8 Oct 2013

The End of my Aussie Sweep at Melbourne Marathon this weekend

Yes this Sunday I will be running onto the MCG to finish my 4th Melbourne Marathon, but more importantly, it will mark the final race in my Australian Sweep of marathons for the year!

I'm hoping to see as many of you fellow runners, tweeps, friends and family either in the days prior, on the course on race day, or afterwards to share in the experience of one of my biggest achievements in running to date - hopefully capped off with a new PB!

I've spluttered around on Twitter and Facebook about various meet-ups so as promised I'm posting my plans up here to see who can make it wherever possible - happy to catch with anyone just drop me a line if you have other plans, so we can link up!

So here's my schedule for the weekend...

Lygon Street Carlton
Friday Dinner - Lygon Street  - I won't be getting into Melbourne until late, but if you are interested in doing the proper Carb-loading session on a Friday night, you should join my old mate Digger - he'll likely be organising dinner somewhere in Lygon Street with a group  of awesome runners - I went last year and it was an easygoing evening where I got to make some new friends whilst stuffing my face with pasta! If you want to know more, check out this post in the Melbourne Marathon Facebook Group

Saturday Lunch - Richmond Hill Cafe - I plan to be in the City in the afternoon and will head to the expo first then I'll be meeting some runners for coffee and cake at the Richmond Hill Cafe & Larder on Bridge Road in Richmond at 2pm. It's only a relatively short walk from the expo and all are welcome - I'll probably end up there for a few hours so hit me up on Twitter or Facebook if you want to catch up and you can't find me.

Saturday Dinner - Mt View Hotel - I will join Digger and his crew for the ritual Steak and chips at Mt View Hotel again on Bridge Road in Richmond which should be anything from 5pm onwards to cater for everyone looking for an early night. It's a great chance to meet some seasoned runners and shake off (or possibly worsen) those pre-race nerves. Post up on the Melbourne Marathon Facebook group if you want any more info on this, or again, hit me up directly on Twitter or Facebook.

Sunday after the race - Transport Bar - I'll get cleaned up and then head to the Transport Bar in fed square for a light feed and some heavy drinks. This is a popular post-race location with runners as you can (hopefully) sit in the sun enjoying a few refreshing beverages as you watch the battlers still finishing their marathon. I'll probably get there about noon and hang around for a few hours with my fellow Aussie Sweepers Simon and Dilwyn as we will all be celebrating in a big way, so make sure and congratulate them too!

Sunday Afternoon - Mt View Hotel - I'll be joining Digger and hopefully a large group of awesome Facebook peeps at the Diggers after Melbourne Marathon get together - back at the Mt View Hotel in Richmond, from about 3pm onwards. This will be held in a function room and a small fee will be required to cover snacks for all, see the Facebook event for details.

After that I'll probably head somewhere in search of my usual Post-Marathon-Curry-Feast but I have no idea what condition I will be in, no doubt I'll be tweeting drunken gibberish, so you have that to look forward to! :)

Anyways that is MY plan for the weekend, I can't wait to run this race and I'm super keen to hear everyone's own tales afterwards!

7 Oct 2013

Happy Birthday to Me, Spent my Birthday in Sydney

So the day after Sydney Marathon was my birthday and I shouted myself an extra night in Sydney after the race to allow me to "celebrate" a little more!
I thought I'd do this in a separate post to the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival post so I could bombard you with more of my pictures from my Sydney "holiday"

obligatory selfie time!

Although not much happened beyond me finding a whole bunch of places to drink... I did have a great stroll around Sydney CBD Sunday afternoon and totally abused the crap out of the fact we could travel on the trains for free with our finisher medals...!!

6 Oct 2013

Blackmores Sydney Running Festival

So it's actually been four weeks since my last marathon. I have managed to slip back into my Melbourne Marathon training program from last year with some improved targets. As a result I've hit quite a few speed sessions, long runs, and even gym work during this "break". I was feeling confident and was planning to take Blackmores Sydney Running Festival Marathon on as an aggressive training day. Work has been, as usual, a bit too hectic but I've also had Little Miss J in my care the past few weeks leading up to the marathon so sleep has been a little lacking, otherwise everything has been going well!

On the Saturday before the race I flew into Sydney nice and early, found my Hotel which was closed and unable to check in or even dump my bags until 2pm - but no complaints, you get what you pay for, and this place was cheap!
Redoak, Awesome!

So I headed off to a nearby boutique brewery called "Redoak", where I sampled several of their beverages and enjoyed an epic pulled pork pizza. This place was fantastic, the service was great and both the beer and food were delicious and they even let me charge my phone whilst I sat at the bar, so I highly recommend you check them out if you are in the city!
Next up was a quick trip to the expo to collect both mine and Simon's race kits. I thought I would have some time to kill there, being an expo, but it was nowhere near as big and glorious as the Perth expo (City to Surf), so I was out of there as soon as I snapped my picture for instagram to enter into the Asics competition!

After finally getting checked into my Hotel, next up was a quick meet up with @EwenThompson and @FionaABennett for afternoon tea near Hyde park, we had a great old chat about race strategies and general running business, before wandering off through the park to check out where they had this wondrous scaffold bridge setup for the marathon the next day!

checking out the fun part of the course ;)

Then I just had to go for a run, the weather was fantastic, I had time to kill and I was curious about the time it might take to get to the start line from our hotel, so I headed off on my own little 8km scenic tour of Sydney!

