Monday, 27 August 2012

Hoka One One - Bondi B Running Shoes

I think it is about time for me to let out one of the bigger kept secrets in Ultramarathon running or any form of running for that matter. They go by the name of Hoka One One. They are a brand of running shoes that I have recently come familiar with.....really familiar. Through winning the Hoka One One Kep Ultramarathon back in June, the winning prize was a voucher to get a pair of Hoka's. Leading up to the Kep Ultra race I actually had a really good mate of mine Dan buy a pair of the Hoka's out of curiosity for something new and different. He had been wearing other brands religiously throughout the bulk of his personal training for The North Face 100km Race in the Blue Mountains, Sydney. When he got the Hoka's he never looked back. He ended up doing all of his running in them and loving every step of the way. He ran the 100km race and took over 2 hours off his time from the year before. Part of  this was due to a really good block of training but I have no doubts that the Hoka's had a part to play as well.

When I received the voucher I was sceptical to say the least. Even though Dan rated them so highly I couldn't get my head around the looks and how different they were compared to all of my numerous other pairs of running shoes. In the end Dan convinced me to just give them a whirl as they didn't cost me anything and that If I didn't like them that his brother would take them. I thought about it for a good while and eventually decided to give these Hoka's a go!

I was made to eat my words and take back everything negative about these shoes. They are absolutely amazing shoes to run in. Right from the first time wearing them I could tell they were going to be different and felt good. The shoes arrived on the Wednesday before the Geraldton Marathon and I was pretty tempted to wear them for that. I was a little worried though that I wouldn't be able to get a decent run in them before hand due to tapering so I opted for my Asic Gel Hyperspeed racing flats as I had used them numerous times before. It was quite funny as I had just gone through about the 38km mark at  Geraldton, in cruise mode by that stage and the balls of my feet started getting a bit sore. I instantly thought "I bet I wouldn't have sore feet in those bloody Hoka's!"

Since then, I have literally done all of my running in them. The Bondi B model is classed as a road shoe but after reading reviews including one from top ultra runner Speedgoat Karl Meltzer who runs pretty much any terrain in them including technical stuff, I thought if they are good enough for the Rockies then they should be sweet for the Perth Hills.

I'll put a link below for a good review on the Bondi B so I won't delve into the specifics of why they are so awesome, I'll let the gear experts explain things a bit better. However, I will say a few things:

1. Yes they do look pretty crazy!
2. They are by far the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn.
3. They make downhill running way more fun!
4. They really do feel like they prolong the fatigue setting in your legs on long runs.
5. I feel they are huge in helping with the prevention of soft tissue injuries.

I have run pretty close to 800km in the past 5 weeks all in my awesome Bondi's. I believe that I would have pulled up lame at least once or twice if I was doing this kind of volume in my old runners. The simple fact is that they are an absolute pleasure to put on day after day and you know what you are going to get every time you lace up.

If you have any questions or anything you want to know about these shoes please ask me.

Some links for information on the Hoka's:

6. Give them a go, TIME TO FLY

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Week Summary: 20 Aug - 26 Aug

Mon - AM:12km (ish) around the Zamia Trail at Bold Park.
Me and James parked at the bottom of Reabold Hill and ran 2 laps of the Zamia trail. The first lap was pretty conservative but we then picked up the pace a fair bit on the second lap. It was great to push it a bit harder for a change. A good run to start the week.

Tues - AM: Rest Day 

Weds - AM: Kalamunda - Mundaring Weir return on the Bibbulmun
Today I wasn't feeling too flash, pretty blocked up with this cold I have so wasn't too surprised to be nearly 4mins down on my usual time to the Camel farm. I was pretty tempted to stop there and return back to the car but decided to push on and just try to enjoy the run and not worry about pace or intensity. When I got to the Mundaring Weir I was still 3mins down on my 'usual' training pace time which wasn't all that bad. The first couple of k's out of Mundaring Weir felt really good and my legs were definitely feeling stronger on the uphill sections. I got back to the Camel farm still 3mins down but was starting to feel a lot better. I got back to the car in 2:47:43 - nearly identical time to last week so I picked up over 3mins on the final uphill section back up to Kalamunda. Today was the first run with the new Suunto Ambit watch. The total elevation for this run is just under 1000m at 996m.

