Brendan's Running Blog
2009 will be much bigger than 2008. Track my progress towards at least one big goal.
Thursday, 5 April 2012
Tuesday, 3 April 2012
Sunday, 3 May 2009
Sporadic blogging – an update
The expat belly seems to be disappearing, slowly. Training coming together. Objectives unclear.
I had wanted to have a shot at the Bob Graham Round this year but the reconnaissance aspect of the run are impossible unless you can visit Keswick on a regular basis. So it looks like all my efforts will be on two goals this year.
1. Spartathlon – A race of Greek legend proportions in September. It is the route taken by the Athenian messenger who arrived in Sparta the day after he departed from Athens. It is considered to be the route to that Pheidippides followed. The race has a difficult cut off, 246 kilometres in 36hours. The cut off pace is equivalent to 24 hours for 100 miles pace but for 150 miles. The race takes place each September. I have attempted the 150 mile distance only twice, and managed to finish both times, my best time is 40 hours. To achieve the cut off time I need to do a four-hour personal best. (ie. no more ice cream)
2. Trailwalker Hong Kong in November – This team of four event is 100 km long, held in hot and humid conditions, claims to have more than 9,000 metres of elevation incline and decline. (it’s a point to point event that starts and finishes at sea level). Having completed four of these types of events in the past, it was satisfying to complete last year’s event for the first time with a full team of four (1000 teams started). Our slow time didn’t matter, to our surprise we finished in the top 20% of full teams that get through. (most of the faster teams burn someone in the process of attaining a faster time). I’m motivated to finish this one again but faster.
My Training has been consistent (except for last week after I hurt my back chasing a ball thieving dog on the beach here in Hong Kong, the dog didn’t have the staying power).
I have recently finished three events. A hilly 42km marathon, A 50km hilly trail race and a hilly 65km time trial. All in warm and wet conditions here in Hong Kong.
In two weeks I will run the Great Wall Marathon in Beijing. Not sure what to do after that but will need to step up the distance. For Spartathlon specific training I’ll need to find a 24hr track race somehere.. mmm, rubs chin.
Other news. I am spending three days per week in Beijing and have finally moved out of the hotel into my own rented apartment. I joined the Ozone Gym to work on my core strength and having core training once per week from an ex member of the Chinese gymnastics team. His name is Li and he really make core training interesting.
Suppose I better stop procrastinating and head out for my Sunday four hours of pain on the dirt trails here in Hong Kong. Promise to update again soon.
Wednesday, 4 February 2009
Quick Update - Making Good Progress
2009 will be a year of (better) achievements.
I ran a marathon two weeks ago in Hong Kong then backed up for three days of Hot running in 40 - 45 degree celsius running in the heat of Melbourne. Anyone who saw the Australian Open Tennis will have seen the sweltering temps.
After a fair bit of suffering last week I will go for a 60km summer run this Sunday to Wollongong in Sydney.
So I'm happy to say the routine has started again. Getting the 100km Trailwalker done last November seemed to have shocked the system into action.
Will post again next week.
Sunday, 11 January 2009
Happy New Year
HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone.
Not much happened last year from an athletic point of view. After the weekly travel to Seoul and Beijing and the odd trip to Taipei, there wasn't much time left for the family or training.
Towards the end of the year I managed to do some good training and get through the HK trailwalker which seems to have more ascent/descent than almost anything else that I've done. Some of the old crusty english types, still in Hong Kong since the '97 handover, say it's 9000 metres up and 9000 metres down, unlikely but who knows. It was hot and some of the more accomplished runners crashed and burned so I was happy to get it complete. That was my fourth trailwalker type event but the first where the whole team of four made it to the finish. This meant that the time was slower but still in the top 20% of the full team finishers.
Since then the training has been steady, bodyweight is getting back into check, slowly.
From an injury perspective I'm suffering from a RHS groin strain, it feels like a tendonitis and is right in there where the tendon meets the bone. I was managing it with Voltarin 100 tabs that are available over the counter in HK without a script. But staying off the hills over the last month has allowed it to improve somewhat.
I spent Christmas / new year in England with the in-laws and the kids. Managed to get some nice 2-3 hour sessions on flat frozen tracks along frozen canals in the country. I used my heavier goretex approach shoes for most of these sessions.
Even managed to get up to Snowdon (highest hill in Wales at 1085m) for an afternoon.
In terms of goals for 2008.
* I'd like to get one big race completed - Simple. I have one preference in the USA which I have applied for and hope to be accepted.
Saturday, 27 September 2008
Week 2 – A hard slog
Once upon a time I consistently updated my blog. In those days I was stronger, faster and could jump higher. After a year in the tropics I have lost most of my fitness and have a huge uphill struggle to get back into shape.
Each week I’ll document my training. This will motivate me to train harder.
Last week was a big week by any standard.
On Sunday, three members of my Trailwalker team set off to train on the MacLehose Trail. The toughest two sections are sections 3 and 4. Both are awarded a three star rating, the most difficult. It was a really hot day and I set off with 8 litres of water in a backpack. For those unfamiliar with the Maclehose, it is described as the hilliest terrain outside Nepal. Traversing the MacLehose 100km is like climbing Mt Everest and descending again. I don’t know if this is true but I can tell you the hills are unrelenting. And last Sunday it was very hot and humid. For about 7.5 hours we slogged away at those hills. One of the guys blew up and needed to be helped to safety. He was all puffed up and hyponatraemic.
I had a relatively relaxed week (except for working through one night and being lured into a boozy business dinner in Taipei on Thursday) then hit the Mac again on Friday night. Leaving at midnight and going through until 8am. A nice 8 hour hit out. It’s been a long time since I did a “through the night”
Next weekend I’ll be in Beijing so things will be more relaxed. When I get back I’ll do more Maclehose and have a crack at the section that includes Needle hill. See below
Sunday – 7.5 hrs on the Maclehose trail – Hard, Hilly, Hot, Humid
Monday – 30min easy
Tuesday – 1.5 hrs 5 x big hill repeats
Wednesday – rest
Thursday – rest
Friday – rest
Saturday – 8hrs through the night on the Maclehose trail
Tuesday, 23 September 2008
Week 1 - The blog strikes back
Week 1 – ending Saturday 20 Sept.
The blog begins again.
I shut down the blog because I received a complaint, but I have decided that it motivates me and it’s time to use it again.
What am I training for? Well the immediate response is Hong Kong Oxfam Trailwalker on the 7th November. But I only see that as re-entry point into the world of endurance. Since I started living and working in North East Asia one year ago I have had significantly less free time. The first thing to go was my fitness regimen. Then 33 trips to Seoul and 28 trips to Beijing and other places in China add in the odd trip back to Sydney, Taiwan, Europe and the US and you have an unfit specimen.
My training has been consistently steady over the past two months. I went to Keswick in England to walk/run some fells, I was in Arizona and managed to walk into the Grand Canyon all the way to the Colorado river and back in one afternoon (and rescued some poor fellow that was stuck out there, no lights, no map, no water and 125 degrees, had to carry his pack up to the rim) and I’ve been fairly consistent in my training here in HK.
So the blog begins again. What am I training for?
Badwater? (210km) If the race director lets me in again I’d jump at the chance, no excuses this time
Bob Graham Round? – If I fail at getting into Badwater I may put all my efforts into a BGR attempt
C2K? – (240km) on in a few months at the beginning of December. I probably don’t have time to prepare, but have done it twice so a third finish would be cool. And I get to use my lifetime race number 6
Spartathlon (240km) – Next September is too far away
We’ll see. But at the moment I’m getting miles under the belt.
Still very hot here in Hong Kong.
Sunday – 4.5hrs – On the HK trail – rolling hills
Monday – 3.5hrs – On the Wilson Trail – Big Hills
Tuesday – 1hr – 3 x v steep ascents
Wednesday – nothing (Seoul)
Thursday – 30min easy (Seoul)
Friday – nothing (Seoul)
Saturday – nothing (still in Seoul)
Sunday – 7.5hrs on the MacLehouse trail. Full report next week, very hot carried 9 litres of water from the start
Sunday, 2 December 2007
HK Wilson Trail Stage 1 & 2
Hi All, With my entry confirmed for Western States I thought that I should start some decent training. I’ve put on a few kgs and need some good consistent miles under the belt to get back in shape.
I met my mate Ian (a kiwi but let’s not hold that against him) for an Indian lunch in Stanley, on the southern side of Hong Kong, and planned to hike back to Quarry Bay, which is on the busy side of the Island.
The Curry was good and the hiking was hard. Ok it was only 11.4km but there was bugger all running. It is either all up or all down.
Much of the trial is concreted and it is bloody steep. Have a look at the first kilometre, see above.
Anyway I’m happy to have done it.
Sunday, 7 October 2007
Back on the air again
Well I managed to finish the Western States 100. And I have a had a bit of a break. I'v e been accepted into the WS100 again for next year and I guess it's time to reactivate this blog.
Today is the day I move to Hong Kong permanently.
After today I'll be based in HK and I'll be blogging my experiences fron there.
So get ready for more action.
Saturday, 16 June 2007
Saturday in Denver and Leadville here I come
I thought it might be time for an update.. Above a few shots of a walk I did near Boulder during the past week.
The first picture is the approach to one of the flatiron rock formations.
The second is the view back to Denver
The third is near the summit of the flatiron 3. Was very rough and difficult to run on.
I’m here in Denver and it has been really warm. Up to 90 degrees. I haven’t done any running since I got sick over a week ago. The body has responded well to the rest and I’m pleased to report that I am operating on seven cylinders. Each day I feel stronger. The food is a bit of a worry, all fatty and not particularly healthy. For the next week I’ll probably cut most of the fat from my diet. The conference in Boulder went well. I was in a beautiful old 1880s hotel called the Boulderado. They had me on the top floor and I decided that I would not use the lift. The first day I found that I was out of breath but amazingly after tow days I didn’t notice the thinner air.
It’s 9am Satuday here and I notice it’s 1am Sunday in Sydney. So I have a couple of options. I could rest by the pool or I could go exploring. I like the sound of Leadville.
Leadville is the highest township in the USA at 10,430 feet (3,200 metres) from there I wouldn’t mind seeing If I can climb one of the mountains called the fourteeners. The fourteeners are a collection of 56 mountains that are all above 14,000 feet (4300 metres). Many of the summits are climbs but a few are walks. All of them are covered in snow and ice year round. I did a quick search and It looks like I can get a room rather than rushing back to Denver.
