Looking back and forth

After an awful close out of 2014, I am happy to say that I am now on the mend. That was quite some flu – paralyzing muscular aches, nausea, fever, cold sweats and a piercing headache. Of all those, it was really the headache that was the most annoying – it wasn’t a constant pain, rather, it would just zap me behind the ears for a couple of seconds, then disappear just long enough for me to let my guard down ( a minute or so), and then thwack, I’d get another jolt of pain shooting from my head down to my throat. It was the headache that ensured that, despite me spending cumulatively nearly 50 hours in bed over three days, I really only got around 5 or 6 hours of rather lousy sleep in total.

Whilst still some ways away from being able to resume training, I am glad to be up and about, the only evidence of my ordeal at the moment is a lingering cough and some residual fatigue. So thanks all for your well wishes, and once again, hope you ushered in 2015 with much greater cheer and jubilee than I did.

2014 was quite an interesting year. From my perspective, it was neither a success nor a failure, from the raw fact that I went into it without any clear goals. After all, how can one succeed or fail when there was no planned outcome in the first place? Ok well, that is not entirely true – I did originally mean to sign up for TNF100 2014. Didn’t realise that that race sold out four days after opening, and so looked like a complete idiot when I tried to sign up on 1 Jan 2014 as a new year goal after two months of planning and preparation with the physiotherapist.

That said, while 2014 was somewhat aimless, there were heaps of memorable milestones along the way. The key running-related highlights were as follows:

Routeburn Valley floor23 March 2014: Great Rail Run. Raced J & E in a steam train over 17km of well groomed trails. Lost the race by 6 min, but knocked my 5km and 10km PBs down to 23:23 and 46:55 respectively. Also managed to sprain my foot.

14 April 2014: Fastpacked the Routeburn Track in NZ, and realised I’d migrated to the wrong country.

19 April 2014: Fastpacked the Kepler Track from Control gates to Rainbow Reach. Was blown away by the scenery. Was also nearly blown off the mountain by 100km/h winds.

26 April 2014: Made my first foray into the world of blogging (and in the process, connected with a few wonderful, like minded, and sometimes slightly crazy runners from around the world).

10314475_10152465271511411_720962713936988486_nMay 17: Ran the Marengo 6km with J & E – our first event as a complete family. This was also the first event I ever attended below 21km that gave out medals. E was the cutest thing ever receiving ours!

May 18: Ran the 2014 Great Ocean Road Marathon. This was more or less an impromptu event. Shaved my 42.2km PB down to 3:48.

P1010645July 12: First run in the snow, ever!

August 12: Chopped 5k PB down to 20:52. Maybe I might actually get fast this year!

August 19: Re-aggravated tibialis posterior tendinosis. Maybe not.

DSCN0273Nov 3-4: Fastpacked the Heaphy Track, NZ. Began scheming on how to persuade J to migrate to NZ. Would help if they opened a couple more shopping centres.

Nov 4: Registered for TNF100 Australia, 2015!

Dec: Rediscovered cycling and added it to my set of cross-training tools.

Lessons learned

  1. My body doesn’t like running as much as I do
  2. Walking poles are awesomeness on mountain trails, but leave those darned swingy things at home in thick brush.
  3. Salted caramel GU tastes disgusting
  4. Should have moved to NZ
  5. Definitely still hooked on running

Aside from the running stuff, E turned 2, learned to ride a scooter and a bicycle with training wheels, started speaking in whole sentences and can now dribble a soccer ball (sort of). J got her first pay rise in three years and made her first business trip to secure manufacturers for her startup venture. Sure there have been various ups and downs, but on the whole, 2014 has been full of memorable adventures, pleasant surprises and a whole lot to be thankful for.

A year off from race-focused running has allowed me to really focus on just enjoying my time out on the trails, just running for fun. Quite frankly I would be pretty satisfied if I never ran another race, as I get sufficient joy and fulfilment just from going out and exploring new and beautiful trails. That said however, I still do have a lingering curiosity about how far I can push my body distance wise, and for 2015 I’ve decided to give in to that curiosity once again. I’m not a cat, it should be pretty safe.

Looking ahead, my 2015 goal running wise is quite simple – cross the TNF100 finish line in 20h. No other sub goals or objectives to distract me or bring about any conflicting decisions. Why 20h? As shallow as it sounds, I want a TNF belt buckle. Quite frankly it would be nice not to go home empty handed after 100km with 4300m of positive gain, and the thought of running through two sunrises just isn’t appealing, no matter how beautiful they might be. Still, as long as I finish within the 30h cutoff, I’ll be happy. Disappointed, but happy.

Strategy wise, with only four or so months to go, there isn’t really alot of time, so the focus will have to be quality over quantity. January will be spent gradually building up my endurance base. February will be when I introduce speed and strength training. The focus of March will be long runs and elevation gain, with a three week trip to NZ planned and a couple of 8-10hr runs through the NZ mountains thrown in.

April will be about maintaining and consolidating training gains, with my taper beginning in May. Then, all going well, on 18 May, I will toe the start line of the TNF100, and hopefully have an enjoyable run through the NSW Blue Mountains, dancing across the finish line well within my 20h target. Or possibly dragging myself over it on my elbows at three in the morning, foaming at the mouth.

There – it all sounds good on paper – here’s praying I make it there injury free and rearing to go. Happy 2015 for the umpteenth time. Hope you’re all as excited about it as I am!

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4 Responses to Looking back and forth

  1. therfpscribe says:

    Never tried the salted caramel Gu but I’ll take your word on it. I found Power Ride recovery 40% protein bars to be as close to self-flagellation as possible – ate it once after a run and lost the will to live.

  2. therfpscribe says:

    Who knows? I suppose it’s not easy to get both the right macro-nutrient balance and taste right at the same time. I bought some protein powder last weekend from a health store in Germany, and will eventually start playing with creating my own stuff. =)

    • Hope that goes well! You’ll strike it rich if you crack the mythical formula – heck I’d be glad to pay for a post run drink that doesn’t taste like sweetened flour or cough syrup!

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