Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Which leads us to Blackmores. The Half is shaping up as a cracker of a race. With Tucks walking up mountains overseas, Bartles nursing a sore ankle and Young Timmy claiming a new ailment with every new week, this is the race to determine HuRTS #1 and it promises to be a battle royale. J-Fen would appear to be the man in form based on training but doesn't always convert to races, particularly over the longer distance. Richie High and Fats are both in good form, Andy has the strength and Kanser the ego. But man to watch may be Macca who has been improving quietly each week and was confident enough on Tuesday to tell everyone he's going to take it out hard in the hope of breaking J- Fen's spirit. We shall see. I think it's just too close to call. But if I were a betting man (and Timmy and the Tiger know I'm not) I would put $2 and no more on Macca, if only based on his great run over the same course last year in horrendous conditions.
I first became aware of Kanser in a Striders 10km in early 2006 out at Homebush. Only 10 seconds separated 2nd place from 7th, but he was 2nd and I was 7th. I've not forgiven him since. He's probably read more about running than anyone I know and is all too happy to give you his opinion, without pulling any punches. If you have a bad run, you often have your mates tell you it wasn't so bad, or the conditions were shocking, or the course was long, but credit to Kanser, he'll just tell you you ran shit. And I like that. Especially as it allows me to tell him he ran shit too. I often get more chance to do so than he does. But in between injuries the fella has put in some great performances. His sub 33 10km PB puts him in rare company and a 73 Half isn't too shabby either. But for a connoisseur of the sport he needs to nail the marathon. His talent deserves a much better PB. I have to admit that when I ran my first marathon the first person I wanted to speak to about it was Kanser. Not to gloat about a sub 2:40, but because he lives and breathes the event and knows what's involved. Loves a beer, especially pre-race. An all round good bloke.
Monday, September 10, 2012
No run Sunday while camping.
Today (birthday!) was the 14km route a little faster in 59:38 running along the beachfront with Jasper. Then at lunch did the usual 16km route in 70 with Big Sam, MC, JW, BW, Luke, Rob, the Kilted Scot, Gerry and others.
Got to mention Muz today as I was walking back to the lifts with my morning coffee and bumped into him. We both must have looked a bit shocked. Turns out he's working for Deutsche - moving to Singapore but back in Sydney in our building for 6 weeks.
Muz was discovered by Serg, working alongside him at UBS. He just seemed to run in the pack with HuRTS At first then all of a sudden was kicking our arses, a real hidden talent. More often than not got the better of me and had a 10km PB in the 32's. But best of all he loved a beer and was usually the last to leave the pub. Massive chest, skinny legs. An all round good bloke.
Friday, September 07, 2012
A very easy 10km today in 44:58. Large hangover following HuRTS Drinks last night and hammie still sore.
I think I first raced Tucks in February 2007 at a Striders 10km at Lane Cove. He beat me by about 30 seconds. It's been a common theme ever since. On the rare occasion I've beaten him, it's usually down to a sprint finish. That's not to say that he hasn't got a finishing kick. I think I've just been so excited to be anywhere near him at the finish line that willpower has got me over. I think it's become a bit of a mental thing for me not to be able to get past Tucks. Most of my best races have been when he's not run. In fact, I've just realized that every one of my current PBs was done in a race that Tucks wasn't running in. Beneath the very calm exterior there's a fierce competitor in him. About 12 months ago he started doing a few more trail runs and ultras and has taken them by storm. Currently in Interlaken, Switzerland about to run the world long course mountain running champs. Good luck for that mate. But, like I said about Ray, Tucks will do any race from track to road to cross country to trail. He performs just as well over 3000m on the track as he does 100km in the mountains. The all round runner. And boy, what a marathon PB. Also likes a beer. An all round good bloke.
73, 73, 72, 73, 73, 73, 71, 71, 71, 74
Rolled off every 2:10.
All was going well until the final rep which was faster again until my hammie tightened at 200m so eased off from there.
I first remember encountering Fats (as he is universally known) when doing my first Half Marathon (SMH) in 2005. On every point of the course everyone seemed to be shouting for some fat guy. I then discovered his nickname but had already realised his popularity. He smashed me that day running 75 something and I debuted in a 77 something. Fats' true calling is running up a hill, probably as a result of his Yorkshire upbringing. His greatest running achievement is undoubtedly winning the Six Foot Track in a then record time in 2007. But an even greater quality is how humble he remains despite his huge talent. Loves a beer, but prefers them warm. An all round good bloke.
Wednesday, September 05, 2012
Where to start on partner in crime Mikey Durante? One of the most natural looking runners you'll ever meet. Bounces along like Zebedee. I first met him about 8 years ago doig Pain in the Domain when neither of us took running seriously. He would always smash me in the 800m rep around Farm Cove, which was natural being a 1:53 800m National finalist as a kid. I go to know him through mutual friend and fellow Allens employee Pete Beacroft, himself a 30min 10km runner - back in the days when Allens would smash any team around. Durante upped his training with the HuRT Squad and with his natural ability was able to clock 32:08 over 10km. He'd have gone quicker if:
(a) he hadn't picked up a long term knee injury; and
(b) he wasn't as fond of a beer as I am.
An all round good bloke.
Tuesday, September 04, 2012
Today was 2 x 20mins off a 3 min break. Richie, Andy and Fats shot off into the distance leaving me, MC, Kanser, Macca and Big Mikey H to follow in their wake - running about 3:34's. All felt fine for the first 20mins with the hammie giving me no probs. on the way back Kanser and Macca shot off ahead and MC pushed in front of me. Felt a bit bewildered as I thought I was running the same pace and yet was lagging big style. Pulled back MC at CQ with Macca and Kanser about 100m ahead. Reached the stone gates in 9:37 and realised I'd have to work quite hard to get back in time. Did so without tweaking the hammie so was pleased. Hauled in Macca at the ABC Pool and reached Kanser's shoulder just before the Art Gallery before he pulled ahead on the run-in finishing strongly. Back in 19:43 with a final gate to gate in 10:06 so starting to get a bit of confidence back.
Michael (aka Big Mikey H) is probably one of the most talented runners to train with the HuRT Squad. Possessing a huge, loping stride, he first shot to prominence winning the Novice Cross Country in 2007 (ahead of current National XC Champ James Nipperess who finished 4th and me a lot further back in 5th). He had a summer job with Mac Bank so would train with us during lunch breaks but more generally with SWEAT. There was a time when Big Mikey H was running low 31 mins for 10km and would be challenging Thurston on Hickson Rd reps making the rest of us look like trail runners. He disappeared off the scene for a while only to pop up at UBS as a grad a couple of years ago. If MC sorted out his JPMorgan team properly they'd kill everyone. His brother (Jason) is pretty handy too. An all round good bloke.
Big Mikey H (second from left in Sydney University strip) winning Novice in April '07.
Monday, September 03, 2012
Today was the usual Monday route with a big crowd. Mike held fort telling all and sundry that North Head was long and he seems to have persuaded Steve Jackson to remeasure it. Kanser seemed to be working up a sweat just to run 4:30's and, following his poor performance in the Coastal Classic, I have concerns for his form.
Gerry was a keen HuRT Squad participant in the early days and even penned an article for that esteemed running publication "The Blister" on how the HuRT Squad was instrumental in delivering his first ever sub35 10km race after many years trying. MC might want to ask him for a back copy. He promised a very good marathon 2 or 3 years back (long time PB of 2:48) but got sick and never delivered. Since then he's shied away from racing and showing us the form he's plainly capable of, but currently on the come-back trail and racing Melbourne full. Also very handy with the camera. Charlie D might want to speak to him about that. All round good bloke.
Sunday, September 02, 2012
Up at 5.30am on a beautiful spring morning for 2 hours easy with Macca. We did my old Burnt Bridge Creek, Manly Beach, North Head, Tania park route and I don't think Macca appreciated the trails or sharp hills with his hip. Still, the time passed very quickly chatting all the way. I'm handling these longer runs fine, still feeling pretty fresh at the end. It's nice knowing at 26km you don't have to pick up the pace for the final 10km.
Serg was an enigma. A hugely talented runner with a passion for peri-peri chicken, he would fluctuate in weight depending on the season. Despite being of Portuguese descent, he didn't like training in temps above 20c. But on his day he would smash us, with a PB in the Half of 68:xx. We were reminded of this many times, which is why one of the original HuRT Squad awards - recently dominated by MC - is named in his honour. An all round good bloke.
Serg, on right, at JPMorgan in NYC with rare beer in front of him.
Saturday, September 01, 2012
Got up after 4 hours sleep nursing a monster hangover. Jogged up to North Head and stood in the freezing cold directing cars. Had a quick chat with the boys intending to jog the 10km when James asks if I'll do the 40min pacing role. I agreed as I thought it would keep me honest. I'm the world's worst pacer. Felt great while running and kept on drifting down to 3:50's. Went through 5km in 19:32. Some bloke told me at 6km I was going way too fast. Ended up running backwards between 8 and 9km trying to gee up the runners. Had to do the last km in 4:20 so walked the last 40m to cross the line in 40:00.
Then ran home. 17km all up. Hammie ok. Still hungover.
Richie joined the 4 of us in the second or third session the squad ever ran, so is effectively one of the founder members. He is one of those blokes who only needs about 3 weeks of consistent training to get super fit. Having said that, he's always coming back from some injury or another. Plenty of speed having been a great 800m runner as a kid (1:55 or thereabouts) so all he ever needs is a few long runs in the legs. Probably the only person who's run JPMorgan more times than I have, but not sure he's ever run a marathon? We share a birthday (and almost a surname) but he's an old man and turns 40 next week whereas I'm still a whipper snapper. An all round good bloke. In fact, voted so in the HuRT Squad awards last year.
An easy 10km from work but when I reached 5km (20:32) I decided to stretch my legs a bit on the way back to test the hammie. All up 40:16.
Ray is one of the those few runners (including Tucks, CT and, to his credit, Flakey) who will run anything from 800m on the track to the Six Foot Track. He's ubiquitous. He'll pop up in a marathon and be doing a hard Tuesday session 2 days later. Having said that, he's always moaning about a niggle or two. And Ray likes to talk. Even when running 3:20's in a 10km race, Ray will strike up a conversation. Which can become a bit frustrating sometimes, when you're slogging your guts out and he's chatting about J-Fen's current form. I reckon he's underperformed a bit recently. He definitely deserves to beat his marathon PB (2:39) and should be running 33's over 10km based in his ability. But what do I know. An all round good bloke.