Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Westerfolds Wednesday: Double Trouble

My family celebrates Christmas Eve, which means that I turned up to parkrun the next day feeling awful thanks to far too much food and a little too much alcohol! It was a gorgeous day for parkrun, although the post-run nibbles didn't look like the best idea for me at the time!

Image from the Westerfolds parkrun Facebook page, taken by Kerryn Sell.
I wasn't going to go into the results of the day - we had a timing error, and while it has been amended, I don't agree the change that was made was the correct one. It throws PBs and Age Gradings out, and I don't like only being able to list the first five finishers of each gender! I have since corrected the set of results I keep (for the purposes of the proposed February Handicap parkrun), so I have up-to-date PBs, but no Age Gradings!

Scott, Iwona and Nicole looking festive for the occasion!
Image from the Westerfolds parkrun Facebook page, taken by Kerryn Sell.

Callum, Valerie, Amanda, Lee and Greta also got into the Christmas Day novelty! I still can't decide if Amanda or Nicole was best-dressed on the day!
Image from the Westerfolds parkrun Facebook page, taken by Kerryn Sell.

There were plenty of lazy elves enjoying the ride around Westerfolds Park!
Image from the Westerfolds parkrun Facebook page, taken by Kerryn Sell.
  

There were two elves in this buggy, which is why sometimes the pushing duties were shared.
Image from the Westerfolds parkrun Facebook page, taken by Kerryn Sell.


Rick, Finn, Callum and Frankie helped to make sure Westerfolds parkrun had a great Christmas Day run!
Image from the Westerfolds parkrun Facebook page, taken by Kerryn Sell.

Full results of the day are available on the Westerfolds parkrun webpage, although they're different to my results (see above). And while here's a quick summary of the top performances of the day, there's no Age Grading results due to the timing error (see above). Additional congratulations to those who also picked up a PB, and are not in the table below: Hayden Lowe (21:12), Daniel Ahl (22:09), Mark Baxter (22:16), Simon Rigoni (24:28), Cameron Cliff (24:29), Olivier David (25:07), John Pocock (25:52), Michelle Esdale (27:33), Rebecca Searant (31:35) and Niamh Henry (47:53).


Men
Women
Age Grading
1Arnold Bartlett (18:06, PB)Claire Johnson (21:14)-
2Adrian Lowe (18:58)Brooke Logan (21:39)-
3Brent Radoslovic (20:04)Lorraine Bradbury (23:57)-
4Edward Cliff (21:01)Pam Davy (25:20)-
5Gary Zuccala (21:07, PB)Cynthia Cliff (25:49, PB)-


We had a number of First Timers, including five from the Diamond Creek Lowe family of which two ran their 50th parkruns! There is also a Westerfolds Lowe family, which meant we had eight Lowes on Christmas Day... There were other First Timers from three Victorian parkruns (11 from Diamond Creek, and one each from Highlands and Lillydale Lake), interstate (Claisebrook Cove, Newy and Sandon Point), and one from overseas (Edinburgh)!

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A couple of days later, many of us returned to do it all over again! Dedication or some form of craziness?

Image from the Westerfolds parkrun flickr pool, taken by Barney Henry.

I started the morning cruising about with Amanda until I realised I felt better running than I thought I would so I decided to try and catch Archie, who had slowed down on the "back straight" along the Yarra for a poop.

This is Archie, and thus it's perfectly acceptable for him to poop in public places!

I found he could still be within sight as long as I kept a good pace, but then he scooted off at 2km so I had to put in a bit more effort, which partially explains my splits (5:33, 5:15, 5:01, 5:40, 4:55)... although my Grade Adjusted splits look more impressive (5:27, 5:30, 4:53, 5:07, 4:56).

Barney was our Run Director for the day - he loves that cowbell!

After many parkrun tourists on Christmas Day, we only had the one this week - Jason from Albert parkrun! At least we can say he did a slightly different course to most tourists as a tree branch came down sometime between course setup and the start of parkrun! A cyclist had made his way up to the start to let us know too! :) We also had many First Timers, although a number of them ended up being unknowns! :(

The branch! There had been a short but heavy rain event the previous day, so perhaps that's when most of the damage was done. There are a few kookaburras who like to sleep and hang out on this tree, so maybe one of them finally tipped the branch onto the course... pesky kookies! :)
Image from the Westerfolds parkrun Facebook page, taken by Iwona Trickett.

The rare Westerfolds parkrun tree-reindeer, maybe this little one was to blame?
Image from the Westerfolds parkrun Facebook page, taken by Iwona Trickett.

Not only did Simon (in blue) set up the course for the day, he took a few seconds off his previous Westerfolds parkrun best to set a new PB of 19:30! Behind Simon is Elizabeth (in black), the first female finisher of the day.
And the mysterious Speedy Buggy Runner was back!
Image from the Westerfolds parkrun Facebook page, taken by Iwona Trickett.

