Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bogong to Hotham 2009 - race report

My race:

B2H as an event started for me last year when I was a sweeper. It was my way of sizing it up before actually running it. In reality I probably wasn't ready to 'race' last year and it may have broken me had I tried.

My lead up training was less than ideal and I ran out of weeks to get enough long runs into the system, I think I mis-calculated somewhere and also took my re-building a little bit slower than originally planned. So with only 4 runs over 30km since June and the longest being 40km in 3hr30min I feared I was a bit undercooked (not that I said that out loud anywhere).

Using past results as a guide I had set myself the goal of going around 9hrs, but dared to dream that I might give 8hr30m a nudge if things went to plan. Not quite sure where the logic of training vs goal separated, but I think optimism from some good running pre-injury.....

The morning of the run, we woke to wet ground and heavy skies. As daylight increased we could see that Mt Bogong summit was cloaked in a beanie of white. It was already shaping up as an interesting day. We were told the report from the top was 'cold and windy'.

The trouble with climbing Bogong is that there is no way to judge your pace. The best measure is your level of percieved effort. I kept in touch with some others who I guessed would be around my pace and was surprised to be keeping up with others who should (in theory) have disappeared. Most of the climb was wet and the views not as pleasant as last year. I was pleased to be feeling strong the whole way up just keeping a constant rythm forwards. Above the treeline the cloud was all consuming, all we could see was the path in front. Normally there is a shortcut to the summit - head right when you see the cairn. What cairn?? I flicked to the altimeter screen on my Garmin, 1953m - close enough. Off the trail in search of the summit. Quickly found the path again passed one of my TW team mates (Bryan) coming down. Touched the cairn. 1hr31m. Quicker than planned by about 4 to 9min. Happy and feeling in control. (8.6km @ 10m38s/km, elevation gain 1400m)

On the path downwards, visibility was OK but could not tell direction so just followed the path. I was quickly caught back up by my other TW team mate (Chris) who I had unexpectedly passed on the way up. He went by and I slotted in behind him. This section is easy as long as you keep your footing. Plenty of rocks etc to trip you up in the narrow and deep single track. (Why can't bushwalkers walk with their feet shoulder width apart??) Straight through the next check point at Cleve Cole hut in approx 20min. Running very freely now, we caught back up to Bryan. Team Muttley was in business!!! (12.5km, section 3.9km @ 5m10s, elevation down mostly)

Past Cleve Cole it is more downs but a few ups. Chris moved away as Bryan & I got in some fluids etc in prep for the big downhill. T-spur. I moved away from Bryan and really got stuck into the downhill, just letting it flow. I eventually caught back up to Chris and again followed him down to the river. The slower runners (from earlier starts) had been great in allowing us to keep moving by getting off the path - very appreciated. Once at the river I quickly noticed the log I used to cross last year was gone, so straight in. Chris took it literally and went ALL IN. I was going to find out if really wet shoes was going to be a problem. Cleve Cole to Big River 37min, 2h30min into the race. (18.6km section 6.1km @ 6m01s/k, elev down very steep)

I knew that climbing Duane Spur was going to be a grind, but had forgotten exactly how much of a grind. Litterally just step / step / step. Couldn't even get a spingy walk going. Up till this point we had regularly passed several runners from the earlier starts, on this climb it seemed to take forever to catch and pass anyone. Unfortunately in the trill of hitting the river I had forgotten to top up my handheld bottle and my camelbak was empty.....oh dear. Lots of climbing and barely 200m of fluids. I had to carefully ration myself to allow small swigs right to the top. Not sure which was the greater contributor to the onset of cramp - either the lack of training / the hard and fast downhill / the lack of fluid, but when it hit it grabbed hard and mercilessly, I was down to a brittle walk. This further sapped my motivation as both TW guys moved well ahead and another runner from the 6.15 start passed me. Finally back onto more level ground and Ropers Hut, time to re-group get fluids and keep moving. (23.2km section 4.5km @ 13m28s/k elev gain gain gain)

From Ropers to Warby Corner was supposed to be a time to get back into a rythm of running. WRONG, more walk / shuffle / jog. I had also forgotten that this was a bit uphill too.....(26.2km 3km @ 7m33s, elev uphill mostly)

Finally out of Warby Corner (which was also blanketed in cloud) I found a way to run again. This section is generally a nice wide 4WD type track with only gentle undulations. Got some food and fluids in and generally started to feel more positive and a whole lot less like quitting. The last part of this section is a flat aqueduct and I spied a 6.15 runner ahead so began to use them as a rabbit to chase - I needed that. (35km section 8.9km @ 5m28s/k elev gently down then flat).

