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Training Log: blairtrewin

In the last 7 days:

activity # timemileskm+m
  Run4 2:54:00 17.21(10:07) 27.7(6:17) 10511 /14c78%
  Swimming1 37:00 0.62(59:33) 1.0(37:00)
  Total5 3:31:00 17.83(11:50) 28.7(7:21) 10511 /14c78%

Tuesday Aug 14 #

2 PM

Run 40:00 [3] 7.0 km (5:43 / km)

Well, this isn't turning out quite as planned. The first bit which didn't go quite to plan was that I headed out to the ferry terminal about 10pm to sit out the last 3 1/2 hours before departure, to find the place deserted and a notice on the gate saying that the departure had been rescheduled for 8.45. Fortunately the taxi driver hadn't (quite) left yet, so I was able to flag him down for a ride back to town in search of a motel (found at the first attempt, and at a fairly reasonable price and quality in the circumstances - local knowledge is useful).

The first leg then wasn't quite as scenic as hoped for because of low cloud and mist, although it had started to lift enough to give some decent views for the last section in Ketchikan. This was our first port of call, and we had long enough there for me to plan for a short run there (even if it was in the afternoon rather than morning as originally expected). This was partly in pursuit of some logistical goals - finding an ATM to get US currency, and finding somewhere to get some fruit (there's none for sale on the boat and you can't bring it across the border - got to protect those Alaskan banana crops). The former objective was a bit trickier than I expected because the only outdoor ATMs I found were at drive-through banks. Got just about to the centre of town, where I did my good deed for the day (drawing a woman's attention to the fact that she'd just dropped her purse), before heading back. The run itself was pretty poor, with back not 100%, especially in the first half.

I got back, quite proud of what I'd managed to get done, and had just got out of the shower when an announcement came over that the ship had a mechanical issue and would now not leave until at least 8pm. That puts us 10 hours behind schedule (although we'll be able to make some of it up with shorter port calls, assuming we actually get away at 8). I'm starting to get a little nervous about my Skagway arrangements, although it would need to be 15 hours late for me to miss my connection there.

And, for the record, since I (and no doubt most of you) have heard a few horror stories about US border officials in the Trump era, the official I dealt with today was just about the friendliest and most helpful such official I can remember encountering anywhere. (Border agencies do seem to attract the occasional person who enjoys a power trip - the worst such official I've crossed paths with was in Amsterdam - but it's good to remember that even in Trump's America, most of them aren't like that - or maybe it's just that Alaska is different).

Monday Aug 13 #

9 AM

Run 47:00 [3] 8.1 km (5:48 / km)

In Vancouver as a staging post on the way north, staying towards the eastern end of downtown in just about the only place I could find for under $500 a night (fairly basic but OK; apparently prices skyrocket around cruise ship departures/arrivals). Decided to save Satnley Park for the trip back when I'll be staying closer, and instead headed down around the top end of False Creek - nice once on the south shore. Went a little bit further than I intended, partly because getting on the Granville bridge was a more convoluted process than I anticipated, but that's no bad thing - might as well take advantage of days when things are functioning reasonably well.

This afternoon's leg was to fly to Prince Rupert. We got as far as the end of the taxiway before returning to the gate - the weather observations system at Prince Rupert had gone down and, with fog looking like it was just clearing at the time, the pilot wasn't prepared to risk it without better information.(Meanwhile, a lot of flights to the interior of BC were being delayed or cancelled because of heavy smoke, which was making its presence felt in Vancouver too - you could only just see the mountains' outline from downtown). The second attempt, 1.45 late, was fine, and once clear of the smoke it was as spectacular as I expected.

Being late wasn't actually a bad thing as it means I only have eight hours to kill in Prince Rupert instead of ten, ahead of tonight's late-night ferry departure. Arriving at Prince Rupert is a bit different to the usual; the airport is on an island (not enough flat land on the mainland) so you have to get a ferry to town - I have seen this before, for Horn Island/Thursday Island in the Torres Strait.

Sunday Aug 12 #

(rest day)

One of the longer days I've ever experienced, but didn't manage to find time to do a session in its 34 hours (at high latitudes you can cross a lot of time zones in not that many hours of flying). Travel day Helsinki-London-Vancouver. Might have thought about doing something with my 5 hours in London had I had anywhere to leave my bag, but I didn't (instead, thinking I probably didn't have time to get right into the city and back without pushing it, I decided to pick a random Underground station and look for somewhere to have lunch; slightly to my disappointment, I found what must be the only Underground station in suburban London which doesn't have an Indian place within easy walking distance). First part of the morning was devoted to catching up with an atmospheric scientist who used to be at Monash but is now in Helsinki; since Helsinki doesn't do early Sunday morning cafes the way Melbourne does, this was a picnic breakfast in the somewhat unglamorous setting of a bus shelter (it was raining), but the company was good.

The travel itself didn't go too badly, although we were about 40 minutes late on the Vancouver leg. Lots of cloud but caught just enough glimpses of Greenland, Iceland and Baffin Island to keep me satisfied. England is definitely the green brown and pleasant land at the moment; perhaps the most striking from the air are the cricket grounds where the pitch is lush green (even the most minor of grounds will have a turf pitch - often not a very good one from my experience) and everything off the pitch is bone-dry.

