Feb 26, 2015

I’ve mentioned before that I’d like to run the 140 km of the Anzac Ultra in under 24 hours. That’s an average of 5.83 km per hour. That’s 10 mins 17 secs per km. It doesn’t sound like much. In fact, although it’s a brisk stroll, most people can comfortably walk that fast for a reasonable length of time. However, doing it for 140 km is a different issue.

If I run too fast early on, then even walking at 10 mins per km toward the end will become virtually impossible. It’s all about pacing.

And it always pays to consider a variety of different paces and what they mean to your overall time. For example, if I was able to sustain an average of 9 mins per km for the whole journey (running, a bit of walking, rest breaks), I’d finish in 21 hours, which would be at 5 am. An average of 8 mins per km would mean a finish time of 18 hours 40 mins (2:40 am). A pace of 8 mins per km is far slower than the pace I’ve averaged in any previous race. But the distance is also far greater than I’ve averaged in any previous race. Remember, when I reach the marathon distance, I still have basically 100 km to go.

Then again, if my preparation is severely interrupted by the Achilles problem (so far, so good, though) I would simple lower my expectations and run the event over two days, with a decent sleep and a nice evening meal in between.


On This Day


Feb 26, 2012

Distance today = 49.01 km; Total distance = 2600.11 km; Location = Camarillo Airport, California – 34 13.311′ N, 119 06.003′ W; Start time = 1005, Finish time = 1651


Once again the day greeted me with cloudless skies, a perfect temperature, and a slight but cooling breeze. After expressing our gratitude and saying goodbye to Jacki, James, and Harry (not to forget Buster), we drove to my starting point for the day, and I headed off toward Ventura. (It was a late start, so I was very happy with my final distance for the day).

As I mentioned in a tweet, I was running along the Ventura Highway, and it was in full sunshine. I found myself constantly humming to myself in Dmaj7 and G6. However, the heavy and noisy traffic made it difficult to fully appreciate what once must have been an iconic drive for surfers and others looking to enjoy the laid back and relaxed southern Californian coastal life-style. So, I pushed onward.

The rest of the day passed very quickly, perhaps because it was extremely flat and I was able to make good time. I felt good because of the shorter distances over the past couple of days. Running always seems to pass more quickly when you’re feeling good and doing it easily.

I finished near the town of Camarillo, where the support crew spent most of the day inspecting (aka shopping) the four mile strip of factory outlet stores. Mmmmmm, yeah …… I was pleased to be running.

We are currently booked into our hotel in Ventura, watching the Academy Awards that are happening just down the road from here. And, of course, enjoying a red wine.

I have decided that this run around the world will entail an additional component (to the running). I intend to, wherever possible, sample the local reds, with the aim of determining the best value red wine in the world. The criteria will be simple – I will rate the wine out of ten and divide by the price (converted to Australian dollars), to arrive at, what I will call, the Red Wine Value Quotient – the RWVQ for short. The higher the RWVQ, the better the value. It’s only early so far (just NZ and California), but the leader at this point is the Oak Leaf Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa Valley, which I rate at 6/10 , but at a cost of US$1.67 (and FX conversion ratio at the time of drinking of 1.07), gives it a RWVQ of 3.84. Anything above unity is good value – above 3 is exceptional. Stay tuned for updates, but that’s gonna be hard to beat.

If you’re wondering why I have instigated this wine value metric, think “travelling on a budget” – a harsh but necessary reality on an extended trip like this. Who would have thought a $1.67 bottle of wine could be so drinkable? Of course, I’d prefer to be drinking a JB Shiraz from the Barossa Valley (a little gem that Big Andy and I discovered on the 2010 Tour de Bois), which I rate at 9/10, but that ain’t gonna happen again for a while. It’s all about value now.


Feb 26, 2013

Distance today = 50.92 km; Total distance = 17,107.38 km; Location = Thermes-Magnoac, France – 43 17.762′ N, 00 35.156′ E; Start time = 0855, Finish time = 1706


A very hilly day, with almost a thousand metres of climbing, but it was made easier by the “winter wonderland” condition of the landscape. For much of the day, there was a full blanket of white, with powder snow constantly falling from the branches of the trees.

The day was one of minor mountain passes, punctuated by valley floors. The topography in this region seems to consist of a series of parallel ridges, and I was running across them. There were very few towns of any significance, and no shops along the way until I reached the 43 km mark late in the day.

A few people have commented on the temperature readings from the Garmin device. I guess with the snow these past days, it’s natural to have a look to see what the low temp for the day was. The problem is that the Garmin device I’m using is designed to be mounted in a bracket on the handlebars of a bicycle. In this position, it can take accurate temperature readings. However, I’m holding it tightly in my palm as I run, which means it picks up the warmth from my hand. Therefore, the reading is always higher than the true air temperature (unless the air temp is greater than the 37C of my body, in which case my body temperature lowers the reading). You can also often see the temperature spike up if I have lunch in the car (or go down on a hot day due to the air conditioning). So, unfortunately, the Garmin temperature data on the link is not really very useful. Sorry about that. Everything else is, though.

Finally, happy birthday to all those celebrating it on the 27th in Australia – Ellen, Krystle, Lily, Debbie M, and anyone else I may have forgotten – oh, and Rob de Castella, of course.

PS We still do not have data/internet on our phones. The phone company, SFR, continue to charge us, even though they say they are unable to help. Carmel visited a telecommunications store where an expert, in response to the problem, sarcastically said “Welcome to France”. He was scathing about the country’s problems like these, indicating that, although there is technically no issue, it could take many days for the phones to start working properly. Actually, Europe is a mess when it comes to mobile phones, with a new SIM needed in every country. Many companies that are present in all European countries, such as Orange, could offer a low cost universal SIM, but then they couldn’t rip everyone off (like they all do) by charging exorbitantly for roaming.

I am also unable to get my phone connected to the internet via the hotel’s wireless, so I can’t get the tracker to update its position. This will have to wait until tomorrow. My position is in the town of Thermes-Magnoac.