North Face Non Mandatory gear 2013

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Here’s a list of a few things I’ll be carrying in the 2013 version of The North Face 100. They’re not on the mandatory gear list, but don’t make life hard for yourself- if it will make your race easier, take it!

Sunglasses- I’ll be wearing Serfas Portal sunnies, thanks to the local importer VeloVita for getting them in on time! Why wear sunglasses all day? Lots of reasons- you won’t get a headache from the sun, if you get hit in the face with a branch on the single track you won’t get an eye injury, and if you get photo chromatic lenses they’ll adjust to the available light.

Garmin 910XT– how else will I know how slowly I’m running?

Nipple tape– You may not need it, I do.

Spibelt– I’ll most likely have my 2 pieces of spare food in the pocket, and hang my race number on the front using the optional elastic toggle thingys. You can put your race number on to your shirt, but if you put a jumper on, you’ll need to move it. The race number belt is great because you can have as many costume changes as you like and not have to deal with pins……

Socks- I’ll be wearing Injinji socks. The higher versions because I’ll put anti leech stuff under the socks so the little blighters can’t get inside- this really works. If I have time I’ll also try out the new Injinji socks

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Before a bush run I always apply a wide area of this from below the sock line to halfway up my calves. Since starting this I have not had an uninvited guest suck my blood, but they could be just biding their time for a mass attack

Skins- Depends on the weather. I wear compression tights when it’s really cold or if I’ll be running through a lot of single track- it’s a small amount of protection. I’m not really an athlete that can tell the difference in performance from compression. Most likely I’ll wear a long version of the Linebreak compression tights, or short ones if it’s good weather. The short ones are good for preventing chaffing when my fat legs rub together.

Shorts with a pocket- I love the Patagonia Ultra shorts. Sadly unavailable now, however they are great because they have nice big pockets on each side. I reserve one pocket for rubbish and clean out at each checkpoint, the other pocket for stuff I need close to hand.

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iPod- I’ll use my iPhone 4S with Lifeproof case. I’m going to do a review soon, but let’s just say this case is great for protection, not so great if you like talking to people on the phone. Anybody who knows me understands that my first priority is chatting to other runners, but in both 2011 and 2012 when leaving checkpoint 4 I was alone and loved putting on some choons as I descended the Giant Staircase.

Headphones- the Sennheiser PMX-680i are very comfortable and pretty easy to route the cables. I’ve destroyed one set of these by using accidental violence, so I bought a second set. These have been replaced with the PMX-685i but I purchased the 680i cheaply from MWave

Bodyglide– it’s not fun to put lube where the sun doesn’t shine- but if you don’t, it’s going to hurt bad. Insert prison joke here.

Gloves- for me, something like these is ideal, they have a mesh back so my hands don’t get too sweaty but they give some protection. Yes I know they’re ugly.

Salt Stick capsules– this is very much a personal ‘feel’ thing. In a road marathon I’d have one at 20km and one at 30km to stave off cramps. During TNF I’ll probably have a couple more but can’t really predict how many I’ll need. I always take a few extra, because I ALWAYS see someone on the course who needs them. You should consider what you’ll be taking for cramps! By the way- the super huge ‘this will last me for 10 years’ bottle was only slightly more expensive than the ‘3 marathon’ bottle. Colin Jeftha- Six Foot Track Race Director, says ‘there is no proven link between salts (electrolytes) and cramping. He’s right, but in my experience if I have salt capsules they do relieve the cramps

Aspirin- I’m a simple bloke so a simple solution for headaches seems in order. Might be some Panadol in the first aid kit too but I’m mostly looking to follow Jane Trumpers advice and steer clear of drugs. Unless someone lights a joint up Kedumba, then I’ll try to warm my hands on it.

Compeeds– These things are like magic on blisters and hot spots. If you get a hot spot, stop immediately and slap one of these super sticky things on, the pain will go away and you can carry on- an absolute must in your kit. I gave one to a guy on Kedumba in 2011 and I think he would’ve named his children after me. Poor kids.

Ventolin inhaler – I would never have survived childhood if it wasn’t for Ventolin, and while I’ve only had one asthma attack in recent memory, cold weather can cause EIA- Exercise Induced Asthma. I’d be silly not to carry it.

 

North Face 100 Mandatory Gear 2013

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Sorry for the delay with this- work had to come first, but here it is. The updated gear list, shortly to be followed by a list of non mandatory but recommended stuff…….

 

-I also want to acknowledge the huge help I’ve gained from others. In 2011 I was crapping myself at the huge task I’d jumped into, and probably the best source of info was Nick Weinholt’s Enduroexplorer.com website. I’ve since found out that he’s a helpful and approachable bloke too. You should read the website and particularly the training and gear list he did for the 2010 race. And although the Ultra168 guys are a whole new level of crazy (er, I mean commitment) you should read their adventures too- lots of good info there. You should also check out the gear thread on Coolrunning for 2012. Pasty has put another good summary there, and you can ask questions too! Check out the Facebook groups- official, unofficial, and training.

UPDATE- Ultra168 have just added a post that takes in some of the gear here

 

I’ve seen a lot of discussion on various sites about the mandatory gear for TNF100, so I thought I’d share a few insights I gained last year in the hope that it will help some other competitors. Following is a list of the gear taken directly from the event website with my own explanations and links etc. It will be updated if the gear list changes, or if someone provides an interesting view that we should share here. Description of the mandatory item in italics, explanation below-

1 x long sleeve thermal top (polypropylene, wool or similar). Cotton, coolmax, lycra and any compression garment will not be sufficient even if the compression garment is called a “thermal compression garment”. You may still use compression garments however they do not replace this mandatory item. Refer to this link for an explanation.

