
No new fresh runners to race, pretty much the same guys (not Alex or Stuart). 
If I respect the distance and the opposition I will be hard to beat.