Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Cliff 2 cliff 2011 fat ass half-marathon

Cliff 2 cliff 2011 fat ass half-marathon (27 March).

Base map from google earth.

The race takes its name from Shorncliffe, a northern bayside suburb of Brisbane, and Redcliffe peninsula in Moreton Bay Region. Redcliffe used to be its own municipality (Redcliffe City Council), but is now part of the greater Moreton Bay Regional Council. Redcliffe was named such by explorer John Oxley from the red cliffs visible from Moreton bay. Humpybong meaning 'deserted huts' is the original aboriginal name. Shorncliffe may be named after the Shorncliffe camp cliffs in Kent, England. Or it may just be the 'shorn' cliffs, torn and worn, molded and formed by the waves of sea and time.

The course is along the coastlines of Moreton bay stretching from Shorncliffe to Sandgate through to Brighton, thence onto Australia’s longest bridge across the North Pine river mouth at the Houghton highway over Bramble bay, and finally to Clontarf in Redcliffe.
It starts and ends on the historic Shorncliffe pier in Moora Park.

An avid photographer at dawn on the Shorncliffe pier.

Timper piles out on Moreton Bay.

This pier was built in 1872. It is popular with locals and also a favourite hangout and subject for landscape photographers.
From the pier the half-marathon route traces out miles of shared concrete bikeways/pathways on foreshores lined with parklands lawns and trees. The run course also includes all 3km of the new three-lane 'hurricane- proofed' Ted Smout bridge on Houghton highway spanning the North Pine river. This reinforced concrete viaduct will be 1-year old in July. (The bridge was named in honour of Ted Smout, Queensland’s longest-surviving WW1 veteran who died in 2004 at age 106).
These pathways form part of an extensive 20km series of pedestrian and cycle ways from Shorncliffe to northern Redcliffe in Scarborough. The full length is the route of the marathon and ultra marathon. Half the route is the half-marathon.

Runners at the break of dawn.

The run.
The sunrise started us off at 6:00 sharp as the sun broke out over the sea on Moreton bay.

The glow of glorious sunrise.

If there is a better setting to start a half-marathon race, I haven’t seen it yet.
Of course it’s only my first half-marathon, but I’ll get to that.

I'm winning! Leading the bottom pack at the start, the first 60m. Photo is from this website:
  The first half of the race was a slow one for me. I paced myself for this first attempt at a half-marathon. In no time I was by myself, in no man's land, setting my pace, running my race, even tying up a loose lace. Within the first 3 or 4km along the Sandgate foreshores, I was losing liters of sweat as the air seemed to stay stagnant in the humid early morning after sunrise. Small raindrops started to fall, and I looked up thinking it was drizzling. The clouds were clearing the beautiful hue of sky blue, and what I thought was rain was actually my sweat beads. I was sweating bucketloads.
Along the way were various folks out on their Sunday morning sidewalk strolls. Some were walking, some jogging, some cycling, some walking their dogs, some walking their walks. Some were cheering us. I plodded on. Many of the other runners have disappeared down the road. About a half-hour into the run, the ramp going up to the new bridge suddenly looms. It wasn't very demanding up the incline, but at the bridge I could feel the sun start to sear. The bridge runs northeasterly so I angled my cap for some shade on my face.

After an infernal 15 minutes on the baking bridge, I neared the halfway mark at Pelican Park in Clontarf. I got lost looking for the turning point. There seemed to be a maze of footpaths there. The landmark is a toilet block but I passed not one, not two but three of these structures in the park before I found the mini-orange flat cone with a little sign that was the turning point of the 21.1km run.

I checked my watch, 7.00 am. So far so good although I could have done better. I took a break, sipped some water and then commenced the return leg. Running back, I hugged the bayside of Pelican Park thinking it may be shorter, but I ended up doing an extra couple of hundred metres just for fun. It wasn’t fun seeing a couple of runners get ahead of me while I was detouring.

I drank water at three maybe four or five drink taps on the way in the park, and I felt thirsty still. Further along there was one more tap at the north end of the bridge over the bay, and I took my time for a really good drink. (Did I mention that there are three bridges spanning Bramble Bay, all alongside each other here? Indeed I fished off the old Hornibrook bridge before - it’s now just for pedestrians, and the Houghton highway bridge is still in good nick. Fishing platforms are part of the new bridge). Hey Martin this blog is not about fishing. Er okay.
So back to the race,
I stopped for a second time to break fast on a small camote (sweet potato) pastry. The food may not have helped my race but the few minutes of rest did. A couple more fellow runners went past me, but I was aiming to finish my first half-marathon even if I had to come last, so I enjoyed some more sips of water. The breeze picked up so I took in big breaths and strolled along the bridge for my tummy to settle a little. A couple of minutes later, after taking a photo of the bridge I set forth again.

