Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Just thankful i'm not a racehorse.

Think the title sums up todays blog post nicely, as mentioned in my last post (when not raving musically ), my back seems to have been on a downward spiral ever since Death Valley and whilst i can run a nice gentle 10K's or so with no problems give me my usual 3 hours 20+ miles and i'm really struggling towards the end. At the moment i'm seeing the chiro twice a week, can't explain the problem exactly in simple terms i get my "LA Freeway Neck" (that's destined to be my title for it till i can think of something better - basically i run fine and then the neck weakens as though i'm turning it around to look over my should at 5 lanes of traffic and it just sticks i'm sure that was where it happened the first time), and from then on i run with a bad form which of course means the rest of my body overcompensates for this problem.
Worst thing is this doesn't happen for the first 90 minutes or so (that's my guess not wearing a watch) and by then i'm starting to look at heading homewards so it means that return trip (or choice of having a lie down in a gutter as i tend to be away from civilization out in Tally Valley) is not a helluva lot of fun.
Today i thought it was time to head back on the Syndicate Road/Trees Road Course as i thought i'd better get in some good uphill and downhill work in preparation for Sunday's Tamborine Trek. Did a slightly long loop to Tally Creek Rd and was quite happy with my uphills on Syndicate Road thought maybe this time the body was right (i'd been to the chiro yesterday and he'd offered me a pre race freebie on Friday) and was thoroughly enjoying the Trees Road downhill (almost as steep as Mystery Road but shorter) but got to one of the uphills and not only the neck but the sciatic nerve began to give me grief. Once i hit Schusters Park i tought i'd better stay on the flat for the trip home but was again feeling good by 19th Ave so headed up Avocado St not a great idea. Sciatic nerve, back, neck you name it, even my right knee (diagonally opposite where the neck problem kicks in so i guess it makes sense) did not want to be out there, very happy to see the front door.
Certainly not confidence building with Tamborine this Sunday and then Melbourne Marathon the next but frankly these are probably the two runs i will run forever until either me or them no longer exist. As i type thankfully a couple of painkillers are taking effect (i don't normally wash them down with a couple of nips of Bundy but this was one of those times where quick relief is more vital than what is medically sound practice).
Have to wonder just what i will be running for the rest of the year, certainly got plans but days like this i have thoughts of a repeat of last years remaining 3 months when my body just wasn't willing to support my ambitions. Just thankful i'm not a racehorse or i think they'd be making plans for the glue factory rather than a return to racing !!!

Saturday, 27 September 2008

When not running, rocking !