My wife has just been to Patagonia in Sydney and purchased for me a Capilene long sleeved top. In her words- the silk weight version probably does not comply, and the lightweight version is ok for summer but probably not a Blue Mountains winter. The Midweight probably best matches the polypropylene specified in the mandatory item description. Weight 221g

1 x long leg thermal pants (polypropylene, wool or similar). Cotton, coolmax, lycra and any compression garment will not be sufficient even if the compression garment is called a “thermal compression garment”. You may still use compression garments however they do not replace this mandatory item. Refer to this link for an explanation.

 I used a pair of polypropylene thermals I had purchased for a trip to NZ. Fairly lightweight, these were purchased from Khatmandu- they are from the Ultracore range- linkWeight: 173g

1 x waterproof and breathable jacket with fully taped (not critically taped) waterproof seams and hood (plastic rain poncho, wind jacket, water resistant jacket etc. not acceptable)

This is probably the item that causes the most discussion. It must meet a reasonably strict international standard for ‘waterproofness’, have a hood and actually fit you. Yes, people have tried to get through check in with child sized items to save weight. Don’t do it. I can confirm that the lightest jacket that has been passed is the Montane Lightspeed H2O at 132g. Unfortunately this will not meet the spec in future years because it is a coated nylon fabric that won’t stay waterproof once the coating is gone- or in other words ‘the only way that jacket will stay waterproof is if you continue to not wear it’. I recommend going up to the Montane Minimus which weighs 215g. Why? Because the Minimus contains Pertex fabric which is much more breathable- and this will likely be the absolute minimum spec in 2013. I’m sure the Minimus will probably last longer too! In 2011 I used a Mont jacket (different brand) which weighs about 450g, so you can save a lot of weight here. I’ve ordered the Montane Litespeed H2O Weight: 132g

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1 x beanie, balaclava or buff

at Trailwalker 2010 I was given a buff about the halfway point, and it was the most glorious feeling to be putting on something so warm- it has a drawstring so it can be made into a beanie, and I’m going to use that instead of the achingly expensive snow beanie. Remember you lose a lot of heat out of your head, and it’s going to be bloody cold. Weight: 46g

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1 x full-fingered lightweight thermal gloves (polypropylene, wool or similar)

I have some black mountain biking gloves for this purpose. These gloves stayed in their packet, as I have a personal preference for non sweaty hands, and covering them up makes me very sweaty. The best compromise I have found here is some old leather weightlifting gloves that have an open mesh back- they are not full fingered so I have to carry the others as well. Lots of protection for your hands if you fall, but not too sweaty. Remember fairly early in the race you will be going down some stairs with nasty rusted iron hand holds. Weight: 34g (nylon cycling gloves)

Safety vests

1 x High Visibility Safety Vest that complies with Australian Standard AS/NZS 4602:1999 -N Class for night time wear.

*I borrowed one of these from my wife’s work. You might have contacts who can loan you one of these, or you can buy them from Bunnings/ Masters Hardware etc. Not expensive, but make sure it meets the specs- and it use go OVER your pack so you can be seen from behind at night- get a large size. Remember it’s the reflective stripes that allow the night rating. No stripes= doesn’t comply. Weight: 155g

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1 x headlamp (test your headlamp on bush tracks at night prior to the event to make sure it provides enough light to both see the track and the course markings)

* My main light here is the Petzl Nao. It outputs up to 355 lumens and has lots of options, the big bonus being it has regulated output- this means that as your batteries wear out it will keep a constant light output- your light doesn’t get dimmer over time.  And it can sense how much light is available and dim itself, saving batteries. At my favourite setting, the battery will last about 6-8 hours which means I should get to the finish without needing to change batteries, but I will be carrying a spare. The Nao will be in my drop bag at CP4, if you are a 16.5+ hour runner you will want to have your headlamp in your CP3 bag. During the day I will carry 2 tiny ‘Keyring Mini Hand Torch‘, these are on the website for $7.98 each

*I have spoken to the Race Director about whether a hand held torch is ok rather than a headlamp, and he agreed it was ok. He couldn’t see why you would want to use a hand held torch if a headlamp as available (me too) however it will pass. Weight: 10g  (light until CP3). Weight: 187g (Petzl Nao with battery)

1 x small backup light in case of headlamp failure but still bright enough for you to walk by and see course markings

* I will use a Petzl Tikka XP2 for my backup light. it is perfectly ok for an event like the North Face 100 as your main light, but I’m lucky that my wife works for the local distributor so these things breed like rabbits in our house. Weight: 10g (light until CP3). Weight: 88g (Petzl Tikka XP2 including batteries)

1 x mobile phone (Telstra Next G is strongly recommended as coverage on the course is far better than any other network)

*Yes Telstra aren’t my favourite people either, but my phone is with them and the network is pretty good. iPhone 4S including Lifeproof waterproof case Weight: 171g

1 x compass for navigation in the very unlikely event that you get lost. While we recommend a good quality compass such as the Silva Field 7, you can bring any compass as long as the magnetic needle will settle quickly and will point to magnetic North. A waterproof watch compass is allowed as long as you can calibrate it and use it correctly. An iPhone compass is not acceptable as it is not waterproof and the batteries may be needed for making emergency calls.

 I’ve bought this from eBay,  Weight: 10g

UPDATE- just got an email from the Race Director which says the following- Can I use an iPhone as my compass?  Answer is no.

1 x whistle

*most Salomon packs seem to have a whistle built in, so I have 3. You should either borrow one from someone who owns a Salomon pack, or buy one from a toy or sports store- Rebel Sport will have these. Weight: included with pack

1 x emergency space blanket, light bivvy sack or equivalent

* Salomon Advanced Skin XT Wings Super Nuclear Speedcross Blah packs have these inside, or I bought one for about $5 from Khatmandu last year. Hint- Khatmandu seems to always be on sale……Weight: 55g (or included with pack)

bandage

This image lifted straight from the TNF100 website…..