Weds - PM: Swan River loop from Burswood Casino
Liz was out at dinner tonight so was going to be home a bit later. I had a massage after my run this morning which was fantastic. Although I was lying on the massage table thinking how on earth am I going to run for the next few days...? My calves were definitely felling pretty tender after my massage guy Nathan had gotten into them! I decided after finishing work at 7pm that I might as well go for a run as Liz wasn't home. Just a cruisey 7km or so at about 4:40pace. The first few k were interrupted with toilet stops and photo taking so were a bit slower, then a 4:06km (whoops) and a 4:16 & 4:18 to finish. I was really surprised with how good the legs felt after the massage today. It was really fun to run on the flat for the first time in a while.

Thurs - AM: Bold Park Trails - Zamia and others.
I headed out with Adam this morning for a quick run before I had a Podiatry appointment and he was seeing Nathan the massage guy later aswell. A pretty fresh start this morning but things soon warmed up and we were going along at a pretty handy pace. Ended up being a touch over 13km in 1hr7min.

Thurs - PM: John Forrest National Park - Eagle View Trail
After a visit to the Podiatrist this morning I drove out to John Forest to meet James for a run. The plan was to do 2 laps of the 15km loop. It is a relatively technical first 5km or so and generally pretty hilly so a lot of fun. We were running along at a pretty good pace most of the way around really enjoying the near perfect weather and enjoying a change of scenery from the Bibbulmun etc. James wasn't feeling too flash towards the end of the first lap so decided not to go for a second lap. I was tempted to join him but thought I'd better go again and thought I would gain a lot out of pushing out a second lap despite feeling relatively flat. I started off the second lap really strongly and was feeling good until about 25mins in and I was half way up probably the steepest climb on the Eagle View. I stopped momentarily and thought what am I doing? My quads, who are normally my go to guys were not too happy with me for some reason. I had a quick shake out and pushed up the hill. Once I got to the top things were still a bit weary for a couple of k before I started feeling good again. I managed to push the second lap out in 1hr19min, just on 6mins faster than the first lap. I was pretty stoked with this as I wasn't feeling like I was pushing it and got to the end feeling really great.

Fri - AM: Lesmurdie Falls National Park
Todays run was awesome on so many different levels. It started with me nearly turning back to the car after only running 700m up the road and before I had even hit the trails. I started running today and my legs felt average. I was so tempted to turn back but then I had a voice inside my head saying "you know what Nike says..." (Thanks Pops). I carried on thinking at least in another few hundred metres I would be off the bitumen and onto my old stomping ground. I absolutely love running out at Lesmurdie. As far as Perth's standards, there are more hills than you can shake a stick at, hence my love for this cool place. I managed to stay out in the Lesmurdie playground for just over 2hours covering just over 21.5km with 935m elevation. A really pleasing run and I felt I overcame a few hurdles physically today that I know I will benefit from in my net race.

Sat - AM: Heritage Rail Trail
I managed to convince my beautiful wife that it would be fun if she came on the bike today so we could spend more time together on my day off work. It has been different lately with me doing so much training so our time together is so valuable. By doing the non-technical rail trail it meant that she could ride alongside me and we could chat. Liz mentioned that it might be a good idea to run later today to get a bit more used to running in the heat, which is likely for my next race. So we left the car at about 1pm and headed off on our 42km marathon trip. I think it was probably tougher going for Liz on the bike today as some parts were a bit rougher than I remembered. And the fact she had been to a gym class the day before and was already sore. The plan today was to do a really easy long run at about 5min per km pace. As we got further along the trail I realised that we were going a bit quicker than this, despite the warmer weather I was feeling really fresh and strong. One thing I did learn today is that the Blueberry Pomegranate GU does not like me one bit. It tastes so damn good but does backflips in my stomach. Good to find out in training and not on race day! We got back to the car with just on 41km done so I decided to trot up the road for a few mins and back to get the marathon in for the day. Today was one of those runs you are so happy to have done. It was so nice to run with Liz there to talk to and finish a decent run feeling great!

Sun - AM: Swan River - Raffles to Point Walter return.
Headed out with Adam early this morning to sneak in 20km before work. It was an absolute cracker of a morning and perfect for the thousands of awesome people participating in the City to Surf. I decided not to run in the C2S as it is too close to my next race. We started off pretty cruisey pace and were just really enjoying the awesome morning around the river. At the Point Walter turn around we picked up the pace a little and managed to come home 2mins quicker. I tried a new hydration method with the new Salomon pack to day which worked a treat, more to come on the pack soon...

