Friday, 31 October 2008

How we set a new Australian record last night.

Posted by speedygeoff on Friday, October 31, 2008 with 4 comments
Last night there were four of us in the M60 age group who set out to break the ACT record for 4x800m.

The ACT M60 record was 11:26.1. And I also thought we had a chance of breaking the Australian M60 record of 10:48.6, held by Victoria.

Right from the outset the monkey was in my court; I led off and it was up to me not to spoil the party by breaking down! My very few attempts at 8oom in the last 15 years had generally resulted in injury, as often as not in the course of the race. But I figured a 1500m pace 2:50 would still be good enough for the team to have a chance to get the Australian record. But as well as never having trained for the 800m in recent decades, I had hardly trained at all in the previous ten days owing to the 27.2k Bulls Head run destroying my quads more than I initially thought it had. And I had a cold, which I don't treat when I have to run, because I don't want health problems which might arise as a result of disguising any health issues.

So I ran "conservatively". But somehow managed about 80 seconds for each lap. Way faster than any training sessions. And for the first time I can remember in the hundreds of 800m races I have run in the last 47 years, there was no lactate in the legs down the finishing straight.

Geoff Sims ran second; he did brilliantly considering he too was badly affected by the flu; I think he ran about 2:34. Geoff is the ACT's M60 400m record holder and is tending to specialise these days in 200, 400 and 800.

Garry Maher ran third; he looked great and kicked around the two laps at a fast tempo, maintaining the pace very well for a sprinter. Actually Garry specialises in the 100m and 200m but often competes in the 400m, 300m hurdles, and 800m, and even the occasional 1500m. He ended up with a time of about 2:40.

Kevin Chamberlain ran the last leg; he specialises in 800m and 1500m and is finding some very good form this season after having a couple of easier seasons. Kevin set some amazing ACT records in the years he turned 50 and 55 and seems to have regained his youthful motivation this year. He looked so smooth running in the relay, and finished fast. I imagine he ran about 2:34. Given the breeze, the warmth, and the difficulty runners 2, 3 and 4 have in judging pace in a relay, that was an outstanding run. Kevin ran 2:30 in a scratch race a week ago and was delighted with that time then.

So we ran 10:29.19: A whole 57 seconds faster than the old ACT record, and 19.2 seconds faster than the Australian record. And the good thing is, if we all have very good days next time, I think we can go 20 or 25 seconds faster.

As for me, it's the breakthrough I was waiting for: a respectable time for an 800m, with no pain. Now I have the confidence to train for the 800m like the old days, and to run a few more of them. It also means that next year at Geelong in February and at Adelaide in April, I will have the confidence to race the 1500m at the national level, as well as the 5000m which is still my main race. For now.

There's no doubt about it: the best 60 year old middle distance runners in Australia live in Canberra!

Obviously I am excited by the relay, but wait there's more. Before I close off, there were other great runs on the track last night, and I will publish the times for them when they appear on the ACT Masters website. But I wanted to highlight the fantastic 3000m run by our Katie. It was her day for a big breakthrough: a pb of 11:40. The 3000m had the biggest field we have had for years; and it was of high quality too. The winner Scott McTaggart broke the ACT M30 record; and the Katie says she benefited by chasing some of the good runners in the field.


Katie Forestier looking fit and well at October's ACT Masters Monthly handicap. Photo also starring Roger Pilkington and Gary Bowen.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

The Big Issue

Posted by speedygeoff on Thursday, October 30, 2008 with 3 comments
The ACT election results have just been finalised. A summary for non-ACT readers: the first mob campaigned on how bad the second mob were. The second mob campaigned on how bad the first mob were. The third mob were a group of hippies who relied on voters being stoned to get any votes. There is no fourth mob. Yet to be determined is which two mobs are going to get together to form government, or whether they will give up trying and instead gather in three corners of the room shouting at each other.

The elector knew what the big issue was.

Spoilers Ahead
I hate having to explain a joke. Usually it spoils the joke. So before you read the "spoilers" ahead, have another look at the cartoon above, enlarge it, see if you get the joke. I should explain that non-ACT readers will not get it in its splendid entirety. If at all.

Here is an explanation of why it is so funny.
1. Mark Carmody is the local ABC news weather reporter. Virginia is the newsreader.
2. Mark wears a different flower each day, usually large and ostentatious.
3. Mark is genuinly entertaining, and as a result receives a lot of flak from the general public, because ABC presenters are meant to be bland and boring.
4. The flower Mark is wearing today is a cactus.
5. The "Garnaut report" is a report on global warming completed by Ross Garnaut for the Rudd Australian government.
6. Mark has an unusual way of pronouncing many of his words.
7. Most of the comment in the letters column of the Canberra Time during the run-up to the elections focused on whether the writer approved or disapproved of Mark the weatherman. Which was so far removed from any of the election issues, it was just as if the voter was sick of hearing about the elections!

I certainly was, and I was out of town for three of those weeks!

In the cartoon one also sees the four horsemen of the apocalypse, referred to recently by Scott in Ewen's popular blog, which made me recall this cartoon. The cartoon appeared in the Canberra Times a month ago.

As a footnote, is there nothing more boring than hearing incessantly news about other countries' elections?

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Puns are for children, not groan readers

Posted by speedygeoff on Wednesday, October 29, 2008 with 4 comments
“A gentleman will walk but never run” – Sting, from the song "An Englishman in New York"!

Photo by flashduck!

I have been hearing conversations of late concerning the timing of our Monthly Handicap runs. Specifically, there is some discussion about whether the shorter races should start a little later than they do: whether we should send off the longer race first and, 15 or 20 minutes later, start the shorter races. It was done like this in the past and seemed to work OK. We could still work off just one big clock, and add the minutes difference to all the start times of the groups of the shorter races.

Some of the advantages of changing it would be that short course runners and walkers would not have to wait so long until the presentations. As it stands, some are leaving before the presentations, thus missing out on announcements, T-Shirt awards, and event awards. And we are getting more families using child-care, who may not want to stay around as long either. And it's good to get the long event away early, it could even start earlier and enjoy cooler conditions. And the short course runners are coming in as the fastest long course groups are starting out - the short courses are all out and back I think - which makes for danger, it is difficult for an exhausted short course runner sprinting to the finish to negotiate a pack of very fast long course runners putting in their sprint from the start, and vice versa.

There are also advantages keeping it as it is. As it stands the short course runners are nearly all in before the first of the walkers arrive; then the walkers are usually all in well before the first of the long course runners arrive. Having these races finishing together will make sorting out who is in which event and timing and recording a good deal more difficult; and a lot more chaotic with 200 people milling around together at the finish area at the same time waiting to record their names. Also there will be more of a rush for the tea and coffee. And some of us short course runners have enjoyed heading off for a cool-down run while watching and encouraging the long course runners.

Another thing I am aware of with our handicaps and the large numbers they attract is the need to take care as we race on narrow and sometimes eroded tracks. As we pass people in both directions it is really up to runners who are coming through fastest to watch out for runners ahead; it is not up to front markers to anticipate when and how back-markers will come through. While I haven't been too good at this in the past, and on Sunday found myself unfortunately "barging through" a group near the turn with walkers and runners coming the other way as well, for which I apologise, I do intend being more watchful and careful in future. And anyway it is good fun racing along with so many on the track, I really enjoy it. I don't want to spoil the enjoyment for anyone else.

And as they say, "people who wear glass slippers shouldn't kick stones".

Gary racing away at the start of Sunday's handicap

Photo by John Kennedy

One of the many groups of runners heading off from the start.

