Sunday, September 30, 2007

'Easy' Week

determined to have an easy week this week.
didnt do anything until thursday.
had a few early work starts (7am) lately and was tired and (yet) really wound up by thursday.
really needed to get out on the trail...
started off and almost turned back at 200m as the right (good) knee just didnt feel right.
persisted and had a nice 2.5hr coot-tha/gap ck reserve run: the standard 'mr g torture test run' (long version).
niggles progressively settled over the week but wasnt going to run again until tomorrow.
but of course when tam and tam invited me for a little 3-4hr brisbane forest park trot this morning how could i say no?
started at bfp hq and covered the section adjacent to mt nebo rd to near mcafees lookout, down the 'hell hole break' along south boundary rd and back up to mt nebo rd trail via the 'unnamed track' inbetween centre road and the resevoir.
a nice run.
even nicer than coot-tha.
had a little nap this arvo :)
so much for the 'easy' week tho ;)

back to the biomechanical guy in a week or so (he will be my 'new' physio for a while) and he'll see if i've had any improvements.
need to start thinking about arrangements for melbourne half next weekend.
well mainly social arrangements rather than the race on sunday!
didnt realise until i got my race stuff yesterday that the trams dont run until after race start time so maybe i'll walk the 3km to/from the start.
can wear a thermal to the startline, wrap it around my waist for the race then head straight from the finish back to the hotel for shower and the airport.
sounds like a plan...

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Typical Ultrarunner!

typical ultrarunner - walks with a limp and tries to run 50km...
one of my most favourite coolrunning quotes (now who said it first? ;)).

one of the things i learnt this year is when to 'just chill' and take a break.
ended this week limping up and down stairs due to a narky left calf and quad and (mainly) some pain in my right knee (not itb).
i'm 'just not happy'.
i know all of this will settle in a few days but had planned a modified fats fat-ass run (5-6hrs) tomorrow.
decided after some thought to just do nothing for a few days.

i think my smartest race this year has been 6 foot track.
i dnsed!
rested for 2 weeks (itb niggle) and ran well at wilsons prom 100km 6 weeks later.
its important to know when to back off and recover.
i like saying this to myself sometimes as a form of positive reinforcement.

we make decisions like this all the time.
whats a niggle, whats more serious.
do i feel good and can i increase mileage.
not all of them will be right but hopefully none of the bad decisions will lead to prolonged injury.
in the end we run for fun.
when it starts to feel like 'training' somethings going wrong.

unfortunately picked the 2 hotest days of the week for my long runs (monday was 31).

a bigish week!
monday - 2.5hr coot-tha run
tuesday - 1hr bike 130watts
wednesday - nothing
thursday - 4hr coot-tha run and massage
friday - nothing
saturday - 14km flat 68.30
sunday - nothing

have booked flights/accom/car for bright 4 peaks.
looking forward to it.

go kel in germany!
will miss my physio who is taking a break for a while - sending kind thoughts your way.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

One Hit Wonder

one of the funny thoughts going thru my head before finishing gh100 was that i wouldnt be a 'one hit wonder' any more.
and i got sick of telling people i had done one of these things 'a few years back'.
have now done two 100 milers (even if its the same one twice!).

some technical things from last weekend...
1. pace: maybe a bit quick first half?? 11.35 (in) 11.45 (out) from cp6/halfway.
2. food/hydration: the usual stuff during day. reverted to coke and chicken/veg soup at night. went well until after the 2nd loop at 10 when i was falling asleep standing up and didnt want to eat as much. maybe a sign of things to come at cp9... maybe a jellybean or 2 may have helped. or a more prolonged sit at cp10.
3. feet: the tape (leukoplast) worked really well. had to redo bits twice including at the 2 hour mark!! the only bits of my feet to suffer 'prune feet' from the wet were the non taped bits ie. the heels. may experiment with hypafix/fixamul over the next few months.
4. chafe: think i have found the best combination - calvin klein 'micro modal' undies (yeah .... not cheap!) and (frequent) sportsshield. huge thanks to kato for bringing me some at the start when i had left it in my 'crew car' for cp8. he will now be my lube supplier for life! may try the mellum patented 'no undies with bike shorts' again at some stage just to experiment - its good to be a little daring sometimes ;)
5. crew: go team donut!!
6. hypoxication: think it helped. never hurts to have a bit extra haemoglobin i guess.
7. shoes: montrail hardrocks - excellent!!!!!!!!!!!