Hours: 15hr 6mins
Distance: 177.2km
Total Ascent: 3590m

Along the Heritage Rail trail

View of the City from the Heritage Rail Trail

After Sunday's run around the Swan River
This week has been a bit of a turning point for me in my training. I have gotten past the niggling ankle injury I had and my achilles is feeling a heap better as well. This week was my biggest week mileage wise and surprisingly I am feeling really great. Following on from last week I feel that I am being more sensible with training and I am starting to reap the benefits of that now. It was a great week of hills and trails and good times out there running with mates. It is definitely cool to have a GPS watch again so I can keep more of a tab on my runs and distances etc etc, all good info to look back on. Not long now until my next race so looking forward to a few more days of training and then tapering starts. I'll be posting another write up soon on some new gear I am currently using.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Week Summary: 13 Aug - 19 Aug

Rest & Recovery

Rest & Recovery

Weds - AM: 7km along the Swan River.
First run in 4 days so took it really easy. Approx. 33mins.

Thurs - AM: 42km along the Heritage Rail Trail, Darlington Loop.
Today I headed out with James to do the Heritage Rail Loop from Darlington. It was a pretty fresh start to the day but things soon warmed up. After having to take too many pit stops due to having a couple of coffees, things got better. We were soon ticking off the k's pretty solidly and feeling really good. This was where I ran about 30km last week along here from Mt Helena so it was really cool to head back out that way and see a new part of the trail. It was relatively flat most the way with some gradual uphill and downhill sections in there as well. We got back to the car which completed the 41km loop so we decided to run around the Darlington Oval a few times to get the marathon distance. Stopped the watch at exactly 3hr30min. Beautiful day weather wise too. Summer feels like it is on its way.

Fri - AM: 30km along the Bibbulmun Trail, Kalamunda - Mundaring Weir.
I started this mornings run feeling really good and quite refreshed and pleased after getting through yesterdays run unscathed after a few days off with ankle problems. I decided to take todays slightly more technical and hillier run really easy, especially on the downhill sections as this is where I have more tendency to roll my ankle. Although when I did my time check at the Camel farm (41min39sec) I saw I was actually pretty close to my time from last week when we pushed it quite hard to here. From here I had a really good run through to about 5mins from the Mundaring Weir when my stomach decided it wasn't feeling too happy and I was feeling pretty crook. I think It may have had something to do with taking the Codral cold and flu tablets earlier that morning to deal with feeling a bit sick. After a quick toilet stop I turned around and started making my way back to Kalamunda. I ran really solid all the way to the car, especially the final uphill section coming out of the valley, my favourite part of the run. Total run time was 2hr47min, 13min quicker than last week.

Sat - AM: 48km along the Bibbulmun Trail, Mundaring Weir - Waalegh Campsite
It was a pretty cool start to the day from Mundaring Weir. When I left home at 6:15am I thought it was going to be a pretty mild morning. I found out pretty quickly that it was a tad colder out at the weir, still not too bad though. Today there were a few more hills which was fantastic. I have been really enjoying going up hills even more than usual lately as it allows me to just run up them not worrying about doing any damage to my ankles and legs like when going down steep technical downhill. I can just concentrate on getting up the hills and really enjoying the workout. The temperature soon warmed up which made it an absolute cracker of a day for a run. After reaching the Waalegh Campsite, we came across a hiker who somehow picked up on my accent within a few words. Which got us talking about where we were going and what we were training for. Great chap who was doing the same as us, enjoying another great day in the bush. We then headed off for the car and made pretty good time heading back. Some nice hills in between to keep us honest. We arrived back at the car pretty much bang on 5hrs. Nice to get another decent run under the belt before the next big race. No records were set today pace wise but for now things seem to be going really well and the body is coming along well too. The Mundaring Weir Hotel provided an ice cold coke after the run which was greatly appreciated. An awesome spot to finish the run or for anyone heading out there for a day away from the city.

Sun - AM: 8km along the Swan river.
Easy 8km run along the Swan river before work this morning. Not sure why but my right achilles was feeling rather tight this morning. After speaking with a mate in 2nd year physio he mentioned it can be related to having my ankle strapped and adding to the contraction of the achilles tendon. Nothing too major. Feeling pretty good now as I'm sitting here typing so nothing to worry about I don't think.