1 x compression bandage for the treatment of sprains or snake bite (crepe compression bandages are fine but they need to say they are compression – for sprains and snake bites)

I asked, but never got to the bottom of what makes a suitable compression bandage- common sense says that it’s the elastic in the bandage that will provide the compression. Supplied by my wife from our medical box, but you can buy these from Chemists. Weight: 45g

1 x full box of waterproof & windproof safety matches (provided by organisers)

1 x firelighter block for emergency use only (Jiffy Firelighter provided by organisers).  You will need to provide your own zip lock bag or container.

*pretty self explanatory- there will be a table at check-in with these items on it. Grab a small amount and stash them in a zip lock sandwich bag that you have brought along. You’ll need a couple of extras for this and following items. Weight: no idea, say 30g

1 x lightweight Dry Sack to keep your compulsory clothing dry (plastic bags or zip lock bags are fine but Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil dry sack is recommended)

*You don’t need to buy a Dry Sack if you put everything in individual zip lock sandwich bags. I also wrote on the outside of each bag what the contents were, and found that I never had to look far for anything. This is important and could save time when you are cold and mentally shattered. Weight: 3g each, you’ll need about 10 of these

Capacity to carry 2 litres of water (water bladder or water bottles)

* the Salomon Super Advanced XT Wings Wooshka Skinbag comes with a bladder that holds 1.5 litres, so it doesn’t technically meet these requirements. I bought some Platypus bendy bottles and a 2l Platypus bladder and now I have more than enough capacity. Indeed, I could smuggle a cheeky red and some fine cognac on to the course. But won’t. Weight: 2l water = 2Kg, Weight: 157g (bladder)

2 x bars / food portions

* When you pull everything out of your pack after the event, you probably won’t remember why you have 2 squished muesli bars at the bottom. These were your emergency food items. Equally important- if you get into trouble, don’t forget they are there! Weight: 39g (muesli bar) Weight: 33g (packet of Gu chomps)

1 x Ziploc bag for your personal rubbish

*Oh no! You’ve just added 3g to your running weight! Don’t worry, you’ll sweat it out.

1 x set of maps and course descriptions (provided by organisers). At registration, you will be provided with one set of maps and course notes.  You will need to protect these from getting wet (using item below)

* provided on A3/ sometimes A4 paper, you will put these in a safe place and forget they are there. It’s unlikely you will refer to the maps- the course is very clearly marked. You won’t get lost- but don’t forget where your maps are- there was a gear check mid race in 2012 and we had to show them to scrutineers. Weight: 62g (I weighed another competitors handout from 2010)

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1 x waterproof map case or any other way to keep your maps protected such as map contact

*The best of these I’ve seen is by Sea to Summit, but it isn’t quite a full A4 size. I have a Sealine one that is big and bulky. The Sea To Summit should be available from most of the camping stores around Kent St in Sydney- Update, purchased this 4.4.12 for 15% off at Paddy Pallin, $25.50 apx), Weight: 128g (Sealine from 2011). Weight: 53g (Sea to Summit 2012)

Note- as suggested by Andy Hewat, you can put your maps into an A4 sized ziplock bag. This will pass, and weighs less than a map case. Honestly, you won’t need to use your maps during the race.

1 x A5 Participant Emergency Instructions card on waterproof paper (provided by organisers)

*self explanatory. Don’t need to memorise it, just know where it is if you get in trouble. Weight: 6g (pretty sure this info is on the back of your race number, so I weighed one from another race)

1 x race number with timing chip to be worn on your front and visible at all times (provided by organisers). A recommended method of securing your race number is to use an elastic waist strap like a triathlon band which allows you to easily have your number visible over the top of your outermost item of clothing. You will need to provide your own elastic waist strap if you choose to do this.

*remember if you aren’t near the front of the pack you will most likely experience a few weather changes during your event, and you’ll probably want to change clothes. If the extra fleece and waterproof pants are declared mandatory during he race you could be changing both your bottom and top clothing, meaning that the best way of having your race number visible at all times is to have it on a race belt or a SPI-Belt. For some unknown reason Running Wild NSW were giving these away at the Knapsack race, so I have one- but if you don’t you should find them at Rebel Sport/ Performance Sport or other sports stores. By the way- you should join Running Wild NSW- they have some great events! Weight: 6g as noted above + race belt weight. Weight: 60g (SpiBelt with 2 pockets)

1 x long leg waterproof pants

* I bought mine from Rebel Sport for about $40,  they are Team brand. You can get some for about $20, but they were non breathable plastic and looked easy to rip, and very heavy. You may not have to carry this for the whole race, see the explanation below. Weight: 191g

1 x 100-weight long sleeve synthetic fleece top

* 100 weight polar fleece is not very heavy. You may not have to carry this for the whole race, see the explanation below. An example of a 100 weight fleece top here, but I actually ordered this 200 weight one here because it was lighter and cheaper. Weight: 346g

Here is the explanation of the last two items- the waterproof pants and the fleece taken directly from the website here

‘***You will only be required to carry the last two items listed above (waterproof pants and 100-weight fleece) if weather conditions are bad. The organisers will notify you at the Friday night registration if these two items must be carried on person from the start, or if they need to be left with your support crew or in a specified drop bag for use during the event. The most likely scenario (in fine weather conditions) is that you will leave these additional items with your support crew or in your Checkpoint 4 drop bag and you will be told at Checkpoint 4 if you need to carry these additional items. These items may become compulsory to carry at any time during the event irrespective of whether previous runners have already passed through Checkpoint 4 prior to the items becoming compulsory. In that case, only runners departing the checkpoint after the items become compulsory must carry the items.’

