Friday, 31 July 2009

Chicken wings

Posted by speedygeoff on Friday, July 31, 2009 with No comments
Thursday training at Dickson: Our training session yesterday consisted of a 5k run at a good pace, picking it up along the home straight each time, the wind behind us, 100m in every 400. So rather than jogging and sprinting, we ran at a good tempo pace, with surges. Present were Beryl, Brett L, Brett M, Bronwyn, Craig, me, Heidi, Janene, Jerry, Miranda, Rod, Roger, Ruth, Suzie & Troy. We outnumbered the Bilbys again! This time, 15-12. That’s a win!

I passed on some form tips to a few of the runners last night. I notice a tendency with many runners to have their arms very high, and lock their elbows, which causes the arms to swing across the body, the hands to cross the centre-line of the body, shoulder sway, as well as tension in the neck and shoulders. A more relaxed, more efficient way of running is to have the arms lower, driving more in a straight line, and the arms not just driving forwards but pulling backwards.

So that the shoulders do not sway, as the arms move the elbows have to flex. In other words, the elbows need to be unlocked; i.e. the angle between the forearm and the upper arm needs to change as you run. As an arm is driven forward, the hand and forearm reach forward, and the angle of the elbow increases. As an arm is pulled back, the angle decreases again.

So the things to look out for and correct: tension in the neck; tension in the shoulder; hands across the centre-line; locked elbows; shoulder sway.

What we should see: lower arms; movement in the elbows, hands reaching forward and pulling back, little shoulder movement, running looking smooth and easy especially when running quickly.

A good image to help correct a lazy chicken-wing distance runner’s shoulder sway can be that of hauling yourself along a rope. With each hand as you run, you reach forward quickly; grab hold of the rope, and pull it in towards you.

Here is my advice then.
• Look at your hands to see if they cross the centre line of your body; a sure sign of shoulder sway.
• Get a discerning eye to evaluate your style for the points above: neck, shoulders, hands, elbows, arm height.
• Look at other runners to see what they do and to get an understanding of the problem
• Run with runners with the best style, and copy them!
You need to make “good form” natural and easy, it cannot be forced as there goes your relaxation!

Heidi and Rod had the best running styles of those training last night. But even those whose styles are exemplary can learn and improve, So, more later!

Thursday, 30 July 2009

down the track

Posted by speedygeoff on Thursday, July 30, 2009 with No comments
BBQ Stakes
Katie 25:20 Another very fast time for Katie
Roger 26:25 And how he recovered so speedily from Saturday’s Bush Marathon is beyond me!
Ken 27:27 Approximately; Watch didn’t start.
Gary 27:31 A very big pb
Me 28:28 Wisely running this as a tempo run, watch for improvement next time
Helen 29:10 A vast improvement in just one week.

not far away
The Canberra Times Fun run will be held on 13 September.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Speedygeese in the Bush Capital Bush Marathon Festival

Posted by speedygeoff on Wednesday, July 29, 2009 with 2 comments
10 km:
3 Yili Zhu 48.29

16 km:
23 Ewen Thompson 1.24.16
28 Brett Morrison 1.27.24
32 Craig Davis 1.28.47

25 km:
22 Geoff Moore 2.07.15
28 Mick Horan 2.11.40
34 Patrick Magee 2.16.19

42.2 km marathon:
7 Roger Pilkington 4.19.32

16 km walk:
3 Peter Hogan 2.24.05

10 km:
5 Heidi Johnston 50.31

16 km:
24 Bronwyn Calver 1.27.24
37 Maria O'Reilly 1.31.51
38 Helen Larmour 1.31.51
46 Susan Sturgeon 1.35.48
62 Yelena Pearson 1.44.22

25 km:
10 Suzie Gye 2.23.33
11 Janene Kingston 2.25.56

42.2 km marathon
2 Kelley Flood 3.42.00

Celebration of Mandy’s life to be held at St John’s Kippax on Friday 31st at 12:30pm.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

I am so over hills

Posted by speedygeoff on Tuesday, July 28, 2009 with 2 comments
At Parliament House, we had ran our final hill sprint session for a while last week, and this week we started doing aerobic intervals. The session was 8x400m with a 400m jog; a traditional format but a good one. Except instead of being run on an athletic track, it was along the south and west side of the road around the House, sheltered from the rather cold wind that was blowing, fairly flat, sandy more than grassy. And whether or not it was because hill sprints were no longer on the program, a larger number of speedygeese participated than has been the case for a while.

Present were Alan, Alison, Andrew, Bronwyn, Christopher, Craig, Garry, Gary, me, Helen, Jennifer, Joel, Kathy, Katie, Ken, Maria, Miranda, Neil, Rachelle, Ruth, Stuart, Yelena & Yili.

Last night too we heard the very sad news that Mandy Chew passed away on Sunday afternoon. Mandy was a member of our training group, and had been fighting cancer for 15 years. Mandy has been incredibly strong and brave over the years, refusing to succumb, and up until a few weeks ago she seemed to be winning, again, but the last two weeks were awful for her. With her passing, we are especially sad for her three teenage children. Hopefully I can get news of funeral arrangements to you very soon.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Mookchook's Mighty Mountain Marathon!

Posted by speedygeoff on Monday, July 27, 2009 with No comments
Kelley, a.k.a Mookchook, ran a brilliant Bush Capital Marathon on Saturday, half an hour ahead of the boys (Roger & Rob). See, told you!
From the website: "Kate Hodson of Ngunnawal in the ACT made an outstanding comeback from injury to finish first female in 3:22:04, with Canberra veterans Kelley Flood second in 3:42:00 and Elle Knight third in 3:54:15".
I will publish all the speedygeese times soon.