There are at least two speedygeese amongst that lot. Photo by John Kennedy

Today was a bit serious. Tomorrow should be punnier than it was today.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

The World Is Your Lobster

Posted by speedygeoff on Tuesday, October 28, 2008 with 1 comment
song of the week
ABC television's "Rage" showed three brilliant videos on the weekend; the live version of "Lost" by Coldplay which is my favourite track on the Viva La Vida album and is presumably their third single release; "Take Back The City" by Snow Patrol from an album which has finally been released and which I must acquire asap; and Death Cab For Cutie's "Cath" which is a great track on their latest album and getting JJJ airplay I believe.

I have featured these three songs on my blog in the past, so to resurrect my "song of the week" I have the video for another great DCfC song which has grown on me and is now my equal favourite along with their "Grapevine Fires" from "Narrow Stairs".

song of the week: "Your Heart Is An Empty Room" by Death Cab for Cutie from "Plans".

An Ominous Age
Birthdays about now include Colin last week who turned 47; Kelley this week who will be 48; Grandchild number 3 of 10 Jarod who is 8 today; and this blog’s youngest reader whose 15th birthday was yesterday! That’s not – very –young -any –more –is -it!

Please comment if you are a regular reader and are younger than 15! I am not expecting any comments, surprise me!

8 and 15 are very comfortable ages - although not totally comfortable; the 8 year old has an older sister to keep up with, while the 15 year old should be past the worst of being a teenager, but may not be there quite yet.

But late forties is ominously uncomfortable. The best way of dealing with the approaching-fifty syndrome is to expect the best. 50 won't be too bad, really! I found 60 a hoot!

For all of you, for all sorts of different reasons, the best is yet to come. The world is your lobster.

Monday training was also a taste of what's to come. We ran on a circuit of ~410 metres, pushing the pace for a gentle downhill 200m on a somewhat sandy soft surface, jogging the rest, ten intervals in thirty minutes. For the next few weeks we are going to run the circuit continuously, seeing how many circuits we can run in 45 minutes, still only sprinting 200m of it each time around.

Present were Rae, Mick C, Christopher, Margaret, Carolyne, Amanda, Rachelle, Ruth, Katie, Ken, Neil, Bronwyn, Jodie, me, Helen, Yelena, Joel, Alan & Cathy.

This Thursday's track program
6.00 pm 100m
7.00 pm 4 x 800m Relay
7.15 pm 200m
7.30 pm 400m
7.45 pm 3000m/5000m

The Spring Series events
There are different versions of the Spring Series events around. I have to believe that the calendar on the cross country club website is the correct version. In particular, what is in the November Vetrunner calendar is incorrect!

Edit: the yellow "calendar of events" card put out by the Cross Country Club turns out to be correct, and the calendar found in the ACTCCC website is incorrect. And what I published on 10 October in this blog turns out to be correct!

So, here again is the actual program; and note that all races start at 6:15pm this year:
Tue 4 Nov Weston Park 2/5 km
Tue 11 Nov Black Mountain Peninsula 2/5 km, John Cardiff Close
Tue 18 Nov O'Connor Ridge 2/5 km, Masterman Street, east of the Bruce stadium
Tue 25 Nov Boathouse 2/5 km, Menindee Drive, Parkes
Tue 2 Dec Stromlo Forest Park 2/5 km Uriarra Road

Finishing Bulls Head 27.2k downhill

Hmmm. For those who haven't seen me for a while. A new white beard. Scary.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Skating On Hot Water

Posted by speedygeoff on Monday, October 27, 2008 with 4 comments
My training progress
last week’s target: 90k
achieved: 42k (couldn't run most days!)
year 2008 total to date: 3320k in 43 weeks
this week's target: whatever! (sigh)
weight: 65kg ►◄ (oops!)

How the speedygeese have gone in recent races:

ACTMA monthly handicap: O’Connor Ridge 8k
3 Carolyne Kramar W40 53:37 54.4%
4 Ewen Thompson M50 45:20 61.9
14 Alan Duus M60 43:02 71.6
28 Christopher Lang M55 44:06 67.4
32 Caroline Campbell W65 48:53 79.8
37 Rod Lynch M45 34:37 79.3
45 Colin Farlow M45 35:58 75.9
46 David Baussmann M55 43:42 68.7
51 Kathy Sims W55 44:40 76.6
58 Margaret McSpadden W60 54:54 65.4
65 Geoff Barker M60 46:44 66.4
82 Ruth Baussmann W55 52:52 65.4
89 Cathy Newman W45 45:19 67.0
92 Jeni Greenland W30 47:11 58.9
95 Roger Pilkington M45 46:11 59.8
98 Mick Horan M45 44:09 62.5
100 finishers

O’Connor Ridge 4k
10 Katie Forestier W40 17:10 81.1%
11 Ken White M55 17:11 80.7
17 Neil Boden M55 19:42 72.3
26 Amanda Walker W40 19:38 70.1
34 Gary Bowen M50 18:35 72.5
36 Geoff Moore M60 17:57 80.7
37 Cathy Montalto W55 22:11 73.4
43 Jodie Sims W30 20:25 62.1
61 finishers

Bulls Head
Mick Horan thinks his downhill time was ~2:08. Looks as if Steve is right: we will all have to do some downhill training before next year's run, so we can get under 2 hours and challenge CJ's time!

From Sonia Veldhoven
Hey Geoff
One of my new running buddies from work is the president of an athletics club here in Melbourne and he is trying to recruit new members. That is how I ended up at the Box Hill track surrounded by teenagers! BUT I bravely entered the 5000 having not run a proper track race since little athletics and I ran 20.45. I was quite surprised to run under 21mins but very pleased. The coach (Wal Robinson) handed me my splits at the end of the race on a piece of paper! The thing I have noticed about Melbourne runners is that they are not very techy with their running, no one has a Garmin and even my simple Timex with the lap splits is a bit of a novelty! They were all very welcoming though (despite the lack of gadgetry!) and I had so much fun I think I might just join!
Hope you are well, high fives for the team, I miss you all!

Jodie won at Parkway...

So this month the handicapper hit her..

Edit: I have removed what I wrote here earlier. It was stupid. Why do I keep skating on hot water?

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Live And Let Die

Posted by speedygeoff on Sunday, October 26, 2008 with 1 comment
That's it, I have had enough of Beatles' titles. There were some good ones left: Among many others All My Loving/ Cry Baby Cry/ Doctor Robert/ Eleanor Rigby/ Glass Onion/ Honey Don't/ I Want You (She's So Heavy)/ Martha My Dear/ Maxwell's Silver Hammer/ Misery/ Penny Lane/ Please Mr. Postman/ Polythene Pam/ Savoy Truffle/ Sexy Sadie/ Till There Was You/ While My Guitar Gently Weeps/ Within You Without You/ You're Going to Lose That Girl/ You've Got to Hide Your Love Away. Someone else can have them.

Speedygeese results from Saturday's AACT track races:
800m Joel Pearson 2:11.14
800m Thea Zimpel 2:52.14 pb, breaking the pb she set Thursday night!
3000m Yelena Pearson 15 something, not quite a pb
5000m Geoff Moore 20:36.35
5000m Thea Zimpel 22:36.57

Yesterday's 5k was my first since March and was a hard slog and I had had enough after five laps (2k in 8:00 exactly), but I was happy to run 20 something knowing the time would be slow; recovery from Bulls Head will take a while yet. Both 5k splits of the Canberra Times 10k Fun Run a few weeks ago were faster! But we cannot count either of them, so 20:36 establishes an M60 pb which should be easy to target and beat next time.