a long way to go and a long way from home.
 I felt good again after the sustenance and the breeze kindly blew along my way. I haven’t ran this far before, and the first thing I noticed different, at about the midpoint of Australia’s longest bridge (12 or 13km point), was my footpad kinked up between my right toes. I ignored this discomfort until I reached Brighton at the south end of the bridge in Decker park where a drink fountain beckoned at about the 5km mark. For a third time in the race, I stopped here to rearrange my footpads.
One more runner went past me. I smiled ruefully at her, and now I was certain that I would come last even if I did finish. I refuelled again and slowly got back on the final 5km to the finish. It seemed like an eternity before the jetty that never seemed to get closer, finally was close enough for me to know that I might just get to it and finish the race. I tried to catch the last of the runners in front of me, but I could not breach the final 200m or so to them. At least I kept pace and finally staggered to the finish line.

I almost collapsed over the finish line, but horror of horrors I saw the others keep going on to the jetty. So in horror instead of collapsing, some strange power urged me on just as it dawned on me (it's way past dawn Martin) that we had to run the pier a second time. The pier is 350m long, and the full 700m in-and-out final leg of the race on that jetty was the hardest I ever ran. I jogged really, but you know that’s my definition of running.

The timekeeper checked her watch and was about to leave, but I pleaded "I'm nearly there!"

You call that running martin?

I finished! Deadset last as predicted.
And so I survived to run another day but that's the last thing on my mind. And I lived to tell this tale.
Later I found some specks of white dots on my forearms. It turned out these were fine grains of salt, no not from the seabreeze, but from sweat caked on my skin. I am a salt factory.

After the race I met some of the club runners (I gather they're from moreton bay runners and bunyaville trailrunners clubs). I tried sharing war stories with them about my first half-marathon, but they are all seasoned running vets, though they smiled kindly at my tales of troubles.
'Might see you out on the roads of battles next time', I said as I took leave.
My legs disagreed of course. Strenuously if not violently. They were twitching.

Would I run this again? I wonder.
The results were promptly posted by the very cool redback runner Mr Cameron. He was also kind enough to grant a link in the coolrunning forum which I extracted.

                           Half Marathon  24. Unknown Participant          2:19:59

I don't know who the unknown participant is :-). I wonder if anyone even noticed him. But well done to all the runners in the inaugural "cliff 2 cliff" fat ass run. See you all next year perhaps.

The equivalent distances for funrunners in the Philippines should check out:
  1. Baguio cliff to Shilan cliff and vice versa. half marathon. (The surgeon-general from Chonglian has cautioned that running this route is hazardous to your health).
  2. Bontoc cliff to Gonogon cliff and back. half marathon. (Bontoc cliff is about a kilometre downriver and north of town, I think it's called 'Smokey cliff')
Postscript 04 June 2011
The cliff2cliff organiser advised that the results of the 2011 races are published in the 'Run For Your Life' Magazine June-July 2011 Issue #36.
cliff2cliff wordpress R4YL_June-July 2011


Friday, 25 March 2011

Twilight run 2011

Brisbane Twilight Running Festival 2011. (20 March) 10 km run.

The University of Queensland was established in 1909 but eventually founded in this site in St Lucia in 1946. The name comes from the island of St Lucia in the West Indies. The UQ's St Lucia campus is considered by many to be the most attractive in Australia. It sits on a sprawling 114-hectare site in a bend of the Brisbane River, just seven kilometres from the CBD.

But I come not to praise what I see sir. I come to bear him. Him that tells tall tales. Yes friends lend me your spectacles.

Parts of St Lucia like many suburbs along the Brisbane river, went underwater during the flood disaster in January this year.

But come hell or high water, as indeed the latter came, and flooded or not, life and running must go on. Sunday the 20th of March was the date of the Twilight running festival held at the Queensland Uni.

Flooding did necessitate the moving of the race muster areas including the start and finish lines. The floodwaters have receded and the ovals reseeded but the athletic track was still under, undergoing repairs.

The number of runners has increased from last year’s race tally.
In the 10km run the number of finishers went up to just under 1600. In 2010 the finishers were less than 1300. The drizzly weather notwithstanding, almost every man and his dog (as the photo shows) and wife and kids and baby were there.

