Monday, 22 December 2014

2015 Family Running Work = Priorities

As promised I have thrown together a bit of race list for next year. More importantly though I feel a real sense of balance to my life, probably the first time in a long time.

In having both boys at school, and Bel doing regular days at work - our weekly routine is pretty solid. Which has allowed me to settle into a solid training pattern since the Melbourne Marathon. I currently have 2 days rest, so plenty of scope to ramp up, and zero impact on the family thus far.

The new training plan and volume, and probably more importantly quality sleep is allowing me to build up to a steady 70km+ per week. Which isnt spectacular, but running over 565km in the past 8 weeks injury free is really pleasing. Once the weather cools down and the marathon training starts, I really feel capable of running 100km a week given the current free time I have at the moment. But thats up to my new coach to plan out.

In planning out some races, I really wanted to run flat cool and fast. If the races don't fit that, then more than likely I will skip them.

A Races - Gold Coast Marathon & Melbourne Marathon
Both races are begging for me to set new marathon PB's, Gold Coast will also be a family holiday - which will be awesome. 

B Races - Noosa Half Marathon (May)
Lead into Gold Coast and chance for me to see where I am at 6 weeks out from GC. Will most likely set a Marathon goal time from this race. Super flat and fast course.

C Races - Twilight 5km and 10km
Going to run the Twilight 5km in March, which will be hot and isnt exactly fast, but it will just be a chance to test the lungs over a shorter distance, and you cant really screw up a 5km, so even a bad race is over in under 21 minutes.
Also looking for a 10km to race that is flat cool and fast, allowing me to have a crack at breaking my 10km PB...possibly in April sometime.

I have purposely not filled a race between GC and Melbourne, depending on what happens at GC it might be tricky to squeeze a race in, with taper etc.

As I head off on holidays from work, I am really looking forward to spending the 3 weeks playing with the boys, hitting the beach and generally just unwinding. I plan to ramp up a little volume so I can get close to race weight by January 31 - before my Marathon training kicks off.

Be safe over the Christmas break, especially if you are driving.


Monday, 15 December 2014

Racing Weight - An interesting 3 months

This isnt a blog to help you lose weight, or provide advice about weight loss. Just a post about what I have been doing.

Forgive me if this ends up sounding like an infomercial where I am trying to sell you 5 minute abs. This is not meant to be a blog about weight loss, but a running blog with some family stuff thrown in.

However one of the big changes I have made since Melbourne Marathon was to get to my racing weight.

So the background on my weight really is a long story. I wont go on about it too much, but I initially started running to lose weight. In January 2009 I commenced running to lose the weight I had gained after Joel was born. I was hovering around 82-83kg.

Once Jason and I started running, and training for our first marathon, the weight fell off and I ran Gold Coast (some 6 months later) at 77kg. I liked that weight, running was balancing out the food I was eating. After I tore my OP in September of 2009 and had 12 weeks off, my weight was back up to 81kg, I then worked hard, ran my 1/2 PB at 76.5kg in 2010 and my marathon time was 4.17 at Melbourne 2010.

I had a break over xmas, and in April 2011 ran Canberra Marathon injured, 4.39. I was 79kg. I then ramped up and had a good solid 18 months, and in 2012 ran a year of Personal Bests. 3.45 marathon, 43.55 10km, 19.48 5km. I raced my Marathon PB at 73kg. Again the weight snuck back on, and in 2013 I spent a lot of the time in the gym building power and putting on muscle for the 200m/400m. At the start of 2014 I was back at 78kg.

I raced all year at 77-78kg and as I sat on the plan coming home from Melbourne I knew I needed to lean up to really have a big dig at some personal bests in 2015.

Having read  Matt Fitzgeralds "Racing Weight" in 2012, I re-read it and made a commitment to find my racing weight, my ideal weight where I am seeing the full benefits of the training volume and effort.

So here I am about 12 weeks in. I have been watching with interest Brenden's weight loss by following a High Fat Low Carb diet, but I didnt go that way. Essentially I wanted to find a structure to my life/meals that would allow me to slowly lose the weight and re-build healthier eating habits. Habits that didnt impact negatively on our family meal time etc.

So what have I been doing?  I have been using the website and application called MyFitnessPal to track my calories, it is linked to my Garmin Connect. I have stopped drinking my calories, namely Iced Coffee drinks and have increased my lean protein to keep myself feeling full. Have dropped the chocolate/ice cream for dessert (swapped with a Greek yogurt) and stopped eating the kids chips in the cupboard.

Other than that I havent been too drastic. I have slowly increased my running to the point where I have run 70km+ for 7 weeks in a row, that all contributes to the numbers on the scales. Probably the hardest times are when I travel for work. Eating out is always an issue, had a couple of rough weeks whilst away.

So starting weight was 77.3kg on the 14th of October. I have slowly got myself to 71.7kg last week. Goal race weight at this stage is 69kg. I am basing that off a couple of different calculators. The first one from the Racing Weight website. The second one is off my known lean body mass estimate from using a Tanita scale to calculate muscle mass and body fat. The third one, is I can still grab a handful of fat on my love handles & I dont look like Jarrod Leto from Dallas Buyers Club!

I also am not sure how much improvement it will make to my marathon time next year. Trying to calculate that will be difficult as I will be lighter and have significantly more running volume under my belt. What I know for sure is that I expect big things of myself in 2015, and by laying down sensible base miles now, staying injury free by working in the gym and leaning up to racing weight I am giving myself every opportunity to do that.

Speaking of goals - all I want from 2015 is to PB at those 4 key race distances. 5,10, 21 and Marathon. I am choosing only to race at races that are flat cool and fast, so will be avoiding racing courses, and locations that I know dont suit me. What this means is probably also squeezing in all of my racing between April and October. Gives me a shot - on my calender at 2 marathons, 2 half marathons, 2 10kms and a few 5km.

If I get time next week I'll throw up my race plans for 2015, I have pretty much locked them in. I dont race a 10km until April - so its all about that base at the moment!

Stay Safe on the Run

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Melbourne Marathon Race Report - 2015

Well somehow I didnt blog about my 11th Marathon. Generally I like to construct what I would like to post in my head over a few runs, then I find it best to sit and knock the whole thing out in one go.

Melbourne was different, it was so emotional for 2 reasons - and its taken me a while to process the feeling and renewed motivation for running.

Without revisiting old ground, I have spent the year forcing myself to run marathons. Looking for my old motivation. I didnt race at any other distance, didnt run a half or a hard 10k. I went from 7 to 11 marathons without being race fit. I just logged enough miles not to die. Always hoping that on one run it would "click" and all of a sudden I would have my mojo back. It never came when I wanted it to.

Looking back over my Garmin data I didnt log too many miles through September, and having the 3 weeks between marathons really didnt give me a chance to recover or get any fitter.

Marathon week arrived and I was looking forward to just a mini holiday, after the stress of the Capricorn Coast Running Festival it was a relief to have the weekend to havea  few beers and unwind.

