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Showing posts from 2017

Central Park, New York, 10 km

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This morning I went to do a 10 km in Central Park. It has always been a dream of mine to run in Central Park in the snow, and today was the day. The race could have gone a lot better but the scenery was a dream. It snowed all night a few nights ago and then it snowed for a long time yesterday so there was no shortage of snow, although I was glad it was not actually snowing this morning. It was cold enough, minus six when I left the hotel at 8am.
The start was 9.10am and I thought I knew where to go - well, Central Park around 102nd St. So I rock up to the start line for the other race being held, and starting at 9am, the 4 mile. It started just as I got there, so I chilled and hung out. But I wondered why there was nobody else waiting there for the 10 km race start; turns out the start was several hundred metres away. I jogged over there and I heard the starter yell Go! But I still had to run in the wrong direction to get to the start line (and to the back of the small pack of runners)…

Daytona 100 Mile, Florida, 9 December 2017

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I was so apprehensive about this race, my first hundred miler, because of the weather. I had drawn up a time plan which I thought amply allowed for the heat, but I still got a shock when I tried to run the first time in hot Florida, and then I strained my calf so I didn’t run again until the race. But then the weather forecast for the weekend came through and spoke of a huge cold front to blanket the east of the USA, timed for Saturday. I realised that with low temperatures and a tailwind this could be my best opportunity for completing this huge distance.
It was a point to point course from Jacksonville to Daytona Beach. On the Friday afternoon, the day before the race, I drove to the race finish area, parked and took the shuttle to the start, 100 miles north. It was 30 degrees when I got into the shuttle. It was uncomfortably warm. When we got out at Neptune Beach two hours later it was 9 degrees! It was uncomfortably cold. I was wearing just my race gear, shorts and short sleeved sh…

St Petersburg, Florida

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I tried my first run in Florida, here in St Pete's. I was very trepidacious because of the heat and sunshine but I knew I had to do it, so I planned a short 7 km route to the water and back. It was 8.45am when I started and warm and sunny. (I had had several awful experiences running in Florida, firstly at the Miami Marathon in 2012 and then in December 2014 when I (1) went out for a 4 km jog along the beach at Juno Beach and just could not move in the heat and humidity and (2) felt light headed and dizzy running in Key West.)
I headed down towards the town centre and then beyond to the waterfront. I already had shin splints. I hit the waterfront by a huge marina, but once I got past that there was a welcoming green park with a paved trail by the water, and lined by trees. What’s more, there were pelicans, ducks, ibis and herons in the water.

After a few minutes I felt a twinge in my right calf. Not good. It wasn’t a full on strain but it was sore so I stopped and massaged it a bit …

Arctic Frog 50 km, Illinois

Yesterday’s race, Arctic Frog 50 Km in Libertyville, Illinois, turned out to be more fun than I had been expecting. On the website and in various blogs it sounded a fairly boring set of out and backs in a fairly dreary area. I had chosen it because it was near Chicago where I intended to be around that time and there wasn’t anything that sounded better. As I drove to the race area the previous afternoon my lack of excitement was being proved justified: I drove through about the roughest neighbourhoods (still in Chicago) that I have ever driven through, on the worst maintained paved road I have ever driven on, and then once I got into the countryside it was uninspiringly flat and lacking in features. I stayed at a Motel 6 on the highway with just a couple of small malls nearby.
On race morning I drove into Independence Grove for the race start. (I was amazed at the volume of traffic on the road early on a Saturday morning.) It turned out to be a park of lakes and low hills. There was qu…

Minneapolis

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Last year I came to Minneapolis because it sounded such a nice city for running, but then the way my trip worked out I didn’t get to run here. So I came back this year and got to do that running.
I am staying in St Paul so the first day I decided just to go for what I intended to be a short run along the Mississippi. I set out and almost immediately faced a series of detours which meant I couldn’t access the river bank. So I kept going until I could run along the river. The river is wide here but not especially interesting, maybe because it is winter or maybe because the trail was next to a major road. Anyway, I kept going until I reached a small lake, ran the length of the lake and turned back. I had been going directly into the wind on the way out so I thought turning back would be nice. It was certainly easier going but I had run quite a long way and I was tired. I did over 19 kilometres all up.
Yesterday I took train and bus to do the run I really wanted to do, around three lakes in…

