Thursday, 20 September 2012

Make The Days Count - RIDERODRIDE Interview

So a bit of a detour from our normal running related coverage, this week we have local athlete sub 5 hour half ironman and Ultra Runner Rodney Enkelmann in for an interview.

1. Rod - thanks for the catch up. Congratulations on your second place at the CQPhysio Group Spring Classic! I touched on it last week in the blog, you have just come back from Smiling for Smiddy. What is it?

Smiling for Smiddy is a charity set up in honour of Adam Smiddy. Adam passed away from an aggressive cancer in 2006, aged just 26. Adam and his good friend Mark “Sharky’ Smoothy loved to ride and often talked about doing a credit card ride , just going for a ride for a few days with nothing more then a credit card and catching a bus home. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to fulfil the dream together. Soon after Adam’s passing in 2006 Mark and 2 other mates rode from Brisbane to Townsville (1600kms) as a tribute to his late mate – and the Smiddy challenge was born. There is a number of rides now conducted throughout the year with the main ride being the 8 day, 1600km ride from Brisbane to Townsville. Since the charity has been set up more then $3million has been raised for cancer research. You can still donate to my page at or in general at
2. So you rode 1600km in 8days from Brisbane to Townsville, some basic runner to rider questions:

a. What did you eat through the day?

Breakfast was fairly simple, cereal, toast or fruit. As you know, I am very partial (blatant advertising) to an Icebreak so I made sure I snuck one in pre departure as well. The road crew were fantastic and the morning tea spread was an assortment of fruit, homemade slices, biscuits etc but the favourite of us all was the classic Sao with tomato and cheese. Lunch was a sandwich consisting of cold meat and coleslaw and again fruit. A lot of riders also made themselves additional sandwiches consisting of peanut butter, nutella and banana (remember it is fuel – not really food). I couldn’t bring myself to give this a go though. And coke, can’t forget the softdrink. Afternoon tea consisted of fruit and slices and powerade. Dinner was always a lot of carbs, potato bakes pasta’s etc. I watched what I ate as I didn’t want to be in discomfort on the bike so I really didn’t eat much more then I would at home. Some boys were having thirds and dessert!
b. Did you pick up any injuries?

I wouldn’t really say any injuries. My ITB tightened up by day 3 and by lunchtime day 4 I was struggling to put pressure on my pedals with my right leg. We had a masseuse travelling with us and she was an angel. A quick massage at lunch, some magic spray and I was good to go. Seriously though, it would take until morning tea everyday for it to warm up and then be a dull pain for the rest of the day. I have had 2 massages since the ride and my ITB is still a little tight – guess that is what 8 days of constant pedalling will do to you – but, I am alive and have the opportunity to live everyday so I have got nothing to complain about!
c. How did you train for the event?

To be honest, I didn’t train specifically for the event. I registered for the event back in November last year so kind of figured I would have plenty of miles on the bike come September. Then I had my accident in January, which saw me off the bike until April. By May I was starting to get a little concerned about ‘bike’ time, but I was training hard for Cairns 70.3 in June so thought I would be okay. After Cairns was the Yeppoon 70.3 mid August, leaving about 10 days post the event to recover and be fresh for the ride. I felt awesome in Cairns, and backed it up with a good outing at Yeppoon. Sometime between the 2 I thought I would have no issue with overall fitness, but was a little worried about not having enough bike fitness. After Yeppoon I had an easy 10 days and thought I would pick up my bike fitness on the ride.
d. Did your bum get sore?

It is impossible for your butt not to!!! It was funny watching all the riders move around on their seats every day trying to find that 1 spot where it didn’t hurt. I must say that on day 2 I finally relented and tried ‘butt’ cream for the first time and it is a god send! Cyclists will know what I am talking about.

3. What was the highlight?

Impossible to pick just 1. Everyday brought new challenges, achievements and highlights. The entire journey was a highlight. Very special people from all walks of life doing something about cancer. And could you get a better way to see the greatest state in Australia? It is amazing how much more you can take in on a pushbike! Tuesday’s morning tea stop was extra special for me personally though. My beautiful girl Sonya brought Jakeb, Connor and Mason out to Dululu to ‘steal’ 20 minutes with me. As soon as I turned the corner and saw them there I cried, such was the emotional high we were on daily. Reaching Townsville ranks pretty highly too, realising that we have ridden 1600km in just 8 days – I still don’t think it has sunk in and having Sonya there to meet me was extra special.

Wives certainly are understanding!!! Sonya deserves a medal for putting up with your crazy events!

4. You have 3 awesome son’s what was it like leaving them behind?

As we all do, I travel for work frequently so I was able to treat the first couple of days like a normal work trip. But after day 1 of the ride I really started to miss them. I think it was the combination of the physical effort we were putting in and listening to the stories shared at the dinner functions by those touched by cancer that made us all appreciate what we have. Riding off after morning tea Tuesday broke my heart. I found strength in the knowledge that what we were doing was for a great cause, and from my fellow riders. That, and with each day that passes I was closer to getting home!