It had been raining continuously during the previous 48 hours, and it seemed that it will keep raining on the day. Like many people, I was hoping for the f-word weather. The day was not quite fine, but at least the rain petered out to intermittent drizzles.
They said the race was at twilight, as the sun sets over the Brisbane river. But Sol was still up, hiding behind the clouds in the middle of the afternoon. That lucky old star got nothin' to do, but roll around the sky all day. The day just happened to be overcast. Indeed there were thousands of volunteers willing to pound the pavements and fix up some of the cracks that the floods may have caused.

At the start, everyone was cheery and smiling and chatty and obviously looking forward to the first race event in the running season of 2011.
Summer had gone or so the calendar says. But deep in the race, the humidity took toll and soon the smiles evaporated along with liters of sweat (at least in my case). Facial expressions had assumed smirks which turned into frowns and then grimaces, or is it just me?
The racecourse features beautiful tree-lined routes alongside the Brisbane River on the western bank (UQ St Lucia) and eastern bank (suburb of Dutton Park). Linking the two sides is the 390m Green Bridge (Eleanor Schonell Bridge). This 20m wide bridge is about 18m above the river and is the first bridge in Australia designed exclusively for buses, cyclists and pedestrians only.
I did not have time to admire the bridge or try out some of its viewdecks. It was very tempting to stop and rest on the inviting shaded seats in the cool breeze.

Being an optimist, my strategy for this year's run was to be positive. Many believe that positive thinking and attitude will lead to success.
And how my positive thinking worked! The results were positively positive all around.
I increased my time, did a positive split, and also finished in the high hundreds (600s) as against the low hundreds (300s) last year in the placings numbers.
This totally negates the concept of positive thinking. My results prove that positive thinking does not lead to improvement. QED.

Levity aside, last year the 10km and half-marathon runs started together at twilight (5pm). This year however the 10 km run started at 3:30pm - an afternoon run. I did finish in the twilight just before the start of the half-marathon at 5pm.

Photo courtesy of sporting images.com.au
I was totally spent after running a gruelling 10km that I wonder how anyone can run half-marathons and marathons, not to mention ultra-marathons. This mere mortal just shook his head and cheered on the half-marathoners.

Many other Martins took part in the race. I am the slowest of them all. It took me almost twice as long as the winner.

Twilight Quest 10km Run - OFFICIAL RESULTS (Overall)

Place Name Bib Number Time
1 Jason Geraghty 3855 32:21.0
2 Daniel Yates 4001 33:16.0
3 Adam Fitzakerley 2546 33:32.0
4 Bior Arok 2050 35:07.7
5 Gerard Balnaves 2070 36:44.0
54 d Martin 3012 43:00.3
362 R Martin O 3206 53:05.6
520 Martin Dean 4171 56:02.8
536 Martin H 2694 56:17.8
579 Martin N 3171 57:09.1
662 r Martin 3014 58:35.6
665 Martin Polichay 362 58:38.6

Oh well, as Ned said, such is life. I think I peaked in my mid 30s, and I wasn’t even running then.

I did get a medal, no matter that every finisher did. I even got my name and race time engraved on it. And one day I’ll tell my grandkids about the time i ran the ‘twilight run’ one afternoon in 2011.

And the winners are:
Twilight Quest 10km Run AGE GROUP RESULTS

March 20, 2011
Overall Female Open Winners
Place Name Overall Chip Time Bib Number Pace
1 Tammy Egstorf 23 40:32.0 4021 4:03/M
2 maree stephenson 27 41:16.0 3537 4:07/M
3 Sarah Schroeder 33 41:34.6 3453 4:09/M

Female U15
1 Ainslie Bakker 65 43:47.5 2066 4:23/M
2 Madeline McGuire 133 47:33.9 3060 4:45/M
3 Chelsea Meyrick 437 54:32.7 3098 5:27/M

Female 15 to 17
1 Laura Daly 74 44:47.4 2413 4:29/M
2 Amy Hillier 123 47:02.7 2723 4:42/M
3 Hannah Jannusch 163 48:24.7 2789 4:50/M

Female 18 to 29
1 Emma Coman-Jeffries 34 41:34.8 2335 4:09/M
2 Jacqui Waters 43 42:22.8 3724 4:14/M
3 Adelaida Blaxley 68 44:03.8 2159 4:24/M

Female 30 to 39
1 Julie Stapleton 48 42:41.1 3530 4:16/M
2 Kelly DONOVAN 57 43:10.0 3847 4:19/M
3 TRINA DENNER 75 44:54.8 2447 4:29/M

Female 40 to 49
1 Carmel Monaghan 72 44:37.9 3131 4:28/M
2 Fiona Jacoby 113 46:43.6 2785 4:40/M
3 Leisha Callaghan 130 47:23.6 2581 4:44/M

