Tuesday, 29 May 2012

The White Van

Honk, HOOONNKK - A large white van pulls into our driveway, what is this? I don't remember ordering more stuff from Wiggle?

Two men in white coats exit the van, they aren't carrying any shoe sized boxes, so no new runners for me. They come to the front door and are soon joined by a tall bald man with a greying moustache....he looks really familiar.....

The tall man says in an American accent "we are here for an intervention" (cue light bulb moment - the man is none other than Dr Phil from day time TV)!!

Dr Phil has flown from California...on his private jet, to stage an intervention to stop me from killing myself. Apparently he too has read my TNF100 interview!


Seriously though I am OK. I am more than OK.

Last weeks interview/blog is a as raw and unedited as you would ever get from me. With the emotion of the race still pumping through my veins, it was a very unique situation where Jason just happened to catch my guard down and ask some tough questions, which I answered completely honestly.

This week I am obviously feeling heaps better. Yes the DNF hurts but it isn't the end of the world, plus I have a massive base under me now, which, as I turn my attention to a couple of half marathons and a marathon - I should help me put some massive PBs together. So all is not lost.

I really want to thank all of those people who have sent me a message on this blog or via email/text, thank you very much, I appreciate your kind words very much.

As a bit of a recap I did have an awesome weekend with Benny, Marty, Raelene, Leah, Gav, and Luke at The North Face. Yes I do love the event, yes I did love the hype and the race. Although I didnt have the race which I had planned, the experience will be one I will never forget. The Blue Mountains ARE stunning, everyone should go, stand at the look out at Echo Point and as Ron Burgundy would say "DRINK IT IN".
View from Echo Point

On road trips you often have a ton of laughs. Some of the highlights include watching Marty and Ben snuggle in the king bed like an old married couple reading their books before bed! Ha. Another laugh was when I went into meltdown because I couldn't find my second pair of Nike running gloves. Yes I ticked them off the list, so they must be here somewhere....I was convinced Marty took them (I even went through his suit case when he was in shower). When I got home, there they were, in my work bag! Marty recons the white horse took them (the one I saw on the trail)!

Travelling with different people shows you how they prepare for big races, Marty is in enigma. It was like he wasn't even running 100k the next day, a very very relaxed preparation. He drank more wine and beer in the 2 days we were in the Blue Mountains than what I drank in previous 40 weeks!!!

Some of the other highlights were seeing Team Eddie365 at the checkpoints, they were so excited and supportive. I am so happy that they got to see Luke finish and buckle.

CP3 - 54km

CP4 - 65km
As for Leah and Raelene's dad Graham, they were just as awesome looking after me at CP3, CP4 and CP5. Although they were there for Raelene and Gav, it was so special to have them fuss over you at the checkpoints. Both being runners, they knew the drill. I wish Leah could of taken my bib after CP4 and ran the last 35km! I recon she is hooked and will be back next year with Rodney, Benny, Raelene and Gav all shooting for a sub 14hr buckle. Leah also looked after me by taking me back to the motel after I DNF'ed, words cant express how lucky I was that she cared for me. I was in pretty bad shape when she dropped me back.

So here I am, a week later. It really feels like a month! I am back on the horse (pun intended) - and have signed up for the Rocky River Run Half Marathon this week. If you are a local blog reader, make sure you come and say hello at the race. In a month I also have the Gold Coast Marathon, not sure how much speed work my body can handle between now and then, but I will be trying to get my legs to turn over a little bit faster than normal!

This week I am hoping to go under 1.42 for the half (which is my PB from 2010). I don't run too many half marathons (about 1 per year), so hope that I can sneak under that this weekend.

The other really positive thing is that Ben is already talking about more Ultra's. If you haven't read his blog RunBennyBoyRun (its in the right hand tool bar) - go and check it out. From "babysitting" me through 3 Ultra's this year Ben has found his running mojo and is back! Will be a great year, with plenty of PB's on their way for the both of us.

