Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Team inov-8

I bought my first pair of Inov-8 trail shoes in 2009 while in Cumbria in the UK when I ran in the inaugural Commonwealth Ultra Distance and Mountain Running Championships. I was very much a roadie then who dabbled in a bit of trail running for fun. Little did I know where these shoes would take me!

I bought them out of the back of the legendary 'Pete Bland' running shoe van that was at the location after watching the most intense mountain running race (up and down race) the day following my 100k road race. I bought what all the leading competitors where wearing - the X-Talon 212s. I still have this pair and they are still going strong!

The way these champion fell runners were hurtling themselves down the side of the mountain had to be seen to be believed. I could not quite believe that they could throw away self-preservation by running at breakneck speed down the steep, rocky, muddy, mountainside. This is running without a trail to follow, just you and your wits picking the quickest line down to the bottom!

I soon realised that, yes, there was a huge amount of courage involved, but more so it was the shoes that were allowing the runner to reach a new level and have the confidence and security under foot to do such gnarly manoeuvring.

Since then, the mighty inov-8s have been on my feet in all my major trail running races; short and long; technical or firetrail, the inov-8s have a shoe model  for all conditions. I've likened the relationship between shoe and runner to that of a business partnership; one assists the other to perform at their best by performing their own role reliably and consistently. No more was this on show than last year during the extremely muddy and technical Great Ocean Walk 100k where I broke the course record in the X-Talon 190s.

I'm extremely honoured to represent a company that put as much commitment into making quality products as the athletes who represent them do in getting the results. I am really looking forward to travelling to Japan and Europe this year and racing for inov-8. I must thank Sally and Max at barefootinc, the Australian distributors of the brand as this is where it started for both Shona and I.

Here is my team's profile page and here is mine and Shona's

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Trail Runners Delight

I just had one of those weekends where you couldn't wipe the smile off my face, filled with great running and being around great people. On Saturday, Shona and I had our second Ultra Training Australia day camp, this time focusing in on the iconic 6 Foot Track Marathon. On Sunday, I backed up for what has quickly become a favourite race of mine and (everyone else in Sydney it seems), the Sydney Trailrunning Series at Manly Dam.

With my group at the end!
The Ultra Australia Training Camp saw me once again take the 'speedy' group out for a mentored run on the course. Unlike the first camp we did where it was all males bar one female, it was exactly opposite this time around (not including my sweeper, Aussie 24h rep Ewan). The day was absolutely beautiful and the group ran from the start to the top of Mini Mini before retracing our steps. With stops for refuelling etc the run was just over 6hrs long. I really enjoy sharing what I know with clients on the trails, offering little tips and tricks to do with technique and race tactics, sometimes it's new for the clients, but a lot of the time they like to hear the confirmation that what they are doing is on the money!

Presenting...a little tired!
 After the training run, as is the norm now with the camps, we went back to the Aquatic Centre and showered before heading to a local pub for lunch and the seminars. I presented a number of talks on different topics regarding racing the 6 Foot Track, gear and mental strategies. Shona also gave talks on the crucial topics of hydration and nutrition and injury prevention. Shona and I have just opened entries to our next camp, another TNF100 focussed camp on April 20. This camp will feature a morning run, lunch time seminar followed by a night run on the part of TNF100 course that would be run at night. The seminars and talks will be new and we are endeavouring to get a couple of guest speakers along too (I'm working on my psychologist wife to give a talk on overcoming pre-race nerves!)

STS, Race 3
On Sunday, I took myself off to Manly to run the last in the Sydney Trailrunning Series summer race put on by Mountain Sports. I have really loved running this series, despite some average performances during what was my 'off season' late last year and in January. I was happy to see some reward for the speed work I've recently returned to and put in a time over a minute quicker than I had previously done. But kudos to Mountain Sports, this event has progressively attracted a higher and higher quality of runner and they came out in force on Sunday. Vlad Shatrov and my track training partner Jim Perrett where first timers at the series who took out the first two spots. In third and putting in an outstanding run was another local, Andy Lee. He was racing for the series win and he threw down a great time and deserved the overall victory, he has easily been the most consistent. Race results are here.

I was happy to pick up third overall in the series, pipping Charlie Brooks, despite him beating me in 2 out of the 3 races; that doesn't seem right! I walked away with some cool prizes that I'll be once again offering as prizes at the next UTA camp. Series results are here.

Post race, I went for a coffee and breakfast with Roger Hanney, a really top guy who is putting together a little article for Trail Run Magazine. The interview was very taxing on minimal sleep all weekend and my mind got worked over! As Jo B said on the way home, 'You got Rogered'! That I did! The guy can ask a mean question or two. I was really glad he did dig deep though, I was able to perhaps articulate (if that was possible!) some thoughts and ideas I don't often get to express about my running and the sport of ultra running in general. Thanks Roger, good luck transcribing my mumble jumble mate!

This weekend I'm heading down to Mt Stromlo in Canberra for my last long race pace effort before Tarawera and will be running the 50k. It will be a fast race with a number of great marathoners entered. I'll be pushing for a sub 3:10 run and to try and keep up with Marty Dent in the 100k! I've been asked about the record by a number of people and all I can say is that Marty is a true professional and he won't be leaving any stone unturned in his preparation and race execution. I have no doubt that Marty will demolish this race.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Another Great Quote

I just stumbled across this great quote from Tim Twietmeyer, 25 time finisher of Western States.

"There is nothing noble in being superior to some other man. The true nobility is being superior to your previous self."

I just love this quote.