After my run, Simon finally arrived in Sydney so we went to a place called Hotel CBD where we had, probably the worst pre-race meal we've been served to date, half cooked hamburgers :)


The Blackmores Sydney Running Festival Marathon course is superb - from a tourists perspective. Lots of switchbacks, but no laps! The course takes in a heap of the wonderful sights of Sydney crossing the iconic Harbour Bridge, running through places such as Centennial Park and Hyde Park, and passing by other icons like the SCG and Circular Quay with the finish line right at the Opera House.
Very concise maps for the Blackmores Marathon

19 Sept 2013

City to Surf, Perth Marathon, my new favourite race!

Well, City to Surf is a whole race series with events all over the state climaxing with the marathon in Perth! It appears to have only been running a few years, but its well backed by the community and state. I absolutely loved this race, so many aspects of it just made me so happy to be a part of this, hopefully in the coming blocks of text I can convey everything that I enjoyed about it.

It's only been a week since my last race,  and I've only managed a few short runs this week. At the tail end of the week I got really sick despite feeling invincible at the start of the week! Glands were swollen and I had a fever, but no way in hell was this going to stop me working, let alone running in Perth!
I flew on the earliest (and cheapest) flight I could get to Perth, 7:15am, so again, I slept in my car at the same rest area the night before my flight. I learnt my lesson from last time and booked ahead for my car parking, checked in via the web, and started my car as soon as I woke up to defrost the windscreen! Everything went to plan this time and I was at the airport nice and early, stress free!


Once I got into Perth, I made my way into the city and checked into my hotel. Speaking of which - the Pensione Hotel in Perth was amazing, super accommodating, good value, great service... it was a most enjoyable stay.. they let me check-in super early and then also let me have a late checkout for after the marathon at no extra charge!
This is all I could capture of @michloise lol
I met with my friend from twitterdom @michloise for a 1 hour jog along the river followed by an epic mission to find lunch on the Saturday, hunting for pasta. It was great meeting yet another tweep and we had a blast running and chatting!

Fellow sweeper Simon was splitting accommodation with me again so we met up after lunch and then went off to check out the expo. We were pretty late, but the expo was fantastic! Amazingly well setup, catering for all sorts of running related things and had all your pre-race needs covered. Signups, Helpdesk, warm clothing drop off, race kit collection... So much stuff, I was in awe! Let's just say, if you head along to this race, make some time to really check out the expo!

As I tweeted, the forecast was very dire, with thunderstorms and rain predicted. It looked like this was going to be a rough one weather-wise... Low of 10 high of 21 sounded great except for the 90% chance of 10mm rain!
As it turned out, it did rain, but only a casual light rainfall that peppered the course for the first 20km, enough to make it greasy, but not bad enough to really soak us. The rest of the thunder and lightning stayed away and I doubt we came near that promised 10mm of rain :)

As you can see the course profile gets interesting in the second half!

I didn't research the course prior to the race, so we got our first glimpse of the map when we saw it at the expo. The course is designed to take in the sights in and around Perth before sending you off to City Beach to find the finish line. It consists of an initial 21km loop through Perth and along the river, which is all pretty flat and easy. It then goes back through the start line and heads straight up the first of a few hills. It weaves around Kings Park and through the course of several switchbacks before it trundles on towards City Beach for the finish area.

23 Aug 2013

Alice Springs Marathon, outback time!

Alice Springs Marathon (running festival actually), one of only two marathons in the Northern Territory, was chosen partly because of its date but also because it's cheaper to get to. This is my ninth race for the year, and fifth in my Aussie sweep!

This week has been less insane than others and I'm feeling better prepared for this race. I've had a little bit of training and even popped a long run in on the weekend. My flight to Alice was at 8.45 am on Saturday. This was the first time I've ever been running late for a flight! For starters I slept (very well) in my car at a rest area near both the Melbourne Airport and an Anytime Fitness club. I was up at 5.45, but it took me longer than expected to get moving because my car windows were all frosted up!
The plan was to get to the gym, have a short run then shower and head to the airport parking. So I went for a run, probably ran longer than I should've, but I felt like I needed it.
After my shower and forgetting a few things I'd almost left at the gym, I was on the road. By the time I got to the airport I didn't have enough time for parking at long term and checking in. So I parked at short term, ran to the terminal, checked in, then ran back to my car and drove out to find long term. After 20mins getting lost around the terminal area trying to find the long term parking entrance, I snapped up a park in the "D" area. Buses come through every 10 mins or so to take you straight to the airport, of course the next two buses were full so I was waiting. By the time I caught a bus and got to the terminal, they were calling my name for boarding my flight! So another run all though the airport to my gate just in time to get onto the dang plane!
I managed to get what was probably another 3km of running in for the day, yay me!
I'm starving now as I type this on the flight to Alice Springs, bring me my food I haven't eaten all morning!!!
The lesson I've learnt from this, always use the web check in and book-ahead for parking!!
checking out the 'Anzac Hill' lookout
(a popular hill training spot in Alice Springs)
The weather for Alice in winter is typically super cold at night with near 30s during the day. Humidity is really low and that's probably my biggest concern coming into this event. Keeping hydrated!

The race course for the Alice Springs marathon is very simple. We start at Araluen Arts Centre (which is a few k's out of town) and run out the highway about 15km before turning left onto a secondary road that runs passed a caravan park before turning around at the half way mark (also the half marathon start line) and heading back into town on the opposite side of the road. It is pretty flat for the most part, a little rise and fall on your way out of town but gentle enough to go almost unnoticed.