Female 50 to 59
1 Dagmar Ryan 170 48:34.9 3416 4:51/M
2 Sylvia Prinsloo 306 51:55.8 3308 5:12/M
3 Liz Jordan 312 52:05.0 2826 5:13/M

Female 60 and over
1 Lucy Miles 493 55:38.0 3105 5:34/M
2 Helen Banks 796 1:01:06.9 2305 6:07/M
3 Cynthia Croft 885 1:02:27.2 2377 6:15/M

Overall Male Open Winners
Place Name Overall Chip Time Bib Number Pace
1 Jason Geraghty 1 32:21.0 3855 3:14/M
2 Daniel Yates 2 33:16.0 4001 3:20/M
3 Adam Fitzakerley 3 33:32.0 2546 3:21/M

Male U15
1 Jack Barnsley 14 38:39.0 2082 3:52/M
2 Hamish Hamilton 28 41:19.7 2653 4:08/M
3 Tom Robson 112 46:40.6 3392 4:40/M

Male 15 to 17
1 nicholas scarponi 6 36:53.4 3446 3:41/M
2 Kieran Storch 9 38:03.0 3557 3:48/M
3 Francois Mienie 22 40:25.9 3103 4:03/M

Male 18-29
1 Bior Arok 4 35:07.7 2050 3:31/M
2 Gerard Balnaves 5 36:44.0 2070 3:40/M
3 Jay Gartner 7 37:21.0 2593 3:44/M

Male 30-39
1 Peter Ross 8 37:34.1 3405 3:45/M
2 oliver schweizer 10 38:23.0 3457 3:50/M
3 SHAUN ROBINSON 15 38:51.0 3390 3:53/M

Male 40-49
1 Michael Thompson 11 38:23.9 3612 3:50/M
2 Greg Webster 13 38:29.0 3732 3:51/M
3 Nigel Waddington 18 40:10.0 3687 4:01/M

Male 50-59
1 Clyde Dorman 50 42:43.4 2466 4:16/M
2 Peter Davoren 84 45:23.3 2425 4:32/M
3 Cees DeBruine 91 45:47.3 4012 4:35/M

Male 60 and over
1 Michael Walsh 83 45:22.7 3709 4:32/M
2 Michael Briggs 85 45:24.7 2212 4:32/M

Congratulations all winners finishers and runners. Well done all supporters volunteers marshalls, etal.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

March listens and reads too

Gao Xingjian. Soul Mountain.
Translated by Mabel Lee of Sydney University. This novel has earned wide acclaim. I am in the midst of the journey and enjoying it immensely.


Maya Angelou. Letter to my daughter.

Modern Critical Interpretations on I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings. Edited and with an introduction by Harold Bloom. Contains 12 selections from criticisms of the first of Maya Angelou’s Autobiographies.

Gao Xingjian. Return to Painting.

Frank Brady. Endgame.
This book is about Bobby Fischer, and his life in chess.

The Mammoth Book of the World’s Greatest Chess Games.
Some of the brilliant games of chess in the last 200 years. Marvel at the great champions and also get shocked by the all-time worst blunders. If only i can play a bit.

Learn from Bobby Fischer’s Greatest Games.
If you're a novice like me, get hold of Bobby Fischer teaches chess.


Bob Dylan. The Best of The Original Mono Recordings.

Mumford & Sons. Sigh no more.

Neil Diamond. Dreams

Shawn Mullins. Light You Up.

Creedence Clearwater Revival. Green River.

Billy Joel. The Stranger.

Various Artists. Forever Friends - Just For You.


John Lescroart. The Mercy Rule. A Plague of Secrets. Betrayal.
Where does one start? Nowhere. Return them quick! Have mercy on my secrets.

Steve Martini. Compelling Evidence.
I am not compelled just quite. Evidently.

Christopher Reich. Betrayal of Rules.

The main protagonists are a doctor working for 'medicins sans frontiers' (borders without doctors) and his spy wife. The plot is quite outrageous. But worse it gets more outrageous. I forgot i read a previous forgettable book by the same author.
That’s what one's mind sometimes does to fiction.
I'm not even sure I got the book of the title right.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Hard Times Come Again No More

Here's a song for these hard times.

"Hard Times Come Again No More" was written by Stephen Foster in 1854.

Let us pause in life's pleasures and count its many tears,
While we all sup sorrow with the poor;
There's a song that will linger forever in our ears;
Oh Hard times come again no more.

Tis the song, the sigh of the weary,
Hard Times, hard times, come again no more
Many days you have lingered around my cabin door;
Oh hard times come again no more.
While we seek mirth and beauty and music light and gay,
There are frail forms fainting at the door;
Though their voices are silent, their pleading looks will say
Oh hard times come again no more.