Then I recieved a call. BOOM. Ben calls from NZ saying he is coming over to run. At first I was hesitant because it was a lot of cash to be spending, but he says he wants to come. SO in an instant our Marathon party grew! I was so excited, it had been over 12 months since Ben returned to Wellington and I missed really missed his friendship, running with him, and hanging out. Maybe part of my running mojo was with Ben, as soon as he announced they were heading back to NZ it sort of just vanished. We had spent all of 2012 running together, training for my first ultras, under Ben's coaching I PB'ed across all distances. It was my biggest running year.

When we touched down in Melbourne it was clear Ben was either pregnant or really serious about hitting the gym, he looked huge like a white kiwi Hulk. I had talked him into running the marathon and not just spectating. He said he hadn't run for months, and it was obvious he was telling the truth.

On the way down in the plane - I said to Brenden he has to have a crack at a 3.30 marathon. He had never been fitter, the weather was perfect and he had to just enjoy this moment as he might not get another chance like it. He was not quite sure as he was training heavily for Noosa triathlon, and wasnt certain he would recover. We hatched a plan, that if he felt a tweek to any pain in his glute (where he had problems) that he would just back the pace off and finish the marathon as a training run.

My original plan was to shave the 9 minutes off my time from Sydney and finish the year with a 4.00 marathon. Ben said he was going to run 5.40s for as long as possible then I could leave him behind. Yeah right. Like I would be leaving him behind! My plan was just to enjoy the day out with my brother.

So we met Greg (who was injured) and met his mate Matt who was running his first marathon, Matt joined Ben and I and we set off to try and run a even split 4.00 marathon. Everything was on track, we held back really early - then eased into 5.25-5.30 pace. We caught the 4.00 pace balloons around 12 or 13km and then got seperated with Matt. We spotted Brenden a couple of times, as he was on the other side of the road. He looked really comfortable, running his own pace.

We ran on, and by 25km I started to get tight. My legs just felt like lead, and my stride length just got shorter and shorter.  It was sort of a relief to get to that point having run solidly knowing could take it easy with some walk breaks and still finish under 4.30, and this is exactly what we did. For the next 17km Ben and I just enjoyed being out, talking, running. Ben even called his wife Mel in the middle of the race! Definately not your typical marathon!

As we neared the end, the moment and emotion started to bubble up within me. I missed Ben. I missed being fit. I wanted more out of myself. I realised finally that I can achieve more with running, I am not done yet, I wanted to get back to feeling like I had in 2012. As we rounded the last corner, there were runners everywhere - 5km, half marathoners, marathoners. The finish line was super crowded, but Ben and I savoured the moment. Crossing together, arms raised.
We run for those who cant.

Within moments we found Brenden and he had run 3.30. I was so pumped for him. A marathon PB in the middle of his triathlon training. Officially he finished with a 3.30.01 - 2 seconds and he would of been sub 3.30! He had run a perfect negative split marathon.

As we had a few beers and watched Bathurst it really started to kick in, the feeling that it was time to dig in and really have a crack at a 3.30 marathon. If Brenden can do it, there is no reason why I couldnt. I had run all year with him, and know that if I got my endurance back there is no reason I can't smash it.

Ben made his way to the bus station and we said our final goodbyes, promising it wouldnt be too long between our next visits.

As I had a few ciders with Brenden in the airport I felt different, I had been here before, I knew the feeling, MOJO. All of a sudden I wanted to run. I was ready to reapply myself and rip in.

2015 goals start today.

Before I even think about races, I needed 2 things, to get to my racing weight and to build a decent base.

So starting stats 14th October 77.3kg ave weekly kms 50km/week.
On Sunday I weighed in at 72kg and have averaged 70km/week for the last 6 weeks. Feels good to ramp things up, drop the puppy fat and start to feel comfortable running again.

The goal is to get to racing weight, not sure but somewhere around 69-68kg by the end of February then ramp things up for a big crack at Gold Coast and Melbourne Marathons.

I'll start posting weekly updates of training etc just to keep myself accountable.

Run smart


Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Sydney Marathon Race Report! Marathon 10!!

I'm sitting in McDonalds in Circular Quay eating a Quarter Pounder 30 minutes after finishing my 10th Marathon. This is the first time ever that I haven't been sick, or had stomach distress after a massive race. I think I may have finally worked out my nutrition. Finally.

I have been so busy with preparing for holidays, work and the Capricorn Coast Running Festival that I didn't do a Marathon Blog Preview. Oh well it doesn't really matter, what matters is the race and how awesome it was.

When I first discussed with Bel about going to Sydney and running the Sydney Marathon as a family trip, she was worried about another long day of waiting for me to finish. I promised I would be done in 4hrs to 4hrs 10min. In my head 4hrs would be if everything goes awesome and 4.10 to allow for the tough course and lack of miles in the legs.

The trip also meant we got to see my NRL team the Manly Sea Eagles play a knock out Semi-Final on the Saturday night, which again isn't ideal, but once in a lifetime experience.

We headed to Sydney via Brisbane on Thursday night, it was Joel's first time on a plane so he was really excited. It was great travelling with the kids, they behaved really well!

Once in Sydney we spent Friday doing the tourist thing, picked up my race pack, headed to Manly on the ferry and did a heap of sightseeing and shopping. The kids had a blast.

Saturday rolled around, and we headed to Bondi for the morning. The weather was starting to cool down a bit - and I hadnt really thought of the marathon too much. At lunch I took the boys to the movies so I could get off my feet for a couple of hours, then I had a huge feed of Indian food! I kept hydrated and feeling really loose. We got back to the room, had some more food and got ready for the footy.

As I said earlier it probably wasnt the smartest idea to go to the footy prior to the marathon BUT there is no way I was going to miss this opportunity to see my team play live in a semi final. We caught the bus to the ground and actually had a nice meal of beef pie for dinner - which wasnt too greasy at all.

My team was beaten in extra time by a field goal, and although we lost it was an epic night out that the boys are still talking about. Nothing beats live sport thats for sure.

When we got home, we put the kids to bed and I decided to sleep in the lounge room on the spare bed. I got a full nights sleep and awoke to overcast skys and light rain, perfect I thought.

I also had a new nutrition plan that I had been thinking about for quite a while, it was to race low. That is, keep water and energy sources limited prior to racing and in the early stages - then use how I felt to feed the machine. So exactly 1hr before the race start, I drank 300ml of flat Coke. That was it, I had nothing else - not a sip of water or anything else. I walked outside into the cold and wet - it was overcast. Perfect I thought. I immediately felt like it was going to be my day, as the sun and heat really sucks the energy out of me.

I caught the train across to the startline, went quickly to the toilet and made my way into the back of the A corral. I was aiming to run with the 4hr balloon and just hang on for as long as possible. I started a little in front of the balloons - and before I knew it we were underway. It was raining by now, enough to make the road feel greasy underfoot and a little uneasy when the mad rush of people reached an sharp corner.

The early part of the Marathon is often the best, the adrenaline is up, nothing hurts, and your breathing is bang on. Sydney was even more special as we ran across the Harbour Bridge and had a full view of Circular Quay to our left, the Opera House was below - life was good. In that moment, I was just so appreciative that I found running. I have travelled across Australia running and racing, and been able to really appreciate being healthy and physically able to do the things I do. Running across the closed bridge was fantastic - certainly a once off type of experience.

