Wednesday, 21 February 2007

Cradle, travels and WS100 course



It has been a while since I last posted, lots has happened. I’m on Alaska Air flight 511 from San Diego to Seattle passing over LA and have an hour or so to kill so here goes.

I had a wonderful time at Cradle Mountain see left... My time of 13:30 was peppered with the usual lost time due to a missed corner. I was thrilled to finish and the extra time on the legs certainly will come in handy over the coming months. The Cradle course is so technical and requires unconditional concentration and it was fantastic training. I’m no Whippet when it comes to sure footedness but the old techo skills are certainly improving. It was great to catch up with UCB and repete. Another highlight was sharing the experience with Simon and Eleanor. Simon had a great run and they both adopted me and ferried me around prior to the event.

The week after Cradle I had a week off and attended only one training session on the Thursday. My ankles had been killing me during Cradle and I was effectively injured. I decided to go and see Caleb the podiatrist and was waiting for him to prescribe orthotics when he diagnosed me with an extra “accessory bone” hanging off the talus (?) on the right medial side of my ankle. So off I went to the xray place in Bondi and sure enough it’s there as plain as day. Looks like I’ve been doing my laces up too tight and the side of the shoes have been rubbing on this accessory bone and causing bruising and pain. And I’ve been getting pain after five hours of running. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if I could work around this problem. There is an operation where the bone is filed off and the ligament is reattached, I thought I might give the work around a go before I let the scalpel hit me. Bottom line this is great great news. Let freedom reign! (just happen to be listening to Martin Luther King’s speeches on the MP3 player as I type).

Last week I (unfortunately) had another week off. Sunday I flew to the US and worked in Denver on the Monday and was too tired to train. I did manage stop by a shes warehouse on the Sunday night and buy some shoes. I picked up a pair of the new model Asics 2120 and Kyano’s for US$190 which by my jetlagged mental arithmetic is quite good value. When I arrived at my Denver office on the Monday I was greeted with a parcel I’d had shipped there from full of goodies but namely the shoes I hope to use at the Western States 100. Caleb the podiatrist confirmed that my Montrail Continental Divides are a pile of crap so I’ve invested in a pair of Inov-8 Terroc 330 shoes. I haven’t had a chance to use them yet but they feel great walking around the various hotels I’ve been frequenting.

On the Tuesday I went to Minneapolis for a couple of meetings and freezed my balls off. It was –20 degrees C and bought on a new definition of cold for me. Needless to say I DID NOT even try to run. Now I realize why goretex shoes exist. I think I managed half an hour on the treadmill but got bored and sick of seeing Anna Nicole on the news, so I quit after 30min.

Next stop was Toronto Canada. It’s only a 3hr flight from Minneapolis to Toronto on a small business jet but it took a whole day because of the “Valentines Day Blizzard” wich cancelled 1,000 flights out of Chicago. Basically the whole network was shut down and every spare minute was spent waiting in Minneapolis Airport. Toronto is beautiful and the place we had our meeting in (Waterloo) is a magical place. On top of that the Canadians are wonderful displaying an irony and sarcasm that doesn’t seem to exist in the US. It was nice to eat in a decent restaurant and eat good tasting food for the first time since leaving Australia. The blizzard had passed through and everything was under 2 metres of snow. Very beautiful. And the temperature.. wait for it… negative thirty Celsius !!! So another 30min on the treadmill sufficed.

Next stop San Francisco which involved a transit via Chicago (read: 4hr delay). And made it to SFO hotel downtown at Fishermans Wharf at 11pm. Unfortunately to late to pick up a clam chowder for dinner. Friday involved a meeting in Silicon Valley then a trip to a factory outlet place for some shopping. (no more shoes, but some running stuff from the pearl izumi outlet) in a place called Gilroy, the “Garlic capital of the world”

Back to San Francisco and headed over to Berkeley to catchup with Phil Brown and Carol la Plant who treated me to a magical dinner in a lovely restaurant called Chez Panisse. Best passionfruit cocktails I’ve ever tasted! On Saturday we headed over to Auburn the finish of the Western States 100. Surprisingly the drive only took two and a half hours in Phil and Carol’s ummel (read: Toyota Prius)..

Our Saturday plan was to run for five or six hours at any pace. We had already decided to blow off the organsed run over the last 20 miles of the course and head over to Michigan Bluff to run the course backwards (east) to deadwood canyon and back. This plan allowed us to run some of the big up and downs including the steepest climb up to Devils Thumb from Deadwood Canyon.

So, guess what, I got lost!!!!!! At the very beginning I stopped for a pee and Carol went on ahead then I totally missed the marked trail. D’oh! So that was a fun 35min excursion to nowhere. I also forgot to bring my new inov-8 terroc 330’s so ended up running in my Ascic 2120’s which were ok but not really appropriate for the rough sections of the trail.

I’ve taken a few pics of the course including a video of the steep climb out of Deadwood Canyon which I power walked in 37:40. See pic of me all sweaty after the ascent. The course is pretty good but the steep bits are mostly loose shale rock and will require a grippy shoe. Unfortunately the video is 800mb and You Tube only allows a 100mb upload so I’ll see if I can convert it to a smaller file size then I’ll share it. I must divulge that I was rambling on a bit and in a moment hypoxic madness said a couple of things about Queensland that could be interpreted as mocking. Of course this interpretation would be incorrect and unintended. Apologies in advance if your interpretation offends.

Look down, there’s Portland Oregon.

On the Sunday Carol and I were a little sore but still managed to run the last 20miles of the course. I have fewer pics of this section because my battery in the camera died. One observation is that the map shows that it’s easy. I found it very hilly with a roller coaster type progression that doesn’t seem to show up on the course profile map.

This section of the course is not nearly as technical but does require more than a dozen stream crossings. I can imagine that there would be a number of people running straight through these streams rather than rock hopping during the race. When I got to the finish I didn't dare go onto the track, after all I hadn't earned it... yet

We calculated that we covered about 40km on the Saturday and 30km on Sunday. A great weekend of exercise. In truly magical surroundings..

Post script..

We ran into Carl Petersen and Ann Trason on the trail and had a long chat on the Saturday. A special reward to meet two of the greatest ultrarunners around. We also met Kathy Hamilton and Jerry (surname?) who is on the Board of Trustees for the WS100 run.

It seems that mountain lion attacks should be taken seriously. Ann saw a lion a mile from where we met her and there are monuments scattered around to mark the places where people have been killed from attacks. Seems like the lions won’t attack two people so this makes the whole debate on whether or not to have a pacer a bit of a no brainer for me. I certainly don’t want to be out there at night by myself when those feline carnivores are pouncing..

We’re landing. See ya.


At 21 February 2007 at 8:20 pm, Blogger mpluss said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 21 February 2007 at 8:21 pm, Blogger mpluss said...

Great to hear what you have been up to.

cheers Plu

At 24 February 2007 at 2:21 am, Anonymous Phil Brown said...

Hi Brendan,

It's Carl "Anderson" and Jerry Bloom...I'm sure the thrill of being stalked by a mountain lion contributed to the difficulty in remembering names!

I'll post a picture of you and Carol in Michigan Bluff to the Aussy Assult board (as soon as I figure out how...).



At 24 February 2007 at 11:48 am, Blogger Tamyka said...

Can't wait to see the video - if worst comes to worst and you can't upload it, I'll demand it on a DVD!

At 28 February 2007 at 7:21 am, Blogger Martin said...

You luck bastard! :)


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