Friday, December 10, 2010

Sleep's Top 10 Sporting Motivational Videos of all time

Number 10.
Hey, he got as far as he was going to with hard work, sometimes you just need a break. Chance favours the prepared. If the World record holder cant stay on his skates, thats his problem. #10.

Number 9.
You were either one or the other: a Mark Allen fan, or a dave scott fan. The two best iron men ever go head to head in the "Iron War of 1989". Many a young kid watched this video over and over. Possibly worth a higher ranking than 9th, but.... This race changed everything in the sport of triathlons for ever.#9

Number 8.
Rocky, a man always capable of striking a chord in the under dog in all of us. This speech while not a sporting moment per se is as sporting related as you can get. Stop making excuses and believe your worthy.#8

Number 7.

A video played at most BMMC events nowadays as motivation. The look on the face, the sound in the voice, the body language, the reference to State rail services when a legend wearing a pink dress finds out who won his race. All the trash talk on CR stopped fairly quickly after this video went viral.#7.

Number 6.
We smashed em like guitars. Klim broke the world record in the opening leg, then thorpie swam over the top of "Worlds best sprinter" garry hall jnr. in the final leg. This was the peak of a male swimming wave for asutralia. A swell of australian talent and belief that was started by K. Perkins in the early 1990s. #6.

Number 5
Mateship, tradition, running and gallipoli. Whoever thought to blend a running movie with a war movie was a pure genius. My mantra on the hills: "What are your legs? Steel Springs, How fast can you run? as fast as a lepard, how fast are you going to run? as fast as a lepard, then lets see you do it....." #5.

Number 4.
I was 7 years old when I saw this race on TV (brisbane comm games mara). It was the first time I thought gees running looks kind of cool. Hail deek. He gave hope to all us big runners.#4.

Number 3.
I was lucky enough to be in the Olympic Stadium on the night of this race. When Cathy Freeman won the 400m earlier in the night, yeah it was cool. But the 10,000m was historic. The 2 best runners ever, in the best race ever, racing in their prime. Truley historic. #3.

Number 2.
Plagued by mishap, after mishap. The 100th anniversary of the Tour in 2003 wasnt meant to include an American said to be 'too rich', 'too old', 'too american', 'too big' to win against all the odds. The 'Tour Gods' threw everything at lance in 2003and he threw it back. After two bike mishaps, no team suppport and Ulrich who didnt wait.... lance goes on to set up the tour win by putting 400 kilowatts per/hr in anger through a set of cranks to destroy Ulrich....again chilling stuff to watch. #2

Number 1.
People remember where they were when man first walked on the moon. I remember where I was when this swim was on. The best sporting comeback/ or moment in history. I still get chills down the spine watching and thinking about this one, and what it did for australian swimming. He was last onto the Aust team, last into the final by a few 100th/ sec, trashed by every newspaper and expert commentator, but had not a single doubt in his own mind he would take Gold.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Woodford Dam Trail Race: Race Report

The 2nd race of the RW Trail Running World Series

What a great course this race featured. I had been to Woodford Dam only twice before for swims in summer, but had never actually run around this area. And, if you are the Sydney Catchment Authority I totally deny this first sentence.

What was presented to participants was a good mix of single trails, a few stairs, fire trails, a dam and lake, a conventional tar road, 2 good hills to climb and a field of like minded ‘trail people’ to run with.

The Race Director (Mr G) started the event and we took off down the first hill. The Welsh exchange student was my early pacer. Brendan D and Prince Donga set a solid early pace and were soon out of sight. However we could still see them running up ahead as they missed the first turnoff into the bush. Someone (who will not be mentioned in this report) suggested we all be very quiet and duck off down the track the 2 leaders had missed.

After a pleasant run past some waterfalls, and a few nice swamp bridges, we were back on a main track and then a road on our way down to Woodford Lake and Dam.

By this stage the missing leaders had reassembled with our group, including a runner who when I looked at I thought: “gees that bloke has really long arms and would probably make a good swimmer”. It was Long Arms himself.

We ran down to the Dam chatting about war stories and future running agendas. Prince Donga mentioned his plans to defend his recent sizzling outright victory in the Fitzroy Falls Marathon come next year. Brendan discussed his plans to relocate his household to the trail running capital of Australia, the Blue Mtns in efforts to properly prepare for 6 Foot Track.

The talking abruptly stopped as we started up the big hill. Slowly as the grind continued I felt a small gap emerge between my two followers. This hill was a baby pluviometre.

