Sunday, February 19, 2017

Pushing the boundaries on the fire brigade track

Just back from today’s fire brigade competition.  With only 4 available in our team, I knew it was going to be a busy day, estimating I’d be needed for around 8 events.  However, in addition, the A team were short handed, most notably, their ladder man is down with a serious illness.  Special arrangements were made with the organisers to allow me to run ladder for the A side as well.  So my 8 events was now 10 or more, many physically demanding runs.

With 2 entries in the hydrant race, I could have run this event, but decided to save myself for when I was needed, and sat that one out.  So, my first event was the ladder race.  Won my heat and ran 8.29 in the final.  OK, though not as good as I have been.

Next up was the hose and ladder 5s.  With only 4 of us, we had to borrow a runner, and also some ran in unfamiliar positions.  There were a few hiccups in the run, and we finished second with a 28 second time.  Immediately after was the hose and ladder 8s.  This is identical to the 5s, except the ladder is raised by the extra 3 runners, instead of being fixed in position.  This was the first event I ran ladder for the As.  The run went well, being almost identical for me, just a minor modification of my technique on approach, and a bouncy climb.  Our time was around 24.6 seconds, enough to get second place.

Next up was the pumper and ladder.  In this event, I ran ladder for both of our teams.  With the A team, we ran around 15 seconds, enough to win the event.  The C team ran 21 seconds, though it felt a lot faster.  but that scored 5th place.  By now, the extremely rapid turnaround time between runs (around 10 minutes average) was starting to be felt, but my times were still surprisingly good.  All those 150m reps at the athletics track late last year were helping! :)

Ran the pumper 4s, but got a miss here.  Again, the forced change of positions didn’t help.

After the pumpers were the marshalls.  The 2 man marshall started well, but a few fumbles by both of us in the second half of the run cost time.  In the 4 man Y, I had a good run in coupling, and was able to coast across the finish line, as some of the others were behind me.  We still managed 4th place with a less than ideal run.

After a 30 minute lumch break, it was time for the remaining reel events, starting with the C section 4s.  I was back in pole here.  Had a fairly good run, maintaining a good line on the tricky track, where the width and multiple line markings can get one lost easily.  Unfortunately, we had a miss. :(

In the hose and reel 8s, I was needed to fill a position.  I ran second assist, running on the right side of the cart, then helping the second length back to the hydrant.  On the way down the track, I noticed I was headed directly for the hydrant, so to avoid a collision, I left early and ran alongside, until it was time to get on the hose.  Unfortunately, this run was another miss too.

The final event for the C side was the champion 4s.  Again, I ran pole.  I did have a choice, but despite my heavy workload, I knew my fitness was up to the task, and at this late stage, I was probably better suited to the task.  This run was clean, with a slow time around 22 seconds.

While the C team had finished the day, not having enough to field a team for the Y8, the A team again needed my help with the ladder in the Y8.  I ran first coupling and ladder, very similar to the hydrant and ladder I normally run.  This run went extremely well, ending with probably my best climb of the day.  The time was a bit over 32 seconds, a good time by any standards, resulting in a win, and proving that despite my age, I am still able to be competitive in an A class team, and take on a workload beyond a normal day’s competition.

All in all, it was an interesting day, with many challenges, with ups and downs.  The day proved that my training regime is on the right path.  I’m easily able to cope with 10 or more events in a day and still have more in reserve at the end of the day.  I’m looking forward to the state championships in 3 weeks time.

- Tony via Tumblr

Saturday, February 18, 2017

2017 AV Shield Final

Been a bit preoccupied with other stuff this week, like some new work, so I’ve been a bit slow with blogging.  However, last Sunday was the AV Shield Final, the culmination of much of this summer’s athletics competition.  For this meet, the 4 clubs here in Bendigo combined forces to send the best from our region.  This meant 4 athletes for the flat track events (100m, 400m, 1500m), and 2 for the other events offered.  As I knew I was free last month, I nominated to compete and got chosen for the 100 metres, as well as the 4x100m relay.

Just being selected was a win in itself, as that put me in the top 4 over 40s male athletes for these events, who were available to run.  Anyway, the final was held at Lakeside Stadium in Melbourne, the same track I ran the state relays at the end of November.  With my first event starting relatively late (12PM) and the late relay finish (sometime after 7PM), I elected to drive down, so I didn’t have to be up early for little reason in the morning and to get home as early as I could after the relay.