A couple of long runs this week proved to me that my back problems still aren't quite sorted so it was back to the chiro again (i've taken to calling my problem LA-Freeway neck, i'm quite sure that's where the problem began !!).
So instead it was a gig at Seagulls, just over the border, by a group calling themselves the Masters of Rock, a band playing 5 Tribute sets, AC/DC, Guns'N'Roses, Led Zeppelin, The Doors and Deep Purple.
A few technical difficulties at first as there was an electricity problem (parking in the car park was like driving into a black hole !), but soon the gig was underway and a great Led Zeppelin set, only 5 or so songs but by the end the audience was up with swaying cigarette lighters for "Stairway to Heaven", just when i was really getting into it (and the main performers were uncannily like Page and Plant) it was over and a short break before "The Doors".
I'd seen the Doors of the 21st Century (which had two original members but of course not Jim Morrison) back in 2005 as well as a number of tribute bands, but this fellow was Jim reincarnated, there was a bit of poetry, ocassional shambolic ramblings (swigs from a bottle of Jim Beam - i'd hope it wasn't the real stuff !) and sublime music. "Road House Blues", "Riders on the Storm", "Light My Fire", LA Woman and others just brilliant as the lead singer just did what great lead singers do best. Had to laugh the way they finished the set as his roadie dragged him off stage as he attempted to expose himself (as per the real Morrison in Miami 1969 in an incident that was a beginning of the end for the band).
Next was their Guns'N'Roses show, it took me back to February 1993 Calder Park, but was way closer to all the action than back then !!. Starting with "Sweet Child Of Mine" followed by "Paradise City" and then "Patience" certainly had the audience up on their feet as well as arms raised and we then had "Axl" madly running through the audience, really good show (though i'd have loved "November Rain") and then a real 15 minute break (after all there are only 7 performers in the group and some had been involved in all three acts).
Next was Deep Purple, i won't claim to know their music as well as the other 4, but ultimately once they got into "Smoke on the Water" we did have a crazy dancefloor.
By elimination the next act had to be AC/DC and in short they didn't disappoint, to me this was meant to be them late 70's with Bon Scott and the Young Brothers at their peak, starting with "jailbreak" followed by "High Voltage" and then more classics with their "Angus" running amok amongst the audience, honestly they mighn't have been the real thing but live music doesn't get much better than this. After his return to the stage it was "Shook me all night long" (a song i've heard Shari do an incredible version of so feel priviliged to have heard two great versions this year, now all i need is an AC/DC tour !), and as an encore (with "Angus" on the speaker stacks) the remaining members out doing "Long way to the top", we had Jim Morrison and Ian Gillam joining in on vocals absolute blast.
Normally i wouldn't do such a long review of a Tribute Band but really this was way beyond my expectations and certainly a band worth going to see.
I could continue this weekend in the same vein on Sunday with the local Tribute Festival http://www.tributefestival.com.au/ (they are actually playing two spots as well as the Rolling Stones Experience doing the Stones again), but i can't always live in the past and 10 Hours of tribute bands (in an alcohol free environment! - i understand the logic but frankly booze and music festivals are synonomous)sounds like a good reason for enjoying the sun and getting a good run in (back permitting).
Anyway Grand Final Time - Carn'a Vic Team !!!

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Finally a run and Blues in my backyard - that should happen more often

I'd be honest and say there really hasn't been much running this week, was still sore from Glasshouse, and mentally just seemed to struggle to get back into normal life (well as normal as my life gets :-) ), was finding it hard just to relate to the usual stuff after simply being on the road so long. So had been happy to just take it easy knowing that sooner or later i'd be my usual self. Come Friday, decided i'd head south to Mount Warning, one of my "special" places in Australia, i can't really claim to be that religious but it is one place i just go to recharge (damn i'm sounding like some treehugging hippy must have spent too much time in California !!), dodgy day weatherwise and spent alot of time going up the steel chains (the last bit to the peak) wondering whether i'd end up in a dangerous lightning strike situation (wasn't looking for that sort of recharge !!).
I think my mind was in a better place when i returned and was lucky enough to be back in Murwillambah just in time for the "Speed on Tweed" evening Grand Parade, classic cars from Formula Racing Cars, to MG's, Bathurst Toranas and Ford GT's to
Ferraris and 60's Mustangs.
Come Sunday it was time for my running comeback so ran down the road to the Gold Coast Runners Club for their 6:30 morning run, big day today as they had runners from Twin Towns as guests. Had a good run and did a bit of extra distance with one of the Twin Town Runners looking to step up to a marathon. About 12K's as well as the 7 odd K's to get there and was enjoying the sunny day. Breakfast at the clubrooms so ended up having bacon, eggs and sausages as well. Actually ended up only running to Burleigh Heads as i ended up joining some others for a cuppa there and stiffening up decided i'd earnt a lift home !!.
Interestingly was having a shower at home and heard some good music, seemingly live, i had no idea the monthly concerts at Laguna Lake (my backyard or more technically my side yard) were back on. So wandered out and found "Blind Lemon" playing, had them a number of times at Blues at Broadbeach so dragged out the banana lounge and a couple of beers and enjoyed some good blues, what more could i want !!!.

Aint it swell

Seeing i'd mentioned the Swell Sculpture Festival, thought it was a good idea to add a bit of colour to this blog by showing some of my favourites. I know it's a blog a bout running, but hell you can always guarantee a bit of music, a gig or at least some useless Stones fact or something else there (yeah i'm not %100 one dimensional only %99 Percent :-) !!!), so why not a bit of art (pictures taken today, as i type a storm is thundering overhead and at 4PM it's like midnight and only a matter of time until the heavens open up, The Gold Coast: Beautiful one moment absolute rubbish the next !!! ).