While I am no way fit enough, or light enough to run fast at the moment (I’m 78.9kgs), I attribute the good climb up the hill to 2 things. Firstly, a lot of regular short runs and swims lately that have kept my legs and breathing systems in reasonable condition. Secondly, the fact that all runs recently have involved mini climbs of some sort (Sun Valley, Old Bathurst, Portal, Grose etc etc).

But now I had a big dilemma. I was where I didn’t want to be, or think I would be - in the lead. The plan to have a pleasant swim in the Lake when I got back down the hill was now over.

Something happens when I see a starter’s gun, or sense competition. The hairs grow on the back of the neck, and my palms get sweaty combined with a dry pasty feeling under the tongue. Suffice to say when I find myself near, or at the front I have absolutely no chance what so ever of running easy, or to a pace commensurate with my fitness. Its time to suffer.....

Also, Scams recent comments about me, and I quote: “not having a race winner’s singlet to wear around” could now be force fed back to him as little pieces of Humble Pie – just as soon as I could get back to Woodford. Funnily enough, he has been very quiet about the race all week.

So I sucked in a caffeine Gel at the top of the climb, and started drinking and refilling the water bottle as if I really meant it. Thank you Scam for the motivation

Coming back down the hill, the left ham string snapped (again), joining the right Achilles insertion point that had passed away some 12 months ago. If they were kept warm and comfortable, and were spoken to nicely - we would all get back to the finish line together.

Doctor Phil joined me at the bottom of the mini pluvio on his Mtn bike, shooting some marvellous footage against the back drop of the Lake for the ‘Best of RW Trail Series 2010’ that is coming out soon on DVD and Blue Ray.

It was a rather enjoyable and hard-paced run back to the finish. A second refill of my water bottle with energy drink at the last aid station boosted the energy required to keep the legs going.

If I got caught, the plan was going to be: use the last hill before the finish to hold them off. Luckily they didn’t come, and it was all over soon enough.

Thanks to the RW race organisers. To Scam - gees the singlet is comfy.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Another 3 Peaks Trip Report

(click on picture above to see 2 of the 3 peaks)

Why you would enjoy trudging along Narrow Neck ridge late on a cold Saturday night, alone, and after already running, walking and bashing through 80 of the toughest kilometers you could imagine, and being continually drawn back to do so many times, may be a tough question for some? - myself included. This trip report will try and answer this question.

Shogun, a man often attracted to the nemesis of something Wild and challenging, and I had been talking about doing a 3 Peaks/ or Katoomba to Mittagong (or both at once) walk for about 2 years. Finally last weekend we actually turned words and bravado into preparation and action and arrived at Narrow Neck (NN) to attempt a 3 Peaks trip. We were looking to set the record of course.

We set off shortly after 4:30am from the official starting point (see Ashley Burkes 3 Peaks page) and headed off to the Coxs. It was a blisteringly cold and windy pre dawn first hour as we arrived at the end of the NN F.T just as the first glow of the sun was coming over the horizon, faintly lighting up the Burragorang Valley to our East. Appearing ominously in front of us beyond the Wild Dog Mtns we could see the shape of the peaks we planned to climb. It was shogun who asked, is that cloud off in the distance or the Mtns we plan to climb??

We made great time to the Cox’s jogging all the way down past Medlow gap, Mobbs swamp and finally down Yellow Pup ridge. After a quick refill of the water bladders we headed up Quoagang. At this point we were feeling great, hitting the summit after a 2hr 10min climb, including a few pics of an aggressive looking monster black snake.

We were quickly on top of the Gouagang cairn and then off down the South buttress to Whalania Ck. The rock formations down the South ridge are magnificent and splendid, if only we had more than a few moments to enjoy such a great place.

Soon after starting our rapid descent down this tricky spur it was decided we would take differing paths. Shogun, after assuring me he had taken several modules in Wilderness studies in High School - and that he was in fact a professional map maker, decided he would push on down to Whalania Ck back to the Cox’s River and then home.

I thought to myself, of all the god forsaken places to be left alone on your first 3 Peaks trip, this would have to be at the bottom of my bucket list. I had ideas that the Creek back to the Coxs could take a full day to cover the 8kms, and that Shogun would be out here alone over night – and that I had some part in getting him into this situation…...

These thoughts were put aside as I pushed on with the comfort of “No, he told me he did Wilderness studies, he’ll be OK” and “of course he can read maps, it’s what he does for a living”, along with “he is a very tough self sufficient bloke, don’t be his mother”.