Benny and THE BUCKLE

Good luck to everyone who are running races this weekend, a special shout out to Lisa who is running her first ever race - at the Rocky River Run this weekend.

P.S - Good luck to my sister Monica who is running the Doomben Half Marathon this week! Fingers crossed for another PB!

Thursday, 24 May 2012

76/100 - The TNF100 Race Interview

It’s Saturday night, 9.30 PM.  I’m at a friends for dinner, talking about our cycling training.  I’ve spent the day training and then updating the HRE Facebook with TNF100 updates.  They’re all going so well.  Sean, at least from the limited information the live timing provides, seems to be on plan.  His texts throughout the day are all positive – it’s finally happening for him.   I’m relaxed, knowing that in a couple of hours, Sean will be enjoying his greatest athletic achievement to date and carrying his longed for bronze buckle.

My phone starts flashing – it’s on silent.  I’ve ignored a few other calls from friends that evening (it’s rude to answer your phone when invited for dinner!).  I glance at my phone – Sean Peckover.  I quickly say “I have to get this”.  Me – “Hey mate how you going?” Sean – “I’m done mate.  I’m pulling out”………

Welcome to Run Pex Run.  In this post, I’ve got the reins.  As you know, Sean attempted The North Face 100 on Saturday and rather than him telling you the story, we’ve decided that the best way to truly gain an appreciation of what happened and where Sean’s at now, is for me to interview him.

I’m Jason.  The other half of HRE.  You’ve seen Sean refer to me in a number of blog posts.  I’m that guy that gave up running marathons to become a cyclist.  All you need to know about me is that I’m the most qualified person to be interviewing Sean post his TNF100 adventure.  We’re very close friends.  We’re business partners.  We share each other’s successes and each other’s failures.  When he called, I did not even attempt to convince Sean to continue.  I know him too well.  I know that if he was pulling out of THIS race, he would have already exhausted every possible fibre that would have allowed him to continue.  Telling me he was done meant he was done.

What is truly inspirational about Sean Peckover is not the amazing athletic transformation.  Nor the incredible training adventures described here.  Nor the fact that he pushed his body to its physical limits last weekend.  Yes, these feats do inspire us all to reach for our dreams.  To commit to them.  To achieve them.  However, what is most inspirational about Sean is his ability to ask himself hard questions and answer them honestly.  He owns his actions; his results.  There are never excuses.  I believe there are far more ultra marathon finishers than there are people with this self reflective ability.  Therefore, I know that this interview will see the rawness and honesty often a feature of his posts.

Sean – in one word only, describe how you feel about what happened at TNF100?


So, briefly, what happened, why did you end up withdrawing?

Simply my issues from my previous ultras (being sick, stomach shut down) occurred again. In post run analysis mode, I believe the significant climbs up the Golden Stairs, Ironpot Ridge and Nellies Glenn raised my heart rate (effort) to the point in which all of my blood supply was going to my legs, and nothing around my stomach. I had stomach issues and come through them after the Golden Stairs and Ironpot – the climb up Nellies at 60km was the beginning of the end.

After Checkpoint 4 (65km) I was in bad shape, but tried to remain positive. Ben and I had enough time to buckle if we kept moving, however after going through Echo Point at 70km and going down 800 odd stairs of the Giant Staircase I was gone. I started vomiting uncontrollably. I said to Ben that I couldn’t suffer 28 more kilometres of it. He made me walk and think about it, he said if I wanted to quit I had to call you (Jason) to explain. I said I was prepared for that, and prepared to sign the race withdrawal paperwork when I pulled out.

After Ben called the race directors to come and pick me up, I kept vomiting. Two things happened during the next hour which scare me, one is I hallucinated and saw a massive white horse on the trail and the second was I was falling asleep whilst upright. If Ben wasn’t there – who knows what could of happened.

Once the truck picked me up and I got back to CP 5 – the Doctor checked my vitals, I was suffering from hypothermia and dehydration. Seeing a horse that doesn’t exist is not a good sign.

