Monday, April 30, 2007

Wilsons Promontory

28th April. 100kms 18.16 6th/8.

That was one bloody tough run.

I have wanted to do this event ever since reading a certain famous coolrunners report in 2001:
He spent some hours getting cold and dehydrated trying to find the trails exiting the beach at Oberon and little Oberon bays.
Apparently the EPIRB almost got unleashed.
The following year runners including a certain Mr Whippet suffered hypothermia (in the 80km) whilst people doing the 100km found snow on Mt Bishop.
Last year another infamous CR got lost for several hours in the same area and even blew his emergency whistle before struggling on to finish in over 24hrs.

In preparation for this event whippet and I spent the weekend at the prom 5 weeks before the race.
I had spent much time thinking about the course and the difficulties I had on that day.

The first problem for this weekend was the kombi was broken so as well as whippy being late picking me up we didn’t have the benefit of the mothership for the weekend.
Setting up just after dark was ‘interesting’ to say the least.
The forecast galeforce winds had already arrived and we were lucky the rain held off.
A few more sturdy tent pegs from chilliman certainly came in handy and whippy took the unusual step of tying his tent to the car for extra security!
Think I got about 30mins sleep overnight – it was just too damn windy and noisy.
Everytime I would get close to being asleep a wind gust would shake the tent or lift sand up and push it through the netting onto my face!

Right on cue it started raining at the course briefing at 5.45am and the wind was still strong – with gusts up to 50knots.
500 meters into the run I realized my camelback hose bite thingy had fallen off.
Running up the hill to telegraph saddle carpark I was wondering what the hell more the day could throw at me.
The rain was bucketing down and the wind was pushing it into my face/glasses so I couldn’t see.
Already I wanted to hop into the RDs car at the top.
Once onto the trail we had more shelter however our first port of call was windy saddle!!

The trip to sealers cove (via windy) is good trail – all runable with some duckboard at the end.
It took me 2hrs to do on the ‘recon’ and only 5 mins longer this time which I was surprised about.
The rain was still coming down but was less heavy and less persistent.
Every time I took my cap off (used as a glasses shield) it would start raining again so I simply left it on!

The constant hills start from sealers where u get into a rhythm of beach walk -> climb over headland -> back down -> beach walk.
I certainly got into a good walk/run/eat rhythm throughout this.
Once at little waterloo bay I needed to find the west-east track that leads to the t-track junction and made a little nav error here costing me a few minutes.
The east-west track is all good running – nice and flat, a bit sandy in parts but not very technical at all.
The loop then heads anticlockwise to roaring meg (and then south point), the lighthouse (approx half way) and back to little waterloo.
We had done this loop in the reverse direction on the recon and I was very mindful of all the hills and heavy bush covering the track. Whippy calls this ‘the car wash’ when u brush into all the wet bushes.

I took things pretty steady and easy and was pleased to see both Brendan and Kelvin on the outNback to south point and figured I was 45-50mins behind them.
I arrived at the lighthouse (52.9km) at 9hrs and with some mental arithmetic figured I could have a crack at making Oberon bay before dark.
I was also eyeing off a sub 19hr finish figuring on a slight slow down in the second half.

The next section is certainly the worst of the course – first a 100m climb a quick ‘break’ then another 200m climb most thru heavy head high bush that covers the track.
After leaving the lighthouse I was pleased to see more evidence of whippersnipping but after a km or so the bush suddenly reappeared – obviously they had stopped their trail maintenance work there for the day!

Arriving at little waterloo bay at the 11hour mark I knew I would face the tough Oberon and little Oberon bay crossings in the dark so settled into a good rhythm trying to conserve energy.
Heading to the t-junction I saw the first bit of clear sky for the day just in time for a remarkable sunset.
Found a strange footprint track in the sand – a giant 4 pronged thing with big claws.
Initially I thought it was a wallaby but it was way too big and they weren’t two together.
Unfortunately this thing was heading in the same direction as I was and after some initial thoughts of some prehistoric teridactil monster preying on slow 100km runners the marks stopped, I calmed down and figured it was maybe an emu??
Arriving back at the t junction (under headlamp/light) I found the water and coke I had dumped the first time around and felt an immediate buzz and felt strong and unconcerned by the infamous river crossing.

In the weeks before this event I spent much time thinking about the river crossing and even had some crazy thoughts about bringing a personal floatation device of some kind but figured I would probably just end up floating out to sea!
High tide was supposed to be at 9.30pm so I was surprised to see the sea so far out when I arrived at Oberon bay.
As I approached the crossing I could see the shapes of the ‘identifying rocks’ that are like goalposts with a reflective marker on the sign inbetween.
As I got closer and closer I thought it strange that my feet hadnt got wet yet.
Soon I saw that the ‘crossing’ was a 2 metre ankle deep stroll and had a big chuckle.