When will I recover? Being not sure, I will try and keep the training and racing going and it will be whenever. I am not counting my chickens until I see the whites of their eyes.

Every run is an achievement, I reckon.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Band On The Run

Posted by speedygeoff on Saturday, October 25, 2008 with 4 comments
The rest of the speedygeese results from Thursday:
3000m Thea Zimpel 12:48.03
800m Thea Zimpel 2:53.03
Spiral 7:
Jill Pearson W50 15:04
Caroline Campbell W65 14:25
Rod Lynch M45 10:40
Miranda Rawlinson W55 14:47
Bronwyn Calver W35 12:56
Cathy Montalto W55 14:25
Margaret McSpadden W60 15:48
Geoff Barker M60 15:04
Gary Bowen M50 13:12
Roger Pilkington M45 13:39

I banned uphill running for myself many years ago when my achilles were bad; I'm stronger now. The achilles are much better so I can train and race up hills again. I banned downhill running too because my balance was bad. That is just starting to improve now with exercises, but the consequences are that I have no quad strengtth so last Sunday's run left me sore. This week I have researched training for downhill racing, and I think I have hit the nail on the jackpot, here is the very best information I could find, a long article by Owen Anderson. Skim it if you will, but it makes very good close reading.

Owen Anderson on Downhill Running
What athletes should do when their quadriceps muscles start going downhill?
Twenty-four hours after your first major football (or cricket, rugby, basketball, etc.) competition of the season, your leg muscles are so sore that even easy jogging produces considerable discomfort, and it is impossible to carry out the training you have planned for the day. The biggest moaners in your legs are your quadriceps femoris muscles (the 'quads') in your thighs; they cry out in pain each time one of your feet hits the ground as you jog along slowly. What can be done to prevent such muscle carnage, particularly with regard to those complaining quads?

The answer, of course, is to let your quads go downhill. No - we don't mean you should allow your quads to become weaker; we want you to expose your quads to some downhill running. A judicious amount of well-timed downhill running can actually help prevent leg-muscle soreness, especially in your quadriceps muscles.

If this seems a little bizarre, remember that muscle soreness often results when one's muscles are challenged by a greater-than-normal number of 'eccentric actions', in which the muscles attempt to shorten while they are actually being elongated. The quads are notorious soreheads, mainly because gravity pulls the knee downward (eg, produces knee flexion) with every footstrike during the act of running. This gravity- and impact-induced flexing at the knee stretches out the quads at the exact time they are attempting to shorten to prevent excessive knee flexion. The resulting, repetitive, high-tension strain (which occurs about 90 times per minute per leg as you run) can produce significant quadriceps-muscle damage.

Normal training for your sport, of course, protects your quads to some extent; the quads simply get used to a certain level of eccentric action. However, if you run more than you usually do because you are involved in a major match or serious preparatory workout, your quads won't be fully prepared to handle the extra stress. If you run faster than you usually do, your quads will also be prone to trouble; increased limb acceleration heightens impact forces in the leg and forces the quads to work harder (and more quickly) to control knee flexion.

'Downhill running gives this adaptation a special boost, so that it will be hard to damage your quads, even when you go beyond your usual training limits'
Even when you are not running faster than usual, downhill running magnifies the eccentric, 'pulling-apart' stress on the quads, because the leg 'falls' a little farther than normal with each stride. Thus the acceleration of the leg is greater at impact (footstrike), and the forces which produce knee flexion are consequently higher. The quads, of course, still attempt to carry out their yeoman-like work of resisting knee flexion, but the stress on them is much higher. Microscopic tears in the quads' muscle fibres and connective tissues can occur, and considerable soreness can result.

That makes downhill running sound a bad idea, but in fact the small-scale controlled damage associated with well-regulated downhill efforts actually forces your quads to adapt and strengthen themselves so that they will be more immune to damage during subsequent challenges. Think back to the first serious workouts you ever carried out in your sport, for example. Your muscles were undoubtedly sore the following day, and perhaps they were painful for several weeks whenever you undertook particularly challenging training sessions. Gradually, however, you developed the capacity to work at high levels without incurring much soreness; your muscles had adapted to the strain produced during your training. Downhill running gives this adaptation process a special boost, so that it will be hard to damage your quads - even when you go beyond your usual training limits.

If you carry out your downhill runs properly, your quads will be only slightly sore after the first negative-incline session, and after a few bouts of downhill effort it will be hard to get your quads to react negatively to even the most heated football contest, the most-prolonged, multi-set tennis match, or a much-longer-than-usual run. Supplying protection for your quads is easy and straightforward, and the protection applies to everything that you do - not just to future downhill running.

The six-week factor
Amazingly enough, just one downhill workout can furnish decent protection for the quads, and the 'soreness insurance' provided by a single bout of downhill running can in some cases last for six weeks or more. Several years ago, scientists at the University of Massachusetts asked 109 individuals to perform two sets of 35 maximal, eccentric contractions of the biceps muscle in the upper part of one arm. Basically, these eccentric contractions consisted of lowering a very heavy weight, which forced the biceps muscles to elongate as the weight was lowered; simultaneously, biceps-muscle fibres were attempting to shorten to stabilise the weight's movement.

After this unusual workout, biceps soreness and tightness peaked about two to three days later, and maximal swelling occurred a few days after that. Biceps strength declined immediately after the rigorous session and stayed below-par for 10 days.

The biceps muscles were clearly damaged by the eccentric workout (we won't hurt your legs to this extent with our recommended downhill sessions below, because we don't want you to lose 10 good days of training), but they adapted very nicely. When the individuals tried the same biceps routine six weeks later, there was appreciably less soreness and little loss of muscle strength, even though there had been no intervening biceps training. The biceps muscles were somehow protected from problems as a result of that initial eccentric session.

Why pain after 10 weeks?
Interestingly enough, the protection didn't last much longer than six weeks. When a second group of subjects waited 10 weeks after their initial eccentric workout to stress their biceps again, their biceps were thrown into uncontrollable agony and lost most of their strength. What was going on? Why could the biceps 'remember' what happened six weeks before - but not 10 weeks before?

The Massachusetts researchers speculated that a strenuous bout of eccentric exercise 'teaches' the nervous system how to better control and distribute the forces that are acting on particular muscles. In theory, this lessens the strain on individual muscle fibres when eccentric activity tries to tear them apart and thereby reduces muscle damage and consequent pain. Just as the nervous system can learn to do this, it can also forget, and this forgetting seems to take place after slightly more than six weeks (bear in mind that the rate of forgetting may depend on the severity of the initial workout; a 'timid' eccentric workout might be forgotten after four weeks, while a strongly fibre-damaging one could be retained by the nervous system for a couple of months).

Australian rats reveal sarcomere secrets
The Massachusetts neural theory is a nice one, but does it really work that way? To check it out, scientists at Monash University in Australia tested 16 laboratory rats on treadmills over a five-day period. Eight of these rats participated only in 'uphill' (inclined) running, while the other eight ran only 'downhill' (declined running). Actual workouts consisted of five-minute work intervals with 1.5-minute recoveries, starting with three work intervals on the first day of training and building up to seven intervals on the fifth day. Running speed during the work intervals was a rather modest 16 metres per minute (yes, that's a 100-minute mile, but remember that rats have short legs). After five days, the rats' quadriceps muscles were tested for strength and then biopsied.

