Winter goals

So, you already know by now that my day at Ultratrail Australia wasn't a miraculous victory. That's OK.

I wasn't in a great place mentally when I posted my race preview. Things improved overnight, and by the time I got to the start line I felt confident enough for it to be an each way bet as to whether I'd cross the finish line victorious or pull out at the 4k mark, where the course passes back by the start line after an out and back through Katoomba.

Catch up time... again?

How did I get here again?

A few months down the road and I'm catching you up on months of activity, inactivity and most importantly, challenges ahead.

I'm writing this from Katoomba, home of the Ultra Trail Australia. Tomorrow I'm attempting to cover 100km with not enough training, a bit of a bung hammy, and a tweaked ankle.

I don't know if this is advisable or possible.

How did I end up here?

I've had a busy start to the year pursuing a chance to officiate at the Commonwealth Games next year so my opportunities to train have been limited.

Two weeks ago at the QUT Classic I tripped and ripped open my left palm and bruised my right knee.

A few days after that my bruise paled in significance when I tweaked my hamstring in the gym. And than a couple of days after that I twisted my left ankle awkwardly. Since then I've been applying Dettol cream to my left palm and Rapigel to my ankle. So at least that took my concern away from my lack of training.

That was until I read the weather forecast. 95 percent chance of rain and a maximum of 14 degrees and then I thought, well, that's three strikes of bad luck (bad training, injury, and terrible weather). Things are on the up.

I don't really feel like things are on the up but I'm here and it's T minus 24 hours.

Wish me luck.

Or phone me right now and talk me out of this madness...

Personal worst

OK so it might sounds like an exaggeration with a title like "personal worst".

I am a fairly good judge of when things are going pear shaped and at the moment that's a pretty good estimation.

And, there are also stats to prove it.

Catch up time

I've been a bad blogger.

It's been over 70 days since the CCC and I haven't posted a thing.

Most of you will know from my Facebook page that I DNFed. I was withdrawn from the course at the Triente checkpoint, 72ks into the race.

I'm sure I'll write a post at some point about the CCC. But the short version is, it was brutal. The hardest thing I've ever attempted. I underestimated just how much up and down there was in the damn thing, even after studying the course and elevation profile. You just can't fathom hills that go for hours until you're there and doing it.

We travelled home from Europe not long after After that I took some time to recover and lick my wounds.

Then it was maintenance and rebuild time.

I started running again after a few weeks, just short runs. New shoes, new orthotics, and

I have already set  some new goals, the first one being to run 150ks this November for the Indigenous Marathon Foundation Virtual Run.

I’m 43% of the way through November and as of this morning I’ve covered 51ks, or 33% of the goal. I’m a tracking a little behind but I’m confident.

I’ve also entered the Strava challenge to run 10ks in one run in November. I’ve achieved this (but not publicly). So I have at least another 10k run to tick off.

This is all building to running 21ks by the end of the year, so I can build into my 2017 goal ultras. I'll join the December Strava

More on that later.

Until then, I think I can say, I am back.

A prelude to the CCC

Tomorrow when I run the CCC at the Ultra Trail Mont Blanc, I'll carry with me this photo.

I don't know this young man, and I'll never meet him.

The photo is of my husband's cousin, and it was taken on the morning he set out with his university mountaineering club to summit Mont Blanc. His eyes, to me, sparkle with adventure and expectation, and his smile radiates happiness.

Ian didn't make the top of Mont Blanc and sadly he didn't make it back from that trip. He died on the mountain, decades ago.

Last time my husband and I visited Chamonix we visited Ian's grave.

At that time I knew very little of Ian's story. I hadn't seen the image I now carry, I had no connection to this person or this place. When we reached Ian's plot, I realised how young he'd been when he'd made his perilous pilgrimage. How long ago it was and yet how current his loss still is.

All of a sudden I was overcome. With sorrow for the loss his parents probably feel acutely still today. With respect for them, and for everyone who makes what must be a difficult decision to bury their loved ones' remains here, in Chamonix, in the climbers cemetery, instead of repatriating them to their home. Because this decision is made with the idea of living a life of adventure at its centre, even though that adventure may take life away.

In that moment I felt such a human connection to Ian, to his parents and friends. It was unexpected and therefore immensely powerful to me.

You might be thinking that I'm running here for Ian. But I'm not that honourable - I didn't choose the UTMB for that reason. If anything it's a coincidence that the world's biggest trail run happens to be here. 

I don't think for a minute that carrying a photo of Ian with me will give anyone that loved him, and still misses him, comfort or solace.

For some reason though, in this place, with this connection, it feels like the right thing to do.

Ten things to do while tapering for an ultramarathon

Taper can be challenging to get right. Your active kilometres, well, taper off to allow your body to recover from the slog of endurance training, and feel fresh for event day.

The challenges include too much time, not enough activity, still too hungry and logistics to get your head around.

I'm writing this from Briancon, in the week before the CCC at Chamonix. I've dubbed our Airbnb my "Briancon Bunker" where I'll finalise my preparation for the epic challenge to come, and this has inspired this post on things to do right before an ultramarathon.

European training #2: Hamburg Alster Lake

After Morzine I headed off to Hamburg to indulge my other life as a triathlon technical official.

I knew there wouldn't be a lot of time to train but I managed to get in a 10k run around the Alster Lake.

I had intended to run more through the city and take in the architecture but as I headed out from my hotel I followed the other runners to what seems to be the city's primary running track.

There's even a self-timed running route around the lake - just purchase your chip from the official website of Alster running and you're away!

It was a bit of a gloomy morning but I still took the time to take in the views including this small harbour at the end of the Lake.

And, I still got my architecture in - stopping by St Georg's Kirchen on the way back to the hotel.

Even though 10ks isn't really a lot of mileage for where I'm at with my training I found out later in the day that none of my technical official friends went out in the rain that morning. I felt good at having done *something*

Check out the Strava file for this run.