It's almost a parkrun Conga line!
Image from the Westerfolds parkrun Facebook page, taken by Iwona Trickett.

Wendy (pink shirt) accompanied First Timers Carolyn (pink shirt, black jacket) and Molly (blue shirt) around the course.
Image from the Westerfolds parkrun Facebook page, taken by Iwona Trickett.

The walking wounded: while both are injured, Sophie and Parth still come down to parkrun and walk around the course!
Image from the Westerfolds parkrun Facebook page, taken by Iwona Trickett. 

A couple of bewildered junior parkrunners and three volunteers trying to explain the Finish Token system to them!

Some of Saturday's volunteers: Frankie, Kristina, Emma and Leesa!
Image from the Westerfolds parkrun flickr pool, taken by Barney Henry.

Full results of the day are available on the Westerfolds parkrun webpage, but here's a quick summary of the top performances of the day. Additional congratulations to those who also picked up a PB, and are not in the table below: Bailey Cox (23:32), John Pocock (25:29 - two PBs in one week!), Graham Wise (25:48) and Desmond Tyson (31:55).


Men
Women
Age Grading
1Steven Oliver (18:30)Elizabeth Humphries (20:00)Elizabeth Humphries (74.00%, W25-29)
2Jason Beecroft (19:16)Heather Marasco (23:07, PB)Steven Oliver (72.70%, M35-39)
3Simon Tu (19:30, PB)Kylie Haysom (24:23, PB)Jason Beecroft (71.89%, M40-44)
4Gian DiCarlo (20:59, PB)Claire Kempster (24:52)Gary Zuccala (70.96%, M50-54)
5Gary Zuccala (21:07, =PB)Valerie Lowe (25:51)John Pocock (70.05%, M70-74)

Barney killed it with the chalkboard/whiteboard on Saturday!

If you're in Melbourne tomorrow, I expect to see you at the parkrun New Year's Day double! Westerfolds parkrun at 8am, followed by Diamond Creek parkrun at 9.30am! 

Monday, December 29, 2014

Refractions from 2014

With a Westerfolds parkrun post scheduled for Wednesday, this will be the last post I'll write for 2014.

I didn't do too well with my goals for 2014, as I lost my mojo for a significant period of time early in the year that really set me back with my fitness. Take it with a pinch of salt, but joining Smashrun at the end of February really helped me to eventually get my mojo back. I only ran/walked less than ten days from March to June, but things really got going once I decided to go Smashrun badge hunting. With the badge associated with running 10 days each month being my primary goal, and finding I was on track for the Towering Stairs badge in July, I kept on badge hunting. And running.


2014 monthly mileage according to Smashrun (i.e. includes dog walks, which actually takes up a lot of time). Lots of increased mileage each month thanks to the Towering Stairs badge!
[Updated 31/12/14]

By mid-June I had only ticked off two of my 2014 goals - I had ditched the orthotics and completed the Puffing Billy run, but I had all kinds of performance goals left to go. In the end, I didn't hit any of them. I didn't even run a half-marathon, but I doubt I would have hit the 1:49:00 goal anyway.

I am now running far more regularly (I am streak run/walking because there's a Smashrun badge for that), and have got my fitness up to a stage where I can randomly cover 17 - 20km on a long run day without any additional preparation. Of course, that doesn't mean I should be binge-running that often!

So let's hope 2015 works out better for my running and running mojo. Most of these goals are similar to my 2014 goals, with a little adjustment. Hence the use of "refractions" in the title of the blog post today!
  1. To complete 3 x 10 pull-ups (I can't even hold the final chin-up position for more than 2 seconds... and working towards this should help me stop slouching when running)
  2. Sub-23 5km
  3. Sub-24 Westerfolds parkrun (the hill kills me at the moment)
  4. Sub-48 10km (and learning how to race a 10km better rather than run the last split 20s faster than any other split)
  5. Sub-70 Puffing Billy Great Train Race (May)
  6. Sub-105 Half Marathon (looking at the October Melbourne Marathon Festival HM)
  7. Sub-70 City2 Sea (November)
  8. 2015km of running for the year (although I'm setting that to 2500km on Smashrun to account for dog walks)
  9. Lose >10kg (I was 83kg last week, and am not even going near the scales until the second week of January due to heavy Christmas foods)
  10. Finish that damn PhD.
It was only a month or so ago that I was thinking of devoting 2015 to trail running and trail races, but after the City2Sea and Sussan Women's 10km, I found I really enjoyed road running and figuring out how to race (although the trails are still hella-fun for mid-week running). I know I have so no* shortage of improvements to be made with the road-racing, and that will be more than enough to keep my running occupied! I've picked out some races throughout the year, but still need to update my online Race Calendar

My peroneal tendonitis is under control, which is fantastic news. I'm really happy that I went to see the podiatrist I was recommended, and I'm happy that I went to see him before it got too bad, even though I don't have podiatry cover on my Private Health Insurance. I wouldn't say I'm 100% in the lower legs yet, but I'm learning how to manage it, and it is getting better as I haven't noticed it after my runs during the past week.