Was wondering if I might have some issues with British immigration not believing I was only going to enter the country for a couple of hours, but when I told the person I just wanted to get out of the airport for a couple of hours he said "I don't blame you". I had been looking forward to seeing the weekend British papers in the lounge, but someone must have done an exclusive deal because the only ones to be found were News Limited publications. (News seem to like doing this sort of deal, which may explain why Sky News have spent the week throwing their toys out of the cot over being kicked off the screens at Melbourne Central).

Saturday Aug 11 #

8 AM

Run 37:00 [3] 6.4 km (5:47 / km)

A fairly casual morning session before the WOC long distance, going to the middle arena and back. (There was surprisingly little evidence that the event had taken place four days ago; just a couple of leftover forbidden area signs). A bit concerned about the Achilles early on but it settled more or less OK, and felt reasonable while running for the most part. Hadn't noticed on Tuesday that there's a bit of a climb back to town from the middle arena.

It was then onwards to watch the long (free of any complaints to deal with as a jury) - as always, a hard day's work for the competitors. Tash keeps putting sloid long distance results together, and both Bryan and Matt kept going on a day when they could easily have given it away, giving us the points we needed to keep our second man for next year (albeit only through a German mispunch). As always, there were some ups and downs for us at WOC, but quite a bit to be pleased about, including Vanessa's PB, Doyley's good debut and a solid men's relay.

Historical segue of the day goes to the commentator who noted that Sandra Grosberga was wearing number 39, the year Latvia were second in the European basketball championships. This isn't quite as obscure as it sounds; it seems that their controversial one-point loss to Lithuania is still well-remembered in both countries, not least because it would have been just about the last time for over 50 years that either competed in anything as an independent country. (Some further reading on this revealed that (a) there used to be a rule in basketball, scrapped on the eve of these championships, restricting the use of players over 1.9 metres tall and (b) only two of the competing teams had any players over this threshold; times have changed...).

So ends (in effect) the European phase of this trip. The next target is Whitehorse, but there's going to be a lot happening between here and there. First step is Riga to Helsinki tonight.

Friday Aug 10 #

10 AM

Run race ((orienteering)) 50:00 [3] *** 6.2 km (8:04 / km) +105m 7:26 / km

Latvian O-Week, day 5. This one was on an area not used for WOC but advertised as relevant to WMOC 2019 (which I probably won't be coming to, but worthwhile anyway). The old map was 70% marsh so I wasn't quite sure what to expect. What we got was very open forest, a fair bit of marsh (not boggy or wet, but definitely harder to run than the non-marsh), and sand-dune type contours in between the marshes.

Took the first leg to get the feel for holding direction, what was up and what was done, but navigating reasonably well after that (on a course made easier because several of the controls were very visible). Really struggled with the running early on, and although that improved, I was never particularly strong on an area where the soft ground demanded it. Given how open it was I expected someone to get close to 6 mins/km, and someone did (think I ended up 11th).

This was another hot day, this time with a strong, dry, gusty southerly wind (an unusual situation for northern Europe, where heatwaves normally come with little or no wind). It was the sort of day where we probably wouldn't have gone ahead in Australia because of fire danger, and in the evening at the medal ceremony, I did smell a hint of smoke on the wind from the south (although I don't know where it's coming from). A change is due tonight.

Driving in Latvia has had its occasional moments; most of the driving is conventional, but every now and again you get a reminder that some of the behaviours you've probably seen on Russian dashcam videos were learned before the breakup of the Soviet Union. Of course, it would not be in any way stereotyping to note that those drivers with a I-don't-give-a-f**k-if-you-have-right-of-way-get-out-of-my-f***ing-way attitude (one of whom required some evasive action on my part on the way back from the event) are almost exclusively to be found in expensive German or Italian cars. (In a similar vein, apparently some scurrilous soul has been putting up official-looking posters in London: "Drive a Jeep or Range Rover in the city? You could be entitled to free penis enlargement surgery on the NHS").

Thursday Aug 9 #

10 AM

Swimming 37:00 [2] 1.0 km (37:00 / km)

Bit of groin tightness this morning and Sigulda has a decent pool, so I thought I might as well use it. Thought it might have been crowded given the hot weather (low 30s), but hardly anyone was there, probably because the waterpark component doesn't open until 12, with only the indoor pools open in the mornings. Water not as warm as I'm used to in indoor pools, which suits me fine.

One of the more interesting relay days I can remember, especially amongst the men - it's not often that you see eight teams within a minute. Some excellent course-setting, both in the technical forks and in having a major route-choice leg late in the course. I said before the long leg that if someone was brave enough to go right if the pack was going left, they would win, and so it proved.

Relays have changed a fair bit over time; I was looking at the JWOC 1991 relay results today (in the course of a discussion about that day's heat in Berlin, in the context of near-record heat there yesterday). The fastest leg time in the men's relay was 64. (Also interesting to see a few names there who never made it at international elite level but are now regulars at WMOC). It's certainly different from the days of four 70-minute legs at WOC relays 30 years ago.

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