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

I guess if i still call Australia Home, i'd better do a race here !!!!

I'll admit that when i made the decision to fly back early to do a Glasshouse event the one race on my mind was to do the 100 Miler (not having done it since 2005, the last time i was in the country at the same time as these September Glasshouse events), but between a still lingering cold, gastro in Singapore and jetlag i'd eventually entered the 50K (i know i was told a number of times to not refer to it as "only 50" so won't again) with the thought of upgrading on the Friday after having had bit of a look at the course on "UCB's Tour" as after all i had no idea what weather conditions had been since last here. Still had lingering doubts about pushing myself for any longer distances as i questioned just how physically recovered i was and i guess after the post TG events i didn't quite have my usual mental toughness. Obviously my body had the right idea when i woke up and it was 5:45, too late to upgrade to the 100K .
Probably 10AM is the latest i can ever remember starting a morning race, but i know that came about so that the time needed by the aid station people was minimised so certainly not an issue, and was beautiful and warm when we started at checkpoint 8. Strange to think in the old days it was the 100 Mile field of just over a handful followed out by a much larger 50K (used to be 55 ??) field, now things were reversed with a field of only 6.
We all walked up the hill and once up i reckoned my only chance was to run first early and simply break the rest, didn't quite work NZ Girl Deb was close behind, although not close enough to spot the 3 to 4 foot black snake crossing the trail just in front of me at around 6K's, and when we hit the final uphill to the aidstation i was quite happy to let her take over (with the thought i still had 40 odd K's to catch her).
All was good at the aid station, but from there on simply my body didn't want to be out there, threw up within a few hundred metres of leaving it and then headed out into the bush with my toilet paper, seemed to still have that gastro (can't even recall doing more than drinking Endura at that aid station let alone eating ??). By the time i was back on the track John had caught up with me and we ran together for a while, as i'm not a person who appreciates being run with (anytime someone get's on my shoulder i'm definitely spurred on to get rid of them - it's just the way i race), that got me going a bit better but the gut really wasn't right.
Aid station at CP7 and then the loop, was quite happy to let John pass whilst i was standing eating Anzac Biscuits hoping that seeing someone to chase would help. Bottom line it would have if i could have kept him in sight, was struggling to run and was even beginning to feel my sciatic nerve now.
Finally get to the next aid station and was told i'd done 28K's, my only thought to myself being that the only way i'd DNF a 50K is that my body would have to have been found out there so i knew it was going to be a real slow last 20 odd K's. Heaps of motorbikes, some seemed like good blokes and gave encouragement, some seemed like w*nkers (and with those i kept on thinking "thank God i feel sh*t if i was my usual fired up self i'm not sure i'd have been responsible for my actions"), although i must admit coming to CP 5 i felt i got some revenge when casually walking up a hill passed 3 pushing a bike who were then yelling at their mate sitting on the side to give them a hand.
From CP5 at least i knew i'd finish, no sign of runners either in front or behind so it had been essentially a solo effort from CP7, really would have loved to stop longer - great fruitcake - but i knew the sooner i left the sooner it would be all over.
Not alot of running happening, sciatic nerve was not too bad (in comparision to some of the problems late last and early this year), but the gut really wasn't doing what it should (i'd given up on fruit at aid stations - seemed to make it worse, and had stuck to biscuits, cake etc) and all i wanted to do was get to that finish line.
Ultimately i made it in 6:33:08, almost 2 hours behind Deb and over a quarter of an hour behind John, really felt like a fraud taking 3rd place.
Certainly the run wasn't the highlight of my weekend, that would have been getting back together with all my Ultra family both on Friday and on the weekend. Great performances by all, i was going to list some of them but then realised i'd be going through virtually the whole field
A big thanks to Ian and to all the people at the aid stations, you'll have to put up with alot more of me next September, as with no Trans Gaule next year and probably a shorter US trip (all being well), i guess i'd better go out and prove i can still do 100 Milers back home.
When i think about it i can now claim to have done something probably only the Yiannis's and Dean Karnazes's of the Ultra World have only done before, Ultras in three different continents in the space of over a month:
August 5: Skyline 50K: San Francisco USA
August 15 to 31: La Transe Gaule: France Europe
September 13: Glasshouse 50K: Queensland Australia
3 Weeks till the next one (my 13th Tamborine Trek, only a 20 odd minute drive up the road), followed the week after by the Melbourne Marathon, the place my running career began, in the meantime i think it's a break from running and a wander down the road to the local beach side sculpture exhibition
http://www.swellsculpture.com.au/welcome/page2.php , with a week before worrying about work maybe that Badwater report may get done as well.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Some stuff to keep "all those Readers" amused until i write a Badwater report and end this blog

