Sunday, 23 September 2012

Week Summary week ending 23/9/12

This week was always going to be interesting for a few reasons. How was I going to pull up after running my first 100km race, was I going to bounce back quick enough to do the Esperance Half Marathon in just over 10 days time? The first few days were as expected, the quads felt a bit ginger but nothing too serious. Then by Wednesday I was feeling a lot fresher and feeling pretty good about things. Apart from a slight twinge in my quad and Popliteus (Muscle in back of the knee) my legs were feeling outstanding. The quad niggle and popliteus pain came on at probably the 20km mark in the race so I knew they were going to be a bit inflamed post race.

I decided to go for a really quiet jog on Wednesday as I was getting really itchy feet having so many days off running. I only went 2km as I didn't want to overdo it. My quad was a bit tight still but popliteus was fine.

I decided to take the next few days off as I figured it would do no harm to rest up some more. Despite feeling really great I still had lingering pain in those two areas.

By Sunday the quad niggle had completely gone so I decided to head out for a short run around the river with Dan. We only covered about 6km at a pretty steady pace. Things felt quite good in general but still a lingering pain in the Popliteus. What does this mean for Esperance.....? I'm not too sure. I need to listen to my body despite what my head is telling me to do. This is probably the hardest time for a runner, when you feel just about 100% but you aren't. The need to relax and rest up is so crucial, as recovery is a huge component of training and racing.

I have a massage appointment booked with Nathan next week so no doubt he will know what to do. He has a knack for getting me back on the trails!!

Some more exciting news this week included me entering in the Great North Walk 100km race in November. I decided after Glasshouse and how things went there that I would love to give a tougher race with more elevation a crack. I think the GNW race suits me better as there are just more hills and it is more technical. I can't wait for this challenge.

Now I just need to shake a couple of niggles before I can get back to my favourite part of the whole running and racing thing, training. I get such a buzz out of being able to run trails every day. Have an escape from cars, cell phones and copious amounts of people. I am really hanging out for Esperance to be over so I can concentrate on that.

So overall it was a pretty interesting week with lots of things happening and things to get excited about for the near future. 1 week on and I feel I learnt so much from Glasshouse and I will take a lot of it with me into my next training block for GNW100.  Also a massive congratulations to my running mate James who placed 5th Overall at the Surf Coast Century 100km on Saturday and he also ran the quickest individual time for the final 14km section, good job!!

Some useful links:

A beautiful morning running along the Swan River

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Glasshouse Mountains 100km Race Report

I have been writing notes on the back of napkins and on my phone to ensure I capture and remember all of the wonderful parts that made up the Glasshouse 100. The lead up to this race was like none other that I have been part of. I have never had to physically or mentally prepare myself for anything like this.

Training wise leading up to this race it went really well. I was so excited at the prospect of actually being able to train consistently leading up to a race and not use the excuse of surgery or recovery as my reasons for why I didn't train much. For those that have been following this blog I had been ticking over training weeks of around 130-180km for the past 5 weeks. Apart from a 5 day patch that I had off due to rolling my ankle things went pretty well.

On the Friday, the day before the race, the plan was to have a pretty casual morning getting a few final things sorted. I even managed to get hold of the same protein drink in Brisbane that I used in the Kep Ultra back in June which was a bonus. At 2pm Dad and I met up with my mate Rob D and his new friend Chen from China. Chen is a runner who has competed in the Western States 100, The North Face Endurance Challenge, Gobi Desert Race and many more. He doesn't speak a word of English but through some modern technology being the iPad and a translator app we were able to communicate.

We took off and drove around a fair chunk of the course checking out some of the aid stations and track crossings and pretty much taking in everything we could. The Glasshouse Mountains area is truly fantastic with amazing scenery everywhere. It was a real bonus being able to look over some of the course albeit from the car. After we got back I picked up my race number and race pack with my event t-shirt which was pretty cool.

