Friday, February 26, 2010

Pushing Limits

decending down duanes spur

view north west from quartz ridge.
hard to see but ?mt beauty in distance upper right.

a tad blurry but rather ominous view from warby corner from where i had come: mt bogong

so i was trying to explain to one of my colleagues at albury emergency on monday that 14 hours was really just a training run.
and yes it probably isn't ideal to be running in the bush alone.
yes i am a doctor and have wilderness medicine qualifications.
yes i own a steripen (well 2 actually) yet decided not to carry it and drink untreated water from big river.
and yes predictably i ended up with an 'upset tummy' afterwards requiring a quick intravenous top-up and some antibiotics.
but didn't really feel silly to be honest.
just keen to get better as quickly as possible.
guess it makes it an easy decision for 3 weeks time: yep carry the steripen ;)
i was more dirty i missed my flight, missed my shift the next day and an uncomfortable trip away for some medical teaching work the following day.

did a slight variation of the initial 60km loop except starting and finishing from the YMCA at howmans gap about 10km up the road from bogong village (the alpine 100 mile startline).
was quite a little adventure in the dark getting up to the spion kopje (SK) fire trail.
for starters the trailhead from the YMCA isn't that obvious and i spent sometime fossicking arround in what i presume is the managers back yard (trampoline, kids toys...) before finding it up the back left of the complex (seems to be back right on the maps).
easy trip down to rocky valley creek which was only at knee high at worst but looking across at 5am all i could see on the other side was cliff high rock walls with no trailhead, bugger!
of course shimmied to the left rather than right and spent 10mins climbing over logs and generally splashing around before in the end it was just a few metres to the right of where i came out on the other side originally :)
bloody steep trail ie. hands and knees stuff and was a very sweaty first 40mins (for about 1.5kms!!) to the wider but overgrown SK trail.

then climbed up SK to warby corner and did 'the loop' down duanes spur (to big river) up tspur to mt bogong and then down quartz ridge (to big river again) up timms spur and back to warby corner.

initially a drizzly morning before a beautiful sunrise.
made it to a cloud covered mt bogong at 11.45am.
had decided due to a forecast storm at 3-6pm and poor visibility (20m) that i would head down staircase spur if i hadn't reached the summit by midday so was pleased to carry on.

have long wanted to do quartz ridge after reading lawrence and jan's account of the original alpine 100 miler the year they did the loop clockwise.
it was very cold with deep snow that year and although the ridge line is quite safe in the dry/daytime it sends a chill down my spine looking at how easy it would be to literally fall off quartz ridge in more difficult conditions ie. snow.

arriving back at warby corner i could look back at the awesome site of mt bogong and adjacent ridgelines that i had just traversed as well as the darkness of the impending storm.
had brief thoughts about heading back via the road and in hidsight should've at least checked the radar on my phone.
felt a little uneasy on the 1880m highplains with thunder around walking with my aluminium poles!! got of the ridgeline as quickly as i could.
only 2 flashes of lightning though and well in the distance.

rocky creek is described as 'impassable at times of high flow' and realised i would not only be heading down howmans gap down a slippery slope but with no guarantee of getting across the creek at the bottom.
did a fair bit of bum sliding to get to the creek which was as predicted a fair bit higher than before (hip/waist) but very slow flowing where i crossed so quite safe albeit causing a chilly last 10mins of the run.

have recovered from my little tummy upset which i am sure was bacterial in nature.
missed a few runs (no pun intended) but went out for a quick trot this morning.
i am sure next time whippet sees me there will be some payback for all the lectures i gave him on avoiding all this sort of thing at aawt!

final stats 59km and 3400 ascent and descent.
apart from the stuff around howmans gap and the storm at the end never got out of 1st/2nd gear.
was to do another hour or 2 exploring around bogong village on the monday but obviously had to can that.
a nice adventure.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Don't tell Mellum (I ran a track event)

Caboolture 3x2hr relay: Team "Snap, Crackle and Pop" 1st mixed 65.8km or so

last time i ran a track event was gold coast 2003.
turned up on the wrong day (teams event day - oops) and ran 12hrs on a damn hard track around and around in bloody circles in the sun.
hardly entertaining.
good training run for a newbie ultra runner though.
and gave me respect for those who do these regularly - much much harder than the trail stuff mentally.

