Thursday, October 18, 2012

Romancing the Ruffey

Ruffey Lake is another local fav of mine. This route but makes a perfect fast 8k loop with some hills thrown in. And when the sun starts setting, a really romantic view too :).. so anyway here are some pics off the tough cam for ye viewing pleasure!
Ruffey Lake.. yet to get nice panaromics on it.

So you get the occasional warning signs telling you the snakes are out & about - in fact I read online the other day that with the warming of spring, people are warned that snakes are breaking hibernation & are coming out to hunt & pro-create etc. So yes. If places like Ruffey have snakes, my runs in the bush reserves around Warrandyte will require super extra precautions.

As before the best part of this run are the scenic views especially during sunset. Here are some examples :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Just for the record...

There is a sex offender/ fake jogger who is still at large in the nearby neighborhood... Hmm. hope people don't mistake me for him heh.. :)

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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Running the Koonung - Part 2

So this is part 2 of ze Koonung trail plog.. picture blog.. :P we're going east along Eastern Freeway, the Eastlink and stopping just as Eastlink dives under the Mullum Mullum tunnel.. beyond that you'll have to wait for Part 3!

First thing you'd notice if you're entering east of the trail from Blackburn road are these massive rock-faces. Sliced & diced not by nature but by the Koonung trail builders? not sure. In any case, I would think geologists would totally dig it coz it's full of details of rock compressions and foldings from tectonic movements and all that geography stuff. In any case, it makes a nice welcome scene for the run.

Massive rock-faces all nicely sliced up for the trail.
U get to choose! Trail or bicycle lane? 

The nice thing about this portion of the Koonung is that you get some actual trail albeit very briefly. You'll get to see things like man-made bird-houses for the woody wood peckers and parrots (I'm still v amazed seeing wild parrots everywhere). This particular one on the left fell from the tree.

The trail runs right next to the backyards of houses, and if I ever get a house with a backyard of my own, I'd want one like that. It continues to meander through some thicker growth but remains very civilised and well-groomed. But wild enough that snakes wanna linger too.

In any case it's all v short & sweet, and eventually it joins back with the bicycle trail & it's all bitumen again until you reach the start of Eastlink & eventually the Mullum2 tunnel.

Nature right behind your backyard. I'd like to live like that one day.
Trail meanders through thicker growth, v nice.
A little pine section just before the trail ends and joins back to the bicycle lane.
So before long, as you trudge your way up the slope when Eastlink begins, you will spot the Mullum2 tunnel entrance. The running lane is fenced and is perched higher overlooking the Eastlink.

Running to & fro is a decent 10k+ and the onward journey you're awarded with some climbs, so it's a pretty good run if you're going for speed & still want to train those leg muscles. Guaranteed to pant.

This wetland WLO200 is situated right next to the Mullum2 tunnel entrance (bits of it seen in the above pic on the right. This is where I would do a U-turn if I'm going for a 10k run. But as you can see the path continues & further into the land of Yarran Dheran reserve.. I'll cover that under Part 3 one day.

This picture is taken along a side-trail in the Mullum2 tunnel entrance area that leads to Heads Rd, very green & bushy, I likes!

Chugging my way back, I see this - always lovely to ride on your two legs into the sunset eh? That's all I have for Koonung Part 2... until next time, Happy running folks!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Gordon Pirie's Laws Of Running

So I spent this cold Saturday afternoon reading an ebook.. Running Fast & Injury Free by Gordon Pirie / Dr John S Gilbody. Wanted to share this particular page of pointers from the front pages of the book - makes interesting discussion straightaway! (especially with so much recent research done on running techniques) but nonetheless provides a nice insight into what this book is all about.

I'll return with more after I'm done with the book, hopefully soon (I'm a hopelessly slow reader, plus I'm heading out for a run now!)

But before that - Who is Gordon Pirie you ask, well - wikipedia spells it out in brief:

Someone very kind put it up online in PDF format, do check it out!

Copyright of Gordon Pirie / Dr. John S Gilbody


1 - Running with correct technique (even in prepared bare feet), on any surface, is injury free.