Other things to remember- If there is any discrepancy between my explanations and the official line, the officials win. No arguments.

There will be at least one random gear check. Don’t try to skimp on any of the mandatory gear, it could ruin your race if you have to wait for a crew member to drive one to you- which is the best case scenario.

In 2011 we were required to carry a first aid kit. I use an Aide Void kit which is very small and has lots of worthwhile stuff in it. Declaration- yes my wife works for the company that distributes these but I will carry one anyway in 2012…….and 2013

All of the outdoor shops seem to be on sale right now (Khatmandu permanently!) and I saw some of the mandatory gear at great prices where they all cluster around Kent St Sydney.

 

Recommended items via TNF website:

  • Vaseline, Body Glide or other body lubricant
  • Sunscreen
  • Cap or sun hat
  • Spare socks
  • Spare headlight batteries
  • Additional warmer clothing at supported checkpoints
  • A spare headlamp in case your main light stops working.
  • More substantial first aid kit (sterile dressings, roll of strapping tape, blister care such as blister block patches, Compeed or Fixamol, antiseptic wipes, painkillers, and any relevant personal medications).

I’ll do another post soon about the non mandatory items you should consider……….

Canberra Marathon/ 50KM Ultra 2013

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Every now and then in running you get a slap in the face. This time I deserved it too!

My preparation for the marathon had been going pretty well, I felt fitter than last year and happy about my training. Then I had a look at my splits from last year and started worrying that I couldn’t make it. So on the Friday night before when someone offered me a glass of wine, I probably shouldn’t have had 5 (couldn’t have been more than 10 anyway). But that was totally my fault. Was I overconfident or under confident? Both!

That's me giving a high 5, about 10km before getting smacked hard by this race

That’s me giving a high 5, about 10km before getting smacked hard by this race

So I wasn’t terribly surprised to turn up to our hotel in Canberra to find a craft beer and cider festival in full swing. To a bloke with a force 3 hangover this could have gone either way. What do you think happened when we discovered that as guests of the hotel we had free entry to the festival and 10 drink vouchers. We had a little wander around……..

Martyn Dawson disappearing into the distance. He drove to Canberra at 3am for the race

Martyn Dawson disappearing into the distance. He drove to Canberra at 3am for the race

Later that afternoon it was time to meet the other NRG’ers who had made the trek to the capital. Great pick of restaurant, lovely big servings of pasta, and a bit of mild sledging.

Race morning we hopped in the car to the race- Rocco Smit was the 3:45 pacer for the marathon, girlfriend Sally and my wife Sarah both in the Half. Both races start at the same time and share the course for about 10km. I was about 50m behind Rocco at the start but could not get any closer- then when the gun went off it took me 90 seconds to get across the start line, and by then he had disappeared off into the distance. A word about my goals- my pb in the marathon is 3:46 from 2012 and I felt I should be able to go under that by a couple of minutes. Next closest to that was a 3:43 from Jennie Sharland- Riggs at Great Ocean Road last year, and a stretch goal of sub 3:39.

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So my time last year was an average 5:21 pace, if I could make about 5:17 I could be a smug bugger when I saw Jennie next and a 5:07 average would get me under 3:40.

Rocco had done his calculations for a 3:45 finish (exactly 5:20 average pace) and decided he need about 5:15 pace to make his time. Lots of reasons for this- apparently most marathons measure a bit long and needing to have a bit of wriggle room. I wasn’t convinced, but he turned out to be exactly right…….

So we set off amongst thousands of people, trying to pass lots of human speed bumps while not going too fast. I settled into a decent rhythm, talking to Leah Evans (don’t tell anyone, she’s a Strider- and also the one I told to ‘harden up princess’ at Six Foot Track. Princess Leah, geddit? Actually it took me a while……) and watching the speed. It took us 40 minutes and about 8km to catch up to Rocco. Who was having a leisurely chat with Michael McGrath. Obviously Michael needed a stern word, so I politely asked him to run a bit faster, and he obliged. Easy.  Now the plan was to stick with Rocco for at least 15-20km and then see if I had anything else to go with. However there was such a crowd with Rocco’s train I couldn’t get behind him. And I didn’t want to be in front of him in case he actually started to race. He is much more professional than this, but I was also feeling pretty good and so I took off. Who knows what would have happened if I stuck to my plan?

At 13km I overtook Jesus. No not a Mexican guy- a bloke with no shoes, a little cheesecloth over his naughty bits, no shirt. And a crown of thorns. A bit too early for hallucinations. I also had a chat with Graeme ‘The Riddler’ Ridley. He’s the one who, during the same race in 2011, wore his Riddler outfit and kept on running up to spectators yelling ‘does my bum look big in this?’. He was happy to let me go, planning to keep a nice consistent pace. Apx 1:48 for the Half, and mildly impressed. Maybe I could pull off a ‘win’ despite thumbing my nose at the running gods? At this point I was happy, settled into a rhythm and keeping the pace pretty even. One of the advantages of an out and back course is that you get to see the fasties. I got to yell at Alex Matthews, Rob Mattingly, Geoff Evison and others as they went past. All were having outstanding races.At about 26km I was wondering what would happen at 28km, the 2/3 mark of the race. For some reason this is an important mark for me- perhaps not a good thing because this is where it all fell apart. There’s only 14km to go, and I noticed that I was slowing down significantly. I guess if it had been down to 10km I probably would have just stuck it out, instead I just carried on letting my pace slide, wondering if it was worthwhile pushing harder.

