Tag Archives: Marathon

Tasmanian Trail – Summer 2013-14

I have just booked my end of year adventure. From Christmas Day 2013 until 11 January 2014, I’ll be bike packing the Tasmanian Trail. The Tasmanian Trail is a 480km multi-use horse-riding, walking and MTB track from Devonport in Tasmania’s north to Dover, which is the southern-most town in Australia.

I will actually be riding from Launceston to the start point in Devonport and then from the finish in Dover back to Hobart, making my trip closer to 700km than the trail’s official 480km length.

I’ll be riding the 400km from Devonport to Hobart (on my way down to Dover) as an Audax Raid (Raid Tasmania). The maximum time allowed for this section of the ride will be 10 days and I won’t be allowed to ride any of it at night.

I’ll be finishing my ride by running the Cadbury Marathon in Hobart on 12 January before I fly home on the 13th.

 

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Post marathon stuff

Holiday snap: Fremantle Markets

I thoroughly enjoyed my marathon on Sunday and am still on holidays in Western Australia with my partner. I’ve not been blogging because I’m spending quality time with my partner.

I’m feeling really good after my marathon. Immediately after the race I stood thigh-deep in the icy cold ocean and then I sat in a cold bath when I returned to my hotel. The cold water treatment seems to have helped a lot because I have none of the leg soreness that I had after my first 50km trail run. The next morning after the marathon my body felt great again.

The only exception is my right hamstring. I have a light strain in it so am resting this week to give it a chance to recover. I bought an ice brick so have been using that yesterday and today to try to speed the recovery of the strain. I’m keeping off the hamstring as much as I can but we’re driving around for a few days and I need my right leg to operate the car’s controls, so I can’t totally rest it.

Holiday snap: South Beach, Fremantle

If it weren’t for the hamstring strain I’d be back out running already today, just two days post marathon. But perhaps this is my body’s way of making sure I rest to fully recover from my effort before preparing for my next 12-in-12 Challenge event, which is just 17 days away. I’m not too concerned about the hamstring strain. It’s only light and there’s no swelling. Besides, my physio is a miracle worker so he’ll get me right as rain.

Holiday snap: Swan Valley

I’ll probably not post a lot until I return back home to Brisbane next week unless I go out running. But don’t fear, I’m still alive. I’m just enjoying my vacation with my partner. We’ve been eating lots of delicious food and finding a few geocaches while we’re out driving.

Holiday snap: Canola fields near Williams

Enjoy your weeks and I will be back blogging either when I am able to run again or when I am back in Brisbane on Monday, whichever comes sooner.

City to Surf Marathon, Perth

Today I ran my first marathon. And I’m proud to say that I completed it in just under 4:17. It’s also my second 12-in-12 Challenge event. I’m a little tired so I’m going to be lazy and just post some photos and videos, rather that typing a lot of words. I hope you don’t mind.

Pre-race breakfast salad

I started the day with a delicious breakfast of salad. I’m finding my body loves being fueled this way. Today’s salad was mesculin lettuce mix, spinach, carrots, beetroot, broccoli stems, slivered almonds and macadamias with a creamy garlic dressing.

I got to go into the ‘marathon’ room

The marshalling room at about 5:15am

I got the marshalling area 15 minutes early, which left me time to calm my nerves with some Qi Gong.

1,201 marathon runners walking to the start

One of the cool costumed runners

It was a long walk to the start line and everyone was chatting nervously to randoms.

Robert de Castella’s motivating and rousing speech at the start of the marathon. I also filmed myself crossing the start line. I was so nervous that I had to stop about 500m down the road at my hotel to use the bathroom in the lobby for a nervous wee.

The view back to Perth at the 12km mark

The run along the river with the sun coming up was amazing!

Somewhere around the 17km mark. I was loving life at this point and running at about 5:40 pace.

I ran through the halfway point (half marathon) at 2:00.53. That’s pretty good for me.

The top of The Terrace at 22km

The 5km from the river, through the half-way point and up to King’s Park were all uphill. But then we got to enjoy running along the boulevard of gum trees that I love so much.

The half marathon runners joined us as we ran through King’s Park. It was tough because they were still fresh and were running so quickly compared with us marathoners. To be honest, it was almost disheartening. Then, just before the 32km mark, as we left King’s Park, the 12km runners came heading up the hill. I felt so emotional when it happened because here I was, settling into my own little world of pleasure and pain when suddenly I became part of something so much bigger. The sound of the tens of thousands of foot steps was surreal.

