Sunday, August 27, 2006

Ave atque vale : Crestwood #14

Thus endeth West Met 2006. A goodly crowd turned out on a fresh afternoon : sunny, but deceptively chilly. I had done my usual preparation: a 12k run just beforehand, followed by a Powerade. No food since Friday night. Son had come down with a mild cold, and aimed high once again : "to beat you, dad". I prefer he targeted someone in between our 32 year age difference.

The entire BB family attended the event!
Mrs BB, YD, even ED who at 19 obviously felt a second childhood coming on for the afternoon. Haring around the playground, zooming on YD's razor scooter, even pretending to run...
Meanwhile the 2k proved challenging for someone who forgot the two hills, and wondered why his PB was 9:02 min. A pretty even split saw a 9:22 min, whilst S unofficially clocked around 7:30 min which would be a season PB. We just have to wait for the official time, which presented problems on the day. Alan had difficulties with the printout, so we wait nervously...
A fine season, and good that S was motivated to run with me all through; next year will probably see a return to soccer, but most likely with his school. I hope he does take it up again, as he is quite gifted, just lazy. A shame when one sees others trying hard; he has immense under-utilised talent. Such a good sports brain, but a normal teenager I guess...

A few decent runs recently:
* Mon & Wed 9k along the M7 (lunchtime)
* Tue 8k KR 6am !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
* Fri 12k along the M7
* Sat 12k/2k West Met
* Sun 14k Bella Vista to Prospect Reservoir
I can't say that today's run was great, as it involved main roads and the sporadic idiot-in-car.
Still, running a few k's within the Reservoir picnic area is brilliant. It's got the whole ambience thing nailed: massive water views, beautiful parklands, sealed quiet roads all in an historic setting. Followed up with a picnic and playground workout with the shortened version of the BB family, so overall a lovely day. Naturally finished off with a workout at the gym, and heard the Carlton/Collingwood results, so sadly not perfect. Still, with a likely loss to the Swans next Sunday, the wooden spoon and therefore first draft pick 2007 in the bag, it's looking up (how's that for spin?).

Things have gone a little quiet on the music front. The Sherbet/Skyhooks issue has faded, so peace reigns supreme. Not sure if Tesso is stirring things up in Brissie, but Sydney has avoided mass protests so far.

Mr BB's dad and his wife are touring England and Ireland for a few months, and sent us a postcard from the town used in filming "Doc Martin": Port Isaac, Cornwall.
It is a lovely village, but the best part of the postcard was his comment:
"parking was difficult, but we managed to get a spot near the harbour. Locals told us to move the car after a couple of hours, as the tide was due in."

A couple of annual leave days Mon/Tue, so a good break from the Grocery Industry, and I hope Woolworths can continue to sell masses of the products we supply them without my assistance until Wednesday. Plan: two solid runs (to take me past the August record), a gym workout, lunch with Mrs BB and of course drop off to/pick up from school for YD. AND her dancing class tomorrow. Think I'll need a break from the break...

"Exit, stage left"