post gh100 in 2003 i rememeber my first run back vividly: it was with workmates on the following weekend. went on a flat 13km that we would usually do in 65 but i hit the preverbial brick wall halfway and struggled thru in 75.
no such trouble this year: did a 70min 14km yesterday no problems.

got back to 'normal' this weekend with house hunting yesterday (the last place fell thru when the pest dude found some little critters) and a looooong 8hrs of gardening today (consider it x-training!).
its great to just chill and not have a 'big one' hanging over your head!
(apologies to any gnw100 people reading this! ;))

will head to coot-tha tomorrow with the new pair of montrails.
need to find a suitable place to bury the old ones - maybe i should go to cp9 with a shovel?

provisional plan for the next 6 months...
october: melbourne half (jog 1.45ish) and lamington (following weekend)
november: bright 4 peaks (and suss out bogong)
december: kepler (and fats fatass!)
january: bogong-hotham (and suss out alpine 100)
february: ?caboolture (probably not cradle)
march: australian alpine 100
in other words hope to spend a lot of time in the victorian alps!!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Glasshouse 100

Four years ago I sat at the GH100 finish with head in hands crying. It had taken me 3 hard years to get there. I had gone through many of the ups and downs that people reading this blog would be all too familiar with. 1 failed start, 1 failed finish, 4 cortisone injections, thousands of dollars in physios fees and 28.5 hours of gut busting running later I had finally done it. I cried for 10 minutes.

This year I entered with less determination (or is that desperation?) but much more experience and I would like to think toughness too. This year was about getting my 100 mile mojo back – confidence in myself at this distance and confidence in being a part of the Hardrock 100 ballot next year!!

Rather than give a blow by blow description here are some high&lowlites…
• At the conclusion of the traditional pre-race ‘tour’ some of us went to cp10 to view Tibrogargan creek which usually passes under the road but now was over it! After this I didn’t want to see what it was like under the highway (Javes pool) but heard it was a long crossing of at least knee deep. Describing this to Team Mellum Spud said ‘well that’s gonna be hard to run a quick time then’. Figuring he didn’t understand the gravity of the situation I scowled and said: Phil this isn’t a race this year …. This is survival!
• The night before the race sitting in mellum HQ listening to vegie ask whippet and tim how much vegemite they want on their drop bag sandwiches and if they want margarine and if they want the crusts cut off and how many they want in each little baggie. For some reason I was expecting their answer to finish with … yes mum :)
• The nighttime. I just love running at night. All the hustle and bustle of the daytime has passed. People racing in and out of checkpoints and shouting at crewies is all gone. Its just you and the trail. So peaceful.
• The first ‘creek’ crossing under the highway seemed to go ok but unfortunately I had an audience at the second (Javes’ pool) as Schultzy and Julian were there waiting for Susannah. Trying to be tricky I decided to try the right hand side and see if I could jump across the first section but when that wasn’t going to work stepped into the ‘pool’ (which was actually flowing reasonably fast) and went straight down! The only reason nothing above my nipples got wet was because I swam a couple of strokes to the other side, grabbed the bottom of a tree and slid my bum up the bank while my legs were being washed down stream. Arrived at cp9 10mins later, went straight to the car and proceeded to strip down in front of anyone who cared to take a glance. Was absolutely buck naked in about 2 seconds. At the time it did remind me of the George Costanza ‘shrinkage’ episode of Seinfeld and I hope that the checkpoint people are aware of this well known medical fact!
• Crossing Tibro Creek on my way ‘home’ (via cp9) I was rather chilly exiting the water and was trying to zip my jacket up (which wasn’t obliging). When I looked up an epiphany appeared in the form of a goldylocked girl (Vegie). It said “ Dave you must help us as we are lost”. (Yes those exact words!) It took me some minutes to figure out who ‘we’ were (as she was actually alone – Tim was maybe a km down the road) and where ‘they’ were heading but it appeared Tim and Veg (pacing) had brain-freeze on exiting the cold water and missed the left turn back to cp9. I dutifully showed Veg the turn and suggested she “Better go get him then” and buggered off!
• Getting an encouraging text message from Jen_Runs at 4am!!
• Went through a really bad patch just before dawn Sunday – won’t give too much detail but it involved looking a tad pale and some vomiting… been there before!
• Tim arrived at cp9 to find me looking rather disheveled slumped against a tree only to have me exclaim: “It has to be one of life’s most fulfilling experiences to sit in a pool of your own vomit at 5am!”
• Andrew my crewie saying confidently “Oh youre going to finish” to which I replied mate I will crawl the last 14kms on my lips if I have too. No sh*t I will finish!
• When I was more lucid (the following day) Ruth reminding me of my ‘inappropriate voiding’ episode at cp9. I had decided that I needed to wee but wasn’t confident of making it very far so decided to walk behind the checkpoint peoples van (vain attempt at privacy) and do it there basically in the middle of the carpark. Not one of my proudest moments.
• A lot of weird things seem to happen to me at cp9!!
• Tim and Susannah caught me at cp9 and went up and came back down Wild Horse Mountain (a 20min trip) while I still sat there feeling sick. I was chatting to Susannah’s other half (and crew) about how much time people can make up at the end of a 100 mile race: the point being I could have headed for home whilst Susannah was still going up Wild Horse Mountain but she would have caught me easily because her pace was much quicker.
• After they both left I sat down for a while, then lay down then sat up again for a while and eventually left maybe 30mins later.
• About 400m from home I saw Schultzy who I figured had come out to meet someone. Then as I rounded the corner saw Susannah next to him and her pacer next to her. OMG she hasn’t finished yet!! Seemed ironic after what I had said to her other half a few hours earlier. After criss-crossing one another all day I was very pleased to cross the line with Susannah – probably the first ‘true tie’ in Glasshouse history!
• Can’t wait to see the splits – I think I did Hamburger Hill in 30-31mins. Last years quickest split was 30 so I have to be happy with that! It was so much fun going through all the puddles knowing that the wet feet would only last another half-hour. I am such a little kid!
• What photos Tim will put on his blog!

