Wednesday, 18 February 2009

It all begins again

Just a quick update, with no Maroondah Dam 50K race last weekend, and my racing schedule between now and Six Foot Track a work in progress (ie i can't find a race worth doing ), thought it was worth mentioning that i've been offered a start in this years Badwater.
Funny thing was i had it in my mind that offers came out Wednesday morning our time and it was only when a friend rang me (who obviously read the website more diligently than me) and asked whether i'd got in last night that i hopped onto my computer and logged and got the good news.
Only worry at the moment is the exchange rate, with a much higher entry fee this year ultimately just entering is 4 digits in Aussie Dollars, at least i'm more organised this time having just booked my accommodation at Furnace Creek and Lone Pine, guess i'd better get some training in now :-).

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

12 Hours at Caboolture, 3 Hours of running, 9 of painful walking

Having had a couple of good runs during the week, reckoned that finally i could do a Caboolture Dusk to Dawn 12 Hour race that i could be content with.
It had been a relatively mild week and it appeared likely that at last we'd get a run without the normal huge humidity.
Listening to the cricket on the drive up it appeared for a change that the interstate runners would be heading up for cooler running conditions (sounding particularly like great Death Valley training conditions in Melbourne, however things that would occur down there the next couple of days were enough to take my mind off running for the time being).
Arrived with an hour to spare giving me time to check in and also catch up with some of the other runners as well as my lap score Di Schott (thanks Di, i did try to provide entertainment as i run around but the music on 4KQ didn't seem to quite do it for me !).
Certainly this was one time i'd be acclimatised and running topless and wearing the infamous Nike Free 4.0's i couldn't really be more comfortable, now it was just a case of getting my act together for 12 hours.
As well as the food and drink supplied i was more prepared than previous years bringing 2 600Ml bottles of Solo, 2 600Ml bottles of Fruit Cup Cordial, 2 600 Ml bottles of Lemon Lime Staminade, 2 Litre bottles of chocolate milk, 4 Hot Cross Buns, some lollies, 4 Strawberry Banana GU's,
2 Chocolate Muesli Bars, 2 Endura Bars and some Succeed Caps as well as an "emergency" stubbie of Carlton Cold, reckon i had everything i needed for every eventuality.
Started off nicely and felt very comfortable, rare for me in a lap race, was going a similar pace to John Pearson and Nic Moloney (both much more accomplished runners than me in this event) in the 12 Hours and Danny Hooley, Adrian Pearce, Tressa Lindenberg, Julie McCallium and Eleena Rosevear in the 6 Hours, so had plenty around me to keep me running consistently as well as knowing that Michael Lovric (with a surprisingly unhealthy start) and Roger Guard and Geoff Last as always dangerous competitors.
The first hour was my much preferred anti clockwise, but even the next was still churning them out nicely at around 12KPH, a couple of laps before the 3 Hour turnaround i was beginning to feel a twinge in my neck, definitely not a good sign but for the moment was hoping it would pass.
However after another half hour or so found the neck problem had moved further down my spine and i was beginning to have lower back problems, definitely a bad sign.
Can't say it was instant but one moment was travelling reasonably but a little stiff necked next moment my hips just felt out of whack, not good at all, was beginning to feel sciatic nerve related.
At this point i realised any lofty ambitions were to be abandoned and it was going only to be mental toughness, sheer bloodymindedness as well as a bit of ego going to keep me out there for the full 12 Hours, pulling out really wasn't an option.
The next few hours i did occassionally run, not because i was feeling better but simply that pride (and dare i say arrogance) needed to bring out the best in my racing just wouldn't let me get lapped repeatedly, sometimes i could even keep pace with the fast runners for a couple of laps but ultimately this felt like it was doing me more harm than good. A couple of other runners had offered me painkillers but personally don't like them and really if i did take them felt like i was conceding defeat to my body.
So basically the next 3 Hours consisted of walking, occasionally chatting, very occasionally running a fast K and trying to keep my mind of the pain listening to the music over the speakers adding only another half marathon onto the 35K's i'd done the first 3.
Just before 6 Hours was up i was talking to Tamyka, who conceded she hadn't done the mileage needed for this event so was pulling out at 6 Hours and she mentioned she could get me a massage after she finished, definitely an offer worth taking.
So about 6:15 in she introduced me to her friend Leslie (not sure of the female spelling of the name this is my best shot), and she worked on me for 15 minutes, lots of early pain but once eased back a little felt somewhat better but once she got working on my piriformis i had to simply start biting my hand, definitely no question what the problem was with me.
Back on the track and start churning out some useful laps, was running with Nic for a while and he offered me the remainder of his beer stubbie (as he found a whole one too much when running), that certainly perked me up and for the next hour between that and the massage i was back into a decent running zone. Maybe this last half wasn't going to be a disaster ???
Unfortunately my "miracle cure" worked for only an hour or so, around 7.5 Hours i was back to walking (pretty sure it was with a lean) and back to singing along to the radio when they had a decent song.
Whilst all this was going on John and Susannah were going at a great pace and lapping me uncountable times as well as most other runners and the walkers, for the most part Steel Beveridge (walking) was my only overtaking victim, it was going to be a long morning.
It's strange (and very typical me), sometimes the adrenaline rush from good music is a great painkiller whilst i couldn't claim i ran fast there would be points i'd hear a song i really liked i'd sing along whilst passing the lap counters and try as hard as possible to get back before it finished, i think this example pretty much sums up the speed i was moving at best: Heard "Honky Tonk Women" start around 50 Metres into a lap by the time i'd done the remaining lap just made it for the final line, so all 3 minutes and 2 seconds of that song to do 450 Metres and that was me at my fastest !.
Can't really say much about the hours until sunrise, i just kept moving, struggling more on the anticlockwise loops simply because my left ankle couldn't handle the pressure on tight turns (think i know exactly how Kingston Town used to feel when racing in Melbourne !).
Sunrise is usually the signal here for a new beginning but this time it just meant closer to the end and i plodded on, no faster no slower, just occassionally grimacing a little more when i'd get a spasm.
With around half an hour to go Martin (Lapscorer Di's Husband) turned up and walked with me, a bit of a chat took my mind of the pain to some degree and probably moved a little faster ultimately ending up with a new PW for this course: 96.1737 Kilometres, even worse than a similar back stricken run my first start in 2006 (98.5K's), just happy it was all over.
Lot's of great performances out there, PB's for John and Susannah, as predicted Roger came home very well as did Michael after nausea problems and Nic still managed his 100K with time to spare as well as other good performances by the rest of the field.
A big thanks as usual to Geoffrey & Betty Williams for organising and to all that make this event so special, guess i'd better make it back next year to get my revenge on the course.
As an update, went to the chiropractor yesterday and (with a massage beforehand -still very sore - really wish i didn't swear when masseuses just touch a little too hard must be off putting to people waiting !!) after a fair bit of manipulation noticeably better though i'm going back on Monday, there's still life in this broken down Ultra runner.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Mount Glorious 32KM Trail Run 1/2/2009