This had me at 'halfway' 35km in 4h40m. A nice feeling to be there in that time given the terrible hopelessness I'd felt not too long ago. It also meant that I had acheived the cut-off point under the original original time of 5hrs (rather than the current 5h30m or 11:45am) My family met me here and helped with the re-stocking and encouragment. Left at 4h46m. At this point any thoughts of a specific finishing time had been put aside, I was just going to keep myself moving forwards.

More aqueduct running which should have been good, but I was too distracted by my handheld bottle. I was sick of holding it and could not find a way to hang it or carry it on either my camelback or waist belt..... the result was just wasted time and effort..... A couple more runners ahead to keep me moving in the right direction. Omeo Rd crossing was the introduction to the high plains running. I was expecting my family to come here too, but I didn't hear the comment made earlier that they wouldn't come over to this point, so I wasted several minutes hanging around and looking down the road thinking they might just come round the corner shortly. I should have just kept running!! (40.7km section 5.65km @ 6m25s/k , mostly flat one decent hill to finish)

From here the surface was a cruel mix of narrow single track and tussocks and cow / horse trodden ground. It meant you either ran with legs up and zig zagging or you just walked. I alternated as best I could. On reflection I think I lost interest in the race in this area. I wasn't catching the slower runners and wasn't really giving it 100%. Along here there was a pack of horse riders and also a herd (?) of brumbies, but in my down state it didn't really register. Eventually I caught a runner who I'd run some of Maroondah Dam with last year, so stopped and walked with them for a short while, just chatting and killing time (avoiding the race.....). I was told I should keep moving, so I did. After this I found a bit of mojo and was soon at the next checkpoint Pole 333. I grabbed a banana and got going again. (49.1km section 8.4km @ 7m30s, mostly flat small undulations)

The poles count down so from 333 I was looking for 267. When struggling I would run a few poles then walk one. From 267 there was the final big downhill. Despite the cramp being in the background almost the whole way since Duane Spur, i was feeling OK on the downhill sections here. Without pushing it I was able to gain some good momentum. Unlike T-spur the path to Cobungra River was rocky and loose, even if feeling great it could be quite a treacherous descent if you aren't careful. Passing another couple of runners here was nice, one benefit of taking the late start. Down to the river, across the bridge, past the checkpoint & then up again.... (54.4km and 7hr05m, section 5.2km @ 7m24s/k, flat then down steeply)

Swindlers Spur - a section I've often heard mentioned with plenty of unsavoury words. I knew it would be steep and it would seem endless. So head down, swinging the arms and singing kids songs repeatedly in my head (not out loud) to keep a moving beat going. Don't stop - keep moving one step at a time. Overall I was quite pleased with the way I went up Swindlers, I don't think it was fast but it was OK. It did catch me out a bit once near the top as it kicked up a couple of times after seeming to flatten out. I had also got my distances mixed up and expected the next checkpoint sooner than it arrived. Derrick Hut is the final CP and a welcome sight. I quickly downed a full orange and moved on with purpose. (58.2km and 7hr52m, section 3.8km @ 12m26s/k - steep uphill!!)

Now within sight of the finish (metaphorically), my mind shifted to finish times. A quick calculation said that 8h30m might be possible but I had to work fairly hard for it. Unfortunately I didn't really know the terrain but figured it I could do 8m/k I would get close. Fast walk the ups & trot if possible, then run as hard as my legs would allow on any flat or down. Its funny how the end of a race brings renewed energy that was absent only minutes earlier..... Getting close to the finish I could see the bus that marked the carpark, then I spied Bryan who was only walking. I ran up to him and told him I wouldn't pass and if we ran to the end we would both go under 8h30m, he tried for a few hundred metres and then said he had nothing left and I should go on. I did run on and touched the summit stones in 8h29m51s. Bryan arrived only 40sec later to have an 8h30m time. (63.2km, section 5.0km @ 7m26s/k, generally uphill) My Garmin measured 63.2km, which is not too bad given the terrain etc. Close enough to the advertised 64km.