I got my answer at 36km. Race time exactly 3:10 minutes I figured that if I could sustain a 6 minute pace, I could still make 3:40 with reasonable ease. About a minute later I realised my calculation was wrong- I would need to be at 5 minute pace to make my time. I knew that wasn’t going to happen, so I let my ‘killer’ instinct lie down again. In fact it’s pretty hard to wake up at the best of times. My splits blew out to 6min/km and I just concentrated on running easy. Rocco flew past and said ‘come with us’ but I just didn’t have the will. Sarah and Sally met me about 400m from the finish, I asked Sarah not to take any photos, which was lucky because about 10m further on I had a bad cramp attack. Through the finish chute in 3:48:40, and 2:40 slower than last year. Not bad, but not what I wanted- suppose I should have either tried harder or stuck to my plan! Rocco finished in 3:44:50 gun time, couldn’t have done it better!

I had a little rest then continued on for the last 7.8km to make the 50km. At this point The Riddler glided past like he was on a 5km fun run, so I sucked it up and trotted on up the path alongside Lake Burley Griffin, giving encouragement to other runners whether they liked it or not. It’s a little bit special doing the extra bit because so few people do it. I saw Pam Muston (2nd female at C2K last year, ultra running royalty) coming back looking comfortable, then caught up to Rocco a bit further along. He was walking, but looking happy, which was obviously wrong. I asked him to run slowly with me, and we made it to the turn around point without too much drama. He put on a slightly better pace than me and for the next couple of kilometres I watched him slowly fade into the distance. His time of 4:45:55 was nicely in front of my 4:48:05, during the last 7.8km I was comfortable at a slow pace, much more comfortable than in the first 42km- but I was completely trashed after the 50km.

A couple of other things I did wrong- looking through my sock drawer I saw a barely used pair of Thorlos and thought they would be great to run in. They were- until I started to get a hot spot on the little toe of my left foot. A bit of a surprise, I don’t get a lot of blisters these days. Second problem was that I wore a new pair of my favourite Mizunos- I love the bounciness of new shoes. Unfortunately I’d forgotten to take all of the cardboard out of the shoe. Whoops. Never mind, I’m getting pretty good at ignoring foot pain……..

So a hard lesson learned. It’s a real pity I’ll have to wait a year to redeem myself, but honestly it was a great day out. On the way home we stopped at Moss Vale to visit some friends, and in a stroke of irony of epic proportions- the male of the house asked me to help him carry into the house a treadmill/ running machine he had just purchased. I was barely able to walk and had to decline……

 

for the data nerds, here’s some food-

my 2012 race here
and 2013 here

Making Your Own Energy Gels- Simpler Recipe

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I make my own gels and use them for any event/ training run where I’m likely to use 4 gels or more. This is because each flask holds about 3 gels. For any shorter event I use commercial gels and I particularly like the Accel Gels from Advantage 1 which have a bit of protein in them.

 

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I got to wondering recently if I could simplify my gel recipe even further (here’s the previous post). Have you seen that cookbook ‘4 Ingredients‘? They take a bunch of stuff that is often already pre made, then combine it to produce something that you might potentially eat. My sister quite rightly calls it ‘food assembly for bogans’.

But I don’t care about that- I care about making the best possible gel mix in the fastest possible time, and I’ve discovered something worth sharing.

Cottee’s seem to be switching all of their cordials to a double strength version, and they were on special at my local shop so I bought a couple of flavours to sample, Coola and Raspberry. I need to tell you- Coola flavour is my favourite ever cordial flavour, it’s like a little bit of my childhood.

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This means I can delete 3 ingredients from my previous recipe- brown sugar, honey and water and substitute for cordial, but how much cordial?

240ml of cordial contains 240x 0.67 = 160.8 g of sugar
so in 32ml we would have 9.12g of sugar
150kj

so

serving size 32ml
simple carbs 9.12g
Complex Carbs 16.8g
Total Carbs 26g
total Kj 280+150= 430kj

which is a little higher than the last recipe, you can compare with commercial gels here

Compare this with
Endura- 26g carbs, 444kj
Gu- 20-25g carbs, 420kj
Torq- 29g carbs, 468kj

here’s the recipe-

Using double strength Cottees Coola cordial

280g maltodextrin
1/4 teaspoon salt
50ml lime juice
240ml of cordial

Yes it really is as simple as mixing it all together in a big bowl, working the lumps out and then putting it in the flasks, which then go straight in the freezer in a sandwich bag. Easy.

4 Ingredients…. is this a cooincidence? I left in the lime juice because it may be acting as a preservative, you can probably leave it out if you fancy living dangerously.

Anyway it tastes great, and doesn’t look like baby poo so I’m happy.

Training Run Recommendations

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I’m learning as I go here, but as some of these runs are in remote areas I’d like you to have a look at these recommendations. Really we are just a bunch of friends going for a run together, I don’t take any responsibility for things that happen. These items might ensure that things don’t happen to you!

Print your own maps
Look over the maps before you run to see the tricky bits
Bring enough water + a bit extra
Bring enough food + a bit extra
Include some basic first aid stuff like compeeds, snake bandage and aspirin
Take your phone. Stick it in a ziplock sandwich bag if you need to keep it waterproof
Don’t leave anyone alone. This only really applies to the 2 people at the back, but I really don’t want anyone left by themselves. Anyone in between groups is probably ok

Optional- Put my number in your phone 04111 7 9999 or have an emergency plan, like you mate, spouse etc.

