Monday, 12 April 2010

No, i'm not lost in the middle of some mad run !!!

I'm sure there are casual readers of this blog who having not seen any action for months think that i must have finally gone for one big run and bitten off more than i could chew, the answer is no.

It's simple, sometimes i enjoy writing race reports but sometimes i don't - and to be honest i don't enjoy writing about myself - and for the last few months that's been the case, however i've had a number of emails so i thought i should bring my running up to date.

Firstly 2010 has not been a great year firstly healthwise and then racewise.
After a great Christmas spent with Anna Maria, i started the year with a mouth ulcer on my tongue, once it got to the point that i was taking 2 hours to eat a meal i decided that i needed to see a doctor as i also was very lethargic (basically being exhausted by 4PM every day).

The doctor reckoned Bonjel would fix my ulcer and that it wasn't an issue but did send me off for a myriad of blood tests, but i was soon down to the point of only being able to eat baby food (and only the stuff for 1 to 6 month olds - the others were too lumpy for me !), so got some special "pharmacists only" stuff from the local chemist.

So my first race for the year was meant to be The Hares and Hounds 55K's at Woodford in the Glasshouse Mountains (link here: ), and i was not going to miss this as this would also be Anna Maria's first Ultra (she'd had a hard learning curve arriving on Christmas Eve from -20 Degree temperatures in Montreal to find a steamy Queensland Christmas).

Results for me are best summed up as this, 9th place (33 starters) in 5:31:03 against a winning time of 4:14:48. I was actually reasonably happy, couldn't push myself as i simply couldn't get in enough calories from baby food pre race and was unable to eat during the race, so cruised through the the first 40K's and then just did what i needed to finish once i'd run out of energy.

Another week or so and finally i was back on track ulcerwise, but no closer to a conclusion regarding the lethargy as the test results came back with nothing of note (other than an abnormally high level of potassium which apparently shouldn't affect me).

Two weeks later it was Mansfield to Buller (link here: ), and i was pretty sure i was back in shape, but ultimately not one of my better results there 8th of 23 in 4:58:37 way behind the winner in 4:11:22. Not sure what went wrong, felt good, ran reasonably but wearing a new pair of Nike Lunaracer II's (purchased the Tuesday prior) i seemed to feel strain on the right inside foot, probably the arch, when going steep uphill which caused me to ease back at times. Haven't had that problem since with those shoes so can't explain it at all.

Having driven south i decided to go home via the Blue Mountains and run a "Fatass" run on the Australia Day Tuesday, The Glenbrook Fatathon.
(link here: )

Around 43K's (and a little more for me with a wrong turn towards the end), good run but no idea whether i ran well or not felt really good but was i fast ??, although was amazed to see so many starters for a non official run.

The week after was my shortest race of the year, Mt Glorious 32KM

With pouring rain the night before i knew this one would be interesting as the early stages turn easily to mud, ultimately i did run well, at least until half way back when i took a wrong turn which cost me around 20 minutes, probably made the race distance more to my liking but did nothing for my results (finishing 16th of 65 starters in a time of 3:52:29 with the winner doing 2:58:44). Probably my best run for the year up to that point, only have myself to blame for my navigation. Strange thing is that post race i just couldn't get enough Cola no idea if that was why i woke up that night and i had a shocking toothache.

When i'd been to the doctor earlier in the year he'd said that possibly it was a dental problem but having had enough of dentists way back when i broke my jaw (in June 1989) i wasn't keen on going down that path, but this time i had no choice as otherwise i was going to be living on painkillers (and booze :-( ).
Ultimately it was found to be my upper right wisdom tooth and i was slotted in for an operation on the Friday.

Not great timing as in previous years i'd done the Caboolture 12 Hour Race (link here: ) which meant that i would be running less than 30 Hours after the operation.
Ultimately i downgraded myself to the 50K event and running very cautiously ended up second of five in 4:39:13, almost a lap behind the winner with 4:33:51.
Quite possibly i was almost relieved to not win this as many people in the longer events had passed 50K's in way faster times so it would have have been very much a "Claytons" victory but let it never be said i don't run to win, so there was disappointment as well !.

The week after was Maroondah Dam Trail Run (link here: ). Having run all 14 of these i'd be honest and say this was one of my worst results (in figures 12th of 54 starters in 5:53:35 against a winning time of 4:41:26) but moreso by the way i ran, managed to cramp around 35K's in and from them on it was a steady diet of S! Caps and other salt tablets and basically waiting to cramp.
Can't quite put my finger on it but my body was hurting, i know i was a couple of kilos under normal race weight after the problems earlier in the year but simply i was giving my body commands and it just wasn't responding correctly.

The next few weeks were spent ostensibly resting and simply having a holiday in Montreal, but the reality was i was enjoying temperatures of -4 to -8 and rugged up appropriately found i was getting in some great mileage and was having a good time with Anna Maria's running group (

Returned to Australia a few days before the Six Foot Track Marathon (link here: ) and felt i was in great shape, though possibly jetlagged.
This is always one of my goal events and i was looking forward to running a good one (after last years PW in my 18th there), started well and once we'd hit the Pluviometer (26KM and the end of the long climb) was feeling very strong and finishing it off well. Simple the wheels fell off, i ran one of two ways, either very well or cramping and hobbling, quite possibly the most frustrating part being the downhill section from Caves House Rd, usually my favourite part where i can usually expect to pass numerous runners, believe me this time i knew how those runners in previous years felt.
So obviously my body still wasn't quite right finishing 107th of 821 starters in my 3rd worst time of 4:38:42 way behind the winner with 3:20:49, basically my race year was going nowhere fast !.

The week after was Red Rocks to Coffs Harbour (link here: ) and basically i was just looking for redemption from the previous week.
Didn't start well, missing the start by a couple of minutes but ultimately i finally ran a decent race coming 4th of 37 in a time of 4:06:55 with the winner doing 3:37:48. (pictured below with Peter Gray quite possibly the only Aussies with more ultras than i, this being his 250th)

Finally i was back in some sort of shape, for the first time in years i had a couple of blisters only myself to blame as i was wearing my 2006 Model ASICS DS Racers for the first time in two years, obviously my feet have grown (back in 2006 i was only size 12 now 13), but that hadn't really affected my race other than making me run rather gingerly on the headlands and roads at times.

Two weeks to the next race the Inaugural Wild Horse Criterim (link here: ) and i thought that finally in 2010 i was ready and fresh for a good one. Best summed up as 3 good laps (lap being 10.7 K's), one night one (so did as best as i could manage) and one rubbish one.
Very happy until around 3 laps started to feel an upset stomach and made use of the portaloos but was feeling no better and was often reduced to walking hunched over, was very thankful for Coca Cola at the halfway checkpoint as many loud burps later i was beginning to feel better, no more Endura for me after that i stuck to Coke and came home well.

Ultimately 5th of 15 in 5:16:10 way behind Don Wallace in 4:04:40, great runner though that Don is i'd have to class being lapped by him just short of 3.5 laps as one of my career lowpoints my aim all along was to not let him lap me and for me to be hobbling at that point as he flew past was incredibly demoralising.

That was just over a week ago, since then i've churned out the K's (170 for a 5 day training week) and am now in taper mode for Melbourne Trailwalker, after being second complete team across the line last year (and my third placing in 5 TW events), this is my big chance of a win, details are here and race updates will be here on Friday: