How to raise $1000 for charity

Now, I'm not an expert on this but just before my attempt to run 100ks at the Glasshouse 100, I asked you whether you thought I was inspirational or insane, and asked you to donate to a charity to show it.

It would appear that you think I'm inspirational, because together we raised over $1,000 for The Smith Family, a charity I regularly support through their Learning for Life program.

Several of you also donated to QUT's Learning Potential Fund, a scholarship I make a payroll donation to each fortnight.

Part of my pitch for donations was the promise of a handmade thank you card. The fact that it's two months after my run that I'm writing this blog post is testament to the fact that making nearly 30 cards is a bit of a marathon effort in itself.

A three-week-late update

Over a month ago I promised you an update in a week's time about making sure I limited eat week to just three weeks.

My inability to keep this promise doesn't bode well but I can report some progress on the eating and training front. 

You may also be curious to find out whether I earned a purple cycling jersey, or running shirt, or indeed, both.

The 130k quest for a purple Strava cycling jersey

Probably the less I say about this the better. The day was long, it was hot, and not surprisingly, I was not prepared for 130ks on the bike. 

For simplicity I chose to ride in familiar territory, with loops around Brighton, Sandgate and Scarborough, Boondall Wetlands, and the criterium track at Albert Bishop Park. 

It was boring as hell but I stuck to my goal and got a good day of endurance training in.

The 21.1k quest for a purple Strava running shirt

This is a much happier story. I did most of this run along Kedron Brook. About 8ks in I was greeted by the cycle escort for the walkers in the Weekend to end Women's cancer.

Hundreds of women, many in pink for breast cancer or purple for ovarian cancer, who were just over 5ks into their 30k walk, backing up from the same distance on the day before.

I had their company for maybe 5-6 ks and it gave me a lift for the middle portion of the run.

I was worried that the 8 or so remaining ks would feel flat and hard but it didn't; it felt good. And that felt good in turn.

The support crew were superheroes.

Eat three weeks? 

I can't hand on heart say that I've been perfect but all in all I've been much better with my diet and somewhat consistent with training. 

When I say 'somewhat consistent' I mean I've run 2-3 times a week and either cycled or a session on the wind trainer a couple of times a week. I have not ridden to work once a week like I said I would but have run to and from work a couple of times. (Not every week like I said I would.)

I've always known that I train better when I have a goal and I am the first to admit that I'm a little lost right now. Not for much longer though. As of last Wednesday I'm a confirmed entrant in The North Face 100.

It's weird though - the prospect of entering, and actually getting in, took a bit of wind out of my sails last week. I know, you would think it would put the fear of God into me and I'd be training the house down.

Well it has put the fear of God into me, but I have felt paralysed by the enormity of it all.

There is a lot to do. Sort out my mandatory equipment (and learn how to use some of it!), work seriously on my core strength, and mst importantly, develop my training program.

As these start falling into the place, my fear will drive me rather than hold me back.

Eat (three) week(s)

"Eat Week" is a tradition for me. It's a very simple concept - after completing a major event I eat whatever I want for a week.

I've celebrated "Eat Week" for years now, even though I've only been serious about dietary intake before major events in the last few years. It's really no secret that I love food.

It's now just over three weeks since the Glasshouse 100. My "Eat (three) Week(s)" peaked  on Friday. It's now time to admit my sins and start eating at least a little cleaner.

Here are just the things I remember from the last three weeks of eating really quite terribly.

Ask me: what's it really like to run 100 ks

I have answered so many questions about running 100ks at the Glasshouse 100 last weekend that I decided to write them up into a blog post.

Some of them even have interesting answers.

Glasshouse 100: I'm an ultramarathon finisher

There's always a first time for everything. Last weekend I did my first real ultramarathon.

Technically, my 50ks at Kurrawa 2 Duranbah last December counts as my first ultramarathon, a term which describes any foot race of over 42 kilometres. But when you up the stakes to 100ks on trails, somehow 50ks of road running seems remarkably different. I felt like what I had ahead of me was more significant.

I didn't know what to expect but as the event approached I was hopeful that I had trained enough to be physically and mentally able to get through 16 or so hours on the trails.

Lunch and dinner, ultramarathon style

How does this look for a nutritious and tasty day's worth of food?

I have diverted from primarily sports nutrition and been eating more real food while training for this race. This seems to be how ultrarunners roll, so when in Rome...

So the full repertoire of energy replacements is:

  • fruit cake
  • cookies
  • rice with custard
  • rice with cream cheese
  • Sustagen poppers
  • Mars bars
  • boiled eggs
  • potato chips
  • energy gels and gel chews
  • coke
  • coconut water with electrolyte powder.
  • cup a soups in case of emergency (can't run any more and I start getting cold)
  • bananas 

I've spent today cutting and wrapping many of these things into small portions I can easily carry between checkpoints, and eat quickly on the go.

I feel confident from the training I've done with these foods that I can handle running on solid food and eating real food seems to have helped with the tummy issues I've previously had.

(I am also packing some gastro stop and nurofen, just in case.)

I'm finishing this post off on the way home from the race briefing and pasta dinner at Beerburrum State School. An early night now before a day of adventure.

Nervous purchase

So I bought this on Monday.

I know. Nothing new on race day.

Never fear, it's not new anymore. I've taken it on a couple of training runs now. What can possibly go wrong?

Inspirational or insane? Decide and donate.

My 100k event draws ever nearer. I've done the physical training and now it's all about mental preparation.

Part of that preparation is talking about what I'm about to do. It might seem strange but saying the words, "I'm going to run 100 kilometres" really helps.

When I say these words, the reactions I get basically follow two themes.
1. "Wow, that's amazing, you're an inspiration!"
2. "You're doing what? That's insane!"

I've also had a few people ask whether I'm doing it for charity. So I figured, why not.

Now it's over to you. What do you think? Inspirational or Insane?  I'm asking you to decide, and on the basis of your decision, make a small donation to one of the charities I support on an ongoing basis.

Committed, with a sprinkling of crazy

This is how tribron described my efforts on the weekend before last. The hangover marathon was... something. Even I'm not sure exactly what it was.

This weekend just gone was something else entirely. With four weeks til the Glasshouse 100, it was slated to be my last big weekend of training.

So what did I do, and how would I describe it?

"I'm basically going to run a lot."

This was the answer I gave a work colleague last Friday when she asked what I was doing on the weekend. "I'm basically going to run a lot."

As I heard the words come out of my mouth, I wondered whether I should be admired for being so committed to my goals, or whether my plans to basically devote my whole weekend to running 67ks made me the most boring person in the world.

I'm still not sure. Maybe it's a bit of both.

Optimistic / Pessimistic

It sounds a bit pessimistic, but in preparing for my first trail ultramarathon I've focused a lot on my frailties, my limitations, and the unknown.

I've never attempted to cover 100kms on foot before. Preparation has been drilled into me by all the coaches, so I've tried to visualise all the things that the event might throw at me, and incorporate a bit of all of these things into my training.

It's my experience that preparation brings optimism - and that's my natural outlook.

(Wo)man up and run like a machine.

This last week has been hard.

My body has been starting to remember what it can be like to train for a marathon. Ah yes. I remember now. Why didn't someone remind me sooner. It can be painful.

This time last week I was sluggish and sore and just couldn't bring myself to do much. I sucked it up in time to get back on track for the weekend. Things are back on the up.

In the dark

My next race, the Glasshouse 100, starts at 5.30am in the morning.

(Not tomorrow morning. On race morning.)

I don't know how long it's going to take me to run 100ks, but it's pretty likely I'll still be running when it gets dark. So last weekend I did my first night run in preparation.

Something old, something new

I don't know whether you've noticed, but I've been a bit quiet on the blog front lately.