How do I feel about this race? Its a phenomenal challenge, it doesn't allow you to relax, you must fight for every step of progress. You know you have put in a days work by the time you get to the finish. The location and scenery and surface is always changing. If we had more time to look around its a spectacular place for a run.

My own performance was very satisfying. Before the race I told Chris that 8h30m would be a dream time and 9hr would be a good result. But after the race I feel somehow not quite ready to pat myself on the back. I achieved the time I thought would be a stretch, but given how I struggled and then wasted time and lost focus etc I know there is a better days racing in me on this course.

Given my training in recent months I am happy with the result & it shows that the months of running before my injury and the long race days early in 2008 set me up for this result also.

The organisors and volunteers, some either spent days dragging in water before the event or walked hours to get to their checkpoint, were all excellent and a credit to themselves and the race and their radio club.

All being well I will be back in 2010 for the 25th running of this event. Will you??

Monday, April 14, 2008

Trailwalker 2008 - Team Muttley #485

I know its been a long time since I was here, but I've been a little busy and the results are now realised.

Team Muttley - Melbourne Trailwalker Winners 2008 - New Australian Trailwalker Record.

Details of the event - blow by blow are here.

Obviously a TW attempt which is based on getting through as quickly as possible takes a lot of time and preparation so I won’t go into any more detail other than to say the idea was over 12 months old and the specific training almost 6 months. For me this is by far the longest I’ve had any plans for any race. It also meant the greatest volume of training I’ve ever done. Basically double of my marathon preparations.

It would have to be one of the smoothest mornings before an event ever, awake with the alarm then straight up, everything ready to go, shower – eat – dress – final checklist then drive. I love 5am traffic!! Our team met away from the start, which I think was a great idea as a lot of the early nerves were settled once everyone was together and in good spirits. It helped take away the concern I had for the cold that had threatened to bring me down.

Pre-event: lots of people, the hussle bussle, nervousness, excitement, laughs, gear checks, meeting people, photos, well wishes, final plans, clock checks, registration, final prep then line up and wait….. all very exciting and not dissimilar to many other events except for the unknown of what was going to happen in the 100km ahead.

Having several familiar faces at the start line was excellent, so I appreciated them making the effort to come and find me.
We got a little bit cheeky by jumping the fence and taking a position close to the front as we wanted to be comfortable early and not having to dodge too many people in the first km or so.

The gun and then…..nothing….it was almost like no-one wanted to move. Not quite, but the early pace was much slower than expected. So we settled in the first 4 or 5 teams at a pace slower than we planned. Our original thoughts were that 10-15 teams would go off quickly, then we could chase. When this didn’t happen we had to re-plan so deliberately let the others set the pace about 50m ahead.

Through CP1 - Churchill NP - we were in 2nd place by only seconds due to the 1st team "How Good is this?" taking a long time to move through. Immediately we knew our plans for very quick checkpoints would save us heaps of time throughout the day. Then within half a km we were in the lead. At about this point we were asking each other if we were OK with this and how did we feel. It was almost unanimous that this was not the plan and we did not like being in front. We then asked if our pace was OK – were we overcooking it. On this front we all agreed that the pace was within our range and only marginally ahead of schedule. So we just kept moving.

CP2 - Lysterfield Lake - and our Super Crew showed us exactly how they were going to save us more time at every CP. Our individual feed bags were handed over, we sorted through and grabbed what we needed then handed them back and kept running all before we even reached the check in. With 2 CP’s done we had lost less than 60sec!!!

CP2-3 - Grants Picnic Ground Kallista. We had the company of some marshals who decided to do some running before the teams came through so that was a good distraction. Our walk the big uphills strategy was in place and we seemed to just float up them without effort and so our pace off the hills was consistent and comfortable. Another friendly face at Belgrave – thanks EE. Then our mobile cheer squad found us near the Belgrave Station, Mrs C, little C, MIL and Aunty. Who were very excited to see us in first place, and I hear they were sledging the 2nd team when they came through….gotta love family. On the hills leading to the CP we had lebusq join us for a jog and a chat. Again at CP3 we were basically in and out, only slowing to allow water refill and also a bit of ‘cheese’.

