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

Sunday, November 28, 2010

False Alarm

I think all the tea tree oil I was using on my toe nail was causing the intense pain and throbbing. It's coming good now. Just the waiting game to see if I'll lose it.

Recovery week has been steep.

Sunday - couple hours of walking
Monday - rest (Monday usually is)
Tuesday - slowest 5k ever (first k was 6.57 pace)
Wednesday - rest
Thursday - gentle 21k
Friday - strength/core
Saturday - 13k sand/dirt
Today - 23k hilly run on the Munda Biddi, reconning the 6 Inch course

Feeling like I can get back to speed work next week. But I know I wouldn't be recovering nearly as quickly without weekly visits to at least one of 3 key people: Nathan Doig, the Hands of Steel massage therapist, Ali Low, Ascend physio extraordinaire, and Jon Tan, sports chiro. My body is very demanding! :)

Friday, November 26, 2010


My toenail!!!

I'm this () close to drilling a hole into the top with a safety pin.

Monday, November 22, 2010

On the Move

The slogan on the vehicle plates in Victoria is "On the Move." Somehow, that seems fitting as the title for this blog post, having just returned from the Victorian 6 Hour & 50 km Track Championships in Moe, Vic. The goal in any running race - but especially so in ultra distances - is to keep moving forward.

The quick and dirty results: I was on the move for 4 hr 12 min 9 sec to earn 1st female in the 50k (and 1st W40) - two trophies for the price of one.

I continued moving, albeit slower, to hit 70.406 kms at the 6 hour cutoff. 1st place outright (and 1st W40). Two more trophies for that (it was seriously hot enough to warrant four trophies, I figure). Here, the trophy girls demonstrate track running:

I added nearly 2 kms to the former Canadian W40 record of 68.591. Not quite as much as I'd like for comfort, but all I could do in that heat and humidity.

Now, for the rest of the story ... for those who care to read on...

Moe, Victoria is in a pretty little part of Australia. There are lovely big green hills and creeks there that just beg to be run. But I'd picked a track race this time around - with my sights on a Canadian 6 Hr W40 record and bringing that Victorian trophy back to WA (having a little fun with the state rivalry after a Victorian came to WA back in June and walked away with the 75k Kep Ultra win).

To break the 70k race down into "do-able" chunks, I ran it in 5k sections with a different person/cause for each one. I ran one for each of my sponsors, for example. And I ran one for beer. I haven't run for beer in a few years now :) Even though my beer of choice is typically non-alcoholic these days, when I do indulge in the calories.

An interesting, unexpected thing happened while running "for" many of these people I'd chosen. Rather than running "for" them - in their honour, in some sense - it turned out that they were really running with me. When I ran for one friend, who's been working overseas for months in a diesel- and sewage-air filled compound with a 2 k dirt track, I found myself basically asking him for help (don't worry, I wasn't hallucinating!). I remembered how good his running form is and thinking of him reminded me to really focus on my chi running techniques. Make it easy, have fun.

When I ran the 5k for a friend's wife undergoing chemo, every time I thought, "This is so hard" I heard myself reply, "You think this is hard? How about having your body melted from the inside out by chemo?"

And my mum... "win or die trying." (Well, that was her approach to raquetball, anyway, so I thought I'd try it for track running!)

Anyway, you get the idea. It turns out that all those people were there in spirit, keeping me going. And they all had some influence in my even getting to the start line in the first place. Amazing.

And I haven't even mentioned my Crew yet. I'm not one to put generic nouns in capital letters (really, people, it shouldn't be done, so don't do it). But I'm making an exception right now because Rolf is so much crew for one person he needs a capital. For 6 hours straight, he read all my sign language/hand signals, gave me fuel and water every 15 minutes (yup, Perpetuem and electrolytes again), ice cubes, wet shirts and hats to change into on the move, updated me with my splits regularly, and kept it all tracked on a sheet to reference later. He accepted all my grumbles and curt responses, understanding that we just had to work through the "business" end of the race....which for this one was about the 4 hours in the middle! The first hour was great and the last was okay, but it was hot at the 2 PM start and got hotter.