We hung around the Beerburrum Primary School for an hour or two waiting for the race briefing at 6.30pm. Dad and I decided to go for a walk along the first 9.7km section from the school covering about 2-3km before heading back to the car. It was really cool having pops there to share what was going to be one of my biggest challenges to date. Dad has a really good way of putting things into perspective and just generally being a great person to talk to about all things running.

The race briefing was exactly that. A pretty brief chat covering everything that needed to be said. When the Race Director Ian Javes was explaining the course it was quite remarkable and as if he was literally walking you around the course as we were there. Upon arriving home, Mum, Auntie Mitzi and Liz had been preparing a massive pre race meal for us. Some yummy chicken and this crazy rice pasta. The Italian name I can't remember but it was great.

The rest of the night was spent making final preparations and making sure I had everything just where it needed to be before the big race.

Now I know they say you don't get much sleep the night before a race but I think I took this theory to a whole new level. I was in bed by about 9.30pm, and nearly to the minute 1 hour later I woke up feeling like it was morning. I was absolutely gutted to look at my phone and see 2230 on the screen. However, I managed to be back asleep not too long after and didn't wake until 4am after running through the race in my sleep numerous times.

Race morning was fantastic. After attending a Hammer Nutrition seminar held by Steve Born (a multiple RAM finisher amongst other incredible feats) a week before the race I was trying out his theory on pre race nutrition. The biggest thing I took out of this was that it was better off for me to not eat breakfast before the race if I couldn't do it at least 3hours before hand. I'll go into this more another time.

We were all packed up and made our way back to Beerburrum Primary School. We weren't there long before I was setting off on what was going to be my toughest physical and mental adventure yet. 

The race started with a really nice 10km loop which finished back at the school. It was a pretty flat loop and really enjoyable. For the first time this year I wasn't the first one off the start line and in fact there were several people ahead of me. For some reason I was just so content on cruising along and taking in some of the scenery. Chen had the right idea and had a camera in his pack and took a few photos during this loop. There were numerous guys and girls that took off ahead of me including pre race favourites Ben Duffus and Dan Nunan and Chen. After 3km I kept thinking when am I going to see these guys again, am I going to be able to catch them later on??

Upon returning to the school I swapped my handheld bottle for my pack and headed off up the road to tackle Mt Beerburrum. This was my first eye opener on the course as we headed up Mt Beerburrum. The initial 4wd trail heading up was all runnable and relatively tame. Then once we hit the bitumen single path things got fun. It was a really good slog up the hill, steeper than anything Perth has on offer and I actually enjoyed it. Upon reaching the summit I was being passed going the other way by quite a few runners. I had gone up the hill with eventual 100 mile winner Ian Gallagher and last years 100km winner Oliver Zambon so thought that the pace we were going must be sensible. 

I ran the next section from the bottom of Mt Beerburrum through to Checkpoint 4 with the two 100mile runners Ian and Oliver and also Damian, another 100 miler. We were going along pretty cruisey and I was really enjoying the scenery and having a chat with them. It was more or less fire trail through this section with a nice section of single track thrown in there too. After running through the checkpoint at CP 5, I started pulling away from the 100 mile guys, not through intentionally doing so. During this section I caught up to a guy who had taken off from the start line too fast and he wasn't really moving too fast. Not long later i caught Ben Duffus, one of the pre race favourites and we ran together for about 6-7km. It was nice running along with someone and we had a pretty good chat. We passed through checkpoint 6 and then soon caught the race leader Dan Nunan. We then all ran together along some technical trails with some nice elevation gain thrown in and it was here when I started thinking that maybe I was going to do alright in this race. It was great fun running along with these guys and they seemed like top blokes. I seemed to pull away from the two guys on the hillier sections and then they were running faster to catch up on the flat. We did a bit of cat and mouse through to CP 6P before dropping down into the valley to tackle the power lines section. 

