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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Couldn't help myself

I've been training pretty well, feeling quite fit and I've been doing plenty of long runs with my brother-in-law, so I couldn't resist entering the Adelaide Marathon. Not sure what time I'll go for, but I'm sure I'll go out too fast as usual. Hopefully it'll be a good hitout for Yurrebilla.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Thoughts about doping: Part 1

This is a comment I left in the Science of Sport blog yesterday. I thought I'd post it here and I might make a few other posts about doping too.

I've been thinking for some time about doping and its normalisation. It all comes down to perspective (or loss of it). Whilst it is quite correct to say that doping is wrong and not normal, when you look at it as part of a spectrum of practices that are employed in elite sport, it is quite easy to see how it becomes normal. For the everyday amateur athlete and/or general population, practices such as altitude training, altitude tents, hyperbaric oxygen treatment, extreme use of painkillers, extreme dietary restriction and supplementation, laboratory testing, the high training loads and all the other legal practices that professional athletes endure to get an edge would seem bizarre (colostrum anyone?) and unnecessary. Also, I don't think most people realise the workload and pain that elite athletes go through to reach their peak. So to most people, elite training and high performance practices are not normal, but they are quite happy to sit back a marvel at the end product. To the elite athlete, all the above performance enhancing practices become normal and I think that it is a pretty small step from the legal to the illegal.

The general public might think something like taking your own blood out and storing it for use later to increase performance is extreme (although this is a common surgical procedure). But take the athlete who is training all day every day, being continually tested, is on a regime of legal drugs and vitamins, they spend time at altitude and they've been doing this for years. Their lifestyle has been manipulated in every respect to achieve maximum performance. When your whole life has been shaped to gain maximal performance, it defies logic not to use a practice that increases performance.

Many of the illegal doping practices for athletes are in one form or another legal and commonly used medical procedures. Steroids are legally used to treat a multitude of conditions, blood transfusions are standard practice, stimulants are also used to treat a multitude of conditions. So for an athlete who is subjected to a range of extreme and often bizarre performance enhancing practices, not using "normal" medical procedures might feel like they are missing out on their full potential.

I suppose this all sounds like a justification for cheating. It's not, but it does indicate how a fairly warped mindset (to us) could develop.

Anyway, that's my musings about it.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Heysen Trail Blog

I've started up a new blog here to document my Heysen trail run. Check it out, and leave comments if you like. I'll still post here occasionally, but the Heysen trail will be my focus for the next year or so.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Trying to get this thing going again

Had a huge run last Sunday. Meant to go out for 1:30 and ended up out there for 2:30 and stumbling home in the darkness. Didn't get out for the rest of the week due to a) soreness from the long run, b) looking after chicken pox boy and c) soreness from stacking it on skateboard.

Eventually got out today for a sharp run from the city to Flagstaff Hill after walking through the Earth ride today.

A note on the earth ride. The event was a good start, and the turnout was quite good considering the rainy weather. However, I had intended to run around the 5km with the now recovered pox boy riding. The ride was so slow that I could comfortably stroll the distance and most of the riders rolled around struggling to stay upright. I know they were trying to keep everyone together and only shut down road for the minimum amount of time, but if they really want to get people along to these events and make a statement, then close the roads fully for an hour or so and let everyone roll around at their own pace.

Monday, March 22, 2010


This is the race report that I wrote for SARRC. A good result for me; first place in a time of 37:20.

Rising early on Sunday morning I noticed one thing: the wind. Never mind that, it’s the same for everyone. I picked up my mother-in-law (Julie) and took the easy drive down to Normanville. When we arrived at the Normanville Beach carpark, everything was set up and ready for the start of the 10km walk starting at 8am. Julie had forgotten her race number, but was able to have it replaced by the very helpful ladies at the late entry desk. The wind was playing havoc with all the equipment set up in the starting area, but a few adjustments by the plentiful volunteers had most things tied or weighed down or packed away.

The 10km walk started with a healthy field of walkers setting off into the stiff ESE wind. I went to the late entry desk and entered then went off to get ready for the race making use of the convenient facilities.

The start of the 10km run came around quickly and we set off. Just as we started, a massive gust of wind whipped up dust and sand and momentarily stopped us all in our tracks. We made our way through town with great encouragement from some enthusiastic locals and found ourselves running out of Normanville towards Carrickalinga, thankfully with a crosswind for most of the rest of the race. The well signed and marshalled course wound its way through the streets of Carrickalinga eventually reaching the turning point halfway around Haycock point. Upon turning back we were met by another brief blast of wind before getting back into the crosswind. The two conveniently placed drink stations would have provided plenty of hydration, although it was a fairly cool morning and I didn’t require them much. Back through town, past the fans and finally down the home stretch with a tailwind at last! The finish line beckoned and we were done.

There was time for a couple of pieces of fruit and a coffee from the Kiosk before the presentation. An interesting feature of the race for me was the awarding of prizemoney to placegetters.

Thanks to the generosity of local businesses and families there were modest cash prizes for all placegetters and plenty of random draw prizes. Besides the beautiful location and the excellent course, the best feature of the event was the enthusiasm of the race organisers and volunteers.

Thankyou to all of you for putting on such an enjoyable event.