CP3-4 - Olinda. With more uphills we just had heads down and churning along without pushing the limits. Even the fact that the course appeared to have been marked incorrectly didn’t phase us. More cheer squad visits which the team were really enjoying and appreciating, since there had not been any pre-planning on this. This was meant to be a tough section, but somehow it just disappeared and we covered it only 2min slower than in training.
Again lebusq found us for more chat and some updates etc. Again our Super Crew were seemless, only a slow down without stopping. 4 CP done and less than 3min time lost.

CP4-5 - Silvan Reservior. Down down down – a great section we could have really pushed this section but decided to just roll along. This suited me so I took this section as my meal section. At this point we had only heard that we were 4min ahead so figured that was basically nothing. We were surprised to learn at the CP that we had about 15mins lead at CP4 – I was surprised to have grown the lead by 11min in 1 section. Lebusq had passed on the message that Best Boys were not looking great. This gave us some confidence. Our longest stop of the event so far occurred here – a whole 2min.

CP5-6 - Mt Evelyn. We had a slow start along here, basically walking / trotting to allow Bryan time to slowly eat. Then back on rhythm. It had been completely uneventful to this point. The niggles that threatened had not caused problems, my cold symptoms had cleared completely. I knew the team were in good spirits when we again passed the mobile cheer squad and the guys happily stopped for a re-take of a missed photo!!! Once on the Warby Trail the first signs of potential trouble surfaced. Rohan had begun to feel heavy in the legs. At this point I was not concerned, I knew there was a CP coming with a chance to re-charge and re-start. Then he indicated the need for some blister treatment, so a radio call ahead to alert the Super Crew and medical help. TB found us along here and provided some good distraction. The entry / exit of this CP allowed for a slower walk in to give Rohan a chance to get some help while we did the feedbag routine. Despite the ‘off trail’ part of this CP being 900m we only took 10min ‘off trail’. Another quick CP despite the required tasks. Here we learned that we had over 30min advantage at CP5, we knew our CP strategy was a big part of this.

CP6-7 - Woori Yallock. Warby Trail. Flat smooth boring mind numbing. Maybe for some, but not for me. I was still feeling really good. Heavy in the legs but no signs of cramp or fatigue. Along here I basically ran with the back runner, either Rohan or Bryan depending on who was having a flat spot. Chris was just a machine and barely seemed like he was doing any work. Rohan was feeling slow but just found a consistent pace at about 6min/k – he did not stop. Somewhere along here Bryan started to feel the effects of his food intake, its had been a problem in other events so not entirely unexpected. Our radio call to Super Crew revealled that the CP was not ready for us as school was still in….sorry for being too quick…. By the time we got there everything was OK – just. Super Crew had to guide us in because the signs were not up yet. 500m ‘off trail’ and only 6min lost.
CP7-8 - Millgrove. The toughest section of the day for me. Not because I was suffering, but because those around me were doing it tough. Rohan just kept trying to find a ‘do not stop’ pace. Bryan was reduced to lots of walking breaks as his body did not allow him to settle or to purge. Here we fell behind the pre-planned section time and reduced to over 7min/k. It was along here that the courage and determination of Bryan was tested – and he passed. In terrible pain he kept finding a way to run just a little bit more to get to the CP. A little slower through this CP but not horribly. The latest update from CP 6 was a 44min advantage. I made an error in judgement and only packed my small hand held torch – perhaps it was foolish optimism….
CP8 to Finish - Wesburn. Bryan had given everything to get to CP8, so was only able to walk from here. I asked him a couple of times if a shuffle was possible, he tried but was physically unable. This section had me ‘running scared’, I’d plotted all the worst case scenarios and convinced myself they were going to happen. I believed the 2nd team was still flying and from 44min back had gained 10-15min in CP7-8 which had them only 30min behind, we were walking at about 10min/k so they only had to go at 7m/k to catch us on the last downhill. I didn’t speak any of this to Bryan, but I did get him to imagine the feeling of being a TW winner. Fortunately the uphills meant no-one would gain crazy time on us there. Then Bryan dug to his deepest resources to run / shuffle / trot down the hills. This made me feel a little better, but still fearful of being passed at the death. Just before the last big downhill to the finish Bryan told me he’d forgotten his torch & his night vision was no good. I could still just see so I held my torch behind me and kept moving. Back in the bush and we had to share my small handheld torch. Dicey at best… Just before we broke through the trees we heard from Chris and Rohan (just ahead) that we had about 2 ½ minutes to finish to break the Australian TW record. So with all other thoughts / aches / pains / troubles gone, we just ran. Bryan held his breathe, I ran with him. When he started to slow I grabbed his pack and pushed him along to keep the speed up. Across the line – confirmation of the record – then elation!!!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