· The coffee has been terrible. So I went out and bought a little stovetop bialetti espresso maker and I’ve just finished my second cup, these little things are such a luxury. I will limit my caffeine intake over the next week so that I maximize the effect of coke in the race. The shop I went to was an international supermarket and had a number of Aussie products. (Bundy ginger beer etc..). I was alarmed to find out that they used to sell Vegemite but it had been banned in the USA by the FDA (Food and Drug administration).
· My left arch is still giving me trouble. I have a strategy to manage it. I will use hard shoes that don’t roll around too much on the descents (inov-8 terroc), will put a pad over the connection of the posterior tibial tendon connection on the medial side of the L foot, I will use voltaren gel on the area, I will take low doses of voltaren tabs but will need to keep an eye on kidney function in the heat for a bunch of reasons, I can now do 70 calf raises (30,20,20), with an ankle flick at the top of the raise and I will also continue to work with the ankle tension bands. And I will use an orthotic that supports the arch for the race
· Headaches are gone. I’m sure they were a combination of the altitude, the jetlag, I was rather dehydrated when I arrived and my chest infection probably didn’t help too much
· As noted I’m still not sleeping so well. This is due to my procrastination and incessant gear tinkering rather than my jet lag
My training schedule for the coming week is a light load.
· Saturday (today) Walking at altitude
· Sunday 1hr easy
· Monday 30min
· Tuesday 10x100m
· Wednesday 45min
· Thursday 30min
· Friday nothing
· Saturday Race WS100
· Sunday Finish WS100
Next week I fly to Reno, NV on Tuesday which is 35min from Truckee where the Aussie team are staying prior to the WS100.
I suppose I should get my gear and head up to Leadville.
Sunday, 13 May 2007
Nine and a bit foot track (70km)
A quick update (I promised I’d stay off the computer for most of mothers’ day). Keen followers will note that I have been having all sorts of problems with my left ankle and arch. My (newish) podiatrist seems to have correctly diagnosed the problem.
I have been on a massive strengthening program combined with the (responsible) use of NSAIDs and a new pair of firmer (inov-8) shoes that don’t roll around too much. (Podiatrist didn’t recommend these, too hard) and the re use of some old orthotics that provide arch support.
It’s too early to say I’m out of the woods but yesterday’s 70km session on the six foot track where I really hammered the downhills and pushed as hard as I could in the rough and up hill was certainly an encouraging improvement.
The ankle ached but not to the point where it hampered my progress.
As for the session on the six foot. I ventured out with Mister G and Nathan around 7:30am on Saturday and went to Deviation and back. It was a hard and rewarding session in perfect conditions.
The six foot track was as severe as ever. I pulled up with a little soreness but I expected this because I was really going for quad trashing. I’m sure the harder shoes have contributed slightly to the soreness.
When we got to Deviation, Mister G announced that we had only run 34.5km. SO we left our packs at the campsite and ran another 600m down the track so that we could say we had done more than 70km for the day. (ultrarunner fuzzy logic).
Of course I had forgotten the run to the explorer tree which was one km or so.
So I’m pretty happy with that as an outing. In terms of injuries.. The left ankle niggle feels better than it has felt in years, the legs are sore. I have a bastard of a blister under the thick skin on my left big toe. It split and seems to have gone septic. I guess it’s because I waded through cox’s river which is full of Lithgow effluent. (should have rock hopped like Mister G and Nathan).
By the way the river is waist deep on me at the moment.
Next week I’ll take it easy to recover and I’ll probably head down to the SMH half marathon on Sunday to cheer in some CoolRunners because there is no scheduled Sydney Striders training run next week
I’m not as quick as the rest of the Mellum and GBH crew, but I’m starting to think that I may well finish this Western States 100 mile race within cut-off unless I make stupid mistakes.
There are still a few weeks to go. Looking forward to the rest of the preparation.
Hope all the Mums had a great day today.
Monday, 30 April 2007
Prom 100 - Race Report
All day on Friday I sat in a work seminar at the Marriott in North Ryde. I just kept on gutsing myself on confectionery bananas. I ate pastry for morning tea and rice and pasta for lunch. By the time I had made it to Sydney airport I was so stuffed full of simple and complex carbohydrates that I was feeling like I’d committed the fifth deadly sin (that’s the one about Gluttony).
The 18:30 Jetstar to Avalon was fabulous. (just love it how they exclaim “Enjoy” as if they’re all from up north) jumped into my Corolla and realised I had about 4hrs of driving in front of me. Ugh!
Arrived at the Prom around 12:30 and it was blowing a gale. Didn’t even bother pitching the new tent. (Black Diamond, Firstlight, lightest two man tent on the market today). Just crawled into the fart sack and curled up in the back. (imagine me in the back seat of the Corrolla?). Awoke several times during the night with feelings of suffocation and calf cramps. The alarm sounded at 5am and I dressed inside the car due to the utter deluge occurring outside.
Paul Ashton did manage to curb the pre race briefing to a few minutes and we were off at 6:03am.
Did I mention that it was pissing down and it was really windy? In terms of Gear, I was on the light side of gear and should have worn a Gore-Tex jacket instead of my Montane featherweight.
Just purchased this Gore-Tex jacket as a result:
I don’t currently possess any trail shoes so I was wearing my Asics road shoes, which did not cut it, more on this later.
Ascended the 4.4km hill up to Mt Oberon with RB and Whippet, as the others have noted, it was literally a case of two steps forward and one back and as wet as you can imagine. Fun and Games.
The track across to Sealers Cove was perfect trail and very enjoyable to run on. It was good to catch up with Mal and Nick and other new faces on the scene. The chop and surf that was rolling into Sealers and later Refuge Bay was stunning, as choppy as we’ll ever see. I was so glad we weren’t swimming to New Zealand today, 100km of running would be an easier option.
I picked up Kelvin at Sealers Cove. Kelvin was either cold, taking it easy or sick because I was taking things slowly and had not expected to see him. As it turned out he was cold and low on calories.
Despite the cool wet temps I seemed to be drinking a fair bit and found my two bottles empty just after Refuge Cove. Given that I was unfamiliar with the course I decided to refill at the first possible opportunity, which was a large puddle on the track.
Soon after I felt sick. Kelv and I covered the hilly & rocky cliff track around Kersop Peak and I quickly realised that my Asics Kayano 12 were not designed for such rough terrain. In fact I can’t imagine having any worse traction on the large wet granite boulders that we needed to scramble across.
Kelvin pushed on ahead and I walked for a while while my tummy recovered. At the Little Waterloo bay camping area (31km) I took an extended stop to empty both the bowels and the stomach.
I managed to find the beach exit at Little Waterloo and wandered on the boardwalk for a while. I saw Nick coming up behind and managed to slip off the boardwalk and drop off the side into the swamp. Onwards and Upwards.
At the Telegraph Track Junction (39km) Nick went off into the bushes to recover some food and I decided to push on ahead alone.
The trip to Roaring Meg was uneventful (except I think I may have cut the course by 200m) and the trip down to the south point of Australia was rough and unforgiving, what else would you expect. As I descended I passed Paul and Andrew who were racing each other and full of beans. Touching the south point was wonderful and surprisingly calm. (39 degrees South).
I managed to pick up my first leech on the completely overgrown section of track that goes from Roaring Meg to the Lighthouse. I felt the little shit bite me on the back of my leg and as I went down to get him I noticed a couple of the little buggers on my shoes and gaiters. A bit of flicking and dancing managed to deter them and it was off to the Lighthouse.
If you have never been to this Lighthouse you should do yourself a favour. It is the most majestic lighthouse I have ever seen. Not particularly big, rather, more like a place with a commanding aspect and fortress like surroundings. (53km).
The 800m hill up and back from the lighthouse was a pain and I knew that it was time for more food because I was starting to lose concentration.
The section from the Lighthouse to Little Waterloo Bay was some of the toughest terrain I have ever covered. The track was hilly, covering numerous rises over cliffs. It was also wet and slippery and completely over grown in sections. I had decided to use compass and map to navigate through this section.
By the time I got down to little waterloo bay at 68.8km my left ankle was killing me. I was running flat-footed on my left and in real pain. I popped a couple of my wonder pills (paracetamol and caffeine in one tablet courtesy of LHR terminal 4) and started to perk up. But soon after I was walking again.
I was now in a situation that I didn’t want to be in. My ankle was sore and I couldn’t run but I wanted to get to the notorious beach exits (the one’s where lots of people got lost last year) before dark.
I did make it through all the beach crossings. The only one I had trouble with was the Oberon Bay exit but I just copied the advice from Sean Greenhill and Kevin Cassidy (2001) and scrambled up the side of the hill, knowing that the track could be crossing the hill longitudinally at some point.
The most remarkable thing happened at Little Oberon (77km). I managed to find the beach exit without any trouble by using map, compass and printed advice from Coolrunning.com.au
I finally made it back to the campsite at Tidal River and stopped for a cuppa. By this stage I was feeling great but my bloody ankle was hurting me.
I must say I as getting worried that David would catch me (GBH, oooorah) and decided to keep ambling.
It was nice to see Chilli and RMC and Tim C (who had hurt himself in a fall). Thanks for the escort to the bridge.
I quite enjoyed the last 20km even though I had a sore L ankle and really savoured the still cool evening. I saw David about 1km back and had my light off some of the time so that he wouldn’t chase.
As I finished in 18hrs I had a sense of satisfaction. I knew I could go faster, I still had good energy and I wasn’t too tired. David ended up coming in 10 or so minutes after me.
After some post mortems with Chilli, Whippet and UCB. I decided to call it a day. And awoke 3hrs later for the 4hr drive back to Avalon.
Congratulations to Paul Ashton on a great and challenging event.
Well done to every one who had a shot.
Tuesday, 10 April 2007
RMC, Kelvin and lots of sand running
Monday – Rest
Tuesday – Easy 40min
Wednesday – 25km trail with Spud and Sub 50 in Lane Cove National Park
Thursday – Intervals with SWEAT. 1km repeats (4:02, 3:59, 3:58, 3:59, 3:57)
Friday – 14km Trail – Blairgowrie to Sorrento (Vic) and back
Saturday – Easy 40min
Sunday – 60km Trail
Arranged to meet Kelvin and RMC for a bit of running. Arrived at Dromana just after 7am and called Kelvin to be told that he was caught in traffic. I got going at 10 past seven which was perfect because it allowed me to get started rather than keep up with a quicker Kelvin.
I set off at an easy 7km/min which is probably a bit quick for the first section up Arthurs Seat. Then settled into a lazy 6km/min pace on the flatter sections. I was carrying dual waterbottles so that I can get used them for Western States race in June and I stopped for a 5 min break at the 14km mark in Greens Bush and then again at the 22km mark (Boneo Rd). The weather was perfect and the running was easy.
Kelvin caught me at the 24km mark and we ran the last 4km into Cape Schanck together. Cape Schanck was stunning, as usual.