19 Aug 2013

Brisbane Marathon 2013, not quite the GCM

I've had a quiet two weeks prep for this race, with a lot of focus on getting some issues with my hip/quads sorted after you yangs. I've done some good quality short runs and feeling really fresh.
I flew in earlier than I normally would, so I had the whole day Saturday to relax and eat! After a big sleep in and a dip in a lake I was feeling excited for this one.
a little lake in the 'chilly' Queensland winter :P
I was put up by a friend I had met at comrades 2011. It was super awesome of him and his whole family to give me somewhere to stay and run me around the place. Their kids were ace, the youngest gave me a little love heart sticker that said "all my love" which I wore for the whole race :) I'm wearing two little Aussie flag stickers on my hands now which she gave me as a parting gift! I really can't thank them enough for their hospitality, hopefully I can return the favour sometime, somehow!

Well it's Brisbane, compared to Warrnambool it was guaranteed to be awesome. But it seems it really has turned it on for me! Forecast was for a clear day with mid 20s. Perfect running for many I'm sure, a little on the hot side for what I'm used to! Checking the forecast it seems there are similar conditions ahead for Alice Springs in two weeks!

I checked the profile of this course before the race, figured it wouldn't be too bad, but best check first. It's a hilly course but nothing really crazy. There is essentially a 21km loop for the half and the full basically do two laps of this. Over the bridge is probably the worst section of the race, with maybe the finish area being the other tough part. Interesting point to note, the council doesn't allow a lot of the roads to be closed including the bridge, and as a result the course runs on public paths that have to be shared with pedestrians and cyclists. The bridge was the worst since it is about 2m wide and fairly early in the race, making for quite a bottleneck.

28 Jul 2013

You Yangs 50km Ultra Marathon

So I think I covered my lack of preparation in the post preceding my race effort at the You Yangs... If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook you are probably well aware of the result too! In summary, I haven't been getting as much training in of late, mainly due to work commitments and partly getting the mechanics of my body under control.
Going into the race I have missed my usual rituals of pre race sleep, drinking lots and loading up on Berocca! Combine that with the lack of decent training lately and I felt very worried about this race!
This is Race number 7 in my #13in2013 races for the year, not only that, it's my 4th Ultra for the year!

The weather was a bit of a concern, a week out from the race they were predicting perfect conditions then as it came closer we had rain and thunderstorms on the way! Suffice to say, as it turned out the conditions were ideal. It was chilly up on the mountain (is it just a 'hill' really..?) at the start of the race but after that it was cool and clear for most of the day, a few light rain drops was about all we copped.

The course at You Yangs designed by the evil Brett Saxon, is very cleverly mapped out to include multiple legs (loops) of the park to cater for each race distance. The map, although complex in appearance, was rather simple to follow on race day as things were marked out superbly and there were well informed marshals at any point where confusion could sneak in. As long as you knew how far you had been, it was simple!
on your way up to Flinders Peak
The feature of this course is the 'Flinders Peak' trail which climbs straight up to the highest point for a gorgeous 360 panorama of the whole park area. I believe we gain about 200m elevation in 2km on this Flinders Peak trail!! The best part is for the suckers who signup for the 80km (50 mile) event, they get to run this peak three times! I'll have to admit though, coming back down that particular trail was the absolute highlight of my time at this event :)
One side of the fantastic maps provided by Trails+

The course covers a range of terrain, from gravel walking tracks, to rocky narrow paths around the mountain to the gently rolling smooth trails set up for cyclists. The aid stations are gloriously well stocked with all sorts of lollies, chips, cakes, gels, water and electrolytes. Granted there aren't that many aid stations compared to your typical bigger events, it was still regular enough to allow most participants to travel fairly lightly.

20 Jul 2013

Pre race jitters and general updates

So HI everyone, life has been hella busy lately, I've barely ran much and feel like I'm far from ready for this weekend (You Yangs 50k) and more-so the scary and massive month of August where I'll be tackling Brisbane, Alice Springs and Perth...! 

I've been pretty excited about this part of the year up until recently, now that it is nearing d-day, I'm (naturally?) starting to get worried about everything!

So to refocus, I'm going to do my best to get back into routine and make time for the sleep I've been lacking. Hopefully my body will catch up in time to carry me strongly through the tough month ahead!

I've busted out another jigsaw, trying to keep my head clear, getting myself some downtime

I love jigsaw puzzles..  Lame?

Now I haven't completely forgotten my blog, there is a draft post to recap both Barossa Marathon and the Warrnambool 50k ultra, it needs some finishing touches but I really want to get them out for you to read! I have had some really good and enjoyable races recently and I'd love to share it with you all!

I've been training sporadically, blame winter, and my mates wedding, and work, and... Ok I should suck it up and try harder!

Anyways I just wanted to get some blog love going here and show off my jigsaw puzzle skills!
With how my body feels at the moment, only 6 marathons down for the year, I can barely imagine what the ever awesome marathon man is feeling with something over 70 marathons down for the year already! 

I'm sure I know plenty of people that will be taking on the Run Melbourne half marathon tomorrow, and good luck to you all! everyone else, give me some comment love for the ultra I'm hitting tomorrow!
My first Half Marathon medal :-D (it was actually 2009 but I can't find it so I figure two medals make up for it)

Run Melbourne was the first race distance beyond 10km that I tackled, i absolutely loved this event and I'm sure this year will be just as good! Their mantra "anyone can" was one of the driving forces behind me pushing on to greater races, and as a result I tell people this every day, anyone can run, just take that first step!