That horse was probably Marty Hack.  I hear he does that in the middle of races.   Many people have commented that what you did was ‘inspirational’, and ‘amazing’, how do you feel about this?  Do you agree / disagree?

I failed. In simple terms I signed up for a 100km race and finished 76% of it. When I arrived home to my family I have nothing to show for the 40 weeks of training, for the time away from my family, for the financial investment. I have zero. No buckle, no finish.

There are loosely two groups of people that send messages of support. Athletes and non athletes.

For the non-athletes, I can see how I can inspire them to get off the couch and get out the front door. To lose some weight or sign up for a race. For the non-athletes running 5km seems as farfetched as running 100km. I really appreciate the fact that I have inspired some non runners during my journey to get active and healthy. Greg Smith is one example. Yes I am an inspiration to him and people like him.

For the athletes, I am not amazing or inspiring. I am a disappointment. I had 40 weeks to get my preparation right and I failed to deliver. No excuses. I trained harder than other finishers. I put more work in. I missed a grand total of half a running session in 40 weeks. I was as fit, healthy and ready to run. I poorly executed a race which I had more than adequately prepared for. I should not be an inspiration to other runners, I should serve as a stark reminder that bad things happen to good people.

On the flight down, did you even consider DNFing?  You were extremely confident that lessons learnt in your preparation races (relax the pace) would see you avoid the gut issues in the Blue Mountains?

I had not one negative thought in my mind. I was visualising the finish area. I ran on Thursday afternoon to see what the final couple of kilometres were going to be like. I spent time really going over this in my head. I even started the celebration blog, it is in draft. That is how confident I was.

I really believed the pace strategy that Ben had laid out for us was spot on and that we were both going to have a great day and buckle.

You call me at 9:30 PM in the Blue Mountains, about to withdraw.  What runs through your head as the phone rings?

The two hardest phone calls were to you and to Bel (my wife). Obviously she was upset for me, but more concerned about my health and if I needed to go to the hospital and should I be alone in the motel room etc. She has never seen me fail at anything, so it is a unique situation where I have said I was going to do something but failed.

The call to you was tragic, I know you get all of the sneaky questions and comments about my lack of ability, nutritional queries – you deal with all of the doubters who will never say anything to my face. For you I wanted the moment where you could say “I told you so” – that moment didn’t occur. My failure is your failure.

Is the athlete who started this journey the same one in front of me now?  If not, how are you different?

I have gone to another level. The 6 time marathon finisher that started this journey is now long gone. I doubt I can go back to just doing events for fun. I have seen significant improvement in myself physically to feed the obsession. I understand what it takes now to see results. My old training habits are gone.

Have you found your limits?

I went past my physical limitations into a bad place, I obviously have a problem with nutrition and effort in longer races. I found my limit physically in the race, I don’t give in easily so was past the point of safety when I decided to quit.

Now I have improvements to be made in speed, flexibility and power. All things I have not worked on during this training journey. Being 31 and seeing what some 50 year olds are doing makes you realise that there is improvement in all of us.

Are you going back to TNF100 in 2013 to deal with unfinished business?

No. My improvements will now be in the form of being a faster runner. My path was set before I DNF’ed. I am hungry to run faster marathons. 2013 has many adventures for me, TNF100 isn’t one of them.

Do you think you will ever go back?

Doubt it. If I did, it would be the last thing on my running bucket list. If I went back it would be to run faster than the DNF time (14.30) so I would want to have the ability and conditioning to run 14hrs. I am a long way from that point.

Did you ‘over prepare’ (paralysis by analysis)?

Good question! A tough one. Possibly. By my nature I was very prepared, including lists, leaving no stone unturned type of personality. I didn’t over prepare physically as I was fresh and not injured on race day. Did I burn myself out mentally? Yes probably. I went through a period where I was “over it” but that lasted only for a couple of weeks.

I didn’t have a training history like Ben or Scott Lawton, so I needed to have 40 weeks to prepare myself physically. Some people have been able to complete the race on less training, I am not sure I would like that feeling to go in to a race underdone.