We had gone to CP 6P the day before with Rob and Chen to check it out as we heard that it was the toughest part of the course. We didn't run any of the course itself but had a look and took a few photos of where the trail went. After dropping into the valley I needed to take a nature stop so let Ben and Dan take off ahead of me. Once again I was left thinking when am I going to see these guys again. It was a decision I had to make to stop but I knew I would run better afterwards so wasn't a hard decision. About 10 minutes later I caught back up to the guys without expending any more energy than I wanted to which was pleasing. Gradually as this section went on I started to pull away from the two guys and entered the aid station at checkpoint 8 on my own. Here I had my weight checked for the first time which was bang on where I had started which was cool. My hydration and nutrition must be working I thought.

I then left CP 8 in really good spirits and I was just having a fantastic time. As I left in conversation with Liz I said my legs were feeling really good. At this point an aid station volunteer said that will change after the loop. The loop at CP 8 was really cool, some really nice trail through here and I was running along well. I had forgotten to ask what pace I was targeting for this section so stayed around 5min10sec per km as this was achieved quite easily. On this section I had my closest encounters with some wildlife being this big lizard thing and a big snake of some description. Seeing the snake definitely made me realise I needed to keep an eye out as I didn't want to have to use my compression bandage if I didn't have to. 

After the loop and returning to CP8 Liz told me that Uncle Glen and my wee cousins Harrison and Connor were going to be at CP7 waiting there. This gave me a real buzz and something to look forward to. This section was pretty good going, a few hills thrown in but all went well, and still no sign of Ben or Dan. In the back of my mind I was still thinking that either one of those two were going to come roaring past or even my new friend Chen the Chinese Ultra Man. I made sure I didn't do anything silly or get too carried away as there was still a loooong way to go. At the approach to CP7 I heard Liz calling out support and cheering and I could also see my wee cousins standing on the trail and as I got closer I could hear Harrison yelling run fast Scotty, run fast. It was so cool to have my family there cheering me on and supporting me. There was no sign of the other runners along the dirt road so things were still going well.

I headed off to do the loop at checkpoint 7 which I think was about 7km. About 4.5km in or 68km into the race disaster struck. I got to a track intersection which was a little confusing to say the least. Long story short, I missed the painted arrows on the ground on the inside left turn and carried on straight ahead following the usual white tape tied to trees. Turns out there was an equestrian event on the week before and they used the same white tape as we were. I think I got about 1 to 1.5km along here before deciding to head back to where I knew I had last seen Glasshouse markers. On the return I saw the painted arrows indicating to go left and when I looked further down the trail I saw Dan coming up towards me. I yelled out to him to turn left here so he didn't risk doing the same as me. I was a bit frustrated about getting lost but that's just part of trail running. Dan was walking up a hill that I ran up when I saw him so despite being gutted he had caught up I was confident that I could pull away from him again.

By the time I got back to CP6P we think I added about 4mins during a 7.5km section. By this stage Nana Shirley and Auntie Mitzi had tag-teamed with Glen and the boys to cheer me on. A quick drink change and some protein shake and I was away again heading for CP5. Checkpoint 6 through to Checkpoint 5 was by far the toughest section of the course. What I thought was going to be relatively undulating turned out to be just that, but some of the biggest undulations I had come across in a while. There was basically just a lot more power hiking in this section than I predicted. This was fine though as I was still feeling strong and happy to get the job done. Arriving at CP5 I was feeling pretty hot and had been having problems with my visor feeling too tight so I decided to change to my old hat and Liz being the clever one poured some ice cold water into it which was awesome!!

As I left CP 5 (89km) to head for the finish, Dad called out and said I just needed to do sub 6min K's if I wanted to break the old course record. By this stage after getting lost I was just hoping to maintain 1st place and concentrate on finishing well. As I left I began running downhill and felt remarkably strong. I ran the last 11km to the finish really strong and felt great. I kept thinking why am I feeling so good after running 90km already? I put it down to my training and getting some good mileage in the weeks leading up to the race, and also from wearing my Hoka One One shoes. I managed to sneak in a few 4min40sec K's leading into the finish and when I saw my support crew with 2km to go I felt I was going to get there.