As I mentioned earlier, I was on my new nutrition strategy - which was racing low. I reached the 5km point and filled my 300ml Ultimate Direction handheld. I took a little sip and immediately felt like needing a toilet stop.

As we headed into the gardens, the large fig trees lined the course, I spotted my chance and took off behind the tree to relieve myself - as I wrapped things up - I joined a huge pack of runners - the 4.00hr pace group. It was destiny, so I jumped on the pace bus with the intention of getting dragged along as best I could, this was at the 7km mark and I had my first nutrition 2 Clif Shot Bloks.

Deep down I know that I havent been doing a lot of work, two things I know for certain is my general lack of training volume, and my weight being significantly higher than when I raced in 2012. At the moment I'm hovering around 77.5kg and when I raced in 2012 (when I ran 3.45) I raced at 72.5-73kg. Also in 2012 my average weekly volume was around 80-90km per week (maxed out at 123km) and now it is around 55km-60km per week.

I am aware enough to know that those two limiting factors would play a big part in me staying on the 4hr balloons.

The 4hr group was running much quicker than I expected, generally averaging 5.25 per km, some ks were 5.30 but a lot were grouped in the 5.25s. I thought they would be banking a little bit of time, but they seemed to be going much faster than I expected - or maybe I was just strugglin already!

I hung on, as we pounded a few hills, went through the War Memorial and up a huge long steady climb towards the Sydney Football Stadium. I was already planning the return journey where I was going to crush that part of the race. I was still with the bus, was feeling tight and the undulating course was taking its toll. Eventually by km 19 I slowly dropped off the back of the 4hr pace group. Although not be discouraged, I just kept knocking out the 5.40kms some at 5.50. I was taking 2 Clif Shot Bloks every 7km, and drinking when thirsty. Around 26km I bumped into Simon who was running for the Indigenous Marathon Project doing 8 Marathons in all of the Australian States and Territories. Was had a chat, but clearly he was suffering so I just kept plodding along. Around 27-29km it got really tough. I just struggled up the hill, and walked a little. Just to get my breath back.

Once over the hill though I powered down past 30km, through the War Memorial and back into the City. I felt great with the long downhill and was able to run in the 5.30s comfortably down through this section.

The last 6km was a bit of a surprise, I just suffered, and struggled to run 6.10-6.20 pace, probably due to the hills and lack of training KMs. But that is to be expected I guess. The last 2km was really awesome, I just concentrated on saving enough to finish under 4.10 which was my B goal time.

I came down the finish line, the crowd was so noisy 6-7 deep yelling out and I just sneaked under 4hrs 10 minutes. Marathon 10 was over. I was smashed in the quads but felt really well in the stomach.

I walked through, collected my medal and within 5 minutes Bel and the boys had found me. They had arrived 20 minutes earlier and had a great morning cheering before I finished.

We made our way across the road to Maccas and for the first time ever, I was able to actually stomach a meal immediately after a marathon. Quarter Pounder, Large Chips, Large Frozen Coke.

Nutrition was bang on. I had 2 Clif Shot Bloks at 7km, 14km, 21km, 28km, 35km, and 1 at 40km. Which is 66 calories per 7km (or around 40 minutes) - I only drank water on course and nothing else.

I have recently also run Melbourne Marathon my 11th Marathon - so I'm in the process of putting together that blog also! Insane that I ran 2 so close together!

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Kids running and 3 Weeks to Sydney Marathon! #marathon10

Boys warming up for fundraiser at school
Running. Work. Running. Work.

Thats been about all the news I have got for everyone. As has been the flow of the year, I have done little racing other than the marathons I have done.

I try not to blog about work, however I have been super busy with the merger between CQUniversity and CQ TAFE. We are now Queensland's first dual sector University which is exciting BUT I have been under the pump with extra work.

Anyway we are going to Sydney as a family holiday and for them to watch me run my 10th Marathon. I haven't run the Sydney Marathon, it looks specatular going over the Harbour Bridge and finishing at the Opera House. Joel also hasnt been on a plane before so it will be aweome long weekend in Sydney. Be prepared the next blog will pretty much be full of photos of my family holiday.

Hayden's first 10k!
We have finished footy for the year and a few weeks back we got the chance to run a local trail race at Byfield. Hayden really wanted to come and run it, but it was only 10k or 30k. I thought really hard about was he ready to run that far, I didnt want him to be injured or not enjoy it.

Ultimately we could just walk it if he was tired, so I agreed and we suited up in matching singlets and headed down for the race.

I wasnt sure how tough it was going to be, but I just talked him through our plan. Run when it was flat, walk the up hills and run the down hills. We executed it perfectly and with about 350m of elevation gain it was a tough run.

We set a loose time goal to run the 10k in 80 minutes, and we came through the 10k in 76 mins and finished the 10.5 in 1.19. In the last few kms we were running 5.20s making up for slower kms going up hill.

Hayden is such a positve kid, and I was so proud of him. Even as we went up the toughest hills he never complained, just focussed on walking fast and taking in enough fluid. He has been so proud of himself since - telling everyone who runs that he was the youngest kid there running!

Let me take a selfie
In the past I have done a few running trials for Scody's Research and Development team, mainly running shorts and new singlet cuts. Last week I recieved 2 awesome new garments in their new technical fabric. All I can say is WOW. I hope they put this stuff into production soon, it is so light and cool - possibly the best running shirt and singlet I have ever worn!

For those of you that havent signed up yet, registrations are open for the CQPhysio Group Capricorn Coast Running Festival - the last 2 years have sold out, so dont miss out!


Thursday, 10 July 2014

The Suffering. The Struggle. The Impossible. Gold Coast Marathon Review 2014.

The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of the cause we believe to be just. - Abraham Lincoln

If ever there was a blog post about someone else's race this is it. The story of Donald running his first marathon dates back to 2011, where he started to lose a bit of weight and do some treadmill running. He never believed in a million years he would ever run a "race", so when I ran his first event with him last year (the Perth City to Surf) he was hooked. I could tell he was always after the big fish, a half marathon was never going to be good enough. He had watched the Spirit of the Marathon, read the Penguin's books and watch 50 Marathons in 50 Days enough times to memorise Karno's quotes.

The marathon seemed like a good idea last year when he ran the Freo Half Marathon and was in shape, since then everything that could go wrong has gone wrong. Lack of training volume due to an ankle and foot injury, multiple trips to the podiatrist to sort it out, 3 or 4 pairs of shoes led us to the point where both of us knew it would take a miracle to finish. If you remember a blog late last year, I said I was going to run with him. I had mentally withdrawn from that situation, I was too worried we wouldnt finish and I'm not going to go all the way to Gold Coast pay for a rego and not finish. Thats a selfish view of his situation but also the reality.

Below are a few of the texts from last month after he snapped something in his ankle on the cross trainer - thus the depressing reality of not finishing the marathon became very real.