2 - Running equals springing through the air, landing elastically on the forefoot with aflexed knee (thus producing quiet feet). On landing, the foot should be directly below the body. (Walking is landing on the heels with a straight leg).

3 - Any and all additions to the body damage running skill.

4 - Quality beats quantity; the speed at which you practice the most will be your bestspeed.

5 - Walking damages running.

6 - The correct running tempo for human beings is between three and five steps persecond.

7 - Arm power is directly proportional to leg power.

8 - Good posture is critical to running. (Don't lean forwards!).

9 - Speed kills endurance; endurance kills speed.

10 - Each individual can only execute one “Program” at any one time; an individual canbe identified by his or her idiosyncrasies (i.e. “Program”). An individual can change hisor her “Program” only by a determined, educational effort; each individual's “Program”degenerates unless it is controlled constantly.

11 - Static stretching exercises cause injuries!

12 - Running equals being out of breath, so breathing through the mouth is obligatory(hence the nickname “Puff Puff Pirie”)

Book Review (Updated 8 Oct 2012)

Well - don't think I qualify too well in writing a review for this book coz I couldn't finish it! Quite frankly the first 2 chapters were still pretty readable but Chapter 3 onwards was just a muck. Sorry to be blunt but I can see why publishers would've hesitated publishing it! it made poor reading to say the least. Not taking away any credit for Gordon's running achievements & advice. Just was poorly conveyed. And laid out.

Earlier chapters of history of running in Britain was very nice & it made me feel most regretful I didn't find running in my UK years. Subsequent running technique descriptions were good and insightful, and was amusing that the words 'Don't lean forward' was constantly repeated. This is almost in total conflict of the recent 'Chi Running' technique where runners ARE encouraged to have a slight tilt forward to utilise the force of gravity in propelling them forward. But I'm no Chi Running expert so there could be some misunderstanding of their technique. In any case, both emphasizes on forefoot & midfoot strikes and knee-bends, avoiding over-striding & heel strikes. I have felt myself going faster in my last run where I paid deliberate attention to maintaining the correct running form & as such can give personal testament to this.

And it's interesting that Gordon remarked that heel-strikes are only allowed when doing downhill on loose sand or gravel - where the heel strike is needed to bury the feet into the ground to stop sliding. So there. Heel strikes are allowed if you're about to fall off some cliff.

And another very interesting point he made was - "In proper running technique, therefore, the foot should land on its outer front perimeter, such that the footprint follows a straight line. As the weight is borne by the foot, it rolls inwards until flat on the ground." and "Contrary to what the shoe companies would have you believe, the foot is supposed to twist and roll as it goes through each contact phase with the ground, I teach all my runners to train in the lightest shoes they can find." 

Which brings us to the topic of shoes - Gordon mentions "It is very important, therefore, for the toe area of your running shoes to be constructed of the toughest possible material, and to be of adequate thickness." because that's where blisters would form if you were to run barefoot with correct technique. And to buy 'firm, lightweight shoes'. Learn to run properly instead of relying on padding & cushioning.

Briefly on training methods - he emphasizes the importance of doing Intervals. And not to run the intervals 100% but at a comfortable slower than competition pace. There was a paragraph where he gave a general guide towards a training: "Early in the year, you should be doing a great deal of general running in the forest, including a lot of hills. As you get fitter and fitter, you can then add interval training to your programme, and then hyper-fast running as the racing season approaches. Once you begin racing, intervals will have been phased out altogether in favour of faster and faster hyper-fast running sessions (with fewer repetitions, of course!) and the race practice sessions."

It was very interesting to note that Gordon expressed his preference towards the "wide, open spaces, and to do it with abandon according to, and as an expression of, my moods and feelings. Up hill and down dale, through woods or along beaches -this is truly the most beautiful way to run."

For I almost cried when I read that - I knew I can trust what this guy had to say. :) So that's it folks - my quick & brief review of this book, certainly take some time to read it if you have the patience, and if you don't - do the earlier chapters like how I did it. Good luck. And happy reading!