Was probably chuckling too much when climbing over the next headland smashed my right knee into a tree root that I didn’t see.
It was one of those things that you know instantly u haven’t done any major damage but it doesn’t stop you screaming out in pain.
Unfortunately when landing awkwardly on my other leg I had stretched my calf/hammy junction which was already sore to begin with.
After limping for a while I figured I hadn’t torn anything major.

Found the exit at little Oberon bay easily – a mixture of footprints in the sand and a small reflective marker on the rock.
Came into tidal river in 13.50 which was well ahead of my 20 hour finish schedule.
Was informed Brendan had just left and figuring I had at least a half-hour buffer over Amanda behind me I decided not to chase but fix some blistering/chafe issues and have a quick hot meal.
I felt good enough to head straight out but thought I deserved a rest!

Very pleased to hear whippy arrive back after his final 20km loop as I cooked and gave congrats on what I assumed was 2nd place behind Tim Cochrane.
However Tim had fallen earlier in the day and Andrew had worked his way through from 4th to 1st including a sub 3 hour final loop!

Spent almost half an hour at tidal river and with some encouragement from Andrew (calling me an old woman) left for the final fling.
Saw Brendan again just before the 2.2km mt bishop return trip (on the 9.9km lilly pilly loop) so figured he had at least 40 mins on me.
Had I realized he did the loop in the different direction to me (short bit first) maybe I would’ve tried to chase him down! 
Coming back to the road after the loop I saw a light approaching who I assumed was Amanda.
She must be 2 hours or so behind me now so I knew that I would not be the last of the finishers.

As Brendan had said when I saw him on Mt Bishop I was ‘over it now’ and just wanted to finish. I wondered how much tougher it would be to do Hardrock and spend 48hours climbing up and down 11km of ascent/descent!
What a stupid idea! …. Sorry Andrew 

Finished in 18.16 which was much quicker than the 20hrs I had planned.
Felt very chafed/blistered and sore at the end.
Also very tired – not helped by a lack of sleep the night before.

Couldn’t wish for a better finishers prize than a caramello koala.
Who needs medals and t shirts?

Overall I think despite the first hour or so being terrible the weather was better than planned.
Probably because the weather for the recon was also terrible, the forecast was for afternoon thunderstorms which never came and because Andrew spent the whole car trip reliving stories of snow and hypothermia from previous races.
A lot of the bush covering the trail had been cleared which also made things easier.

This is the longest and hardest run I have done since the 100 miler in 2003.
I can see now why it has so much ‘cred’ in the ultra world and now whenever people look at me they can say hey this guy finished the Prom 100km.

How cool is that.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Training week

i usually dont say much about my training weeks.
lets face it theres not much to talk about.
there always different to the one before.
some weeks i dont even run at all.
but here goes anyway...

monday: 5.5hr run around cootha/gap creek area.
covered almost all of the proposed 'coot-tha all trails run' course (hannahs idea).
a very tough run - was probably around 35km what i covered on the day (in 5.20).
a really good quads workout for wilsons prom.
lots of trotting downhill and trudging back up another.
will need to change the course if this run goes ahead later in the year - the chapel hill bits dont work and we need to make it >42.2kms so its an ultra!! (even if it takes us 6hrs+ to do)

tuesday: nothing (work)
wednesday: nothing (work).
spent some time looking at water purification studies for a paper i am involved in.
made a work related trip to K2 in 'the valley' to get some info on the miox purifier.
tried not to look at gear. its a hard life!
lets just hope with all this new knowledge i dont get giardia on the weekend :)

thursday: 1hr stationary bike (and massage).
nice and easy at 130watts.
got an SMS from a mate in the car on the way home from work - "nice letter in ourdoor mag .... clown!".
inspired by an article on mt tibrogargan last edition (the writers failed to scale the thing) i told them in a slightly cheeky fashion about my glasshouse 5 mountains run last year.
never heard back from them and assumed they binned it until i find it winning the 'letter of the month!'.
how cool is that!
happy to personally sign any copies ;)

friday: 1hr stat bike.
harder at 140-150watts.
quads felt tired afterwards which i guess is the idea.

saturday: 23km flat run kangaroo point to uni qld and back.
set off at 5min/kms and was suprised to be only a couple of minutes behind pb split at half way.
the legs were feeling it so decided to back off and cruise home in a 3min positive split so did 0.57/1.00 = 1.57 for the 23 (pb 55/53).
quickly stopped the watch at southbank on the way back but the brissie marathon expo was well and truly closed so kept cracking.

