"The goal is to become the unique, awesome, never to be repeated human being that we were called to be." -Patricia Deegan

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Cross Training of the Yucky Kind

The only way to cope with moving house, in my mind, is to at least call it cross-training. So, that's what I've been doing for the past week...a lot of cross training.

But squeezing in a few quality runs, especially Monday's visit to Wungong Gorge. Wow, I like that place! That's the view west, towards the ocean, with the valley below running east-west.

On another thought:

I get asked sometimes about some of the recipes I bring to trail runs (it's traditional with the Canadian Trailtrash group to have a post-run "tailgate party" and I'm keeping the tradition for myself here, anyway). So I was thinking maybe I'd post a "Recipe of the Week" or "Recipe of Whenever I Get Around To It And Have a Good One."

Here's the first - this one is a real ultrarunner's post-long run food. It's 200 calories just to look at it. (Apologies all the measurements are in the old-speak, but it's a very forgiving recipe - all recipes I make have to be forgiving).

Whitewater Granola bars


1/4 cup butter

2 cups peanut butter (low fat is a healthier choice)

1 1/2 tbsp vanilla

1 1/2 cups brown sugar (don’t press it)

1 cup agave nectar or honey

6 cups oats

1 cup coconut, toasted

1 cup sunflower seeds, toasted

1 cup sesame seeds, toasted

2 cups chocolate chips (or 1 cup raisins and 1 cup chocolate chips)

some chia, of course

Step 1: Disconnect your smoke detector. Maybe most of you don't need this first step like I do.

In a skillet, toast coconut, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds and set aside to cool. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter, peanut butter, vanilla, and brown sugar. Add agave nectar/honey and then mix in remaining ingredients. Press into greased 12x18 inch cookie sheet (or a couple smaller metric ones - the granola bars won't know the difference). Bake in a 350'F (that's 175 C in new-speak) oven for appx. 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool slightly but cut while still warm.

I figure if it's cut into 30 pieces, each piece is probably about 370 cals (less if low fat peanut butter)

Very approximately: 60% carb, 24% fat (if using a 50% fat pb), and 16% protein

Thursday, September 23, 2010

How many Garmins are enough?

Three. I think.

This week I finally broke down and bought the new 310XT. I've had a fondness for my simple replaceable-battery Forerunner 101s for years now. But, they only work off a few satellites, so they're notorious for losing signals and underestimating or overestimating distance. Hasn't been enough to cause issue for me in the past. But it's become a big problem now when racing. In both the German and Swiss trail races, I lost signal so many times I just had to start racing by lapsed time. It was a lot to think about over multiple hours. And at the 24 hr track race it was even overestimating and was a mental downer at the "marathon mark" to find out I'd only gone 41k, not 42.

I bonded quickly with the 310, but the heart rate monitor has done little other than to increase my blood pressure. Undecided how much stock I'll put into the heart rate monitor at this point - but the experiment continues.

Tomorrow I'm headed down to Dwellingup to pace and otherwise support a couple mates doing a fat ass 50 Miler. I should have at least the 310 and the eTrex in tow. Last time I paced this one was at night (100 Miler) and a compass and map were also helpful. Shouldn't need those tomorrow, as the guys will have it all wrapped up with the sun still overhead.

Training this week has been good - am trying to up my "marathon pace" training run and my "100k pace" training run, with consideration for Moe. I'll need more speed to tackle the records I'm looking at. Really feeling the heat already, as spring has come on strong and feels more like summer.

I'm also thinking about whether I need some new racing flats before Moe - hence the poll I've added, looking for opinions from those who use them regularly. I often train in my flats, so the mileage adds up more quickly.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Mini-Moe

I've been contemplating the November Moe 6 hr track race for the last few days. There are two Canadian records that I can have a go at - the 50k record and the 6 hr record. However, both will be very big challenges.

With that in mind, Rolf and I have decided to do a partial mock-up of the event. We'll go to a track in a few weeks and do a mini-Moe. We'll practice everything we can - start time, pacing, fueling, clothing. I might even practice some pain and suffering ;)

An additional challenge at Moe is that you have to bring your own lap scorer. This puts too much pressure on Rolf. At Sri, he had a full time job just crewing. Lap scoring will be too much and will stress us both. So I'm thinking of putting an ad in the local Moe paper to hire a teenage babysitter or something for the day as my lap scorer :) If anyone out there has a teenage relative in Moe, let me know!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Article in WAMC newsletter

Just opened my WAMC (West Australian Marathon Club) newsletter and was surprised to see a familiar picture inside. There was a really thoughtful article on the Sri Chinmoy 24 hour race by Grahak Cunningham. Grahak pretty much embodies the ultimate in ultrarunner, having finished 6th at the 3,100 mile (no, not km) Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence race in New York in 2007. He beat the former Australian record by over 4 days, as well. Grahak volunteered tirelessly at the 24 hr race as a lap scorer and provided great moral support as a fellow WA'er as well.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A 46k 13 hour Epic Training Day

On Friday, Rolf and I flew Juliet (the Fuji) down to the Stirling Range to join 4 others for the Ridge Top Walk. The Stirlings is a small mountain range in southern WA. The Ridge Top Walk is, according to the guidebook, a "gruelling walk...traversing the most rugged mountain terrain that Western Australia has to offer. It takes two to three days to complete."