 For me personally I really just wanted him to down grade to the half marathon. I knew he could finish that. BUT Donald said he would rather DNF the marathon than not start it, his mum was coming over from England to see him finish so there was no way he wasnt going to try.

I had prepared myself for the reality that his weight and lack of training, plus the fact he had a cortisone injection in his foot on the Wednesday would make the journey of running 42km impossible. I really thought that he would get to a point where the negative self talk would cripple his race. I spoke to Brenden about it, and he understood that someone was going to have to run the last 10k with him to get him to the finish.

Donald is one of the most mentally toughest runners I know. I know so many runners who are scared to run the marathon, they have respectable half marathon times but are just unwilling to commit to the suffering that is the event. Donald is the opposite. Like a drug he just loved killing himself on the long training runs. Just the romance of the suffering - he is an ultramarathoner trapped in a 115kg public servant body.

Pre Race

Brenden and I flew into Brisbane on Saturday morning and I thought we were heading to the train for the ride to the Gold Coast, Brenden had other plans as he had hired a Audi (which was switched for a Merc) for us to go cruising down the Gold Coast. I was impressed with the first part of the trip, all signs pointed to an excellent weekend.

Big M and the Merc

We were meeting Donald at the expo so we set the GPS for the motel and enjoyed the cruise down to the Coast. I had never heard of this great motel Big M had booked, and for good reason.

Not our motel


vacant lot next door

   There were two ladies sitting on the stairs to our room who appeared to be working by the hour, this motel was the worst I have stayed in for a very long time. After the initial disappointment that we were staying in a crap hole, it was quite the adventure! On a side note the worst sleep I have ever had prior to a Marathon was in Melbourne 2010, where Luke booked accom and never informed me that there was no bed for Hayden and I. When we arrived at 10pm the night of the marathon we had to sleep on the floor. Certainly not ideal.

After a quick nap we then went down to the expo to meet Donald and his mum. Things were about to get real. We collected our Marathon bibs, and I collected Luke's as he was a late entry (more on this later). We had a great look through the expo. Bel was onto me about spending money, so I refrained from buying anything new (although I wanted another GC jacket).

At the expo I had the pleasure of meeting Trent Morrow - Marathon Man he was so inspiring and really just pumped us up even more. As he spoke to Donald I could see the impact his words and advice (someone who has run 160 marathons in a calender year and holds the world record) was having on him. Donald just soaked all of his words up and was ready to run as soon as he finished!

Pex and Marathon Man

After the expo we headed our separate ways and had some lunch, Brenden and I had a feed of noodles which was pretty good. After another rest on our comfy beds, I headed off to meet Donald and his mum to go to the AFL.

Now I know that you shouldnt be out the night before a race, BUT the Pies and Suns were playing and I had never seen a live AFL match. It was an unreal experience - so much better live than on TV. Unfortunately the Pies lost in a close one (Donald is a Pies tragic) we were home in bed by 8.30pm - in time to watch a bit of Le Tour.

Suns home stadium
All of my gear was set up ready for the race. It actually didnt feel like we were running a marathon, I was super relaxed. Feeling really fresh and ready to suffer. Little did I know what was coming.

After breakfast we went and picked Donald up, and headed to Australia Fair for Brenden to grab a muffin and coffee from McDonalds. This is where I made a couple of really rookie nutrition errors. Whilst I was trying to keep Donald calm and I planning on how I was going to get Luke's bib to him I had forgotten to look after myself. By that I simply didnt take stock of my own needs.

I took a whole gel 30mins from the start as I usually do, but didnt have any water with me - and I planned to grab some in the toilet - but it had a huge line. By the time we got across to the road to the start line and waited another 10 minutes for Luke to arrive to get his bib, I was really needing a drink. The lovely physios from Griffith Uni gave me a free bottle of water and I filled my handheld and had a couple of small sips.

As I sipped Deek gave his speech over the microphone, I made it back to Donald and Brenden for the national anthem and BOOM we were away. After the first KM I felt pretty good, but by the second km I had a bad stomach pain/like a stitch but in my stomach - by not diluting that Gel it just sat in there. My pace was Ok for the first KM - about 5.03 pace but it felt harder than it should, the next 5k was around the 5.10 pace and I lost Brenden soon after. By 15km I was suffering and by 17km I had started to vomit. Essentially it was the same issue with my stomach that I have in Ultra's BUT I had caused it early in the race! Well this is a first.

Between 20-30km was some of the worst suffering, I just felt sick the whole time - running to the point of being sick, then dry reaching. I was in a world of hurt, Ultra marathon style. My race was over. I had nothing positive to pull out of it, or so I thought. As I pass over the little hill and through the 32km point, I decided to buy a can of Coke. I walked into the shop, bought the coke. Sat down and sipped it. It tasted like pure gold in my mouth. I then started to jog, and I could jog without being sick, I was moving again and was able to get back to moving and jogging along. Because I had walk ran the previous 10k I wasnt sore - so the last 10k was probably my best. I was just able to get back to grinding the kms out. Not fast but certainly faster than the previous 10k.

As I went through the finish zone all I could think of was an ultra, was today the blueprint for how I can climb my way out of a stomach distress? Did sitting down and slowly sipping the Coke enable me to keep going? I believe it did. I really think that I have found a magic bullet. To relax, take a few minutes and get nutrition on, I was able to run again. A small flame of hope lit up, maybe I could return and have a crack at another Ultra.

When I finished - I was pretty spent. I was glad to be done and in no real shape to do another 10k, besides - there is no way Donald would be in front of the 9.15pace cut offs. I had seen him at around 18 and he was struggling then....

Big M had the awesome news of running 3.36, holly shit thats so close to 3.30 it isnt funny. I was so pumped for him I immediatly forgot about my own terrible day and started to bask in his! I played a small part in getting him into shape, so that was a really good feeling.

Brenden and I went around to find the "lost and found" area and sure and shit, he had just passed the 30km point and was still well in front of the cut off!!! WTF!

Brenden said "I want to do this" he was ready to run again, so we went and waited for him across the road and as he approach both the boys set off on the final 10km,

What happened on the road over the next 2hrs I have no exact details, Donald proceeded to climb into the biggest hurt box of his life. Willing his body further than it had ever gone before. The tears of not knowing if he would be able to finish overcame him a number of times. Was it going to be possible? He had slowly fallen below the cut off time, he was in last place and as 2pm approached I waited at the finish. 6.40 race time passed on the clock - still no sign of Donald or Brenden.

I asked one of the race officials if they would allow him to finish and they said yes, I just hoped that he kept pushing to finish.

At 7.05 official race time both of them came into view. Donald made his way under the finish and we embraced. Tears of joy flowed from his face. He was a Marathoner. A finisher. No one can ever take that away from him. He had proved everyone wrong, including me. He wanted that finish so badly that he was prepared to suffer through 7hrs of hell for it. He climbed into the trench and fought his was to victory. The lesson for both of us is that it is never over. No matter how you think your day might be over, just to dig in. I thought I could suffer, but watching Donald gives me a new appreciation for suffering.

Big M & Pex

Before and After

In the wash up - I have to concentrate on looking after myself. I really messed my day up by not doing that. Melbourne will be about me.