109 days - I think.....

Well its been over a month since I last posted, time flies when you are busy with all sorts of things except sitting for long enough to post about running.

Work has been flat out, I've had family visit briefly, no. 2 son's birthday, my lovely wifes birthday, store 3rd birthday sale, 3 VIP sale events...... etc etc.

I've been running well - with a renewed focus on running hills. This after a couple of wake-up runs telling me that I was not running well going up.

Some pretty tough and fast(ish) hilly and long runs.

2 most significant runs have been 34.5km with 2 team mates from Team Muttley covering part of the TW course. Mostly OK, but struggled later in the run. Hindsight says contributing factors knocked me about and in different circumstances I was up to running better.

Then Friday just gone I ran on my own for 4hrs48min, covering 50km!!
First section I ran with a pack weighing about 5kg as a tester before Bogong to Hotham. I covered approx 36km in 3hr20m (approx) Garmin went flat which was annoying. This was run on the Warby Trail from Woori Yallock to Millgrove, then covered the final section of the TW course again to Wesburn park. Then back to the Warby Trail via Settlement Rd.

The pack was generally good and I found I was still able to comfortably sit on about 5min/k pace on the flats. Having the water 'on tap' was quite good, but I don't know that I would use it too often for runs shorter than about 3hrs.
Also ran again with my headlamp and also a little handheld. The headlamp was perfectly fine again but I was unable to get the hang of using the handheld effectively.

Once back to the car I changed my shirt and my shoes/ socks then dumped the pack and headed off to finish the run with a goal of getting to 50km. Unfortunately with the flat Garmin I was guessing on time / distance / pace etc. But with my mobile in hand for time checks I covered approx the right time.

The running time was approx 4hr38min due to 10min or so of stopping for water / food / changing etc. The time was lengthened by walking all the serious uphills on the TW course.
Overall happy with the running pace even towards the end, when roughly 5min/k was achievable but mainly to get the hurt to finish sooner.

Upon getting home the approx measure and manual manipulation of the course shows I got the desired 50km. The last few km were pretty tough and had me questioning why on earth I would want to run this distance and more again....

I think a few things contributed to the feelings......
1. Waking at 3am after less than 4hrs sleep.
2. Previous days running included tough 14km in the steep hills, then 10km with ave pace of 4.13m/k, middle section at 4min/k, last 7km ave 4.05m/s.
3. Running alone.

After the run I was able to chill for a little while, then I had to work from 12.30 to 10pm. Through the day the legs loosened a lot. By the end of the night I could run up the stairs at work. Today the legs feel very good, but not tested in a run (that will happen tomorrow).

No niggles, no pains.

Very happy and pleased that I feel strong being able to run reasonably quickly and definitely long.

For the record, its my second 'official' ultra run. My 4th marathon. My slowest for both. But there was a run I did with the ESRG which was possibly more than 42km, but that distance can't be verified, it was over 4hr15min on my feet - so the previous longest running session.

Hopefully everyone else is going well at the moment.

BTW - happy to recruit people to come with me for part of my next 50km adventure, since I know it might be hard to convince someone to run the whole way with me......

Monday, November 19, 2007

143 days

After a couple of good (for me) weeks, I was due for a roughie.
Long run Friday of 29km was followed by, cricket, slack, slack, sore back/shoulders/neck, MIL B'day dinner, slack, slack, 24km, 21km.

So even though its a week not to be proud of, I was happy to put 2 days together at 20km+ each, undulating / hilly / trail sections, at sub5min k's.