There's a pale drooping maiden who toils her life away,
With a worn heart whose better days are o'er:
Though her voice would be merry, 'tis sighing all the day,
Oh hard times come again no more.


Tis a sigh that is wafted across the troubled wave,
Tis a wail that is heard upon the shore
Tis a dirge that is murmured around the lowly grave
Oh hard times come again no more.


There are some notable recordings, some I have heard or have copies of.
• Jennifer Warnes • Mary Black • Kate McGarrigle and family • Bob Dylan • Emmylou Harris • Nanci Griffith • James Taylor (with Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer, and Mark O'Connor) • Johnny Cash • Mavis Staples • Willie Nelson • Eastmountainsouth • Thomas Hampson • Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

There's numerous videos on youtube too. Here are my picks:
  1.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4YrfLnlrquo&feature=related
  2. Bob Dylan at Willie Nelson's 60th in 1993.
This blog extends sympathies to all those affected by the Japan earthquake, the latest rainfloods in Brazil, and the other disasters around the world in recent times.
May your voices soon be merry.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Seasons pass, Autumn's come, and March marches on.

Monthly reading guide (March 2011).

Common errors and problems in English by Robert Allen is part of The Penguin Writers' Guides series which provides easy-to-follow guidance on aspects of written English. This is a simple and practical guide to help anyone who does any kind of writing.
In Other Words by C J Moore presents some untranslatablewords from other languages for which English has no good equivalents. The sole Filipino word mentioned is “sayang”.
WHY YOU NEED A PASSPORT WHEN YOU'RE GOING TO PUKE by Mitchell Symons is packed full of crazy facts from around the world and guaranteed to have young readers hooked for hours.
Supercapitalism. Robert Reich is a former US Labor secretary during the Clinton administration. The book argues that supercapitalism undermines democracy, widens the inequalities between rich and poor and their incomes, and aggravates the effects of global warming. Reich calls for a clear delineation between business and politics. He documents and details the ruthlessness of the big corporations who are buying politicians through lobbying and campaign donations.

Aftershock picks up where Supercapitalism left off. Robert Reich lays out a plan for dealing with the aftermath of the global financial crisis. He points out the main culprit for the meltdown which is the concentration of income and wealth at the top. In America in 2008 the richest 1 percent took in 23.5% of the national income.
The challenge for Africa. Wangari Maathai. The book states some hard truths about the woes of Africa, including: 1 The legacy of Christianity in Africa is largely negative. Native Africans were taught that to question its authority was sinful and heretical. 2 The syndrome of dependency on foreign aid is part of the problem. 3 The ‘resource curse’ or overreliance on natural resources to the detriment of industrialisation and economic diversification. 4 Undue deference to political leadership. 5 Disempowerment or pathology of helplessness caused by apathy; misguided faith that God will provide or that politicians will set things right; or lack of belief or self-confidence to fend for one’s own uplift; the list goes on. This is also an unspoken problem amongst the indigenous peoples of Australia. At this stage I can guess that you’re thinking: this sounds familiar. You betcha!
A New Literary History of America. This traces American literary history from the 1500s to 2008. Some fine entries here from the present crop of American literati.
The Fry Chronicles. Stephen Fry is a highly intelligent and witty person. But this autobiography is wracked by self-doubt and driven by his attention-seeking. It ends in 1987 and cynically lays out a snare to ensure a market for his next book.

The Finkler Question. Howard Jacobson. Apparently this is a story of love and justice, ageing, wisdom and humanity. I would not know. I only got to chapter 4.
Freedom. Jonathan Franzen. The book has been described as often inspired and eloquent with praiseworthy ambitions but with its heart on its sleeve much of the time. Make of that what you will.

Mojo. January 2011. Free CD contains An alternative Christmas celebration with R.E.M, Chuck Berry, & more! Features Queen & the best of 2010. Reviews Tony Joe White, Norah Jones, The Who, Sufjan Stevens and many more.

Justin Townes Earle. The Good Life. The debut album from the son of Steve Earle.
The Hoochie Coochie Men featuring Jon Lord with Jimmy Barnes as guest treats us to a lavish selection of blues classics from artists such as Little Walter, Muddy Waters, Elmore James, Jimmy Smith and Willie Dixon.

The Remains of the Day. Yep the butler did it! He got featured in a movie. This was based on the novel of the same name by Kazuo Ishiguro. The book is more enjoyable but Emma Thompson is easier on the eye. And naturally, the butler was worrying about other things.