Meanwhile, yesterday's ACTVAC handicap results are already available:
Blewitts 7.0k
2 Craig Davis M40 38:16 55.5%
5 Janene Kingston W45 36:30 66.7
23 Rod Lynch M45 28:21 80.8
29 Christopher Lang M55 38:19 65.0
31 Troy Steinman M35 30:32 67.8
35 Alan Duus M60 37:22 68.6
45 Heidi Johnston W35 36:00 65.1
50 Margaret McSpadden W60 47:30 63.6
57 David Baussmann M55 37:26 67.1
64 Maria O'Reilly W50 37:19 73.7
67 Ruth Baussmann W55 44:31 65.4
85 Mick Horan M50 37:59 60.7
88 finishers

17 Ken White M55 14:59 76.4%
29 Katie Forestier W40 14:30 80.3
36 Noeline Burden W55 19:34 68.3
42 Gary Bowen M50 16:42 67.4
43 Amanda Walker W40 17:08 67.4
45 Garry Maher M60 18:19 66.5
56 Neil Boden M55 19:15 61.3
62 finishers

Coming events
Monday 27 5:30pm Parliament House training. Middle distance intervals.
(early start 4:30pm for an 8k jog)
Wednesday 29 12:15pm BBQ Stakes
Thursday 30 5:30pm Dickson continuous sprints
(early start 3:50pm for a long run!)
Saturday 1 August 1pm ACTCCC Runners Shop 10k, Menindee Drive
This is a flat fast 10k road run, well worth doing.
Sunday 2 August women's jogalong
also, High Noon meet. The track part of the program is:
12:00 pm Sprint Hurdles
12:10 pm 60m
12:25 pm 100m
12:45 pm 800m (run and walk)
1:00 pm 200m
1:15 pm 3000m (run and walk)

Finally, happy birthday to my daughter Loani, 37 today!

Sunday, 26 July 2009


Posted by speedygeoff on Sunday, July 26, 2009 with 2 comments
"Come on, you know what I'm talking about ...
"It's the first thing that jumps into my mind every time I develop severe pain in my knees or hips. Even though I know osteoarthritis is more about genetics that athletics. Even though Stanford just released a study telling all us runners how healthy our bones and joints are compared to non-active people. Even though I've suffered through various bouts of hip and knee pain my entire life without it leading to chronic disability.
"Still, I'm 47. And it seems like this condition starts to appear in our 40s and 50s. We all know runners who've lost all the cartilage in their knees, their knee caps replaced with puffy softballs. Or who walk like they're treading barefoot over broken glass, their hip joints creaking like rusted hinges in a B-horror movie.
"Running careers come to a sudden end.
"And those glorious two-hour Sunday forays up mountain trails become long bike rides and sessions with a physical therapist".

The rest of this wonderful article is at With exercises to do. With pictures. I am going to follow this advice, because my right hip is often quite painful.

And congratulations to Peter Hogan for placing second in today's 3.5k walk handicap event.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

I'll drink to that

Posted by speedygeoff on Saturday, July 25, 2009 with No comments
Effective training methods
“Aging” implies irreversible decline in ability, but this need not be the case. With effective training methods, we can discover that slower times, more injuries, and less enjoyment from our running are not inevitable as time goes by.

Then what can we do so that in ten years time we are still running as well as, or even better than, we are now? It all comes down to effective training.

To maintain our speed, we must continue to train hard. Hills, intervals, fartlek, tempo runs, and frequent races, will all help us stay fast.

To maintain our endurance, we must run, run, run! We can increase endurance as we age, but only if we keep training! Whereas sitting at home resting on our laurels will not keep us at our accustomed levels of fitness.

Injuries can be more of a problem as we age, but there are strategies we can employ to reduce the frequency of injuries, and recover from them more effectively. First of all, we need to change our running venues, and get off the roads and run on soft surfaces. This will lessen impact, and lessen the chance of injury from high impact running. We are no longer the resilient persons we were when we were young; pounding the pavements is no longer a sensible option.

We can also assist recovery by reducing stress on the body on our recovery days. And how is that achieved? We should be slowing down our recovery runs. We will not lose form by doing this, in fact we will benefit more by reducing stress on our body as we allow it to recover more effectively from our harder training days and give it the time it needs to bring us to a higher level of fitness. It is the recovery time when fitness is enhanced, not the training time!

Training in the gym with low weights/high repetitions is a must, for it is important that we keep working on building some muscle bulk. Two sessions a week are enough, each session with a ten minute warm-up, thirty minutes of light weight work, and twenty minutes of stretching. This further helps recovery, and is an ideal, low-impact, insurance against further injury. And gives us the muscles we must have in order to do the hard running we wish to do.

One exercise I have just started doing is a balancing exercise. I have felt shaky on uneven surfaces, especially down hills, and have realised that my ability to balance has been imperceptibly deteriorating. And what is a good balancing exercise? Standing on one leg for minutes at a time!

Along the same lines of “not moving but getting fitter” is “the plank”, also known as “the hover”. The core strength needed to do this exercise, and developed by it, is essential for maintaining good running posture. And a good running posture means we can run further, run faster, tire less easily, and reduce the likelihood of injury. Recommended!

Other essentials for maintaining fitness and health include nutrition, rest, and a healthy social life where relaxation and fun are as much part of life as are training stresses and challenges.


Jodie will drink to that too.

Friday, 24 July 2009

Geese 12 Bilbys 11

Posted by speedygeoff on Friday, July 24, 2009 with 2 comments
We outnumbered the Bilbys at Dickson track last night; I cannot recall that ever happening before. There were 12 geese including me; 11 Bilbys including lead Bilby Gary. Present at training were Bronwyn, Craig, Garry, me, Janene, Joel, Miranda, Nadine, Roger, Ruth, Susan & Yelena. We ran 8 x 400m on 4 minutes, handicapped. A 200m jog between each. Actually it was in lane 4 as usual so it was longer than 400/200. The grass was slippery, not conducive to fast running on the bends.