A key finding was that the quadriceps muscle cells of the decline-trained rats contained almost 10% more sarcomeres per cell, compared to the quads of the inclined rodents. To understand what sarcomeres are, bear in mind that a muscle cell is a barrel-shaped structure, and each 'barrel' is filled with several hundred to several thousand cylindrical, threadlike structures called myofibrils. To picture this, simply imagine a pipe-shaped structure (the muscle cell) stuffed with countless numbers of small cylindrical wires (the myofibrils). Incidentally, when we say that a muscle cell is shaped like a pipe, we are referring to a section of cylindrical water pipe, not to a pipe used for smoking purposes.

The myofibrils themselves are composed of microscopic, cylindrical compartments laid end to end (picture tiny cylinders or cotton reels glued together at their ends to make one long cylinder). These compartments are called the sarcomeres, and within the sarcomeres are the proteins (filaments) which actually allow muscles to both shorten and elongate. As special filaments slide inward (toward the middles of the sarcomeres), the myofibrils and overall muscle cell shorten, but when the filaments slide outward, the muscle gets longer.

As mentioned, downhill running induced the muscle cells to add more sarcomeres to their myofibrils. Why is this increase in number of sarcomeres beneficial, and how can it prevent muscle damage and soreness? Since muscle-cell length itself didn't change significantly as a result of the downhill running, the fact that there were more sarcomeres per muscle cell meant that during eccentric contractions, when the whole muscle cell was elongating, each sarcomere in a downhill-trained muscle would have to elongate less, and thus each sarcomere would be less likely to sustain internal damage.
More sarcomeres mean less strain
To illustrate this point, let's say that there are two muscle cells which are each one-inch long but must stretch out to two inches during an eccentric action. If one of these muscle cells has 10 sarcomeres, but the other (the downhill-trained fibre) has 20, you can easily see that the 10 sarcomeres would each have to stretch out by one-tenth of an inch to get the cell up to two inches, but the 20 sarcomeres in the other cell would only have to stretch by one-twentieth of an inch each to make the cell long enough. There is less strain on the sarcomeres during an eccentric contraction when there are more sarcomeres per myofibril. It's a pretty neat adaptation!

Thus, when you run downhill, you're giving your muscle cells a wake-up call to start tacking on more sarcomeres. The increased sarcomere density then reduces stress on the myofibrils and protects you against soreness and damage accruing from future downhill running and very tough or prolonged workouts and races (if the Massachusetts neural theory is also correct, your nervous system also helps out by distributing strain more effectively and evenly throughout your muscles). Since damage is lessened, it also means that you can recover more quickly from very severe training sessions and competitions - and be ready for subsequent quality work more quickly than the poor oik with fewer sarcomeres.

The up-and-down Kenyans
It's no accident that élite Kenyan runners train unceasingly on uphills and downhills and can carry out more quality training than any other runners in the world without being debilitated by muscular soreness and stiffness (five-time world cross-country champion Paul Tergat is rumoured to carry out five to six red-hot sessions per week when he is training seriously, and Kenyan runners participating in the pre-World-Championship Kenyan national cross-country camp routinely conduct six sizzling sessions per week and 19 weekly workouts overall). Schooled on the severe inclines in the western part of the Rift Valley (or on the Aberdares' harsh slopes if the runner happens to come from central Kenya), the Kenyans' muscles probably possess a surfeit of sarcomeres and thus are more resistant to the wear-and-tear damage associated with both very fast and very high-volume running.
One shouldn't forget, too, that the presence of more sarcomeres means that muscle contractions can take place more quickly, since each sarcomere has to shorten less to make the overall muscle cell compress (the sliding of the filaments over one another inside sarcomeres takes time; the further they have to slide, the longer it takes to condense a muscle). Using our example of one-inch muscle cells again, but this time saying that they must contract to a length of one-half inch, one can readily see that the 10-sarcomere cell must shorten by .05 inches per sarcomere, while the 20-sarcomere fibre needs to abbreviate by just .025 inches per sarcomere. The combination of quick-contracting, injury-resistant muscles is a trademark of the Kenyan runners.

Here's what to do
So how should you actually carry out your protective, downhill workouts? Once a week for about four weeks, go to a hill which slopes downward for 50 metres or more; for your initial workout, choose a hill with a very modest declination of about 3 to 4% or so; you can increase the severity of the grade later, after you have become a seasoned downhill runner. After a good warm-up, begin carrying out 'reps' which consist of nothing more than running down your chosen slope. At first, don't attempt to run rapidly; simply use a customary training pace. Each time you get to the bottom of the hill, turn around, jog back to the top (the ascents are not noted for their soreness-reducing properties, but they are nicely strengthening for all the muscles in your legs), and continue. For your first downhill effort, maintain this pattern for 10 minutes, giving you slightly less than five total minutes of downhill running (ascents usually take longer than descents).

'You may also choose to upgrade the speed of your downhill running, within reason, and you may want to begin utilising a steeper hill'

Your quads' behaviour during the 48 hours after this initial session will provide you with much information about their eccentric strength and soreness-resistance. If they flare up with considerable pain and stiffness during this follow-up period, you can derive some measure of comfort from ibuprofen or some similar non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication - and from knowing that your quads really needed this training and will truly be stronger in the future (once healing has occurred). Your next workout - carried out after about a week - should be exactly the same as the first, and you will notice considerably less quad complaining after this one. Like the athletes who experienced no troubles after the initial, 10-minute downhill trial, you will then begin to gradually increase the amount of time you spend on the hill. Expanding the total hill running in three- to five-minute increments per session works well for many athletes. For example, you might choose to progress from 10 total minutes of running (including downhill and uphill) to 14 minutes for the next workout. If there are no serious problems, you could move to 18 minutes for the subsequent session, and so on. You may also choose to upgrade the speed of your downhill running, within reason, and you may want to begin utilising a steeper hill (avoid severely steep slopes which dramatically change your running biomechanics, however). You may continue this overall progression for longer than four weeks, if you like, but a four-week programme (with one hill workout each week) should fortify your quads against unusual pain for at least six weeks after the fourth workout - and probably longer.

Things to watch for
A few 'form pointers' may help you with your hill workouts. As you run down your chosen slope, lean forward naturally and comfortably; avoid the temptation to lean back with your upper body. Don't let yourself get out of control, but don't stiffen up or resist the hill too much; learn to stay coordinated and balanced as gravity does much of the work for you.

Recent research indicates that you can manipulate your stride lengths slightly to reduce the soreness associated with your initial stab at downhill training but that you will eventually have to 'pay' your soreness bill unless you continue to understride on hills. In an investigation carried out at the School of Sport, Health, and Exercise Sciences at the University of Wales in Bangor, 18 male runners (average age 21 years) ran downhill using their preferred stride lengths, extra-long stride lengths (overstrides), or abbreviated strides (understrides). Two weeks later, the runners ran downhill again, this time using their preferred stride lengths. Muscle strength and soreness were assessed after each bout of running ('Effect of Stride Length Manipulation on Symptoms of Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage and the Repeated Bout Effect,' Journal of Sports Science, Vol. 19(5), pp. 333-340, 2001).

After the first downhill exertion, the overstride group suffered from the most soreness, while the understride group retained the most strength. This makes sense: during overstriding on downslopes, a foot falls farther with each step and is thus travelling at a higher speed when it hits the running surface (remember that gravity accelerates motion). As a result, impact forces are greater, and the quads must undergo augmented strain to control flexion at the knee. In contrast, understriding reduces foot speed at impact and lowers the strain on the quads. In effect, the understriders had less damage after the first workout, compared with the normal striders and overstriders, but would they also have as much protection from soreness and muscle-strength loss during subsequent efforts?

