Sunday, January 29, 2017

2017 Australia Day Demo - A test of fitness.

Hard on the heels of the Victorian Country Athletics championships that finished yesterday, I travelled with out fire brigade teams to Maryborough for the Australia Day demo.  I had not originally planned to attend, as I would normally have been representing the CFA at the Pride March in Melbourne instead.  However, with Mark not interested in making the trip to Melbourne, and our C team short on runners, I changed plans to run the demo, which would give us 4 runners, and allow us to run most of the wet events (instead of none!).  Because of the previous 2 days of intense competition, I wasn’t sure how I would handle the high workload.

My first event was the ladder race, as usual, as I don’t normally run the hydrant race which precedes it.  I am considering giving the hydrant race a go in a couple of weeks, after the athletics shield final.  Anyway, the ladder race was another tough draw, and I was a couple of tenths of a second slower than normal, most likely due to the previous competition.

Following the ladder race was the hose and ladder 5s.  We ran a slightly changed team, as well as borrowing from our ranks of previous runners to make up the numbers.  I had another good run, with a time of 25.12 seconds.  As we were the only team, it was a win.

With our low numbers, I ran a couple of the marshalls.  First of these was the 2 man marshall.  Had one of my best runs for a long time here.  Not good enough for a place, but very happy with it.  My last dry event was the 4 man Y.  Here, I ran coupling.  Had a bit of a fumble putting the coupling on the hydrant.  When I turned for the finish, I knew I had to put in a decent sprint to make the 20 or so metres to the finish line with my teammates, which I successfully did.  We got 4th in this event, and even beat our A team. :)

Following the marshalls were the pumper events.  In the pumper and ladder 5s, we had most of the team running in unfamiliar places.  We managed to complete the run, but the time was slow.  And in the pumper 4s, we had a miss, again with almost all of the team in an unfamiliar position.

The first of the reel events was next, with the C sections 4s.  With 4 teams, competition was going to be a bit better than in the ladder 5s.  However, we had a good run, easily winning the event.  I ran in the pole.

The A team were also short a runner or two, so I was called upon to fill in for them in the hose and ladder 8s.  I ran first assist, helping the first hose length to the branch line.  Our run was good, resulting in a second place.

With our shortage of numbers and missing key people, we didn’t run the sixes.  Next was the champion 4s.  We ran the same positions as in the C section 4s.  This time, there was to be a heat and a final.  We won our heat, and in the final, ran 2 seconds faster than in the C section 4s.  This was enough to get 4th place in this open event.  Our day was finished, but…

The A team again needed me, this time, the Y8.  I ran second branch, a position I am very familiar with.  Had another good run, this time we won the event in a good time.

All that was left were the aggregate results and Australia Day medals.  There were 5 aggregates - the C section, which we won, the wet aggregate, which the A team won.  They also won the A/B aggregate and the grand aggregate.  The only one neither team won (or even placed in) was the dry aggregate.  In the Australia Day medal count, All 4 of our C team who competed won the C section medal for champion competitors in our class jointly, with each of us receiving one.  Two of the A team received medals as champions of their division.

All in all, a very successful day.  Despite my competition preceding the demo, I held up very well, and I still could have run more, if needed.

Some statistics - I ran a total of 16 events over the past 3 days, 10 of them today.  This involved a total of 22 (including 6 long jump attempts and the heat and final of the champion 4s) runs of varying lengths.  This was probably the highest number of sprint based races in 3 days I’ve ever done, certainly tougher than even the state championships, where I normally run between 6 and 10 events in the same period. Fitness is certainly good at the moment. :)

Next week, it’s back to a normal demo weekend.

- Tony via Tumblr

Saturday, January 28, 2017

2017 Victorian Country Athletics Championships

The Victorian Country Championships were on again over the past 3 days.  This year, I entered javelin, 100 metres, 400 metres, long jump and 200 metres.

I arrived on Thursday after a long drive.  Unfortunately, due to running around sorting the accommodation, I just missed the sign in time for the javelin, so I didn’t get to throw.  I had no other events on Thursday, so we went to our accommodation.  My time spent earlier paid off, as we had arrived after reception closed.

Yesterday, I had 2 events - the 100m and 400m sprints.  This year, fields were small, so there were no heats.  In the 100m, I had a strong headwind.  The run felt good, except I didn’t feel I could quite get up to speed.  Finished 5th in a slow time of 13.66, even taking the wind into account.  Others also had slow times, compared to their normal performances.