Sunday, August 20, 2006

98% of all statistics are made up

"You can never plan the future by the past." Edmund Burke.
This 18th century Anglo-Irish Whig strongly supported the cause of the American Colonies in their struggle against George III, as well as opposing the French Revolution. A political theorist, statesman, author, orator and philosopher. Not a time-keeper.
If he had thought a little more deeply about his statement, Edmund would probably have reached the same conclusion as I did yesterday. You CAN plan the future using the past as a guide. It's just that, at yesterday's West Met Prospect handicap race, Merv didn't.
My Year 2 Uni statistics course showed me conclusively that you cannot derive a mean, modal or median average from a range of numbers which are outside the average. For example: my handicap time had me down for an estimated 8:10 min run over the 2k. Interesting, however my fastest run this year on all courses has been 8.16 min. My time over the exact same course on 24/06 was 9:14 min. My mean average time (across 11 races this season) was 9:13 min. I got a "go time" of 4:20 min, meaning my estimated finish time was 8:10 min as the first runner went at +12:30 min.
My son, with a season's mean average of 8:07 min, got a 7:30 min estimate, or "go" time of 5:00 min. Meaning he would probably overtake me at about 1.5k.
But... he had a cold, and didn't want to go too hard; he just wanted to beat dad. Well, he didn't. He finished way behind me in 14:00 min from "go", meaning a net time of 9:00 min. I finished in 13:22 min, or net time of 9:02 min (12 second PB). So, he beat me by 2 seconds net, which was a big come-down from normal, but not across the line! Yay me...
It was his birthday Saturday, so he didn't want to push too hard, being mindful of the upcoming celebrations. We'll see him and ED on Monday, so it will be presents and food galore, with YD helping to open all gifts.
Apart from yesterday's 2k controversy, I managed a few good runs:
Fri 11k M7 lunchtime; weights
Sat morning 12k KR
Sun 18k home/M7/Rooty Hill; weights
It would appear that the August record k's attempt is back on track. That's not the surprise.
What IS surprising is my boss taking up walking in the mornings before work. This is a man who often told me I had serious issues to deal with - why was I so "obsessed" with running? A man who suggested to all one lunchtime at the Royal Cricketers Arms that running served no purpose unless training for a specific race was the end goal. A man who would rather enjoy a quality red with his wife than exercise. In short, a mad, bad and dangerous man.
Having attended a senior level Retreat, he now realises the importance of maintaining a healthy body along with an agile mind. My worry is that I will be regaled with exercise stories...

A brief listen to "Surprise" by Paul Simon left me favourably impressed, generally. A few tracks not unlike some mid 70's songs, and certainly nothing like the disastrous "Songs From The Capeman".
Interesting to learn speedygeoff's ( link with The Idea Of North. I'd love to see them live, but fear they don't venture out northwest, and I'm not likely to make it into the Basement. Still, "The Gospel Project" is worth a listen.

Books? I'm currently reading Robert Fulghum's "Maybe, Maybe Not". A good follow-up to "It was on fire when I lay down on it". An interesting guy, with some witty, pithy and intelligent thoughts...

And Spring is just around the corner, so soon the pool blanket will come off, the solar heater will kick into overdrive, and the family will start summer a little early!

"Exit, stage left"

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Lurgi 1 Blues Buffett 0

"A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor's book": Irish Proverb
Well if I'd read that last week it would have given me the laugh I needed. Sleep? No probs, just no running early in the morning. In fact, two days off work last Thur/Fri. But my colleagues were kind. They divided themselves into two camps:
1. those on Monday who said "oh, were you away last week?"
2. those who left lots of urgent work-related messages on my mobile Thur/Fri
I was a model of consistency; I ignored both.

Running has taken a back seat recently, athough I did manage to a do a couple of easy 17k runs Sat and Sun along the M7. Strangely, my enjoyment was not as per normal; Mrs BB suggested I was an obsessive runaholic who needed to have a full week off exercise to recover properly. Naturally I regarded her suggestion with the kind of amazement one reserves for all ludicrous ideas. Even more strangely, she failed to grasp the mathematical and goal-setting principles currently in place. Otherwise she would clearly see that time off was not permitted if I was to hit 281+ k's this month and break my August record. She retreated, muttering something about the necessity to plan into my diary and schedule a brief heart attack and hospital sojourn.
My running back at work has been reasonable: Mon 8k, Tue 8k, Wed 12k, all along the famous M7 (a triple jump from my office). A strange shortness of breath persists. You would think the virus would have more respect. I have cunningly tried to confuse it, by mixing up the attack. A clever combination of kids multivitamins (little BB doesn't like those particular ones, and they were going to waste), strawberries, lollies and energising red wine has the virus on the run. I hope...

I think that next year I won't do a 25k run followed by a weekend of back-breaking manual work in the garden, in wet conditions. So for sure I won't get sick. Although I did last August; and August before...... enough.

Only three more West Mets, with Prospect on Saturday. After the season finishes, it's then onto tennis for Son. I'll go along, but my heart's not in it. I'm a squash fan, you see, but unfortunately most squash court complex owners seem to have the same idea: sell the complex off for office block development, make a pile of cash, and tell squashies to find another club. At least I know there's one at Ballina, our future home. A shame there aren't any decent ones this side of the Harbour Bridge, or Blue Mountains.