The Bush Capital marathon events tomorrow have attracted good fields. Late entries might attract a few more.
10km run
Heidi Johnston
16km run
Bronwyn Calver
Craig Davis
Brett Morrison
Yelena Pearson
Susan Sturgeon
Ewen Thompson
16km Bush Walk
Peter Hogan
25km run
Suzie Gye
Mick Horan
Janene Kingston
Patrick Magee
Geoff Moore
Troy Steinman
42.2km Marathon
Kelley Flood (early start)
Roger Pilkington
I am not sure why Kelley is in the early start, she will be faster than Roger!

I invite all speedygeese to “Carlo’s at Watson” for brunch after the run. I aim to get there around 11:30am or so; certainly by 12. Rock in when you can. I don’t expect the marathoners to have finished by then, though.

Christopher looking fighting fit
Gloves on, ready for a fight! There's Yili in the background, too.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

BBQ Wednesday

Posted by speedygeoff on Thursday, July 23, 2009 with 2 comments
At yesterday's BBQ Stakes I ran 26:12, Gary 29:31, Helen & Roger both 31:51 although they did not run together! There was a strong headwind on the hill so I am not too unhappy about the time. I got soaked on the cool-down run though. Now for a 25k mountain run this Saturday!

Roger at Mt Ainslie. He is running the marathon on Saturday.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Emma the sprinter!

Posted by speedygeoff on Wednesday, July 22, 2009 with 1 comment
"After coming back from the Canadian Masters Championships I am still very hyped! Thought you might understand the times...not great, but I know there is potential to decrease them!
"Out of the 4 races, got 4 placings....which shows the state of my age category in masters more than anything....but it meant that I got a lot of bling ;)
"Even though I haven't done any specific sprint training.....ran from a standing start, and had high temps and high wind....I had a blast, in fact I was giggling at the end ....beginning to think I should spend some time thinking about sprint training and some throws.....the pentathlon awaits!
"It was great to hear about some pretty amazing masters performers including Olga Kotelko, who is 90 and has about a zillion world records since starting late in life, is also competing in the World Masters in Finland and will be coming to Sydney and has time to coach the local primary school shot-put team! Her biography and many others are on the Canadian Masters Hall of Fame website. Hearing the stories led to more than one person tearing up during the presentation. One of my running buddies here Avril holds the world record for W55 400m, and boy, did she deserve it. Carrying her medals and mine back from the Champs caused a few problems with airport security....(what is that large metal object in your bag?).
800m 2:34:27
200m (straight afterwards) 29:85
400 67:67
100m (-6.3....a wind tunnel!) 15.49.
mile (road) 5:27.
"I am going to try and get a better 100 and 200 time over the next few weeks(with hopefully less wind), but it will be a couple of seasons before I really will know what I am doing!
"The trails will takes to long to get to them here.

"Don't let the frostbite get you.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

“Jesus is watching you”

Posted by speedygeoff on Tuesday, July 21, 2009 with 3 comments
Parliament House attendees: Alan, Andrew, Bronwyn, Craig, Christopher, Craig, Garry, Gary, me, Jennifer, Katie, Ken, Margaret, Rachelle, Ruth, Yelena & Yili. We ran 20 x 100 hill sprints; the first 5 on 90secs, then the next 13 were attrition sprints on 90secs, then two final sprints all together again. Last place in each attrition sprint dropped out to a second group who started after the main group. At sprint 18 the main group had been whittled down to two, with Ken winning that final sprint from Andrew.
To give you an idea of how the attrition races caused runners to push harder, here are Bronwyn’s 100m hill times, taken from her blog; she was eliminated in sprint 16;
The first five: 28, 29, 30, 29, 30,
The attrition sprints: 27, 27, 26, 25, 25, 24, 25, 24, 25, 22, 22,
Back to group two: 30, 31, 33, 27
Bronwyn was fourth with Gary as well as Ken and Andrew edging her out.

Caroline at Mt Ainslie. Other friends are milling around including speedygoose Andrew in the background, arms folded.

Old Joke Alert
A burglar broke into a house, shining his torch around and looking for valuables. He had just picked up a CD player when a strange, disembodied voice echoed from the dark saying: "Jesus is watching you."
He nearly jumped out of his skin, clicked off his torch and froze.
When he heard nothing more he continued. Just as he pulled the stereo out, he heard: "Jesus is watching you." Freaked out, he flashed his light around frantically. Finally, in the corner of the room his light beam came to rest on a parrot.
"Did you say that?" he hissed at the parrot. "Yep," the parrot confessed, "I'm just trying to warn you that he's watching you." The burglar relaxed. "Warn me, huh? Who in the world are you?"
"Moses," replied the bird. "Moses?" the burglar laughed. "What kind of people would name a bird Moses?" ... and the bird said ... "The same kind that would name their Rottweiler 'Jesus'!"

Monday, 20 July 2009

Great White Whale

Posted by speedygeoff on Monday, July 20, 2009 with No comments
speedygeese at Goorooyaroo
38= Geoff Moore M60 18:31
38= Heidi Johnston W35 18:31
56. Ewen Thompson M50 24:54

37. Geoff Moore M60 36:09
48. Janene Kingston W45 39:11
49. Ewen Thompson M50 39:58
55. Caroline Campbell W65 44:53

No speedygeese ran at the High Noon meet yesterday.

Plans this week
Monday 20 5:30pm Parliament House hills session.
Tuesday 21 7:30pm ACTVAC SGM.
Wednesday 22 12:15pm BBQ Stakes
Thursday 23 5:30pm Dickson track training
Saturday 25 Bush Capital marathon events: 10k, 16k, 25k, 42k, 60k
Sunday 26 ACTVAC handicap races at Bluetts Pines
All in all, another big week in the capital.