I hope you all have a great New Year's Eve - although don't party too hard if you're planning on a New Year's Day parkrun the next day! Westerfolds parkrun is doubling-up with Diamond Creek parkrun for the day. Westerfolds will start at 8am, and Diamond Creek will follow with a 9.30am start. We're only 10km away from each other (carpark to carpark), which is less than 15 minutes by car, so it made sense that we'd coordinate a New Year's Day parkrun party!

*Thanks Ewen, Spell-Checking Maestro! [29/12/14]

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Absolutely exhausted...

Far too much Christmas food and drink, late nights, fixing up my literature review, and keeping on running is really tiring me out right now! I can't wait until the second week of next year, when all the rich and heavy foods are all eaten up, and I can go back to my normal diet! The idea of a long run tomorrow is making my tummy churn, so I'm only planning on a cruisy 10km.

Anyone else feeling the same way right now?

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Westerfolds Wednesday: Christmas Day parkrun Eve

I had hoped to sneak under 25 minutes one more time at Westerfolds parkrun before the end of the year. It didn't quite happen (25:11), but it's nice to know I was only 15s away from PB pace. I definitely lose time on the climbs (all of them, and not just the hill that peaks at 4km), so that is something I'll work on next year. Along with improving my running form.

I had a follow-up appointment with the podiatrist on Thursday, so I was still sporting my RockTape support on the right leg. (That's me with the red t-shirt and visor).
Image from the Westerfolds parkrun Facebook page, taken by Parth Bommakanti.
I had planned to use Alan as my rabbit, but he brought his pooch along, so I decided to use Bram as my marker. Unfortunately I ended up in front of him during the descent to the 1km mark, and wasn't actually sure of where he was until the descent from Manor House when it's easy to see who's behind you.

Just before I overtook Bram (white singlet) on the first descent. I blame gravity.
Image from the Westerfolds parkrun Facebook page, taken by Parth Bommakanti.
In the end, Bram only finished 1 second behind me. So my idea was good, it's just the execution that was crap!

1km splits according to Strava. After initially finding the quarter-distance splits odd, I thought they were actually quite useful. Now they've been replaced by splits that are easily available elsewhere. McKayla is not impressed.
***
Another gorgeous day for a parkrun! Thank you parkrun weather fairy!
Image from the Westerfolds parkrun Facebook page, taken by Parth Bommakanti.

Barney (in blue) decided that he would try and pick up a PB by using Martin (in yellow) as a rabbit. It worked as Barney picked up a 14s PB (21:28)! For those playing at home, Martin also picked up a PB (21:25).
Image from the Westerfolds parkrun Facebook page, taken by Parth Bommakanti.

Zac and Justin were definitely working on their poses today! They later did a permanent high-five for the descent from Manor House, and didn't stop them from picking up a pair of PBs (30:57 for young Zac, and 31:18 for the not-so-young Justin).
Image from the Westerfolds parkrun Facebook page, taken by Parth Bommakanti.

Ian was our First Finisher on the day, with his 2nd-fastest parkrun.
Image from the Westerfolds parkrun Facebook page, taken by Parth Bommakanti.

Ben was fifth to finish, picking up a PB (20:42) in the process!
Image from the Westerfolds parkrun Facebook page, taken by Parth Bommakanti.

A very composed-looking run from Bronwyn, who was the first woman to finish the lap of the park.
Image from the Westerfolds parkrun Facebook page, taken by Parth Bommakanti.

Claire has only recently taken up dabbling at Westerfolds parkrun, with most of her weekends typically spent at the nearby Diamond Creek parkrun. She's jumping for joy, likely because she knew she was going to pick up a PB (24:27).
Image from the Westerfolds parkrun Facebook page, taken by Parth Bommakanti.

Cameron is a bit of a wanderer - 18 parkruns over five locations, and the most he's done at one place is seven! He was last at Westerfolds on Christmas Day, and ended up with a new PB of 25:07, which is his fastest parkrun regardless of location!
Image from the Westerfolds parkrun Facebook page, taken by Parth Bommakanti.

John was one of the "founding volunteers" of Westerfolds parkrun, and part of the Run Directing team. He hasn't had a PB since he first cracked the 30-minute barrier a few months ago - but he ran a PB on the weekend (29:28).
Image from the Westerfolds parkrun Facebook page, taken by Parth Bommakanti.