No! After the second bout of downhill running, which occurred two weeks after the first, the initial understriders retained strength just as well as the normal striders and overstriders, indicating that the initial, pain-reducing understriding did not interfere with the quads' ability to maintain usual strength levels after eccentric exercise. However, the initial understriders were least protected from soreness associated with the second bout of running; they had to pay their pain bill as soon as they began to run normally! For this reason, we recommend simply using your normal strides as you run downhill; don't try to consciously minimise stride length as part of an effort to control soreness. Control post-exercise pain by utilising reasonable, non-excessive workouts, not with running-form adjustments.

Protecting the hamstrings and...
This training protocol will do a great job of shielding your quads from soreness and injury, but what about the muscles running along the backs of your legs, especially your hamstrings and calf muscles? Jogging or walking backwards down hills has sometimes been recommended as a way of fortifying those muscles. Although such a strategy makes a certain amount of sense, the gains in pain resistance will probably not be as great as those attained for the quads, unless you plan to carry out future workouts and competitions while running backwards. Remember that there is probably a neural component to pain protection; your nervous system learns and remembers patterns of muscular control which control damage and pain. While your nervous system is a great thing, it may not be able to apply the lessons it incorporates from backwards movement to straight-ahead running, since the two patterns of locomotion are so different.

Perhaps the best way to protect your hamstrings from pain is to carry out high-bench step-ups with regularity. To do these, begin from a standing position on top of a knee-high bench or step, with your full body weight supported by your left foot. Your right foot should be free and held slightly behind your body. Lower your body in a controlled manner (in effect doing a one-leg 'squat' with your left leg) until the toes of your right foot touch the ground, while continuing to support all of your weight on your left foot. Return to the starting position by applying force to the bench or step with your left foot and by straightening your left leg. Repeat for a total of 10 reps, and then switch over to the right leg. It is critical that you maintain absolutely upright posture with your trunk throughout this entire movement; avoid the tendency to lean forward for balance as your 'trailing' leg drops toward the floor.

This exercise places incredible eccentric stress on the hamstrings, so it should be approached cautiously, especially if you have had hamstring troubles in the past. Begin with just 10 reps per leg, and gradually increase to three sets of 20 reps. As your strength and skill improve, you may also hold dumbbells while you carry out the exercise. Another advanced form of this exercise works as follows: As your trailing, non-weight-bearing leg ascends after touching the floor, accelerate its movement, flex the knee, and bring the thigh of this leg out in front of your body, so that the thigh is actually parallel with the bench surface. As you do so, swing the opposite arm forward, too. In effect, you are mimicking an aggressive running stride. Hold the thigh parallel with the bench for a moment, continuing to support full body weight on one leg, and then gradually drop the leg behind you again as you squat with the support leg. This is a great exercise for building hamstring strength and overall balance!

...the calf muscles
To improve eccentric strength of your calf muscles, simply carry out single-leg heel raises on an inclined surface. To do these, stand with relaxed, erect posture on a slightly inclined surface (a pavement on a moderate hill will work, in case you don't have a special inclined board), with all your body weight supported on your right foot and your right knee barely flexed (your left leg should be flexed at the knee so that your left foot is off the ground and your left shin is roughly parallel with the floor). Contract your right calf muscles as strongly as possible, so that your right heel rises vertically off the ground and you rock forward on your foot, supporting full body weight on your toes and extreme forefoot. That's the beginning position for your one-footed heel raises.
Now, let your right heel move back toward the ground smoothly, evenly, and swiftly. Don't collapse your ankle, don't let your foot wobble from side to side, and don't let your upper body jerk around - just drop your heel toward the ground quickly and efficiently. As you do this, body-weight support will shift from your toes and forefoot to the mid-foot region.

As your right heel initiates contact with the ground, let your right ankle dorsiflex naturally, and let your right knee increase its flexion (obviously, your ankle and knee will be flexing simultaneously). As you do all this, your right hip will be in a slightly flexed position. Let the ankle and knee flex slightly more than they would during the stance phase of your gait cycle when you are running. All of this should be done with control and quickness.
Once you have achieved ankle and knee flexion, don't dally - immediately rock back up onto your toes, plantar-flexing your right ankle at the same time as you are straightening out your right knee. Hold this position for two seconds - and you have completed one rep!

In your first stab at this exercise, continue on for about 10 to 15 more reps on your right foot, and then give your other calf a chance to join in the fun, completing an identical number of reps on your left side. As you perform the exercise, move rhythmically and without any hesitation in the overall movement (except for the two-second 'holds' on tiptoe), and try to maintain good balance, posture, and stability at all times (initially, you may grab a wall, fence, or other structure for support if you are having trouble with your balance). Attempt to maintain a running-specific posture at all times, and try to sustain a 'feeling of rhythmic, relaxed running' as you rock back and forth on your foot; don't scrunch up your upper body, and don't look down at your legs as you carry out the movements.

So what's the bottom line? When you carry out your pain-preventing downhill training, it's nice to remember that your uphill climbs are enhancing your economy, and your downhill runs are having a profound impact on your leg-muscles' eccentric strength and ability to stand up to hard training. By running downhill, you are adding sarcomeres to your leg-muscle cells, and those additional sarcomeres should quicken your strides and help keep you free from injury and soreness in the future. In addition, carrying out high-bench step-ups and one-leg heel raises on an inclined surface will protect the 'back' sides of your legs. The freedom from injury which you attain will allow you to train and compete more consistently and thus become a much better athlete.

Owen Anderson

Friday, 24 October 2008

Last Night

Posted by speedygeoff on Friday, October 24, 2008 with 3 comments
"Feeling no pain/feeling good in my brain” - from "Last Night".

"Last Night" is a track written by Beatle George Harrison for "The Traveling Wilburys", of which he was a member. Well, we nearly had Traveling Wilburys at the track last night, it was "The Triathloning Bilbys" who competed with us in every event except Pole Vault. It was great to have some different competition, and they thoroughly enjoyed the experience, as we did too.

At the track last night it was almost cold enough to throw another blanket on the fire. Which made for some fast times in the longer events. Bronwyn ran a spiral 7 pb by 20 seconds; Thea ran an 800m pb by 0.1 seconds but I don't have her exact time. Kevin is back to form in the 800m which bodes well for next week's M60 4 x 800m relay record attempt. Ken had another great run as he establishes his M55 pbs and dominates the age group.

speedygeese on track last night
M55 Ken White 2:24.07 84.2%
M45 Rod Lynch 2:28.63 76.9
M60 Kevin Chamberlain 2:31.10 84.8
M50 Gary Bowen 2:34.99 75.7
W40 Katie Forestier 2:47.10 71.0
W40 Amanda Walker 2:59.64 64.9
M60 Geoff Sims 2:59.79 70.2
W55 Kathy Sims 3:00.06 77.5
W35 Bronwyn Calver 3:03.98 62.7

M45 Rod Lynch 11:18.82 72.9%
M60 Geoff Moore 11:50.40 77.0
W40 Katie Forestier 11:57.07 74.5
M55 Ken White 12:16.64 71.2
M50 Gary Bowen 12:24.12 68.2
M45 Roger Pilkington 12:27.96 66.7
M60 Kevin Chamberlain 12:31.24 74.1
M50 Ewen Thompson 12:32.80 67.4
W40 Amanda Walker 13:17.34 65.8
W35 Bronwyn Calver 13:26.05 64.6
M60 Geoff Barker 15:49.57 59.7

This will be updated with Thea's times, she ran ~2:52 in the 800m, she also ran the 3000m.
And I am yet to see any spiral 7 times.