I am so proud of Donald for suffering through, as he sits back and watches Spirit of the Marathon he is now part of the club. A Marathoner. A Finisher. He earned his not in 4hrs or 5hrs BUT in 7hrs of suffering. A Legend is Made.


Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Marathon Week #GCAM14

I know the destination. I know where the road will take me. I am certain of the suffering - but this time it is different.... I am welcoming the pain. I know there will be a point where my lack of base fitness will reduce my pace, and the sun will beat down upon me, my thoughts will drift BUT this time I am mentally stronger and ready for those moments. This is my choice to be here and my time on Sunday will be the start point for my journey to PB in Melbourne.

In talking with Ben and Brenden this week I have recommitted to rolling the dice and will have a crack at running the first half of the marathon in 1.45. As I have discussed previously there are obvious risks and it is against conventional marathon "pace" plans - but I need to take something out of this race. I can play it safe on a training run, and by that I mean run comfortably hard - but keeping an eye on my pace and vary it to how I am feeling. Sunday isn't a day to play it safe, it's time to see where I am at. I don't have the luxury of a half marathon to run prior to the race to gauge where I am at.

On Sunday Brenden and I will line up with the 3.30 balloons and I plan to stay with them for as long as possible. This might be 15km, 18km or hopefully 21km. I know I can't sustain that for 42km but I need a "jump off" point for my training post Gold Coast.

I feel like I have had a little improvement since the run with Rodney, including a couple of longer runs at close to 5.00 min/km pace. This included a 15k last week and a 10k on Saturday, I then doubled up with a Saturday afternoon run at of 8k at 5.20 pace. I haven't done a "double" run in 20 months, so it felt bad ass to lace up again in the afternoon for a session.

Other than that I really don't have much to report - this taper week has been awesome, I'm feeling fresh and ready for Sunday!

Donald on other hand isn't travelling too well, his foot issues are meaning we are in a hopeless situation where we just relying on pain killers to get through the marathon. Having been there for 2 marathons myself I know the pain of struggle, walking and suffering through the 42k to get that finishers medal. I'm pretty sure I ran Gold Coast in 2010 with a bone broken in my foot, which lead to issues including cramp and a 5.18 marathon finish. It's not fun BUT I can say I learnt a lot about myself on that day. I hope the marathon gods are kind to Donald, I would swap my marathon finish for his if I could. But it doesn't work like that.

I just hope he can get back to the start finish so I can help him get to the end.

Good luck to all of the other runners heading to Gold Coast - hit me up on twitter @RunPexRun if you are keen for karaoke on Sunday night!!

Race hard


Tuesday, 24 June 2014

#GCAM14 Gold Coast Marathon next week

It's less than 2 weeks until Gold Coast Marathon, this being my 5th Gold Coast and my 9th Marathon the build up could not be any more different.

The biggest difference with this marathon is that I am not overly emotionally invested into the result next week. I am not sure if that is a good or bad thing, but I know I am not in top marathon shape so whatever happens next week will be a marker for where I am at with my training.

In the past I certainly have overly committed to the race result, and in doing so put a lot of pressure on myself. The North Face 100 in 2012 was the best example, an all or nothing approach that cost me a 100k finish. My other Gold Coast Marathons have also had a similar feel, where I have tried to run to a goal time and not to a time that is realistic to my endurance abilities.

We had a little test run last Friday afternoon, it was meant to be 15km at 5.05 pace or around goal marathon pace. I wanted to see where I was at, and if I was in shape to run a 1.45 half of the first part of the marathon. Rod was joining Brenden and I and we settled into 5.00 pace pretty easily, Rod being super fit was able to run just in front as we cruised along behind. I was working hard but not insanely hard. We grabbed a drink at 6km then proceeded down Dean St and around 8km I started to get a stitch under my right rib. A stitch WTF! Where did this come from. By the time we made it to the water stop at 11km I was labouring badly. The other two finished the run off, and I ran slower trying to get my stitch sorted and my head in the right space.

The run was meant to be a nice confidence builder for Gold Coast, some positive reinforcement that I was "on track". It however worked the opposite and left me with a honest view that I am a long long way from being in 3.50 marathon shape. Although I wrote last week about how I was just going to run hard over the first 21km I am not second guessing this plan. I have 3 further 15-20k runs before next week - so unless something dramatically happens I may just have to run sensibly at 5.30pace and see where I end up.

Brenden on the other hand is smashing it, and on Sunday finally broke 20minutes for 5km, sharing this training journey with Brenden has been very rewarding he is a really good guy, kind hearted and has a great understanding of exercises physiology. We have been running these 1km repeats a road loop around my place, just crunching them consistently at 4.15-4.10 pace. Some weeks they are a bit quicker but generally we don't get too carried away with going "super fast". I really think this key session is one of the reasons Brenden was able to finally break 20 minutes - long hard intervals just knock you into shape.

Great running Big M.

In other news it has been a really less than ideal preparation, more closely resembling a disastrous preparation for my mate Donald who is running the Marathon next week. With a couple of ankle and foot injuries he just hasn't run the volume he should have,  he went past the point of no return a few weeks ago and now is in a tough spot of being under done. Next week will certainly be a huge suffer fest for him, I doubt any of it will be enjoyable - but the Marathon like life can be like that sometimes.

Somehow I have to finish my Marathon, get some calories on board and run another 10km with Donald. I am trying not to think about this as an Ultra - but there is a risk my race doesn't go well and I can't complete my pace runner duties as prescribed.

I have built this situation for myself - its not ideal BUT should make an awesome blog either way! HA

Stay safe running


Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Kids Running #RunForFun #TeamPEX

Seems to be a bit of traffic lately around how young is too young to be running.

As a kid I wasn't very athletic, I tried but due to carrying a bit of extra weight never excelled. That changed in high school and I was able to be quite competitive especially sprinting.

I never pressure my boys to run, I never say they have to run, or train or ride their bikes. I am not results focused for them, I really just want them to have fun being kids. Hayden is 8 and Joel is 5, so plenty of time to be training for real in the future.

But kids being kids they watch what dad does, and I have a bit of a collection of running medals happening, they have watched me run Marathons, halfs, and more recently track events. They know the drill, you run hard then you get a medal!

Both have run kids dash events, and Hayden has run a few 5kms. His 5km time last year was 25 minutes which is pretty good for a 7yo kid at the time.

Today's blog and photos is really a blog for the future, when the are both old enough to understand how proud I am that they are running and being active. That's not to say they have to be runners in the future, but I believe being functionally fit certainly pays dividends in your general health. We role model that in our house so its good to see it rubbing off.

Hayden picked up 3rd in the high jump and second place in the relay. Joel picked up a 3rd in his race.

I have included a heap of photos so I know where they are in 10 years time! Lets hope that hackers haven't crashed the web and the Internet still exists.
Hayden in the 200m

Hayden at Cross-Country

Boys after our first footy game this year

Joel at the start of his race

Joel gunning it!