Next was the aptly named Mt Paralyser. In total going up Paralyser, signing the book, getting down Paralyser took 2hrs and 3mins. From Kanangra Ck to the cairn on Cloudmaker, via Storm breaker took a further 85mins. Halfway up to Mt Cloudmaker I narrowly missed placing my foot on a healthy looking adult Brown snake. Were there any small snakes out here, or were they all giants? As a reflex I jumped away from the snake, so did the snake from me, and we both went on our way - with a good shot of adrenalin carrying me for the next few minutes or so.

Upon staring the jog/ walk from Cloudmaker to Dex Creek, shortly after 4pm, I bumped into a solo female camper, Heidi who had just lost the track in a fashion similar to the BMMC trip in June. By 5:45pm I was down crossing the Coxs once more, glad to have had light coming down Mt Strongleg.

At this point I reflected. I had had a dream run, every peak had been ticked, no mistakes with navigation, no tracks lost. To go any faster you would have to be in real top shape (which admittedly I am not at the moment) and I estimated that even at 100% fitness you may, at the very best, save only 30-45mins on the accumulated time so far.

From the Coxs it took me approx 5hrs 45mins to get back to the car on the Neck, compared to 3hrs 15min for the run on the way in. Albeit, I slowed a bit, I walked a bit; I even took at few extra small rest stops. But hey I was buggered, I had just done the 3 peaks return from the Coxs in under 10 hrs, plus ran 28kms to the River before I started. Not to mention the run home was all UP HILL, not downhill!. So I stopped beating myself up for positive splitting by approx 2.5hrs for the return from the Coxs.

As I was climbing up Yellow Pup in the fading light I glanced up Whalania Creek and thought of Shogun, who I was sure would be lying up somewhere around a fire cursing my name in his good mannered way. I also thought how tomorrow is going to be when I have to come back out here for him, not to mention the awkward phone call to Mrs Shogun! Would I now have to look after his 7 or 8 off spring?

All up it took 19hrs and 5 mins to finish, being one of the top 5 hardest days of my life. (mind you 3 of my top 5 feature the 3 Peaks). Arriving back at the car shortly before 11:40pm

The real surprise, and to my great delight was that Shogun’s car was gone when I got back to my car. He had finished about 10 to 30 mins in front of me. Legend! He had gotten himself down Guoagang, along Whalania Ck and found his way back onto the track from memory. Travelling along creeks can be slow work but he could read a map after all, and those Wilderness lessons did pay off. I never doubted him for a second (of course), but theory and practice can be different things, however Shogun had nailed it like a true Bear Grylls. What’s more, I could now sleep in the following day. Happy days

While I haven’t actually answered my opening question, to me, its adventures like this that keep you in touch with a raw reality about who you are - and what you are capable of doing when you need to. And when set in rugged, remote, beautiful and potentially hostile surrounds, combined with the quiet whisperings of nature they draw out a strange rejuvenating and relaxing energy. Particularly for work on Monday when someone asks ‘what you did on the weekend?’, and you say ‘oh I went for a bush walk on Saturday and mowed the lawn Sunday – just a quiet one”.

I think it was better put by Mallory or Irvine who said in the 1920s (just before they reached the summit of Mt Everest on their ill fated trip) when asked why they climb? one of them said something like:

“To those who don’t understand, it can never be explained”.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Grose Valley Trainign Run, from Faulconbridge Point (25ks)

Instead of just writing about my runs (or lack of them), I thought I would do a photo journal of my Sunday run.

This run is by far my favorite run of all time, and the most prolific run I have ever done, with variations of it having been run continuously since 1988. My long run as a kid was to a marked tree about 4kms from the home.

Start at Springwood High School (see picture of the round about), head out Grose Rd to the Lookout (10ks, see pic of lookout), then head back 1km (see picture of singles track start)and turn left down to the River.

Then Climb up the two cliff ledges, now with rope, shown to the left. Average HR shown in picture.

Friday, June 25, 2010

3 Peaks Trip Report

Warning: Possibly the longest trip report you will ever read on the 3 Peaks follows.
Provided in 5 Chapters (it may be quicker to do the 3 peaks than read this)

Chapter 1 - Introduction
After much hype, anticipation and detailed equipment preparations a group of 11 proud BMMC lined up to attempt or take part in a Three Peaks expedition over the recent June long weekend.

With a line up of expert endurance athletes from trail running and triathlon backgrounds, we set off from the gate on Narrow Neck at 8:20am. Yes I know, an “official 3 Peaks” starts 1km before the gate at the climbers car park – but hey isn’t the gate the natural modern day starting point if you’re not staring from the real/ original start on the end of Katoomba station?