Hours: 12hr28min
Distance: approx 135km

The Darlington version of Beverly Hills

Even trail runners/walkers have priorities sorted

Wood carving near South Ledge view platform

This young chap decided to stop and pose for a photo

Ball Creek Hut on the Bibbulmun Track

Stoked to have some sunshine after a few weeks running in the rain

You can vaguely see Mundaring Weir  behind me, thats where we started todays run

On the return to Mundaring Weir

Overall it has felt like a pretty strange week training wise. After having basically 5 days off I felt like I had to catch up on training. I managed to hold myself back from hitting the technical hills and trails too soon and eased into things on the Heritage Trail which was a really smart idea. I think the more the training goes along I am learning more and more about how to maintain this body of mine and how to get the best out of it. I have really started listening to my aches and niggles and changing training and training intensities accordingly. By no means do I have my training down to a fine working piece but I feel like things are progressing.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Week Summary: Aug 6 - Aug 12

Mon - AM: 2hr24min @ Lesmurdie Falls, Mundy Regional Park.
Today I took out James for his first Lesmurdie experience so I thought we might aswell try and run every hill I could find. We first ran around 45mins North of the falls gaining some pretty good elevation and getting a good burn in the calves happening. We then did the 'usual' loop to the top parking area, followed by some sweet single track coming back down heading towards a hill I think got called child birth? We then made our way down the side of the Falls where we came across some Landscape workers doing work on the trail alongside the falls. There were 2 sets of blokes, one with a rope around his stomach which was then attached to the front of the wheel barrow behind them which their mate was pushing up behind them. This was what I call extreme landscaping. Poor buggers, James was a top bloke and gave them a good push to the top which I know they appreciated. I was too excited about the downhill ahead and didn't even think to give a time for sure! After this we ran up and down some more hills before heading back to the car.

Tues - AM: 1hr4min around the Swan River, Perth.
Today was going to be a catch up on sleep and rest day after a long weekend of work and feeling pretty shattered. This was going along nicely until after a short nap I got itchy feet and decided to head out for a quick 16km blowout in my first non-trail run in about 4 weeks. It was quite nice for a change of scenery and great to see so many people out there exercising and enjoying Perth's winter.

Weds - AM: 2hr58min along the Rail Heritage Trail, Mt Helena.
I had to head out to Mt Helena early this morning to go and pick up a set of drawers Liz had bought and on my way out there I saw some Kep Track markers as I was driving along so after picking up the drawers I decided to head out for a run along the Kep Track which was where the 75km race I did was held. I had cleverly forgotten my sleeves, beanie and gloves this morning which was not ideal. I mean it wasn't NZ cold but for Perth it was pretty fresh. Especially for the first hour when the trail was going through areas where there were high walls on either side of the track so there wasn't much sunlight around. About 5km in I came across a couple who had this massive bird on the guys shoulder taking it for a morning stroll, pretty random and funny to see so early in the morning on the trail. I ran to the Boya Quarry, up to the top for a photo and then headed back to the car at Mt Helena. All up I think it was around 35km.

Thurs - AM: 16.75km @ 4mi50sec p/km, Lake Monger - Lake Herdsman.
It was an early start this morning to run with a mate before he started work. It was a pretty mild morning which explained the large numbers of people out running and riding around Lake Monger. We had a good run, which included finally running up the big sand dune at Lake Herdsman that we always say we should run up. It was an awesome view from up the top!

Thurs - PM: 3hrs along the Bibbulmun Trail, Kalamunda - Mundaring Weir return.
After running with Shaun early I caught up with James in Kalamunda to head out for a run along the Bib. We took off pretty quickly as I wanted to see what time we would get to the Calamunda Camel Farm in (41mins). After we got there we eased off the pace a little but not a lot through to Mundaring Weir. This was pretty cool as I hadn't been much further than the Dell turnoff before so was nice to explore some new trails. After a quick stop for a photo we were back on the trail heading back to Kalamunda. We ran pretty solid back to the bottom of the valley before the climb back up to Kalamunda. Once here we took to the hill pretty quickly hammering it to the top. It was on one of the small downhill sections I think I rolled my ankle slightly, although this didn't affect things much nor break my stride. It is pleasing that the final hill back up to Kalamunda is getting faster for me and feeling much stronger.

Fri - AM: 8km Along the Swan River.
Easy jog along the Swan to shake the legs out.

Fri - AM: 2hr16min along the Munda Biddi Trail, Brookton Hwy - Jarrahdale Road
Me and Adam decided to head further south today to have a look at a new section on the Munda Biddi. After meeting at work at 8.15am we headed down to drop a car at the finish at Jarrahdale Road and then drove to the start at Brookton Hwy. We decided to go back along the 4wd track so we didn't have to run along the Hwy to start with. The run went pretty well other than my ankle being a bit tender. I also forgot to take any GU today so I had to make do with a Muesli bar that was in my car, I'm not too sure how long that was in there for? It did the trick and I felt pretty good energy wise. All was going well until we got to near the Wungong Hut where we eventually found there was no marker to continue you along the trail to Jarrahdale road. The only markers we could see headed you towards the Hut. We continued along this trail until we passed the Hut and realised there we hadn't seen a track marker in a while. On our way back after some bonus km's we came across a school group where the teacher advised us we needed to go right at the point we thought we were supposed to go down. We headed down here and 20mins later were at the car. Nice to see some new trails.

