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Training Log Archive: blairtrewin

In the 7 days ending Nov 14, 2011:

activity # timemileskm+m
  Run7 6:33:57 45.36(8:41) 73.0(5:24) 17035 /38c92%
  Swimming1 34:00 0.62(54:43) 1.0(34:00)
  Total8 7:07:57 45.98(9:18) 74.0(5:47) 17035 /38c92%

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Monday Nov 14, 2011 #


Some mental calculations suggest that the weekend's Venice event probably contributed somewhere between 1 and 2 million euros to the Italian economy. This means that all it would take is to organise one of these every weekend for the next 20,000 years and Italy's debts would be cleared.

One of the local paper headlines yesterday didn't require much translation (as long as you knew that Berlusconi's nickname was 'Il Cavaliere') - 'L'uscita del Cavaliere - festa i piazza'. Must say I didn't see much evidence of any festas in Venice's piazzas (although that might have been different had we been a bit later for dinner - we walked past the Occupy Venice camp just before his resignation was announced), but then most of the people in Venetian streets are not actually Italians.

Also saw the splits from Sunday. Going left on our long leg (5-6) cost me a minute or so - obviously the crowds on the Rialto bridge and surrounding streets (the right option) weren't as much of a barrier as I thought they might have been. The splits also suggest that either my start wasn't as fast as I thought it was or others were slowing down more at the end - my late splits were a little better than the early ones.
8 AM

Run 40:00 [3] 8.0 km (5:00 / km)

Some new company for today's run in the form of Rebecca Minty, who's moving here early next year to work for an NGO which campaigns against torture (she's a human rights lawyer) and is over here at the moment, partly for a meeting and partly to set things up for next year (including trying to navigate the challenging local real estate market). Her mission is to try to convince countries in the Asia-Pacific to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture; I had assumed said protocol was signed only by countries that would never dream of practising torture in the hope of embarrassing those which do, but in fact not even Australia has ratified it yet - ostensibly because of a federal-state dispute over who is responsible for independent inspections of detention facilities, but one wonders if a desire to keep open the option of outsourcing the torture of the Mahdoub Habibs of this world to countries like Pakistan and Egypt has something to do with it. (You won't be surprised to hear that the Americans didn't even bother turning up to the meeting).

The run itself was a fairly straightforward out and back along the lake shore from her hotel (which is fairly close to where I stayed last time) as far as the swimming area on the south side of the lake. Definitely knew that I'd been in a race yesterday (and that perhaps I hadn't had as much sleep as I would have liked, thanks to a combination of a 11.45 p.m. arrival last night and a 4.30 a.m. telemarketing call on my mobile), but not too bad on the whole.

Sunday Nov 13, 2011 #

11 AM

Run race ((orienteering)) 57:43 [4] *** 7.9 km (7:18 / km) +150m 6:40 / km

Venice was always likely to be a race to remember, and so it proved. I went in not totally confident about the way I was running, but thinking that, apart from being a unique orienteering experience, this was likely to suit me competitively - my record in Mediterranean town sprints (notably at WMOC 2008) suggests that the intensity of decision-making it requires is a strength, so having to do it over a longer distance had a fair chance of being a greater one.

Most of the warm-up was reasonably routine, but in the pre-start box I suddenly felt a bundle of energy - to the point that I almost failed to notice the check box and couldn't stand still on the -1 minute line for more than a couple of seconds - and this converted to an opening 15 minutes in which I was as pumped as I've been for a race, probably, since the aforementioned WMOC 2008 final, feeling like surging every time the alleyways opened up enough to allow it (this wasn't always the way in the early controls, which had the bulk of the heavy pedestrian-congestion areas).

Perhaps it was inevitable that I couldn't quite sustain that intensity, either physically or mentally. The zip was no longer there after 8 although I was still running solidly, and at 10 I made my first mistake, not noticing an uncrossable fence (it was in grey which made it a bit harder to notice) and losing 15 seconds or so. What could have been a more significant mistake happened at 12 when I missed a turnoff, potentially a mortal sin here, but it was fortunate that I had the option of going the other two sides of the diamond and probably lost little if any time. Tired a bit at the end - the 58 bridge crossings would have contributed to this - and certainly couldn't match it with the Austrian M14 who punched the last control with me, but a good solid run.

Ended up 10th in a decent M40 field (Janne Salmi won in just under 51). An early start would have been a bit of an advantage as the streets would have been clearer, but I don't think it would have been worth more than a couple of minutes (a really late start, as people went to lunch, wouldn't have been a bad slot either). Our km rates were actually competitive with the elites (Janne with the winner Jonas Gvildys, mine with first-proper-long-run-for-six-weeks Jules) so I'm assuming they had to take some wider route choices than anything we did. Gareth also ran well enough (two minutes down on Jules) to suggest he'll be a useful addition next year to whichever National League team he runs for.

And at the end of the day I finally got a taste of the dreaded Venetian acqua alta - in the changerooms of the sports centre showers.

Now on a pretty crowded train back to Geneva; I hadn't expected it to be crowded at this time of year, but then I guess the current state of the Swiss franc makes the idea of a weekend shopping expedition to Milan pretty attractive.

Saturday Nov 12, 2011 #

3 PM

Run race ((orienteering)) 25:14 [4] *** 4.2 km (6:00 / km) +20m 5:52 / km

Park race as a warm-up for the main event in Venice tomorrow, at the eastern end of the island which is planned for use at WOC 2014. It's not the best 'terrain' in Venice but probably the only part of town where you could run a reasonably fair race at WOC level (in this race taking likely pedestrian density into account in route choice is part of the fun).

It was tricky early and late. I took a while to get going physically and always felt like I was battling a bit, but didn't miss anything of significance and managed to pick my pace up a bit once the French runner who started a minute after me got within striking distance. I managed to hold him off through a few controls (mostly easier ones in the parkland at the end of the island), then he edged away over the next few - only to stuff up as soon as we got back into the more complex streets. Reasonably happy with this as a lead-in and it gives me optimism about the chances of achieving a result tomorrow. 3 1/2 minutes down in a nominally open class, although the top end was shorn off this field because no-one with WOC 2014 intentions could run. Achilles a bit sore in the second half.

There was quite a bit of wandering of the Venetian streets before and after the race, seeing the sights and getting a feel for which parts of town got crowded and which parts didn't. All of us (Jules and Fel, BJ and partner, Gareth and Kelly, and several Brits) had issues locating a restaurant someone had picked out in the evening (then when we finally got there it was full, but we found a substitute nearby).

It was a very nice day - a dry Canberra winter's day without the Canberra morning frost - and the dreaded high tides only made a token appearance.

And the optimist of the day: one of Venice's countless purveyors of fake designer handbags, who thought the crowd at the pre-start might be interested in his wares.

Friday Nov 11, 2011 #

1 PM

Swimming 34:00 [2] 1.0 km (34:00 / km)

A reintroduction to swimming Geneva-style (at lunchtime because Geneva pools don't do early mornings) - as with last time, quite crowded but managed to avoid crashing into anyone until the last lap. Felt like I was going through treacle at the start but smoother at the end.

Going there from WMO takes me past the entrance of the main UN complex, which was playing host to a demo, something which I suspect happens quite often. This one, as far as I can tell, was calling for the US military to stay in Iraq to protect Iranian opposition figures who are allegedly in danger of being sent back to Iran once the Americans leave. (At least there's someone out there who thinks the Americans should stay in Iraq). Their sign said they've been there for 203 days so the Occupy people (whose Geneva incarnation is in a park on the other side of town) have some catching up to do. There was a second (and noisier) demo outside the UN High Commissioner for Refugees office down the road but I didn't get close enough to find out what that one was about.

Not sure if home-grown demos are quite the local style. There is a story, which may be apocryphal but may well not be, that when French students were rioting in 1968 the Geneva students decided to have a riot of their own, but called it off when the police wouldn't give them permission.