Part of it is that I've been a bit short on time. But mainly, I've been telling myself I don't have anything interesting to say. But this isn't true. After all, I'm preparing for my first 100k trail ultramarathon in eight weeks time.

Which is why I'm a bit short on time. But mainly, it's the reason why I've been quiet. I'm scared.

On the sidelines. Really on the sidelines.

While I was away in the US I did my first triathlon as a spectator / supporter in a long while.

My friends CJ and BJ were doing the Bigfoot Triathlon - CJ the sprint and BJ wasn't mucking around - he'd gone straight for the standard distance as a warmup for his first 70.3 a few weeks later.

Many of my friends back home wondered how I'd go just standing on the sidelines. Well, here's my "race report".

Finding home / leaving home: Ironman Cairns 2014

A couple of weeks ago I predicted how race day would pan out based on past experience and my training form.

I think it's safe to say that with 11 days to go, I probably wasn't as prepared as I should have been, either physically or mentally.

I don't think I was lacking focus or passion, and I definitely had both on race day. But on the flip side, there was more water than I imagined possible to contend with.

Here's how Ironman Cairns 2014 compared to the predictions I made earlier... and as I turn my focus to ultra running, I've thrown in some nostalgia for good measure.

"Race" tape

The pinky saga has contined up until the last few days before Ironman Cairns.

I definitely need to buddy tape it for Sunday's swim, but both of the tapes I'd been using had come loose during my set. I didn't need this to happen on race day. In fact I needed it NOT to happen.

KKB had the answer.

What to wear... what to wear...

I know it's not a fashion parade. KKB reminded me of this tonight.

Last year I had picked my outfit for both my Ironman races months in advance. This year, I'm packing my suitcase and I still haven't decided.

Progress report / reality check: Ironman Cairns 2014

With 11 days to Ironman Cairns, I'm well overdue for a recap and reality check.

Is my injured pinky back to normal? Am I happy with my training? How is taper going? And how do I think race day will unfold?

Read on for the answers.

Same Same but Different

It's Friday night before my first weekend of taper.

That means last weekend was my last big weekend of training. And I've had a week of taper, which I'll write about later.

Your last big weekend or session is always hard but sometimes it pays to remember that as much as you want your training to simulate racing, it's different.

Larry Emdur is not my husband

I slept through my alarm today.

I woke up at 6am to my husband asking me, "do you know what your race number is for Cairns?"


"I do. Have a guess."

Come on down Larry Emdur.

Birds in the bush

Running in the bush is peaceful. Delightful.

The trees, the sunshine (well let's be honest, you can get the sunshine anywhere), the birds.

Let's focus on the birds.

Five from my iPod that are made for Ironman

If you read my last blog post you might be wondering about my musical taste.

At the end of this one, well, I have to be honest, you might still be. But if you're new to my ramblings here you might also get an insight into what goes through my head with this whole Ironman thing. Maybe.

We're at least getting warmer, with today's post being about five songs that will always bring me back to Ironman.

Four surprising songs from my iPod

I've spent the last two Saturdays on the home trainer getting through the Spinervals Hardcore 100.

I've done this training session a number of times so these days I can get through it without listening to Coach Troy's blow by blow description. If you play the DVD there are clear visuals, and you can also download a PDF from the Spinervals website for extra clarification.

So instead of listening to endless Coach Troy-ims I get the tunes going. But what comes up in 5.5 hours with my iPod on shuffle surprises even me.

A Wild(horse) run

Surprise...  I did my first trail running event this weekend.

I got to the Wild Horse Criterium in plenty of time to register and was delighted to receive race number 226 - the number of kms you complete in an Ironman triathlon. I thought immediately that it must be a good omen, not only for my ever approaching eighth iron-distance at Ironman Cairns, but for my ambitious plan to become an ultramarathon runner.

As I attached number 226 to my race belt, I had no way of knowing that the day would unfold in a most unexpected manner. But as wild as the ride was yesterday, it isn't all bad.

My secret weapon in the pool?

I've been lucky enough to have a lane to myself every time I've swum lately.

