So, last week was a scheduled easy week, and I had planned to put around 40km in, a drop in weekly mileage by 20%. The low mileage was actually due last week, but I shuffled the training calendar around to accommodate a very special day:
So, instead of pounding up and down the hills in Lysterfield, much of Saturday (and the night before!) was spent taking part in a different sort of marathon. Friends and family would number around 20 (not including an army of kids!), and guess who got to wear the Apron for the day… sigh!
The theme was Dr. Seuss, and prep the night before lasted well into the wee hours of Saturday morning, and after a few short hours of sleep, it was up out of bed at the crack of dawn to fry up 30 scotch eggs and replace the yolks with a green yolk/mustard/mayo mix (green eggs and ham), 32 hot dogs that the Nook couldn’t cook, 4 onions worth of beer battered onion rings to ring the Gak with (thanks Susan for baking the Gak-horn pretzels!), two different types of spaghetti (for the noodle eating poodle) and scrambled eggs on toast for 30 to take scrambled eggs super to a new level.
J didn’t get off easy either – she had to bake cupcakes with cotton candy Truffula trees, make Red-fish Blue fish jelly ponds, and then put up all the decorations.
After standing in the kitchen for several hours, it was well worth it to see E having a whale of his time with the cousins and friends. Weather was just perfect – a warm and sunny 20 degrees in the middle of winter! J’s family flew in that morning, and my parents had come in a couple of days earlier, plus it was good to see some old friends we hadn’t caught up with in ages. Thankfully the food didn’t taste too weird (green eggs and ham – come on…), and there wasn’t too much left over. After cleaning up and winding down, my feet felt almost as sore as they had after the GOR marathon!
With family around, Sunday was pretty busy too – church in the morning, followed by lunch and a farewell to my mum and dad who flew back to Sydney to spend a bit more time with my brother and his family. By the time we put the rowdy cousins to bed, it was nearly 4, leaving me precious little time to squeeze in my long run for the week.
And so, I gave the hills a miss and went back to an old haunt – Braeside park. A 294 hectare plot of bush and old farmland – a former horse training ground that now serves as home to several head of cattle and a large assortment of waterfowl. Each loop of the park is around 7km or so, and the basic idea was to throw in 3 loops nice and easy.
Just as I started on the first loop, it started to rain steadily, and the temperature dropped by around 10 degrees in just over 15 minutes. So, out came the trusty rain shell. It was quite a gloomy and miserable looking day, to be honest, but after the hectic week at work and the exhausting party, I was really more than happy to be out in the woods on my own, just listening to the birds and the pitter patter of the rain in the trees.
I was delighted to note that, my gentle patter around the park with no hills meant that I could now hold a 5:40/km pace with my heart rate staying well below 150bpm (i.e. it was literally effortless), and it stayed there steadily for the first two rounds, until, as expected, the sun dipped below the horizon with a good 6km or so to go. Out came my trusty headlamps, and the run took on a whole new dimension.
I am a bit of a pansy when it comes to running trails in the dark on my own, as I have a wild imagination that turns almost every shape and shadow into some malicious, menacing apparition. The park was completely deserted, and it didn’t help that the frequent call of the roosting cockatoos sounds like a cross between screaming monkeys and the cackle of the wicked witch of the west. The plus side of this is, I get a massive boost of adrenaline, and so there went the nice and easy run, which turned into a bit of a tempo run finished off by a dash to the finish.
And so, heart pounding with
fear excitement, I sat down by my car in the little bubble of light from my headlamps for my stretchdown, contemplating the weekend just past. 2 years ago, I became a dad, and ran my first marathon – now here I am, the proud father of a bubbly cute 2 year old, with 100km ultras on my race menu. Time sure flies, and I have much to be thankful for!
The week in KMs
Saturday: Rest (sort of)