Alternate title: Marathon Training Week 6 & 7
Plan: Hal Higdon Marathon 3
Weeks til marathon: 17
I can in no way do a post which conveys my entire two-week trip to Australia, all the cool things we saw and did, and the completely ass-backwardsness that is the Land Down Under.
But I can tell you about my runs and that's kind of good enough.
I actually only went for one run. And that was the second morning we were there in the city of Brisbane. Brisbane isn't a touristy place. In fact, I think out of everywhere we went it was the least inhabited by tourists. It's a very pretty small city on a river. It was quiet, walkable, sub-tropical and warm, lots of flora, and very clean. It was one of those cities where the brochure would says things like "great for families" or something like that. We chose to fly into Brisbane because we were already leaving from Sydney and between Brisbane and Melbourne, Brisbane was closer to the Steve Irwin Zoo (which was a total let-down, but you live and you learn).
I had packed one pair of running shorts, two running tops, and one pair of brand new Saucony Jazz. I purchased the Saucony Jazz for three reasons:
1) They are cute as hell (proof below) and I needed a new pair of casual walking shoes I could where for things like shopping
2) I needed a paid of shoes I could walk around Australia in that could double as running shoes so I didn't have to pack 17 pairs of shoes
3) They were $29. Direct from saucony.com. Wrap your head around that for a moment.
That's right, a plunger. Fun fact: in Australia they do not have coffee-makers. To make coffee they use a French Press, which they decided sounds too fancy so they call it a plunger. On all four occasions I enjoyed "plunged" coffee it was delicious, so I let it slide. If you order coffee in a cafe, airport, restaurant however, you will probably not get plunged coffee but rather a puzzled look and an assumption you want a Flat White. You must specify black coffee, and then you will get another puzzled look and you then must specify you want a Long Black. The first time I was asked if I wanted a Long Black I just said "sure" and I was pretty positive after tasting it I got four shots of espresso in a cup. But it was pretty good at least, so I decided that's what I would stick to. (Probably a week later I figured out a Long Black was the equivalent of an Americano.) If you want an iced coffee, bless your heart, you are basically shit out of luck. An Aussie iced coffee can be one of two things: the first is coffee, milk/cream, and sugar in a milk carton in the fridge and the second is coffee, cream and sugar over ice with ice cream on top. One sounds gross and the other sounds like starting the day with a massive stomach-ache and I'll let you decide which is which. I figured out I could order a Long Black over ice... IF the cafe has ice, which it probably doesn't. Ice isn't a "thing" in Australia. Two ice cubes is about all you get, and most places just have refrigerated packaged drinks. If you are able to order an iced Long Black, then Hallelujah and congratulation, but I dare you to not then feel ridiculous for asking for milk in it.
Ok, back to running. I stepped out into the subtropical summer and was on my way. I could instantly tell these Sauconys (Sauconies?) were a winner. Lightweight, cushiony, and roomy, I felt glorious already.
I hadn't really mapped a route, but just decided to take the path along the river that we had checked out the night before and add on to that.
Somehow I wasn't even for a second reminded of my run in NYC, despite the similarities.
I just finished the novel Johnno in which the narrator grew up in Brisbane post WWII. He feels about Brisbane the way most people probably feel about their home town - wanted to go somewhere else, travel the world, instead of stay in Brisbane and settle down. When he goes back he sees all the old ghosts of his childhood. He has really fond memories, but the Brisbane he knew is gone to a modern world with cosmopolitan buildings and new and improved infrastructure. I'm happy I didn't read this before I visited Brisbane (as was intended) because I would have had preconceptions. I'm happy I got to see it through my own eyes. It's a really beautiful small city.
Our trip also included most of Week 7, and other than the walking we did in Sydney, which was a lot, the only thing I got in was a run when I got home. It sounds like I am really dedicated to go running right after I got home, but in fact (and I assure you) it's really just because after sitting in an airplane seat for 14 hours just about anyone would want to go for a run.
The weather was crisp and clear so I decided to head up to a park 15-ish minutes away with the best views. It was 63 degrees out and I thought, wow this is great running weather. Somehow, I had forgotten it was winter. And when I got to the park in my shorts and light jacket, I was reminded. It was only 55 degrees at the park because - elevation. It was extremely windy. I pressed on.
I mean, I think it even looks cold.
But I was right, it was a gorgeous evening! So incredibly clear. It made me feel lucky to live here (weird right).
I cut it short and ran back down the mountain. My quads hurt for like 4 days.