I am currently reading “90 Classic Books for People in a Hurry”. Very funny, Here’s an example: complete!
Moby Dick
Each story “in four illustrated squares with short witty texts”.

speedy gosling Yelena at Mt Ainslie.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Taper v anti-taper.

Posted by speedygeoff on Sunday, July 19, 2009 with No comments
Wanting to run a fast City to Surf?
Try something drastic like
1. Actually taper, if this is the big race you have been aiming for. Do less running in the ten days prior to the race than you want to. But do something. Halve the distance of the long runs, without increasing their speed. Have more rest between hard (long or fast) days. Cut out weight work and hill work for three whole weeks before the race.
2. Plan to run your race at even pace (effort) for the first half of the race. As difficult as it may be to get through the crowd, try not to surge, but run as steadily as possible. Quick and relaxed and not all out.
3. Really start to race as you approach the summit of “Heartbreak Hill”; race over the hill. Avoid the temptation to have a rest at the top. Instead, accelerate over the top and keep the acceleration going all the way to the line.
The same advice applies to the Canberra Times Fun Run, if that’s your big race instead of the City to Surf. This 10k Fun Run has a hill too, at the half way mark, which runners find difficult.
But if you have not been doing long training runs, leading up to your big event, you can hardly taper without pretty much stopping altogether. So if that is the case, here is very different radical advice. Train through! Actually build up distance towards the race, and run it on the back of that. Yes, it’s the anti-taper.

Mt Ainslie
It must have been cold!

Saturday, 18 July 2009


Posted by speedygeoff on Saturday, July 18, 2009 with No comments
4k ~18:32
8k ~36:09
Sunny and cold. Strong westerly.
Both races were once out and back, so the 8k turn was twice as far out as the 4k turn. I charged along in the 4k race then tried to equal or better the pace for the 8k. Mission accomplished! Made more difficult than expected because not only was there a long uphill in k1 (into the wind) for both races, there was a long uphill in k3 of the 8.

Kens at Ainslie

Friday, 17 July 2009


Posted by speedygeoff on Friday, July 17, 2009 with No comments
At training last night were Brett M, Bronwyn, Craig, me, Heidi, Janene, Nadine, Rod, Roger, Shelley, Susan & Suzie. We ran 8 x 1 laps in lane 4, on 4 minutes, handicapped, with a jog of 200m in between.

Some basics I try to major on as a coach:
1. Simplicity – making complicated concepts easy to understand; so easy to understand that anyone who turns up gets it.

2. Inclusiveness – Everyone is welcome; everyone is welcoming. Everyone is encouraged; everyone is encouraging. No-one is fighting. Everyone is a favourite; no “one” is a favourite.

3. Focus - Rather than trying to do everything, we need only do a few things. Those things we do, we do well.

4. Process – There are no instant results. We have long term strategies which work and which produce results that last. Slow and deliberate may not look all that exciting, but it works.


Thursday, 16 July 2009

Peter Magill continues to write outstanding articles. A recent brilliant one was at Some excerpts-
Young runners constantly attempt to string together the perfect blend of workouts that will push their bodies to optimum fitness…
Older runners attempt to string together enough injury-free days just to attempt the types of workouts that will lead to optimum fitness…

With older runners, my coaching centres as much on technique drills, exercises, and workouts intended to restore proper stride (by eliminating muscle imbalances and recruiting all the necessary muscle fibres) as it does on traditional volume and energy system development. Basically, my belief is that you can't get in shape if you can't stay healthy…
But middle-aged runners don't hire a coach just so that they can lie in bed at night thinking about what a nice stride they've developed…
They hire a coach so that they can run faster…

Athletes rarely contact me when they want to do well in race that's a year away. They contact me when they want to win their age group in a local 5K that's four weeks in the future. Or in a big track meet coming up in two months…

BBQ Times:
Katie 25:20
Me 26:36 same as I ran on 24 June so I’m over the cold and injuries, now to get fit.
Ken 26.53
Roger 27:12 ten days after the Gold Coast Marathon
Gary 29.29 and his second run, close enough to the time of his first.

Dickson plan:
Tonight we will run … 8x400m. Probably. A more traditional training session.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Late Mail

Posted by speedygeoff on Wednesday, July 15, 2009 with No comments
Unbelievable! In the mail yesterday were several items posted between end January and start March, including Mastercards we had to get re-issued after they failed to arrive, and the separate letter from the same bank giving pin numbers. "Coincidentally" arriving together? Very suspicious! Luckily no-one nabbed them. ("nabbed". Get it?)

More speedygeese photos
Noelene at Mt Ainslie

Brett Lynch


My computer keeps crashing for different "reasons" every time, hence the short post. And if future posts don't appear, you'll know why.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009


Posted by speedygeoff on Tuesday, July 14, 2009 with 5 comments
Training last night was a serious hill session with Andrew, Bronwyn, Craig, Garry, Gary, me, Jennifer, Joel, Katie, Ken, Mick C, Rachelle, Shelley, Susan, Troy & Yelena.

And if you like hills, here is the elevation chart for the Googong Half Marathon.

Monday, 13 July 2009


Posted by speedygeoff on Monday, July 13, 2009 with 2 comments

Googong half marathon results
19. Kelley Flood W45 1:50:10
26. Patrick Magee M40 1:56:08
33. Janene Kingston W40 2:08:20
39. Caroline Campbell W65 2:18:56
45 finishers

My plans this week:
Monday 13 July
Parliament House 4:30pm 8k run, 5:30pm coaching hill sprints.
Wednesday 15 July BBQ Stakes 6k race. Unless my physio tells me not to. I won't ask.
Thursday 16 July Dickson 4:30pm 8k run, 5:30pm coaching interval training.
Saturday 18 July 1:00pm Cross Country Club 8k race at Goorooyaroo
Sunday 19 July 12:00 High Noon Meet, there's a 1500m I might watch.