This one's for the Bilbys

The Bilby who thinks he is a goose

Roger has a foot in both camps. As does Thea.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

• I Call Your Name

Posted by speedygeoff on Thursday, October 23, 2008 with 1 comment
If you have kept your ear to the grapevine, you will know that the Bilbys Triathlon group (note spelling!) are our guests at Masters track tonight. So even if you are not competing, you could come on out and practise hospitality!

A reminder of tonight's program:
6.00 spiral 7
6.30 1200/2000m walk
6.50 200m
7.00 800m
7.30 4x100m relay
7.45 3000m

Amanda does track

Amanda at Parkway

Template Change
Today I have installed a new non-standard template. I hope you like it. It's pretty easy to do, if you first save the text of widgets you want to keep and note their order, so they can be re-installed. It worked OK so I might yet replace the new template with a fancier one.

Yeah Right!

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

• Something

Posted by speedygeoff on Wednesday, October 22, 2008 with 2 comments

Rock the Boat!

I don't mind rocking the boat, and I don't mind rattling some feathers. I am not one of these timid people, incapacitated by the thought that if they rock the boat, they may get thrown off the gravy train. Boldness and daring are good, and even if I am sometimes skating on hot water, or out on a limb without a paddle, more often than not I can see the carrot at the end of the tunnel, so all is well.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Hands Across The Water

Posted by speedygeoff on Tuesday, October 21, 2008 with 3 comments
Ruth's back

...and managed to locate all her Italian relatives.

Monday training
Running at Parliament House last night 6x360m, net uphill, on five minutes, with a 340m jog back, were Alan, Bronwyn, Caroline, Cathy, Ewen, Jodie D, Joel, Katie, Ken, Mick C, Neil, Rachelle, Ruth and Yelena. Also Christopher found us later, having done his own training.

Slightly uphill, because running downhill is as easy as falling off a piece of cake. Or at least I thought so, but surprisingly Sunday's downhill race caught up with me last night and I dared not try and move, so I just stood around and supervised. Maybe we will have to start some downhill intervals, as John Harding suggests is needed for downhill racing?

Having too good a time

The best thing about a vacation is having an excuse not to train.

Monday, 20 October 2008

I Feel Fine

Posted by speedygeoff on Monday, October 20, 2008 with 3 comments
My training progress
last week’s target: 90k
achieved: 81k
year 2008 total to date: 3278k in 42 weeks (c.f. the first 42 weeks of 2007 was 3246k)
this week's target: 90k
weight: 65kg ►◄

I am feeling no ill effects from Sunday's run. No niggles, no sciatica, no sore feet, no blisters. Just a bit of predictable quad soreness which will soon pass.

Bulls Head Challenge 27.2k results
5 Geoff Moore 2:02.10
9 Roger Pilkington 2:16.40
=11 Maria O’Reilly & Charlie McCormack 2:21.01

The placings are a bit misleading; I know that two of the Brindabella Classic runners were well under 2 hours for the return run, and I don’t have relay team splits but I know that at least two of the team runners also broke two hours for the Bulls Head leg of the run. That makes me ninth instead of fifth.

Cathy Newman is still the fastest speedygoose on the course: her 1:59.27 from 2006 was not broken!

Brindabella Classic 54.4k: This year no speedygoose ran as an individual but Kelley Flood and Mick Horan ran it as a relay in 4:47.14. (What were your splits, Mick?)

Kelley took a dive into the water at Vanity’s Crossing. Just after this. Falling in the water would have taken the steam out of her sails.

What they were doing, were they trying to go around it? We just ran through it.

Sheepish and wet. You goose!

Track program this Thursday night:
6.00 spiral 7
6.30 1200/2000m walk
6.50 200m
7.00 800m
7.30 4x100m relay
7.45 3000m

Feet up after Sunday's run.


Sunday, 19 October 2008

The Ballad of John and Yoko*

Posted by speedygeoff on Sunday, October 19, 2008 with 2 comments
*or Joel and Yelena

Yesterday I ran at the track
Joel 400m 56.65
me 1500m 5:23.90
Ewen 1500m 5:48.88
Yelena 3000m 15:28.4 pb

Brindabella/Bulls Head
Today I took the bull by both feet and ran my first ever Bulls Head run. Mr Flibble "lost the satellite" at 25k, but the picture below shows the altitude up to then, starting at about 1300m and by 25k dropping to 500m. The blip at 20k is Vanity's crossing, where I caught Steve (two fruits) & Jim and had a short walk and poured water over my head. I loved the course and will run it again in future years. Other speedygeese running the downhill 27.2k were Maria & Charlie (joint third place women), and Roger. Kelley & Mick were a two person 54.4k relay, Kelley up the climb & Mick back down. I will publish the times soon, I hope they give relay splits.

Snow Patrol are back
Fellow Snow Patrol fans Katie and Ruth will be pleased to know that Snow Patrol's next album is near. Already getting airplay, “Take Back the City” will be the first single from alternative rock band Snow Patrol’s fifth album A Hundred Million Suns. Note – there are many song lyric websites. Most of the lyrics in most of the sites contain huge numbers of mistakes, in spelling, punctuation, words, and phrases. And I notice that many of the errors have been copied across many of the sites. Therefore it is possible the lyrics below have errors. Which will be fixed when found.

But mainly I am happy that Snow Patrol are producing another album. If the harmonies in this song are anything to go on, the album looks promising.

Tell me you never wanted more than this
And I will stop talking now
One perfect partner, one eternal kiss

Take back the city for yourself tonight
Or I'll take back the city for me
Take back the city for yourself tonight

It's a mess, it's a start
It's a flowing work of art
Your city, your call
Every crack, every wall
Pick a side, pick a fight
Get your epitaph right
You can sing 'til you drop
'Cause the fun just never stops

I love this city tonight
I love this city always
It bares its teeth like a light
And spits me out after days
But we're all gluttons for it
We know what's wrong and what's right
For every time it’s been hit
Take back the city tonight

I love this city tonight
I love this city always
It bares its teeth like a light
And spits me out after days
But we're all gluttons for it
We know what's wrong and what's right
For every time it’s been hit
Take back the city tonight

I love this city tonight
I love this city always

Roy Jones, Brindabella/Bulls Head organiser, running at Parkway.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

If Not For You

Posted by speedygeoff on Saturday, October 18, 2008 with No comments
Emma sent this email from Vancouver earlier this week.

Today is Thanksgiving in Canada. So I thought it would be timely to reflect and be thankful.

I am thankful that my family are all healthy and happy.
That the boys have settled into their new school with ease.
That being crammed into our floathome has helped us come closer together as a family.
That my new job is shaping up to be fantastic, especially the infant mental health part, with a great mentor and colleagues and many chances to learn and "do stuff".
That we are moving into our new house next week and it is beyond our expectations.
That Rob is showing how adaptable and supportive he always is.

I am so happy that there are so many opportunities for having fun in Vancouver, that I doubt we will get bored here!
That winter is coming.....and we are going to learn how to ski!

I am most thankful that I miss my family and friends like crazy, and still get sad thinking about the distance (and time) that will come between us.
But the separation and sadness has helped me realize even more fully the wonderful connection we make, and how truly thankful I am for you in my life.

Love Emma

PS Each week-end we do something else, here is a little selection of Vancouver!

The back of our new house.....can't wait!

Toby at Steveston Harbour where we will be living next week, can buy fish straight off the boats! Tobes is loving Kindy and his swimming is taking off!