Chicago lakefront

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I’ve been for two runs along the lakefront in Chicago on two beautiful clear days. Yesterday I ran south, which I think is the nicer direction to head from the city as you get to cross Grant Park and it is not as bleak as heading north.  Both days it was windy but while running I was completely protected from the wind. It wasn’t even all that cold.
So yesterday I retraced some of the Turkey Trot but continued past the museum, aquarium and planetarium where you can run right next to the water. From along here are good views of the city skyline, looking back. It was 8am but not many people were about. I continued on past a little beach and into some scrub. Actually the trail had a sign saying it was closed, and further on even a barricade, but I ignored these as I could see where the trail ended at a bridge. Inland I think there was some kind of scrap metal junk yard, a cemetery and nothing at all scenic. 
I turned back at the bridge and returned to Grant Park. On the way back I saw a few…

Chicago Turkey Trot

At last an age group first place!
I had fun at the Grant Park Turkey Trot 5 km in Chicago this morning. I jogged slowly to the race start and got there very early because I was worried about check-in queues. It didn’t seem too cold to me, dressed in tights, long sleeves and my new jacket (which is so flimsy it looks like it would do nothing but is actually very wind proof). When I got there, having had trouble finding the right place because they were not yet set up, there were certainly no queues and I registered immediately. I got an XS size fleece as my race swag, which looked as though it might fit me, in contrast with the ridiculous things I have got at previous races on this trip.
I walked around the park in the hour I had to wait until the start. It was freezing. The wind was icy and I couldn’t find a way to get out of it. I walked by the lake, eyeing up the ducks, and wandered through some groves of bare trees. By the time I returned to the start area it was extremely crowded an…

Run for the Diamonds 9 Mile race, Berwick, PA

I was looking forward to this 9 mile race in Berwick, Pennsylvania with 1500 or so runners. It’s been going since 1908, always on Thanksgiving, and for a long time it was called the Berwick Marathon, apparently because one year the organiser noticed that this was the name given to important races!
It was cold, just above zero at breakfast time and I was in a real dilemma what to wear: I thought I should wear shorts because I get hot so easily and the photos from prior years showed many runners in shorts, but I spoke to some people at breakfast who thought it was colder this year and that most runners would wear tights. I decided on shorts and my calf sleeves. But when I got to Berwick and walked around a bit I decided to change into knee-length leggings and no calf sleeves.
We got going in the main street at 10.30. I wore my sweatshirt until the last minute and left it on the step outside a shop, not expecting to see it again, but it was waiting for me after I finished. The route was cr…

JFK 50 Mile, Maryland, USA

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Some races give you a chance to understand why you do all that hard training!
I didn’t come into this race in the best of spirits. I had arrived in New York on the Thursday evening for the Saturday race. On Friday I took the train to Baltimore then drove to Hagerstown, Maryland near the race start. I found the traffic terrifying and every time I tried to reach somewhere I wanted to go I seemed to take the wrong turn and have an awful time rectifying this. I even had to go to Maccas so I could use their wifi to get directions. Honest. 

And then my luggage hadn’t made it to NY with me, it was still in Melbourne, so at 5.30pm the evening before the race I was still buying shoes and clothes to run in. I was lucky to be able to find the same model of shoe that I usually wear (there's globalisation for you), and I got a light jacket, tights for the cold and the same shorts I usually wear. I had been wearing a a T shirt for the past two days so I thought I could run in it too.

I couldn'…

This morning at Lysterfield

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I went for a nice run at Lysterfield. Instead of following the road down to the lake I took the Eastern Boundary Track, for the first time. There were lots of kangaroos but very shy and they hopped away from me. Twice I saw a Joey scramble into its mother's pouch.
The trail
A spectator