Wednesday
Aug152018

Using your $10…a metaphor for life and the anatomy of a DNF

A friend once spoke to me about a metaphor he has for life…you have $10 and every little thing in life costs you something, until finally you have nothing left.

Now, I can’t remember how long the $10 is meant to last in his metaphor, but I’m going to say that at the beginning of each year we get a new $10. Each little stressful situation takes away from that money. For example, a hard race might cost us anything from $1-2. Work stresses might be 50 cents. And so on. Wonderful things like your wedding, or the birth of a child or a happy, relaxing holiday might add some small amounts back. However, the concept is you want to arrive at the end of the year not in over-draft!!! Maybe with even a couple of bucks left! When you have nothing left you literally: Have. Nothing. Left. You are stressed to the max and deeply unhappy and barely surviving. I like this metaphor…it helps you to think about how you are going to parcel out you $. (Some self-help books call these giving f#*ks. The basic concept is the same).

Now I started 2018 with my $10. I had just moved to Canada and was adapting to life here. Now my over-spending began. Learning how to drive on the other side of the road and in snow: cha-ching! Adapting to a new work environment, meeting new kids and staff, learning the new ways, making new friends; cha-ching, cha-ching! I was spending those bucks fast!!! Even running in the snow and cold weather was a huge challenge to overcome.

I crazily entered the Sinister Triple, coz hey when you’re in for a penny, might as well be in for a pound right!!?? I was training hard and working hard…all taking money from my $10. Then the sh*@t really hit the fan. I had driven to Vancouver for Spring break (that drive took a few bucks too!!) We stopped in Kelowna on the way home to break up the drive. Every night I put my phone on aeroplane mode. I woke up in the morning of Good Friday and switched the phone back on to missed calls and the news that my mother was very unwell. I had to drive form Kelowna to Calgary through mountains and snowstorms with my head very distracted: more bucks taken. I finally made it home, but life had to continue as even if I went back to Australia, it wouldn’t make any difference to the situation and we all thought she was basically stable. But let me assure you, every moment the stress of it was taking money from my $10. Pretty sure I was down to about $4 and it was only April.

Then, the devastating news that my mother was not doing well at all and time was running out. I flew home for a week. Travel is stressful under any circumstances, but these were the worst. I took the wrong passport and had to re-apply for my US visa at the airport 2 hours before my flight. Cha-ching!!!

I got back to Canada and three days later got the news my mother had died. I think I was down to about $2 by now. I flew back to Australia, and whacked my daughter’s flights on my severely battered credit card too. If I had $1 of my $10 left I would’ve been very surprised. 

I returned to Calgary, behind on work and numb to life. I continued to go through the motions of working and training but every moment was a struggle. I think I was now in over-draft.

Then, finally Summer vacation. Time to re-coup. But silly me still had these three races to complete! So, five weeks after the death of my mother and 3 1/2 weeks after returning to Canada, I fronted up to a 100 miler with no crew and no clue. Just drop-bags and a severe case of anxiety.

So, it should not surprise anyone that my stomach started to go south fairly early in the game. Every time I ate or drank, it just went straight through me. A highly unpleasant and painful experience!! I struggled on, but by the 6th leg I was feeling very dizzy as I started the climb. I kept sitting down on the side of the trail trying to get my head together. A guy stopped to check if I was ok. I don’t know what I said but I remember him saying ‘You’re not making any sense, I’m going to tell the volunteers at the next aid station’. I managed to get up and keep going. I was coming close to the aid station; freezing and half-delirious. A woman was walking towards me with a blanket. She said ‘Are you cold?” and I burst into tears. That is when my race ended. The simple kindness of a stranger undid me. She hugged me and led me to the aid station where they bundled me up and called the medics. I was transported back to the last main transition area and taken to the medical tent. I wasn’t allowed to leave until I had someone pick me up. Thank goodness my friend Lance didn’t mind me ringing him and waking him up. He came straight out to pick me up.

Thus, one can see how important it is in life and running to dole out our $ carefully. I have had some time since, and a lovely break in Alaska, to try to put some money back in the account. I still struggle..I cried writing this! But I think I might be back up to about $2 now. From where I was, that’s a veritable fortune.

Check out my vlog of the Sinister seven race here.

 

Wednesday
Nov292017

The Brisbane Track Ultra 

I have started my own YouTube channel. There will be more news on that soon!

Here is the first video I have made!

Brisbane Track Ultra

Tuesday
Nov142017

Full video and teaser

This is the original teaser for the interview I did with mel from Muscle Action Therapies.

Here is the full interview I did with Mel. Enjoy!

 

Tuesday
Oct172017

Melbourne Marathon October 2017

The last time I attempted Melbourne Marathon was in 2007. I had run 2.58 at Gold Coast in July and represented Australia in Switzerland in the Long Distance Mountain Running World Championships in September. I was pretty tired and probably shouldn’t have lined up to race. I was exhausted and running slow (or so I thought, now I would probably think it was fast!!!!) and pulled out at 15ks. That was my last attempt at a road marathon.\

The start of the race

Fast forward to 2017 (has 10 years really passed????) and I’m lining up again. No nerves this time, because I’m not going for a time! It’s a bit of a weird feeling. I’m quite far up the back self-corralled into a group according to time. The race starts and I have to walk to the start line!! So different to starting up near the front like I used to!

