Sunday, July 23, 2006

Tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis

"Time goes, you say? Ah, no! Alas, Time stays, we go. "Henry Austin Dobson

For those who complain it's been two weeks since a blog update, I simply point to the words of this 19th century English poet.

Running continues pretty much to plan, although it has been hard to predict the ongoing cold mornings, so much mid-week training is still done at lunch time.

On weekends, all runs go past - or across - this pedestrian bridge at Quakers Hill. It's really quite a special motorway. For a start, it's fast with no traffic delays, unlike the M2 amd M4 carparks, since its approach roads are well-planned, it has electronic tolling (so no booths) and a uniform 100km/hour speed limit. It's pretty good value in comparison to others, and of course it has the off-road bike path, sealed unlike most concrete ones. I think it's great, although cyclists tend to still believe runners have eyes in the back of their heads.

Weekend runs vary between 14k and 18k, with a lift from the patient Mrs BB waiting for me at the end. Mid week tends to be a jaunt from Rooty Hill either way along the M7. I've never been further than the Lighthorse Interchange - must try going further south.
As at 23/07/06, 248k run so far this month, so on track for a July PB distance, with the chance for a record month overall (chasing 310k set last month).
Sadly missed the West Met 11 Emu Plains race yesterday, as Work had a "thank you" movie session of "Cars" for our families. A 14k run earlier in the day, then off with Mrs BB and YD to enjoy the movie, popcorn, ice cream and water (no Coke - a timid nod to health). Fortunately we had a light dinner with only a few glasses of a refreshing grenache rose, so today's M7 run (to Kingslangley shops) was no real challenge gastronomically.

Back on track next Saturday with West Met 12 Greystanes - a pleasant fairly flat course, so my son should beat me by around 90 seconds over the 2k.

Currently reading Simon Levack's "City Of Spies", novel 3 in the Aztec mystery series (set just before the conquistadors arrived). A good read, with a hint of Marlowe - just a hint.

Time has flown by however, with the viewing of both Countdown and Sherbet DVDs, clearly demonstrating that the pleasure is in the anticipation not the consumption. Some great clips from Countdown, but also some shockers. I won't offend unlikely fans by naming names, but can assure Skyhooks fans their clip was superb - and with live vocals from Shirl. I've always favoured the Hooks over Sherbet, believing Greg Macainsh delivered some solid socially-insightful lyrics.
On the other hand, Mrs BB is a certified Sherbet lunatic, zealously defending their honour against all who would impune it. From her early days of attending the 1975 Under The Bridge concert, she has passionately supported their claim for Greatest Oz Band Of All Time. Can't say I find much evidence to support this claim, although Best Comedy Clip goes to Sherbet with Tony Mitchell as the star, wining and dining an impressionable young lady. His friends down Paddo way probably also find it amusing.

"Exit, stage left"

Sunday, July 09, 2006

No bull - if you follow the thread

"Speed is scarcely the noblest virtue of graphic composition, but it has its curious rewards. There is a sense of getting somewhere fast, which satisfies a native American urge. " James Thurber, American Humorist 1894-1961

I would have to agree with James here, especially after today. Americans should not feel they own this urge; I discovered it when doing the home/M7/Rooty Hill run today.
This 18k run normally takes me 97 min, give or take a minute (strangely unvarying you may think).
Today, under clear blue skies with barely a breeze to gently kiss my weary brow, and with 18 degrees to warm me, I powered through in 88 minutes!
To say this mega PB brought me a modicum of satisfaction may be a deliberate understatement. I planned to go out a little harder than in previous weeks, partly because I had run well at yesterday's West Met, and partly to get to the family picnic faster.
While I don't have a GPS watch, I paced myself against time/landmarks I have come to know rather well. I seemed to be able to up the pace throughout, and so finished with a faster second 9k, probably completing this part in 43 minutes. I'm happy to average under 5min/k for a solid distance like 18k!

Exercise has been consistent again this past week:
Mon 03/07 10k work/M7 south
Tue 04/07 8k work/M7 north
Wed 05/07 rest day!
Thur 06/07 8k Clean Streets of KR
Fri 07/07 16k home/Quakers Hill/Riverstone; weights session at BLC
Sat 08/07 12k Rouse Hill (plus 2k West Met)
Sun 09/07 18k home/M7/Rooty Hill

Yesterday's 10th West Met at Rydalmere was sadly quite a poor course, although Merv, Dave and the guys did their best with the space available. Normally, the course is a flat out-and-back along the bikepath near Siverwater Bridge, going past the Naval Stores site. In keeping with Sydney's fine tradition of selling off maximum quantities of waterside land, this site is being re-developed to provide the average Sydney punter with a chance to live in a unit with close-up views of Parramatta river, probably for no more than $800k. Bargain.
For us, this meant we had to complete the 2k course within about 1k worth of path. Many twists and turns abounded; indeed, if it had been darker, I would have been hoping to have Ariadne hand me a ball of twine to find my way out of the labyrinth, and avoid the minotaur.
Still, both Son and I did well : he finished 9th in 7.38 min, and I completed the run in 8.55 min - a 4.20 min second km.
Still no sign of Bethroid.