Strewth & Dave are due back from the US today!

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Take Another Drink

Posted by speedygeoff on Sunday, July 12, 2009 with 1 comment
Some results:
Weston Park, Saturday 4 July

W50 Kathy Southgate 32:27
W40 Katie Forestier 33:33
W35 Michelle Wells 34:38
M60 Geoff Moore 34:40
W65 Caroline Campbell 43:34
M55 Ken White 55:15
M45 Yili Zhu 56:44

BBQ Stakes 6k Wednesday 8 July
Katie 24:57 *pb by 19 seconds
Ken 27:00
Amanda 28.29 28:49 *pb by 1 second
Gary 29:36 29:26 *first run on the course.

Googong off-road half marathon Saturday 11 July
results tba but I know Janene ran.

High Noon program 19 July AIS track
12:00 hurdles 200m/400m
12:15 60m
12:30 100m
1:00 1500m (run and walk)
1:15 400m

..running at Mt. Ainslie..



Saturday, 11 July 2009

"You're too young and inexperienced."

Posted by speedygeoff on Saturday, July 11, 2009 with 4 comments
I was reading the well known story of David and Goliath. "You are too young and inexperienced" is what King Saul said to David when the latter wanted to challenge Goliath.

And it was true, IF David had tried to engage Goliath in a conventional sword fight. But David changed the rules. He didn't approach Goliath as a warrior. He approached him as a shepherd. He introduced an unconventional method of warfare: the slingshot. That long-range weapon gave David a unique advantage over his more experienced opponent.

David overcame his weaknesses by playing to his strengths.

David didn't play on Goliath's terms, he played on his own terms.

Inexperience is both a liability and an asset. And the upside of inexperience is this: you don't know what can't be done. So you're not afraid of doing old things in new ways. You take risks. You make mistakes. You experiment with new methodologies.

Political scientist Ivan Arreguin-Toft surveyed every war fought in the past two hundred years between strong and weak combatants. The Goliaths won 71.5% of the time. But when the Davids chose an unconventional strategy, their winning percentage was 63.6%. In other words, when Davids decide that they aren't going to play on Goliath's terms, they win two-thirds of the time.

So how do you fight in unconventional terms if you are a David? Sometimes it's substituting effort for ability. Davids need to work harder than Goliaths. Sometimes it's doing something in a new way. But the bottom line is this: you cannot fight Goliath on Goliath's terms or you will lose. You have to change the rules. You have to get unconventional.

Transformation. If you follow the rules, if you repeat the established pattern, if you "try and try again" in the same old way, you can block transformation. But the Goliath, the seemingly impossible barrier, the weight of history and opinion and expectation, can be circumvented, overcome, disabled, whatever, by thinking laterally and inventing a new way of doing things.

What has this to do with running? Everything! Especially when we are considering how younger generations can be encouraged to run, to race, to train, to compete, to seek improvement. The old ways will not work, and the old structures are not relevant. The same end results we are after: health, fitness, strength, flexibility, and a long and rewarding life, can be achieved by very different means and within very different contexts from those we are familiar with.

As times change, we "oldies" must change too. Or are we so tied to the ways we have of doing things, the old structures and institutions, that we have forgotten why these things exist?

Friday, 10 July 2009

Googong Half

Posted by speedygeoff on Friday, July 10, 2009 with No comments
The Half Marathon at Googong tomorrow starts at 11am – this different start time was not included in the programs. Give yourself plenty of time to get there and make sure you know where the start is - a few people missed the start last year.

It is a long way to go and not my type of run - far too hilly I am told. And anyway, I am in Sydney this week.

Good luck if you're running in it. I hope the weather is kind.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Extraordinary Gentlemen

Posted by speedygeoff on Thursday, July 09, 2009 with No comments
what I am reading currently: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Back in my youth I rarely read comics. Perhaps some issues of "The Phantom", but that was about all. At the other extreme, novels these days rarely have illustrations; some of my favourite books as a child did; for example, "The Jungle Book", but these were supposed to be illustrated; they were for children. More recently though I have been reading an illustrated adult book; "Stardust"; with not just the occasional illustration, but imaginative drawings on most pages, many of them quite elaborate. This led me to investigate if there were other adult novels with similar illustrations, and I discovered what everyone else probably already knew about; the graphic novel. Much more than comic books; they are full length stories told mainly with drawings, with some dialogue like comics, and occasionally, no dialogue at all for a while. Well, they say a picture is worth a thousand words. The pictures in "Extraordinary Gentlemen" reward detailed examination; on some pages my eyes tracked over the intricate drawings three or four times and drew out new information each time. Sometimes quite funny detail. However I haven't decided yet if I really like this format very much. As high quality as the drawings are, my imagination is more active, I think, when just words are presented and I can generate my own pictures of what the words are saying. And I have developed a speed reading style which does not work well with the graphic novel. I am not sure there is enough substance to these stories, either, to justify slowing myself down in order to take them in.

Some people relate better to pictures. But I suspect I am a word person when it comes to thinking and assimilating and learning.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Daily Life in Richmond

Posted by speedygeoff on Wednesday, July 08, 2009 with 2 comments
Guest blogger Emma Adams!

Hello There Everyone!

Writing an account by email is one of the few ways I can take stock of our time here, and reflect on our new experiences. Life is very busy, and I also have to say, stressful at times.

Work-life balance is out of whack with the limitations placed on us by work visas and geography. And of course, my urge to heap as much on my plate as possible....did I mention the NBAS (neonatal behavioural assessment) that I have enrolled in through the Brazelton Centre in Boston?....which may have to be on hold until I start work back in Canberra.....which....arrgh! this sounds soooo bad, so I can arrange to do the Boston Marathon in the same trip.....which means I need time to qualify again!