Last year was the first ever Mt Glorious trail run and i remember at the time i got such a shock that such a "unbrisbane" like part of Brisbane could exist within 30K's of the capital city. Wet, foggy and even a little cold in February, really strange but very welcome climatic conditions more like something i'd expect in the Blue Mountains or the Dandenongs.
Had left my entry late this year, as with a field limit of 75 up from last years 40 that National Parks had imposed i was confident i'd get a late start but also wary about backing up from Mt Buller knowing i had two hard races in the weeks to follow (and no Phuket Blues Festival this year to recover at !).
After seeing the chiropractor on Wednesday first thing i did was put my entry in, and knowing it was a good 2 hour early morning drive decided i'd also camp at Camp Constable again with some of the other runners.
Leaving the coast on Saturday afternoon, the weather there was a welcome relief and was glad to get my stuff out the car before dark and get dinner cooking once i'd worked out how the operate the camp stove, knew that others were about but evidently there was still some trail marking being done.
Race organiser Greg and Julie as well as Townsville runners John & Lia, turned up as my spaghetti was boiling along so ultimately we had a good feed once Greg had got out the store room keys to provide tables and chairs. With only a few campers this year even had a whole fixed tent to myself, although the Huntsman Spider on the sidewall may have disagreed.
This year i was definitely setting my alarm although with a 7AM start (half an hour later than last year) i was confident i'd be there in plenty of time.
When i arrived, in plenty of time, we found another National Parks proviso we had to start in groups of 4, spaced 2 minutes apart (so we didn't disturb the tourists - obviously tourists around here are actually invisible !!), was thankful we only had 40 odd starters again, 75 and we'd have been waiting a long time, only wish we'd had this problem last year.
Eventually started off with the last group, a little outclassed as our small group had Don Wallace, one of the true trail greats and this is his backyard and one of his training partners, as well as Deb Mitchell who's beaten me easily the last two Glasshouse starts.
Not my ideal way to start a race with a steep uphill run after the first few 100 metres on road and dropped back to last knowing there was plenty of time to really run later. Up and up and up, sums up the beginning, very steep and at times slippery, was relieved to get up and find some downhill (and also to hear the calls of a lost runner, at least we managed to point out the correct trail for her).
Very steamy morning and was glad to get to the first drink stop as was sweating heavily but really not warmed up. Many of the runners use this training for the Kokoda Challenge Team event in July and are not quite as quick as the runners doing it day in day out so i was finding i was passing plenty of people but doubt i was going that well to be honest.
Some skinny, overgrown tracks and finally some wider stuff but nevertheless still uphill and this was to go on for many K's, ended up chasing down a couple of runners with a run/walk strategy as i knew i wanted to save myself for a good last half mainly downhill.
With a couple of K's to go saw my first lot of runners coming towards me with Don in front and about 8 others.
Turnaround point gave me time for some coke and endura and even a rice bubble type slice and i took off refreshed and looking forward to the return journey.
Passed Adrian Pearce and found he was having a few problems (normally a bulletproof Ultra runner as well as triple Beer Mile Champion) and he informed me the next runners were still a fair way ahead, that unfortunately i could guess i was moving fast but i assumed they would be as well.
From then on it was downhill and running hard but no sign of any others, last drink station and then up, up seemed forever ultimately there are 4 climbs before the steep downhill to the finish i'll try to remember this next time !!.
Took a while to get a rhythmn on the steep downhill but by the end it was becoming second nature and finished full of running in 3:31:12, much faster than last year although still 30 minutes behind Don.
Was surprised to find Deb not in, but she'd missed one turn and like last year there were are few people with navigational problems.
Still pretty happy with my performance and i reckon that's got me nicely in shape for Maroondah Dam but first i've got the 12 Hours at Caboolture to knock off.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Hares & Hounds 53K Glasshouse Mountains 11/1/2009