Back in Australia i think i feel like i'm at home ?????.
Firstly i've attached a video taken by Ian Stevens of early in Badwater this is it below:

The above picture is taken from The Trans Gaule Awards ceremony (i couldn't resist wearing the Badwater Belt buckle !!!) as well as another picture showing many of the "TG Family" at those awards, as for the other pic i think it sums up nicely the simple life on the road (note the $6.99 Walmart Air Mattress, next time i have a "houseful of Ultra Runners" i'll have an extra bed to supply :-) ).

Monday, 8 September 2008

I can survive Death Valley and France, but struggle to make it to Changi Airport

Having resorted flights so that i'd be back in Australia for the Glasshouse Mountains runs (after all Lufthansa had stuffed me about enough leaving LA, so i had no qualms stuffing them about if it cost me nothing).
So after Narbonne it was 4 days in Toulouse, a lovely city on the Garonne (same river as Bordeaux), full of ancient places as well as hosting "Festa Europa" that weekend. First thing i saw on arriving there was that the Stray Cats were playing there the Saturday night before i left, definitely a gig worth seeing. Only downside was actually locating the venue, "The Phare" appeared to be out in the middle of nowhere and only accessible by car or expensive Taxi. Ultimately i left the decision till the Saturday but with continous rain (and i still couldnt work out whether the venue was covered damned people at Virgin Megastore - selling the tickets - just couldn't make sense of my question) that morning and afternoon (after days of glorious 30 degree heat), decided i'd give it a miss (they are in Australia February/ March), and if the night cleared i'd go to the Festa Europa Grand Parade.
Great parade, devils with fire and fireworks wending their way through the streets of the Capitole to the river and more fireworks.
I'd been told to get to Blagnac Airport two hours early so unfortunately an early taxi pickup (caught it at 5). Not impressed when checkin didnt open till 6 as i could have saved money and caught the bus there !!!. 80 seat little Lufthansa jet plane to Frankfurt then 3 hours of waiting for the Singapore airlines flight to Singapore.
Really good trip to Singapore, watching 3 good movies: the latest "Indy Jones", a Tarintinoesque English movie "In Brugues" (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0780536/ ) set in a little Belgium Village and a very funny French (with subtitles) movie called "Welcome to The Sticks" (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1064932/ ), all really good only disappointment being that the audio on demand channel had absolutely no Stones !!!.
All was good until 5AM Breakfast and obviously the noodles did not agree with me, spent the remaining 90 minutes not feeling well, and ultimately got some Aussies to find me the first aid area of the airport, as with a fever, diarrohea and feeling absolutely sh*t was going nowhere. Expensively (i'm assuming my travel insurance will cover it), i got the doctor to look at me, lot's of vomit and then a needle and antibiotics but seeing i was being charged S$45 per hour to stay in the bed at the clinic was out of there as soon as capable of wandering off.With a 14 hour wait for my next flight have pretty much spent the rest of the day lying pretty much anywhere, but now with only an hour to wait am standing in front of the "Hard Rock Cafe" finally feeling a bit better, certainly havent eaten and i think i'll be passing on the airline food and drink tonight. I'm sure i've looked a wreck, certainly parents with kids seem to have avoided passing me (always wondered whether someone would report me to security as must have looked drunk or stoned or something just as bad !!!).
Certainly leaves a questionmark over Glasshouse (i know have a course of antibiotics for the next week), but would like to think i'll be fine when i make it home.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

