Sep 9, 2014
For some inexplicable reason my calf and Achilles was very sore this morning. It felt like it did three weeks ago. Perhaps I went too hard in yesterday’s run, but everything felt great then. Or maybe because I’d worn shoes without heel lifts.
Anyhow, I limited the run to two kilometres, as I saw no reason to push the injury. Last week I was running much further than that without problems. I hope it’s just a one-off aberration. Let’s see how tomorrow goes.
As promised, for a little while I’ll include a section on my favourite races from the past. I don’t want to just be writing about the injury. It’s boring me, so it must be boring readers too.
I’ve never ranked my favourite races before, and I won’t particularly attempt to do so now. So, this won’t be a strict order of preference, but those I do mention can certainly be considered as among my general favourites.
Right up near the top of my favourite races is the Run to the Sun on Maui in Hawaii. It’s the only official ultra marathon race I’ve ever competed in, and I was very pleased to place 9th outright in an international field.
The race has pretty much everything. Besides the astounding 360 degree views from the top, the panoramas on the ascent are no less spectacular. Runners start in the main town of Kahalui, pass through wooded regions, exit above the tree line, before traversing lava fields on the way to the summit.
The race is only 58 km – short for an ultra – but it starts at sea level and finishes at over 10,000 feet of elevation. That’s 58 km of uphill. It’s tough, but the hardest part was the weather on the day of the 2009 race in which I participated. With the wind chill, the temperature at the top was minus 18 C. There was snow and ice all over the mountain, and the police closed the road to the support vehicles because of the icy roads.
This meant I was running at the top in just shorts and a T-shirt. I was so cold I wasn’t far from passing into unconsciousness. When I finished I spent an hour in a heated van before I could stop shaking uncontrollably.
Yes, it was a tough race, but I enjoyed it thoroughly. Unfortunately, the authorities have become too cautious in the current litigious world, and have banned the race ever since 2009. I would love to see it resurrected one day. I’m not sure if it ever will be. If so, I’ll certainly be aiming to compete in the Run to the Sun again.
On This Day
Sep 9, 2012
Distance today = 52.15 km; Total distance = 11,347.52 km; Location = Midland, Kentucky – 38 07.422′ N, 83 36.042′ W; Start time = 0809, Finish time = 1617
Now, that’s what it’s all about. Beautiful weather, spectacular scenery, and a bit of adventure to spice it all up.
I started the day in cool temps. It was about 20C, but that’s heaven compared to the past few months. I had a quiet road to run on, passing through forests and farmland.
About three-quarters the way through the day, I headed down a road that petered out with a fence across the road. No big deal, as I only wasted 220 metres (which has been subtracted from my Garmin total). So I went a longer way that was suggested by Google Maps. However, this one also ended with a gate on to private property. Now it was a problem, as backtracking this time would mean wasting about 4 km and having to go a much longer way.
So, I decided to risk it and cut across the private property. Carmel had to turn around and go the long way. We agreed to meet in the town of Olympia.
I had to cross a muddy creek first, then crawl under the gate. However, I very quickly found myself in a grassy paddock with no road. The only thing around was an old house. Luckily I had Google Maps, as I was able to see where I was in relation to the nearest road. I headed over the paddock until I intersected with the road, after having to crawl under another gate. From there I ran along a dirt road, and had to crawl through more heavily fortified steel gates (easy by foot, but impossible for a car to traverse). Eventually I reached Olympia, where I met up with Carmel.
I consider myself quite lucky, as the fortifications I encountered were far too over-the-top for simple farmhouse security. In some cases, three different strong steel gates needed to be passed before reaching the properties. Either those who live there are super paranoid, or something illegal is going on. Given Carmel’s recent experience of having a rifle aimed at her, I am sure anyone I met during my short odyssey would have been more than willing to challenge me with a gun. Fortunately I saw no-one.
I continued on through the Daniel Boone National Forest and finished the day feeling as strong as when I started. I think this was partly due to the delicious eye filet with potatoes, beans, and mushrooms that Carmel cooked last night, and partly due to the cooler weather. Let it continue.
Sep 9, 2013
Distance today = 46.05 km; Total distance = 26,104.54 km; Location = Albion Park, NSW – 34 34.252’ S, 150 46.453′ E; Start time = 0814, Finish time = 1513
Another day full of visitors! I did an interview early on with ABC Illawarra, as I headed across the Southern Highlands.
Soon after, I was surprised by a visit from Gregor MacFarlane and his father, John. I last saw Gregor in Newport, Rhode Island, in October last year. He was travelling up from Tasmania, and found me today via the tracker.
A little later, my cousin, Warren, stopped as he passed me on the road. I was then joined by Kate’s trainer, Matt, who ran with me for the rest of the day.
We passed through the town of Robertson, and soon after, I was met by an old school friend, Cindy Stevens, who was passing by. It was great to see so many people surprising me on the road via the tracker.
We then reached the Robertson Pie Shop, which Billy Connolly once described as having possibly the best pies in the world. Matt, Carmel, and I just had to have one each.
About one kilometre further on, I reached a spot on top of the escarpment, where I saw the Pacific Ocean for the first time on the run since Los Angeles in late February last year. It’s been more than 18 months.
From there, we started the descent of Macquarie Pass – a 600 metre vertical drop, over eight kilometres. The quads might be a little sore tomorrow.
From the bottom of the pass, a quick 10 km then brought us to my finish for the day in Albion Park, where Kate picked up Matt. Carmel and I drove on to Barry and Deb’s, where we’re staying tonight, catching up with others as well.
Don’t forget, the finish is at 1 pm at the Opera House on Friday, and I’d love to see as many there as possible.