Joel at the start - going hard, nice form
Joel and his ribbon

Boys and their ribbons

Monday, 16 June 2014

3 weeks till Gold Coast Marathon #GCAM14

So the last two weeks I have been sick, which hasn't been fun. Not the normal type of get sick for a couple of days then get better - but the dreaded flu where you don't get better but gradually worse.

I had 2 long runs where I was sick one of them was OK but the second one it was like I had no gas in my lungs and my legs were shot. I ended up on the couch all day Saturday in a coma like state - but must finally have it out of my system as I'm feel much better today.

Given that it is a touch under 3 weeks until Gold Coast I should report on how the training has been going. Brenden and I have knocked out a few impressive sessions, KM repeats on the 4.00min/km mark, and few longer tempo runs. We ran a solid 140 minutes of hills 2 weekends ago, so everything has been going along pretty well considering, except being sick.

We have also settled on a race plan, which is to run 5.00 pace for as long as possible. My goal is just to suffer for as long as possible at 5.00 pace, hopefully I will be around 21km and then just grind out the remaining 21km. My idea is just to see where I am at, and how much work is still left to do by Melbourne where we are aiming to run a 3.30 marathon.

I haven't approached a marathon like this before, so it will be fun to see how it feels. Just going out with a plan to blow up.

Being sick for last weeks long run meant the distance and quality was well below what I wanted to run, but there is nothing I can do about that now. I really have to just knuckle down for the next 19 days and keep the intensity up.

Having Brenden check in on my illness has also ensured I rest where required (like last week taking an extra day off), its been great having someone monitor you on a daily basis.

Hopefully I will get a chance to race in the local Rocky Road Runners 5km if the kids aren't playing footy out of town!

Run Safe


Monday, 26 May 2014

Race Review Marathon 8 #Ouch #GORMarathon

Race Start
Well I made it. You can do a marathon and in this case a 45km road run off 7 weeks training.

The good was that I loved the race - The Great Ocean Road is spectacular, the bad is that I suffered for the final 15km (although that is no surprise) and the ugly is me vomiting in a plastic bag down the freeway racing to get to the airport!

Its best to start from where we left off, I was on the train travelling out to Geelong on Friday night. It had been a really hectic couple of days with work, travelling to Sydney and Melbourne. But it was finally time to relax and settling into some "quiet time" before getting too pumped up about the marathon ahead.

My quiet trip on the train to Geelong was interrupted by the ticket police giving me a virtual full body cavity search prior to arriving at the station. When I finally arrived I was just glad to be in one piece!

Greg picked me up from the Train Station and it was great to be back in his company. As a person he shares a lot of similar values and life outlooks as Ben, and we had a great time catching up over a couple of beers and a meal at a nice pub in Geelong. Greg and Stef had moved to Rocky from Geelong for work and about 18 months ago moved back. Whilst he was in Rocky we drank a lot of beer and shared a love of cricket and footy.

Greg ran Gold Coast Marathon in 2012 as part of a "bucket list" and hasn't really run since. His number 1 passion is golf and the deal for the weekend was I was going to come and watch him do his magic at the local course on the Saturday and he was going to taxi me around Sunday, "taxi" turned into scenes from the Dukes of Hazzard - more on that later!

Bells Beach

Greg chipping on
On Saturday I slept in to 7am, felt great and begged Greg to take me to Bells Beach. One of my favourite action movies is Point Break and in the final scene Agent Utah (Keanu Reeves) character follows bank robber Bodhi (Patrick Swayze) to Bells Beach where Bodhi surfs Bell's massive waves in the a 50 Year Storm. So I just had to get to Bells!

After Bells Beach we headed to Greg's childhood golf course where he has also until recently been club President. My job was to caddy and take a bit of video of Greg's swing so he could look at some areas to improve. It was a really solid afternoon, just relaxing on the golf course watching Greg absolutely carve up. His biggest drive was 310 meters. Just insane. When  he got in trouble his recovery shots just bailed him out, time and time again he was able to put the ball next to or on the green to make an easy par. I've played a bit of golf and know how hard it is, Greg is a gun player and it's no wonder he has won a number of tournaments in the Geelong area since returning.

After I had walked about 6km doing my Caddy duties I was starting to tighten up a little in the left calf, and got a little worried that it was going to give me problems the next day. By the time we got to Lorne and had dinner it was close to 8pm, we watched a bit of the footy and went to bed ready for the marathon.

First things first, I wasn't really nervous until 10 minutes before we left the motel. It just felt like a long training run, the race start was about 5 minute walk up the road - and as we left the motel people were starting to make their way to the start area and do their warm up. I had dressed in a long sleeve Nike top and Scody singlet, I didn't want to get cold or sun burnt from a long day out on the road.

Race Start

The race start was delayed for some reason and we waited around for a long time, at about 8.10 I think we got started - and I placed myself at the rear of the field to make sure I didn't get carried away with going too fast early. The road was full of runners with all shapes and sizes running around the 6.15 pace. I was really careful not to go any faster than 5.30 pace on the downhills so I didn't blow up. It was a really odd feeling not to be even slightly concerned with my km splits, this is meant to be a race but it was the furthest I had run since GC 2012 so I just needed to get roll my legs over and get into the groove.

The views along the road are simply spectacular. On your left side for 45km is the ocean, at various stages she is quiet and calm others she roars with spectacular huge waves curling over and crashing onto the rocky outcrops. Running this marathon was so different to others in that there was virtually no spectators thus the only noises were shoes and running chit chat. It was so tranquil I forgot I was even in a race for the first 15km.

As I had started at the rear of the field I found myself just cruising along, passing people and having a chat at their pace for a while. I ran with a lady for about 15 minutes, she asked me why I was at the back running so slow and that I looked "fast" and should be up the front, we had a good chat until she said I was going too slow and should probably go faster!

Along the run it really felt like I was running an Ultra, there were little to no crowds and most people were running in pairs or solo at a comfortable pace. It wasn't really a "race" and didn't feel like there was a huge sense of urgency to finish. Everyone seemed just to be enjoying the day out.

I think everyone should just go and sign up and suffer through a marathon like this. Where you just run, walk a bit, stop take photos, run slower and talk to other marathoners. I have never had such a relaxing race. I can certainly see how people run multiple marathons over a year. It is such a different feeling than running for a time and pushing for a PB.

Done - Marathon 8 is complete

I received a text from Greg saying that he didn't want to alarm me BUT I better stop stuffing around as there was a 40 minute wait to get out of Apollo Bay. The drive back to the Melbourne Airport was going to take about 2.5hrs, so I knew we would be cutting it fine if I finished at 1pm, but the problem was we started about 10 minutes late and I didn't realise the delay getting out of Apollo Bay.

So after collecting my medal, I immediately walked back to the car and we left (or tried to leave) - we sat in the car for 40 minutes trying to get out of Lorne. The GPS said we would arrive at the airport at 4.40pm. Greg said it would be touch and go if I would make it to the airport.

The spoils

If you have ever run a marathon, you can at the end feel a little emotional. Sometimes really happy, other times tired exhausted and even a little teary. Well I was a little teary, after a spectacular weekend with Greg and an awesome day enjoying the scenery, now I was stressing out that I wouldn't make it home.