Did I get sick due to over preparation? Did I force myself to get sick because I feared success more than failure, I am not sure? I think that is a valid question to ask yourself. Is it possible to subconsciously sabotage yourself? Possibly. If it is, then I have a lot of issues to work out; fear of failure is one thing, fear of success is something totally different.

One of our Facebook ‘likers’ asked how do you feel after committing to this achievement during a difficult time in your life (your Father’s accident) and now coming home without the buckle?  Is it hollow?

Very much so. My eldest son Hayden asked me why Ben got a buckle and I didn’t, he said “weren’t you running together”.

When you are motivated to do something that is a symbol of your life situation, then you want to ensure you do everything you can to achieve it.

If my life was a movie and I needed to get to 100km to save my family’s life from the “baddies” they would be dead. I failed to make it. It is a sobering hollow feeling that I could do nothing but sit on the side of the road at 76km and weep into my hands.

In the cartoon movies, the good guy always wins mate (they found Nemo, Woody rescued Buzz, even Homer Simpson saved Springfield).  Eventually.  What’s next – what will your readers read about over the next 12 months?

Readers will get the chance to follow my journey as I aim to qualify for the Boston Marathon. The holy grail of marathons. Boston is THE marathon that every marathoner wants to run, not only do I want to be fast enough to qualify but I want to go to the USA to run it. The journey starts next week. I am no where need good enough to run a Boston Qualifier (BQ) at the moment, the journey for the readers will be a massive one, am confident of more ups than downs.

Despite all of the above, your attitude post TNF is one of a little disappointment, however you are refreshingly positive.  Explain that.

I am at a cross roads, I can’t change the past. So I either sit here and sook about it, “poor me I deserve more than this” or I accept it, own the failure, pick another event and move on. As a father to two young boys, the example I want to set is that life isn’t fair, it isn’t perfect, sometimes you get a setback – you have to keep your chin up and move forward.   

Why don’t you quit running, buy a sick Specialised carbon fibre weapon and some super quick carbon wheels and come cycling and drinking cappuccinos with me?

Ha Ha Ha. Don’t worry it has crossed my mind! Cycling is too hard, you do more work than I do!

You know me, I am a running purist and cycling to me is like car racing, running is pure. You can’t buy time when you are running. It is you v the distance v the clock, no tactics, no riding in a bunch to conserve energy.

I guess the other question people might ask, is why don’t you do something you were already good at? That is an interesting one, why keep trying to pursue something that is using so much energy and I get minimal results. Maybe I should go back and play Rugby League or try rowing or archery or mountain biking. I don’t have the answer – I simply just LOVE to run. It is a curse.

I wouldn’t say no to a new carbon Specialized from Tuckers though!!!

Ahem, ah, well, that ‘sitting in the bunch’ is only so you can later launch a solo attack for the win up a hill kilometres from the line whilst your legs scream and your heart rate – never mind. 

Answer this - Sean Peckover – hungry or broken?


Well – watch your weight then.  Oh, you probably mean metaphorically ‘hungry’.  Right.  Why are you eating that second cheeseburger then?  Don’t answer that.

Anything else to add?

The point of blogging for me is to try and be as honest and self reflective as possible. I am not someone who writes what people want to hear, nor do I want people to feel pity on me for my failure. The purpose of exposing myself via this blog is for readers to be part of my journey, the successes and failures, my emotions - how I am going and how I view the world.

Do I invest too much emotion into races? Aren’t they meant to be fun? I love running, the moment that I don’t and I dread registering for a race, putting the shoes on, pinning a bib to my chest is the day I quit. Until then .......... I’ll run on, chasing the next challenge.