The next section was from Cape Schanck to Gunnamatta Beach which consisted hilly cliff trail, we seemed to go rather quickly through here. Then the fun stopped. We did lots of beach running and seemed to have difficulty staying on course. Kelvin and I decided that the navigation duties would best be served by RMC and he did a good job of keeping us on track.
We ended up doing heaps of beach running and stopped at my place in Blairgowrie to shelter from the sun and partake in watermelon consumption. The 9km on trail to the Portsea surf club was tough and included another 2km of soft beach.
59.8km in 8hrs, can that be correct?
Monday – easy 40min
Tuesday – rest (I seem to have picked up a sniffle)
Sunday, 1 April 2007
2007 Percy Cerutty Frankston to Portsea 55km
The 35th Percy Cerutty Frankston to Portsea 55km Road Ultramarathon
Sunday 1st April, 2007
I dedicate my race and this report to Bernard Julé and his family, the runner who died in his sleep after finishing the 70km 4th stage a few days ago at the Marathon des Sables, held in Morroco
I decided to do this race on Monday, for me this run holds a special place it is a true classic of ultras. Not only has it been around since 1971 it was also the testing ground for Australia’s best runners over a long period of time in days gone by. The setting for the Frankston to Portsea is as beautiful as a road run gets. The record is 3:40 something for the 55km. My time from last year was 5hrs 55min, I had three objectives for this year, in order they were:
2. Beat last year’s time
3. Beat last year’s time by more than an hour (requires 5:20/km for all 55km)
I flew into Melbourne and arrived at 8pm on Saturday night and got myself down to my accommodation in Blairgowrie. I faffed with gear till 12 and put the head down for a solid 5hr 30min of sleep. The next morning I managed to get a coffee into me prior to departure and munched on hot crossed buns all the way to the start line, next to the Kittens strip club in Frankston.
The weather was perfect. Not a breath of air and a beautiful 12 degrees (?) I handed a small bag to Whippet which contained some small bags with powder inside and a few gels and a couple of drinking bottles. Whippet exclaimed, “is that it?” and I responded, “yeah, it’s not a 100 miler we’ll be done in six hours.”
The pre race fun was like any other ultra there were plenty of familiar faces. To name a few.. RMC and Whippet Man who were providing race support. A number of runners who had just run trailwalker the week before and were backing up for more pain ie. Milov, awiseman and RB. The peninsula runners were well represented as well as the inimitable Peter Gray who had stated a few hours earlier and Melbourne Marathon Man Peter Dobson (he’s done all 29). I was surprised to see pbig lining up because I thought he was injured.
After a brief history lesson of the event from RD Kevin Cassidy we set off and immediately set into little groups. Mal Grimmet took the lead, some of the peninsula guys raced off and I settled into my 5:20/km pace with Milov and BennyUltra. It was good to be running with guys that were comfortable with the pace and had a portfolio of interesting topics to discuss.
The distance clicked away and I felt strong, I was deliberately slowing on the hills while still maintaining the 5:20/km pace. 20km came and went without any fuss and before we knew it we were at halfway (27.5km). RMC and Whippet were providing excellent support and I saw no need to carry water nor food because the calibre of the support was good and I had total confidence in RMC and Whippet, after all they know how important reliable support is, they’re trail runners.
Around the 32km mark I found running on Point Nepean Road harder than I should have, I did mention to Milov and Ben that the spring was going from my stride and I was starting to feel the pace a bit. I was also starting to get ratty with the dickheads who thought that aiming a car at a runner on the road was a cool way to get attention and impress his spotty mates.
Ben dropped back a bit and Milov and I were still chugging along. Around the 38km mark at MaCrae my Garmin 305 showed a message.. “are you indoors?, Um no, I’m not indoors in fact I’m outside and I’ve never seen more undisturbed sky in my life. And that was the end of the Garmin for the day.
Milov dropped back two paces and we continued to make good time, I was starting to hurt. I was nervous that we were dropping behind schedule so I picked it up a bit and Milov commented that things seemed a bit quicker.
Rosebud went on forever. I was now entering lead leg territory. I seemed to be moving well but only because it was flat. Every time I jumped a gutter I struggled to pick my legs up.
Milov and I caught a young peninsula runner and did the old, sprint past him, trick and made it to the marathon mark in 3:48. Soon after Milov stopped for a dunny break and never caught back even though he wasn’t far back and within sight most of the way to the finish.
By the time I got the hill in Sorrento I was suffering. Andrew turned up in the Mellum Kombi gave me some watermelon and spurred me on. “You’re doing well, just finish it off now”. This vote of confidence picked me up and I started to move quicker. I was trying to maintain the pace but I was hurting and thought I had probably lost objective # 3. I guess the last 10km of every race will hut no matter how far the race is. (obviously it needs to be over 10km).
With 9km to go I told Whippet that I didn’t want any more support, it was do or die time and I focus on getting to the end in one piece.
I got close to Sorrento and I knew that I now only had 5-6km of hills and that was it. At the Sorrento shops I spotted another runner way off into the distance on the top of a rise about 1km away. I figured I was moving faster than him and decided to try and catch him. It turned out to be a suffering Pbig. I thought that I must give catching him a shot, there’s no way I’ll get another chance to catch him on a bush course and he has been injured, so now is the time to strike. The hilly section through Portsea was hard. I managed to catch Peter on the last hill and surged with everyting I had left in the reserves to ensure that I gave myself the best chance to stay away. To my surprise I did stay away.
My finishing time 4:53. 1hr 02min faster than last year. Nice!
1:05 last 12.8km
I waited at the finish to clap most of the remaining runners and was very impressed to see the younger competitor, “Sarah” take out the womans event. There were lots of good runs today, as you would expect in perfect conditions. And the huge difference the support made certainly contributed to the good times. See pics of runners at finish.
The Support Team (Kevin, Andrew and RMC). Sterling job chaps.
awiseman who putin a solid effort in his leadup to Comrades on the 17th June
Milov who made me work hard after doing trailwalker last week and carrying a camelbak the whole way today.
BennyUltra who was with Milov and I until about 35km.
The Womens Winner, Sarah ans her Dad (she had an amazing run)
And last but not least, RB and a young Peninsula Runner who came in around 11th or 12th..
My race was perfect. I achieved all three of my goals and finished 7th (?) only ~45 min behind the winner after 55km. I’m very happy with that.
RMC gave me, awiseman, milov and RB a lift back to the strip club in Frankston and I returned to the peninsula for a cold bath. (apparently it helps recovery).
It is now dusk and I thought I might go down to the Sorrento Cemetery and pay my respects to Percy Cerutty the man that inspired so many and is remembered in this race. I hope to be back next year for this classic event.
The best hamburger joint in Australia is between Dromana and Macrae. It is a huge secret. It is run by an elderly Italian couple, it has a simple sign out the front that says “HAMBURGER” with a grape vine that has overgrown the front. Today I rewarded myself with a hamburger with the lot from Hamburger. I figured I deserved it.
Thursday, 29 March 2007
A 1km personal best OUCH
I can’t believe it’s Thursday already..
Well I am going to do the 55km Frankston to Portsea run this Saturday, my flights are all organized and I'm ready to start hydrating. Something tells me this one is going to hurt! It’s a bugger of a race all hard surface and usually windy like the Melbourne Marathon. There are a few largish hills in the first 12km then a few more towards the end. I will probably go out too fast then blow up and stagger in. Looking forward to staying in the beach shack all the same.
Well I’ve had a pretty slack week I had an easy day on Monday and Wednesday with only 40min of running on each day.
On Tuesday And Thursday I went along to my training group and took it easy. Today was an interesting day. I had to do 5 x 1km intervals. The coach told me to take it easy and ramp it up by 10 sec for each interval.
4:10 suffered a bit
3:37 a 1km pb!!! OUCH
So there you have it. Three pbs in a week (or close to it) I’m sure all this interval running isn’t good for me but it is fun. Weight is going down still.
Next stop Frankston. Cheers, Brendan
Sunday, 25 March 2007
A 5km PB in Penguin, Tas
Well I decided to back off a bit after Wednesday last week. I met my training group on Thursday but did the bare minimum. I had been training lots since my 98.5km run on the 5th March and needed to back off some. Still managed 93km.
I did nothing on Friday and Saturday. We flew to Tassie on Saturday for a weekend without the kids and to attend a wedding in an extremely beautiful coastal town called Penguin on the North Coast of the Tassie isle.
I spent the whole evening trying not to think about running but I was getting itchy seeing I hadn’t run in two days. So I decided that I’d get in the car and go to Cradle Mountain and do a run down there. That is until my wife (Juliet) found out and set me straight about why that would be a poor decision on a “romantic” weekend thus averting an argument at a wedding reception table (never a good idea to argue about my running plans in front of her mates).
Did a bit more research by asking the skinny people at the wedding reception and found out about the Dial Ranges. Fast forward to the next morning. Driving to the Dial ranges and stopped to ask some walkers if I was going in the right direction and was told about a 5km race that was to be held that morning nearby and that I would be very welcome to join in if I wished.
So I entered and ran. It was a 5km handicapped race and I was off 11:20 (ie. I start running 11min and 20sec after the gun goes off) it was a professional race being staged by the PCCCT (Professional Cross Country Club of Tasmania). And I even ran a 5km PB of 20min 24 sec on a relatively easy course after a very late night.
Juliet even came along to cheer me and the locals were really really friendly. Turns out Vlastik runs with them, but he wasn’t there today.
So I didn’t get to see the Dial Ranges but something tells me I’ll be back there soon beacuse our friends have a holiday place there.
Decided to drive the long way back to Launceston and went to Michael Wilson’s vineyard called Velo in the Tamar Valley (Michael is Tassie’s only ever tour de france rider). He is making some really nice wine but especially the Pinot Gris 2006 it's a wonderful light wine that seems to love being grown down there in the Tamar. So we grabbed six bottles of his product and met his wife Mary and saw him working very hard out the back. What an idyllic life. Pro cycling followed by wine making in tasmania.
Got back to Sydney about 6pm and was feeling a little guilty about only doing 7km this morning so I went out and chugged off to Nth Bondi on the coast run to add another 11km today's total. That makes 18km for today.
A great weekend.
It’s possible that I’ll run the 55km Frankston to Portsea next weekend, we'll see.