Much is written about the 3 Peaks and for good reasons. It involves climbing up and down 4,000m of vertical elevation, walking at ridiculous times of the day, endurance, bush craft, self sufficiency and determination. It also has a strong bushwalker history with the first secular pilgrims completing the walk in 1957 – before Narrow Neck trail even existed.

We started with a group as diverse and hardened as the walk itself. Reading like a who’s who of Australian endurance sport, the team included, in age descending order: Old Donk, LL#2, Gunner, Tri Geek, the Animal, The Londoner, Mrs Londoner, Dr Phil, the Welsh Exchange student, Borey, and myself.

We merrily commenced out Narrow Neck on the cool Saturday morning, with the first stop at the end of Narrow Neck before descending down to Medlow Gap. Here we were caught by the final members to join the start team, mr & mrs Londoner who had had an extended breakfast in Katoomba. The first photo opportunity was taken on taros ladder.

I wondered at this point what we would be like on Monday afternoon when we got back to taros, what experiences would we have been through by then? As trip leader, I also wondered who would still be talking to me by the time we got out.

We spent the rest of the day mozieing on down to the Coxs River as everyone got acquainted with new packs, new boots and feelings in the legs not usually encountered in a typical week’s high mileage training schedule. I chatted to the Londoner about plans to traverse the Wollemi from north to south in September. He knew a fair bit too about my favourite explorers from the heroic age of exploration in Antarctica.

I am not sure where it happened, but by the time we were crossing the Cox’s we were split into 3 or 4 different groups. I brewed up a cuppa at the bottom of Yellow Pup so I could sit back and enjoy everyone independently making their way across the river and upstream to the clearing.

Only the Tri Geek knew where the clearing was from a previous trip – he charged off and most followed. Arriving where most were crossing the river I pushed up stream to avoid two river crossing (coxs and whalania) – arriving shortly after Tri Geek in the clearing. The remainder of the group eventually found the clearing by walking towards cooeeing signals from those at the camp site.

We soon settled into setting up camp, with most either collecting fire wood or filling up water bottles on whalania ck. It was a light hearted evening at camp, cooking and eating together. Gunner finished off his 2 litres of Port and set up his “tent” as he was called it.

We went over the next day, what to carry, and the chances of being out there over night (estimated at about 20%) and then all slowly went off to bed.

I’m not sure how many times I was allowed to re tell my old stories from previous adventures to anyone who would listen, but I thought they would provide light hearted entertainment as each story typically ended with me becoming: wet, cold, alone, frozen, hungry, in the wrong position, defeated, or a combination of all of these. Hopefully they had provided some idea of what “can” happen on these trips.

Chapter 2- The Contenders
LL#2 had previously decided to maintain base camp, and was now to be accompanied by Old Donk and an out of condition Gunner. Borey, possibly the fittest man in the patrol if not in Australia between the ages of 25-30, had chosen to wear Asics race flats for the walk in. These were now starting to shred into pieces and already hurting his feet. There was to be no 3 Peaks attempt for him with those shoes, plus he needed what was left on his feet to get out of Monday!

Also in doubt was Dr Phil, who was going to sensibly assess his feet condition in the morning. WES was making similar sensible claims around the camp fire that evening too.

Rumblings around the camp started at 420am ahead of our start time of 5am. High spirits and anticipation mixed well with the early breakfast and camp fire. At 501am we were off. We stepped over the wire (fence) and into the wild for an adventure. What would the day bring? The first order of the day, climb Gouoagang!

As we rose, the trail of 5 other head lights evenly spaced in the dark following me up the Mtn was a proud sight. Counting 2, 4 and 5 other head lights as I continually glanced back. Already the climb was getting tough, checking the watch at 5:24am – dam that’s only 23 mins, I was sure we were near the summit, must be the next summit, the next.

I had forgotten there were several small downhill bits on the way up Gouoagang.

We had allocated approx 2.5 to 3 hrs to be leaving the summit of Guouagang. We all paused soon after one of the hourly rest stops for a minute silence at the spot where Scambullant, had, in the infamous 2007 trip decided to turn back in full view of the summit. He has never been permitted to go camping with me since, and still refuses to discuss this trip with anyone to this very day, particularly his uncles.

We reached the summit after some time bashing through hardened wind pruned scrub on the top of Guoagang, eventually managing to find the easier path to the summit’s cairn on the West of the rough scrub. Bam – 1 peak down as we signed the log book. Time 7:57am and 3 mins within our scheduled cut off. We had no takers to turn back. We were committed now.

Time to find that South facing ledge over the Gouagang buttress, then the knife edge route down to Whalania Creek

After a bit of time doubling back onto the buttress we were dropping fairly quickly, over some beautiful rock formations. Noticing one well dug in camp site (i must come back here one time I thought, what a nice place to camp!). Here the tri geek sliced his palm open through his gloves on one of the razor sharp ledges.