 

Also I now keep a bag of stuff in the car for when I finish. Thanks to other runners I now have a lot of things that make my trip home much more comfortable, and a bit less smelly
Towel
Deodorant
Spare shirt
Thongs
Jumper
Sports drink
Couple of pieces of fruit
Protein powder
Baby wipes
2 plastic bags. One for wet clothes, one for shoes

 

You Might be a Runner if- Part 2

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Thanks to some fabulous suggestions from others, we’re having a second bite at this one

You might be a runner if

1. You know what model of Garmin a friend uses by the shape of the white patch on their arm
2. You have a white, Garmin shaped patch on your arm
3. You tell your pedicurist ” just paint that skin to make it LOOK like a toe-nail”
4. You only wear toenail polish to cover up the fact that you have permanent blood blisters under your nails or just no toenails
5. You organise your holidays around a run you want to do
6. You know what your physio did on the weekend. Any weekend.
7. You spend more money on running shoes & running accessories than fashion
8. Your wear socks to your physio so he wont see the blisters when you’re meant to be RICE-ing
9. When you’re out injured you can’t tell if you’re stressed about not running or running clears your normal stresses
10. You only go to the doctor when whatever is up interferes with your running
11. Your friends no longer invite you out on Friday nights
12. You go to a friends house for dinner, eat everything in their kitchen and fall asleep at the table
13. After repeated weekends of chatting with people for 3+ hours you know how much their genitals chafe but not their names

 

Thanks to (in no particular order) Kate McElligott, Naomi Eastment, Ben Rollins, Adam Darwin, Alison Thomas, Ngaire Anna, Sara Jaques, Rocco Smit and Leigh Reynolds

Six Foot Track 2013 Race Report

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*all images used without permission from NRG Facebook page. If you’d like your name on these or to have them removed please contact kaos@me.com

For some reason I’d had barely any contact with other human beings in the week leading up to Six Foot Track- I work from home and things seemed to conspire to keep me inside.  Except for Monday, when I walked to school with my son and a neighbours kid who complained about being sick. So of course by Thursday I had a scratchy throat that was turning ugly. I had a bit of a panic when I realised I could be contagious- I was only mildly sick so still racing but I was sharing a room with Gavin Pilz and didn’t want to infect anyone unnecessarily. Gavin was a terrific room mate and took the top bunk, even though it was ‘his’ room.

Wave allocations
I think the qualifying standard definitely went up due to natural progression and last years cancellation. In 2012 I used a 3:39 Coastal Classic and scraped into Wave 3. This year I used a slightly better 3:34 in the same race and was dumped in Wave 4. Another runner with a very similar (~5 minutes difference) North Face 100 time used that as her qualifier and got Wave 3 and a race number 250 places lower than me (I was number 777). What does this all mean? Choose your qualifier carefully! I was pretty happy to be in Wave 4, because I felt that it would help me to not blow up in the race to the river.

Wave 1 Start

Wave 1 Start

Race Day
Up at 5am and thanking Thor that Randy had brought his coffee machine. I’d made last minute changes to my gear list, deciding to wear the Speedcross shoes, and to take a hat. The Speedcross have massive lugs on them, including one on the front of the shoe which does nothing but catch on rocks and roots, plunging you into the scenery. So I got out my utility knife and cut those off, but also took my gloves in case of a spill.

Hanging around at the start line was great, I felt absolutely no stress because I had cancelled any thoughts about running fast. My man flu had not become worse overnight, so I figured I’d just cruise and see what happened. I usually try to pick a few people who are better runners than me to try to keep up with, but Steve Bruggeman was in another wave, Adam Darwin was running with a brace on his foot, and Chris Dawe had come good in the last few weeks- he’d improved so much it was scary.

Joe Hedges getting some ridiculous fun

Joe Hedges having some ridiculous fun

Off we go in the Wave 4 start and I settled in behind Chris Dawe for the trip down Nellie’s Glen. And yes I do mean trip. Despite the very manly spikes on the bottom of my shoes, I slipped and got whacked in my bum with a piece of railway sleeper at a full 75kg of force. I didn’t lose any places however I can still feel it 3 days later. I was far from the only one- Blathnaid lost some bark, and Damian managed to roll down 4 stairs in spectacular fashion. I’m sure there were more. On to the single track and Chris was having a great time demolishing the distance, until he stepped awkwardly and busted an ankle. He went very quiet after that, but he was probably wondering if he could get away with murdering me when I said ‘I’ve got really strong ankles, that would never happen to me’. As soon as the single track widened to fire trail we could see Robyn Bruin’s yellow shirt shoot off into the distance, I figured anyone who tried to stay with her would be broken pretty quickly. Keeping to my non competitive strategy I let Chris go and concentrated on running within my limits and having fun. Just before Megalong Valley rd, I spotted Adam Darwin and had a brief chat. he’d started in Wave 3, so I was surprised to catch up so quickly, but as you’ll see he’s not one to give in easily. A couple of spectators shouted ‘come on Adam’ as we crossed the road, and he corrected them ‘don’t you mean ‘Adam’s?’

A Clutch of Adams

An (ankle) Brace of Adams

Down to the river was fairly uneventful, and true to predictions, the river was quite high. Very happy with the performance of my gaiters, they kept the rocks out so I had a snack, drink and kept on. I spent a bit of time eating my Growling Dog bar, and headed up the hill to Mini Mini Saddle. I lost a lot of places here (and expected to) as I’m still trying to figure out what makes me so slow up hills. Probably the same thing that stopped me breaking my pelvis on Nellie’s (my fat arse) but anyhow……

The caffeine started to kick in, and a few people around me were looknig a bit second hand, so I started giving unsolicited advice down to Allum Creek ‘it’s halfway!’ (no it’s not, but it is close), ‘there might be a small hill’ (no, there isn’t), ‘hide the drugs!’ when a car with flashing lights came towards us so it’s little wonder I was running by myself until we hit the Pluviometer. Kathy Madden overtook me here leading a bunch of very determined looking people- they disappeared up the hill in a flash leaving me to ponder why I was doing this. At the top of Pluvi I was pleasantly surprised to find that my legs felt fine. We’d done most of the climbing and because of my extremely conservative approach, I felt like we’d done about 15km. Time to put the hammer down. Or at least wheeze, cough, and carry on.