* * * * *

Thanks to Sean for inviting me to interview him on Run Pex Run.  It would be easy to simply say ‘ah well, it didn’t work out, maybe next time’.  Sean never takes this option.  Describing the above was tough.  You may be wondering; how do I feel about his effort?  Am I proud?  Obviously, I’m disappointed for him.  I feel the result is unfair.  The sheer commitment and focus in preparation plus his attitude post the event is what he should be proud of; as I am.  I was just as proud to call him a friend before TNF as I am after it.  Don't for a second think that the result doesn't matter.  It does.  Imagine yourself in Sean's shoes.  Martina Navratilova - "Whoever said it's not whether you win or lose that counts, probably lost".  For this reason, I think Sean will return to TNF100 one day.  When he does, he is likely to have already had other great successes in his running career.  He may do it in a shirt he picked up at Boston.  I can't see him leaving it unfinished.  Sean does everything at 100%.  Nothing will remain at 76%.

Although the interview may sound like Sean is in a negative place, if you get the opportunity to speak to him you will see that he is actually quite positive about what the future holds.  Remember, this account has been recalled only days after the event.

“I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeeded” – Michael Jordan.

Sean’s success will come.  Stay tuned.  When it does I’m sure my phone will again flash with Sean Peckover.

Jason Paull

Monday, 14 May 2012

The North Face 100 Australia - The Preview

Can you believe it!!!

It is finally here!!! Better than CHRISTMAS!

The North Face 100 2011 Highlights

On Saturday the 19th of May at 6.56am I will embark on a trail ultra marathon covering 100km - including 4500m of ascent and descent of the world heritage listed Blue Mountains in New South Wales. The North Face 100. Couple of answers to dumb questions, The North Face is a brand (like Nike or Adidas) and the race is 100km in length (not 100 miles thank goodness).

If you are a follower of my blog, I have done a bit of training and a few warm up ultra marathons to get myself prepared. Mentally I am starting to finally feel "together" and ready to go. I've put on about 1.5kg thanks to my brain telling my body that I am still running 100km per week - lets hope it comes in handy to keep me warm down south!

If you are one of my international readers, I live in Rockhampton on the Tropic of Capricorn, so in summer we are the closest point on earth to the sun, not ideal training conditions and definitely not race specific for the freezing cold Blue Mountains! Currently at Katoomba where the race is it has minimum of under 3 degrees and the maximum is about 10-15 degrees - which will make it a very cool/cold day and night.

"There's no such thing as bad weather, just soft people."
-Bill Bowerman

 Click Here For The Weather in Katoomba Right Now

I am travelling with Marty and Benny, we fly out Thursday arrive in Sydney then grab our hire car for the drive up to the Blue Mountains. The three of us are all staying at the race headquarters the Fairmont Resort in Leura. It is going to be a great spot as this is where race pack up is, the pre race briefing on Saturday morning, the start line and the finish line it all happens at the Fairmont. So what it means is very little stress and travelling (all we have to do is walk down the stairs to get to the race start). If you have travelled to a major marathon like Melbourne or Gold Coast - travelling logistics are always a drama. You can't beat staying at the Fairmont.

Click Here to Check out Fairmont Resort

The other runners from the Rockhampton Road Runners are Gavin and Raelene and the RRR President Leah is coming to crew, so there will be a heap of familiar faces. It is nearly an official RRR Event with the President crewing us! Ex-Rocky boy Luke is also running so all up there are 6 of us running who will get a mention in the post race blog.

Once we arrive and check in, we have some "free" time until Friday afternoon when we have to attend race registration and collect our race numbers and have our mandatory gear checked. This might sound weird, but there is a fair bit of gear that you had to purchase for the race. All of this needs to be checked by the race directors before they give you the OK to line up the next day. Race check in is at 4pm, so it will be a good chance to catch up with other runners and soak up the atmosphere! I cannot wait!!

Mandatory Gear List - WTF!

My very supportive wife cannot understand why we need so much stuff and why there are boxes of gear turning up from Wiggle every couple of weeks. As you can see from the list, the gear is designed to keep us warm and safe - if the weather turns extra nasty and it snows at least we will keep a little warm.

