Friday, 18 June 2010

some highlights from my Brisbane holidays

Posted by speedygeoff on Friday, June 18, 2010 with 5 comments
1. Having pencilled in Benalla as an overnight stop, we decided to stop at Woodburn for the night instead, as the weather ahead looked very threatening and it was getting very dark. I am rather glad we did, I estimate well over 100mm of rain fell on us overnight that night; and Lennox Head just 50km ahead of us was hit by a mini-tornado at 7:30am the next morning which destroyed trees, houses, cars and caravans. The mini-tornado was a water spout that crossed over to land for thirty minutes and ripped through the town of Lennox Head; miraculously no-one was injured. As it was, it took us 90 minutes the next day to cross a flooded section of road out of Benalla.

2. Reaching the Queensland border the same day, all was still, bright, sunny, no sign of rain at all. Everything they say about Queensland is true! The storm was confined to Northern NSW.

3. At my son's place in McDowall I realised we were only five minutes away from the "Run Inn", the shop handing out our half marathon race packs. So we drove over, and as I entered the shop there was Bruce Cook, a former neighbour in Holt and a former North Canberra Athletics team mate. A very good runner and race walker. He was working there and it was great to catch up.

4. Warming up for the half I was focussing on winning the M60 age group by running very evenly about 4:24 per km (after all the course was flat, or that is what I believed then, and conditions were perfect) and edging away from the 95 minute balloons which would be running exactly 4:30 per km if the pacer was any good. Then I saw John Sheer warming up, and immediately revised my goal to running second in the M60s by ignoring John and still trying for my optimum pace.

5. 300m into the race the 95 minute balloons - each pacer carried three balloons - and a large entourage passed me already and I felt I had no zip - something to do with driving three days and not running, I suspect. Anyway I hung onto them grimly for the first 7k. At 2k in 9:00 I threw away my 4:24 pace cheat sheet. For 6k the balloons moved nicely along at exactly 4:30s which I thought was cutting it a bit fine, I had expected them to be ahead of that. As I said conditions were pretty much perfect, but there was warmth and there was a breeze and I wasn't totally comfortable. However when at 7k the balloons were ten seconds behind schedule I decided I had better go ahead of them and picked up the pace (back to 4:30s or just faster). Then it was a struggle, at one stage I "knew" 95 minutes wasn't possible, and the balloons were 20-30 seconds back so I knew they would find it difficult to break 95. Anyway I pressed on and at the end tried to sprint rather unsuccessfully the last couple of kms, aware that the balloons were catching me again albeit without an entourage. In the end I just cracked 95, I just beat the balloons, and the balloons just failed to break 95 despite a very fast last few kms to make up for lost time. I am glad I went ahead of them, I wouldn't have been able to hang on to the end. So while the pacer had excellent pace judgement to a point, he should have planned to run just a little faster than the 4:30s he targetted.

6. The altered course included hills that weren't there before. In the form of longish bridges. Many were surprised to encounter them, not least me. I don't do hills, I crawled up them and several runners passed me each time.

7. In the end I was very happy with second and pleased enough to run 94:56.

8. I have done nothing since so I will down tools and go out for a run now.


  1. So are we talking the Gateway bridge? ;-) Can't imagine any 'big' bridges other than that in the immediate vicinity of Doomben. Do you have a course profile to share? Sounds like you planned the run well. Pacers are nice, but yeah better to not rely on them entirely.

  2. At my pace, the little bridges felt like the Gateway! And I didn't wear my Garmin but hey, I might try and find someone else's course profile, good plan.

  3. Always good to beat the bloody balloons! The hills over the bridges on the Gold Coast Half feel like mountains to me.

  4. When you drove south from the Gold Coast into NSW, the town you went through is BALLINA, not Benalla, that nice little town is in Victoria near Ned Kelly country. Having said that, I'm glad you enjoyed your trip away, and to come away with a good half marathon result. Well done.

  5. Mr fruitfruit, I am so confused about how to pronounce let alone spell that town's name. Thank you for the advice, I never knew there were two towns no wonder I had no idea what to call it. Odd because (a) the famous ACT Veteran steeplechaser Arthur Brown came from that NSW one, and (b) I buy my TP products from that NSW one, and (c) I have raced two of my marathons in the Victorian one, which is also where Graeme Small ran his pb of 2:44.45 in 1976. Ballina. So I did know. Once. I will try to remember from now on. It's old age, you know.