Doug Richardson looks like he's enjoying himself!

Doug Richardson looks like he’s enjoying himself!

Black Range road is the trickiest part of the course, your race can be won or lost here. It’s so easy to let your mind allow you to slow down. It’s not flat. It does rise, but most of the ‘hills’ are runnable. If you keep up the pressure you’ll be rewarded with a much better time. Here I caught up with Jaci Richards (who I mentioned above in the discussion about qualifiers). Did I also mention that her 16:30 TNF100 time was a 9 HOUR pb from the year before? She’s an amazing and inspiring athlete. After setting off again (I was starting to come good, I knew I would make the finish) I came across Leah Evans who trained with us last year for TNF100. Leah grumbled that she was having a hard time, so in my extremely sympathetic mood I yelled out ‘harden up, Princess!’ and she glared at me and reminded me that she had started in the wave behind me, and thus was currently beating me. Bugger, that took the wind out of my sails- just for that you will be Princess Leah forever more…….. yes I totally deserved it.

At least my offensiveness made her run again, and we diced for a few km. Unless I was hallucinating, there was a big fat man in a Wonder Woman costume in this section. If I hadn’t stopped to tell him the fashion police were on their way to arrest him I may have seem Adam Darwin at the end. Oh well. At some point there was another bunch of spectators with an NRG sign at the TOP of a hill. All my tiny mind could think was ‘not going to get any good action shot of me walking’. Soon after we got to Caves Rd and another bunch of spectators where Adam Darwin’s wife Nicola yelled ‘my husband is in front of you!’ Don’t worry Nic- I expected him to beat me, but I wasn’t going to make it easy for ol’ gimpy leg. I didn’t want to have to tell people I was beaten by a man with a broken leg. Or sprained ankle, whatever. I didn’t have the energy to yell back ‘he needs to beat me by more than 10 minutes to get a better time than me’

Katherine and Jane always have a smile ready!

Katherine and Jane always have a smile ready!

I was just about spent by Binda Cabins, but of course just after that we dive off into the bush again for some glorious downhill, and my shoes just munched up the terrain. I picked up a few places but by the time we hit the steep single track around the edge of the valley the 2 people in front wouldn’t let me get past. Through the finish chute in race time of 6:06:57, my start time was 25 minutes earlier so 5:41:57 and for some reason the timing mats at the start weren’t at the start line leading to a net time of 5:41:46. Am I happy? Hell yes. In 2011 I gave it everything I had and got 6:15, Saturday was about 80% effort which was all I had on the day.

Outstanding efforts
Steve Bruggeman who has had a very difficult time in training but pulled out a 5:24 for his 17th (you read that right!) Six Foot. You’re not that old Steve!
Chris Dawe who finished despite being in incredible pain. The look on his face at the end tells the story.
Adam Darwin with his ‘elephant man’ ankle. I would have bet money he wasn’t going to race only 2 weeks ago. What an amazing performance.
Paul Blamire who must have been in the toilet when the gun went off as it took him 34 seconds to cross the start line, and a unusual 1:47 down to Cox’s. But then he strapped on the turbo and managed a sub 5:30 time. Impressive.
Leigh Reynolds, winner of the ‘golden ticket’ race entry. Leigh has made so much progress in recent months it’s like he’s decided to chase down Sam. That sort of improvement does not come without pain, you masochist. Classy guy, classy result.
Simon Rogers, our fearless leader, who overcame worse man flu than me to complete the race. You earned those beers!
But Rosie Mills takes the prize for running the last 30km with a suspected broken neck, after falling over the feet of an overtaking runner. I think that even beats this story here. Oh, and in other news Sam Walker picked up a flying second place behind Tony Fattorini, Michelle McAdam a blinding 3rd female, and our first 6 ladies picked up the team award. Wow! I’ve spent a fair bit of time trying to keep up with these women, and that award couldn’t go to a nicer bunch.

Yes buddy, that’s exactly how much it hurts

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Rosie Mills manages to smile- we hope she’s ok. Finishing with Jacqui

Thank you to the spectators, lovely to see some of our broken comrades and even some who never intended to race. A very sophisticated looking Tanya Baluk would have taken the fashion prize (I swear I did once wear a collared shirt, BR, Before Running). Lovely sunny conditions at Caves House made us all relax, until they ran out of beer. Then in the bus on the way home the driver made us stew in our own filth for a while before turning on the aircon. Perhaps he likes ‘eau de trailrunner’.

Dinner afterwards is always a highlight. At one stage I was forced to stand at the bar and have vodka shots to adjust my outlook, but unsurprisingly it became easier to ignore the pain after that. I find it hard to believe that a venue can’t produce the right amount of dinners when they’ve had numbers and orders for a MONTH. That ‘oops’ is kind of hard to explain. Randy put a huge amount of effort in organising it all, how could they stuff it up so badly? Enough said about that.

What went right
Making that blog post about the gear I was taking turned out to be a great idea. I almost didn’t submit it because it started out as just a list of things for me to remember. However just about everybody I met on the whole weekend had read it. I was stopped in the street to discuss, people thanked me for reminding them to bring chips, others cursed me for reminding them how much they’d forgotten!
My shoes were great, they have a relatively small toe box which means my little toes get bashed around, but not so much during the race. Win.
Wearing gaiters- this meant I could cross the rivers and creeks without little rocks in my shoes. Big win.