I needed the toilet before the race started, but figured it was probably just nerves (not that I was nervous…I think I just didn’t want to wait in the port-a-loo queue!!). However, as I ran I realized I actually did need the toilet!! So much so, that just running through the water stations made it worse! I made an executive decision and ran off the course to a block of toilets….and unfortunately so did everyone else!! 15 minutes, later I was running back to join the race. When I had exited the course I was just behind the 4 hour pacers (yes, I was planning a cruisey training run!!), but when I rejoined the race I was behind the 4.20 pacers!! As much as I didn’t really care about my time, I wanted to go sub-4, so I put the foot down and worked my way back through the crowds, a meandering journey as I dodged and weaved my way through the crowds. In fact, at the end of the race I ended up with nearly 1.5 extra kilometres from my toilet detour and subsequent run through the crowds. It took me nearly an hour to get back to where I had been before my toilet break!!

One thing I noticed weaving through the crowds was that there were many cases of inadequate personal hygiene!! How hard is it to spray on some deodorant?? Or to wash running clothes before re-wearing?? Honestly, sometimes I had to hold my breath! I mean, I understand people sweat, but this was ridiculous!! Rant over…

The Melbourne Marathon finishes on the MCG; it was great as the sun was shining and my friend Nikki had just passed me (damn, pipped at the post!) and I was trying to catch her. It was nice to have a finish hug and share stories and laughs. Running is such a fun, social sport, I’m so glad I am putting myself out there again. It’s like a circle; as I feel better mentally I put myself out there more, which makes me feel better, which makes me want to join in with life again, which makes me feel better…and so on…I’m sure you get the picture!!!

I hope you had a great weekend of running and racing yourself!


Saturday
Oct142017

The Brisbane Track Ultra 2017

I had put in many long, lonely training runs on Knox track and the surrounding suburbs over the last few months. The weather I had trained in had been typical for Melbourne; ranging from rain, wind, snow, and hail to sunny days. The week of the race I had been running in 5 degrees Celsius and less. So, it was with fear I saw that the race day weather prediction was for 35 degrees!!!

Anyway, as I have well learnt (and I’m sure many of you have too!!) there are somethings we just can’t control, and the weather is one of them! I would just have to adapt. I bought some super-strength sunscreen and ensured I had lots of electrolytes. What more can you do??

I had been reducing my caffeine for two weeks prior to the race, and was completely caffeine-free for the last 3 days before the race. For this reason, I spent a bit of time the day before napping, and went to bed super-early the night before. The good thing about 24 hour track races is that they start a bit later so you can have a proper breakfast. The hotel my crew and I were staying at provided breakfast, so I had eggs, toast and cereal. I don’t like to race feeling hungry, nor do I like to race feeling overly full, so it’s a fine line to tread.

We were kindly given a lift to the track by one of the Brisbane Track Runners, which was greatly appreciated. We had to take all our luggage as well as my race supplies, as there was no point leaving our stuff at the hotel! There was not going to be any sleep this night!

I had done my long training runs at the track with 12 minutes running, 3 minutes brisk walking. This is how you run these long races. You don’t have the luxury of terrain to break up which muscles you use, so this helps with that. It also provides rest. It would be very difficult to run for 24 hours on a flat track with no rest at all.

I started the race doing 12/3’s. After about 12 hours, this degenerated to 10/5s. Towards the end, as the suffering really began, it went to 7/3, then 6/4, then 3/2…then finally to run 200/walk 200. I was truly suffering by this stage!! The heat had really taken its toll from the day before and the new day was heating up a lot too.

My crew had been great; providing me with food and drinks all day and night. I was pretty good with eating for the first 6 hours or so, but after that it became a struggle, as always. I mainly sucked on lollies and drank watered-down Gatorade to keep me going. Even so, it was way more than I normally consume in such a long race. My stomach always goes south!!

Another problem I encountered was related to the heat. Due to the heat, the runners were getting sprayed with water and provided with sponges. My crew was also pouring water on me. This was great, except it ended up getting in my shoes. Thus I ran for a good 12 hours with wet feet….the results are evident:

 

In saying that, I still think I needed the water. I don’t think I could’ve handled the heat otherwise. And the feet didn’t hurt that much when I was running. I knew there were problems with the toe as it was tingling, but I chose to ignore it, and the feeling went away!! The brain is an amazing thing!!

The last hour was, of course, the most difficult. I just wanted to stop. I was exhausted. The last half an hour or so, my body started leaning to the right and I was listing to the tight. I could not run in a straight line, I was struggling big time.

  


I want to thank my crew; John, Nikki and Leanne. I couldn’t have done it without them. I went into it wanting to get 200kms. The hot weather put paid to that, but that’s ok, it just means I have to try again!!