sunday: brissie marathon - cheersquad duties.
was nice being based at the goodwill/gardens drink station.
more things happening than last year. could get a feel of how people were doing by seeing them in different states at different times of the run.

a good weekend for mellum.
phil winning hellgate and tim making his comeback run.
veg pacing in the 10km at brissie mara.

a very sluggish double cootha trail today (20km) in 2.08 (pb 1.48 eeeeeeeeeeek).

wilsons prom next weekend.
will spend the rest of the week looking at maps and gear and 'freshening up'.
provisional plan is not to look at the watch too much, accept i will be crossing 'the river' at night and just trudge along.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

its hard to fall off an exercise bike

when i had pain in my left knee just walking around at work early this week i figured i had better have a bike-only week.
and by that i mean one i dont fall off.
the meniscus has only stopped my training once for any decent length of time - a few years back.
and currently i am arthroscopy free!
seems to have settled well.

want to do 1 long run before 'the prom' so will do it tomorrow.
will head to mt coot-tha and do most of the 'cootha all trails run' that has been proposed on CR.
look forward to exploring some of the chapel hill trails i havent seen.
hopefully this run will happen at some stage - will be difficult to fit into the tight winter schedule.

monday - 30mins stat bike
tuesday - 1hr stat bike
wednesday - physio
thursday - 1hr stat bike
friday - nothing
saturday - 1hr stat bike
sunday - nothing

will get the full biomechanical report when i get back from the prom.
no point getting it before!!
thanks for the comments guys.
my sleeping bag is a nicer colour than yours brendan!

wilsons prom in 2 weeks.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

You know you're not normal when...

the physio doing your biomechanical analysis asks you if he can show the video to other physios for educational purposes.
...oh dear...
well basically (if i remember correctly) when my left leg is on the ground (and my right hip is flexing) my body leans to the left.
so the left glute i spend hours working on triggering never actually has a chance to trigger in that position.
and when i'm on my right leg my body swivels a bit (and left arm flays to the side).
apparently none of this is to do with the fact that my right foot points 30 degrees the wrong way thanks to a busted leg as a kid.
will get the word in a few weeks what i actually do about all this.

the most embarrasing thing from the video is that i look so damn skinny!
i've often joked that half my weight is below the waist (sexual pun intended) but maybe its more like 2/3rds!

will try and keep things nice and easy this week.
busy at work and have a niggle or 2 post WHM run - mainly a niggly left meniscus.
all quite manageable: just need to hop back on the bike.
need to get back to the stage where i'm running 60-70km/week riding 2-3hrs and feeling niggle free and strong!

monday: 14km flat 69.00
tuesday: nothing
wednesday: biomech analysis and MGTT run 19km hilly 2.15
thursday: xtraining (golf - i lost!!)
friday: 7km with the husky
saturday: MGTT 19km with tanky 2.30ish
sunday: nothing

wilsons prom in 3 weeks.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Wild horses couldnt drag me away...

remember that song from the 80s?
well anyway...

wild horse mountain 30km 3.02

never miss a chance for a run up at glasshouse especially not a night run.
originally planned just to jog this one but after a busy work week and a very unbusy run week my legs were keen for a smashing.
the run started with a trip up/down WHM so i was up with the quickies (dom, nic, bruce) by the bottom (9mins).
why is it always on the flat that i struggle?
got to 6km in 33.30 or thereabouts (so mustve been doing 5.20-5.30s on the flat) and the 20kmers split off here.
got passed by the lead 10kmers at about the 7km mark.
all the quickies seemed to be doing the 30km!!

got to the 10km or so mark and stupidly followed someone around a 'funny' right hand turn.
it was funny because we shouldnt be turning right and there was an arrow only and no tape in the trees.
hermie had caught me by now and we came to the next t-intersection that wasnt marked .... doh!!
the guy ahead of us had turned right here heading back even more completely the wrong way and ended up back near the mountain.
we turned back after a while to find the right turn arrow was more of a 'vear' than a 'turn'.
something youd easily appreciate during the day.

no mishaps from there just some nice flat bush running in intermittent drizzle.
evertually back at the base of WHM for the second and final ascent to the finish we saw 2 people 100m up ahead and despite nic telling us (on his way down after finishing) he thought they were 20kmers we had a crack at chasing them down only to come so close!
held hands with hermie crossing the line to indicate a tied position.
the 'girls' veg, di and hannah had finished the 20km within the last 10mins so they wouldve been in line for a 'dacking' had we not gotten lost ;)
was nice to catch up with the usuals: tanky, veg, ian, bruce, dom, nic, kel, charlie, greg, hermie, boon, di, hannah, schultzy ...

ran a slow flat 14km on tuesday (74.30) otherwise did nothing else all week.
need to work towards the prom race in 4 weeks time.