I crossed the finish line at the school in 9:04:09 and in first place, and breaking the previous record by just under 10 minutes. I felt overwhelmed with excitement as I had just finished running 100km over some pretty rough terrain with some nice elevation thrown in to keep me honest. We stayed at the school for around about 20mins in which time no one had come in. We then left to go back to Nana Shirley's place to have a rest and get ready for her surprise 60th Birthday Party.

It was an absolutely fantastic day that I will remember for the rest of my life. It was such an awesome experience running that far and I would do it all again in a heartbeat. 

For the surprise dinner that night, despite being dressed up in pants and a dress shirt I convinced Liz that it would still look flash if I wore my Hoka's with my jeans. I tried putting on some other shoes but none compared for comfort with the Hoka's.

I need to thank so many people for helping me achieve this massive goal. Thanks to Cleggy from and Clontarf for covering my Sunday shift allowing me to go. Thanks to the wonderful kitchen ladies at the boarding house for giving me all the food I needed in the weeks leading up to the race. Thanks to all my friends and family for all of your positive messages along the way, they all helped! Thanks to Roger at Hoka One One for suggesting the Bondi B's for me, they were outstanding!! Thanks to my family who were there on the day, it was so special having you there for such an occasion. Thanks to Mum and Dad for being such an awesome support crew with Liz and always being there for support along the way. Thanks Dad for your straight up approach to running a race and getting it done.

A huge, Mc Massive, never going to be big enough thank you to my wonderful wife Liz. I could not achieve any of this without your constant love and support. All of the time we sacrifice spending together so I can head off into the trails and everything you do from cooking wonderful nutritious meals, somehow justifying spending 100's and 1000's of dollars on gear and race stuff, massages at 9.30pm at night and the list goes on. 

This probably/definitely isn't a text book race report by any means as I feel there is more to running a race than the boring nitty gritty details of every kilometre. I hope it gives you a bit of an insight into what made up the Glasshouse 100km for me and feel like you were there for some of the way. 


Me, Rob D, Chen Penbin at the Powerlines section (CP6P)

Just after the start
Near CP8

Along the first 9.7km loop

Mt Tibrogargan

The Hokas and jeans combo, I feel it's working for me ;)

Bill Thompson, 69 years old and finishing the 100miler strong. Inspirational!

Monday, 10 September 2012

Week Summary: 3 Sept - 9 Sept

Mon - AM: Kalamunda - Camel Farm Return
Today's run was the beginning of starting to ease off the training a wee bit leading up to the next race. I started off really casually and got into a good rhythm early until an early pit stop. From here the running was smooth and I was really forcing myself to go slow and not to do anything stupid. My plan was to run to the Camel farm and back. When I arrived at the camel farm I stopped the clock at 41:56. Nearly a whole 2mins quicker than my previous best time and I was taking it really easy and stopped to  go to the toilet. The run back was fun and I managed to hold myself back from hammering the final uphill section bar a couple of spots where I must have 'forgotten' to take it easy.

Tues - AM: Bold Park - Zamia Trail
An easy hour was on the cards today as part of my taper. It was really wet today and I was thankful I had left my rain jacket in the car from the weekend. Despite the lousy weather I had a really enjoyable run taking it super easy. At one point I came across a lady whom I thought was going to catch me based on the speed I was running. I said to myself, even if she does pass me let her go. It never eventuated but reminded me of my competitive nature even on the training grounds against a lady likely double my age. I ran another PB for the Zamia loop on my second lap which was really nice to do despite what seemed like a lack of intensity.

Weds - AM: Munda Biddi Trail - Pickering Brook
I have wanted to head out here for a long time now and finally did. I covered about 5km out here a few weeks back at the end of a big run before turning back for Kalamunda and was really impressed with the quality of trail in this section. I ran 15km total which was a really enjoyable run again. The track is pretty overgrown out here and in need of some track maintenance especially for the cyclists. It was easy enough for me to tip toe around parts but definitely a bit more difficult for the bikes.