Wednesday, 21 March 2007
Great session. 25km on hill and trail in 2hrs 10min. Ran with Spud, Sub50, Tony and Toby (a sub 35 10k guy) Felt a bit weak around the 23km mark but seemed to get strong again. Was absolutely soaked when I got back. On the way to work I heard the news reader say that the humidity was 100%. For those who are metrologically challenged 100% humidity does not mean underwater. It refers to the air’s ability to absorb moisture. Another great session. Decided to measure my week beginning Sunday from now. Why? Because I can.. Weekly Km so far.. 83km…
Tuesday, 20 March 2007
A big week, a STaR and a PB
Well after my big 12 foot (plus 8.5km) I took it easy for the rest of the week but still notched 100miles. On Sunday I went on the Chloe canter STaR with the Striders and missed both the 6am and 6:10am groups. SO I ran with the 6:20am group, much to Superflake's amusement. I hung in for a while and blew up. No matter it was 28km of fun after the dust had settled.
Monday was a double day. 10km in the morning then 6km at lunch in the humidity. Today was SWEAT training and a big PB. I was set 2 laps of the lake and 1 lap of the lake. Managed 11:43 for the 2.9km on rough ground. That's a pb. Almost exactly 4min/km. At the start I checked to see what Horrie was up to and he was also doing two laps but decided to give three a shot. So just tucked in about 30m behind him and let him carry me through. fantastic.
Ch.2 The track back to Jenolan
Chapter 2. I left the start at the explorers tree at 9am after my wayward journey from caves house. I was very disappointed to be arriving late. I finally caught Horrie at Megalong and we began our hunt for flesh. As the official grim reapers we knew that there would be victims straggling out along the track. At the cox's river crossing we horsed around in the shallows for the cameras and had a few pics taken there were three runners 5-10 min in front of us and we were closing in. We got to mini just before one of the sagging runners and we made our first kill dressed in our full and horrifying reaper kit as Horrie was the freshest he ran up and grabbed his broken wrist and I joined in in true clockwork orange harmony. Those steel capped trail boots certainly worked a treat. If he hadn't been a strider we probably wouldn't have stopped, But we did stop because there was fresh blood just up the trail, we could almost taste it. We lolled along and caught the next two at the Alum check point.
Two more victims of the Happy Brothers Grim. I think it take a fair bit of mongrel to be a grim reaper. Horries got it I recon Blue dog would have it, I found the first kill difficult but after that it was kinda fun. We were travelling at 7hr 30min pace and travelled for ages before seeing the next poor soul. We'd been chasing him up pluvi (made another kill on top of th pluv) and all while not travelling too fast but maintaining our steady pace. It was a couple of kays before Deviation when we saw him he was hobbling ok on the flat and up the hills but basically was unable to descend. That's what we do, we prey on the sick, ill and injured. Once we were within a couple of hundred metres behind him Horrie ran up and attempted to get his number but he refused to hand it over. I arrived and we stuck the sickles in for a while but he still refused to give in. We read him his rights and he wouldn't quit. Bottom line we couldn't have left him there so I stayed with him and walked it in for the last 12km. What a sad way to end a majestic 98.5km. I arrived and at caves house 15hrs after i had left there after getting only 2hrs of sleep. I was buggered but It was a great hit out.
Wednesday, 14 March 2007
Tesso, Spud, Sub50 and the 100 mile week
Yes. I need to finish my race report.. Chapter 2 is coming.
I'm shooting for the 100 mile week..
On saturday I did 98.5km as a 12 foot track.
Sunday I was dead.
Monday I was dead
Tuesday I ran in Brissy with the Pat Carroll group hosted by Tesso (13km)
Wednesday 19km around Lane Cove with Spud and Sub 50 (19km)
I think that make 130.5KM so far this week. May as well shoot for 161km only 30.5km to go.. Better get to bed.
Monday, 12 March 2007
Sunday, 11 March 2007
12 foot Track
In what most may regard as a reckless and pointless exercise, I decided to run a 12 foot yesterday. I had been accepted as the grim reaper, along with my mate Horrie and thought that it would be a good idea to get some steady miles in prior to the event. These extra miles all contribute to the training programme for the Western States 100 mile race in June.
In terms of gear. I carried a small bum bag with gel, a cdma phone, a uhf cb, a spray jacket, one hand bottle, a big boomer headlamp (and a small back up) and a small medical kit. I wore std running gear and trail shoes/gaiters.
I left Caves house at 2am, which gave me just under six hours to get to the start, easily doable in my current state. I managed to get 2hrs sleep and had some "breakfast" (a can of coke and a cup of coffee) before setting off.
As I set off from Caves House I made a loud COOOO EEEE sound (sorry if I awoke anyone). The rise out of Jenolan caves was magical, wallabies and inidentified animals were bounding around all over the place and I felt at one with the environment I was loving it. I was in front of schedule at the road crossing, where I had left a bottle of water the night before.
I arrived at the deviation ahead of schedule and went right where the big 6 foot track sign is. And ended up off course. Circumnavigating a pine forest. I got back to deviation and very very carefully decided to follow the sign again back to the pine forest and retraced my steps to deviation. I spent 10min checking maps and scouted again before getting back to deviation for the third time and realised that the track isn’t marked and I shoud go searching for a track that goes south east then east for 10.8km. At this point I almost returned to caves to pick up the bus leaving caves at 5:30am.
I finally found the track having wasted a lot of time and doing another 8.5km according to the garmin. So I decided not to go back, rather I should continue and push hard.
The trip from there was a bit of a blur. I just remember running into a few monster puddles on Black Range and gunning the pace. There were lots of RFS camps at the aid station locations and I did most of it without water because I only had one bottle. The temp was cool and I was feeling good.
The descent down pluvi and mini were brilliant canyon training for this year’s WS100. At Alum I came across a stranded four wheel drive with three semi sober guys who were out pig shooting and had got stuck, I didn’t hang about because their pig dogs were looking mean and doing lots of growlingand I arrived at the Cox’s river crossing with 1:30 before the start.
I lost more time while I bumbled around for a while in the darkness of the river shallows and decided to head upstream to the footbridge. The footbridge crossing was treacherous (now I see why the race uses the river).
The sun came up as I crossed the footbridge; it was nice to be working in daylight.
I was starting to tire and after numerous attempts in contacting people on my mobile I decided to press on. I had been without water for a good couple of hours by the time I got to Megalong road and the kind RFS team filled my handbottle. I stopped for 5min to recompose myself then proceeded to my halfway point.
It was great to see the Early Starters then Wave one come past me. It was a rare perspective to observe these runners in race mode. I even got some good luck’s from some of the runners. But most just said “hey mate you’re going the wrong way”.
I took it very very slow coming up a very slippery Nellies because waves two, three and four were coming down and I didn’t want to get in their way. So that took ages as I walked 3 metres stopped to let people past the scurried on the next few metres again.
What was wonderful was to view the whole race
I arrived at the start line at 9am. 53.5km in 7hrs on the Garmin and lots of hanging around. I was happy with that.
End of chapter one.
Sunday, 4 March 2007
Sorry for the long silence. Last week was a bit of a disaster. Arrived back from the USA on Monday and had picked up a cold. Went and did a lazy 22km on Monday night, took it easy at training on Tuesday. Hit the wall badly in a 13.5km session on Wednesday with Spud and Sub50. Was feeling very coldy and was pumped up with cold tablets and was feeling like shit so I took a few days off. As a result I did nothing on Thurs. Rode the bike 44km on Friday and rested on Saturday and took the kids along to see the Mardi Gras floats last night (Sat) which involved about an hour of walking.
Given that Horrie and I are the Grim Reapers at next week's Six Foot Track Marathon and I've just had some time off whle travelling, I've decided that there is no need to taper at all for next weekend. Woke up this morning Sunday 4 March, feeling a bit sore and achy with pressure behing my eyes but decided to go along to the Sydney Striders Balmain Bungle 30km STaR. At 6am it was 24 degrees and it felt like 95% humidity. Was only thinking of doing 20km but ended up doing the full 30km. Ran with the 6:10am group who were clicking off 4:30min/km to 5min/km pace and hung onto them for 22km before being spat out. Ran steady for the last 8km with Lachlan and actually felt a bit better for the first time in a few days. I'm quite happy with that for a hitout.
The usual suspects were there but I was so shattered at the end that I decided to slink off without really talking to anyone.
I've done lots of good work so I just need to rest up, get some more sleep and I'll be fine. We all go through little rough patches every now and then.
Planning to do the return trip from Jenolan Caves back to Katoomba next Saturday, I need a solid 12 - 15 hours on the legs. Plan is health dependant of course, I'll see how I feel.. Cheers, Brendan
Tuesday, 27 February 2007
Weight 90.2kg, BMI 24.7
Hi all, Well I'm back from my 2 week work trip.
Saturday was wonderful. After my last post I slept and awoke in my hotel around 10am. Which was just great to sleep for so long (7hrs). I had a number of things to do so my concierge mapped all the destinations onto a portable NYC map and off I went. He thought that I was crazy but said that running was probably the fastest way to get all my chores done. My run included a lap of central park which is very beautiful at the moment, the lake at the bottom (51st?) is still frozen and there is still a fair bit of snow around. It was a lovely sunny, crisp 20 degrees F at the warmest part of the day, I guess that means it was -10 degrees C (?) I wore two thin pairs of sox, skins, two tops (short and long sleeve running) and a light shell with a std running cap and light gloves. This turned out t be perfect. While the ears and nose were a little sore the rest of me was very comfy.
My flight from JFK to Sydney was fine. I managed to use some points on an upgrade just to see what 1st class is like and was not that impressed. 1st class was full of large people who think that they are important. And the crew thought it was nice to have someone talk to them as if they were humans, not slaves. The extra space did help me sleep though. But really not needed. Last time I do that.
Arrived home at 11am and unpacked. And ran into town for a massage then ran home in the rain. Not a bad lazy 22km for a post lagged run. Up at 4am and feeling great. Cheers Brendan
Saturday, 24 February 2007
Since I last posted I've done bugger all running. I did manage to get out mid week for 5 miles in Seattle but I've been on the go and haven't had time to run. I was in Nth Carolina this morning and have come up to New York because there is a (rare) Qantas flight that leaves from JFK tomorrow night (Sat).
Tonight I arrrived at the hotel at 10:30pm and powerwalked downtown to my favorite NY jazz venue the Villiage Vanguard to catch a late set of performance of a group of eminence called the Brian Blade Fellowship which is a five piece led by the jazz guitarist Peter Bernstein. I walked back to my hotel from the villiage which is a bit dumb because it is so so cold out and the hike from 7th to 42nd street (where my hotel is) takes a while and I'll probably get sick.
Tomorrow I hope to run for four hours taking in the sights of Central Park and above 112th street (Harlem etc..) but it all depends on the weather. There is a fair bit of ice and snow about and while I do have the right gear I'm not sure if I really want to freeze my arse off for 4hrs. The alternative is to head to Washington Square to play speed chess but same problem, too cold.
