Monday, January 28, 2019

2019 Victorian Country Championships.

This weekend was the 2019 Victorian Country Athletics Championships.  This year I extended myself and entered 7 individual events.  With the 2 relays on offer, that made the total number of events 9 for the 3 days.

On Saturday, my first event was the long jump.  I had been doing a bit of work on this event and have improved in recent weeks.  Anyway, my third attempt was my best jump at 4.47 metres.  My best for 2 years, and 2cm short of my PB.  This scored me a silver medal.

A couple of hours later were the 400m hurdles.  For my second attempt at this event, I ran 1:15.16 and won another silver medal.

Sunday looked like my toughest day for winning medals, with big fields and a lot of talented opposition.  First up was the 100 metres.  Here, I got off to a good start and managed to stay close to the front of the pack.  Finished third with a bronze medal in a season best time of 13.39.

Next was my only other field event, the triple jump.  Because of my niggling foot injury, this is an event that I’ve rarely done this year (not since the Australasian Police and Emergency Services Games in October).  I quickly found myself in a battle for bronze and coming from behind.  However, on my third attempt, I managed to sneak into third place by 1cm with an 8.15m jump.  On my 4th and final attempt, I was able to extend that to 8.32 metres, giving me a decisive bronze medal and a triple jump PB.

My last event for Sunday was the 400 metres.  I’ve been in my best ever 400m form this past month with both fitness and tactics on my side, or so and knew I had a lot of competition.  The race went pretty much to plan.  I started fast, then settled to target pace for the back straight.  Despite the headwind here, I didn’t compensate and took the risk of maintaining pace into the wind.  At the 200m mark, it was time to increase speed slightly and work the second bend into the strongest headwinds.  This put me in perfect position for a race for third place.  At the top of the straight, I was level with another runner for third place.  At this point, I went all out and gave it everything, hoping I could maintain pace for the last 85 metres of the race.  This tactic paid off, and I was able to pull ahead slowly, gaining over a second on my opponent in the straight, winning bronze with a time of 1:03.02.

Today was the last day of the meet, and I had 4 events.  First up was the 100m hurdles.  Ran second in a time of 21.62 for another silver medal.

My last individual event was the 200 metres.  As is typical of multi day meets, some of the competitors dropped out of the competition, so the field was smaller than expected.  I got away to a great start and by the time I had reached top speed, it was obvious that I would finish second, barring the unexpected.  I settled back to cruise the rest of the way to the finish line.  I did consider seeing how close I could get to the front runner, but decided it wasn’t worth the risk and kept cruising.  Finished with silver in a time of 27.67.

Now it was time for the relays.  The first was the 4x100m relay.  There were only 2 entries in our age group, but unfortunately, the other entry was forced to scratch from the event, meaning we only had to complete the event as a formality for the gold medal.  Pity, as I was hoping for a good race.

The 4x400m was a different story.  This event was different, because there’s no 50+ age group, we had to run in the 40+ age group.  This ensured a lot of competition.  By now, conditions were hot, with a strong headwind in the back straight.  I ran the first leg.  Here, I used similar tactics to the individual 400m the previous day, though the heat, headwind and fatigue did make this run harder than the previous one.  However, I was still able to finish strongly and leave us in a good position for the rest of the relay as I handed the baton only slightly behind the leader.  The other 3 guys in our team performed very well, and we took the gold medal by about 5 seconds.

This was one of my most successful meets with 9 medals from 9 events, a result I’m very happy with.  From here, it’s a mix of fire brigade and athletics for the next month or so, before focusing on the fire brigade state championships in March.

- Tony via Tumblr

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Tuning up for Country ChampsYestaday was round 10 of AV Shield athletics, and the last track meet...

Tuning up for Country Champs

Yestaday was round 10 of AV Shield athletics, and the last track meet before the Victorian Country Championships. I took advice from my coaches and decided not to run the 400 metres. That. Left the 100m hurdles, 100m, long jump and javelin.