Weds - PM: Massage with Nathan at Massage Works HQ

Thurs AM: Munda Biddi Trail - Pickering Brook
After having such a blast out here yesterday I decided to suggest it as an option to Adam and James to head there today. They were both keen for around 15km (ish) so it suited perfectly. After about 4km we missed a turn and gained a bonus km or two before realising and turned around. It's funny how easy it is to miss markers when running with other people and when you are talking. After the turn around point and about 3km, the pace picked up drastically thanks to one Mr A Chinnock. I decided to go with him and discarding my 'take it easy' approach to the next week or so. We managed a 4:03 and a 4:14 and then later on closer to the finish with a 4:13. A great run and really fun to run a little faster for a few km's and not anything too crazy.

Fri AM: Rest day.
I wasn't planning on having a rest day today but it kinda just happened. A few jobs around the house and before I knew It I was at work again. Having the day off made me realise that taper for me needs to include something every day as it was driving me crazy not being able to squeeze a run in.

Saturday AM: Railway Heritage Trail & Eagle View at John Forrest National Park
Meeting time for this mornings run was 7.30am. It was an absolute cracker of a morning apart from a fresh easterly early on. Once we hit the Eagle View Trail we were out of the wind and on some really quality trail. The team for today was Me, Adam, James and Adams mate Simon. It was a pretty leisurely pace for the whole run today which was absolutely fine by me. I was just keen to get 20km or so under the belt niggle free and feeling good. There was only one point on the biggest climb of the run where I once again accidentally took off up the hill. I got 3/4 of the way up and remembered I was tapering. It was also hard today to not get carried away in trying to keep up with James who was running really well despite having calf problems lately. Towards the end of the run a bloke came from nowhere and flew past us going fairly quick, Adam was quite impressed I didn't take off after him and I surprised myself through having the control to stay with the guys. That probably sounds ridiculous to most people but for the people who know me well it is easier said than done :)

Sunday AM: Swan River
WOW!! What a beauty of a morning it was to be running. Probably one of the most enjoyable/funny/nice runs I have done in a few months. Enjoyable in the sense that the weather couldn't be better and nice because I had my lovely wife on the bike again joining me for a training run. And funny because of how hard a time I was having trying to run the pace I am going to have to run at for the beginning of my race. I'm looking at approx.. 5:15-5:20 per km for the first 25km or so and today I was finding it ridiculously hard to run slower than 5min per km. I just took it as it came and really enjoyed a great morning.

Hours: 8:26:15
Distance: 96.1km
Total Ascent: 1817m

This week was really fun. It was cool to run with a few mates later in the week and mix things up a little by heading out to Pickering Brook. Sunday's run was great as it was making me try and prepare myself mentally to have to run slower early on in my race in order to run the latter stages well. It was a big decrease in mileage but still good to nearly get 100km in. The body is in absolute top shape at the moment and I am really enjoying myself.

Eagle View Trail @ John Forrest National Park

Eagle View

Heritage Rail Trail

Monday, 3 September 2012

Week Summary: 27 Aug - 2 Sept

"I decided to go for a little run."
- Forrest Gump

Mon - AM: 15km Around the Swan River (Speed Session)
My first speed session in a long time/ever today! Not too sure what brought it on, but I felt like running fast so I did. After 2km warm up I took to the next 3km in approx.. 3min50sec per/km. Those first 3km felt like a real struggle which left me thinking that today wasn't the best day to try to be running 'fast'. After a recovery km at 4min30sec I got stuck into the next 3km block. I managed to push out the 3km at approx.. 3min34sec, much better. And I felt like it was coming pretty easy so that was pleasing. Another 4min30 km after that and then I was into my 3rd and final 3km set. I picked things up a little on this final set clocking about 3min29sec per km. It was a really fun session and I quite enjoyed running relatively fast for a change. It was also great to see how the Hoka's went running fast, the Bondi B's were bloody outstanding. I have found an all round beauty in the Bondi B.