The wash up

Firstly the final overall results:
Position, Name, Country, Age, Overall Time, Kilometres Per Hour

1 René Strosny* (GER), 35 94:04:40 12,18
2 Bruno Heubi*, 48 99:17:30 11,54
3 Trond Sjåvik*** (NOR), 50 103:00:27 11,13
4 Jan Nabuurs** (NED), 46 105:31:04 10,86
5 Hiroko Okiyama** (JAP), 46 108:49:34 10,53
6 Eric Derivaz**, 46 109:25:29 10,47
7 Eiolf Eivindsen* (NOR), 52 112:33:56 10,18
8 Sylvain Dessailly*, 27 112:37:26 10,18
9 Rudy Wedlarski*, 28 115:51:04 9,89
10 Robert Bertin*, 48 116:35:12 9,83
11 Patrick De Geyter*, 60 117:48:38 9,73
12 Fabrice Viaud****, 48 118:33:16 9,67
13 Seb. Ferreira da Guia** (BRA), 41 118:54:15 9,64
14 Hans Damm* (GER), 58 121:16:35 9,45
15 Kelvin Marshall** (AUS), 44 122:35:02 9,35
16 Chen Ching Hui** (TPE), 52 122:38:25 9,34
17 Shu Jung Lu Chiu* (TPE), 51 125:07:24 9,16
18 Andreas Falk* (SWE), 31 125:12:01 9,15
18 Matias Bramstång** (SWE), 33 125:12:01 9,15
20 Michel Robert* (BEL), 43 129:23:40 8,86
21 Jacky Ayrault*, 52 131:36:43 8,71
22 Tom Wolter-Roessler* (GER), 30 137:37:18 8,33
23 Daniel Muller*******, 59 140:40:49 8,15
24 Günter Meinhold** (GER), 58 142:24:18 8,05
25 Thierry Adeline*, 47 143:02:15 8,01
26 Carl Sommer* (GBR), 27 144:37:30 7,92
27 Jos Broersen** (NED), 57 149:16:43 7,68
28 Steven Battle* (GBR), 45 149:20:45 7,67
29 Frédéric Borel*, 33 152:08:00 7,53
30 Dietrich Eberle** (GER), 57 152:24:03 7,52
31 Jörg Koenig* (GER), 58 154:22:45 7,42
32 Jean-Luc Ridet**, 42 155:14:08 7,38
33 Didier Arpaillange*, 51 157:28:46 7,28
34 Richard Hofbauer* (GER), 73 158:26:14 7,23
35 Angela Ngamkam* (GER), 42 158:42:05 7,22
36 Laurent Martinie**, 35 161:07:41 7,11
37 Christian Marti* (SUI), 56 165:05:35 6,94
38 Sigi Eichner**** (GER), 67 166:27:35 6,88
39 Philippe Gallou*, 40 166:35:37 6,88
40 Marie-Jeanne Simons**, 50 167:23:48 6,85
41 Willem Mütze*** (NED), 52 169:56:43 6,74
42 Theo Kuijpers**, (NED), 62 174:44:03 6,56
43 Regina Van Geene** (NED), 53 175:24:52 6,53
44 Don Winkley******* (USA), 70 178:25:22 6,42

Abandons Hilaire Christophe, 44
Jäckel* Heinz (GER), 60
Rouiller Bruno, 55
Buiten* Ria (NED), 53
Thierry Degoulange, 55
Frédéric Morand*, 43
Ewald Komar(GER), 58