caboolture isn't a typical track run.
for starters its a soft 'dirt' track of 500m.
there are a few little bits where you actually have to lift your feet.
(watch the grill cover on the blind/dark turn).
there is a few metre elevation gain/drop each lap.

teamed up with CRs julz and chelle in a mixed relay team.
sounds like all of us were keen to just have nice training runs with no real goals/expectations but when the running buddies team (2x3hr including julz' BF) started lapping us early it was game on! :)
both girls ran really even splits and each did a HM in their 2hr slots.

suprising how entertaining it was: never really bored in the 4 hours of watching/lapscoring before my turn.
and didn't seem funny running the 10pm-midnight shift at all.
wasn't sure whether or not to start at 5.00s and see if i could hold it comfortably or start at 5.10s and speed up.
chose the former but didnt seem very comfy after only 20mins so slowed down a few seconds.
its amazing how comfy 5.03s feel compared to 5.00s ;)

got in a good rhythm 0.40-1.20 hitting 2.30 lap splits without a problem.
had a delusion at 1.40 that i could do a few 2.20s.
lasted about 1 lap!

have done a few HMs as training runs at 5.00/pace and this seemed a little less relaxing.
guess the late night start, humidity and 15mins extra time in glycogen depletion made it somewhat harder.
did a bit of teeth grtting in the last 15mins or so.

in the end just missed 5.00s average by about 30 seconds.
ie. ran for just under 2hrs and was a bit short of 24km on the final lap.

think we won the mixed by about 6 laps in the end - not that we were aiming to compete as such but it was still nice!
was a great mix of club teams and the usual ultra nutters on the track.
can't see myself returning to track ultras particularly at this time of the year but i definately will be back to caboolture.
oh yeah and we beat 'team buddies'.
all good fun :)

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Mt Glorious trail run 7.2.10 32km 1500mA&D 4.05.44 =25th/55

i really like this run.
yeah i know i say that about every run ;)
it's just so damn hilly.
km for km one of the hilliest in asutralia.
1500m up/down in 31-32km.
hillier than bogong and probably razorback too just not as 'technical'.

woke at 1.30am thanks to a storm coming across brissie.
never got back to sleep - tried to settle the dogs, checked the radar and headed off early thinking the drive would be 'interesting'.
got there ok and stood in the rain for 30mins directing parking.

we went off in groups of 4 which is always a bit of a pain - part of the permit.
started with tanky who i was running with as training for alpine 100 miler.
not a bad day all up.
rained most of it but not too heavily.
the rain made most of the terrain less rather than more slippery which was good.
a nice negative split for us 2.10/1.55 with the -500m downhill second half.
felt much more comfortable than last time (2008).
a slightly longer course than before probably 2km - so considering this pretty much the same finish time (4.05 v 3.50 for 2km more) - absolutely smashed myself uphill last time in 1.52 and paid for it later ;)

starting to feel fit in a cardiovascular sense.
legs need more work.

caboolture saturday.
have the maps out for alpine.

friday: 9km easy
saturday: off
sunday: mt glorious 32km 4.05
monday: 30mins easy bike
tuesday: 14km flat 72.50
wednesday: 14km flat 72.50 and massage
thursday: MGTT with alpine pack/poles 2.42

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Tready and bush-bashing

a few photos from castle crag lamington national park

headed back to lamington national park on the weekend.
did a loop involving lyrebird lookout and 'the crags'.
we were thinking LL would involve a fair bit more bush-bashing than it did.
overall it wasnt that bad - reasonable trail to hike on would be much crappier to run on.
enough tape to find the way especially with someone else leading :)
last time i went out to castle crag was a morning 'run' a few years back (more direct route) and remember returning thinking 'hmmmmm a little hairy by ones-self in parts'.
hasn't changed especially in slippery/wet weather.
a few spots where it's best not to look down.
reminded me a little of diamantina spur in roughness.
nice views though.

did my first bike-tready this morning in a long while.
standard session is 140-150watts at low rpm (80) for half an hour then pop the treadmill on maximal upslope and walk at 6km/hr +- hop on the bike for the same again.
a good session.

friday: 2.20 MGTT mt coot-tha
saturday: 14km 73.00
sunday: 5hr hike lamington national park
monday: 14km 72.10
tuesday: off
wednesday: 14km 71.00
thursday: bike-tready and massage