Sunday, September 29, 2013

A fairly quiet week for me...

Two runs and a ride is all I did this week - partly due to a couple of horrible mornings in Melbourne, especially Thursday (Saturday would have been OK but my plan was to meet up with the Tenax group in Port Melbourne, and the weather didn't look that favourable PLUS I had to be back home for a 30th during the day).

At the 30th I found that one of my high school friends, H, was looking fabulous! She'd been working on losing weight the last time I saw her earlier in the year, and now she looks amazing! So we all pigged out on sandwiches and cake. Ha! But it really got me thinking about being more diligent with my running and riding... but then I watched the women's World Championship road race at night and slept in today.

One of my runs this week was with the Running In The Burbs crew, and we did the same route as last time - a loop of Canterbury Rd, Blackburn Rd, Burwood Hwy and Springvale Rd. It's a nice loop due to its rolling hills, but I think I'm over the running on concrete thing! Also, I'm not sure I like running in the evening when all my other runs and rides are in the morning. Sorry, RITB, but our love affair may already be over!

Wednesday was a gorgeous day, and coupled with some calf soreness, meant that I decided to just go for a run rather than pursue the speedwork I'd started a couple of weeks ago. I headed east, knowing that I wouldn't hit Bellbird Dell but also knowing that I'd like to build up to running to there again. My love affairs with speedwork never last long once I realise I could be running to lovely places instead of doing more intense work that ultimately covers less ground!

Old Strathdon Orchard - a heritage area in Forest Hill, just east of Springvale Road. It can connect to Bellbird Dell via patches of land classified as "Public Acquisition Overlay 3". Not completely sure what that means, but it'd be lovely if it that section could all be (re)developed as bushland...

Thursday morning was meant to be a Breeze ride - I joined them last week on Thursday and Sunday and enjoyed it (despite the 5.45am start on the Thursday and 5.30am start on the Sunday), but the weather this week was horrible on Thursday. I still got up at the required time, but ended up spending most of the morning behind the computer sorting out thesis files and checking the radar. It never did clear up sufficiently to go out for a ride. When the rain did pause, the wind would make me reconsider if I really wanted to go out on the road!

I eventually did get my bike onto the road on Friday. I was alone and absolutely loved it. Riding with a group is great to get to know a new route (and my ride on Friday did follow the Thursday Breeze route initially) and a new town, but I think I do like to just ride on my own. I know how to fix a flat (I just change tubes, and I carry two spare tubes), so I'm all set really. :) There are a couple of hills in the area that I'll regularly ride - and I do love how I can automatically check my progress with each ride thanks to Strava and can select favourite segments to keep an eye on.

Strava might become my new way of sharing activities - I do like the summary it produces (the "39.8km, 01:31:15, 346m" thing) and that embedding into blogs is super-dooper easy (no need to screen grab and then upload an image onto Blogger - Strava just produces some html code that you pop into the entry).


Although I do enjoy tinkering with the data on SportTracks.... so you might get a bit of a mix of Nike, Strava AND SportTracks. Ha! 

Tinkering on SportTracks: I'm just looking at my current goal hill - going west along Canterbury Road between Heatherdale and Mitcham/Boronia Roads. The big brown thing is elevation, the blue is my speed and the green is my cadence. There's a service lane at the start of the hill that I use, but then I need to time my re-entry onto the main road (that's the first drop in cadence) and then I slowed down close to the top due to a red traffic light.

And that was about it with my exercise attempts this week. I stayed up on Friday in an attempt to watch the U23 road race (fell asleep and watched the end of it the next day in the evening), Saturday morning's weather made joining the Tenax group a gamble I didn't want to participate in (given I need to drive to their meeting point, and I didn't want to drive over for a non-ride) plus I needed to be back home for the 30th. Then I stayed up for the women's road race (and successfully stayed up, so I slept in BIG TIME today), and I'll be doing the same thing tonight for the men's road race! I was meant to go trail running this morning, but my left sartorius is misbehaving again so I'll be taking it super easy on any runs and seeing if it's cycling that sets it off (unlikely, but who knows?!?)

Here's to a more consistent week next week!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

A parkrun dry run

parkrun in Melbourne will be a little bigger by the end of October with two launches coming up in the next few weeks - Berwick Springs on Oct 12 and Westerfolds Park on Oct 26. Westerfolds Park will be my closest once it gets going, but at the moment my choices are Berwick Springs and Albert Park.

While Albert Park is the closer of the two, traffic is more dense AND I need to pay for parking! So I had my eye on Berwick Springs as a local run (before I found out about Westerfolds Park), and made a note of a few dry runs they had. One was on this weekend, so I headed over to Berwick Springs for my first bit of parkrun action in Melbourne!

parkrun Berwick Springs - 2 laps of the lakes and a final bit at the end!
My GPS recorded 5.1km, but meh. It's parkrun!
The course is fairly flat, with one notable climb along Greaves Road, at the 1km/3.5km mark. The joys of a two lap course - you get to do things twice! There are some other small climbs along the way, and the one between 2 to 3.75 km is not noticed as you start halfway up it and I definitely didn't notice it when coming around for the second lap.