On the positive side i can say this was just under an 18 hour improvement of my 2006 time of 140:29:53 (8.1425 KPH), but really was not what i set out to do, certainly the early days were knocked about by back problems (by day three i was leaning distinctly to the left) and i would question whether i would have survived these early stages without massage by Monique & Lavigne ultimately these back/neck problems became sciatic nerve (piriformis - whatever ???) and that summed up my first week. Like many others i'd developed a sore throat by Day 8 and that appeared to be the beginning of my other problems. Partly i'm thankful i could only do short posts because really my problems were starting to sound like one long whinge. Looks like i can't find a race anywhere in Europe this weekend so i think it's rest time i've definitely got a problem with this never ending chest cold (seeing how the blog appears to have ended formatted by phone it's probably cut out the fact i simply ran out of breathe every time i tried to run uphill, the reason for some very slow starts.
As internet is thankfully cheap in Narbonne than it was yesterday down Gruissan Beach i wanted to add (from my emails) the parts that were cut off - ie long titles - as i usually did these at the end of my emails and gave a better idea of my thoughts but unfortunately it was Gmail cutting these off not Blogger so my thoughts are lost forever in Cyberspace, it's only a shame that my presence in a town only ever caused a internet cafes to either take holidays, shut early or close down completely.
I think i can sum up my early (first 2 days and then days 4 to 6 somehow i always enjoy the long day 3 i think it's simply i need longer stages to make up ground and run down people) as simply my mind being elsewhere was feeling unfit (not fully recovered from Badwater) as well as p*ssed off with the weather and simply unable to keep my mind on racing. Those days alot of singing was done by me as i went along simply to keep my mind off the pain, having virtually a photographic memory for many rock lyrics spent day 4 day incredibly frustrated as i simply could not remember
the part of "Me and Bobby McGee" where "a dirty red bandanna" is mentioned - probably the most appropriate line for me as any pictures during this run would have shown me in a rather grubby green bandanna - and ended up sending Shari an email so at least i could get the lyrics right !. Of course that next day i may have got those lyrics right but as the day went on i needed something stronger to sing and it my old Stones standbys of "Rocks Off" and probably their most offensive song "Star Star", quite seriously i'd be singing along purely so i could swear my head off in the chorus (i'll let the non easily offended look up the lyrics elsewhere quite possibly under the real title), as i needed to kill the sciatic nerve pain somehow.
Finally after this bad start i seemed to get my mind around racing rather than purely finishing, not sure where that clicked in but i suddenly had a different mindset and suddenly i was running aggressively which is how it should be, but the fact i could not run uphill still meant i was still only midfield as simply all my good work was done in the last half only.
Anyway these are random thoughts and i'm just looking to chill the next few days, took me the best part of an hour to remove my beard (if there are any race pictures floating about with beard and bandanna i look as though i should be going for a part in some pirate movie - contrary to popular belief it wasn't a deliberate attempt to look like Keith Richards in "Pirates of the Caribbeean 3") yesterday but i do still have the mo for now.
Anyway looks like 2010 will be my next shot at a faster run as there is no event in 2009 with Trans Europa, although i have also heard rumours of a Trans America in 2010.

Another thought i had regarding equipment used:
ASICS DS Trainer Shoes: Used 15 Days (all stages bar 4, 5 & 10)
New Balance 901 Shoes: Used 3 Days (stages 4, 5 & 10)
Nike FitDry Running Shorts: Used 15 Days (all stages bar 7, 8 & 10)
ASICS Bike Shorts: Used 3 Days (Stages 7, 8 & 10)
Coolrunning Tri Top: Used Day 1 (More to look Australian)
Lululemon Tri Top: Used all other days although often changed to Sydney Striders singlet at 30 to 40K's as weather got warmer (in the tri top pockets carried one GU, 2 bite size Clif Bars and road map, carrying Succeed Caps-used around 20 overall-and Energy Jelly Beans-used around 8 overall- in Shorts Pocket)
One Hand held bottle, filling with every water every aid station, whilst 2/3 filling and drinking cola at each of these.
Socks: Days 13 to 18: Injinji Toe Socks
Days 1 & 10: ALDI Coolmax Socks
Days 2 & 3: Drymax Trail Running Socks
Days 4 to 9, 11 & 12: Drymax Thin Running Socks (By end had almost worn these out)
As well as a number of days where started with Thermal top or Mountain Designs Goretex Jacket and many days in Moeben Sleeves
Throughout wore Mizuno Running Gloves (Sometimes taken off in last 20 to 30Ks) and Bandanna (replaced by headband when i ran in singlet).
So looking at this, whilst i had 20 odd KG of luggage all i needed was this and sleeping bag and blow up mattress.
Anyway folks now i need a holiday think it might have to be the South of France ?????