Today, no pain or soreness etc very pleased.

Last night I ran (25deg at 9pm), with my headlamp for the first time. Its a Black Diamond Icon. a 3w led lamp. My first impression was very good. No hassles with the weight or the comfort. A few adjustments along the way but not due to being troublesome.

This piece will be very useful in the winter months or when I want to go to trails after dark rather than sticking to the roads that are well lit.

Running my favourite place (at the moment) up to Mt Evelyn via the Haig Rd trail at night was great.

So far so good..... stay tuned for my first 50km effort in the next couple of weeks. Anyone want to join me?? Even for part of it??

Friday, November 09, 2007

153 DAYS - How embarrassment

Getting the TW newsletter telling me its 22 weeks to go, then a quick mental maths, then a ‘are you serious’ moment…..


Sorry to anyone putting faith in my count down….I’ll go back and fix the past entries now…..

I can only assume I missed a month in my early count – possibly due to the 29 days in February and trying to get that right.


Of course only a fool would suggest that I am correct this time, so if the auditors can assist and confirm my number, by mid next week we might stand a chance of getting it close…..


Running for me has been OK.


Going backwards:

Today – 29km, 2hr20m, some hills, nothing nasty. Early morning after no breaky, possibly led to feeling very tired afterwards. Remember ‘always use Sport shield!!’ Won’t forget that again in a hurry….

Wed – 9km, 4m45s pace until the last 1.3km completed at approx 3m40s pace. Middle 500m+ at 3m30s.

Tues – 16km 1hr16m (??) 4m45s pace, some hills, lots of trail along the Croydon to Mooroolbark (& beyond – next time) “Pipeline” track.

Sat – 25km, 1hr58m 4m45s. Big loop Nth Croydon – Croydon – Ringwood – Heathmont – Bayswater – Croydon – Nth Croydon. We ran this as a group over a year ago now, still a favourite loop (suburban) added a few bits to give some extra distance.

Previous – 2 runs I can’t remember and don’t have details here. Combined distance approx 29km – 1hr+each……. the trouble with Sportstracks – I don’t have to remember anything, it does it all…..I’ll find and update later…


So you can see that I’ve got a little bit of consistency going, 9km is the shortest I’ve run for a few weeks.

Happy I can knock out some speed even after a 7km+ section sub 5min amongst some hills. After all, even though training for longer stuff I’d hate to think the work is going nowhere in terms of leg speed.



I’ve started to map out a rough plan for getting the long runs done – after all covering 50km+ cannot happen on a whim….its amazing how quickly 22 weeks disappears when you write it down.


I’ve also been working on the footwear dilemma I’ve had. Due to a niggle I had doubts over the shoes I’d been wearing. But after the last 2 runs – 9km incl fast, and 29km long, wearing the ‘in theory’ worst shoes for me. As it stands right now, there is no sign of the niggle in the shin I was having, so I’m more confident now that it was a case of overuse and illness etc that led to my trouble just before MM.


That’s enough dribble from me….

Thursday, November 01, 2007

161 days

Firstly it is clear that JH has not been paying attention. He has me confused with someone who has a plan beyond the next day (with specifics anyway). There is usually some vague idea of what should happen, then I go with my own ideas.....

In this instance - since it has been asked - the following aspects have been considered important.

1. Running lots more than I have been (not hard to tick this box)

2. Running lots of long hills.

3. Practicing walking up long hills. (I would have used power walking but that would be a poor description of what I've done so far)

4. Running some long and slow days. Slow as in 6min/k+. Long as in 50km+ at least 4 times (possibly as much as 70km)

5. Know the course. Need to know where we can 'attack', and when to just hang on. Particularly the stages where elevation changes dramatically or when navigation may prove tricky.

6. Practice running and eating real food. (Probably linked to 4.)

7. Practice running with some form of pack, incl. gear & fluid & food.

8. Hope like hell, my 'can do' mentality will replace the experience my team mates have.

Other than that, I'll be reading / watching / learning from those around me who know so much more about these things than me.....

Mt Oberon: 560m

Yeah - great idea. Just get up and run to the top of the nearest highest peak.....yep insanity is well and truly a permanent resident.