The other thing about TNF is last year Team Salomon brought a crack team of elite ultra runners who took out the 3 podium spots for the men. The worlds best ultra runner Kilian Jornet smashed the course record on his way to victory. This year will see the return of Salomon's rock star ultra runner South African Ryan Sandes (winner of the Leadville 100miler in 2011 in the 4th fastest ever time).The North Face not to be out done this year have also flown in their own rock star ultra runner Jez Brag from the UK. It could be a real head to head battle with those guys up the front.

Click here to Learn More About Ryan Sandes
Click Here to Learn about Jez Bragg

On the local front the team from Ultra 168 have put together a review of the elites, including the Aussie guys who will be up near the front. Names like Andrew Vize and Brandon Davies will all feature. Blue Mountain local and 2 time TNF winner Andy Lee will also have something to prove. Leah will have the best seat in the house watching the elite fight out the podium spots.

Ultra 168
Ultra 168 TNF 100 Race Preview

There might be a bit of elite ultra runner celebrity spotting at race check in, like I said it will be an awesome experience to be there with the other runners from all over Oz. Can't wait to get my hands on my race bib #58!

Saturday morning will see us getting up at a normal hour, about 5am to have breakfast and sort out the last bits of gear for our drop bags. We will then head to the race briefing downstairs at 6.20 before walking outside to the race start on the road. The race has 4 start waves, self seeded. Marty, Gav, Benny, Luke, Raelene and I have all put ourselves in Group 2. So we get started at 6.56am. There are 2 other groups behind us. The groups are meant to help with the congestion in the early part of the race.

Once we are underway, we have 28hrs to finish the 100km. This is pretty generous, and it is possible to walk the entire way and finish within the time frame. Most runners though will be shooting for 2 time brackets, the first is Sub 14hrs the second is Sub 20hrs. The sub 14 finishers will be awarded with a Silver TNF 100 Finisher Buckle, the sub 20 finishers will be awarded with a Bronze TNF 100 Finishers Buckle. Of our group Marty and Gav have the potential to go sub 14hrs. If Benny wasn't running with me, he would also be giving the 14hrs a nudge.

For the rest of our group we are chasing a sub 20hr finish and to "Buckle". If you finish after 20hrs before the 28hr cut off, you are awarded with a finishers certificate. It is a long way to go to not Buckle!

For Benny, Raelene, Luke and I our races will be about being sensible with our effort, enjoying the day and taking it easy for the first 50km.

The race is broken into 6 legs, there are 5 checkpoints. Leg 1 is 18km, Leg 2 is 20km, Leg 3 is 16km, Leg 4 is 11km, Leg 5 is 24km and the final Leg of 11km.

At Checkpoints (CP), 3, 4 and 5 crews will be there - so Leah and Luke's fiance Bonnie will be providing their food, fresh socks etc. For the rest of us without a crew we will leave drop bags with our extra gear at CP 3,4,5.

So what do you put in drop bags.....well there are the normal things like more gels, powerade, coke, chips etc. Some of the other things will be a change of gloves, a warmer beanie, extra batteries etc. Checkpoints can be a trap also, so as you are tracking us - keep an eye on how much time we are spending at CPs. We want to be efficient at them to save time, not sit around having a picnic.

By about CP 4 we will be close to turning on our headlamps and running the remaining 35 odd kms to the finish in the dark. This will probably just be a solid walk with some running on the downhill sections for me. Who knows how my body will be going after 65km.

It would be super nice to be finished by 17hrs (just before midnight) but the goal really is to Buckle and be done by 20hrs.

Like I said earlier Benny, Marty and I are staying at the Fairmont Resort. Once finished I am guessing we might try and stomach a celebratory beer and have a shower and get warm with our buckles!

So how will you keep a track of us through the day?