Steveston, off Garry Point, wetlands just off the dyke.

Walking along the dyke in Steveston......a few hundred metres from home. The dyke goes for over 20km around the island....great for running, but no hills!

Lighthouse Cove in West out for bears! West Vancouver is rather past and play "what mansion do you want?"

Old railway with community gardens. Goes for 10km from one side of Vancouver to the other. We all walked from Richmond to Granville Island yesterday. On the way we stopped at Kerrisdale and weirdly enough bumped into my new long run group at a coffee shop! Can't help but become part of the running community here!

Crescent Beach, White Rock.....there are really nice houses here. Under every rock here are at least 4 crabs. Lucas is coming in to his own at school, and is proudly doing really well at reading. On the first day of school we spied him playing basketball with the other lads, centre stage.

Deep Cove, great place to learn seakayaking, and mountain running......the Baden Powell trail is a 41km trail through the mountains to Grouse Mountain, lots of hill training.....and I discovered that Jasper is a mountain goat! He is a great runner!

Friday, 17 October 2008

• A Taste of Honey!

Posted by speedygeoff on Friday, October 17, 2008 with No comments
Spring is finally here, pollen is in the air, the days are warmer, daylight saving started early (hurrah!), and track season has officially started with a bang.

And we savoured some fine performances. Kathy, Tony and Ken in the one mile, and Kathy in the 3000m, were particularly outstanding.

Speedygeese performances at the first 08-09 ACT Masters track meet last night:
In the one mile run, Tony Booth took 17 seconds off the M70 record, and Kathy Sims broke the W55 record by 6 seconds.

1 Mile
M45 Rod Lynch 5:22.38 77.7%
M55 Ken White 5:31.64 80.0
M50 Gary Bowen 5:55.52 72.2
M60 Kevin Chamberlain 6:00.09 78.2
W40 Katie Forestier 6:03.25 74.7
M45 Roger Pilkington 6:27.34 65.2
M70 Tony Booth 6:28.32 78.3 ACT M70 RECORD
W55 Kathy Sims 6:32.41 83.6 ACT W55 RECORD
W40 Amanda Walker 6:34.16 67.4
W45 Helen Larmour 6:41.22 73.6
W35 Bronwyn Calver 6:49.59 64.3

3000 metres
M45 Rod Lynch 11:05.48 74.4%
M60 Geoff Moore 11:26.91 79.6
M55 Ken White 12:01.32 72.7
W40 Katie Forestier 12:07.65 73.5
M50 Gary Bowen 12:25.87 68.0
W45 Helen Larmour 13:15.45 73.0
W55 Kathy Sims 13:20.66 80.6
W40 Amanda Walker 13:21.78 65.5
M70 Tony Booth 13:34.73 73.8
W35 Bronwyn Calver 13:43.68 63.2
M60 Geoff Barker 15:56.91 59.2

5000 metres
M45 Roger Pilkington 22:48.59 62.7%

There are some very good times first-up from the training group all round. As for me, my best 3000m last season was my final one, when I ran 11:27.4. So I have resumed this season as I ended last, even with a small improvement. Very much to my surprise. It’s a feather in my pocket. Now let's hope for the same rate of improvement as last year!

Ken & Kathy's percentages of 80% and more tell the story of how they are running. I took videos of them on the track, and if suitable for publication, I will show them here and/or on a special blog for the purpose, as soon as I am able.

Tony (at left) and Kathy (at right) at the Parkway run last month.

Here's a news item about a blitz on jay-walking:
Could this have been during the Melbourne Marathon events? I think the lesson is, don’t run around Melbourne Streets any more!!!

The "Despair" website makes calendars to order. I have a 2008 one, a gift from Mon. The 2009 calendars can now be ordered, see You can select any 12 of the Despair picture you have already seen on my blog!

Here's another:

Voting day tomorrow in the ACT. Vote early!Vote often!

Thursday, 16 October 2008

• Come Together

Posted by speedygeoff on Thursday, October 16, 2008 with 6 comments
Each daily post has a theme. There is more than enough material about. I can be selective.

How does it all come together?

(a) I try and include something current and interesting, e.g.

Granny out-runs teenage bag-snatcher
“Mrs Lane had won the Yorkshire cross-country championship as a schoolgirl in 1953 and had kept herself in shape ever since.” See the story at

(b) I see what pictures I have for which there might be a link, however tenuous, eg

Grandmother out-runs scary looking man at Parkway.

Consie is the grandmother of Helen's three children.

(c) there's a chance some cartoon or other is not totally irrelevant

"Young Frankenstein" - putting disparate parts together can result in a monster.

(d) I write something which helps link things together. Even helpful running hints on occasion. Today, this discussion is all you get.

(e) I like to throw in a running gag (of course!). At the moment I think it's funny to have each day some sort of mixed metaphor, which I highlight in red (see below).

(f) A Beatles title which relates is chosen early or late in the process.

(g) I stand back to admire the finished product, despairing of ever doing it really well. I shuffle or rewrite bits to improve it, hit publish, and it's done.

Actually when I write a post I am flying by the edge of my seat for most of the time.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

• Money (That's What I Want)

Posted by speedygeoff on Wednesday, October 15, 2008 with No comments

As you have seen, three or four more "despair" posters like the one above have turned up. Welcome to "Opportunity! We have all experienced this one! You and I cannot understand how anyone in their right mind could fall for this little "Nigerian" scam and the like, unless they haven't heard of it before and are greedy and desperate and will clutch at any straw.

But Human Nature being as it is, these scams pay, apparently.

Fat v Fit (cont)
In the same way, sporting organisations have fallen for the fast-food and alcohol con, greedily accepting their sponsorship without regard for the negative benefits in terms of fitness and health that such sponsors represent.

Money to keep a sporting organisation going has been deemed the most important thing.

Maintaining, supporting, promoting, and enlarging a sporting organisation should never be funded to the detriment of its members and of the wider community. The greedy grab of money from groups who are directly responsible for the social evils of obesity and of binge drinking is an action which more than cancels out the positive benefit the sport itself brings to the community.

From "The Age" 11 October:
"We've already shifted the culture and thinking around tobacco consumption. Now we have an obesity epidemic, and excess alcohol consumption is a real problem," she said. "The community is ripe for considering the fact we need to move away from junk food advertising and sponsorship of sporting events, and the same with alcohol."

The full article is at

By the way, here is grandson Josiah with another footy award, an end of season coaches award!

Please note the writing on the football. Sponsored by Dairy Farmers. Yay! Go Jossie!

More results
AACT track 11/10 – no speedygeese ran, in fact few attended and the fields were quite small. I plan to run there this Saturday, a 1500m I think, and Ewen, Joel & Yelena plan to run, amongst others.

Weston Creek Fun Run 12/10
Geoff Barker 58th in 32.15. (122 finishers).

Jogalong 5/10 114 finishers including
69. Cathy Montalto W55 30:52
70. Michelle Wells W35 27:53

Well, we got rid of tobacco advertising, we can do the same with other dubious advertisers. The reason I left the ACT Coaches Association after only one year of membership (decades ago) was my disgust at their open-eyed acceptance of tobacco sponsorship at the time, which included cars daubed with the advertisers' logo and slogans! "But they keep our organisation going"! Sorry, all such arrangements do nothing for me. Money can't buy my love.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

• I Remember You

Posted by speedygeoff on Tuesday, October 14, 2008 with 2 comments

I remember behaving like this. I apologise and don't mean to.