Tues - PM: 9km at Lesmurdie Falls
I decided today that I wanted to go for a night time run as I hadn't done so in a long long time. I just went for a pretty short one but it was really fun, especially with a less than ideal head torch showing me the way! I did the usual 1st loop, taking the down hills really easy under low light and not wanting to roll an ankle or anything silly like that.

Weds - AM: 23km along Munda Biddi Trail
Really easy run today as my right Popliteus was a little upset with me. Nothing too major just a bit tighter than usual. The run itself was really enjoyable, I hadn't been out to the Munda Biddi in a while so was cool to head back. Managed to scare the c*@p out of a few mountain bikers when I ran past them. I have a bit of a knack for spooking people on the trails. I feel like I need to start yelling out 500m before I get to them informing them I am coming past so I dont scare them. About 20mins after I got home I had one of the biggest scares for myself over the past 5 weeks of training. My left calf muscle felt like I had been shot. It really had me worried. Luckily I had a massage booked for tomorrow so Nathan could have a look and sort it out.

Thurs AM: Massage with Nathan @ Massage Works.
I gingerly walked into Massage Works today knowing all too well I was going to have a tough session. I already brought the session forward due to my Popliteus being tight, and now I had this calf muscle problem I had to deal with. It's pretty fair to say I was in a bit of pain for the 1hour with Nathan. If he had a swear jar I would have spent more on that than the massage itself! Really awesome having such a professional sports massage therapist who really knows what he's doing and knows running too!

Fri AM: Rest Day

Saturday AM: 16km run to work and back.
I needed to head into work this morning to print a few things out so thought I'd go for an easy stroll getting there. It was the first run since the calf problem so I was pretty anxious to see how it went. I knew if it flared up I was going to have a real problem on my hands. The run went awesome thankfully, I felt really good and It was nice running in my new pair of Hoka's I got for my next race.

Saturday PM: 30km along Bibbulmun & Munda Biddi
I decided to park at the Camel Farm this afternoon to skip the steep downhill and uphill sections just out of Kalamunda. With the legs recovering well since the massage I wanted to take things easy. I didn't leave the car until 4pm so it was a bit cooler. I had an absolute blast running this afternoon, cruising along just really enjoying the birds chirping and hearing the trees blow in the wind. Two of my favourites as to why I love trail running. As the evening got nearer it cooled down a fair bit pretty quickly and I was stoked I remembered to put my sleeves in my pack. It also got dark pretty quick. The last few km were pretty funny trying to stay on the trail and not branch off onto other tracks. I wasn't too keen on stopping to get my wonderfully rubbish head torch out so took it easy back to the car. Not a bad run, came in averaging 4min53sec per km average. Pretty stoked to get a good trail in after the 16km on bitumen this morning.

Sunday AM: 23km around the Swan River
Todays run didn't start all that smoothly. Liz decided to come along to keep me company on the bike and about 2km in she got a flat tyre so decided to walk home with the bike. I carried on and ran a pretty cruisey 23km around the river to the Narrows Bridge and back home again. I was running along at mostly 4min10sec per km and feeling pretty good. I eased off the pace with about 3km to go and treated that as a bit of a cool dawn. I ran with the hand held water bottle today to mix things up. That was pretty comfortable and looks like a hydration option for the next race.

Hours: 9hr 15min
Distance: 116.7km
Total Ascent: 1707m

The Amphipod 600ml handheld I use.

My brand spankin new pair of Hokas!!

In hindsight it was a pretty average week training wise. I really don't know why my calf decided to pipe up and say something to then settle down 2 days later. After the great speed session to start the week I was hoping to follow on with good training. Over 60km down from last weeks cracker it was a little disappointing, but I'm happy now the body has bounced back so quickly. Despite the hurdles, I managed to get a few decent runs in which is the main thing. My phone/camera died earlier this week so no photo's from training unfortunately. I've added a couple to show some of the gear I am currently using. Looking forward to a week of more consistent training next week.