Don’t Lose Touch.

Picking off from last post, Yarra Ranges Athletics hosted an Cross Country Open Day at equestrian Wandin Park. Now, as a runner who learnt his chops from the road fun-run scene it’s always an interesting experience when thrown in the deep end with different terrains as cross country does. While the terrain is not as challenging or technical, the element of speed is always a difficult factor, and I recall blazing my first two kilometers in 8 minutes leading to a blow out climbing a hill on the 4th kilometer.  Clearly, such lessons were eluding to be learnt.


In action at Wandin Park Cross Country. Note the untied shoelace.

The next week Athletics Victoria hosted the 15km road race looping around Lake Wendouree, Ballarat. Having learnt my lesson from the previous races and around a high calibre of runners from around the state athletics scene, I decided to this time start from the back of the pack, and work my way into the race that suited my racing style. After the tame and congested start, I worked into my style running on the road parallel to the famous Steve Monaghetti Track that circles the lake, finishing with a time of 1:08:14 to a average race pace of 4:37/km.

It’s an interesting experience racing as an ‘outsider’, in that as an observer to the camraderie and team mentality that goes into a cross country event and the support within teams for what is essentially an individualised sport. At this point time I’ve contemplated with the idea of joining an athletics club, though I suspect my reluctance has something to do with the perceived gap in talent and ability even though those kind of barriers exist when entering any sporting club on any level when in reality most would be quite welcoming and excited for new members.

On the parkrun front it had been a period of consitent times for me. My parkrun home of Lillydale Lake had it’s first anniversary and to top it off I was given the honour of being named parkrunner of the month for May. The day’s theme was ‘Ties & Tiaras’, which gave me an excuse to dust off the tuxedo from Halloween in New York.  I was able in later weeks to hit a PB for Lillydale Lake and for the year with a 20:29, my fastest 5km time in nearly a year and a half. Some parkrun tourism was also done around Jells Park and Coburg with sub 22min runs. It was encouraging and a sign was getting back to my best.

Accepting my award for parkrunner of the month. It’s like I preemptively knew what to wear for such an occasion.

Surf Coast Trail Half was a race I had pencilled in at the start of the race, and as you may have seen earlier I was battling some knee issues throughout the year. Nothing too painful, just something I minded throughout the course of the year and had to manage. Given this was a trail run I had to be mindful that this wasn’t going to be like a flat road race and be able to run the pace I would normally especially with stretches of sand and lot of  uphill sections – I employed a race tactic to make a note of where the uphill sections were by writing on my hand (though when I spent sections tired and walking, all this did was

I’d expected my left leg in some shape or form to feel sore or difficult at some point of the race so ou can imagine my surprise and dismay when my RIGHT foot decided to cramp up after a stretch of sand running going up some hills. Trail running seems to be something of an Achilles heel for me because of the dynamic nature that the terrain can have (especially running on sand) it was a lot tougher on my body than I am used to. Ultimately I pulled through to finish in 2:19, not a great time for me but a good challenge nonetheless.

Surf Coast Half Marathon

Spoils of a great day.

Surf Coast Half Marathon

The stunning scenery we got to run through.

Now I’d like to take a brief moment to deviate in explaining the naming convention for my infrequent blog posts is that each blog. Each post title appropriately sums up the feelings of the time just gone and in relation to running, but also to a song in my personal collection. As is the case in this awesome song from Against Me!:

Which brings me to how and why I’ve been so negligent when it comes to writing this blog.  You see, with Surf Coast Trail Half done and dusted it was time to fully hit my straps and start training specifically for the Melbourne Marathon. I had intended from the start of the year make 2015 the year I would run a new marathon PB, and I had this beautiful dream of doing so in front of all my friends and

Something happened at training though. Midway through the session I pulled out when a sharp pain in my foot flared up when I made impact. I knew better than to push on and make things worse, but the truth is the damage had all been done – I limped my way home to the station and after a few (stunted) runs, some scans and visits to the podiatrists my worst fears were confirmed.  I had a stress fracture in my left foot, and running the Melbourne Marathon wouldn’t be possible.

Gone. Done for the season. Scratched out. Crossed off.

Just like that.

I was a shattered man sitting in my podiatrist’s office, and remained a shattered man that first Sunday I sat at my computer desk with my left foot in a moon boot. It wasn’t a great 5 weeks, though the time gave me more time to focus on my TAFE studies and the like.

After many sessions in the gym with the odd occasion dip in the pool, I’ve been out the boot for a couple of weeks and out walking again. The emphasis until and during when my podiatrist gives me the all clear will be making my legs and core stronger and more durable.

And maybe with consistent training and recovery will come more consistent writing. Maybe.