The 400m went fairly well.  The slow track didn’t seem to be as big an issue as the strong headwind in the home straight.  Finished with a time of 1:03.21, which was good for the wind conditions.  After returning to our accommodation and a club BBQ dinner, a couple of us headed to the beach for a recovery soak.
Today’s first event was the long jump.  Here, a strong tail wind was the challenge.  I struggled to get my run up right, but even so, I managed a jump of 4.03 metres, while taking off well before the board.  I could have jumped over 50cm further, if I could get my run up right.  Looks like one to practice, so I can capitalise on improvements in my jumping technique.

The 200 metres was next.  Again, with a strong headwind.  The headwind and slow track left me with a time of 28.23.

All that remained now were the relays.  First up was the 4x100m relay.  As I have all season, I ran the first leg.  This time, I got off to a good start and built up decent speed, getting us off to a good start.  We finished with a silver medal, out of 4 teams, which was as good or better than we anticipated.

The final event was the 4x400m relay.  By now, we had an injury plagued team, with one runner replaced by a substitute, why hasn’t run 400m in years, and another who got an injury in the 4x100.  Before the injuries, we were looking at a potential gold medal, but we had to settle for silver.

Anyway, I pulled up OK, but it’s not over for me yet.  I’m off to Maryborough tomorrow to run in a fire brigade competition! :)

- Tony via Tumblr

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Fire brigade continues

Back on the fire brigade track this week, with a competition at Mooroopna, just under 90 minutes drive away.  With numbers short, I knew I was in for a busy day.

First up (for me) was the ladder race.  Things didn’t go well, and I had a few slips on the way up, so didn’t get through my heat.

Straight after was the hose and ladder 5s.  During the week, I had tweaked my sprint technique with the hose in the harness, which seemed to give slightly more speed down the track.  I used the same technique in this run and made it to the stage with plenty of time to spare.  Our time was 25.12.  Not spectacular, but 0.67 seconds better than last year.

Because we’re down on numbers, I was called upon for some of the marshalls, which were next, running a 19 second 2 man marshall, which wasn’t too bad, considering the limited time I’ve spend on these events.  Had a solid run in the 4 man Y, but we were slow getting over the line.  After the Y, it was time for lunch.

The first event after lunch for me was the pumper and ladder 5s.  Our run was aborted part way through, due to equipment failure.  As this was not our fault, we were granted a re-run.  In the re-run, I got a good climb, and we finished with a time of just over 17 seconds, which is among our best times.

Now all that remained were the cart events, which have always suited me the best.  First of those was the C Section 4s.  I was in pole, as usual, had a good, uneventful run, and we easily won the event.

Following the 4s, was the sixes, one of my favourite events (the other being the Y8).  Here, I was in my usual position of pole and second branch, so another run with the cart in tow, but at least I had another person beside me in the front and an additional one on the back. :)  This pole is a bit harder though, with the front being heavy to pick up at the start, and the run being 25 yards longer than the 4s.  My run was unuventful, with good speed down the track, then taking my branch before handing the cart over to the catcher.  I was in position in plenty of time to hit the target.  Unfortunately, we got a miss somewhere.

Next up was the champion 4s.  I wasn’t originally on this team, but one of the other guys was suffering from minor heat exhaustion and went off to the rehab facility to get it sorted, so I was called in to take the pole again.  This run went similar to the C section 4s, except I was probably slightly faster, due to being fully warmed up from the previous 2 runs.  Our time was also slightly faster, but as this was an open event, the A and B sides got all of the placings.

With the loss of one of our team, we no longer had sufficient numbers to run the Y8, even with borrowing from another team, so our day ended there.  I was feeling a bit under the weather myself, though nothing serious.  I decided to check into rehab as a precaution.  They found only a slightly elevated body temperature, but nothing dangerous, so I spent 10-20 minutes in a cooling chair with some water and electrolyte replacements, before returning to the team to help pack up for the trip home.

For the team, the day was successful, with a section aggregate win and 5th in the grand aggregate.

This coming week, it’s back to athletics for the Victorian Country Athletics Championships.

- Tony via Tumblr

Monday, January 16, 2017

Back on the fire track

Yesterday, the fire brigade season resumed with a competition at Benalla, around 200km from home in the northeast of the state.  The long trip necessitated an early start, with the team departing on a bus a little after 6:15AM and arriving just before 8:30 for a 9AM start.