I recently bought the new The Idea Of North CD "The Gospel Project" and at first listen it is up to their high standard, although not entirely a capella by any means. I also purchased Paul Simon's "Surprise" CD, so look forward to seeing if he's made his first decent album since "Rhythm Of The Saints" in 1990...

"exit, stage left"

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Oh my yakin' back

It's been some little while since the last post. Fortunately, the clamour of eager blog-reading devotees has been limited to the occasional unreasonable demand, so little damage done.

"Just as a prism of glass miters light and casts a colored braid, a garden sings sweet incantations the human heart strains to hear. Hiding in every flower, in every leaf, in every twig and bough, are reflections of the God who once walked with us in Eden": Tonia Triebwasser

It's rather a shame that Tonia wasn't able to muse a little closer to The Ridge over the weekend, becasue we could have used her help in our garden. Having decided some time ago to radically alter (read: significantly improve) all our gardens, this was the week for real action. Soil (1 ton) and pebbles (2 tons) plus weedmat were delivered. Saturday it showered. Still, my programme suggested a long run, so I did my equal longest ever: 25k M7/Quakers Court/home, in 2 hours 24 min. Was even spotted by Princess Odette, although it was really me in Swan Lake Land when she called out. The afternoon showered some more, so all in all, a perfect set of pre-conditions for the next 4.5 hours of heavy labouring. It was interesting to understand that muscles normally only sore after a long layoff from weight-training were complaining loudly after that session.
Sunday beckoned. A short 8k recovery run, followed by 3 hours of completion work. Now it looks great. A shame Mrs BB and I find it difficult to walk from one end of the house to the other.
July was a great month for running: 314k, and a new month record. August is a tricky one. Backing up against my best year (2004), I'm trying to beat 280k. So, a few 22+k runs are planned. One down already.
Of course I still have the December 2004 284k to beat - hopefully there'll be a plethora ("would you say I has a plethora of pinatas? ": El Guapo) of warm, early mornings to hit some big k's then.
Last week saw the return to West Met: #12 Greystanes. An easy course, and a sunny day. I managed 9.14 min, while Son cracked 8.11 min. It's great that he has ability, it's just frustrating that his preparation consists of tying his shoelaces and drinking water. No stretching, certainly no training on other days.
Only two more West Met comp races left: Prospect 19/08 and Crestwood 26/08. Hopefully the Prospect run will provide a special birthday present for him, by beating AE, the leading U20 points-getter.
With winter nearly over, it looks like the shift back to 6am runs will occur during August. My boss will probably be happier then too, although he appears bemused by the whole exercise thing. I recall a previous boss saying to me " show me a marathon runner, and I'll show you someone with too much time on their hands". I assume his health has subsequently held up.

huge news x 2!

1. after many years, I now have a copy of Mike Batt's "The Hunting Of The Snark," all thanks to HillsAths1. Well done Steve!
2. Skyhooks were voted most popular Australian band in a promo for Countdown (cyber poll).
The backlash was severe: I expect to receive a visit from the police shortly, informing me Mrs BB has been arrested for inciting a riot. Soon thousands of angry Sherbet fans will take to the streets of Australian cities, protesting this indigestible outrage. Howzat? Be careful Tesso, Robert Song and Don Juan, although I'm sure they'll focus their attention on Carlton, Baldwin and South Yarra. Watch out Mercedes Ladies.

Retro is in fashion, because the past isn't what it used to be. I am avidly plowing through Maxim Jakubowski (Ed.)'s "Mammoth Book Of Vintage Whodunnits", a wonderful selection of stories from the early 19th to early 20th century. Poe, Dickens, Dumas, Wilkie Collins etc etc... Ripping Yarns (although no Across The Andes By Frog).

Maybe a business trip to Melbourne later this month - hopefully accommodation in South Yarra again, so a couple of Tan laps can occur.

"exit, stage left"