30 Jun 2013

Warrnambool Crater 2 Coast 50km Ultra Marathon 2013

The Koroit to Warrnambool Half Marathon has a long history (20-plus years?) and was one of the first events that I ran beyond 10km. Being a local event, and a standard part of my local Warrnambool Athletics Club race calendar, I couldn't miss it! The Ultra distance was added last year which I ran as well only a week after the 2012 Adelaide Marathon! The Race used to run regularly on the 3rd Sunday in August, however as the course changed to incorporate the Port Fairy to Warrnambool Rail Trail, flooding became an issue on sections of the trail and as a result it was brought forward to June.

The Crater 2 Coast Ultra was something I was super excited to revisit, planning to smash my time from the year prior on the theory that I was much better prepared especially since I haven't killed my legs by running Comrades and Adelaide Marathon prior!
Although things had been busy at work, being a local race I was feeling really well prepared and in the days leading up, I had a few runs and fuelled up properly, I was feeling ready to tackle this beast!
Race Director (center) John Keats gives runners the pre-race briefing in the early hours...

I know it seems to be a regular occurrence, but I've been super lucky with weather and this one was no different. There is no real solid race start time here, only when the RD John Keats feels like sending us all off. There were about 20 of us stupid runners who had assembled in the football club change-rooms to take on this wondrous event! It was warm in the rooms, but cold, wet and dark outside. Even though we stood at the start line in puddles as the rain was drizzling away in the darkness at the Port Fairy football oval, it was almost perfect running conditions all day. The weather fluctuated constantly during the race but for the most part it was cool and calm with minimal rainfall.

The course for the Crater 2 Coast Ultra Marathon (or Warrnambool Ultra as I know it) is essentially the rail trail walking track from Port Fairy to Warrnambool. We start off running a small loop though the streets of Port Fairy up by the beach before heading back through the town and onto the trail which travels through farmland (for the most part) onto Koroit. It is a constant gentle climb into Koroit until the old Koroit Train Station where it effectively descends the rest of the way into Warrnambool, passed the smelly abattoirs and finishing at the Warrnambool Athletics Club rooms near the Warrnambool Beach and waterfront. Many local runners describe this course as boring - which I generally agree with - although I actually enjoy the course for that reason, its calm, quiet, and simple. Although, Fiona Aulsebrook (1st Female, 4th overall) still managed to get lost, taking a wrong turn during the race and running an extra kilometer unnecessarily!

Half-Marathon runners come down the trail from Koroit in 2012
source: Facebook

2 Jun 2013

Barossa Marathon 2013 - so many grapes!

So this is my fifth race for the year already! The third state in my Aussie Sweep. The Jacobs Creek Barossa Marathon is run by the SA Road Runners Club which started as a 17km race in 1981. It was changed to a Half-Marathon in 1984, 5km and 10km events were added in 1995 with the Marathon distance added in 2012.

Obviously I was running this on the back of having ran Great Ocean Road Marathon only the weekend prior, so my race preparation was simply, recovery massage from my man, the great Greg Logan. This man has magic hands and a good knowledge of sports related massage. I tell him I've ran a marathon and he gets to work. I only turned the legs over a couple of times in the week prior to this race. I wanted my legs to get maximum recovery during the week.

The weather forecast for Barossa was pretty much perfect, low chance of rain, cloudy and mild! There was a slight drizzle of rain at about 5-6am. Enough to damp the ground, but that was it for the day!

the gorgeous scenery encountered mid-run
The Barossa Marathon course is amazing. The town of Tanunda where the course starts from, is a picturesque little town, "quaint" is the best word to describe this place. Think gorgeous little cottages with rose gardens ;)

It was a nice change to run another marathon that isn't a multiple loop course. The race takes you right out of town and around the surrounding vineyards, overlooking the rolling hills and various wineries.

The course continues on a few out and back sections including one walking track that is maybe 5km long and runs straight through the middle of several vineyards.

31 May 2013

Comrades - The Ultimate Human Race

If you've ever ran with me, you know I love the Comrades Race. I can't shut up about it. It is truly the greatest race I've ever taken part in....twice!
Me at the tail end of my 2012 Comrades Race

I have many friends that are right now descending upon the great city of Durban, South Africa in preparation for their own Ultimate Human Race at the 88th running of Comrades Race this weekend (2nd June 2013), so I thought it timely to at least honour their trip with a (relatively) short post about Comrades Race on my blog.

This race has a long history, far too much for me to disrespect here by trying to write it all in a short post! You can read all about it on the Comrades website here.
Ask ANY South African about Comrades, they will know exactly what you are talking about. The entire country gets behind this event, seriously, the course is lined constantly with supporters from start to finish. It is like the South African equivalent of our Aussie AFL Grand Final or the Super Bowl in the states.
Running through the Green Mile where Nedbank girls were suspended from the trees overhead, cheering us onward!

23 May 2013

Top Australian Running Blogs

So apparently, there are only ten Running Blogs in Australia and as a result mine has made the top ten!?
Over at RunStopShop, they have a competition going where you can vote on "Who is your favourite Australian Running Blogger?"
I think the winning blog gets a free meat pie and a pat on the back, or something similar...

click here to vote for one of the other blogs

I don't expect many results, someone else seems to clearly have the support of the Internet behind them... But I still thought it noteworthy to mention that I made such a list, which I find mildly astounding!