At the moment, I am working full-time, and started studying to get the last part of my infant mental health course done and out of the way in the next little while. But what I would really like is more time to spend with the boys, on running, and on enjoying the gentle art of domesticity. The domesticity part of it is indulging in an afternoon reading on the couch in the sunshine, with the sense of pride, calm and smugness of a clean house, and maybe flowers picked from the garden in a beautiful vase. And a chance to organise some trail runs, and to do some crafts, and to have long lunches with friends.

Which brings me to a wonderful discovery......"Mrs Miniver" by Jan Struthers. This book is the narrative account of an upper-middle class mother in pre-WW2 London. She thoroughly savours her life, being middle-aged, and is mindful and appreciative of all the pleasant details, for example, in the first chapter, she brings home a "cornucopia" of chrysanthemums " they were the big, mop-headed kind, burgundy coloured, with curled petals; their beauty was noble, architectural; and as for their scent, she thought as she buried her nose in the nearest of them, it was a pure distillation of her mood, a quintessence of all that she found gay and intoxicating and astringent about the weather, the circumstances, her own age and the season of the year"....and then with a little sigh of contentment, "rings for tea". It is not at all a sentimental account of privilege and pleasure though, and later stories and letters discuss the preparing for the Blitz. A legend of this book is that Churchill insisted it had done more for the Allied cause than a flotilla of battleships and Roosevelt claimed it had hastened America's entry into the war. Recommended reading.

Over the last few days, Summer has declared itself in Vancouver. Riding a bike to work is something I try to do at least a couple of times a week,....unfortunately a back injury recently has limited this. Or when I drive, I park at Minoru track (so I can get to training after work) and walk across. This short walk each time lightens my heart, because it demonstrates to me each time what a wonderful community Richmond is.

Always, even in the snow, is a group of elderly Chinese-Canadians doing their outdoor exercises. It can be Tai-chi, or sword practice or fan-dancing. As well as the beauty of the movements, it shows the sense of connection and community.

I walk past the Richmond Library. This is a fabulous place. This is the main library for this community of about 160,000, but there are about 6 others here too, well-stocked and large, for local, walking access. The Minoru library is a large, modern and friendly building. In the same complex are housed the local art gallery, museum, and craft guilds such as the weavers guild, and other exhibition spaces. The library is set out in a very attractive manner, a friend said "it's just like a book shop!' The main displays change theme regularly, and new books are always coming in. You can borrow music and DVD's too, good ones. There is a HUGE chinese language section too of course. I recently obtained a library "prescription pad", so doctors can write what search terms a patient can use, and specially "sensitivity trained" librarians will direct the person to the literature by just giving them the nifty! And I have contacted the library who are always happy to buy what self-help books I have recommended.

After the library, I walk past the Swimming complex (2 heated 50 meter pools and a smaller childrens pool), ice-skating rinks (3 of hockey is huge here, but Minoru also concentrates on figure-skating), and then past the track. There is a 400m, olympic running track (with astroturf soccer or American rules field in the middle). I run here with my track club Kajaks on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. The track is always being used. With older people doing their "constitutionals" around, young families with children, or sometimes a group of kids with a hoarse voiced coach. What really strikes me is the huge age, fitness, cultural and ethnic mix of people out exercising together. I wish this happened more in Australia. I wish we had these wonderful facilities, which would help! In addition, at Minoru, there are also 2 Lacrosse fields, tennis courts and a senior citizens club, and a theatre complex!

After the track, I walk across the grasslands, home to a flock of Canada geese (which I am avoiding in this nesting season!), and if I look up, there is usually a float-plane lazily buzzing through the sky.

Then it is across the bridge and through the Minoru gardens and lake to the hospital. The gardens have burst into life since Winter. First it was the blossoms, then an amazing display of magnolias, the big flowers and the smaller stellate ones, and now the rhododendrons are just about finishing. Squirrels are running about on the ground and up the trees, I love the way they move, with their springy back legs in unison. The gardens are also home to many rabbits (thought to be pets that people have released), many are very used to humans and can be hand-fed. They are in all sorts of colours and sizes.

Canada has lots to offer by example to Australia, on how to live our lives and get on with people. Canadians are very polite, and easygoing generally. Our community is such a wonderful diverse group, and as I have said before Canada does multicultural much better than Australia.

However, Australians are much more willing to participate, maybe are more spontaneous, and just "dig-in" to help, I think this is our cultural strength of "mateship". Volunteering in Canada is very formalised, and I have been surprised that if things are not arranged formally, people won't help out as much as I had expected in Australia. I have noticed this in the school parents community and in the running groups. People were amazed that I helped out in packing up after a race when I, 1. had run the race 2. wasn't on the roster.

Photos 1. early morning exercise 2. and 3. the dyke, my commute 4. the boys riding bikes to school 5. weird ad for a Japanese restaurant in Richmond......WTF?? 6. float plane 7. canada geese 8.rabbit 9. chapel at Minoru park.

Running not going so well, not enough time for lots of long runs so focussing on track. Got a bit of bling recently, but times aren't as good as I hoped, because of backpain and lack of longer runs mainly.....and a really rotten headwind for the 400 and 200m. Wish I could have got to Sydney this October......but maybe later, one year I want to be able to prepare really well for a season. When I was at the BC Champs in Nanaimo (which was really an excuse to have a ferry ride and a night away from home by myself), got a chance to see some great Canadians masters runners.....and realised that it is a very very small world! One of my Kajaks training buddies still has the W60 world record for the 400m. And it is a really friendly and cohesive group.

Yesterday I watched the Kajaks International meet that our club hosts. An elite track and field meet (with a masters mile at the end of the day). What an amazing sight to see the American and Jamaican sprinters do their stuff. 46 second 400m for the men! The Mexicans cleaned up in the 5000m (places one to five). I hadn't expected Mexico to be a big running nation, but I suppose the training in the heat (and perhaps altitude) helps foster stamina.