I won’t lie: I struggled from about 32km onwards. I started needing to walk a lot more; largely because my right hamstring was tight and two toes on my left foot were stinging. But I made it a power walk and still maintained a fairly positive attitude. I didn’t want to get negative like some of the runners around me.

From 37km on I started counting down the kilometres by texting both my partner and a running club friend. It made it seem so real.

And then, at 40km, just when I thought I was almost there, the course had a nasty surprise of four big hills. You can tell the marathoners in this clip: we are the people walking or shuffling. The other runners are the half marathoners.

And then I finished! This was my first marathon. I almost feinted when I crossed the line and struggled to keep my feet. The recovery tent was a long way from the finish line and I couldn’t make it. I lay down and it was all I could do to keep from bursting into tears. I asked two medics for help getting water but they just told me to stand up and walk to the recovery tent. I don’t think they realised that I was in mild trouble. But perhaps they weren’t runners.

My post-race pile of mess

City Beach Perth after the race

After I spent some time in the recovery tent (I eventually got there but it was touch and go), my partner and I walked to nearby City Beach. She waited patiently while I went down to the water and stood thigh deep in the icy cold ocean as a pseudo ice bath.

We then caught the free shuttle bus back to Perth CBD. While waiting in the queue I needed to use a toilet to urinate urgently (for the millionth time since finishing). The bus monitor man got all angry with me telling me that the toilet I used was for staff only. I simply told him that had I not used the bathroom I would have urinated on his bus. He got angry with me so I walked off. I wish I’d taken the inappropriately behaved man’s name because I would have reported him to TransPerth for his behaviour. There were no other toilets anywhere and it really was a matter of use a toilet or wet my pants. And given that I do not have a penis, I can’t just find the nearest tree.

All in all, it was a brilliant event. I had a fantastic run and surprised myself with my time.

Total: Marathon run in 4:17 (gun time)

Committing to the 12-in-12 Challenge

The more I think about my 12-in-12 Challenge, the more I realise how exciting it is. I have been looking for a big adventure for some months now but wasn’t sure how to fit it in with work and home commitments. See, I thought an adventure meant that I’d need to go someplace else for an extended period of time. I was envisioning weeks of hiking some long lonely trail in a beautiful location. But, instead, fate and life have led me to this crazy 12-in-12 Challenge. And I am more excited about it than about the idea of going away alone for weeks or months at a time.

When I first came up with the 12-in-12 Challenge, it seemed like such a simple idea. I just have to put one foot in front of the other for 12 long running events in a year. And that’s what I like about it – the simplicity.

But the reality is, I have to approach this challenge with the same commitment and care as I would approach a thousand kilometre hike. I not only have to make sure I enter the right events, but I need  to ensure my body and mind are healthy enough for the challenge. And that they stay healthy.

Mentally, I know there will be times ahead when I wonder why I took up the challenge. There will be times when I forget what a blessing it is to be able to experience the places my adventure will take me. This is normal. I read a lot of books and blogs by adventurers and without fail, they all have their dark moments. For some, the darkness and hardship take over, while others embrace the hours of discomfort as part of the adventure. I want to be one of the latter group. And by mentally preparing for the hardships and acknowledging they will come, I will give myself the best chance of success.

Emotionally, this adventure is going to take me far inside myself. There is no one else who can run the long lonely miles of a race with me. When the going gets tough, we all shut down to those running around us and enter our own worlds. This is when I need to trust that I’ve come a long way from the anxiety riddled man experiencing deep depression to be the optimistic and peaceful man I am today. I no longer fear the solitude of my thoughts and draw strength from the memories of days gone by. Because I know the elation of success and the euphoria that comes with achieving the seemingly impossible.

Physically, I have a lot to balance. I have greatly improved my diet over the past three weeks. I have shifted from taking most of my calories from sugar, flour and meat to eating a largely plant-based diet that is supplemented by meat. I am eating five serves of vegetables for breakfast every day accompanied by herbal tea fresh from my garden. My lunches consist of vegetarian tortillas or brown rice with vegetables. Instead of eating cakes and biscuits for morning and afternoon tea, I am eating fruit and nuts. Today I supplied morning tea to work but brought in a date loaf instead of a mud cake. It’s a big change and my body feels better for it.

