Sunday, January 5, 2014

My Year So Far In Runs.

It's 2014!

There's always so much hype going into a new year. How are you going to see of the old year and welcome in the new? What are you planning to do to reinvent yourself (for a couple of weeks before you realise that your resolution was way too grandiose and you really didn't have a plan to make it stick and hey, there's always next year ...)?

As you'd expect, seeing as I'm really not into celebrations that involve dressing up, large crowds, staying out late and boozing, my plans for the evening were to watch a bit of tennis then take my aching body to bed for an early night with my ear plugs in so I could be up before it got way too hot and start the new year the best way I knew how. In my happy place.

Why was my body aching? Because of a cruel and sadistic coach who takes pleasure in our pain and a body that's not used to running 100m reps at close to world record pace. And I'm not exaggerating about the world record pace - for an 80 year old woman. All I have to do now is maintain my fast twitch muscles for another 30 years and that record's going down!

By 5am New Year's day I was up and out of bed wearing my traditional (since I started running trails 8 weeks ago) bright pink singlet and bright checked shorts. Yes, I'm still convinced that my less than amazing coordination will result in a fall and a twisted ankle or broken arm in a mobile phone black spot so I need to be able to be easily spotted by helicopter.

And this is how I finished the 10k up and around the mountain - sweaty, dehydrated and happy.

Thursday morning I was up and out the door early for another 10k (which was supposed to be 12k but I hadn't checked my program before I left home). And once again I ended up looking like I'd been training for a swim not a run.

Once again I spent the rest of the day looking for a cool spot and trying to rehydrate.

Friday was a rest day which meant that I got to sleep in a little (it's hard to sleep in when there are kookaburras and lorikeets and cockatoos going off outside your window from about 4:00am) and the dogs got to go for a walk after the temperature had cooled to just under 30C.

And then came Saturday. Saturday which promised the joy of running in oven-like conditions and a potentially new temperature record. Saturday where the maximum was expected to be over 40 and the minimum around 26. Saturday - our long run day!

I'd tried to convince Coach Chris to get an ice cream van to follow us around for the entire run. He said he'd look into it and that's pretty much as far as that plan got (Personally I don't think he tried hard enough). But he did come up with a pretty good alternative - a run through Southbank parklands where there's a public pool that we would stop at on the way back.

From the start of the run it was all about making it to the next water stop. The weather was quintessential Summer in Brisbane - like someone had thrown a warm blanket over the entire city and not much breeze (except what you created yourself by running through the soupy air). It only took around 100m of running before I'd worked up a sweat. It only took a hundred metres more before I wished I was still back in bed in an air conditioned room.

But one does not simply give up on a long run. Giving up would require an elaborate ruse of faking an injury and I'm not a good enough liar to carry that off so I kept going. 

We passed the pool on the way out to our turn around point and the heady, redolent aroma of chlorine was almost too intoxicating to resist. But on we slogged. For a couple more kilometres. Stopping at every water stop we could find.

Finally we were at the turnaround point and on our way back to the blessed relief of the cool, cool water. A bit more running and we were finally there. Strip off the shoes and socks. And the watch. And take the car key out of my pocket. Then, and only then, could I finally jump in.

It was like jumping into a tepid bath tub. A very large tepid bathtub. That could bathe a couple of hundred people. And where a couple of hundred people could have peed in - probably had judging by the temperature and the strong smell of chlorine. Did you know that chlorine when mixed with organic particles (eg urine) produces chloramines which we recognise as the strong smell of chlorine? (See I did learn something in organic chemistry 33 years ago.)

There was no attractive woman in a red bikini floating in the pool when we were there. If there had been I'm pretty sure more of the male contingent of our squad would have jumped in (some without even taking their keys from their pockets) rather than running on.
But despite the disappointment of pool, it did make a huge difference for the last three kilometres. My wet running kit kept me just a little cooler. And made quite a large puddle on the floor under me at the Regatta where we had a post-run refuel.

The rest of the day was spent hiding in my workroom in the air con with the dogs while the temperatures outside soared.

Today is supposed to be the last of this mini heat wave. I'm hoping we've seen the hottest days all year and I can start to enjoy the new year.


  1. Oh gosh. But I *always* come home from a run looking like I've been for a swim instead. So I ought to stop by the gym pool or the public pool on the way back from my runs. No one will notice the difference.

    Anyway, please stay hydrated and safe! Queensland is practically tropical and I've heard 2013 was apparently Australia's hottest year to date... :(

  2. Gah! Didn't you get chaffing from running in wet gear? I'm just really impressed you kept up your running regime! Well done!

  3. I'm not gonna lie - I would take your heat wave any day to our freezing (temps in the negatives!!) weather!!!
    You have started off 2014 with a bang in all of your runs!
    And, I didn't know that kookaburras were real!! I asked my husband how the song went and he gave me the "you're stupid look." Do you know it - kookaburra sits in an old (something) tree......

  4. This is so weird to read of you sweating bullets while we are well below zero and falling further under 2 feet of snow. I'd rather have a mill run than a sweltering hot one. Ugh. Love your bright colors!

  5. It's only been in the 30's here and we have a pool at home, so I always end up wet!!! That said running on the mountain and swimming in the Dams is best!

  6. You have my sympathy. It was about 30-35 when I was running the Noosa tri. Luckily, some very nice residents took it upon themselves to spray us with the hose as we went by. #phew

  7. I've also been doing some steady runs this year. All very hot and humid. Luckily I have a pool at home so I just get into that as I finish my runs. Trail running has taught me to run with wet clothes and shoes. I've taken many dips with all my running gear on. Seems that weather everywhere is getting more and more extreme...

  8. I don't like celebrating New Year's Eve either but I do like the idea of a fresh new year: new opportunities and so on.

    Weird how hot it is where you are, there's snow in the USA and we are going to break the temperature record here for January 6: the warmest day ever.

  9. I'm always amazed, and envious of your weather which is exactly polar opposite of ours. It was below zero (F) with -15 windchill temps yesterday. I miss you summer. I wanna smell chlorine.

  10. My goodness, you are dedicated running in this heat! And on New Year's Day as well. I bow down to you.

  11. Sounds like we are at opposite extremes for weather. Truthfully, I find the cold easier to take. Good luck.

  12. After I had visited a blog of a friend of mine who was dealing with swow storm in the .U.S., I saw your wet blue running shirt. Rehydration is very important, Char. Take care!

  13. When you feel too hot, just pretend you are here in Canada, running by MINUS 20. That should help. ;-)

    Hydrate before, during and after, it's the only way to keep it in check.

    Happy running! :-)

  14. Hard for me to imagine being hot. It's pretty cold this side of the equator right now.

  15. It's so funny to even imagine a hot run right now while we deal with record cold temperatures! I hate racing in the heat, but I do like to train in it--especially if it involves a quick dip in a pool, even if tepid. Great training so far, Char!

  16. Right now - being hot sounds great. I live in the NE which we are having record cold temps.

  17. Meanwhile in the UK we have gales and flooding! I would struggle to run in your temperatures (or at 5am anyday).

  18. Over it's Winter, so not all that warm. In fact it's perfect weather to run in. I applaud you for running in that kind of heat. I hate running when it's hot!

  19. Your smile explains very well how good was your run.
    Here 10/15° C: always good weather for the workouts.


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