Hurdles were first and went well. Improving my technique each time, giving me a PB of 21.36.

In the 100 metres, I had a good start, then backed off at the 30m mark as I approached top speed. Once at speed, I opened up all the way to the finish. Time was a season best 13.45.

Now I could relax, with only the 2 field events left. Long jump was a reasonable 4.06, and javelin was 16.22m.

A good day overall. Today, I’m with the fire brigade running team for a competition.

- Tony via Tumblr

Friday, January 18, 2019

Doing Parkrun in track season.Lately, I’ve been thinking about how to bring the benefits of...

Doing Parkrun in track season.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about how to bring the benefits of exercise to more autistics in my community. And I’m not alone with these thoughts, with others also interested in doing the same (more information when the time is right).

Anyway, one thing that makes things easier is that I’m an exception in being a sprinter. Distance running seems to suit more autistics. This is good because there’s more inexpensive and frequent opportunities for distance runs.

At the top of my list would be Parkrun. For those not familiar with Parkrun, it’s a weekly free timed 5k run (or walk if you prefer) that’s run by volunteers in many places around the world. Parkrun has been used in other parts of the world as a venue for autistic and intellectually disabled people to exercise in a controlled public setting.

To achieve these goals locally, I want to form a closer relationship with the Parkrun. I have run it a couple of times, but now that I’m in peak season, running 5km is not appropriate for this stage in my training and competition cycle. But there was another option. Parkrun relies on volunteers to operate, and as luck would have it, there was a vacancy for this week’s Parkrun.

I arrived early, found the other volunteers, received my vest and some instructions. I was assigned to be the marshal on the last turn before the finish. My job was to make sure the runners were aware of other park users and walkers, as well as encourage them . This was a lot of fun.

My experience as a volunteer was as positive as those I’ve had as a runner. I’m a big fan of Parkrun, because it caters to as many people as possible, from casual walkers to state and national champions, and all abilities. Prams and pets are also welcome, making it a very inclusive event. The people are friendly and supportive as well. If you haven’t done a Parkrun, do yourself a favour and give it a go.

- Tony via Tumblr

First time volunteering at Parkrun

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Taking video selfie with the drone. Had to use manual control,...

Taking video selfie with the drone. Had to use manual control, due to conditions.

- Tony via Tumblr

Just acquired another tool for photos and videos. Found a...

Just acquired another tool for photos and videos. Found a reasonably priced drone online and bought it.

While awaiting delivery, I familiarised myself with the relevant aviation regulations for flying remotely piloted aircraft, and downloaded CASA’s excellent “Can I Fly There?” app.

The drone arrived yesterday, and I charged it up and was ready to fly. Only problem is a small scrub fire broke out just before I planned to fly, which effectively grounded me from flying, due to the potential of firefighting aircraft operations.

Today, after track training, I had the all clear, but had to make a last minute venue change to avoid people. After a couple of learning issues (you could call that cockpit trouble ;) ), I had the drone flying and taking both stills and video.

The drone has features that might be useful for training and promotions, but I need a calmer day to use them. Conditions today were marginal, with stronger wind than I would have liked.

- Tony via Tumblr

Just acquired another tool for photos and videos. Found a reasonably priced drone online and bought...

Friday, January 11, 2019

Cleared another hurdle... or 10!

Another good week at the track.  This week’s Athletics Victoria Shield round (round 9) was a twilight meet locally, due to state and national multi event championships being on all weekend, which I wasn’t able to enter, due to a conflict with fire brigade competitions, where I am the hardest person to replace, due to my specialist skills on the ladder.

Anyway, with the evening timeslot, I decided not to enter any field events.  I also entered the 400m hurdles, because I saw this event as an opportunity to score good points for the club at the upcoming country championships.  Other events entered were a couple of old favourites, the 100 and 200 metres..