5. 8 solid days on the bike, did you have any light bulb moments?
A number! As I mentioned in the prelude, every morning that I wake up is a blessing. Every time I have the opportunity to run with you, or the awesome Rocky Road Runners crew, or ride my bike or simply lay in bed with my family I am truly lucky. The ride has changed my perspective on life – ‘ not count the days, make the days count!’. 

6. You are a normally pretty quiet person, how was it with 49 strangers?

Ha! It was a little different. I didn’t realise how introverted I am until on day 7 Rowman got excited when I spoke to him as I passed. Then on day 8 Sharky nearly fell off his bike when I did the same!!

7. Would you do it again? If so what would you do differently?

In a heartbeat! It is truly amazing to be part of something like the Smiddy challenge. What Mark has set up is inspiring. It is amazing what you learn about yourself by completing something that isn’t just about you. What I would do different is take a friend with me...keen?

Yeah - just bought a road bike - training started today 40km :( 1600km seems a long way off!!

8. You have had a massive year with 2 ultras, two Ironman 70.3 and the smile for smiddy, what is next....?

Next major event for me is a 50km ultra in December. Beyond that is my first full ironman at Cairns next June.

9. Who is the big unit in the photos?

Scott Fraser. The biggest bloke on the trip (as you can see by the photo) but every day he saddled up and rode until he couldn’t anymore! He managed to ride just under 1000 k’s for the trip, including the entire last day!!! A massive effort for someone his size.

10. Anything you wanted to add? 

As I am telling you this I am getting emotional, such is the impact that the ride has had on me. Too often we take life for granted, when everything just becomes ‘too tough’. I have a new found respect for just being able to get out of bed in the morning, to have the opportunity to ride/run/swim or to do whatever it is that your passion is. Adam doesn’t get that opportunity. On the Monday after the ride I went for a run from the motel to the Strand (Townsville) return – because I could, and I swear I was grinning like a Cheshire cat. I loved it, every minute of it (and yes I was still hurting from the ride). What I did take note of that day was the pained look on other faces as I passed them, like it was a chore to be out enjoying the morning air! Every morning that we wake is a blessing people!!!

Great words Rod!!!!

"Do not Count the Days - Make the Days Count"


Monday, 17 September 2012

Racing, Running and Surviving!

Why do I run?

Its a question you ask yourself a bit when things aren't going well or you are injured.Thoughts like 'This is hard, what am I training for?' can be common.

Well the reason I RUN is the finish line. More specifically that awesome feeling of accomplishment as you power down the finish chute and under the finish arch. Crossing the line, telling yourself "never again" only to tell yourself 5 minutes later "where can I sign up for another?".

Did you have that feeling yesterday? Did it come mid way through your run, where it got hard, and the body started to tell you to ease up, slow down a little, that you can't push any harder? But you didn't listen? You kept going, and you got to experience that flood of emotion coming down the finish chute.

Words cant normally express what it means to go to that point and overcome it, to finish when the going gets tough. I saw it yesterday, on the faces of people who I have never met. You achieved something quite remarkable, a Personal Best or your first race a new distance goal. You are all champions.

I have gone into a bit of sensory overload from yesterday, so many people, so much adrenaline and excitement. The vibe is very addictive.

With so many moments, it it hard to pick out clear images or details of the actual races. Here's a few of my own personal snapshots, I hope you have your own:

From the HRE Kids Dash I was just so proud of all of the kids who gave it a go. I know many adults who would never attempt a 2k race, and watching the kids just have a crack, was so rewarding. Obviously both of my boys running really made my heart swell. Seeing my youngest son Joel run his first race, and smash it up down the finish chute is simply awesome. He slept with his medal last night - an Athlete for Life.

In the 5km - Miles pipped Rodney in a reversal of last years event, and I am so proud of them both. Miles has really been training hard, and will be a force over the next few years when he steps up to the longer distances. Rodney just coming back from his 1600km "warm up" ride, shows what sort of insane runner he is to get so close. 

The women's 5K also saw athletes who we haven't seen at other events dominate and also repeated podium efforts. Many in the 5K walked the event; for some this may be the start of an athletic career. For others, your valued support is greatly appreciated.

In the 10km defending champs Paul and Alice were back to dominate, different preparation to last year, with a number of weddings and bucks/hens parties hampering their preparation. Paul really looked comfortable up the front each time I saw him. Both are champions and deserve their respective wins. Paul also holds his title of NEVER being beat here in Rocky.

Second place in the men's 10k Raleigh continues his meteoric rise locally. He obviously got the memo that Paul was keen for someone to challenge him, and he absolutely buried himself yesterday at the race. If you want to see what it looks like to push yourself past your limit, you should of seen him at the pool after the race. Insane. Hard work pays off!

Ladies 3rd place in the 10k Hanah who was making her debut was also very impressive, she is another of the young group of local State Cross Country finalists. There is some serious talent coming through the ranks.

In the half marathon, there were some really awesome stories. Somehow people managed to PB on the course, as course director, I know it wasn't going to be the fastest course in the world with the grassed section - so for anyone that PB'ed congratulations to you, you should be very proud.