Next on our agenda are the Summer hols. We are going to Quadra Island for a week (renting a house on the water, with kayaks and we can take Xena the swimming wonderdog!) before my parents arrive, and oh boy, do we have a lot of activities and sights to see for them. Rob and I will take a week off some time by ourselves, maybe riding our bikes around the gulf-islands and hiring sea-kayaks when the mood takes us, and Rob has a weeks cycling in Oregon planned too.

After the holidays, assignments need to be done for me, a lightning visit to Australia in September, then it is planning to come back to Australia. It will mean looking for a new place to live......anyone know of a nice 4 bedroom for sale?

Love Emma

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Just a little faster

Posted by speedygeoff on Tuesday, July 07, 2009 with No comments
Jodie at Mt Ainslie. More pictures later.

At training last night were Andrew, Carol, Christopher, Garry, Gary, me, Joel, Katie, Ken, Rachelle, Tony, Troy & Yelena. We did a Tour-de-Mountain, i.e. we did some hill sprints on some of Parliament House's slopes. (Neither Ruth nor Bronwyn were there so you won't get a more detailed analysis than that!) Both Carol Schenk and Garry Maher hadn't joined us at Parliament House before, and in all the years we have trained there it was our first "Tour" like that, so we can truly say that nothing stays the same, everything changes. And it was good to see Gary Bowen back after something of a break.

Song of the Week: "Can You Hear Me", by Evermore. This has been my song of the week previously, but now there’s a brilliant video.

"Just a little faster, Just a little faster"

Finally, Dave McClelland's funeral will take place at 10.30 on Thursday at William Cole Funerals Nettlefold St Belconnen.

Monday, 6 July 2009

under construction

Posted by speedygeoff on Monday, July 06, 2009 with 3 comments
I am still putting together our results from the weekend.
Cross Country Championships results - some times are not yet available, because the AACT in their wisdom take out all Vets-only entrants before they publish. ACTVAC will publish the missing Vets-only results sometime, they are not up yet though, and the ACTCCC later on might just re-merge the two sets to produce the list of actual finishers in order.
12k Championship
Ken: time not yet available, maybe 400m in front of Yili
Yili 56.44
8k Championship
Southy: 32:28
Katie: time not yet available, about 33:20 as I recall
Michelle: 34:38
Me: time not yet available, but it was 34:40 run very evenly

I was working with Michelle from 2k to 7k, she ran away from me after 7k and I nearly caught her again in the finishing sprint. I thought she ran very well. Fiona was also in the mix for the whole race, but we pulled away from her at the finish. She ran very well too and had a gutsy run. My time was pretty poor though, on my standards: I was 90 seconds faster last year, and that would have easily given me gold this year if I could have reproduced it. Instead I got bronze; just behind M60s Paul & Robbie, just ahead of M60s Graeme and Jim. When Des and Kent are not running, ACT M60 races are pretty close. 8k is a bit far for me so it was a slog; but also, my 2k laps were dead even 8:20s. This year I have been much slower than last in all events, and compared with my other 2009 races, this result is pretty good.

Gold Coast results -
10k Heidi Johnstone 45.39
10k Ewen Thompson 45.44
Half Marathon Bronwyn Calver 1:43.50
Marathon Roger Pilkington 3:28.15
I cannot see Alan Duus nor Graeme Patrick in the results, they may have not started.

Nowra King of Mountain results –
I haven't heard how Kelley or any other possible ACT starters went.

Women's Jogalong
I wasn't there this week, so we will have to wait for the results to appear - maybe in a week's time

Plans this week - I will be out of town Tuesday thru Saturday. Sydney should be considerably warmer than Canberra!
Monday 5:30pm Parliament House training: some kind of excellent hill runs
Thursday 5:30pm Dickson track: I won't be there, but the training pattern I am proposing is 4 minutes "on", 3 minutes "off", 3 on, 2 off, 2 on, 3 off, 3 on, 4 off, 4 on. A kind of inverse of last week's session.
Saturday 11am Googong Half Marathon. Good luck to all those running. I won't be there but I will be back on Sunday for a long run in the midday sun.

Yesterday's training run from home was Sony Walkman-powered. I treated myself to 75 minutes of some of my favourite music, that of the Incredible String Band. Fantastic running music. Flowing, engaging, hypnotic. The reader who likes occasionally to follow my lead in music may find this band very different and very amazing. Songs like Creation, Ducks on a Pond, Maya. Their eclectic spirituality may just appeal to you.

The last two tracks as I ran were Waltz of the New Moon/ The Water Song

I hear that the emperor of china used to wear iron shoes with ease
We are the tablecloth and also the table also the fable of the dancing leaves

The new moon is rising the axe of the thunder is broken
As never was not since the flood nor yet since the world began
The new moon is shining the angels are washing their windows
Above the years whose jumble sale goes spinning on below
Ask the snail beneath the stone, ask the stone beneath the wall
Are there any stars at all? Like an eagle in the sky
Tell me if air is strong

In the floating pan pipe victories of the golden harvest
Safe in the care of the dear moon

The new moon is rising, the eyelid of God is approaching
The human train the skating raining travelling voice of certainty
The new moon is shining, the harmonious hand is now holding
Lord Krishna's ring, the eagle's wing, the voice of mother everything
Ask the snail beneath the stone, ask the stone beneath the wall
Are there any stars at all? Like an eagle in the sky
Tell me if air is strong

In the floating palaces of the spinning castle
May the fire king's daughter bring water to you…
…Water water see the water flow
Glancing dancing see the water flow
Oh wizard of changes water water water

Dark or silvery mother of life
Water water holy mystery heaven’s daughter
Wizard of changes, teach me the lesson of flowing

God made a song when the world was new
Water’s laughter sings it true
Oh wizard of changes, teach me the lesson of flowing
God made a song when the world was new
Water’s laughter sings it through
Wizard of changes, teach me the lesson of flowing

The Incredible String Band playing at Woodstock. yes, THE Woodstock, but they weren't on the album.