Last night was my first Monday training night at Parliament House after daylight saving resumed, and wouldn't you know it? We could see outside alright, and what we could see was pouring rain and flashes of lightning. The paths were too slippery and the lightning somewhat daunting, so we trained under cover in the under-ground car park. The revised program was six intervals of 90 seconds or so with a short walk/jog, resuming on about 5 minutes, each interval on a loop at the northern end of the car park so we would not have to breathe the fumes at the southern end.

Training were Bronwyn, Helen, Jodie D, Katie, birthday boy Ken (see below), Miranda & Yelena. I jogged and supervised; Joel & Christopher said hello but didn't train.

This Thursday is the start of the ACT Masters new Track and Field season. Events on the track on the first day incude a one mile race, and a combined 3k/5k.

ACTMA track program this Thursday
6.00 pm Long Hurdles
6.15 pm 1500m Walk
6.30 pm 100m
6.50 pm Mile
7.10 pm 400m
7.30 pm 3000m/5000m

It looks like being a good track season with many of the speedygeese running well leading up to it. Our training will focus in the next few weeks on regaining some of that speed we may have lost with longer running. Best wishes to all competing on the tarck.

Happy birthday for last Tuesday to our new M55 - Ken White

The photo shows Ken running away from speedycoach early in the August handicap. Unfortunately for Ken, speedycoach had regained the lost ground by halfway and cleared out after that.

All the same, I am glad we are in different age groups so we can help each other instead of targetting each other. Ken is very speedy and runs good times over middle distances.

Ken's first race as an M55 is the one mile on the track this Thursday night. He thinks that Kevin's record of 5:07 is just beyond him though. But he should do well regardless.

More recent results - Orroral Valley 20km:
10 Mick Horan 1.46.50
13 Roger Pilkington 1.54.44
14 Alan Duus 1.58.43
15 Peter Hogan 2.05.15
3 Kelley Flood 1.46.50
6 Maria O'Reilly 1.54.43
7 Helen Larmour 1.54.45
Perhaps I should have run! It sounds like it was an enjoyable course on which to do a long training run on. The 32k option may have been a tad far, but 20k seems ideal.

Melbourne Marathon
As well as the marathon there was a half marathon which included the Australian road championships. The ACT pulled off a rare coup by winning the teams event, something very difficult to do on Victoria's home turf. My friend Scott McTaggart was second, and Anthony Haber who started his running career with our running group for a season ran fifth.
There was also a 10k event which Ewen and Thea went down for, Thea couldn't start due to blisters, Ewen finished in 46:36 for 210th place.

Someone who is trying to gain a foothold in the public eye is former Australian orienteering champion Roger Nicoll, a candidate in the Ginninderra electorate for Saturday's ACT elections. I have known Roger for a long time and he has been active in the Belconnen area for the last thirty years. For more information see his website. If you have not already decided how you are going to vote, I highly recommend him. "Not just words. Roger's already doing it".

Monday, 13 October 2008

• Two of Us

Posted by speedygeoff on Monday, October 13, 2008 with No comments

My training progress
achieved during the last three weeks while on holidays: 117k. I was going to run at BRRC on Sunday morning 5 October, but it was too hot for a long road race!
year 2008 total to date: 3197k in 41 weeks
this week's target: 90k
weight: 66kg ▲ That's high. Well, although I have been burning the midnight oil at both ends, as usual, I have not been running as often as I would have liked. I confidently predict down arrows for the next week or two.

Results ACTMA Handicap 28/9, Parkwood
8k 95 finishers
5 Christopher Lang M55 42:58 66.8% silver
12 Mick Charlton M55 45:12 62.8
33 Bronwyn Calver W35 39:17 70.3
41 Kathy Sims W55 41:49 79.0
42 Alan Duus M60 41:53 71.0
53 Rod Lynch M45 33:59 77.9
55 Tony Booth M70 45:27 72.8
63 Roger Pilkington M45 39:37 67.2
68 Colin Farlow M45 34:56 74.9
94 Adam Robinson M35 52:11 45.3

4k – 44 finishers
6 Jodie Sims W30 19:22 64.3% bronze
13 Amanda Walker W40 19:09 70.6
14 Jodie Davis W40 25:04 54.2
15 Neil Boden M55 19:35 71.4
43 Geoff Barker M60 24:28 59.5

More news from recent races, and results, to be published this week as I clear the back-log.

Two of us: Olivia & Alex on holidays

Some of the gang at the beach again

Sunday, 12 October 2008

I'll Be Back

Posted by speedygeoff on Sunday, October 12, 2008 with 3 comments
I'll Be Back for training tomorrow, Monday. At Parliament House at 5:30pm as usual. And for those who can arrive earlier and would like a long warrm-up, I will continue running 7.5k at 4:30pm, same venue.

I will keep posting with Beatles titles, "I'll Be Back" is still one of them! Would you believe there are still roughly 155 titles I haven't used, and that does not include all the solo work of John Lennon, Paul McCartney/Wings, and George Harrison, which is substantial. So until I tire of this, it will keep on going. Persistence is my middle name. I will be doing it until the fat lady freezes over.

At Uni I did mathematics & philosophy. and ran. and watched footy. That’s all. So this is a favourite video clip.

Yesterday I picked up my chest numbers for the AACT 08-09 season, so that I can officially compete for North Canberra this summer. I officially registered only once before in the last twenty years or so but didn't end up competing that year. The plan is to tag along at the back of the last division of the 800m and 1500m on Saturday afternoons and beyond. I watched Saturday's 800m and was delighted to see that the last division was also the first division: boys ran one race, girls the other. At least now I know what I am in for, and at least in the 800 I won't be lapped!

It would be nice to recruit some friends who could come along and join me at the back of the middle distance fields on Saturdays. Takers? There is no pressure out there like there was twenty years ago when only fast runners competed; everyone is slow these days.

Splish Splash

Five of our grandchildren enjoying the waves at Scarborough, Brisbane last week.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Across the Universe

Posted by speedygeoff on Saturday, October 11, 2008 with No comments
Like the posts that have gone before, I started typing this way in advance. But all went to plan, we have returned after our voyage across the universe and back, safe and sound as they say. So I am amending this post for publication.

The backlog is horrific. But keep your ear to the grindstone and you will receive from me updates on more recent events very soon.

We have been seeing relatives and I am sure to find some suitable photos for display. Here's a photo stuffed with relatives. The photo was taken on 29 September 1909, so I doubt that any of these particular relatives will feature in any of the photos I have taken. Descendants of them will, though.

(clicketh to enlargeth) (note the appropiate use of ye olde englishe)

Footnote: A power surge took out my home phone answering machine while I was away! So any messages left there in the last three weeks have disappeared into the ether.

Friday, 10 October 2008

When I Get Home

Posted by speedygeoff on Friday, October 10, 2008 with No comments
Hopefully soon, I will continue to assist as many runners as possible.

Whether you do Fun Running, like the Spring Series:
Tue 4 Nov Weston Park 2/5km
Tue 11 Nov Black Mountain Peninsula 2/5km, John Cardiff Close
Tue 18 Nov O'Connor Ridge, Masterman St East (Bruce) 2/5 km
Tue 25 Nov Boathouse 2/5 km, Menindee Drive, Parkes
Tue 2 Dec Stromlo Forest Park 2/5km Uriarra Road

... or track, or just getting fit, I will try and listen to you and give you healthy advice.

Although, "you can beat a dead horse to water, but you can't make him drink."

Anyway we are geese, speedy geese at that, not horses,

and I am looking forward to getting back into the flock.