I do quite like New York. It's an oasis of sophistication in a sea of supersize.
Wednesday, 21 February 2007
Cradle, travels and WS100 course
It has been a while since I last posted, lots has happened. I’m on Alaska Air flight 511 from San Diego to Seattle passing over LA and have an hour or so to kill so here goes.
I had a wonderful time at Cradle Mountain see left... My time of 13:30 was peppered with the usual lost time due to a missed corner. I was thrilled to finish and the extra time on the legs certainly will come in handy over the coming months. The Cradle course is so technical and requires unconditional concentration and it was fantastic training. I’m no Whippet when it comes to sure footedness but the old techo skills are certainly improving. It was great to catch up with UCB and repete. Another highlight was sharing the experience with Simon and Eleanor. Simon had a great run and they both adopted me and ferried me around prior to the event.
The week after Cradle I had a week off and attended only one training session on the Thursday. My ankles had been killing me during Cradle and I was effectively injured. I decided to go and see Caleb the podiatrist and was waiting for him to prescribe orthotics when he diagnosed me with an extra “accessory bone” hanging off the talus (?) on the right medial side of my ankle. So off I went to the xray place in Bondi and sure enough it’s there as plain as day. Looks like I’ve been doing my laces up too tight and the side of the shoes have been rubbing on this accessory bone and causing bruising and pain. And I’ve been getting pain after five hours of running. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if I could work around this problem. There is an operation where the bone is filed off and the ligament is reattached, I thought I might give the work around a go before I let the scalpel hit me. Bottom line this is great great news. Let freedom reign! (just happen to be listening to Martin Luther King’s speeches on the MP3 player as I type).
Last week I (unfortunately) had another week off. Sunday I flew to the US and worked in Denver on the Monday and was too tired to train. I did manage stop by a shes warehouse on the Sunday night and buy some shoes. I picked up a pair of the new model Asics 2120 and Kyano’s for US$190 which by my jetlagged mental arithmetic is quite good value. When I arrived at my Denver office on the Monday I was greeted with a parcel I’d had shipped there from zombierunner.com full of goodies but namely the shoes I hope to use at the Western States 100. Caleb the podiatrist confirmed that my Montrail Continental Divides are a pile of crap so I’ve invested in a pair of Inov-8 Terroc 330 shoes. I haven’t had a chance to use them yet but they feel great walking around the various hotels I’ve been frequenting.
On the Tuesday I went to Minneapolis for a couple of meetings and freezed my balls off. It was –20 degrees C and bought on a new definition of cold for me. Needless to say I DID NOT even try to run. Now I realize why goretex shoes exist. I think I managed half an hour on the treadmill but got bored and sick of seeing Anna Nicole on the news, so I quit after 30min.
Next stop was Toronto Canada. It’s only a 3hr flight from Minneapolis to Toronto on a small business jet but it took a whole day because of the “Valentines Day Blizzard” wich cancelled 1,000 flights out of Chicago. Basically the whole network was shut down and every spare minute was spent waiting in Minneapolis Airport. Toronto is beautiful and the place we had our meeting in (Waterloo) is a magical place. On top of that the Canadians are wonderful displaying an irony and sarcasm that doesn’t seem to exist in the US. It was nice to eat in a decent restaurant and eat good tasting food for the first time since leaving Australia. The blizzard had passed through and everything was under 2 metres of snow. Very beautiful. And the temperature.. wait for it… negative thirty Celsius !!! So another 30min on the treadmill sufficed.
Next stop San Francisco which involved a transit via Chicago (read: 4hr delay). And made it to SFO hotel downtown at Fishermans Wharf at 11pm. Unfortunately to late to pick up a clam chowder for dinner. Friday involved a meeting in Silicon Valley then a trip to a factory outlet place for some shopping. (no more shoes, but some running stuff from the pearl izumi outlet) in a place called Gilroy, the “Garlic capital of the world”
Back to San Francisco and headed over to Berkeley to catchup with Phil Brown and Carol la Plant who treated me to a magical dinner in a lovely restaurant called Chez Panisse. Best passionfruit cocktails I’ve ever tasted! On Saturday we headed over to Auburn the finish of the Western States 100. Surprisingly the drive only took two and a half hours in Phil and Carol’s ummel (read: Toyota Prius)..
Our Saturday plan was to run for five or six hours at any pace. We had already decided to blow off the organsed run over the last 20 miles of the course and head over to Michigan Bluff to run the course backwards (east) to deadwood canyon and back. This plan allowed us to run some of the big up and downs including the steepest climb up to Devils Thumb from Deadwood Canyon.
So, guess what, I got lost!!!!!! At the very beginning I stopped for a pee and Carol went on ahead then I totally missed the marked trail. D’oh! So that was a fun 35min excursion to nowhere. I also forgot to bring my new inov-8 terroc 330’s so ended up running in my Ascic 2120’s which were ok but not really appropriate for the rough sections of the trail.
I’ve taken a few pics of the course including a video of the steep climb out of Deadwood Canyon which I power walked in 37:40. See pic of me all sweaty after the ascent. The course is pretty good but the steep bits are mostly loose shale rock and will require a grippy shoe. Unfortunately the video is 800mb and You Tube only allows a 100mb upload so I’ll see if I can convert it to a smaller file size then I’ll share it. I must divulge that I was rambling on a bit and in a moment hypoxic madness said a couple of things about Queensland that could be interpreted as mocking. Of course this interpretation would be incorrect and unintended. Apologies in advance if your interpretation offends.
Look down, there’s Portland Oregon.
On the Sunday Carol and I were a little sore but still managed to run the last 20miles of the course. I have fewer pics of this section because my battery in the camera died. One observation is that the map shows that it’s easy. I found it very hilly with a roller coaster type progression that doesn’t seem to show up on the course profile map.
This section of the course is not nearly as technical but does require more than a dozen stream crossings. I can imagine that there would be a number of people running straight through these streams rather than rock hopping during the race. When I got to the finish I didn't dare go onto the track, after all I hadn't earned it... yet
We calculated that we covered about 40km on the Saturday and 30km on Sunday. A great weekend of exercise. In truly magical surroundings..
We ran into Carl Petersen and Ann Trason on the trail and had a long chat on the Saturday. A special reward to meet two of the greatest ultrarunners around. We also met Kathy Hamilton and Jerry (surname?) who is on the Board of Trustees for the WS100 run.
It seems that mountain lion attacks should be taken seriously. Ann saw a lion a mile from where we met her and there are monuments scattered around to mark the places where people have been killed from attacks. Seems like the lions won’t attack two people so this makes the whole debate on whether or not to have a pacer a bit of a no brainer for me. I certainly don’t want to be out there at night by myself when those feline carnivores are pouncing..
We’re landing. See ya.
Tuesday, 30 January 2007
A date with The Pretenders
92.5kg (what a joke!)
Just home from an evening at the State Theatre with The Church and The Pretenders, the State is such an intimate venue and our seats were brilliant, seven rows from the front and smack bang in the centre. What a fantastic evening out. The Church were surprisingly rocky, I can’t remember The Church being so hard. The Pretenders lived up to all my expectations. Both bands were very tight but the brilliance of The Pretenders shone through. The two newer members of the Pretenders, Adam Seymour, Guitar and Nick Wilkinson, Bass very good and very young, really carved things up while Chrissie Hynde proved beyond any doubt that She is the singer’s singer while adding lots of rhythm and proving to be very handy on the guitar, Chrissie is the quintessential rock chic who clearly loves entertaining. Martin Chambers bashed the skins and played to the crowd in a Wallabies jersey then later revealed his true colours, an English world cup rugby jersey, which attracted a chorus of boos from the aging congregation. So many great songs, such a short time to enjoy them in. No grand show just tight, well played rock in a classic venue.
On Sunday I ran with the City Tatts Harriers and managed to keep up with the fast group. Must say that it was bad training. They’d belt off then stop and talk then race off again.
Monday was easy, and today was hills with the team from sweat. Managed to knock out 17km today but felt weak and achy. Hope I’m not getting a cold. The Cradle pack is packed just got to run it now.
Off to bed with all those Pretenders tunes swimming around in my head. Oh another thing, Chrissie suggested that the Divynals were reforming and the Pretenders were considering some dates in Australia in 18 months or so.. Imagine that, two Chrissies on stage together. You heard it here first.
Friday, 26 January 2007
Shoe ratio 8:7!
92.4kg down 0.6kg from last post.
Thanks for the comments everyone. I’ll wear the Montrails at Cradle. Like many others the search is on for a new pair of trail shoes. I have been eyeing off the inov-8 brand. The one I like is the F-lite 300. Not a full blown rough terrain shoe, rather more of a trail/road fusion. Noticed Fats was wearing some new inov-8 roclite 285 yesterday at training. Unfortunately I couldn’t get close enough to have a close look on account of Fats being so bloody fast. Anyhow, 285 grams is a bit light for me and I’m really just looking for something with stone protection that is hard wearing. For the technical stuff I’ll put up with my Montrails, which weigh 340 grams.
I organised my shoes during the week and somehow I seem to have more action oriented shoes than casual/work/dress shoes. Is this ratio an important measure of one’s commitment to the athletic ethos? My ratio is 8:7 (eight athletic shoes to seven dress or casual) Thongs not included, sandals determined by use. What’s your ratio?
Monday was an easy day and I ran for 20min.
Tuesday was intervals. 2x 3km + 1x 1km. Must admit I bludged the first 3km because I was chatting with Simon about Cradle. Managed 12:05 for the second 3km and bludged the 1km. Hot, humid and uncomfortable
Wednesday was supposed to be a 90min run but only managed 55min in the dying moments of the day due to workload and schedule crisis.
Thursday slept in and got to training late. 7 small hills in around 2:30 to 2min 45sec. I was so hot and sweaty that I decided to run the whole way to work (logic flaw?). All up around 160min of running without food or water. Felt good.
Off for 30min today and taking the kids camping at a place Mister G recommended if the fires have stopped threatening the campsite.
Sunday, 21 January 2007
Fires rule the trails
The news came through on Saturday that there was a fire close to the Overland track down Cradle Mountain way in Tasmania. I just could not believe it. This is the summer where every trail run seems to have been affected by fires in some way or another. Apparently the track has been reopened and the 40 hikers that were waiting are now on their way. The fire has not been contained yet and is 10km from the track. Lets hope the race still goes ahead on Saturday the 3rd of February.
After reading some of the race reports on the AURA Cradle site I made the decision to wear my trail shoes. I am currently having a love/hate relationship with my Montrail Continental Divides. I hate them because the soles did not handle the Brindabella run and wore down badly in the space of 55km. They are quite stiff and make my soles sore and they aren't that light. I was reading that the same fellow won the race two years in a row and his time was 1hr 20min different from the previous year. Basically when the track is good it's good. When it's wet ie. most of the time, it's crap. So I'll wear my Montrails.