Off to Milan tonight, and then Venice tomorrow morning.

Thursday Nov 10, 2011 #

7 AM

Run 2:00:00 [3] 24.0 km (5:00 / km)

Didn't sleep that well last night and then got the word when I got up (or more precisely when I logged on shortly after getting up) that a colleague, not much older than me, who's been battling cancer for a long time was going to be lucky to make it to the weekend (as it turned out he was already gone but none of us knew that yet), which occupied my mind for a lot of this session.

The first 40 minutes of this were in the dark and finding a good way to get out of the city area without daylight was a bit of a challenge. Most of it was OK but I've filed away a couple of bits of road for the future-reference blacklist (not-very-wide roads with no verge and lots of traffic); felt solid through a steady climb. Ventured briefly into France (the novelty of being able to do this still hasn't totally worn off), then settled into a nice section across the top, mostly on farm tracks although the noise of the parallel freeway 500 metres away was always present. Most of the later part was taken up with a long stretch along a creek/river, a largely traffic-free section with no significant road crossings which brings you deep into the inner suburbs - definitely one to note for future reference. Finished up with a short loop up the Arve to take it up to the two-hour mark; by this stage I was fading a bit (probably through a rough night catching up with me), but mostly a decent run.

Google Knows Everything department: today I fed the Dutch seasonal climate summary for summer (of interest because they followed their driest spring on record with their wettest summer) into Google Translate, and it translated 'de Bilt' as 'Asheville'. De Bilt is the place where our Dutch counterparts are based; Asheville is where you'll find the American ones.

Wednesday Nov 9, 2011 #

7 AM

Run intervals 20:00 [4] 3.2 km (6:15 / km)

8x400 on a 2.5 minute cycle - Bout-du-Monde has a decent track and it seems to be open to the world at large (at least I didn't see any signs saying otherwise). I was, however, left wondering whether 400-metre tracks in Switzerland are longer than those in Melbourne, because in ideal conditions (no wind, not too cold) I was barely getting under 90, and the usual acceleration of a second per rep wasn't there. Didn't feel horrible but didn't feel fast (and the stopwatch backed that up in spades).

Run 24:00 [3] 4.6 km (5:13 / km)

Going to/from the track at Bout-du-Monde. Achilles a bit sore this morning but warmed up eventually.

Almost slept until my alarm this morning. I won't mind an early wake-up tomorrow with a long run in store.

Tuesday Nov 8, 2011 #

7 AM

Run 1:06:00 [3] 13.1 km (5:02 / km)

A nice run although slower than it felt. Climbed east out of the town centre, although not in quite the direction that I was planning on (my map memory being slightly awry), looping through the suburb of Chene-Bougeries and going as far as a path along a small creek. Slightly longer than planned but that's no bad thing. Starting to feel stronger on the climbs (which in these parts are usually steady and not especially steep); perhaps I was just on a high after hearing that the carbon price had gone through the Senate. I've waited a long time for this day and was a bit disappointed not to be in Australia to see it happen.

This will be my third Geneva visit out of three which has coincided with a referendum, and as usual the posters are all over town - on the ballot paper this time round are such things as a minimum wage (with predictable supporters and opponents) and a tax on dog ownership. As previously noted, I'll also be on Spain on their election night which could be interesting (it's unlikely my ideological comrades will have anything to celebrate, except possibly for making cleaning up the mess someone else's problem).
7 PM

Run 41:00 [3] 8.0 km (5:08 / km)

Stayed at work a bit later than planned so the run was a bit later than planned, which was not sufficient to evade the traffic. (I think, on balance, this spot is a better running base than the places I stayed last time were, but one thing it lacks that the others have is the option of a traffic-free lakeside run if one's out at peak hour). Once again started out with significant political news in my mind, namely the imminent resignation of Silvio Berlusconi (good riddance).

The run itself was pretty similar to the morning; feeling increasingly strong on the main climb. As usual for a nighttime run, a bit slower than it felt. Starting to catch alight at times in the second half, although traffic provided an awakening on occasions.

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