Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Ticking Over In Australia – Part 2

Day 13 1 Mar – A new month and a new destination. It was another early morning start as we needed to get to the airport. A morning off running, too much to do, we said our goodbyes to Steve, Chris and the lizards and headed off for Sydney airport. Arriving at Hobart airport we went off to collect a car. This was the first car I’d booked from the UK so had chosen a manual out of habit, having driven an automatic in Brisbane I was now a little disappointed and it took me a few stallings to remember I needed to use my left leg (the other thing that got me was that the indicators and windscreen wiper controls are on the opposite side to the UK, back in the UK I’m occasionally setting off my windscreen wipers when I want to indicate to turn). The airport is a fair way out of Hobart but the driving is easy, within Hobart it’s pretty easy to get around and we soon found our apartment, close enough to the town for us. We’d decided to stay in Hobart for a couple of nights rather than keep repacking the cases every day. First things first lunch, we found a nice café in
Salamanca Place
and had a nice bowl of soup. Then a walking tour of Hobart. The tour took us to some interesting places and gave us a good orientation of the place, after that it was off to the centre to check out the shops, and then it rained. But this was light rain, which had pretty much stopped by the time we got back to the apartment.

It was late afternoon, time for a run before dinner. It was fairly hilly around our part of town and I didn’t really fancy more of that, during the walk I’d noticed St. David’s Park, it was fairly small but perfect for Carole and I to do a session together. Typically it was on a hill but not so steep that it was off-putting. We found a nice triangle area and busied ourselves running various sides of the triangle as reps. The sides weren’t long but using different lengths was quite good. After we’d done a few of these reps a group of runners turned up and started running around the same triangle as us. They were running around the triangle but only up to a time point, so there were occasions when we ran in the same area and it got quite interesting when I caught up with the lead runners, particularly when they tried to go with me. Session over we went back for an abs workout, showers and then to eat.

Day 14 2 Mar - Having done a hard session the previous afternoon it was back to steady running before breakfast. It was just one of those out and around runs. I didn’t want to take up too much time as we had a big drive planned so I kept it to 42 minutes. I headed along the front to the whisky shop/distillery and back but then decided to pop over to Sandy Bay. Apparently this is where Errol Flynn spent some of his early years, before hitting Hollywood. We spent the rest of the day driving around and investigating the area to the West of Hobart. On the way back we drove up Mount Wellington. Last time I was here it was too cold and windy up the top and you couldn’t really see much because of the low cloud, today was even worse, the cloud low and thick, you couldn’t see much further than your hand, let alone a view. So with the score at Alsop 0 – Mt. Wellington 2 we departed the area and headed towards Richmond, which has a lovely old bridge and a collection of people taking photographs of it.

The much photographed Richmond Bridge
Then it was back home for a cup of tea and out to dinner.

Day 15 3 Mar – We were due to leave Hobart today, Carole chose to stay in bed but I was keen to do a last run in Hobart. I wasn’t feeling like anything big and as I hadn’t really discovered anywhere better it was back to St. David’s Park. I had a think about what I was going to do to motivate myself to run hard, by rights it was a hard training day and anyway I get bored doing too much easy running in towns. I decided to utilise the triangle and decided I would do the following;

Run 1 length of the triangle, jog back to the start, run 2 lengths of the triangle jog forward to the start, run the whole of the triangle and jog to the start of the next length before starting again. 3 sets later I had started at all 3 corners of the triangle. Then I repeated the process going the other way. This culminated in 18 repetitions with alternating lengths. With warm up and cool down it took me 36 minutes so it wasn’t a bad old session.