As we were descending into Whalania ck, we managed to split from the rear two members of the group. We waited and agonised. What were they possibly doing? Why hadn’t they coo-eed? (obviously we had some rear echelon communication problems). Our cooees, and yells eventually establishing contact with them, they were 50-100m downstream. A further 25 mins later we were reunited on the climb up Paralyser (10:30am).

The separation experience reminded me of my favourite novel: ‘Bravo Two Zero’ when the rear 2 members of an 8 man British SAS patrol were separated from the front of the patrol as they were fleeing, on foot, from a gun fight with Saddams APC division in Northern Iraq during the Gulf War. Mind you, the SAS were in the middle of running two marathons across a dessert at night, and running for their lives through blizzard conditions. I figured the rear members of our team were in a similar state of distress.

We headed up the agonising Paralyser Steeps, where the gradient passes 45 degrees, and you are using your knees and palms as much as your quads to climb.

This time it was the front 2 members that became separated. Charging over the summit of Paralyser, missing the carin, they had ended up on/ or near Mt Cyclops. They waited 20mins before joining the dots that they had gone too far. After consulting their map they headed back towards where the cooees of the main group were now coming from (the logbook on paralyser).

At this point the “suggestion” was made that we should try and stay together. Spirits were high as we headed off Paralyser. We had experienced a few ‘group bonding’ moments, were back as one group, and now rather optimistic about our schedule.

At one stage heading down Paralyser we realised we were going off the wrong spur, and would miss Thunder Bend. We quickly adjusted and hit Kanangra Creek where we planned. We didn’t go up to Kuleatha Peak, instead going up to Mt Stormbreaker, then over Rip, Rack Roar knolls. We figured, given remaining daylight, getting onto the K2K Trail would be better.

WES lead us faithfully onto Stormbreaker and then he found the only sunny ledge in the entire National Park for a beaut late afternoon tea.

Chapter 3 – The Darkness
We hit Cloudmaker at 5.01pm. The Londoner wisely suggested we move off and use the last light to find and move along the trail. Avoiding a night time walk from Cloudmaker to the Cox River, via Mt Strongleg, had been the central underpinning of the days planned schedule. We were now going to be walking down hill in the dark, and experience why efforts had been made to avoid this.

We did reasonably well to stay on the track for the most part until after Dex Creek. I had lost the trail after Dex on two previous occasions in daylight. In some respects it was my favourite part of the trip, a bit more of an adventure. It also brought out the best of the group I believe.

We had no moonlight. Everyone, in some form was suffering due to; sleep deprivation, low energy, fatigue, feet problems or general disillusionment. We promptly lost the trail that seems to just disappear into thin air. We started bashing through some thick scrub in the dark.

Then the GPS, the only way we could navigate, started giving off strange readings. Stop. Carry out the (Immediate Aaction) procedure to fix the problem. Batteries, and cloud cover, combined with magnetic issues you can often get had meant that for a brief moment I couldn’t get a reading. This issue was nothing anyone else needed to know about I thought. Just fix it. I had been in situations far worse than this, and was prepared to bivouac if needed.

None of the group complained, or was critical of the situation, we just got on with it and eventually found the trail after an hour of walking over creeks that weren’t on the map, or that were running in the direction opposite to what the topography indicated they should be.

Dr Phil was up front towards the approach to Mt Strongleg, and was following the feint trail in the flickering headlights like a pro. He later explained how he needed to be in the front at this point, and when doing stuff like this. I completely understood what he meant by this, and how being up front can help some people. Tri Geek was now sleeping at each map check stop, with the team taking turns to confirm he got back up after each stop.

Our plan was to come down the North face of Strongleg and directly hit our camp site on the other side of Whalania Creek. It was possibly the most accurate I have ever been at descending Mt Strongleg, hitting the creek directly opposite our camp clearing.

We were down Strongleg and our cooees had already alerted base camp of our arrival and completion. After one last water crossing we were back in camp, with a large pig and its litter of piglet’s part of the welcoming party. We also passed a dead pig near the creek that possibly contaminated some water bottles filled as we crossed Whalania ck.

Chapter 4 - Completion
We were all back in camp by 10:30pm/ 11pm. Fatigued, saw and in some instances too tired to eat a lot. The warm fire and the fresh faces were a welcome end to a long day. We slept and gradually reconvened around the morning camp fire, as we slowly got packed up for the long walk home.