After coming so close to their PBs last week, both Irene (parkrun shirt) and Wendy (pink shirt) obliterated their PBs with 30:45 and 30:53, respectively.
Image from the Westerfolds parkrun Facebook page, taken by Parth Bommakanti.

Full results of the day are available on the Westerfolds parkrun webpage, but here's a quick summary of the top performances of the day. Additional congratulations to those who also picked up a PB, and are not in the table below or in a photo above: Gary Zuccala (21:22), Gregory Day (23:37), Trevor Watson (24:19 - three weeks in a row!!!),  Lauchlan Rewell (26:12), Olivier David (26:33 - two weeks in a row!), Brendan Wessling (27:14), Anita Mountain (28:32), Oliver Williams (29:55), Morgan Williams (29:56), and Lizet Kritzinger (32:58).

Men
Women
Age Grading
1Ian Wong (18:40)Bronwyn Hamilton (23:35)Lorraine Bradbury (78.50%, W55-59)
2Jeremy Watson (19:33)Lorraine Bradbury (24:02)Cynthia Cliff (73.90%, W60-64)
3Simon Tu (19:49)Clare Kempster (24:27, PB)Mark Campbell (70.13%, M50-54)
4Ben McKinnon (20:27)Cecilia "Asquirrel" (25:11)Gary Zuccala (70.12%, M50-54)
5Ben Chew (20:42, PB)Cynthia Cliff (26:15)Martin Strandgard (69.96%, M50-54)

Don't forget Westerfolds parkrun will be having a Christmas Day event, starting at 8am!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Furness Park, Blackburn

Furness Park is a tiny little park at one of the upstream sections of Gardiners Creek in Blackburn. It's very easy to access with buses running along its eastern boundary (Blackburn Road) and western boundary (Main Street), either going to or leaving Blackburn Railway Station. There are no toilets at the park, but there are facilities at and near the train station, and there's a McDonalds at the corner of Canterbury Road and Main Street.

Welcome to Furness Park - one of many parks that follow Gardiners Creek upstream of the Gardiners Creek trail.
Let's start from the corner of Blackburn Road and Heath Street.


Ladies and gentlemen: behold Gardiners Creek!
This water comes from Blackburn Lake, which I will run around and take photos of some other day!
This is at the same point as the photo above, but looking downstream. It looks more like a creek now!

The Blackburn Creeklands are well looked after by a group of devoted volunteers. They have working bees and put up signage relevant to plant infestations and litter - their efforts are what make this upper section of Gardiners Creek so lovely to run around.

The paths in the area mostly gravel (difficult to tell as the image is overexposed), with a few bridges to cross the creek. This is the only bridge in Furness Park.

It really is quite pretty in this area. You can hear kookaburras throughout the day, and there are often families of ducks waddling about in late spring and early summer.
This is a little section of trail that leads to...

... the corner of Blackburn Road and Furness St! Heath St is only a little way down south of Blackburn Road.

The Furness Street "entrance" to the park.

Staying on the northern side of Gardiners Creek you'll meet Gardenia Street. This street runs parallel to Main Road, and takes you to Blackburn train station, and various cafes and little shops near there. 

I used to love taking Gardenia Street from the station, as I could enter Furness Park and follow this path at some speed (it's downhill) to duck under a tree that was arched across this path.

This is was that arch.

There's a bin in the park, which is fantastic if you've taken the dog out (or picked up a coffee from one of the nearby cafes and don't use a Keep Cup).

Gardiners Creek goes under Main Road, which is the western border of Furness Park.

More gravel on the southern side of Gardiners Creek, and there is a playground near the corner of Heath Street and Main Road. 

If you wish to follow Gardiners Creek downstream, cross Main Road and follow the path through Kalang Park (which I'll cover another time, and hopefully remember to link back).

The playground at Furness Park is pretty fantastic actually.

Although this water tap was of the sky-rocketing type!

I decided to complete a loop of the park, avoiding the little paths that took me to Blackburn Road. I used the bridge as my start/finish line and found it was only a 400m loop - I did say the park was tiny!

Relevant and nearby Strava segments
1. Upstream from Middleborough Rd to Blackburn Rd: http://www.strava.com/segments/7214465
2. Anticlockwise loop of the creeklands: http://www.strava.com/segments/7051199
3. Blackburn Station to Furness Park: http://www.strava.com/segments/7632798
4. A short climb on Main Rd, starting at Heath St: http://www.strava.com/segments/7917491
5. A short climb on Blackburn Rd, starting at Heath St: http://www.strava.com/segments/8461576
6. Wellington Avenue climb: http://www.strava.com/segments/5780523