On the subject of good music, it is a good time to be in Barcelona, and I am so jealous!
"The Patrol warmed up the crowd-up on Tuesday night at the Nou Canp in Barcelona as they kicked off the first of their 14 European shows with U2.
"Performing on the unique 360° stage to well over 50,000 people, the band tore through a 45 minute set including recent single Crack The Shutters as well as amongst others classic hits Run, Chasing Cars and Chocolate.
"The U2 tour continues tonight with a second show in Barcelona, before heading to the San Siro in Milan for a pair of show on the 7th and 8th July

Sunday, 5 July 2009

leadership and organisational culture

Posted by speedygeoff on Sunday, July 05, 2009 with 2 comments
If the culture an organisation wishes to cultivate is not reflected in its leadership, it will never come about.
Leadership must include and reflect and represent the culture it wishes to see in the wider organisation.
So if our Veterans athletics club wants to be of relevance and interest to those under 45 years of age (Gen-X) and wants to attract Gen-Y, who in three or four years time will be eligible to join us if they want to, then the leadership must be seen to embrace, must actually embrace, Gen-X and Gen-Y ideals and aspirations.
For example, the club's decision not to change its name to "Masters", while fine for the Builder (over 65's) generation, and not being of too much concern to us the Baby Boomers (45-65), sends a clear message to subsequent generations that "this club is really not for you, it's ours".
OK, that was the club's decision to make.
But it doesn't position us for the future, not at all. So now I am thinking that the only way to make the same kinds of programs available and attractive to the next generations, is for a new organisation to come into being, led by the young.
I am only thinking. And if it does happen, it certainly won't be my doing. It will be the thirty year olds who start up some parallel club. A Masters club. And they fade in. And we fade out.
But this might not be the only alternative, I don't know. Can anyone suggest other alternative ways forward?

To survive we need to "move with the times". To all be transformed. "Change", anathema to the Builder generation, is Gen-Y's catch-cry. An irony of the Masters debate was a statement I heard, "let's knock this thing on the head once and for all". Sorry, there is no "once and for all" in Gen-Y speak. To Gen-Y, ongoing change is not only inevitable, it is essential. A living organisation embraces change and manages change well. The statement quoted above just shows how different the generations are. But the good news is, we can learn to understand each other, if we all make the effort, and mutual understanding can lead to cooperation and even to an experience of "fitness through fellowship"!

Saturday, 4 July 2009

“What have the Romans...”

Posted by speedygeoff on Saturday, July 04, 2009 with No comments

What have the Romans ever given us in return?
The aqueduct.
Oh yeah, yeah they gave us that. Yeah. That's true.
And the sanitation!
Oh yes... sanitation, Reg, you remember what the city used to be like.
All right, I'll grant you that the aqueduct and the sanitation are two things that the Romans have done...
And the roads...
Well yes obviously the roads... the roads go without saying. But apart from the aqueduct, the sanitation and the roads...
Medicine... Education... Health...
Yes... all right, fair enough...
And the wine...
Oh yes! True!
Yeah. That's something we'd really miss if the Romans left, Reg.
Public baths!
And it's safe to walk in the streets at night now.
Yes, they certainly know how to keep order... (general nodding)... let's face it, they're the only ones who could in a place like this.
(more general murmurs of agreement)
All right... all right... but apart from better sanitation and medicine and education and irrigation and public health and roads and a freshwater system and baths and public order... what have the Romans done for us?
Brought peace!
(very angry, he's not having a good meeting at all) What!? Oh... (scornfully) Peace, yes... shut up!

Friday, 3 July 2009

popular culture, and unpopular venues

Posted by speedygeoff on Friday, July 03, 2009 with 1 comment
Thursday night training.
We were only five at Dickson last night: Brett, Bronwyn, me, Janene & Rod. Despite the fact that rain had been falling heavily at times in Belconnen, it was dry and fine in North Canberra. We ran 4 minutes on/4 off, 3 on/3 off, 2 on/2 off, 3 on/3 off, 4 on. There were only six Bilbys there; we almost outnumbered them. Also, Christine G was training there with a young sprinter. As it turned out, not a bad night for running, despite the threat of rain.

Bad news for Hitler

Saturday's Cross Country
Remember the start times and location: Weston Park:
  • at 11:10am the 8k (Women 20+ and Men 60+: I will run the 8k)
  • at 11:40am the 12k (Men 20-59)
Not the most popular starting times, or venue for that matter, but I am hoping to see you there!

Thursday, 2 July 2009

See how they run

Posted by speedygeoff on Thursday, July 02, 2009 with No comments

This ABS Fun Run
picture was taken from the latest "ABS eNews" magazine. Click to enlarge.
This Canberra Times Fun Run picture was taken from the website where this year's Fun Run is being promoted.
June was the occasion of five separate difficult situations for me ... and I ended up with an infection, probably caused by stress mainly. I am glad it's now July. Only another month of cold and disruption, then spring starts to approach and good training might be possible again.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009


Posted by speedygeoff on Wednesday, July 01, 2009 with 2 comments
I love it when a race is won by an outsider who takes off early and the other runners decide to let him go. Especially in the 1500m run where most elite runners are wimps and sit back.

Japanese 1500m championships.

Snowy weather
Today I wimped out of the BBQ Stakes because I still have the cold and infection that came on straight after last week's run, and today the wind is coming straight off the snow.

See my facebook entry.

Kathy won't be a wimp in the 8k this Saturday. No M60 male will be near her, early or late in the run.

From Kathy's facebook