Personally on that list I'd recommend visiting Amy's blog "Thoroughly Nourished Life" and definitely head over to Jenelle's "Mummy loves to run"

While on the topic, some other blogs I think deserve a place moreso than mine include the awesome Kate at "RunWithKate" which is a really fun regular read, and the similarly awesome but much more spiritual Roz at "RunSisterRun"

Kate (Left) and Roz (Right)

Last but not least, the epic challenges ahead for Trent aka "Marathon Man" should place him miles above any other blogger! He's just tipped past 50 marathons for the year taking in races all over the world in his quest to get his name in the Guinness book of records!

So again, if you have the time, please head on over to the voting page and select my name from the bottom of their list! (or either Amy or Jenelle's blogs)

22 May 2013

Great Ocean Road Marathon 2013, 45km of gorgeous undulating roadrunning!

The Great Ocean Road Marathon ( aka GORM or GOR Marathon) is a 45km road race that runs from Lorne to Apollo Bay on the Great Ocean Road in Victoria Australia. It's only two hours for me to drive from home to the start line for this, so it made sense that I entered it this year, finally!
It's a little too close to Comrades Race so I simply couldn't enter GORM any year prior.
source: visitvictoria

My race prep for GORM has been pretty relaxed, on the back of my run at Canberra (which I've finally blogged here) I took some easy weeks and have hit the gym a few times per week to do strength and flex work. Not many km's were in the legs since Canberra (as you can tell from my Endomondo profile!) but I have had a focus on quality workouts lately. Work has been hectic in the past few weeks/months and as a result my running and social media interaction have both dropped off significantly ;-)

Most of my fellow runners I've been training long with are all now deep in their taper program ready for comrades next month and my long standing training partner has been out of action with some serious ankle damage from Roller Coaster Run. As a result my training has been very much a solo affair. Add to that the fact I had a bucks party to attend on Saturday prior to the marathon - which involved a paint ball skirmish and a late night of drunken antics - you could think my preparation was terrible for this race! Thankfully the guys kept my marathon in mind and I was supplied with a slab of water so I was still able to partake in the bucks festivities!

The race day forecast was for 14c with 13kph head winds and a 25% chance of rain. Knowing what the weather could turn out like, I prepped for the cooler climate with a thick long sleeve shirt, gloves and a beanie! I had also planned to carry a light raincoat on my fuel belt, but as race start time neared I decided to gamble on the 25% and instead carried my phone and thus I was able to take some photos and even make a few phone calls along the way! Sorry I wasn't live tweeting but my data services were crap on the day :D

The course is awesome, enough said! Taking in the breathtaking views all along the waters edge whilst you run the 45km of sealed tourist roads as they repeatedly rise and fall all the way from Lorne to Apollo Bay.
visit the official page for more course info

My race

So I met a billion people at the start line again, always good to see them!
hanging out at the start line, mostly parkrunners, from left to right: Kai, Me, John, Crystal, Ruby and Phil

 My typical start line conversation often involves talking to someone about comrades, and this race was no different. I met a South African man named Alex with an English chap named Mark. We were talking (reminiscing) about last year's Comrades Race and Alex said he had "such a bad race" and only managed 7 hours..! Suffice to say when I said it took me 11.5 hours I felt like I was way out of my league!
Other runner-bloggers might call him, Mr Red Shirt, but I knew him as Alex the South African!

My race plan, knowing the undulation of the GOR, was to aim for approximately 5:45/km on the downhill and under 6:45/km on the uphill, hoping to average out to something under 6:15/km for the entire run.
I started the race off running with Kai yet again (we ran together at roller coaster earlier this year ) and we ran the first 10km in an hour exactly. When he realised we were on track for a 4h30m time for the whole race he was keen to hit that target!
Kylie taking in the views of the GOR Marathon

It wasn't long after that where we met some new friends on the course, in Kylie and Claire and at the same time my buddies from the start line had caught up (Alex and Mark). So we formed a pseudo 4h30m pace group. Around 20km into the race we were joined by the great Julia Thorn (author of 'Passion for Distance') who was running her 181st lifetime marathon/ultra!!
It's blurry but its cool, the 4:30 group!

She treated us to a few nuggets of wisdom and we discussed some of the races we had both completed previously whilst the rest of group just kept laughing at our craziness! We ran together until the drink stop at 30km when some of us walked through, Julia and Kylie just powered straight through and up the hill leaving us behind the pace by a minute or three.

So for the next 8km or so, Claire, Kai, and I started to count the kilometers more closely. Keep in mind this is Claire's first ever (ultra) marathon; her longest training run prior to this was only 34km. In some ways she was lucky to have me there, talking so much to distract her from the distance she had covered. ;-)
Unfortunately I also pointed out that this was the furthest she had run :-D

Some of the stuff we discussed was about focusing on how far there is left to the finish instead of looking at what's behind you. We had such a consistent pace, I reminded her that in the last 10km we will be passing many people as they fade while we kept the legs turning!
Apollo Bay is in sight for Claire and Kai

Kai was popping up next to us then dropping away, each time appeared to be calculated to make it into the frame with us for the next official photographer.

The three of us cruised our way to the marathon marker, ecstatic with her marathon time of around 4:21 Claire almost broke into a sprint! Most of the field around us at this point started to walk. Still feeling fine, coupled with a burst of adrenaline at the thought of being so close to the finish, I'm pretty sure we picked up the pace by almost 30 seconds per kilometre and started passing heaps of people!