With "that" 3:30AM start i admit i was in a quandary as to when i'd get there or whether i'd have a sleep at home this year, ultimately a warm afternoon at the Tri Nations Beach Cricket solved that problem pretty well as by the time i'd walked back home i was quite ready for a nap (at 6PM ). However after 3 and a half hours of tossing and turning decided i may as well have "Dinnfast" (a combination of dinner and breakfast), and then hit the road. Got there at around 12:30 and had a good sleep in the car waking at 3, perfect timing. Gave me a chance to fill in the appropriate paperwork as well as catch up with a few other runners.
Personally i do find running in the dark hard when i haven't had some running in fading light first and when i decided to just run with the handheld bottle that meant i was committed to wearing the headlamp (no way was i going to run with torch in one hand, handheld in the other i would have been a certainty to do a faceplant somewhere early !).
A few words and we were off, very pleasant conditions (not the humidity of last year) and certainly made it to the first manned aid station earlier than last year (not early enough to hand in my headlight). Found i was running in a group with Tafftrail and Prewannabee and at one point in a group of six (unheard of in Glasshouse Ultras !).
We were making pretty good time but i wasn't really convinced that i was going to be able to hold that pace till the end. When we got into Beerburrum was surprised when me and PWB left and found Tafftrail not picking us up and we ran again very comfortably and relatively fast.
We'd seen a few Hounds running towards us when heading towards the next aid station but from what i could work out we looked comfortably placed to beat them all in.
Endura and Coke seemed to have a positive effect on me (i wish that was always the case ) and i got away from PWB, was just hoping i could see some other runners to chase. Steep downhill and i was passed by Roger Guard but caught up with him on the flat and we got into the aid station together. Roger made one fatal error there, he mentioned that he needed salt, so i assumed he was beginning to cramp seeing suffering in a fellow runner always spurs me on and i took off hard, had a good drink of coke at the last aid station (5? K's to go) and was still looking for people to chase.
Unfortunately that wasn't to be, i did pick up a couple of 10K runners but no sight of that leading group of three (results show why i was at least 20 minutes behind third), but was feeling full of energy and ultimately very happy with my 4:53 (an improvement of 40 minutes on last years injured performance). Great runs by the first three, some very talented runners.
Not sure which is my preferred place to finish a summer Ultra a pool or a pub but Woodford Pool was close enough to heaven for me this time and a good beginning to the year.