Yesterday we headed out West, finishing up to the East, previously I’d travelled out East, so today, on our way to the ferry to Melbourne, we decided to head through the middle of Tasmania. We were aiming to stay at Launceston for the night, but were stopping off at a few interesting places on the way. I had thought that the coastal roads would be more attractive but actually the scenery along the interior is also pretty good. We stopped at some quaint townships, to stretch our legs and hit Launceston for a late lunch. Then we got settled into our motel and went for a walk around the town, using our guidebook to locate places of interest but heading for Cataract Gorge. When I last visited the gorge you had to drive out to it and the only walk was away from the town, now some work has been done and there were a couple of walks from the town to the basin, one easy and flat and one that undulated and required a lot more work. You must know me by now so you’ll know which route I chose, and the views were much better from up high. We wandered around the basin and then back the easy route and into town looking for somewhere to eat. Once we’d booked into a restaurant we headed back to the motel to clean up.

With a bit of time on our hands I decided to do a quick exercise session I’d read about. It reckoned to be pretty tough and one of the better sessions to do if you’re short of time. If you’re a client of mine, you may well recognise this as I’ve been trying it out on you too.
You stand in a static squat for 1 minute, then straight into 30 press-ups, immediately back into a minute of static squatting, straight into 15 squat jumps, another minute of static squatting, 30 more press-ups, another minute static squatting, 15 more squat jumps, 1 more minute squatting and to finish off 30 press-ups. Well I knew it would be tough as I’m no press-up king but I’ve done 2 minute static squats before so I thought I might manage it. Boy it was hard but I coped for the first 4 minutes and additionals, that 5th minute my legs were screaming at me and I really didn’t think I’d be able to hold on but I managed to use every mind trick I know and emerged from the 5th minute with just 30 press-ups to go, and that was a struggle, I could only manage 25 and I had to admit defeat. At the end of it I was dripping with sweat and my muscles were killing me, but I was fine after a few minutes. I’ve tried it on some clients and they agreed it was tough, I even got Lee Riley to try it and he’s the toughest guy I know (incidentally I watched CBBC last weekend, not because I think British TV has dumbed down so much that this is more fulfilling, Lee was on the programme racing up a hill in Tetbury carrying a sack of wool. This was filmed prior to his marathon world record and you can see how fit he was, he looked great (must’ve been all that advice I gave him)).  

Day 16 4 Mar – Today we were heading to Melbourne, travelling overnight on the Spirit of Tasmania ferry. The ferry didn’t depart until 21:00 and we didn’t have to vacate our room until 11:00 so it was a lazy morning, until I managed to persuade Carole to do a session in the park, which was opposite the motel. I must’ve done a pretty good job of persuading her as it was raining and she is a bit of a fair-weather runner. I enjoyed my triangle session so much, yesterday, I found a triangle in this park and proceeded to take Carole through the session. Oh what fun we have on holiday.

After breakfast we packed up and headed off towards the ferry. We had plenty of time but intended stopping off at many different places on the way. I was amazed at how we managed to do so much in such a short distance. Car handed back we got onto the ferry, found our cabin and went up on deck to watch it pull out of port. I don’t have sea legs but we’d be sleeping most of the way so I wasn’t intending to take sea sickness tablets, however at the last minute I decided it might be safer to do so. Thank goodness for common sense, it was a really rough crossing and I did feel a little bit of nausea at times. We went to bed and tried to sleep. I must’ve been asleep for a while but was soon woken up by the pitching of the ferry. The waves must’ve been huge as we kept crashing down and try as I might there was no way I could get back to sleep.

Day 17 5 Mar - We pulled into Melbourne very early but the trams were running and we headed straight to the hotel. Too early for check in but at least we could leave our suitcases and go for a wander. We did seem to wander quite a lot and didn’t get back to the hotel until late afternoon. We were on the 14th floor with a huge window giving us views of the city. We headed down to the gym and spa, Carole did some running while I felt too tired so just did some weight work and abs, then into the swimming pool.