Greg ran another PB - he continues to improve on the run less run faster program. Well done on your 1.45 PB.

Greg Wilkes part of "Team Wilkes" ran his first half marathon, and I am so impressed - he never looked like he was having a bad day. He just locked into his pace and kept knocking the km's off. Very solid.

Up the pointy end it was great to have a high quality ladies field assembled, Michelle and Catherine were in a battle for 2nd and 3rd. It was a very close finish. Well done to the ladies winner Emily.

The most impressive run of the day though, was the race win by the Queensland Telegraph Sports Editor and all round good guy/dad of the year Aaron Kelly. I honestly thought he was going to blow himself up when I saw him, I said to Fallon at the 3.5km turn around "there is no way he can keep this pace up, Michael will catch him for sure...." but it never happened, he just kept running hard and actually lengthened his lead on the last lap! For his debut half marathon, off very little training, I was extremely surprised. Time to ditch the beers and start training with Lawto!! Jason said whetever you do just don't buy a bike - you have him running scared! You are officially "Undefeated" at the half marathon distance!

My friend Joe from The Marathon Show in the USA has a quote which we live by at HRE the quote is "Its not about the finish time, but about the finish line". Its very true - we aim to bring you an experience which makes you hungry to do more races.

For Jason, you contributed something that is more personal and rewarding than many will know. He and his brother are Type 1 Diabetics. Everyone who raced know knows a little bit more about Type 1 Diabetes or about our charity partner JDRF. Awareness is powerfull

We aim to inspire you to do other events, maybe the Pink Ribbon Run, or race in the Frogs Triathlon Series, maybe join the new Cap Coast Road Runners or come and race me at the Toowoomba Marathon in October....DO SOMETHING!

Use your positive race experience as fuel to do another.

Thank-you for the memories, it truly was one of the best days of my life. 



Tuesday, 11 September 2012


Its quite fitting that I write this on September 11, the date of last years event!

As you can imagine life at Human Race Events HQ has been insano!

Not even sure that is a word, but it surely describes how Jason and I both feel. This year the organisation has gone to another level and we have spent a lot of extra time getting all of the details right. For those of you that work and have a hobby business, you know what I mean. Both Jason and I have day jobs as Safety Professionals, and then after hours squeeze in the other work required to make the magic that is the "CQPhysio Group Spring Classic".

As we both train in the morning, nights are the only time available. The other barrier this year is that we don't train together. Last year we were able to cover off a lot of stuff on long runs or mid week runs, this year it has all been a lot of email and phone. Not ideal!

There is an incredibly strong bond of trust between the both of us, something which if we didn't have, would make doing this impossible. When destiny brought me a training buddy, it brought with it a mentor, coach, sounding board, counsellor, cheer squad, business partner and mate. I am sure this week will have a few more surprises for us, I am just so lucky to have Jas in the trench with me.

The best thing though is that the pain is nearly over (for us), and if you have kept up to date with Facebook the event is a near sell out. The 5km and 10km races are full and at the time of typing only a couple of spots left in the half and kids dash. This is quite remarkable, we will have over 400 runners racing on Sunday, that is TWICE as many as 2011.

It certainly feels like Christmas!! Bring on the weekend!

In Ultra news - Benny, Marty (White Caviar), Gavin, Raelene & Matt (Tattoo Runner) are off to smash it up down at the Glasshouse 100. Yep that is 100 MILES not 100km!!!! This is Australia's oldest hundred miler and Benny is back to make up for his DNF last year. Matt has been running really well and I expect him to sneak under 24hrs (yes 24hrs of running). Gav and Marty have their first crack at the distance, and hopefully Raelene's injured ankle is OK and she can run the 100k.

Its a funny feeling, because a big part of me is really jealous and wants to be trail running with them, but as you know I have chosen the path to get fast and efficient. I wish them all the best on Saturday/Sunday.

Big Rodney has just arrived back from his epic 1600km Brisbane to Townsville Smile for Smiddy Challenge. Yes don't adjust your screens BRISBANE to TOWNSVILLE in 8 days! NUTS!!! I wont go into too many details, as I will interview Rod this week and you will have a RideRodRide interview in couple of weeks with some photos etc. All I can say is I am both impressed and inspired to do more to help raise funds for charities!

Jason has refused to give me an interview, choosing instead to "fly under the radar" - but he raced locally on the weekend for a second place in the Rocky Cycling Club Road Championships "B" Grade. This is bloody impressive and goes with his B Grade King of the Mountain win a month ago. Having been on the bike for a little over 12 months it is nothing short of extroadinary. Hard work pays off. I am sorry that you cant race this weekend in the Criterium championships as you will be working the microphone at the Spring Classic!! At least you will give some of the other guys a chance at a podium!

Come Sunday, if you are running you will experience the BEST race that has ever been put on in CQ. No exceptions. Remember we ARE runners too - and we want your race day to be a special memory.

When you cross that line Sunday you will be part of "the family", our family that is Human Race Events.

Best of luck to everyone.

"Running is not what I DO, but who I AM" - Sean Peckover