In preparation for the long hurdles, I did some training on Tuesday with 3 flights setup along 150 metres of the track, to get used to the longer hurdle running.  However, leading up to the event, preparation wasn’t ideal.  Thursday night’s track session was followed by a hard fire brigade session, which saw the team run 3 hose and ladder 5s in quick succession, some of them saw me getting up in among the best times I’ve ever run.  That was followed with a couple of hose and reel sixes, where I had to fill in as pole and assist.  Again, thee were good runs.  Today started a bit better, with a relatively light yoga session, which freed a few things up.  So by the time I got to the track, I was well and truly in “Day 2 mode”.

Anyway, warmed up for the hurdles and did a few practice runs over the first 2 flights to prepare.  And it was time to race.  My plan was to go around steady, with a view to finishing the race.  Time was secondary.  Started steady, but not too hard, as I knew I wasn’t going to use a lot of speed.  First couple of hurdles went well.  Had some issues getting my stride pattern right for the 3 hurdles along the back straight, where there was a stiff headwind at the time, but things improved into the bend.  Despite feeling some fatigue, the last few hurdles went smoothly, and I finished strong.  Time was 1:21.05, which I’m sure will be faster, next time I run the 400m hurdles.

As the 200 metres followed within 30 minutes, there was no need for further warmups.  Instead, recovery was needed.  I rested while waiting for the 200m to start.  Still felt a bit fatigued from the hurdles when the 200m started, but got out steady.  Found myself in another tight contest in the home straight, which I won, finishing strong in a time of 27.91.  With a -1.8m/S headwind and still recovering from the 400m hurdles, I was happy with that time.

My final event was the 100 metres.  I was probably a bit over cautious because of my recent hamstring strain, resulting in a slow start and less than optimal acceleration.  Once up to top speed, I opened up and finished the race well.  Time was 13.67 with practically no wind (-0.2).  Next time, I know I will be able to go all out. My hamstring showed no sign at all of trouble.

So overall, a good day, breaking some new ground with the long hurdles, and again good fitness showing through.  Looking forward to the country championships in 2 weeks time.

- Tony via Tumblr

Saturday, January 05, 2019

Starting the New Year with Strength.

Track season resumed today with a non shield meet.  I had originally entered the 100m hurdles, 100m sprint, long jump, javelin and 400m.  However, due to a minor hamstring strain, I decided to skip the hurdles as a precaution, and to better suit an online virtual decathlon challenge, I swapped the javelin for shot put.

First up, the 100 metres was the high risk event.  I knew I had to hold back a bit to avoid re injuring my hamstring.  I kept most of the race below 90%, but still managed 14.05 into a stiff 3m/S headwind.

Despite a slight reduction of speed in the long jump, improved take off power allowed me to exceed 4.10 metres on all 3 jumps, with the best jump being 4.27m.

Shot put followed soon after.  I haven’t had much luck with shot put this year, but today I was in excellent form, beating my old PB with my second put, then exceeding that in the third round to set a new PB of 6.99 metres - 60cm better than previous.

With no high jump offered, I did the GVR “high jump” hill climb event up a nearby hill to warm up for the 400 metres.

The 400 metres was my last event.  With success at recent training near PB times, I was confident of a good result.  Like the 100m, I had to limit my acceleration to around 90%.  Once up to cruising speed, I maintained speed for the first 200 metres, which left me in a good position.  Opened up on the second bend, with a good race for second place with my coach.  The close race pushed both of us to our limits for the entire home straight.  I won the race for the minor placing in my heat, and set a new PB of 1:01.64, beating the old one by 0.84 seconds.

Today was a very good day.  Other than my residual injury, I was in great form, much better than before Christmas.  The biggest change in that time is I started a highly sport (for sprints, and figured good for ladder climbing) weight based strength routine.  This seems to be working.

My next challenges are to attempt the 400m hurdles next week, with a view to competing in that event for points in the country championships in 3 weeks time.  Also, at the championships, my goal is to break the 60 second mark for 400 metres.

- Tony via Tumblr