Following today's run (and a lift from the always-uncomplaining Mrs BB), we went on a family picnic to the Sydney International Regatta Centre - Penrith Lakes. A great spot for YD to ride both bike and scooter, and for me to consider doing - at a later date - a measured 10k run there. Two laps of 5k each, bitumen bike path, and flat! Now this is a course for doing 10k PBs on...

I've had two days annual leave this past week, going to the Powerhouse Museum, and Riverstone Library to borrow another 10 books for YD. In a connected way, these two trips led me to borrow
"Sydney then and now" a photographic comparison of major landmarks now and 100 years ago. It's a bit of a break from novels, and it provides yet another interesting historical perspective on this metropolis.

Exempli gratia - especially for Bay Runners - the Iron Cove bridge is considered largely Art Deco in style, completed in 1955, replacing the original iron lattice bridge built in 1884. The wonderful Callan Park of course used to contain the Callan Park Hospital For The Insane. This complex was purchased by the NSW government in 1873 as the site for a new lunatic asylum. The group of neo-classical buildings were designed in colaboration with Dr Manning, who had the sad title of Inspector Of The Insane.

"exit, stage left"

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Sobria inebrietas

"Every man is the builder of a temple called his body" : Henry David Thoreau.

Well I think in June, I added another 310 bricks to my structure, and let me say it was interesting. Psychologically, it was pleasing to break a barrier that - for many years - seemed unlikely to occur. The past month, it tantalizingly beckoned after the long weekend, having completed some longer runs up to then - thanks to the M7 again. Beating my previous best June month (261k) in 2004 was the first goal, so smashing this with five days to go spurred me on - indeed, a modest set of four runs at 8k each did the trick.
A July record beckons: 263k in 2004 would appear beatable; the first two days have clocked up 38k. The month's plan currently suggests 304k.
Two West Met's to report on since last post, although Bethroid appears MIA. Hope she has simply been slack and not unwell.
Prospect Reservoir 24/06 2k went well. I think I have it down pat mentally now: do a long run in the morning, and treat it as a sort of morale booser for my son. It works: here I did 12k before lunch (although no lunch), and he did 8.17 min, thrashing my 9.14 min. The course was easy, although concrete path, so unkind to legs. The strangest part was the finish: a cramped area on the path where all finishers were constantly shuffled to one side to allow cyclists to pass. Such are the compromises we make when seeking Council/Waterboard/Police approval.
Cowells Lane Ermington 01/07 2k was tough. For a start, I did 18k along the M7 to work, followed by a lift home from the patient Mrs BB and the less-patient YD.
The course was one I had not run since 2000, and had a vague recollection of pleasant surrounds with leafy trees and autumn leaves gently cushioning footfalls. Wrong.
The parkland may have been verdant, but it was hilly, and there was an intriguing boardwalk bridge to cross - single file - after the first 150m. This made for slow running. However, the winding track provided enough challenge for some to enable me to
a. not get passed
b. pass 6 runners
So to finish in 9.54 min was pleasing, given that Son did 8.49 min, and the winning time was a tick under 7 minutes. A hard course making for slower times.

Today saw another 18k, again along the M7, but detouring through Railway Rd and on to Quakers Court shops, where comestibles were purchased for today's family "indoor picnic" (as it was about 15 degrees outside). Finishing off with weights, it's restin' time.
Mrs BB seems to have fully recovered from various forms of the lurgy, which resulted in 10 unplanned days off exercise. It is definitely best to rest and not attempt 6.30am power walks in 1 degree weather.

During a recent business trip to Melbourne, my company went on a Foodies Tour, which was okay, except it was freezing, I wasn't at all hungry and the State Library looked more inviting. A comment to a colleague - who was one of the first settlers of Melbourne? (answer : dunno) and the response from me (Batman - (that's John Batman in 1835)) provoked much hilarity and inspired me to brush up on my Australian history, at least to rise above "Philistine pig-ignorance"; "Australia an illustrated history" by A.K.Macdougall to the rescue.

Without a doubt my favourite quote has to be about Robert Menzies, long serving PM:

"When he was 19 the First World War broke out. Although of military age and holding a commission in the Melbourne University Rifles, Menzies did not enlist for overseas service. A public explanation was never given for this decision, although his biographers have usually surmised that Menzies' family decided that he should stay at home while his two brothers enlisted. This decision would later haunt Menzies's political career. Political antagonist Eddie Ward was later fond of saying that his burgeoning military career had been halted by the outbreak of World War I."

No music to report, other than that I am looking forward to identifying possible CDs of interest from a fellow runner's 7,000-strong collection.

"Exit, stage left"