Training is going well. Weight isn't. I jumped on the scales this morning and tipped them at 93kg. This is a joke, I must slow down my insatiable desire to eat at every opportunity. From now on every post on this blog will have my weight recorded for all to see.
So far as training is concerned. On Friday 19/1 I was scheduled for an easy day. I had fully intended to go for a lunchtime jaunt but I didn't manage to get out there. We had a dinner to go to on Friday night and returned home at 11pm. I was feeling so guilty that I decided to pull the shoes on and run for 40min. I arrived home just before midnight feeling much better for the run. The BBQ meal had settled and wasn't so uncomfortable in my gut.
Yesterday Sat 20/1, I had another easy day on the schedule so just ran to Bondi Junction to do some shopping and back home with a backpack full of goodies.
Today Sunday 21/1, I went to the Striders STaR at Drummoyne. I arrived 4min after the 6:10am had departed and decided to chase rather than wait for the 6:20 group. The 6:10am group were taking it easy so I caught them about at about the 3.5km mark. It was good seeing Spud and Hamburglar in the group. Must admit I felt a bit out of place running on a flat street course with Spud. I'm more at home on the trails.
The pace from the 9km to the 21km mark was fast and apparently we had quite a few 4:30min/km efforts in there. managed to hang on until the 22km mark and yelled out to spud to drop his map so that I could find my way back. Spud decided that it was too hot to keep up that pace and ran with me for a while. The main group slowed and we caught them at a drink stop. But decided to jog the last few km in at a relaxed pace. The 29km took around 2hrs 30min if you take into account the late start. I wonder if this type of running will help me at Cradle Mountain, I doubt it. Strong hit out all the same.
Just checking the schedule, I was supposed to do 3hrs today and only managed 2hrs 30min. Considering pulling on the shoes and heading out for 30min and listening to the Cricket. Things just got interesting in the one day match against NZ. Australia 3 for 17.
Thursday, 18 January 2007
Late nights & 1 mile intervals don't mix
Well I really over did it in the last 24hrs. After yesterday's hell session with Scott and Spud I decided to get some work done at the office. Ended up getting home after 12am. Then dragged myself along to intervals with Sean Williams.
The main session was 3 x 1 mile efforts. I managed get through them despite being tired, exhausted and emotional. My times were 6:37, 6:27, 6:27 which I was quite happy with considering.
The weather is so wet and humid here in Sydney that my gear is always soaked. In fact my cap hadn't dried out from the run yesterday and I was almost gagging while I was running to the session this morning. Took me a while to realise that I needed a peg for my nose to stop the putrid smell from permeating my nostrils.
Tomorrow is an easy day. Might go for a run/swim/run tomorrow.
Wednesday, 17 January 2007
24 kays of humidity
After attending a dinner in Newcastle last night and not getting home till after 1am. I managed to set off early and meet spud and ishowells for some early morning running. The first 10kays was relaxed and controlled the second 10 fast. The last four was a bit of a struggle. Terrain covered was a mix of trail in the Lane Cove national park and road on the striders 10km course. Managed to keep up which was a bit surprising as both the others are quicker than me. According to Scott we did the 24 in 2:17
Got back to work absolutely drenched with perspiration, freaked a few people out because I hadn't worn nipple protection and there was a bit of bleeding going on.
All sights set on Cradle now. Leave has been approved and flights are booked. Pack has been prepared and is as light as.. Just need to figure out my carrying food.
Tuesday, 16 January 2007
10 Mile Tuesday
I've been thinking rhymes lately. yesterday I realised that the great tradition of Aussie poets was dead. So I spent the today sitting in meetings and thought of poems. Here's the first verses of a little ditty I came up with day dreaming on a conference call this morning.
it's not the time to think of rhymes coz Cradle Mountain's looming, I'll be on the track with gear and pack a running and a hooning.
If I chance upon a tiger I'll be sure to keep his secret, the little blighter's not extinct just starring on a leaflet.
84 kays is a mighty long way but for me it's just a warmup. i'll be sure to pack some power bars in case my gu gets thrown up.
UCB you watch me mate I'll be itching for a thrashing, I'll go out hard then crash and burn in typical ultra fashion
get the idea..
Monday was an easy day so I ran for 30 min on the coastal track from Clovelly to Tamarama via Bronte beach. Absolutely stunning day. Sydney at it's best.
Tuesday was a 6km time trial in Centennial Park where I managed 24:24. Not bloody good enough. I ran there from home and continued on to the city. Felt good dispite the slow time.
cheers from the cell phone.. Brendan
Sunday, 14 January 2007
Striders Pymble STaR
Sunday 14/1/07 I had a nice 29.1km hilly run with the Sydney Striders this morning, perfect cool conditions and a very sheltered course. The 6am group left the carpark with about 60 runners, many of them faster than me. But thought I'd hang about and go with the 6:10am group but there were only about eight of us. Thought I had made a mistake as the 6:10am group were going a bit quick, it was quite hilly then someone said we were doing 4:45m/km (ie. too fast for me on a hilly course).
I hung on until about 8km to go as the 6:20am group came through with fire in their eyes, Superflake was hanging in and making it look bloody easy, then I blew up. Ran the last 8km with Bandanna and Sportsman.
Quite a short hard hitout, noice! Thanks for the lift Paul.
Saturday, 13 January 2007
SHAKE & BAKE baby!
Well I've got to hand it to Mellum, they had a great year. And I've got to hand it to GBH too, we had a great year as well. Within GBH we've got Blue Dog who is on another planet, fantastic year mate. Then there is Horrie and me. We at least there used to be until Horrie started getting podium finishes in major races. Don't take this the wrong way, I am so thrilled that all the hard work that Horrie and Blue Dog have put in is paying off. Now that my training is consistent I'm starting to come up as well. Things are looking up and we've laid the foundations and for an even better 2007.
I was just watching Talladega Nights and the two main characters remind me of Horrie and me. For those who haven't seen it it is a movie about running. Don't believe me? Watch it and you'll realise that when it comes down to the wire it's the running that Ricky Bobby does that pays off. SHAKE & BAKE is the little saying that Ricky and Cal keep reciting all the way through the movie. Get it out, and get it on or go & see it. It's got the lot. Male bonding, car races, fast food, and love of the great nation of the US of A.
Last week was a biggie. On Saturday I ran in the Portsea Twilight and posted a very satisfying 31:30 for the 6.7km, I proceeded to mark the two bays course for the following day and raced in my own 56km race. I felt ok going out but felt flat coming back. I could claim that C2K was still in the legs or that I had pushed too hard in the short run the night before. But in reality I feel that my 6:55 for the 56km was a fair reflection of my fitness. Not too bad but not great. I was really happy to get a great field of 16 along to the run, with a number of great runners and others I just like being around. Pity I couldn't hang around because I needed to get to the airport.
On Monday I had 12km on the schedule and decided to run into town from home, I tried to run it but only manged 10km with a number of walk breaks. My legs were sore and I was tired. Tuesday was hill work with SWEAT and I got through the whole session (big tick). Wednesday was 45min but I was feeling ok so ended up running for 150min (including somehow losing Spud after i took a wrong turn). Thurs was fartlek but I miised the SWEAT session due to an early meeting and ran from work at Lane Cove into the city and surged on the hills.
Yesterday (friday) I was so weak, I decided to do a 1hr (22km) bike ride instead of running the 20min on the schedule. Finally, I'm just back from an hour of running where I decided to add in 5 x 400m efforts in bare feet down at McKay oval.
Tomorrow. 2hr 30min on the schedule. I'll either run with the striders or the tatts.
Until next time... SHAKE & BAKE baby!
Wednesday, 3 January 2007
After a meeting some friends at their Portsea house for breakfast, which turned into lunch, I was challenged by one of their house guests to a rowing machine regatta. The lad is 21 and taller than me and heavier than me and has zero percent fat and is in the melb uni boat crew. We set the ergometer to 1000 metres and off we went. The kid posted a new house record of 3:39.4 and beat the 2 year old record by 3 seconds. Then it was my turn. I grimaced and wrenched my way to what would have been a new house record of 3:40.3. So the little shit beat me by 0.9 of a second. He couldn't believe that a 44 year old who hadn't been in a boat for over 20 years could get that close to him on zero training. Caught the little fucker looking at me all afternoon.
So now I've hurt my lower back. The kid doesn't know it, but I got back to our beach shack and iced, and covered my lower back in voltarin gel and lay down for a couple of hours. Testosterone is an evil chemical.
Managed to get out and struggle through 90min of trail at an easy pace.
1/1/07 New years day
decided to do 2 x 4km efforts. Went to a flat section of road and ran the first one at an average pace of 4:36min/km slightly overshot the 4km so I carried on for 4.5km. Walked a bit then turned and realised I was running into a head wind. Did the second 4.5km rep at 4:44 min/km average. 10km all up.
Monday, 1 January 2007
Happy New Year 2007
After a year of irregular posts I thought I would be a bit more diligent
and actually use this blog medium as a training diary.
After all there's a big series of races coming up. This will all lead up
to the crescendo on June 23 where I'll be joining 20 other Aussies in our
attempt to secure ourselves a Western States 100 finishers buckle.
Racing seems to get me fit quicker than training. Here's a draft list of
races/runs that will get me fit for the big one in June.
Jan 6 Two Bays Trail (Vic) 55km
Feb 3 Cradle Mtn (Tas) 84km
Feb 18 Training on WS course 64km
Mar 10 Six Foot Track (NSW) 90km
April 6 Easter Training Camp
April 28 Prom 100 (Vic) 100km
May 20 Glasshouse 50 (Qld) 80km
The training camp location is a toss up between Thredbo or the Mornington.
Melb trailwalker two weeks after Six Foot Track is another option.
There's my plan..
Sunday, 31 December 2006
Spanking the mammoth again!
Coast to Kosciuszko Ultramarathon 2006 Race Report
Having completed last year’s C2K, I knew what to expect from the race but did not enter it as well prepared as I would have liked. I’d already had three disappointing races in 2006: I had my first ever DNF at the Bogong to Hotham race after just missing the Langford gap cutoff, though I dismissed this disappointing performance due to the race taking place only three weeks after last year’s C2K. Then in September, I DNFed at around 130km into the GH100 race, which was followed a month later by a sub par run at the Sri Chinmoy 24hr in Adelaide where I only managed 143km.