That's 2 days if you are only doing the 19 km point-to-point section over the ridges - it doesn't account for the extra mileage (the 3rd day) getting to and from the ridges, if you don't arrange a shuttle.

We were set to join the ranks of those who do it in a day. Naturally, my group of running mates suggested we'd not be content with just the 19k over the ridges, but would instead make the route 40km+, by making it a loop, starting and ending at the caravan park.

So, starting at 5.30 AM Saturday in the dark, Rolf and I ran with full packs carrying 4.5 ltrs of water, 14 hours of food, and various bits of potentially useful gear to make our packs even heavier: thermal tops, rain jackets, a space blanket, an EPIRB, cameras, a flint, a compass, knife....Other gear included my lovely Inov8 Roclites, Injinjis, the DirtyGirl gaiters, my UD Bandita pack, and Montane Venture waterproof jacket (a blessing with the wind up there!)

The route was:

Caravan Park to Bluff Knoll carpark - 8.5 kms uphill on bitumen
From the carpark, up the Knoll, across several peak to Ellen Peak, and down to the fire road - supposed to be 19 kms
Fire trail/boundary road back to caravan park - 14.3 kms

The 19 kms was actually recorded as 23.2 by my GPS. We definitely took a few unplanned detours along the way, while trying to find the "right" route. There are several caves like this along the way that the multi-day'ers camp in:
In true Australian style, most of the peaks carried aboriginal names: Moongoongoonderup Hill, Isongerup Peak, Mirlpunda (Three Arrows), Pyungoorup Peak....

We ran the 8.5k in and the 14.3k out, but the ridge tops themselves were probably 90% unrunnable. There was a surprising amount of bouldering required with some pretty remarkable drops, should you have lost your footing.

We were very lucky with the weather - some unnerving wind gusts at times while negotiating cliff edges, but dry and mostly sunny.

The peaks are known to often be covered in fog and as I discovered after seeing the route for myself, it would have been impossible to navigate up there in a white-out using a compass. We benefited from going out with a few guys who had been on the ridges several times (successful in their attempts at the entire end-to-ender about 50% of the time).

The finish was brilliant, running due west in the dark by headlamp, straight towards the crescent moon with Venus above. A stop at the cafe next to the caravan park for a Guinness for Health and a chaser of water ended a fantastic day.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Today in Sum

Training: 31k Bibbulmun Track

Recovery: 36 mins Fuji aerobatics

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Friday, September 3, 2010

Reviewing my plans

I was a bit concerned that my "rest" month wasn't as much rest as it should have been, with the swap of running for riding (actually increasing training time). So I took it easy this week with the mileage and ran a few quality runs. A 15k hill run at Bold felt great and another 15k on bitumen the following day also felt good. I went out to do my "100k" pace and had to keep pulling myself back, which is a good thing. My endocrine system (roughly measured by my resting heart rate) seems to have recovered quickly from the AR, too. But, still, I kept the miles down slightly this week and just had a few quality runs.

I've re-thought Yurrebilla, and just can't justify doing it. While it would surely be heaps of fun - mud, steep hills, single track, great ultra runners to meet....it's just a $1,000 I don't need to spend. All my airmiles flying to Europe and back haven't even earned me a free ticket to Adelaide.

Although it's 3 months away, I do have the 6 Inch trail race to look forward to, which is local, so very cost effective.

But now I need some new goals to pursue for the next few months. I'm giving a lot of thought to going over east in November, instead, to the Moe 6 hr track race. There's really nothing else that fits into my calendar that gives me a goal I'm interested in. If I go to the track race, I can try to better my 50k time and pursue breaking another Canadian women's record.

I'm also now toying with doing a mtb race this month - I might come dead last, but it's a good excuse to practice up the mtb pea gravel skills over a morning!

And not doing Yurrebilla will be good news for the guy I'm supposed to be pacing at the end of this month in the fat-ass Waterous 100 miler - because it is the week before Yurrebilla, I was limited in the mileage and speed I was willing to do as his pacer. Now, I'll be free to run further and faster.

Next weekend a few of us have planned to do the Ridge Top Walk in the Stirling Ranges. It should be about 42k of hilly, rocky fun!