A nice gentle flat start, then up.....for 6km. No bits that go flat or down at all. I lasted more than 2.5km before I took a walk break. This got me to the carpark. This is where all the people (including bus of school kids) were happily sitting and relaxing.... From here the walking trail starts - the sign said 3.4km to the summit. 205 measured it as 3.2km.

On the trail it was a walk / run mixture, not sure on the % split, but I know I ran one section of 500m. Then also ran strongly the last section before the rock climb to the summit.

Having 205 was handy so I could keep an eye on distance covered but also average speed. I managed to keep the trail section pace at just over 7min/k. Given walking is over 8min/k I can live with that for now.

I was surprised that often my legs felt better running than walking, but the fitness did not allow me to run the full distance.

Getting to the top was awesome. A cool breeze. 360 degree views, looking down over the camp where I started some 48min previously.

Then the down hill. Figured there was no point hanging around and might as well test the quads to see what they were made of. Hit sub 4min k's all the way down the trail. The school kids struggling up the hill were a little amused - got some high 5's, and one 'Did you run all the way up too?'. 3.1km in approx 12min. Once back on the bitumen I let the brakes right off. This section was done at closer to 3m35s pace. Quite nice to move that fast without feeling out of breath and almost effortless. I got to the bottom and my legs felt great, no rubber legs after about 22min downhill.

All up just short of 15km. 48min up, 30min back!!

I've been madly trying to get an elevation link for you in mapmyrun but with no luck. So this will have to do....

85km in 9 days, so unlike me....

Sunday, October 28, 2007

165 days

Funny weekend, but good.

Planned a longish run on Saturday morning, but due to a sore back (nasty spasm on Friday morning). Which was disappointing, as I was wide awake and ready to go.....

So Saturday was spent around the home, then the afternoon watching cricket. The closest I got to actually playing was padded up ready to go in next. But the boys got the runs required and then didn't get out.

Figured a run Saturday night would work OK. That would act as a switch in sessions.
It started as a plan for about 12km easy, but with a deadline to get home and discovering I was too far from home, it turned into 14km in 66min. A quick run up Manchester Rd was not what I really wanted, but happy enough.

Less than 10hrs later I was parked at Yarra Junction about to explore the last stage of the TW course. It was nice to start at YJ since I had never run towards Warburton before. Of course, the Warby trail continues to be wide, smooth and flat.

Past Millgrove and the fun only builds up.... Off the Warby Trail and its a very steep and narrow climb - walked a whole lot. Up in the fire trails you can see down to where you were only a short time previously at the river level. More ups and downs made for a slow part of my run. But I was pleased to see that part of the course. Unless we have some sort of magical day in April we will be in this part in darkness just to add to the fun!!

Once at the football ground I made my way back towards the Warby Trail again. With the middle section being slow I had to shorten the planned 24-25km run and only got to 21km before I had to head back to the car.

To put 2 runs together so close, 1 fast(ish) 1 tough(ish) and no sign of soreness or problems with either my shins or muscles etc was great. Also the last parts of my runs are generally strong so my fitness is in check. Now I need to build the qty of sessions and get some more tough hills in there.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

169 days

TW became a whole lot more real today with the arrival of the very thick information pack.

I've purchased a headlamp from the US via e-bay - Black Diamond Icon, retail $129, cost approx $68 - very happy.....or at least I will be when it arrives.
This will mean not only being able to see for the last part of the event, but I will also be able to do some off road running in the dark.

Todays run was pretty good.

So far I have been running without a plan and so far that means I have run over 12.99km for the last 3 sessions. 13.3km - 68min. 16.7km - 78min. 13km - 58min.

Started today working pretty hard up a hill to get from the Lillydale Lake to the Warby Trail, then it occurred to me that even though I'd worked pretty hard with some of my running, I have not been doing any fast/ish stuff. So I did the sensible thing and kept going faster once onto the trail - worked to sub 4.15 pace (its been a while since I've gone that quick on the flat (or slight uphill) - felt good.