I decided that things needed to change and realised that training was the only solution. After some good weeks of preperation the Brindabella 55km came around and I managed to finish in 5:19, which I was happy with especially considering that I injured my right quad and knee at the 51km mark and hobbled in for the final 3-4km.
I joined a training group called SWEAT and started doing intervals. I am still a little suspicious of interval training with its focus on increasing your speed because the important part of any Ultramarathon that goes for longer than 100km is the final five or six hours. If you have enough stamina to run at any speed in the final 30 – 50km you are almost guaranteed of a good placing. All the same, being faster over the first bit must be a good thing so long as you don’t blow up.
Anyway, I was desperate to finish this year’s C2K. I needed to finish to redeem my poor performances in 2006. The way I went into the race, I would have needed to break a bone in order to DNF at this year’s C2K.
Recruiting crew is always difficult for me. Asking others to give up their time so that I can indulge myself in my folly seems selfish. As a result my crew is invariably someone who has volunteered rather than me actively recruiting them
After starting this report on a rather negative note, the year was actually not all doom and gloom. I concede that I finished the Marathon des Sables in April. The MdS is a 150-mile stage race in the Sahara Desert. This year’s race was staged in southern Morocco and was especially hot and there were an unprecedented number of withdrawals resulting in air evacuations and all the drama that threats to life can bring. I was very happy to finish this race given that I had done almost zero training due to a stress fracture in my right shin.
Doing the MdS, I met Steve Pizzey, a fellow Aussie who had a great MdS run. And so it was my association with Steve that led to his wife Pip Jamieson volunteering to assist me with my C2K race this year. Pip has all the credentials to be a great crewmember: she’s a student doctor who should be used to staying awake for long periods of time. Pip and I had agreed that it made sense for Pip to come down from Sydney after the race had begun and join me on the course at around the 75-80km mark.
I flew in to Merimbula on the Thursday and shared a taxi to Eden with some sailors. They each had their own interesting stories: one of them had a boat that broken down en route to Tasmania and so had had flown to Sydney to get the necessary spare part. Another was off to Auckland and was picking up a boat in Eden before heading east to NZ.
I arrived at Shadrack resort in Eden and settled into my cabin. Wayne, Bernadette, soon greeted me and Sarge followed by the Mellum Crew who seemed to have arrived with an extraordinary amount of gear. Carol La Plant and husband/crew Phil had arrived from the USA, making up the international team for this year’s event.
Once inside my cabin I became doubtful and paranoid that I had bought enough gear in my one bag and started to obsessively lay out all my gear inside my cabin. Of course everything I needed was there. All I needed now was 20 litres clean water. I accepted a lift into town with Carol and Phil for a last minute trip to the store and had a walking tour of the Eden’s sights. My right ankle was already hurting (I must get rid of those thongs that make me pronate) and I was worried whether my ankles would stand up to 245km of fun that lay ahead
The pre race briefing at the Eden Fisherman’s Club on the Thursday night was very social. Carol and Phil provided the international flavour and we welcomed another new face in Ian Twite all the way from Traralgon in Victoria. Paul Every performed an animated demonstration on how Diane crews for him, which involved the use of a toy car and a small figurine. The dinner was similar to last year with the predictable battle with the kitchen. As usual there were only two things on the menu where meat wasn’t the main ingredient, one of which was the Greek salad. With the dinner out of the way we all settled in for some pre race packing back at our cabins.
We had nine runners starting the C2K this year: Paul Every, Carol la Plant, Phil Murphy, Wayne Gregory, Tim Turner, Jan Hermann, Lawrence Mead, Ian Twite and Me. Knowing the history of the race (.the first race had three runners and two finishers, the second had seven runners and five finishers), the question on everyone’s mind was how many would finish this year and who would they be?
I managed to get my head down just after 11pm and awoke at 4am following some frenetic and fitful sleep. If you’ve read a few of my race reports you’ll realize that I never sleep well in the days leading up to a big race. I procrastinate and fritter away time, I get nervous and fiddle with gear.
Race morning was magical. It was cool and the sun had not quite risen. It was a still day and there was steam rising from the ocean and a there was a red hue on the horizon.. The tide was out and we joked that this race would be longer than last year because of the low tide. Lots of hugs and good lucks and pictures.
As he did last year, Paul drew a line in the sand to mark the start of our epic journey to the top of Australia. Wayne, Phil and Ian took the early lead out on to the highway and on to the trail up the first hill. One of the ironies of this race is that the steepest incline of the whole course occurs within the first kilometre of the run. Paul hung back a bit and Tim, Carol and I stuck together. Lawrence was a little further back and Jan brought up the rear of the pack.
A few of the runners didn’t carry water for the hike up the hill which I thought it was a little silly given that the first opportunity for crews to meet runners is the 3.6km mark. When we arrived at this point last year every car was waiting for us, but this year… there was not a car in sight. The crews had all miscalculated our exit point from the trail and were they were waiting lower down the hill. The runners all thought this was rather funny and the crews, when they did turn up, were all rather embarrassed that they had made such a fundamental navigation error so early on in the race. As a result of this error, a number of runners ending up travelling a few kilometers more than they had planned without water.
I ran within a few km of Tim and Carol for the first few hours. Andrew was doing a sterling job crewing for me until Pip turned up. I was trying something new by eating Clif Bars, these were providing good steady energy as was the maltodextrin mix I was drinking. I was doing 7min per kilometer, which is probably a bit fast for me but I felt good and was following the theory that you need to run when you feel like it.
Juliet, my wife, had made me a special mp3 mix that was really getting on my nerves… who would want to listen to Pilot’s “Ho Ho Ho it’s magic” while running an ultra? There were a number of great songs in there too. I remember listening to a couple of David Byrne tracks which were excellent to run to while I decided to fast forward through all the Donna Summer and Bee Gees. Thanks darling.
Weird things can happen in the country when you’re running. On the most remote fire road, a horse and buggy will suddenly appear. This guy was around last year as well and made me jump when he trotted past. Mostly the country is a serene place, the people are friendly and the cows chew with a sideways motion in the bottom jaw.
I remember going through the marathon in about 5 hours, which was 30 min faster than last year, but I was feeling much better than last year so I just kept on chugging along. At this point, I think Carol was about 5min in front and I was catching her when I got to a scheduled stop and Tim was a few min behind me. Lawrence and Jan were behind Tim. Wayne and Phil were duelling it out up front with Paul and Ian running a smart conservative race behind the two pack leaders.
With the marathon behind me, the next big goal was Big Jack Mountain. By this stage it was the middle of the day and it was getting warm, my legs were killing me and I was already wondering how I’d get through to the end. I had decided I would stay away from pills until there was no other option. The vicious carnivorous flies were out and having a chew of me whenever I stopped. My stomach was hurting and I was worrying that I might experience the return of the nausea that had plagued me through most of last year’s run.
Big Jack Mountain is one of those long 6 or 7km hills that never seems to stop. But there is a toilet at the base of the mountain, which is a wonderful luxury. The ever-attentive Andrew was there to make sure I was hydrated, fed and ready to climb Big Jack. The best way to approach this climb is to assume that it will never end and at every corner to expect that there will be another, even steeper corner. Halfway up BJM is the 61km mark. Like last year, I decided to push hard going up BJM and managed to pass both Tim and Carol. How, you may ask yourself, can a 91kg oaf enjoy hills? “When you feel good, push. When you’re flat back off, wait.” Mark Allen 1986
The section from the top of Big Jack to the town of Cathcart is 5km of flat bitumen. This section was very hot, my tummy was still hurting and I had a small vomit. Just this short amount of road pounding did more damage than the demanding but sheltered Big Jack hill. I arrived at Cathcart (65km) with a nice lead on Tim and Carol but decided to have a break and wait for them. For the second year in a row the town of Cathcart was closed in the middle of the day. The only shop where cool fluids can be purchased was shut! In battle it is helpful if you can rally differing interests by concocting a common enemy. Carthcart and its lack of retail opportunities was our common enemy and kept us all focused on our objective.
I called Pip to see how she was getting on and asked her to get some ice for the other crews (Andrew and Phil).
Next stop Bibbenluke, 85km. Through this section, my legs and ankles were hurting, the flies were at their most carnivorous and I was wondering how I’d be feeling in another 24hrs, but I’d already made up my mind that this was a run that would be completed, I just needed to be conservative and to keep moving and I would be alright. Despite the physical discomfort, I was enjoying the solitude, the music and the countryside. The cows were still staring at me and I was keeping a close eye on them just in case they decided to go feral and attack me. I had opened up another lead on Carol and Tim. I suspected that we were all traveling within our comfort zones and whiling away the hours until the night closed in.
Bibbenluke marked the handover of support from Andrew to Pip. Pip arrived and started to feed me with cool fruit, grapes, melon etc. Very nice. There was little news coming from up front. Apparently Wayne and Phil thought they were running a half marathon, Wayne was in front but no one knew by how much, Wayne may have instructed his crew to observe radio silence so that critical position and tactical information did not filter back to the enemy. Ian Twite was in third; all we knew about Ian was that he had never competed in a race of more than 100km, but he had two crews and was a tough looking bloke so we knew that he would be OK. Paul Every was in fourth and either in trouble or taking it easy. Me fifth, then Carol, then Tim, then Lawrence, then Jan.
Soon the news that Jan had DNF’d at Cathcart (65km) made it to us. Jan has struggled with knee problems over the past few months and will need to take up another sport while the scientists invent a synthetic cartilage. Jan will need figure out how to satisfy the urges that his extreme genes create.
I can’t remember when Carol passed me but I think it was around 90km. I do remember thinking that I might not see her again during the race. As the weather cooled, Carol just got stronger. At 90km I was hurting but no more than expected. Tim and I were moving slower than we should have been. James E Shapiro wrote the classic “Ultramarathon” in about 1980. His advice is to keep going, no matter how bad you feel. Injury and sickness is the only excuse for stopping. Because in ultrarunning you will always find energy somewhere down the road. For me, sometimes the line between fatigue and injury/sickness is blurred. When I DNF’d at Glasshouse my ankles were so swollen and I was in such bad shape that I didn’t think that I could make it to the end even though there was only 28km to go. I feel like I gave up: I did, and I was glad I did, but 10min after I had stopped I wanted to go again. At C2K I didn’t want to get into that situation.
Reaching the 100km tree felt like a non-event. I was moving slowly and my soreness had been eclipsed by tiredness. I knew that 5hrs of sleep the night before had not been enough. But I figured that 5hrs was better than 3hrs. I was still tick-tacking with Tim. We weren’t running together but we were staying in contact, which provided a sort of companionship. Tim was having problems with his leg and ended pulling the pin at the ~125km mark. Fuck I thought. Now I have no one to share the pain with. I must keep going.