The easiest way will be to follow the live updates and comments by HRE partner Jason at our Facebook page. Go and "Like" HRE by clicking www.facebook.com/HREoz

Jason will be stalking the live athlete tracking on the event website but most importantly will be receiving texts from all of us during the day. He will be sure to add some commentary from our texts, so expect to see "Gav putting the hammer down and on track for sub 14hrs" and "Sean and Ben running sensibly - on track for a buckle with no stomach issues" as a couple of example Facebook posts.

So it is finally here my Christmas, my dream- the sense of anticipation is intense. Come Saturday I'm prepared to suffer with the best of them for 28hrs (if I have to).

"We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort." - Jesse Owens

 To my fellow TNF runners

"May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back."
-Irish Proverb

Catch you next week - stay tuned and lock into our race progress via Facebook


Monday, 7 May 2012

Why do you want to run 100km? The REAL story behind the motivation....

So I have been asked a few hundred times - why do you want to run 100km?! And not just any 100km race, but one of the toughest (if not THE toughest) 100km race in the Australia?

As you know from my previous blog "When Day Dreaming Becomes Reality" I have had the idea about running The North Face 100 since 2009. Without going over old ground, it was always a "stretch goal" one where you think "when I get time" someday I will commit to training and running it.

On the 26th of April last year "someday" arrived. It was the public holiday for ANZAC day, my mobile rang and it was my step mum Rhonda. My dad had just been involved in a very serious accident at work and had suffered life threatening head injuries. He was being airlifted from the mine to the Mackay hospital. Rhonda wasn't sure if he would be sent to Brisbane or if they could stabilise him in Mackay. Dad had a very large skull fracture, a fractured back and internal injuries. They tossed up about putting a plate in his skull, but ended up leaving it to heal itself. It was pretty intense there for a while.

Bel's dad had suddenly passed away the previous December and it was very confronting to think that we might also lose my dad. As we took turns sitting by dad's side watching him sleep during his weeks in hospital - I spent a lot of time reflecting on my own mortality. Sure I had been focusing a lot of effort on being a dad, trying my best at the balancing act of a new job, new business etc, but was I really happy? What if I died, what would be my legacy, if I was in his place would I be happy with my life and my decisions?

Dad's life had been so focused on work, he has an unbelievable work ethic - really old school, no sick days, hardly takes holiday (you know the type). Dad didn't "waste" money on holidays or stuff, he spent his money on practical things, and is always saving for the rainy day.

Watching dad slowly recover, two steps forward one step back - it made me evaluate what I really wanted out of life. What IF my time was up? I guess we all think about this at times, have a mortality check and change tact in life.

What I decided was that I was going to commit to running one of my dream races. In all honesty I was a lazy trainer and an ordinary marathon runner - I loved it, but I was never going to reach my potential.  That was until dad's accident made me think that I was wasting my 30s, wasting my best training years on just going through the motions.

Dad's accident provided me with the fuel to completely tear myself down, and rebuild myself as a new runner. My little sister actually went the opposite direction, dad's accident and living in Brisbane so far away from him stole her running mojo. She spent most of 2011 not making any real running gains, PBs were few and far between.

Monica has re-invested energy into achieving one of her stretch goals, which is to run under 2hrs for the half marathon. She will do it this running season, I am as sure of that as I am of anything in this world.

As for my stretch goal - running TNF on the 19th of May will mark the end of one chapter of my running career. Whatever the result, I have already decided it will be my last Ultra for sometime, not saying ever, but for the next few years. The other part of the journey is the commitment, it takes a whole lot of commitment from everyone in my family to make it happen. Not only the time and money, but emotionally it is very draining riding the roller coaster of bad/terrible races, self doubt and constant TNF talk.

One of the things I often feel on a long run is a sense of guilt that I should be at home with the boys and Bel. It really isn't normal to be out running for 6hours on a Saturday morning, was this any better than my dad working a Saturday. Is my obsession for running healthy for our family unit, was my intense focus the glue holding us together or a wedge which may split us apart?

The great benefit and curse with running for nearly 3000km is that you do a lot of self reflection. What will I have to show for the effort, what if I don't finish? What is next? Did I find what I was looking for, my purpose?