For the record I finished in 27.23 =14th/24. A pb by over an hour. The first 147km (23hrs) of the race was perfect for me – great pace, eating/drinking well, minimal foot problems. I thought of Tim’s comment from last year: “It was just one of those perfect days where everything went right”. Things went rapidly awry only 14km from home and although initially frustrated by this I’m the last person to worry about finish times and places. Now my only worry about this race was the fact I enjoyed it much more than in 2003 and I may have to do another one!!

Reflecting back on 2003 I wonder how I ever finished that race – being so sick for so long (basically over half the race). People often talk about the mental strength in ultra events but I think determination is a more accurate description of what is needed. I have seen people come to glasshouse and finish only to return the following year and DNF. Were they weaker physically or mentally? No – they were just less determined.

So did I cry at glasshouse this year? Not at the finish-line, no ;)

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Final Thoughts

heading up to glasshouse in the morning...
100 miler starts 5.30am saturday.
i will put my entry in tomorrow.

a few years back someone asked me how to finish one of these things.
since i have only finished once i recounted that experience :)....

youre sitting at a checkpoint at 4 in the morning having covered 125km or so.
you had been throwing up during the day in 35 degree heat and have had severe nausea for 12 hours or so.
you try and stand to leave, feel dizzy and fall back into the chair again. some stage youve just got to get back up again and start walking.
youve simply just GOT TO KEEP ON MOVING.

hope i can do so this time as well.
any text messages of support (especially at 4am sunday!) will be greatly appreciated.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Its Gonna Be A Buuuuuusy Week!

considering i'm only working one day (today!) it seems i can hardly complain :)
have lots of stuff to prepare for glasshouse on the weekend - trying to figure out how/where/why the crew will be and getting food and gear ready.
picked a bad week to buy a house (to rent) on the weekend.
now will spend most of the week on the phone to agents, pest inspectors, insurance agents, the bank and of course the lawyers ;)
at least i wont have time to think about the weekend!

still hypoxicating - will stop on wednesday.
was doing some heat acclimitization training and now i'm comfy walking around the house with the heater set to 30 wearing a jumper!
and with the forecast top for 22 i think i may be a bit chilly on the weekend :)
better stop that silliness.

an easy week this week...
monday - 3hr coot-tha run
tuesday - nothing
wednesday - 14km flat 68.00 and massage
thursday - nothing
friday - nothing
saturday - 1hr bike 140-150 watts
sunday - 14km flat 71.30

probably wont run/bike until ghouse.
glasshouse in 5 sleeps.
1 more shift at the germ factory.