Into the finishing straight, I spotted Julie and Phil (who finished an hour earlier) cheering us on, dished out a few quick hi fives, as we kept moving to the finish.

just a lovely run along the coast, all smiles :-D

Then two very loud and vocal supporters got my attention. Screaming my name and jumping all over the place, it was awesome to see the energetic and bubbly Tanya (@tanya_fed_marie) and Mel (@marathonmel78) who had travelled down from Melbourne just to cheer us runners on! So I stopped briefly and dealt out some salty sweaty hugs and kisses before taking off towards the finish line!

Annoyingly my right calf started cramping, so even though I really wanted to catch up with Kai and Claire, I didn't want to ruin my calf for this weekend at Barossa! So I cantered to the finish, done and dusted!
Kylie, Claire and myself with our finisher medals!

I assume the cramps were just a result of breaking my rhythm for some early hugs and celebrations, nothing more sinister, will see what happens at barossa this weekend!

Race Details
Website: http://www.greatoceanroadmarathon.com.au
Location: Lorne / Apollo Bay, VIC, Australia
Date: 18th-19th May 2013
Distances: 45km, 23km, 14km, 6km

General Race Stats
Total Runners in field: 981
Winning time: 2h 27m 50s

My Race Stats
Overall place: 624
Gun time: 4h 35m 28s
Net time: n/a
GPS details: 44.42km in 4h 33m 39s (link: Endomondo Stats)

Canberra Marathon 2013

This was my second ever Canberra Marathon, second in my Aussie Sweep Marathons for the year, and the third race in my #13in2013 series. I was looking forward to the event since late last year when I convinced a good friend of mine to run it as his first marathon. Sadly he bailed on that plan and turned up to support me instead! NEXT YEAR mate!
I just realised I didn't actually take ANY photos during our tweetups, so here I am looking stupid at the start line for Canberra Marathon instead. Check out Jenelle's blog post for a few pics from our tweetup!

I flew in to Canberra Saturday morning which gave me time to get some shopping in, find my friend's house, and get a short nap in before my social networking plans kicked into gear.
We had organised a runner tweetup lunch/afternoon tea at the War Memorial Cafe (aka The Terrace) and there I got to meet Ruth, Ewen, Jenelle (Blog: MummyLovesToRun Canberra Marathon), and Andy for late lunch. It was fantastic catching up with these people, putting some faces to the names and having a chance to ramble on about the many different aspects of running that would otherwise bore my usual friends!

The next thing on my agenda was another meet up with FB friends at Brodburger, which is a fantastic "little" burger caravan in Canberra. Simon, Dilwyn, Neil and his Wife (whose name escapes me) joined us for dinner in the chaos of shared tables and 'every man for himself' style seating arrangements. Simon is running the ANZAC sweep this year which is basically the same as me but includes the NZ north and south islands. Dilwyn is also doing the same thing, but at the Half-Marathon distance. So dinner was basically a case of the three of us comparing calendars, flight bookings and accommodation plans! Of course we enjoyed a good carb loading as well. The food, although it took quite a while to come out, was fantastic and well worth the wait! (that's a backwards recommendation)
After that I made my way home to load up on Berocca and get some sleep.

25 Mar 2013

Roller Coaster Run, 43km of brutal trail running!

This is the second of my 13in2013 races, and we sure picked a tough one! I decided to tackle this race after I had enjoyed Marysville Marathon last year which was also a fun and scenic trail race!
I knew it was going to be hilly but no amount of guessing prepared me for the reality race director Rohan Day had in store for us!


So my preparation for RCR was not too bad, I was a little slack with training, missed a few strength sessions and well, music festivals interrupted things!
As far as race week goes I kept to my usual habits of fluid intake, berocca, endurance max and bananas! I was feeling fresh for the race, but the closer it got, the more I feared my ability. Then my friend Kai went and posted a pic of the race profile and that sent my mind into a spin!

There were voices in my head saying I should cut to one loop or bail out, because I wasn't ready for this. Then I thought, I've run Comrades before, this should be a walk in the park! Well, hike in the park would be more apt!
I booked a caravan park for the night prior to race day to share with some fellow runners, normally I wouldn't mention this, but when someone is really accommodating, you got to give them kudos! We stayed at Wantirna Caravan Park and they were so kind to allow us to return to the park after the race to use the amenities block before driving home! They were so lovely, we couldn't have thanked them enough so if you ever stay there do say hi to Nicole from me!


The course itself, although I can't describe much, was beautiful. If you took the time to stop and look around it was amazing, some spectacular views of Melbourne from afar. Throughout the day, we had small spots of rain drizzling here and there. So the air smelt of fresh rainfall, forest and eucalyptus. It was refreshing and quite peaceful, if not for the sounds of runners trampling along the course grunting and moaning!
It's a 21.5km course with either a one or two loop option. Of course I tackled two loops!
Thats sweat on my lens, awesome!

Two parts of the course stuck in my head specifically, dodds and trig track. Dodds was a ridiculously steep climb section that felt like went for 2km from about the 5km mark. I hated it the first time even more knowing I'd be back there in a few hours!
Trig track is near the end of the course, about 500m of technical trail. This part was fun, sure it was steep and scary and seemed a bit crazy on tired legs, but it was immense fun!

Here's a course map


The weather for the race day couldn't have been more ideal, ok maybe slightly warmer at the start, but otherwise great. It was overcast and wouldn't have touched on mid twenties (celsius) all day. The rain didn't really kick in until my buddy and fellow Comrade George was coming through sweeping; we were at the Sky High cafe enjoying a hot beverage by then - poor George was soaked through!

My race

I ran most of the race with my friends Kai and Sally. We talked about Comrades and I compared every climb to something in South Africa! I took a simple run and walk strategy in; I didn't want to burn my legs climbing every incline, especially when I really didn't know what would be around the next bend!