Parking was OK on Saturday (I think there were ~30 runners but the parkrun stopwatch had a fit and reset itself or something, so I don't know for sure), but could be a problem if numbers exceed 50. Although there are likely other suitable spots that I didn't notice on Saturday... There are no cafe or toilet facilities at the park (well, none that I noticed), although Eden Rise shopping centre is about 1.5km away from the start at the corner of Clyde Road and O'Shea Rd (which becomes Greaves Rd on the west of Clyde Road). So I suppose it's all ok if you're well prepared.

My run didn't go so well as I went out far too hard. Now, this isn't too much of a problem on a generally flat course, but it does have me worried for parkrun at Westerfolds Park as I think their hill is worse than St Peters'. And not just because it occurs 1 km later in the run at about 3.5km (out of 5!), it seems to be steeper and longer! I'll share an elevation profile with you if I have a chance to run or ride it before its launch day at the end of October.

I ended up covering the 5km loop-esque course (I couldn't call it a full lollipop!) in 25:53, which is a fair bit behind my Curl Curl PB but I'm sure I can do better with a more controlled pace!

And while I still use the Nike website to get my NikeGPS data into Strava, I've switched from using the Nike+ heatmaps on this blog (and limiting my Strava data to Nike only) as getting back into riding means that I would like to combine the GPS data with the Garmin cadence/speed/heart-rate data I collect on my rides! So I'm now using SportTracks for a variety of reasons - mainly because I can combine the data fairly easily, but there are some other cute little things it does too. :)

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Cycling time!

I haven't been able to do much cycling this year due to my silly hand injury, and I really did miss it! I was also a bit sad that I didn't get much riding done in August - while my hands had settled down, I only got one ride in before the move away from Sydney. My first week in Melbourne was mostly bike-less, it arrived in time for me to use it to get to the local polling booth (and to do a quick test-ride to see how it coped travelling from Sydney). I then used it again mid-week to go to the post office, and I finally got out on a ride today!

Weeee!!!! I can't remember if it was the Bicycle Network forum or the Melbourne Cyclist groups, but I stumbled upon the Tenax Ride and decided it was the perfect ride for me. Fortnightly and at set speeds, with the lowest (25 kph) seeming achievable over their ~55km course. Sure there are ride groups much closer to home, but their slowest speeds start at 27-28kph, and their courses are far hillier!

The point of the Tenax Ride is to keep a consistent speed - which I think I did (except for traffic lights at the start f the ride, a puncture stop, the mid-way break, and running out of legs in the last km or two). Hands behaved well too - when I did the ride to La Perouse in August, I remember pulling out of the lights quickly and having hand pain. None of that happened today - although I did get general numbness and tingles for the last 5-10km during today's ride. I blame it on a lack of conditioning - it was all over my hands and not just where my lab injury occurred.

I was pleasantly surprised to have maintained a speed above 25kph most of the way, and now am looking forward to the next ride in a fortnight! They do more than just the fortnightly ride, but at this stage I'm inclined to just do that until I'm 100% comfortable in the saddle for the entirety of a ride - no dead legs or anything of the sort!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Back home

I've had a busy couple of weeks moving back to Melbourne. I have a thesis to write, and it's far cheaper to do this at home then in Sydney, paying ridiculous Sydney rent! I went for a run last week, just to the local athletics track and back (about 6km), and then the removalist dropped off my things on Friday. So I spent the next few days unpacking.

I'd found out about a local running group a few months ago. Running in the Burbs (RITB) sounded perfect for me. While they would have a long run on Saturdays which I wasn't too keen on (it clashes with potential time at parkrun), they did have a Monday run from my closest swimming pool and they do speedwork on Wednesday nights at the athletics track. So I joined their run last night for their 8km run around Nunawading/Blackburn.

I may not have liked the course too much (pavement), but the pace was perfect, and the elevation profile sufficient to stop me worrying about losing any hill-climbing form I may have gained in Sydney too quickly. My pace was fairly consistent during the run, with the last 2 km being a touch slower than the first 6 or so.

I plan to do some speedwork at some point, but I think I'd rather do it on my own than with RITB at this stage. Also, my right hip's been playing funny-buggers (I think it's from the lifting of boxes, and then the sitting to write up thesis), so I'm not sure I want to start speedwork just yet. I'll go for another run tomorrow or Thursday and see what it feels like when I stride out. Just need to find a place for speedwork, as the local athletics isn't exactly accessible unless I start fence-jumping!