Hours: 13hrs 2mins
Distance: approx.. 151.75km

Lesmurdie Falls

A creek along the Railway Heritage Trail

Cool toilets at the Boya Quarry

Boya Quarry

From the top of the Quarry

Lake Monger looking towards the City

Me and Special K on top of the sand dune finally!!

Mundaring Weir

Adam on the Munda Biddi

Munda Biddi
Overall it was another solid week of training and I feel like the legs are getting stronger, especially on the longer runs. I feel like I have my old hill running legs back which is a great feeling too :)

Saturday, 4 August 2012


I have been toying with the idea of writing a blog for a while now. Previously I had thought why do I want to write about what I am doing, and secondly who would take the time to read and possibly enjoy reading about my training and racing. I have come to the conclusion lately that I want my friends and family to have a bit more of an insight into my passion for running and my goals and aims for the future. I hope that in reading my posts they will get a good feel for what I am doing and possibly break the surface as to why I 'like' putting my body through running Ultra marathons and achieving endurance goals in my training and racing.

I also hope to post about training routes, new places I have been and also add in my GPS details of training runs so people who are not so familiar with trail running are able to use them to venture off the bitumen roads and start to experience some of the wonderful trails that Perth has to offer.

Another goal of mine is to review any gear and products I currently use and give detailed discussion on how things perform and why I like particular products over others. I hope to pass on this information in an easy to digest form that people will understand and from a "runners" perspective.

I hope you enjoy it :)

Saturday's Bibbulmun & Munda Biddi Combo

I don't normally like to disrupt my weekend routine of catching up on beauty sleep but today called for a long training run as part of my next race prep. I managed to convince a good mate James that it would be a good idea for him to join me and that we should leave the cars by 6.30am! He kindly obliged so all was planned for a good weekend training run.

We arrived at Kalamunda before first light and contemplated whether we would opt to take the head torches. I decided not to as I had run the first part of today's run numerous times of late so was confident despite the slight lack of light. The first half hour of the run takes you down some relatively steep technical terrain which is both good and bad. Good in the fact you get some quality downhill in so early in the run, but bad in the sense you get to run for the next 4.5 hours knowing that you are going to have to tackle this on fatigued legs later on.

After about 45mins today the body was kindly letting me know that the legs weren't feeling too flash. I was pretty tempted to suggest that we turn at 1.5hrs and return for a 3hr run. Thankfully things picked up from here and gradually as I went on I was feeling better and better, at about the 2hr mark I was back to 'normal' Scotty and running how I should be, smiling and ticking the legs over well.

At approx 1.5hr we changed onto a different track and ventured off onto the Munda Biddi Trail. This trail opens up a bit and is pretty easy going non-technical rolling terrain. Then came the rain, and geez did it bucket down. No waterproof jacket was going to keep me dry in that weather! Reminded me of a few days earlier running out there when I felt like I was playing hot potato with my rain jacket. I think I must have put it on and off about a dozen times during the four hours running!! We carried along to the 2hr45min mark which was the turn-around point which took us to Pickering Brook and some bitumen for a k' or so.

On the return we stopped briefly to give the poor calf muscles a well deserved stretch and shake out. After a minute we were off again and heading back to the Dell. Continuing on for a few k' we then came to the Calamunda Camel Farm which is about 45mins from the car and the comfort of a Coke on ice in the chilly bin and a warm jacket. By this stage James was feeling a tad rough so I offered him a spare Roctane Gu which he downed quickly and within minutes had bounced back to normal.

The last few k' heading back up the valley to Kalamunda and the car were absolutely awesome! I ran the whole morning thinking about how I wanted to be in good condition to be able to really run up the last few hills and the not so kind steps towards the end. The first part of the ascent are some pretty rocky 'natural' steps followed with a bit of undulation and then some more steps. I ran the whole way up, being careful not to get the heart rate too far out of control and got to the top super satisfied how the run had gone and how my body felt after the week of training I had.

All in all a great run, great company and good to get a solid session under the belt in preparation for the next race.

James coming down some classic Bibbulmun Trail

One of the creeks crossed at the bottom of the valley, end product of a week of rain. The week before this was bone dry!

The end of the decent into the valley.

James was trying to catch a shot of me coming down the downhill, I think he missed me as the Hoka's were making me go too fast!