This competition was a bit different to the run of the mill ones we normally attend, in that both juniors and seniors ran on the same day.  This was reminiscent of competitions 25-35 years ago, when I initially competed.  I like the idea, because it gives juniors an opportunity to see what senior runners do (the wet events are very different to junior ones).

The different format meant both a later start and a different order of events for us seniors.  First event up was the 4 man Y.  Had a good run myself, but there were some hiccups around the Y piece that slowed the us down.  This was the only event in the marshalls that I ran, so it was now a long delay until after lunch, while the juniors ran most of their wet events.

My next event was the ladder race.  After a false start and some confusion caused by the starting system, I ran a solid 7.69.  Unfortunately, I was up against one of the faster guys, who was probably half my age or younger and didn’t win my heat.  Luck of the draw.

Next was the hose and ladder 5s.  Had a good run and got up the ladder in plenty of time to finish with a 25.25 second time.  Enough to easily win the event.  Following this was the  sixes.  Had another good run in my usual position of pole and second branch, and we came second in that event.

In the champion 4s, we fielded two entries.  I was in the second entry.  Ran another solid pole, and we finished 4th.  Our first entry finished just ahead of us in third.

The final event was the Y8.  We made a minor change to our team from previous training.  I was moved from first coupling to hydrant.  This was to allow the two runners in pole to go through ahead of the hydrant.  Once the pole was clear of my path, I could use my speed to make up time to the plug, set the hydrant and then continue with the rest of my run, eventually ending up the ladder.

Got off to a good start, following closely behind the left pole until I took the hydrant off the stand.  By then, my path was clear and I sprinted the 30 yards to the plug.  Just as I was about to lift the cap, I was hit by something on the cart from behind, which temporarily threw me off balance and left me with rather sore right glutes.  I quickly recovered and completed a perfect set of the hydrant.  Next was a short run to collect the Y piece, which someone left for me further down the track and pass it to the third coupler.  This requires a short run, then a stop for a the transfer.  My injury made it a bit painful, but I made the transfer in good time.  My final step was to run to the ladder, wait for the third branch to place the branch and hode in my harness, so I could climb the ladder.  The third branch had some difficulty and I had to wait, which made the climb more challenging, as I would have to lift water near the top of the ladder.  Despite my injury, I made it up in good time, and we came second in the Y8.

That ended a fairly successful day.  After a stop at Maccas (MdDonalds for those of you outside Australia) for a quick snack, we made the 2 hour trip back home, and I nursed a rather sore behind, which made getting on and off the bus a bit interesting.

Recovery is going well.  Today, I trained at the track and managed near race time 200m sprints, before spending a bit of time working on my javelin technique.  I’m sure my massage therapist is going to notice the damage at the next appointment! :)

- Tony via Tumblr

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Breaking the speed barrier!

With Christmas and New Years out of the way, the athletics track and field season resumed today.  Today was a regular meet, and I entered 5 events - the 100m, shot put, long jump, 400m and javelin.

First up was the 100m.  Conditions were perfect for a good time, with a forecast temperature of 38C and a light NE wind, which would be mostly a tailwind on the straight.  The heat and wind conditions were ideal for me.

After the usual warmup, I lined up at the start, with the goal of breaking the 13 second barrier that has eluded me all season, with several near misses.  After a false start (no,wasn’t me! :) ), the race got underway.  Made a tactical mistake in the early stages, which cost me significant time, affecting my acceleration.  Wasn’t sure if I had achieved my goal, but a check of the results some time later showed a time of 12.99 seconds - yes, I had finally done it, and with a less than ideal race! :)

Following the 100m was the shot put.  First throw, I tried a different technique, didn’t work, ended up with a no throw, and followed that with an ordinary 5.50m.  I passed on my third throw, to get over to the long jump, where I jumped 3.79, then 3.80m, before passing again, to go over to the 400m.

By the time the 400m was run, wind conditions were a little tricky.  In my heat, the wind turned during the race, to be a headwind around most of the lap.  Finished with a reasonable time of 1;02.58, 0.1 seconds short of my PB, with almost nothing left in the tank.

Next up was the javelin.  First throw was a no throw (landed on its side - AKA “belly flop”).  Second throw was over 13.9 metres, a PB.  At this time, I had to go to the 4x100m relay, where I ran a solid first leg, before returning to the javelin.  My final throw was 13.99m, another PB.

So, another good way with 2 PBs and some solid performances.  Now, for a couple of weeks break from athletics as the fire brigade season kicks into top gear.  My next track and field meet will be the Victorian Country Athletics Championships on 26-28 January.

- Tony via Tumblr