Which leads me to the pros and cons of a 2 PM race start:

Sleep in - yay!
More time to get nervous all morning - boo!
Being awake all night due to extreme chemical imbalances - boo! (I didn't feel tired, so didn't mind being awake all night, but am paying the price two days later as I have a jetlag feeling).

This last photo was taken before the start (there's no way I'd look that good after a race and I'm not sure I want to show anyone the pictures of me in the late stages!). A racer's daughter drew it for me. She even drew my orange hair. I might start hiring her to draw some more pre-race pictures. I like her style!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Altitude Training in Perth

Fortunately for me, it's been a taper week, since the days have been around 35 degrees. I feel for all those out there doing long runs right now. And there's even a bonus, according to my pilot partner/coach/crew, who calculated that once we get close to 40 degrees, the pressure changes to be equivalent to over 1500 mtrs - altitude training at sea level!

I'd be even more pleased if that Moe forecast dropped below 24 - I don't like that at all!!

Last weekend's taper long run was a beauty - a good friend organised one of his usual running adventures - this one was dubbed the Lark Hill 6 hr fat ass (handicap). Seven people rocked up for a 7 PM start with their headlamps, to do as many 3k laps on the gravel trail as possible. Only a few actually intended to run the duration, with the rest of us just out to enjoy a night run with company. Who else, but ultrarunners would find this the best way to spend a Saturday night :) Including another (recovering injured) mate who sat in the cold breeze and lap scored for everyone. I even threw my $10 into the ring, despite planning to run only 2 hrs. With Dave's handicap system, I got 4 free laps - that's 12k free kms....And with a taper week, who wouldn't pay $10 for 12 free kms in their logbook?!?

Back to the main topic of the last 6 weeks...the Moe 50k and 6 Hr Victoria Champs. We're on the plane early early tomorrow - will get the rest of my sleep enroute. I've decided to break the race into 5k increments - I'm running 5k for various friends/causes - for example, I'm running 5k for my very good mate in Canada who got me into ultra running in the first place (but who just doesn't understand the whole track thing). I think breaking up the race into 5k increments will make it much more mentally "do-able."

And my "Moe toes" are all ready. Here's the gun metal silver. A good, cold colour to keep me cool. And fast. Like a bullet.

I trialled them out today on my last run - doing 5k at race pace - and I passed a turtle on Lake Monger. I passed him like he was...well, a turtle....I hope seeing a turtle before a race isn't bad luck ;)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Moe Equation

I'm working on my equation for Moe and I've gotten this far.

It looked good until I realised I haven't factored in the crew, the shoes, the Garmin, the weekly massage therapy (praises to Nathan Doig, his thumbs of steel, and the fact that he knew what my iliacus was), the dry needling (praises also to Ali Low and her dry needling!). And then there's chia, the low GI diet, mentors and idols.... I'm starting to think I'll need a maths expert to finish writing this one.

Realised tonight that all the speedwork is done now. I wrote my session in the log for tonight and noticed that it's easy runs on the weekend and then more easy runs next week. That's it. All I can do now is paint my toe nails (Seriously - it's become a race tradition - different colour for every race. Moe speaks of gun metal silver).

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Look at all the Dirty Runners! :)

Today's trail run was a recon of the second half of the 6 Inch Trail Marathon to be held mid-December. I offered to lead an outing, since I know the course. I'm the flour girl ;)

Well, the bitumen runners are finally starting to morph into the next stage of their development in WA....we had a record 16 people out to run the dirt, rocks, and hills of the Munda Biddi trail today.

The guys at the front kept up a strong pace while I sheep dogged - naturally, to make sure there were no lost sheep.

It was a game of Battleship with the logistics to make sure it would work out for the point-to-point run, but it was well worth it (point-to-point is so much better than an out-and-back, after all).

So today capped off a pretty good week. My speed sessions all went as planned and I had a 13k run in the sand on the beach instead of hills midweek. My glute/hip is twitchy, though, so I'm going to make an appointment with Ali, my brilliant physio and give her $80 so she can tell me it's all okay. An $80 insurance policy is well spent money for the peace it gives! Have done my strength work twice this week and have felt my core a bit - I obviously let that get a bit weak.

Next week has more speed and hills before a short taper the week after.