I arrived at Lakeside at 11AM, and after locating the other Bendigo region athletes in the stand, I warmed up for the 100 metres.  Timing was tricky, because there were 38 heats, and I was in heat 28.  With 2-3 minutes between heats, I figured I’s be running around 1PM, if the event was on time.  As it turned out, the 100m heats did start on time, and my heat was run close to 1PM.  Anyway, I ran 13.27 in highly variable wind conditions in my heat.  Not the sub 13 seconds I was hoping for, but not too bad.

After the 100m was the long 6 hour wait until the relays.  Much of this time was spent cheering others on from the stand.  The atmosphere was quite exciting all day.  I also took time out to catch up with a friend from the other side of Melbourne, who had informed me he was running in the 1500m.  

As the day progressed, the relay teams were finalised.  I was to run the 4th leg down the home straight.  I used to run this leg back in high school, but hadn’t run it since taking up athletics 18 months ago.  However, I was pretty confident and have been in good form.  During my warmup, I incorporated some dummy baton changes, just to be sure.

In our heat, there were 3 teams in my age group, plus 3 under 20 teams (who we weren’t competing directly against).  Our 3rd runner came around in second place out of our 3 teams.  I took off at the arranged time, but had underestimated my acceleration, and had to slow down slightly, so we could complete the change.  Once I had the baton, it was all out for the sprint to the finish line.  This sprint felt smoother than the 100m heat earlier in the day, and I kept pace with the other team ahead of me.  One of our club members who was watching from the stand commented that I did look better in the relay.

This past week, I started a 4 week period where I focus exclusively on fire brigade competitions.  My next one is tomorrow in Echuca.

- Tony via Tumblr

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

A wet day on the track

Sunday saw the annual Central and Hume fire brigade competition here in Bendigo.  In contrast to typical weather conditions, it was cloudy and humid, with periods of rain all day, but not enough to cause any cancellations.

With our small numbers, I had a lot of runs, starting with the hydrant race, an event I don’t normally contest.  Did OK, getting through the heat, but time wasn’t good in the final due to a funble.  With my track speed, the hydrant race is an event I should train more for.

Next up was the ladder race.  Again, I got through my heat easily, and ran a solid final, though a bit slower than normal, due to the weather conditions.

In the hose and ladder 5s, I had a bit of a slip on the ladder after a fast sprint down the track.  I put that down to being slightly out of position in my final approach.  Coming down from top speed in a short space can be tricky, but when done right saves a bit of time.  Even with the slip, we still managed 26 seconds - 2 years ago, that was only possible when all went well.  Anyway, the time was good enough to easily win the event.

After the 5s were the marshalls.  These are supposedly dry events, but it didn’t look so in the rain!  Had a couple of minor fumbles in the 4 man Y and 2 man marshall that spoilt otherwise good runs.  The good news is from next week, I’ll have time to fine tune these events for the state demo in 4 weeks, as I focus 100% on the fire brigade competitions in the lead up to the state.

Had a slow start in the pumper and ladder event, but made up time with a good ladder climb.  We finished in a time that would have at least got a place at the state championships, and slightly better than our 2014 winning time.

All that remained for me now were the reel events, starting with the C section 4s.  I was back in pole for this run.  Got down the track fine with the cart, but a hiccup at the hydrant cost us a lot of time.  Because everyone else is behind me, I didn’t see what happened until 2 days later when a video was shown.

I was then asked to fill in for the A side in the hose and reel 8s.  Had a good run there, and we scored second place.

This week, we had enough to run the hose and reel 6s.  This was to be run in the traditional heat and final format.  Drew a faster side in the heat, but got first water.  Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get the second length attached as quickly and didn’t win the heat.

Following the 6s was the champion 4s.  For this event, we swapped the team around a bit from the C4s.  I ran hydrant this time around.  Got down the track well, but a minor delay in setting the hydrant.  I haven’t had the opportunity to practice this position.  Another one to fine tune before the state championships. :)

Final event was the Y8.  Ran my usual hydrant and ladder.  The challenge here was climbing the ladder, which was very greasy by the end of the day.  Somehow made it up and we did place in the event.

So, I have a few technical skills to focus on over the next 4 weeks or so.  :)

This Sunday is the Athletics Victoria Shield final, my last athletics event before the fire brigade state championships.  After Sunday, my training routine will change for those 4 weeks.

- Tony via Tumblr

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Victorian Fire Brigade Competitions | Facebook

Victorian Fire Brigade Competitions | Facebook:

I’ve said a lot about the fire brigade competitions on this blog.  There is now a Facebook page, so you can find out more about what we do.  With the shate championships coming up, there should be some photos and videos soon.

- Tony via Tumblr