What went wrong
To the guy who read my previous post and knew I would be carrying extra salt tablets- I’m really happy that I was able to give some out during the race, but you have to stick them in your mouth before they will work!
Nutrition- I probably did half the race on snakes and sports drink. If I wanted a more competitive time, I probably should have gone more towards gels etc.
Racing- it’s probably better that I did not know that Adam Darwin was 30 seconds in front, or Chris Dawe 1 min 20s, or others about 3 minutes in front. Let’s have a proper race next year when we’re all of the injured list!
I was carrying two flasks of home made gel. The second one was in a zip lock bag and thus waterproof. I should have kept the first one out of the Cox’s River, because well, for the next few days I had to stay close to a toilet.

If you want to see how the winners race went, have a look at Tony Fattorini’s blog here

Memorable quotes
Joe Hedges ‘that was f@cking ridiculous’
Sam Walker ‘my legs have never been that sore’*
*stolen from a FaceBook post, so may not be actually true. I also considered writing that in New Zealand dialect, but I’m fairly sure that he can run faster than me.
Tony Sharpe ‘Give it to me. Harder. Oh yeah’ (to massage therapist)#
#yes, I totally made that up. But it COULD have happened

Age Class Results
If you’d like a good laugh, consider this- If I was 25 year younger my 5:41 time would have won the under 20 age class (vs 6:12). However if I was 25 years OLDER, a 5:41 would have been second in class. You read that right, winning time in the 70-79 age class was 5:06. I mean WTF?

 

Six Foot Track 2013 Gear List

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This is mostly a list to myself so I don’t forget anything. The weather forecast is for 13-23 degrees so I won’t need any extra clothing, but I will be a bit cold at the start…….

What I’m wearing on the day
Salomon Sense Mantra shoes- alternate Salomon Speedcross
Injinji toe socks- vaseline on toes
InnoV8 Gaiters- tropical strength anti leech stuff on calves
Linebreak compression shorts
Patagonia Ultra shorts
Bodyglide on naughty bits
double pocket SPI-Belt
NRG singlet
3M paper medical tape on nipples
Leather weightlifting gloves
Garmin heart rate strap
Garmin 910xt
Serfas Portal sunglasses

What I’m going to carry
2 flasks of home made sports gel
1 Growling Dog Berry bar, cut up
1 85% cacao chocolate bar
9 Salt Stick salt capsules in small zip lock
zip lock bag containing Compeeds and Ventolin inhaler and cash for the end
Sports drink to consume just before the race
Expired credit card to remove leeches

What I’m going to put in my Drop Bag for after the race
Towel
Deodorant
Spare shirt
Thongs
Jumper
Sports drink
Chips
2 plastic bags. One for wet clothes, one for shoes

Discussion
The weightlifting gloves are to protect my hands if I fall. A simple fall could take you out of the race if you damage your hands, but I’m not 100% sure I’ll take them because 1. there are no hand holds going down nellie’s Glen and 2. there isn’t a huge amount of single track, which are the most likely spots to fall. I’ll eat the chocolate bar and the Growling Dog bar on the way to the river in the hope they will give me a lift up Mini Mini and Pluvi. I won’t be carrying any water as there are 17 aid stations, max 5km between them. In case you think I’m planning to overdose on salt, I always carry a lot more than I need to pay back those who helped me through my cramping in Six Foot Track 2011.

I think that’s it, does anyone have anything else to add?

List of North Face Training runs 2013

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Alternative title- Facebook what have you done to my page?

Training page is here-

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Unofficial-North-Face-100-Training/315837878435094

I agree it’s not easy to find things on that page, so here’s a list of runs you might be looking for-

Run 1- The HahnMich Manouvre, 17km Saturday 16 March https://www.facebook.com/events/130270490484476/

Run 2- All around the Mulberry Bush, 42km Saturday 23 March
https://www.facebook.com/events/312423318881191/

Run 3- Bush Bingo, 38km Saturday 30 March
https://www.facebook.com/events/220322521439350/

Run 4- EasyBeasts, 25km Saturday 6 April
https://www.facebook.com/events/312320135557509/

Run 5- Canberra Marathon, 42.195km Sunday 14 April
https://www.facebook.com/events/440688292675058/

Run 6- Fatass Hellgate Gorge, 46km Saturday 20 April
https://www.facebook.com/events/543345249030222/

Run 7- Double Coastal Classic, 60km Thursday 25 April (ANZAC Day)
https://www.facebook.com/events/125663930947461/

Run 8- Mr D’s Rock around the Block, 30km Saturday 4 May
https://www.facebook.com/events/139294446237613/

I’ll add links to download the maps to the Facebook events individually

11 Signs you might be a Runner

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1. You see lovely calves on a woman in front, realise she’s wearing heels and wince
2. You see calves on a guy in front, realise they’re bigger than yours and wince
3. You see a guy with blood running out of both nipples and feel his pain
4. Someone describes your ‘joggers’ and you correct them
5. You wonder if business shoes come in ‘zero drop’
6. If wearing black is slimming, and running is slimming, then why is running wearing black just stupid?
7. You can justify just about anything you eat, do or don’t do by using various combinations of the words ‘carb loading’ ‘tapering’ ‘LSD’ ‘Fartlek’ ‘bonk’ ‘DOMS’ and ‘hydration’
8. You laugh at people who turn up for a 5km with a hydration pack
9. That’s not a pretty woman up ahead, that’s a mild supinator with overstriding issues, weak gluteus and too much hip movement*
10. You realise the cheaper the run, the more vomit inducing the T-Shirt will be
11. Getting ‘chicked’ isn’t as fun as it sounds

 

 

*anatomically impossible? I have no idea, I totally made this up