Pip was fantastic. She was providing me with a good variety of food and there was no risk of me falling into the same trap as last year where I decided to stop eating. I was having regular breaks but started going into my ultimate nightmare of micro sleeps and zoneouts, as Phil Murphy calls it, “sleep monster territory”. I really, really hate the sleep monster. Falling asleep while running is one of the most uncomfortable states of consciousness, the zone outs and tripping over are a real pain in the neck.
So at the Cooma turnoff (131km), I decided I needed rest. Pip reclined the passenger seat in the rented Falcon and I grabbed 10min of sleep. I ran well for around 40min after that before dropping back into the sleep zone, so I stopped again for another 10min. Not far down the road, I needed more sleep so I stopped for 30min of sleep. This made a total of 50min sleep, which should have been enough, but I was still zoning out badly.
I arrived in Dalgety at around 6am, with my time schedule in tatters. I was in trouble and in poor physical and mental condition. My bowels were playing up and I made good use of the 24hr toilet at the Dalgety Bridge. Just keep moving, I said to myself. It wasn’t that I knew I’d be ok, I just hoped that everything would get better. Lawrence had passed me during the night so by now, I was in last place. I was in terrible shape. Still zoning out and still 100km to go.
The section to Beloka was hindered by my (sleep) walking pace of 15 min/km. I’d keep catching myself stopped and half way through a step; I’d awake when I took a step back. I started yelling at myself. When I felt a zoneout coming on, I’d yell at myself “WAKE UP!” It seemed to work. This zone is the less glamorous side of ultrarunning. It must have been difficult for Pip to see me in bad condition but she never said a thing to me, even though I could tell she was concerned. I’d arrive, she’d have a variety of offerings, I’d choose something, she would encourage me to keep moving, I’d hang around a bit then go. And we’d wave as she drove past me.
At around 9am on Saturday morning, I passed the place where I remembered overtaking Kelvin last year. Garry Wise and Lis had been there waiting for him while he finished his kip and I had tipped my cap to them: I tipped my cap to the memory at the same place this year. Kelvin had sensibly decided not to run C2K this year; even if he had, I still would have been last at this point. This year, this spot felt like a lonely, desolate place. I suppose I was feeling a sorry for myself. Ah, ultras are such a rollercoaster of emotions. I was in a hole and wasn’t sure how I was going to get to the end. I took stock and recognised that it was time to rebuild myself and regain some composure.
A break to my melancholy came in an unexpected form. From apparently out of nowhere, suddenly there was a large flock of hundreds of sheep blocking the road, shepherded by two young women on horseback. They waved and asked why I was in the middle of nowhere, running. I told them that I was running to Kosciuszko from Eden and they wished me good luck and then yelled back, “You’re all crazy”. Look who’s talking, I thought to myself.
I got to the Beloka Range and it was bloody hot. Somehow getting up the hill made me focus and I seemed to regain some energy. It was steep and unrelenting. I rested a couple of times on the way up, once at the half way point (the 100 mile mark) and once again when I was almost at the top. When I had summitted the Beloka Hill, Pip turned up with a frozen icy pole which was just what I needed to perk me up. I stopped and rested for a while and eventually pushed on. She advised me that Lawrence wasn’t too far ahead, which felt like a bit of positive news. I now had a target, a reason to go faster.
I went through another rough patch but managed to run between the sets of microsleeps and slowly clawed back some of the distance that Lawrence had made on me during the night. I started catching glimpses of him, 2 to 3km ahead in the distance and even began to run walk. By now we had completed around 166km.
I ran into Jindabyne just 50 metres behind Lawrence at around 12 noon. The heat was oppressive; apparently it was 38 degrees. Lawrence went into a loo but I didn’t hang around too long to see him come out. I wanted to strike while I could. Quick as a flash, I turned left and took the bike path beside Lake Jindabyne. I was carrying two handbottles and they were both empty but I felt well hydrated, so I had no cause for alarm. I was a little concerned that I couldn’t find Pip but I was confident that she would find me. I got to the big petrol station and saw the Mellum mothership (Kombi van) parked there, meaning that Andrew was on pacing duty for Phil Murphy.
Out on the open Kosciuszko Road, it was extremely hot but I didn’t feel I had any reason for worry even though I had no water. I decided to wait under a tree. 45 min passed and it dawned on me that Pip had lost me and was probably checking the course behind me. What to do? I still felt good, no sign of heat stress (apart from a slight headache) or dehydration but I knew that I wouldn’t get too much further without water. My time target had been blown out of the water long ago, so my only goal was a finish and I didn’t really care how long it was going to take. I started walking, all the time wondering… Where was Pip? Why hadn’t Lawrence appeared? He couldn’t have passed me without me seeing him, could he?.
There was no way I was going to back track so I decided to flag down a car. It is gratifying when people are helpful and they really care. It turned out that the woman in the car knew about the race and she was only too willing to help. She gave me a three-litre coke bottle full of water that she had kept in the car for more than a year just in case of emergencies. She was thrilled that the emergency that allowed her to dispose of the water had finally arrived. I filled both my bottles and drank the rest and even had some spare to tip over my head. Despite the year in the back of her car, it didn’t taste too bad either. Better than filling from stagnant gutters, I figured. Quenched, I started to run again.
But now I was weak, mmm what’s the problem now… Oh yeah I hadn’t eaten for a couple of hours. So I walked and then stopped for a while. I flagged another car who once again generously helped by letting me use a mobile. I called my wife and asked her to call Pip (silly me didn’t have Pip’s number) and tell her to come looking for me up on the Kosciuszko Road away from Jindabyne. Soon after Pip arrived and I had some food and we were back in business. The situation was at the less serious end of “bad shit” that can happen to you in races, like being lost and spending a night in the bush with no food or shelter. Pip cancelled the missing person alert (I had wondered why I was hearing sirens) and we started up the hill. I honestly didn’t care but Pip seemed a bit embarrassed. In fact I was quite grateful to have had an excuse to stop and rest for a while.
On Saturday afternoon, the procession of finishers started coming back down the hill. I was getting tired again so was probably zoning out a bit and I told later that I was incoherent which is absolute bullshit. I was totally in control … for a change. Anyhow it was nice to see everyone. I found out that Paul Every had hurt his leg and had pulled the pin so we were down to six potential finishers and I was now in fifth place with Lawrence behind me.
I decided that I’d work with Lawrence so I put the brakes on and moved at an easier pace. I took a few longer breaks and focused on fixing my feet. I decided that a walk at 12 min/km was an acceptable pace though I probably could have gone a bit faster.
Lawrence eventually caught me at Perisher Valley late on Saturday night. I decided to get into the warm weather gear and get the trail shoes on. Together we made our way to Charlotte Pass (a bloody long 12km). And prepared for the final push to the summit and back.
Health Check: Blisters on a number of toes but none serious. Two rather painful blisters on the inside of both heels, extremely horrible rash and soreness between the buttocks (not funny! It had me walking like John Wayne for a week). Ankles still sore.
We arrived in Charlotte Pass knowing that we would not be down much before dawn but without any doubt that we would make it through. Lawrence was having a few leg problems but still making good progress so there was no cause for alarm. Pip was still offering up tasty treats. I was tired and probably getting a bit narky, but we kept moving that’s the main thing.
News had reached us that Ian Twite was up on the mountain and was unable to descend. Apparently he was all puffed up and I was concerned that he might have been suffering from hypotranemia. If this was the case he would need to get to a hospital ASAP. Anyway, there was a fair bit of drama and his crew eventually evacuated him. Turns out his salts were probably a bit out of whack but the overriding issue for him was utter exhaustion.
So we were down to five potential finishers out of nine starters. All I needed to do was finish and I would have two finishes under my belt plus an improvement on last year’s fifth and the time didn’t matter.
The 9km up to the summit and then the same 9km back down to Charlotte Pass section never ends. I asked myself, why did they make it so bloody far? I was glad I had the foresight to bring my trail shoes - what a treat for my feet. Last year my feet suffered so much. Pip was now walking with us, Lawrence was zoning a bit and we were all having loads of fun.
We got to Rawson Pass and there was some poor bloke in a tent, who had expected solitude but who must have been woken every half an hour all night. We poked our heads in the tent, yelling out, maybe Ian left his gear up here? The poor soul would move and we yelled, It’s a camper!
We summitted Kosciuszko at about 2:30am, I think. It was cold and the wind was howling. We took pictures and did a bit of horsing around and eventually decided that it was time to go.
Once we got down to Seamans Hut (sorry camper, I think we woke him again on the way past), we agreed that Lawrence and I were in no danger so long as we stuck together. Pip ran on ahead so that she could rest up for the drive back to Jindabyne.
The last 7km was eerie; Lawrence and I were having conversations about the hallucinations we had been experiencing most of the night. We compared the visions and dissected the images in a sober and almost clinical way. I had been seeing little monsters like the ones from the children’s book Where the Wild Things Are. Not scary at all. In fact quite entertaining to see the little creatures in the rocks. Lawrence was seeing other sorts of animals and was equally impressed with the show that his mind was putting on for him. The light that my headlight throws often makes me see things in the rocks.
By about 5am Lawrence was micro sleeping and zoning out, I was just tired so I’d jog ahead and lay down on the track and Lawrence would give me a kick as he’d come past. Then we’d measure the distance between snow poles on the GPS to keep us amused.
Then we witnessed a most beautiful sight. Our third sunrise in one awakening. Having said that, while it was a truly amazing and empowering experience, three sunrises without a decent sleep is not something I intend to repeat again too soon.
The distance from the 1km pole to the finish is actually 1.8km (thank you Garmin) which can really piss you off at the time, but is of little consequence soon after. At 6:45am we finished, our time 49hrs 15min. Long, but any finish of this race is good enough to earn a place in the history books.
We arrived at the hotel at 7:45am. Just in time for a shower, a breakfast and the honour of being able to participate in the finishing speeches. Here's a pic of the 2006 C2K family.
pic here when I can figure out how to paste
Even straight after, I felt say that I really enjoyed this race. I was well looked after from a crewing perspective. Things didn’t get messy like last year and I was really nervous that I’d DNF so I went slower than last year. And I felt like I got stronger towards the end.
So now have two finishes to my name. I am yet to beat anyone. But the problem is, every time I look like beating someone, they go and DNF on me. I’ll take equal fourth and last any day compared to a DNF. So my warning to all of you considering this run in December 2007: don’t even think about DNFing: this will be the year I beat someone at the C2K race.
This race is not possible without a crew or a family that allow us to gallivant around in order to cover long distances in relatively short periods of time. Thank you to all the competitors, crews and families that supported the participants in this year’s Coast to Kosciuszko Ultramarathon.