Monday, 2 February 2009

An update of where i'm at

Have to admit my aim had been to retire this blog once i'd finally done the Badwater Report, i'd had a lovely blogfree 4 weeks over Christmas and i guess in the back of my mind was the thought that any opposing runners out there who read it would be sucked into thinking i'd been taking it easy and not doing any training.
Definitely far from the truth, apart from the usual training, i'd done a number of Fatass Runs, firstly "Fat's Festive Fatass"
a 46K run around Mt Nebo, followed up by a drive down to Sydney on New Years Eve for the Beyond the Black Stump Run
Whilst down in Sydney also did a 10K race around "The Bay" as well as joining in with Billies Bushies to do one of their regular Saturday Morning runs in the magnificent Royal National Park, probably the hardest 100 minutes of running i've ever down with soft mud being like quick sand topped off by then getting the energy back in the legs enough to swim to the finish of the run.
Managed to find myself doing a Six Foot Track training run before i left the state as well with a run with over the 27K's of the Woodford to Glenbrook Course.
So heaps of running (and a reasonable amount of drinking - didn't want to get too fit those 4 days in Sydney after all there's a long year ahead racewise :-) ), as well as good times spent with various running mates there.
Still having finally done the Badwater report, was tossing up whether to retire the blog but whilst i wouldn't claim to be superstitious the fact is i wasn't anxious to create an Aussierunner 3 (or similar title) for my next overseas races as i couldn't recall any movie that sequel 3 was as good as the first 2 and in that case it may mean failure to finish (actually as movies go i did enjoy The Godfather 3 but even i'll admit it wasn't in the same league as the first two).
So here we are a month into 2009, lots of training and 2 races (Hares and Hounds report just done - i know i'm out of sequence), probably fitter this early in the year than i've been for years, partly caused by the weather up here with the sort of heat and humidity we've had recently going out and running 2 to 3 Hours has to work up a helluva sweat.
With minimal work hours over most of Christmas i've even had the chance to relax and rest and courtesy of the Gold Coast Library DVD Collection work my way through my favourite ever TV series (and the Mafia drama that leaves one of my recent favourites "The Sopranos" for dead) "La Piovra"
("The Octopus") a truly great sprawling saga, off hand an Italian/French/Bulgarian/German CoProduction and quite possibly the only show i'd ever gladly sit through hours and hours of subtitles.
Been great to watch it all the way from the beginning, back in the 80's when it started on Australian TV on SBS it was regularly on late, can't often recall it finishing before midnight (and usually on a Tuesday night strangely the same problem i had in recent times with The Sopranos), so whilst i'm pretty sure i saw it all often was a struggle against sleep as well, certainly being able to watch it at times of my own choosing has given me a greater appreciation of the series first hero Corrado Cattani as well as my favourite on screen villian Tano Cariddi (technically not Mafiosa but in reality a banker - sounds rather like real life :-) ), having worked my way through to series 4 i know i've still got some of my favourite parts ahead of me (and with another all time favourite character Silvia Conti involved only in it from series 4 onwards - essentially a female version of real life Sicilian Mafia Fighter Giovanni Falcone - but much easier on the eyes!), now it's a case of the library system catching up with dvds being available.
Whilst i do the odd concert review (or have done) on this blog i don't think i'll come at doing DVD reviews however anyone wanting some great viewing, up to and including series 6 would have to be the best TV i've ever seen, unfortunately towards the end of series 6, life began to imitate art too much (with the real life killing of Falcone) and whilst 7 was still a great story a series without Tano could not be the same. Prequels were to follow in series 8 & 9 (and only telemovies rather than episodic series) and whilst they gave a great background (and 8. was essential to work out just what made Tano tick and why he was more dangerous than the Cosa Nostra), i think all true fans were waiting for an ultimate showdown which finally came to be in Series 10 (again a telemovie although redeemed by the fact Tano reappears in the last 10 minutes at the time giving hope that ultimately we'd get a full resolution as really the only neat way to finish the saga was to have only of the great survivors left, whether it be Silvia or Tano, unfortunately 7 years on i know that will never happen so just have to enjoy the masterpiece that was created between 1984 and 2001. Interestingly have only recently seen the actor playing Tano, Remo Girome, in one role since again as a villian though far less sinister in a recent episode of SBS's Inspector Rex funnily enough a series that had Rauol Bova in the main role - not the dog !- for a couple of seasons before he went and played a cop in Octopus 7 and then strangely played a different cop in the two prequels 8 & 9, possibly showing a lack of depth of Italian actors ???. As for the actor playing Cattani, Michele Placido, almost felt he was typecast as the only other movie i've ever seen him was a telemovie with him as Giovanni Falcone, as for Silvia, Patricia Millardet, have only seen her in, more as eye candy rather than acting ability, in a very forgettable take on what was a much better Wilbur Smith Novel "Wild Justice").

Anyway now i've filled in the gaps of the 6 weeks, simply this blog will become more a repositry of race reports !!, rather than of training, now i'd better get my head around this weekends Caboolture 12 Hours.