So we walked strongly up each incline, which was a lot, and pounded our way down every section of downhill. Kai in his Hokas looked like he had a semi-controlled freefall in each steep descent, Sally in contrast was controlled, careful and calculated. For some reason they were taking my advice on when to walk, when to run and when to pose for the cameras! Sally had a great leg strength and really pushed our pace on the uphills, Kai was carefree and speedy on the downhills. It seemed to work well and we pushed each other through each section working to each of our strengths and weaknesses!

As far as fueling goes, this time I didn't drop any of my supplies (yay!), I kept my camera in a separate pocket, and left my phone alone! Haha, lesson learnt!
I took torq/shotz gels on the hour and must have drank close to 3 liters of fluid both water and electrolyte. I wore my 4-bottle fuel belt with full compliment of pockets along with the SPIBelt for my camera!

The aid stations, although few, we're fantastic! We had plenty of options for water,electrolyte, coke, and various foods including shotz gels! The people working on the aid stations were energetic and really helpful. It was great to see them with big smiles and full of positive energy! We couldn't thank them enough as they filled our bottles with water or electrolyte while we hoed into the food at the tables!

Special mention to the guy who wore a clown suit for the two loops, David Hughes, you're a legend, we really appreciated the laughs!

Overall I hated this race (in an endearing way) but at the same time I'm so happy to have conquered it, I'd even consider returning for another shot at it!
If you were looking to challenge your half marathon skills but not yet ready for a full marathon, the one loop option is perfect for you here! If you want a good challenging trail, this is probably one of the harder trails you could find covering this short a distance! Two loops are not for the faint of heart so even though 7 hours for 43km seems a long time, it's quite an aggressive cutoff considering the terrain!
Anyways it was great painful fun, I'll be back again I'm sure!

Kai, Me and Sally - FINISHED!

Race Details
Website: www.rollercoasterrun.com
Location: Sky High, Mt Dandenong, VIC
Date: 16th March 2013
Distances: 21.5km (1 loop) and 43km (2 loops)

General Race Stats
Total Runners in field: 102
Winning time: 3h 55m 28s

My Race Stats
Overall place: 91
Gun time: 6h 28m 06s
Net time: 6h 27m 53s
GPS details: (none tracked, phone died)

16 Mar 2013

Festival season! Soundwave, Stone Sour, Presidents of USA and brokenribs!

Well I have to put this totally non running related post here!
I'm just recovering from going to Linkin Park at Rod Laver Arena (a sidewave), then Soundwave Festival, and then a week later I got to see the Presidents of United States of America.
I was basically going to Soundwave to see Stone Sour and Bullet For My Valentine. The rest was a bonus.
In the week prior to Soundwave I got handed tickets for corporate box seats at Linkin Park who were being supported by Stone Sour! Hell yes!
So I had the fancy suit treatment in our corporate box, ate a heap of appetisers , and drank my body weight in alcohol. Had a great time enjoying the music in a nice and relaxed environment!
My fav part of Stone Sour @ Rod Laver Arena

14 Mar 2013

I made it into the local news rag!

I was contacted by the promoters for the upcoming Canberra Marathon as someone they could write an article about as a way of promoting both the Australian Running Festival and my Australian Sweep attempt.
Anyone who knows me, would realise I jumped at the chance. A chance to talk all about myself? Of course I will!
They called a few days later to say the local paper would be in contact. So last Thursday I met with the reporter (@JustineMB_29) and photographer and blabbed about myself for twenty minutes. Kudos to them too, they were really good at appearing interested! ^_^

Anyways here is a picture of the article as it appeared, and a sports feature at that! The article is also available online.  People who remember me from my high school days wouldn't have predicted this was ever possible I'm sure!

I was slightly disappointed that my Blog didn't get a mention, but I'm sure the PR team were also slightly disappointed that there wasn't more information about the Canberra Marathon too haha!

So that's my 2 minutes of fame, what else have I been up to...?
I've been very busy at work lately. I was never one to blog often, but I have been meaning to write more often than this!

I haven't stuck to my training program well lately, it's been broken apart by some "inconvenient" music festivals and long awaited band tours, I'll write more about that in another post!

Roller Coaster Run is this weekend and I'm looking forward to it even if I do feel under prepared. I'm just excited to meet more of this awesome running community and share some sweat in a new environment!

I've found out my bib number is going to be 522 and there is a live results tracker online over here at tomatoresults.com.au - tune in if you are interested, the race starts at 7AM DST (GMT+11) and the way I'm feeling, we'll just be scraping through the cutoffs :D
Some of my friends are running this as well - Kai (512), Kerry (538), Sally (607), Raj (570), and Shane (120)

That's all for now, so a good few questions for today are;
What sort of distractions do you allow to 'interfere' with your program?
What do you think when you compare yourself now to way back in your school days?

14 Feb 2013

Schedule Updates and my #13in2013 plan

This is a post for the #13in2013 challenge more than anything, I've settled on my dates for races for the calendar year, so my schedule page has been updated!

I now have my 13 Marathon+ races for the year planned which are comprised of 8 Marathons and 5 Ultras.