The advance party of LL#2, Gunner and Old Donk left a little after 8am, with the rest of us off by approx 9am. A final goodbye to Mr & Mrs Londoner, who hadn’t emerged from their tent yet, and we were on our way up Yellow Pup.

After a short detour to the Splendour Rock lookout I rejoined the group at Mobbs Swamp for lunch. WES finally shared his trips nutritional secret: a 400g jar of Kraft Crunchy Peanut Butter as we collectively finished it off. Somehow I had always seen him as a Smooth Peanut Butter man, but here he was on the Crunchy stuff, go figure?.

Dr Phil pushed it from here to Medlow gap, passing the advance party as we surged up and towards Taros Ladder. We regrouped on Taros and enjoyed our last brew in the Wilderness before the agonising trudge along the Neck.

Chapter 5 – The Neck and some after thoughts

For some reason the Neck is mentally the hardest part. It just keeps going, with false finish after false finish. The feet are unavoidably burning with hot spots and the legs are usually stiff, but knowing you will be home provides some solice.

We passed a note etched in the sand left minutes earlier by Scam and SWMBO that we had in fact missed our RV with the promised Narrow Neck Tim Tim delivery. Apparently pregnant ladies were now out pacing the BMMC in this final hour. The Careflight chopper over head conducting a search pattern, as we arrived back at the cars in the rapidly cooling evening, was a great memory. The look on the Animals face along the Neck was also another priceless memory, possibly the highlight of my whole trip!

In the final stages, Dr Phil had decided to forget any pacing strategy and just get to the finish ASAP so his ordeal could end. However, he could now be seen up ahead floundering in a state of delirium as he climbed over the final gate to the cars.

Seeing individual BMMC members climb over the gate (including the sprint finish b/w LL#2 and Tri Geek), and the looks of relief was priceless. We had done the 3 Peaks together! Finding my car battery dead however was a bit of an anti climax to the finish for me.

As with all long walks, the inevitable question one asks, particularly for a group of runners is that of speed? How fast could it be done, what is the record, could a tilt at the record be made? At 17hrs, the official record seems quite incredible. Not to mention Peter Tressedars claim to have done it in 14hrs (#anker), then again he has many claims that are humanly impossible, including a 6 foot track in “about 3 hrs”, and running 5,500km of rugged Mtn ranges down the length of Australian Eastern seaboard in 41 days (averaging 137k per day in the bush, pffft). The female record is at 20 something hours (Emma Murray a 3x World Mtn running champ).

So who is now up for a tilt at the 3 Peaks record? Roll call please?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Sleep on Come Backs

Comeback stories are usually glamorous tales that inspire. Like a good Rocky movie, they usually involve an inspiring soundtrack, a few motivational speech scenes, a training montage of key workouts and the feature bout where Balboa defeats his opponent (Apollo, Mister T, Ivan Drago etc).

So I am going to chronicle my come back in reverse to the usual, albeit Hollywood, fashion. Every ugly bit of it. Who even knows where the comeback will end, a sub 2hr 20min M7 marathon? or another race after July if I'm not ready?

The first run back was euphoric. 6am last Tuesday for the standard, I was joined by a diligent Dr Phil despite his injury (Thanks Dr Phil, having someone there was great).

Run 2: Thursday mornings standard from Scams mansion, with VstaR and J Foghorn for an abbreviated version of the basic Hill Circuit.

Run 3 was in Glen NP on Saturday morning to break the full hour of running mark with Scam as he was completing his final speed tests in the final week before TNF 100 (man he has trained well in 2010).

Also, just counted the notches on the Springwood swim pool entry card: 5 swims out of the last 5 nights. Sundays swim with the W.E.S for a complimentary drag over the final 1000m, before a soft drink at the ORI with Prince Donga to celebrate his 27th year of running. Sarge was also looking focused at soft drink club for his TNF 100 assault. He was obviously using the “Tri schooner-carbo loading” technique when we saw him.

Anyway, I will be using TNF on Saturday to motivate the commencement of real training on Monday (i'm only watching TNF 100). Time to replace the morning Pear & Raspberry Bread and Large full cream Cappuccino (incl 1 sugar) with the Regular skim milk Cap (no sugar). I even dropped off the 2 ltr Dulux paint tin of Jelly Beans at the Animals Kennel to nutritionally sustain him while he is a hostage in his own house (apparently ALDI do not home deliver dinners). Time to start eating vegetables again too.

Weighing in at a staggering 78kgs- that’s a 10% increase in body weight since 2 February (last run before injury). Oh yeah the stress fracture feels 100% - gave it 3 more voluntary weeks of rest just to be sure. This weeks aim is 4 runs, all no more than 50mins, one 65-70mins.