Mucked around along the Mt Evelyn Aquaduct trail then back to the lake - nice downhill section here - kept the pace up.
Once closer to the lake I thought it might be nice to test the pace thing further, so I put the legs into a groove not tried for many weeks. Not wanting to run by watch pace, I held a pace that was working but not impossible to hold. At this stage I was already more than 10km into the run so fatigued a bit. Then as I do I pushed it out by adding an extra dog leg not orginally planned on. Almost 2km at 3.53m/k. Pleasing.

It feels very odd to have a race plan this far away from the event.

But also exciting from the POV that I might actually prepare properly.

Can you tell I'm not great at the whole picture thing, it was either too small or just unclear, so this is the best I could manage tonight.....

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Catch-up time

Well its been a while.

Since the last post, I've run the MM07 - 3.30.18 gun, 3.29.28 net.
I won't go into any more detail than already posted around the various public forums.
But - I will add a few points.

Pacing is very fun - but also very stressful and tiring. You spend so much time being aware of everything around you - runners / km markers / slow runners / drink stations / runners / struggling runners / time / distance to go / splits / your own drinks & sugar / your own legs and motivation / trouble on the course / decisions......you get the idea.

Before the race the Wise Old Miler - Tim said that it was inevitable that we would have one runner trying to monopolise our time.... it definitely happened. It goes without saying that this is not your normal runner type aware of people around them and generally happy to just be part of the event. They look odd / run odd / have odd advice / odd ideas and a complete lack of any perceptive intuition. Lucky for me he adopted my pace buddy Charles..... but we soon lost him somewhere.....its not mean to push someone in the lake is it???

For me I was very pleased that I could run a 3.30 while still taking care of all the above. It in some wierd way proves (to me anyway) that my marathons last year were not flukes. My training this time around was not bad but certainly not in line with - even for me - normal preparation. A whole lot more km at a slower pace. But - I did complete more 30km+ runs that either prep last year, so that was a good thing. Sickness threw me about - having training group responsibility meant at least 1 run that I did that if training for me I would have passed on. This I believe contributed to my niggle - which did not raised its ugly head in the race (or after).

Post marathon - things have been OK. Not a huge amount of running.
Cricket is back on- i felt worse after 1 game of cricket than I did after a marathon --- unused muscles and all that....
I was worried when my shins were very touchy last week, but I am now convinced it was due to cricket and not the running.
Not much distance post marathon. My first run back was a hard paced 7.5km in the hills near home - a nice recovery run. But mainly to prove to myself that the marathon was really just a long tough training run.
This weekend were the first serious sessions - 13.3km in 67-68min (battery flat) on Friday, then 16.7km in 78min this morning again a course with hills but also some cross country type running. Followed by cricket this arvo - bowled 14 or 15 overs. Ankle sore / big toe sore / calves sore / back tight -- its a tough game for those who don't train.....a bit like running.

Oxfam Trailwalker - a thought planted in May this year by CR Rohan, followed up after the marathon has lead to us entering a team. We are team #485 Team Muttley. The discussion was around building a team capable of Top 10, then see what happens on the day. We have the fishing line out with several runners all about 3hr marathoners, plus plenty of Ultra experience (except me).
It all happened much too quick by necessity to ensure we could register. I had no idea it filled up so fast....

Anyway - between now and then, I'll be working on my Ultra credentials - if not in racing, then certainly in training. Looking at completing 4 runs at or above 70km - so if I start hassling you to know when you are starting some long run sessions - don't be surprised if I find you after having already done quite a bit of work already......

Looking forward to this event.

BTW - about 180km logged on the 205 so far. Not bad for just over a month of running (for me), when you factor in a marathon taper(ish) and recovery idlness....

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Garmin world

Well it seems that the days of using my blog to record my running stats are over.
This whole Garmin life is oh so easy.

Press start - Run - press stop - remove watch - connect to laptop - upload. Done.

While no expert, seems I am learning more and more about how to use the Sportstracks software.

An update to my small leg issue.
Tonight I ran a solid hilly 11.4km at 4m50s average - no pain / no niggle

Really looking forward to Sunday now. But I have lost my pacing partner. There is a replacement, but we had been in contact several times to determine a common goal and approach for the day. My new pacing buddy is an unknown, I know he has run a fast half at Burnley, but that is all.....

One more run on Friday (maybe), then its all go!!

If you will be there - I hope to see you and fo course good luck!!