My 13in2013 schedule is as follows:

  1. TAS: Cadbury Marathon, Hobart - 13th January
  2. VIC: Roller Coaster Run (43km Trail), Mount Dandenong - 16th March
  3. ACT: Australian Running Festival (Marathon), Canberra - 14th April
  4. VIC: Great Ocean Road Marathon (45km Road), Apollo Bay - 19th May
  5. SA: Barossa Marathon, Tanunda - 26th May
  6. VIC: Crater 2 Coast (50km Road), Warrnambool - 16th June
  7. VIC: Trails Plus You Yangs 50/50 (50km Trail), Little River - 21st July
  8. QLD: Brisbane Marathon, Brisbane - 4th August
  9. NT: Alice Springs Marathon, Alice Springs - 18th August
  10. WA: Perth City to Surf Marathon, Perth - 25th August
  11. NSW: Blackmores Sydney Running Festival (Marathon), Sydney - 22nd September
  12. VIC: Medibank Melbourne Marathon, Melbourne - 13th October
  13. VIC: Marysville Marathon (50km Trail), Marysville - 17th November
I've already completed the first race, and you can read my Race Report on the Cadbury Marathon if you would like to know more about that one, I'll try and keep the #13in2013 group updated as I complete each event!

I tried to order some cool #13in2013 custom running tees from the 13in2013 Facebook group, but the company wanted to charge as much for shipping as for the shirt itself!! So I cancelled the order and decided I need to find a nice and reasonably-priced local custom shirt company if I am going to participate in the fashion side of the running group!

Following the #13in2013 hashtag on Twitter has been fun, and a lot of people in the challenge are already at their fourth of fifth event already! These are mostly 5km events, but nonetheless motivating to see such excitement from all the participants as they knock over their goals!

Now that reminds me, we have to appreciate one particular man - Trent Morrow - who has already knocked over his 13in2013 for the year! Trent aka Marathon Man, is on his way to a record attempt of 160+ Marathons for the year. He recently completed his 13th event which you can read about here. I highly recommend you get behind this guy, he is running for a number of charities and to top it off, is a super friendly guy!

13 Feb 2013

Running Naked into First Place!

On the weekend I ran my first ever race as a member of the local Warrnambool Athletics Club!
I've been meaning to join the club for a few years but it wasn't until recently, with all the interaction I've had with the online running community, that I realised how much I could enjoy such a surrounding. Yes, that's right Kate, social media is good for my running!
Warrnambool Beach baby! (source: dantaylor @ flickr)

So I fronted up for the 6km race which started on the beautiful Warrnambool Beach (be jealous my American friends, Winter sucks! ahahaha!) - a nominated handicap race - which means you actually state the time you plan to run and the winner is the person who finishes closest to their nominated time!

Simplest rule was that you couldn't have anything that could be used for timing (watches, mp3 players, phones, metronomes, police helicopters etc). OH MY GOD, RUN NAKED? I'm pretty sure this idea of not having your splits, heart rate, and mp3 playlist all recorded in detail would surely panic quite a few of my blogging and twitter friends :P Yes I mean you @PaulRunsLong and @MummyLovesToRun!

1 Feb 2013

My first marathon of 2013, Tasmania!

Cadbury marathon, Hobart, Tasmania; the first of my many marathons in 2013!

I travelled over to Tasmania and well, my preparation was far from ideal. I took the opportunity to holiday with my gorgeous 4 year old daughter (hence forth I shall refer to her as Little Miss J!) for the week after doing the race. As a result, we sailed on the Spirit of Tasmania, taking my car over for the trip! We went out for dinner in Melbourne with a great group of runners I've met through Twitter the Thursday prior to sailing, which although fun meant a rather late night. Early to rise Friday morning for a 6am boarding of the Spirit of Tasmania only to find the boat was 2 hours behind schedule!
Little Miss J watching the boat FINALLY arrive!
9 hours sailing, with Little Miss J wide awake, made for very little rest at all for me! We arrived in Devonport at 8.30pm it was 9.30 pm before we were off the boat and within 5 minutes Little Miss J was fast asleep, then we had the long drive south to Hobart, it was after 2am before we got to bed!
Don't forget that I also completely missed my typical Friday pre-race pasta load up, since the boat didn't serve dinner and well the only places to eat in Devonport were fast food!
Saturday was a busy day too and even though we had a relatively early dinner, I still managed to stuff around until late in the night getting my race gear organized and the usual gear layout ritual.

9 Jan 2013

Surf'T'Surf 2013 Race Report

I don't feel like doing a traditional race report, this is more a course review with my stats thrown in!
Basically this is a local 10k race on a course that is far from flat that has been run annually since 1982. The course record held by Brian Lewry is 30m30s and has stood for quite a few years now. This year a Mizuno sponsored runner came from Geelong and ran it in 30m49s for first place!

From SurfTSurf 2012 Gallery

5 Jan 2013

Training for Surf T Surf 10k and Cadbury Marathon

This is just an update to let people see how I am approaching the upcoming Cadbury Marathon in Hobart, given I have a local 10k race the weekend prior, it has presented a few challenges!

It's no joke, 2013 will be a challenge, I've never ran this many events ever before, but I do believe the training I've put myself through for Comrades has me more than prepared for the tough challenges ahead!

4 Jan 2013

A summary of 2012 and the goals for 2013!

I don't want to bore you too much and since many other bloggers have already posted the same stuff, I just want to close off 2012 with a summary of my running achievements for the year!

I was impressed that @paulrunslong was able to cover this same information with a single tweet - well done mate, who needs a blog!

Total running distance for 2012: 2012 km

It became apparent that I would break 2000km for the year, which quickly changed to a goal of 2012, so I made a point to stop running for the year at that total exactly!

Here I am being all happy with my 2012th kilometer for the year!