Photo is from a recent bushwalk down to the Grose Valley from the Fruit Shop on Bells Line of Road via Browns Ridge F.T and Browns Creek (where it meets the Grose). Wolleim LL#2 – hope you enjoy the photo!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Are you the CEO?

Just been given instructions that I am allowed to start some light running again, this is welcome news.

I did my first 30 mins on Tuesday and by Thursday morning I couldn’t walk down steps due to muscle stiffness... how muscles go soft when not in use.

This injury has taught me a lot about what you need to know about the field of specialist health professionals in order to adequately treat a big injury.

My injury has now required 7 medical specialists, all with different approaches and expertise to fixing a low grade stress fracture. I have seen the following:

1. A Physio: to tell me it’s injured

2. A Sport Physician: to confirm its inured and refer me to a radiologist

3. A Radiologist: to do a bone scan to really confirm the injury

4. A Podiatrist: to make orthotics to redistribute the weight that may have triggered the injury

5. An Osteopath: to look at general bone density reasons why it injured

6. A Sports Dietitian: to look at dietary reasons why it injured

7. A Massage Therapist: to loosen and treat muscles surrounding the injury

Now if you had asked me 12 months ago what a podiatrist did I would of probably said "aren’t they people who collect pet rocks?”. I knew very little about all these specialists.

The most interesting thing I learnt was that while all the above are great professionals most didn’t refer me to the other specialists necessary to holistically treat the injury.

They all had different views of the World and for some reason, only after being asked by me, would they mention “well you could see a such and such, but I dont know what they will be able to do”.

If I hadn’t concluded that the cause of the injury had several possibilities (like too much running, bad biomechanics, diet and ageing) I wouldn’t have sought out each specialist. And every specialist had useful information to treat the injury, prevent it happening again and to fix it.

What was even wierder about this situation was that no specilaist even contricted another. They all helped.

My point is that, as a runner or athlete you need to be the person who takes responsibility for knowing this stuff, and making sure you have all the experts working for you properly.

The best non-running example of this is probably a CEO of a big company who will have specialist managers, sales persons, lawyers, accountants, business strategists etc etc working for them.

The CEO is in charge and needs to know how to use each specialist effectively. No CEO goes to his sales manager saying “I have this issue down in HR, can you solve it?” The CEO goes to the HR manager and says “use your skills & training and fix the HR issue please”.

Alternatively, no sales manager will usually say to the CEO “oh the answer to our organisations problems will be solved by better HR advice”, they are more likely to say “everything can be solved by better sales”. Nor would a CEO even ask the sales manager for HR advice.

Obviously, for the organisation to be successful/ profitable all specialists need to be doing their individual job as part of a bigger picture held in the CEOs head, and hopefully shared by others. All the CEO needs to do is set the vision, find the best people, know what they do well (ie their speciality), and get them to play their role effectively.

So my long winded learning is that you need to be the “CEO of You Pty Ltd” when it comes to being a runner, and particularly when recovering from an injury needing holistic treatment. You need to find all the specialists and know how to use them, and realise where they are coming from. No one else can do this but the CEO/ runner.

Anyway off for a 5k- 30min loop around the Spurwood -Rickard Rd fire trail.

Sleep Train

CEO, Sleep Train Pty Ltd

Monday, March 8, 2010

Good Luck All 6 Footers

Good luck everyone racing this weekend in the big one.

Will be at start and finish on crewing duties for fellow BMMC, including one of the official BMMC race photographers.

I usually wouldnt induldge in tipping, but since I'm not in the race:

My tips for top 3 Men:
1st, Andrew Lee (warrimoo local, great bloke and lives only a few hundred metres from my place so will keep tiltle in the suburb)
2nd or 3rd, Matthews and Andrew Tuckey to fight it out.

1. Bateup (just too good)
2. Middleton (you should of seen her race at the Worlds!)
3. Bespalov (dam good runner).

predictions based on nothing other than last 12 months form, and a few things here and there.

Enjoy the race, think of those poor sods who have the real tough day, yes those who cant participate.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Googling Deeks Injuries

Was reading a great article by Deek in the August 1983 edition of Runners World where he mentions that over his career (up to 1983 anyway) he only had 10 days off training due to injury.

The fascinating bit was his explanation why he was so fortunate in this regard. Deek says there’s 2 types of fitness, physiological fitness (say aerobic condition) and muscular- skeletal strength (bones and how muscles connect to them).