For race days, I have been experimenting with real food nutrition, rather than relying on bars and gels. I have found it works really well for me. I like oat bars with fruit or nut flavours, vegetarian tortillas or burritos, and fresh fruit. They fuel my body for longer, are lightweight and easy to carry, and contain lots of calories. I will probably always carry a gel or two for emergencies or late-race bonking. But they are now my backup not my ‘go to’.

Aside from food, I need to look after my bones, muscles and joints. For the past few months I’ve been receiving post-race massages from my daughter-in-law who is qualified to perform relaxation massage. The difference in my recovery has been astounding.

I have a long, painful history of shin splints and ITB syndrome in my right leg. The pain started between 1996-1998 and has been a constant in my life. It stopped me running for six years between 2005 – 2011 and is one of the reasons I run in bare feet or barefoot-style shoes. I have decided that rather than sticking my head in the sand, I am going to address the issues with my leg in three ways:

  • I am running slower than I might if I were training for triathlon and am trying to focus on technique, rather than on speed. My goals will only require me to average about 8-9kph in my races (6:40 – 7:30 min/kph pace) and I am not afraid to go slower if necessary. Because right now, it’s more important to finish than to get a good time.
  • I have made an appointment with a craniosacral therapist. I used to see him years ago and he helped me a lot, both with my emotional health and with my physical well-being.
  • I have made an appointment with a physiotherapist who is himself a runner and who treats many runners at my running club.

It’s not that I’m injured but I know I need to be sensible and honest if I want to remain injury free.

On a personal level, I am committed to the 12-in-12 Challenge because I am running for the transgender community. I want to show transgender men and women who are early in or struggling with their transitions that there is hope for the future. Our gender histories don’t have to limit our life options nor hold us back in any way. It’s not about success – it’s about being willing to try.

Sure, I might not achieve my goal. But it wouldn’t be an adventure if there was no risk of failure. The important thing is to set a goal, aim high, prepare properly, look after your body and soul, and just get out there and do it without fear of failure.

My 12 in 12 for 2012 Challenge

I don’t quite know where this crazy idea has come from. I get them from time-to-time.

In 2002, I decided to drive out to the Birdsville Races and then cycle home. The bicycle ride home was 1,600km (1,000 miles). I rode with my father while my mother, sister and grandmother supported us with a caravan. We didn’t train sufficiently for the ride but we had a fantastic adventure and succeeded in our mission.

In 2004, I decided to walk the Oxfam Trailwalker in Sydney. It was a 100km bushwalk. I walked with The Plovers, a team comprising of my father, mother and brother-in-law. Our goal was to complete the walk in 36 hours, well within the 48 hour time limit. Again, we didn’t train sufficiently and just ‘winged’ it. My mother got sick shortly before the event and had major surgery. But she still started with us, only withdrawing at the halfway point. She then joined my sister in the support vehicle, feeding us and keeping us motivated to the finish. We completed the walk in 36hrs 29mins.

In 2011, I decided to walk the Oxfam Trailwalker in Brisbane. This time our team, The Plovers Take 2, comprised my brother-in-law and me, and another pair of brothers-in-law who we met shortly before the event. Again, our goal was to complete the walk in 36 hours. While the rest of my team trained, I did only minimal training. We completed the course in 32hrs 58 minutes.

The day after Trailwalker Brisbane I decided to throw myself into triathlon, aiming to complete a six triathlons in 9 months. I ended up completing 9 triathlons, 1 ultra marathon, 2 half marathons and an 8 hour adventure race. And I loved it.

So I have a history of crazy ideas. But I think, perhaps, this crazy idea I have now is the craziest so far:

I want to complete 12 marathons or ultra marathons in 12 months.

Yes, you heard me correctly. And yes, I am sure I want to do this. I want to run 12 marathons or ultra marathons in 12 months. So that’s my challenge:

My 12 in 12 for 2012 Challenge.

I know I started late but it’s better late than never. I’ve listed my challenge runs in the left margin of my blog and also in my upcoming events page.

Perth City to Surf

I won an entry to the Perth City to Surf race, which is being held here on the west coast on 26 August.

I happen to be on holidays that week so have asked my partner whether we can change our holiday destination plans(again) to Western Australia. She said ‘yes’ so I can accept the prize.

All I did was ‘like’ a post on the Pan Pacific Perth’s Facebook page. We always stay at the Pan Pacific when we come to Perth for work.

Now I have to go back to the hotel to find out whether I’ll be running the 12km, half marathon or marathon. Would it be silly to try to negotiate entry to my first marathon with my already ridiculous race schedule? đŸ˜‰