22 February 2011

Peninsula Marathon

Although I have a whole succession of marathons ahead of me next month, none of them are of the "official" variety that I can use as a qualifier for the Two Oceans or Comrades. And I am rather horrified to note that I have not run further than 20 km since Comrades 2010... which does not bode well. Anyway, with all this in mind I went out for the Peninsula Marathon on Sunday. It was a lovely morning and I got to the start feeling well fueled from the pasta binge that Troy and I went out on the night before. Well fueled and smelling ever so slightly like garlic. I did not have any trouble finding space in the starting pack. In fact people seemed very happy to accommodate me. It was a great morning for running but with a rather brisk wind from the South East. I set out with the plan of running under 03:40. Up to half way I was pretty much on track and I knew that I needed to just maintain something a little faster that 05:15 per km to reach that goal. But then the wind really started to bite when we got out onto the coastal road along False Bay. That and my knees started to get really sore. And i gradually saw my target slipping away... But I gritted my teeth and held out for the end, finishing in 03:45:21, which is still pretty respectable, placing 378/1866. Now just to enter that time for my qualifier and I am all set for the ultras later in the year.


 I am sure that somebody from Durban would pay me top dollar for this race number.

17 February 2011

Tights and My Ass

Just got back from a whistle-stop trip to Hungary: in, two day meeting, out again. On the way from Hermanus to Cape Town airport I realised that I had left my running shorts in the drier. So at Johannesburg airport I did a bit of shopping. The only place that had anything suitable was the Nike shop. Other shops, which ostensibly sold sporting gear, did not keep running shorts. Weird! Anyway, the Nike shop had quite a choice: normal running shorts with built in leggings inside, longer running shorts and running tights. Both the sets of shorts were just a little bit too long for my comfort, so I decided on the tights. The price difference between all three options was marginal: they were all absurdly expensive! At the till I told the girl that I had chosen the tights because they made my ass look great. Which was just a joke at the time but, after putting them on again in Budapest i realised it was entirely true: they make my ass look bloody fantastic! And that is pretty much what we all strive for, right?

08 February 2011

Engagement Party Speech

Dad's speech from our engagement party on Saturday night:
Friends – may I have your attention for a moment!

We can’t let this occasion pass without saying a few words about our host and hostess tonight.

I know that I speak for all of us in saying how thrilled we are that Claire and Andrew have announced their engagement.

Chris and I are really overjoyed to welcome Claire into the Collier family and it has been wonderful for us to at last meet Veronica, Malcolm and Lynton, about whom we have heard so much.

Obviously we have known Andrew a tad longer than we have Claire, but we have been struck by how fantastically they complement each other  -  Claire, like the cascading mountain stream, bubbling and chattering away with enthusiasm and Andrew, the still, strong water running deeply and with resolute purpose!!

Now that these two streams are reaching  a confluence, we await (somewhat impatiently) for confirmation of when their next step will release the full flow of love in this union.

Unfortunately a few of our family are unable to be with us tonight;
Sandy and Claire and Gavin in the UK, Paula and Matthew on their new farm between Ladysmith and Newcastle, and Greg doing his paternal thing so that Kate could be here.

We know, Andrew and Claire, that these “absentees” would join all of us in congratulating you and wishing you both everything that is good in the future.

We thank you for your hospitality this evening.

Now I ask you all to raise your glasses in a toast to Claire and Andrew.

07 February 2011

Medical

Went for my medical on Friday: seems I am fighting fit, if a little bit heavier than last year.

The 5 P's

From the recent edition of Modern Athlete, the 5 P's:
  1. Plan [details of goals and how to achieve them]
  2. Prepare [implementing the plan]
  3. Persevere [stick with it even when you are gatvol]
  4. Produce [doing it on the day]
  5. Pride [enjoying the beer afterwards!].

01 February 2011

Notes on Norway

Well, I am sitting in the Voyager lounge in Johannesburg airport, feeling rather in need of a shower. The coffee is helping me feel a little more human. As is the prospect of being home very, very soon.

The Norwegian Odyssey was brilliant. An unforgettable experience for so many reasons:
  • got into a new research field;
  • took an amazing ride on a very luxurious ferry;
  • crossed the Arctic Circle;
  • finally saw the Aurora;
  • camped out overnight in the snow;
and, finally, but most importantl,
  • got engaged to Claire.
So here are just a few notes for next time. Lonely Planet has an extensive list of places in Norway with information on each of them as well as information on transport. For information specific to Bergen, you can look at the Bergen Forum.

We took the train (well, three trains) from Bodø to Bergen, which was a great experience. The tiny sleeping compartment from Trondheim to Oslo was very novel. And so exciting that I barely slept... Train bookings can be done through the Norwegian State Railways and if you book some time in advance you can get a "minipris" ticket, which is just that: a whole lot cheaper. The ferry we took from Bergen to Bodø was run by the Hurtigruten line. Booking on their site is pretty straightforward... but I needed a bit of help to get it quite right. You need to first select "Book Online" (kind of obvious) and then choose the "Port-to-Port" option.

Well, that's it. Now back to "real" life.