I thought my luck had run out on Friday, but I hadn't even swum 50 metres before the female swimmer whose land I'd joined moved over a lane or two to join someone else instead.

This is perplexing but I've wondered whether I've got a secret weapon.

Off road and out of the comfort zone

So I plotted out this 24k trail run around Mt Coot-tha Forest reserve a few weeks ago. I'm not going to lie. The very thought of it frightened the crap out of me.

Yesterday though, I packed up my Camelbak (otherwise known as my running handbag) and did it.

The first Boundary run

Since deciding I want to be an ultramarathon runner, KKB has set me the challenge to run up South Boundary Road to Mt Nebo.

I'm still a little way off running all the way to the top - that's a 42k round trip - but I recently pulled off an out and back long run that I'm pretty proud of for my first effort.

Postcard from country Australia

Training when you travel isn't always easy to do but on the same trip with Baw Baw we had a couple of days in the country.

Training was really different, with new routes and new things to see...

I hardly know you, and this is Crazy. But here's my number. Call me maybe?

A few blog posts ago I alluded to seeking some help with preparing for my next major goal for 2014, the 100k Glasshouse Mountains trail run.

When I was down in Melbourne conquering Mt Baw Baw I took the opportunity to pick the brains of Tristan "T-Bone" Miller, the man behind Run Like Crazy. This guy ran 52 marathons in 52 weeks, all around the world, including a couple of ultramarathons and some offroad events.

He's a cut (or two, actually probably three) above me in terms of speed but with the advent of his new Run Club, I figured he might be in the business of handing out some advice.

Lost in the rain: Mt Baw Baw Adventure

So. A couple of weeks ago I conquered Mt Baw Baw.

After failing my first attempt, it was kind of a big deal to get it ticked off the list. For no other reason than I like to finish what I start.

This is how that day unfolded, in words, images, and a fabulous soundtrack (even if I say so myself).

Ride one, run two

Last week was my first week of fairly consistent training in a while.

This week I almost lapsed back by bailing on my Mt Coot-tha bike session yesterday. (It was raining. Descending in the rain isn't particularly safe.)

I saved it today by following through on one of my dumbest ideas yet.

White caps all round.

I haven't posted much this month, so I thought some kind of update was in order.

Training has been a bit inconsistent. I've only done two long rides this month (both 90ks or so), and I've only managed one swim per week, instead of my promised two.

But my running is on schedule.

Goals for the year of the horse

So I never got around to writing this post at the start of the year so I might as well do it now at the start of Chinese/Lunar New Year.

I set my goals for 2013 before 2012 even finished so I'm even late by my own standards.

I am looking forward to 2014 because I've set myself a new goal that I'm a little bit frightened of.

The Wednesday morning crowd

This week I headed out to Mt Coot-tha for some hills for strength training.

Last week I was there on a Thursday and I noticed something different about this week's Wednesday morning crowd.

Parramatta River Run

I'm down in Sydney for a course and had the chance to run along the Parramatta River this morning.

It's a very historic little spot - I took some photos for you.

Seven Peaks Challenge: Dinner Plain (with a side of flies)

The final climb I would attempt (for now) of the Seven Peaks Challenge was to be Dinner Plain. The climb is basically the other side of Hotham, from Omeo rather than Harrietville.

Because we were nearing the end of our week's riding holiday, and we'd all done slightly different climbs on different days, there were some logistics involved to ensure we could all get the rides in we needed.

So it felt like a bit of an adventure as we set off in Freeburgh: four riders, two cars, two different climbs and one mountaintop rendezvous.

It almost sounds romantic.

Seven Peaks Challenge: Holy Mother of Hotham

For this sixth installment of the Seven Peaks Challenge I had a distinct advantage. Or disadvantage.

I drove to the top of Hotham to provide support to KKB and a friend 180ks through a long, hilly ride.

So I could see what was ahead of me on today's ride. I was apprehensive about this. But in retrospect, I think I am also happy for the insight.