Honestly I can, hand on my heart, swear that it has been worth it. That's even before I get there to run. You see I am out there living my dreams, they aren't in an Orange folder under the bed anymore, I am ACTUALLY living it.

Your dream might be to run a 10k or a marathon or a 100km or do an Ironman. What ever you do, don't leave that dream stuck in a folder or hidden away. Turn it into reality, you wont regret it, not one bit. I promise.

A goal is a dream with a plan. Live it.  


Tuesday, 1 May 2012

The Numbers - TNF 100 Training a Review

For a bit of fun this week I thought I would put together some numbers regarding my TNF 100 training.
As I said last week my training plan began on the 14th of August 2011:
·         Total training phase 40 weeks or 280 days
·         Over the 40 weeks I would have run a total of 2913kms
·         Average weekly running is 72.85km/week
·         Total training hours including gym, bike and running 535 hours (approximately)
·         9 weeks with a weekly total more than 100km   
·         2 official Ultra Marathons (Hounds and Hares 54km and Nerang 50km)
·         53km longest training run – Rockhampton to Yeppoon to Emu Park
·         10 runs of 40km or longer (that is about a marathon every 4 weeks)
Personal Bests – over the past 40 weeks I have set a number of running personal bests they include:
·         5km PB of 21.20
·         10km PB of 43.55
·         42.2km training “Marathon” PB of 3.49.00
·         Run the Great Whitsunday Walk 28km Trail Run 3.33.37 (PB of 35minutes from 2009)
·         4 wins from 4 starts Frenchville Frogs Short Course Duathlon – series champion
·         King of Mountain 47.30 (PB of 9minutes 10 seconds from 2011)
·         I have worn out 4 pairs of shoes, 2 pairs of Nike Pegasus, 1 pair of Nike Vomero and a pair of Salomon XR Cross Max
·         I have used 4 boxes of gels, 3 boxes of honey shots and 3 containers of Hammer Perpetuem
·         I have worn out 2 pairs of compression shorts, a pair of 2XU Compression Shorts and a pair of Performaxx Compression Shorts

·         ZERO - the number of movies I have seen at the cinema the past 40 weeks – actually the last movie a saw at the cinema with Bel was Avatar!
·         1000 - the number of beers I missed out on drinking with my neighbours on the Friday and Sunday afternoon drinks and Golf Days Trent has organised
·         100 – the number of times I have fallen asleep in Joel or Hayden’s bed reading them a story!
It is only for a laugh, so don’t take my training volume or plan as gospel. If you have the urge to run the TNF 100 next year please don’t hesitate to drop me an email humanraceevents@hotmail.com or Facebook me at www.facebook.com/HREoz happy to share my experiences and point you in the right direction of some awesome people who can help you.
This weekend is also another big one for racing, with the Noosa Winter Festival providing a playground for runners and cyclists. Jason is off to do the 160km ride and my sister is racing the half marathon in her first big event of 2012. She has really been concentrating on her speed work, so it will be interesting to see how her hard work has paid off. Fingers crossed that she PB's and Jason is in the front bunch.
I am in taper mode, which is a little weird after 125km last week. My Saturday run with Benny went very well; it was 45km including a full walking summit of Mt Archer. Some real specific work in prep for the walking at TNF. Nutrition and hydration was excellent, and so too was the pacing. Benny and I both finished hungry to run another 5km to take us up to 50k, but both our wives expected us home – so being “husbands of the year” we called it a day. It was extremely satisfying to feel capable of running more. There is little more I can do other than to freshen up, get some sleep and enjoy the taper.
With a little over 2 weeks till the race – I am a mixture of excitement and nervousness. In reflection of the effort and time it takes to get to this point, I sometimes feel very guilty about the effort and  some of the forced changes to our family life. It comes with the territory when “TNF Fever” strikes and all you talk about is gear, nutrition, shoes, running, vomiting etc. Lucky I have the best wife in the world who understands that this is important to me.
Enjoy the taper