Deek said he was limited in natural physiological fitness so he had to train hard and consistently to build aerobic condition, this took time which gave his muscular –skeletal system the time to develop. His physiological fitness never surpassed what his muscular-skeletal system was capable of handling, hence he rarely got injured.

Hmmm. I found the above article when Googling the following words: ‘Deek’ and ‘injury’ to see how Deek use to handle what I am now handling. Needless to say what I found didn’t cheer me up, but it did help explain why I now have a muscular-skeletal injury, albeit only a small stress reaction in the upper right femur.

Coming from a swimming background as a kid, and then a triathlon background later in life I developed good aerobic ability, and never run the miles beyond what my muscles and bones could handle, mainly because large training volumes were achieved though cross training.

Enter the last 12 months where after dusting off the old V8 engine following several sedentary years, I now discover the frame isn’t actually strong enough to handle the torque the engine can still produce. 15 hrs/ wk of swimming, biking & running aren’t rapidly interchangeable with 15hrs/ wk of running.

The other interesting thing about this period is my own emotional reaction to time off and missing a big race, followed by what others expect me to be feeling.

The bizarre thing (to others maybe) is that I’m not upset at all (though disappointed my long term health was jeopardised).

The following facts outline my self-reasoning for not being upset:
• Running is risky on your body, you run you therefore gamble
• Not all gambles pay off
• When pushing the limits the risks (and rewards) are inevitably bigger
• If you win more than you lose over your career, your still ahead
• 6 weeks is a rest period, and I have no problem with resting
• Its not my job, so I can still eat
• There’s other things in life I also enjoy doing (swimming, biking)
• I love the drama & struggle of big come back

More philosophically however, leading up to each big race I always think ‘will the body hold together to get to the start line?’ Last year I got to 3 big start lines despite many things, with 6 foot 2010 just one start line I didn’t make.

But gees I'm looking forward to my first run back on April Fool’s day (that’s not a joke either)

Enjoy the running.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

No time to blog this week.

Friday, January 8, 2010

6 Foot Training Program Launch

For the latest on the BMMC, or to train with us go to:

Last night the Doc unveiled his grand 9 week training plan for 6 Foot 2010. We have been working together for 12 months now and it is by far the best “athlete- coach” relationship I have ever been in over my time in sport. I have had lots of coaches, all have taught me something, even if it wasn’t always a lot about training.

His/ our program is fluid, yet structured. Damn hard, yet with plenty of rest. Overall, it looks like a tough 9 weeks coming up. I like it because it is developed by an expert, but is developed by asking me lots and lots of questions, I feel like I’m in control of it. He then tells me like it is, even if that is: “No you don’t need to do that, it’s pointless, what’s that going to teach your body? we are going to do X, Y and Z”. He will then explain how and what the body will do in response to the prescribed stress from training. This last bit is my favorite part because it builds my belief and confidence in the program.

I will publish the program, but not until after March 13, for two reasons:

Firstly and most obviously, I don’t want to give too much away.

Secondly but more importantly, it would be negligent and unsafe to encourage, or think that others may copy what I might be doing without them considering a range of factors about their own physiology in consultation with an expert, or other qualified person.

For example, I wouldn’t want to encourage anyone to get into the habit of just ‘cut and pasting’ another athletes program, particularly if that program is for an athlete of a completely different background, history and physical constitution, including genetics. You wouldn’t take someone else medicine if you were sick right?

The best advice to devise your own program I believe is find someone who knows 3 things;
1. They know YOU.
2. They know the concepts of endurance training well.
3. They know how to apply the concepts to you the athlete (the most important bit).

This doesn’t mean don’t try things out, not training with others and trying what they do, not experimenting occasionally, not learning from training partners, or from anyone. We all learn from each other. But it does mean being personally careful of key things like, volume, frequency, intensity and how they relate to your body (not someone else’s body).

Once you have your own program you need to believe in it and give it time to work. Have some faith it will get results. When you think about it you actually can’t do anything else can you?

This can mean ignoring everything else you hear for a while. (Eg.Anton K. ran 320k last week, wow!) Not that what you are hearing say from others is bad necessarily, it’s just that it’s probably not in the right perspective for you at that time, and it may allow doubt to enter your head about your program, which is the last thing you need at 5am on an LSD.

Every human has doubts; you don’t need to increase doubt. Doubt can easily turn to fear, which can turn to disbelief and then quitting. For me this meant not buying running magazines. Nothing is wrong with running mags, but I would read training articles and athlete stories, get all pumped up and think ‘yeah I’ll go do that tomorrow’ so I can be like them. This may sound silly, but we have all done it.

Enough ranting and raving for now.
See you out there, enjoy the training!