Getting home was always going to be a challenge, I had already been away 4 days and was really starting to miss the kids terribly. If I missed the 5pm flight that was it, I could get back to Brisbane but would miss the connecting to Rockhampton.

Now I would never say Greg broke the speed limit or we did anything risky but below is a true representation of Greg's ute as we made our way through the "back roads" of Geelong to the motorway. Greg promised it was the quick way!

I'm not sure if it was the motion sickness, stress or post marathon nausea but as we hit the motorway I needed to vomit. I reached down and grabbed a plastic bag and spewed into it as we were driving along. Up came powerade and plain Smiths chips. However we couldn't pull over as we were so late so I had to carefully drop the bag out the window. I never litter - so feel really bad, but I wasn't prepared to nurse a bag full of spew all the way to the airport.

I checked in on-line as we drove along and just hoped that they would let me on the flight.

We arrived at the airport, and I raced up to the counter. It was 4.45 and I begged the ladies to let me on the plane, they took my bag and said I had 2 minutes before they shut the doors. I raced through security, cutting in front of the line and made my way onto the plane. As I walked on they shut the doors behind me. I sat down, exhausted, I was still wearing my running gear.

I sat there with a stink of caked on sweat all over my clothes, spew on my shorts - holding my medal. Marathon 8 was complete. With no time goal it was liberating just to enjoy the day and the scenery. In reflecting what it means, it certainly feels like the start of something new. Reborn as a runner, maybe this is the future. Just running with no pressures of time or pace. Besides my first marathon this marathon had none of the post marathon blues about how fast I should of went.

8 Marathon Medals

With Gold Coast Marathon 6 weeks away, it is time to get in and smash out a big block of training. Brenden was in Beast Mode and crushed a 1.39 half marathon yesterday, so I will just have to run with him and hope to hold on for as long as possible.


Tuesday, 13 May 2014

#PexRunsGOR Race Preview

"Runners Fear The Marathon Too Much, But Fail To Respect Her Enough"

I'm lucky to have never met another marathoner before I ran my first marathon. There is a certain fear and uncertainty about 42km. Can I actually run that far? What if I walk? What will my time be?

When the conversation lends itself to what races people are running, many runners never challenge themselves to see what they are capable of. Running is certainly a metaphor for life, how many people set goals that they CAN achieve? No stretch goals, just happy to go through the motions of life. I guess that's why I was initially interested in ultras - to find my limits.

7 weeks ago I thought I would love to get to 10 marathons. That means running 3 this year. I didn't really plan on running a race so soon and it seems silly just to go from zero to hero, but I have struggled through a few races not being fit enough and if I know one thing, its that I know how to suffer with the best of them.

Many runners won't take a big bite, won't sign up for a race for fear of not finishing, or sign up and not start. Failing is part of life, the old saying you learn more from your failures than your successes, it's so accurate with running. For those runners brave enough to have a crack at a new distance, be it stepping up from the 5k to the 10k or up to a half or full marathon good on you. Our busy lives often mean we never have enough time to properly train or be "fit" enough, but we should all have a crack anyway.

The second part of the quote is aimed at those of us who stretch our time goals for the marathon to the point of breaking ourselves. The quest for sub 4, sub 3.30 or sub 3hrs sends you insane with pace strategies, split times and various versions of cutting edge training plans. 42km is a long way and if you don't respect her, your time goal will evaporate. Common errors are racing injured, cramps, running too hard early in the race, not training at race pace, dehydration and hitting the wall.

This weekend I get a chance to try something new, to run a marathon for fun. In the USA there is a huge following of people running marathons for fun, as a social occasion. A big training run. I guess mainly because there are so many marathons, and if you are going to run long on a weekend, you may as well do an event that is supported with aid stations. This weekend that is me, running along with my iPhone taking photos and loading them up to my Twitter feed (@runpexrun).

A small part of me feels like it is disrespecting the marathon, not taking her serious enough, treating as a training run BUT a huge part of me is loving the feeling of knowing I'll have marathon 8 under my belt with zero pressure on myself to run a time. If I stop to grab photos, talk to the aid station volunteers, connect with other runners, and walk out a tough section it will just be part of the experience.

After I run 3.30 in Melbourne, I am going to target more marathons for fun next year. On the list in Australia is the Outback Marathon which is run near Uluru, I would also love to run a marathon in NZ with Benny.

Make sure you follow me on twitter Sunday. I'll be tweeting photos using the hashtag #PexRunsGOR

Best of luck for everyone running TNF100 on Saturday. Silvia, Marty, Gav and Rails go and smash it up!

Be safe on the roads


Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Too far in to back out #PexRunsGOR

New Gear from RoadID - never leave home without
Ever get that feeling where you over commit and realise that this probably won't end well?

I had that feeling last week on my mid week longish run with Brendan, we headed out reasonably early and locked into a solid but comfortable pace. Cruising down Dean St where it is a slight drop in elevation I noticed that we both had stopped talking and were pushing a little harder than was the original "plan".

All seemed to be going well until around 15km when I started to feel cooked, my legs just seemed to be dying and I couldn't hold the pace. Brendan (from where I was looking) looked really solid, his gait was awesome and he wasn't fading or slowing. We grabbed a drink at 16km and I said I was done, we cruised the last couple of KMs home and I was disappointed that we didn't get the 20km in.

As I sat at my desk at work I started to have a little panic attack. What have I done? I couldn't get through 20km how the f$%k am I going to get through 42.2 (45km). We ran 18km at 5.35pace ave with only 3 really short drink breaks. A long way from the 4.58pace we need for a sub 3.30 marathon.

Originally I thought I would set a couple of smaller time goals for the marathon. Run a 1.55 half marathon, then see how I felt - if I felt good push along for a 4.00 marathon. I am so far away from having any endurance it is not funny. The mind is willing but the body is rebelling. WTF are we doing this for again!

More positively we were able to crush a couple of endurance interval sets. I see no point in doing short speed sessions, I have that ability to run 400s fast. I need to be doing longer intervals, hard and hold stuff. Last week we did 4x6min intervals and this week it was 5x1km intervals. Both sessions were tough but bang on the times we required.

By October I would like to be in sub 19 minute 5km shape and 43 minute 10km shape. They are 2 achievable PBs that will make sure I am on track for a good crack at 3.30 in Melbourne.

In regards to Great Ocean Road Marathon next week - I have adjusted my thinking to simply surviving. Just grinding out the KMs and trying to soak up the view. I am worried about how much I will be falling apart in the last 15km but I've committed now and gone too far to back out.

Marathon number 8 awaits.


Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Marathon 8 - Great Ocean Road #PexRunsGOR

So the work gods have alligned and I will get to run the Great Ocean Road Marathon in 3 1/2 weeks.

No I am not marathon fit.

No this will not be a PB attempt.

Yes I will get to catch up with Greg Smith and have a few beers in Geelong.

Yes I am aware that this is 45km not 42.2.

Yes I will probably suffer and struggle - yes more OUCH.

Yes I am setting mini-goals for the event.