Friday, October 5, 2012

My daily reminder

Life is just an ultra.. say hi to the hills n terrain, look fwd to the pains and challenges, for u will overcome it and rejoice.

Find yourself amidst the adversity, breach your limits & live your life.. for you only pass through this passage once. The finishing line awaits you, my friend.

Run it like how you want to remember it. Run it well, run it strong.

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Product Testing: Kathmandu Pocket-it Rain Jacket!

To the horror of my wife, I have gotten myself an OREN coloured rain jacket from Kathmandu. She aint a big fan of OREN & quite frankly me neither - but the other colours were seriously too dull, or lack sizes, or too expensive. So OREN it was to be. Besides I later discovered the OREN matches my NB trail shoes! Yes shocking isn't it that I do have fashion sense actually. :)

In any case, being secretly envious of my wife having become an overnight sensation product tester/reviewer for Brooks & Skechers, I have decided to become a blogger-cum-product tester myself :D and have chosen this splendidly smiley debut intro pic (yes the one below) to give confidence to apparel companies & readers alike that YES this guy must know a thing or two!

I am the "Guy In Orange" GIO today, catchy yes?
Testing grounds... the trail that runs alongside the Buck reserve...rainy day = all to myself!
So rain started to get heavier & windier as I left the trail & entered back the pavements.. the real product testing started then. Pushing against the weather the jacket held on well, only when I lifted my left arm to check my watch water trickled in through the long sleeve. It's meant to be light-weight & since I'm wearing an S-size (ozzies are big blokes!), the weight would be less than 290g. I didn't really feel the weight during the run so that's thumbs up.

Copyright Kathmandu - a spin-around view of the jacket & how it fits a scuffy look!
Water was repelled & does not really linger (I can feel the waxy texture on the jacket) & there are effective draw cords to tighten the hood & bottom end - hope the elasticity will last. Once you tighten the hood, the bottom part covers up to your mouth area, blocking further against wind & rain. The hood eats into your vision by just a bit. It's all good measures but for runners - do remember there are limitations to what the jacket can do. I can see how it will struggle to hold against wind & rain in their extremities (My primary concern is how this will hold up in the Alpines.. all this is in prep for the Razorback Run, as training in full kit is important).

Do remember it will not help you stay warm either. After a run, your body is drenched & it's easy to get chills if you don't keep running. The hood helps retain some heat but won't block entirely against incoming chilly winds. I guess that's why Razorback organiser Paul listed down that extra piece of polypropylene long sleeve top as part of the kit list!

Retailing at $59.99 at the moment (discounted from $120+) - I will say it's close to being an absolute bargain :). And if you had reservations against the ORANGE/OREN being a fashion disaster, I hope my pictures have totally changed your mind :P

Verdict? Jacket held up well. Buy it. Well-worth if you're getting it at 59.99 AUD discounted price.

Thanks for reading folks, till next time.

Fashion digression: see how the orange colours are matching up! Say Hi to each other, MT876 & Rain Jacket!
ps. HERE is the direct  link to Kathmandu's website for this jacket!

pps. Ready for Techno Descend? Indulge in a total time-waster with GIO! :D

Monday, October 1, 2012

Disconnecting.. its the right word

Humbling and profound. Skyrunner champ Kilian reminds me to run for myself. To run because it does wonders for the soul, to run because like him, I do want to disconnect from the hustles of life & reconnect to nature. Nature has always been our home. For him it is the mountains, for others it is the trails and trees, for me - it is just being with nature & immersing myself in it. The grass, rivers, mud & rocks. Somewhere I can think about life, or not think about anything.

I started running on road races a few years back, I don't think I can enjoy doing it on my own because to me, road races are becoming social events now, it is where you meet with friends, do a decent run, have a good laugh, take pictures, talk and catch up. Ever since trail running came along, I've been able to combine running & my love for nature, & never did look back.

The only place I can be totally alone is in the wild. I relish on the chance in fact. Plan to keep slogging on with life and be able to put everything away for a few hours & just get back out there, to recharge, to run, to live.