Day 18 6 Mar – After the best night’s sleep of the holiday I was raring to go so we hit the streets for a run along the south bank of the Yarra river, I did my standard repetition run and Carole just ran out and back. After breakfast we took a boat trip along the river to Williamstown, you travel through some dock areas, so not the best river trip I’ve ever taken, though you do get some good views of Melbourne along the way and Williamstown was really nice to visit. We got back late afternoon, we had tickets to Dracula’s Cabaret that evening. A quick kettlebell session and swim before we headed towards the evening’s entertainment. The cabaret was really good fun, I’d recommend it to anyone, though the food wasn’t as good as some of the critics had said.

Day 19 7 Mar – I didn’t want to do an out and back run today, I dislike them very much, so I took Carole for a reps set along the same route as yesterday. Then we headed out to St. Kilda, I’d not been before but I found it really interesting, if a little windy. We saw penguins, had a good walk along the beach where we stopped off at a café and I tried oysters (not sure I’ll bother again), went into the botanic gardens and then through the mall, which was pretty cool. Then we headed back to the beach before a walk through Albert Park. Unfortunately Albert Park was fairly restricted due to the following week’s Formula 1 GP but I managed to walk on the circuit, which was something I didn’t do when I was there to watch the GP. Then home abs and a swim before hitting the town for something to eat.

Penguins are a little shy at lunch time

Preparing for the Grand Prix which would be won by Britain's Jenson Button
Day 20 8 Mar – Our last full day before we head home. We decided to buy a daily transport ticket and see some of the suburbs. But first a running session, 8 x 3 minutes hard with 30 seconds recovery. We enjoyed St. Kilda so much we decided to head back there again for lunch, no oysters this time. Then we stopped off at Windsor and Prahran, both interesting suburbs, before heading up to Studley Park, in the North. We had a good long walk around the park and then went to find a waterfall that was being promoted. Unfortunately they were still building the waterfall, why didn’t anyone say! Then back to Collingwood and a tram back to the hotel. We were so tired I couldn’t be bothered with the gym and just chilled out in my room with a nice dressing gown and a good read.

Day 21 9 Mar – One last run in Australia, before we departed. I decided to run the path around the Domain and Botanic Gardens, nice and easy. We checked out and now had until 15:00, when the bus would pick us up to take us to the airport. There was a waterskiing competition going on just up from us, on the Yarra, so, as it was a really nice day, we decided to go along to watch. It was great fun and, apart from a lunch break we stayed there until it was time to depart. Getting to the airport was more fraught than we’d thought, it was a long weekend for Australians so more people than usual were heading up to the airport, but we made it and set off for home. This time I couldn’t sleep at all but managed to get through a few movies:
Beneath Hill 60 – about the First World War, really enjoyed it but then it was my favourite subject in History at school
My Week With Marilyn – Much better than I’d thought, an enjoyable watch.
The Descendents – Carole suggested this, and I did really enjoy it, it’s a bit different but thoroughly enjoyable.
Senna – Couldn’t resist watching it again.
Cowboys And Aliens – I’d run out of good films and I do like Daniel Craig, it was a bit dark at first, which meant I couldn’t see much of what was happening due to the lighting in the plane. It was ok, worth watching if you have time to kill.

Back home, absolutely knackered. In fact it took me a week to get over the jet lag, possible the longest I’ve ever suffered, but still preferable to the night shift.

Last time I returned from Australia I tore my hamstring soon after. So it’s no surprise that my knee started playing up last week, I rested it straight away, but clearly not long enough as it really started playing up again on Monday. I’m resting it more but hopefully it won’t take two months this time. Then this morning I was transporting the old bathroom to the tip when I picked up a heavy bag of tiles, that just happened to be partially wedged under something else heavy, I could feel my back muscles pulling and quickly let go. So I’ve now got a very sore back, thankfully letting go stopped it being too serious, but I’ll be stiff for a couple of days. Oh well at least it’ll force me to rest.

This means I won’t be taking part in the BMAF Cross Country Champs this year, in fact I don’t know when I’ll be ready to race again, but with lots of running clients on the books I need to get back to running well reasonably soon.

Written by Roger Alsop

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