Yes I will be posting photos and race updates via my twitter feed @runpexrun #PexRunsGOR.

My training for the last week has been pretty solid. 800m intervals at around the 4.25 pace mark and my longer runs seem to be much easier. I squeezed in 10k then 16k on Friday and Saturday last week. Then 10k Monday, 6x800s yesterday and another 5k today.

I hope Big M is feeling better so we can knock out a tough session tomorrow. Then I plan to run 20k on Saturday.

2014 Great Ocean Road Marathon Registration Confirmation



Sunday, 20 April 2014

Eddies Journey - My "Dad" Interview

I recently did an interview for my mate Luke Edwards' blog. The blog can be found here - RunPexRun Interview he is a new dad and like with all new dads is coming to terms with his new way of life.

In the blog I crap on a little bit, but the biggest take away part of how fatherhood has changed me is it has taught me to be more selfless. I am happy to give up a lot of things now for my family. Where running has helped is that it is "me" time. I see this as the theme through most running bloggers.

In a weird alignment of the stars, it looks like I might be in Melbourne for work on the same weekend as the Great Ocean Road Marathon - I am NOT in marathon PB shape but I think I could would really enjoy the day running and taking photos of Australia's most scenic marathon. I would have 7 weeks of running under my belt, which is NOT enough but makes for great writing material!

It will be marathon number 8, it 10 marathons has a nice ring to it! The plan is to get to 10 marathons this year and to be in PB shape by Melbourne Marathon in October.

I hope you enjoy the interview.


Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Week 3 Marathon Training OUCH

So training is going pretty well. Nothing too huge in volume just really working myself slowly into shape again. I am working on two things, the first is to ingrain my goal October marathon pace of 5.00min/km and the second thing is to work on my weaknesses (which is endurance).

Generally my week is 4 runs and 3 gym sessions. Runs 1 and 3 are long intervals, either 800m 1km, 1 mile or 2km with 2 minute recovery. Run 2 is at the moment a type of tempo so a warm up then 4-6km at 5.00pace. The idea for run 2 is to get back to running a solid 15km at 5.00 pace. Run 4 is a long run, which at the moment is 15km at 5.20 pace.

Monday - 6km at 5.00pace
Tuesday - 10 x 500s at 4.25 pace with 60 secs recovery
Thursday - 5km at 5.00 pace
Saturday - 15km at 5.20 pace

My idea this time around is not to do any "junk" running - that is for me at 6.00min/km pace. Where I am just cruising along. The main thing is that my gait is terrible at this pace and it just re-enforces bad running habits.

So my longer term goal is to be in 3.30 marathon shape by October. So plenty of longer runs at marathon pace or faster. In the past I have done shorter intervals and thought that they would transfer to good race times (for the 10km and 21km) but in knowing where my running strengths are I should be doing more longer race pace efforts. So for the marathon 15km at marathon pace mid week will be my goal, then a tempo at 1/2 marathon pace plus a speed session plus a long run.

In the past my long runs have also just been "for distance" so I am not stepping up the volume unless I am fit enough to handle it at either 5.20 pace or faster.

Everything else is going pretty well. My new Nike Pegasus arrived this week - so I feel like a marathoner again. My cupboard is full of Hammer Gels, on Saturday I have rejoined the long run group - which has been good.

On the last day of school Hayden ran his first Cross Country at school. As his birthday is the 20th of December he just made it in for the Under 9's, but he ran a sensible race and came in 6th! It was a really proud Dad moment. He ran and had fun with his friends!

I also gave in to the boys and got them a puppy! Milo is the new addition to the family!


At the end of the race!

Happy after the race

Milo and the boys - the new addition

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Coming Full Circle - Running For Fun

When I first started running I ran to lose weight - it was originally part of my get fit quick campaign before my wedding. Ironically I've been married 9 years on the 2nd of April so this post has some good timing.

I never thought I would travel to all parts of Australia to run in events, hell I didn't even know "fun runs" existed. Because of running I have run in races all across our great land, and have met some of the most genuine and down to earth people in the running community. Runners are special souls.

Because of running Jason and I started HRE and because of HRE we have been able to grow running events in Central Queensland. Runners rate our event - the CQPhysio Group Capricorn Coast Running Festival as the most professional event in CQ. I have been blessed to have found running and runners who enjoy the sport and love to share in others experiences.

During my short lived Ultra Marathon career, I became fixated on results. Somehow I went from just enjoying running to letting it well and truly consume what I was doing. I wanted you all to say how good I was. I wanted to be like the others, the winners. Wanting to be a winner meant beating others, this soon sucked the fun out everything.  

So after 18 months and a lot of self reflecting in the last 3 months, I am returning to endurance running to have fun. I miss the running crew, miss the sharing of training plans and race strategies. Miss dreaming of the world marathon majors. Miss the suffering of failures and celebration of successes. I couldn't care less if I ever finish a local race first or last. From this point forward I am simply going to enjoy my running and training.

It may seem like a back flip BUT this is in no way saying I am happy not to push my limits. So please don't get the two confused. My goals are to become a better all-round runner than I was in 2012, I know I can apply myself and I know my strengths and weaknesses better than ever. My purposeful main change is not to become fixated with results or times. I plan to run 2-3 marathons this year, by October I plan to be in great shape and to run a PB. But my PB is just that, not yours or Jason's or Ben's or anyone else's. If I don't reach my goal, I will keep chipping away at it. 

The message for myself and my sons when they eventually read this is that I want you to be the best you can be, and not to compare your effort with any other person. Your success in life is a reflection on you, not a reflection on me or anyone else. If, and when you find yourself comparing your results, or achievement with others it is time to stop and ask yourself "why am I doing this" is it for some form of external public reinforcement/recognition or is for the feeling of self accomplishment.

In looking back my focus on being "good" at something - in this case running took over and I lost the fun part of why I was doing it. You should have fun with it, it isn't my job, and my times are in no way ever going to mean anything to anyone else. Like I have said before, there is always someone better somewhere.

When I helped out at the Rocky Road Runners opening race a couple of weeks ago, it really reinforced why I started running in events. It was awesome to cheer runners on, first or last place. Encouraging them to push their limits. I missed it.

So as a little motivation for everyone, this is my first full week of getting back on the horse and training for endurance. I have been struggling a little, but enjoying getting out of bed and hitting the road once more. My goal over the next few weeks is to get back to running a 10k in 50 minutes. So I am doing longer intervals at 5.00/km pace 800s, and mile repeats to ingrain that pace. It is hard, certainly hard working against what I am good at (like just sprinting 200m) but it has a special feel to it, my mind has already drifted off thinking about Gold Coast Marathon and Melbourne Marathons. Thinking of the race course, and that feeling of coming down the finish chute knowing you are a marathoner.

I am pleased I spent the time pushing my speed limits last year. It has given me a great insight into my strengths and how I can build a training plan going forward.

I know it will take a good 8 weeks before I have any endurance, I am looking forward to working hard, the grind and the struggle.

"Chase you goals Sean - go full steam ahead, but don't lose sight of having fun and enjoying the moment."

Running is who am, not what I do.