Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 - Year In Review

video

Like most things these days I seem to be running way behind...but I have finally found a few minutes to reflect back on the last 365 days and remind myself of some of the great running related memories, achievements, surprises and a few inevitable disappointments of 2014.

If I could summarise 2014 in one word it would be busy! It seemed, and it certainly felt like I was always a couple of weeks away from travelling or coming back to reality of life and my passport pretty much remained on the office table all year round instead of it being put away in it's safe place where it should be. I certainly racked up some frequent flyer points this year. Hong Kong, New Zealand, Japan, USA and Qatar were all visited internationally with a couple of additional trips to Victoria and South Australia too for good measure!

At the start of 2014, if there was one big goal I wanted to nail was a big result in a big international ultra event. What that result would look like I didn't know, that was to be an internal measure that I could only determine at the time. Being a perfectionist of some sort this was always going to be a bit of a futile task and it's probably then no surprise that I feel like there were a couple of missed chances despite what on paper look like descent results.

So what about the races? Well it was another huge racing year. There were a stack of highs and there were one or two lows too. I can reflect back and be content in knowing I stayed true to my values as a runner, and this has never changed over my career - to be a prolific racer but have a one or two 'A' races, to be versatile over various distances and terrains and to give back to the sport the very joy that I get out of it.

If you like numbers, then these are the statistics.

Races: 41
Range: 5km to 240km, Road and Trail (no track this year)
Podium (Top 3): 33
Victories: 18 (1 shared victory)

Road

Running for Australia in the IAU 100km World Championship was definitely a highlight of the year
Although it didn't really feel like a big year of road running in comparison to trail, it actually ended up being quite significant. The highlights being.
  • 2nd at the Narrabeen All Nighter 12h; running 145km and ranking 3rd on the Australian all time 12h road rankings. Quite a surprise given I was planning to stop at 100km.
  • Breaking my only road PB for the year, lowering my 5k time by one second!.
  • Winning the Centennial Park Ultra 100km (although how this is called a road event is still a mystery)
  • Picking up a couple of podiums in road marathons at the M7 and Carcoar.
  • 12th at the 100km World Championships, running a sub 7h time.
The World Championships was an 'A' race for me this year and I finished just a minute outside my PB (although to be fair on a much tougher course and in more testing conditions). However, I can't help thinking that it was a case of a missed opportunity. I was definitely going into the race thinking I could get deep in the Top 10 with a time of around 6:45. Unfortunately things took a bit of a turn in the last quarter of the race and I missed the Top 10 by less than 80 seconds. But a wonderfully rewarding and fulfilling experience for sure.

Another highlight was regularly attending my local parkrun at Penrith Lakes. I love the parkrun concept and it's just a wonderful global health initiative. It's grassroots racing and it's where, for many, the joy of running is found. I look forward to continuing to be present as often as I can and spending time with other runners from the local Penrith and Blue Mountains area.

The other moment on the road this year, which deserves a blog post of its own, was Coast to Kosci, the 240km mammoth that I finished the year on. So many mixed feelings and lessons learned and I will get around to putting all these down soon.

Trail

Running in Western States was a dream come true
Some highlights:
  • 6th at Ultra Trail Mt Fuji (UTMF)
  • 3rd at TNF100
  • 8th at Western States 
  • 1st, shared with Dave Eadie at Surf Coast Century
  • 1st at Heysen 105
  • 1st and setting a new course record at Oxfam Sydney Trailwalker with 3 mates.
The trails were once again where it all happened this year. There were a couple of great results but the one I probably got the most satisfaction from was at Ultra Trail Mt Fuji. It is a 100mile race with +9500m and not really the type of race that I'm suited for, nor where my strengths lie with all the ascending. The field was stacked, with a classy international field assembled, and I fought hard all day and night for that result. The other result of significance was of course my other 'A' race of the year, Western States, the Grandaddy of all US 100 milers. But like the World 100km, I can't help but think a Top 5 spot was within reach, especially as I was there abouts with the finishers 4th to 7th all day. In the end only 12 minutes separated 8th to 4th. This has definitely left me hungry to go back next year and finish the job!

I also finished 5th in the overall series rankings of the Ultra Trail World Tour. This was a big surprise and to be in the same cohort of some big name international runners was a huge honour but good reward for all the hours of training.

Of course I have to thank my sponsors and supporters for enabling me to be able to do what I love. I hope I've been a good representative for what you and your companies stand for. I'm very grateful to Barefootinc, Hammer Nutrition Australia, 2XU, Injinji Performance Products, Ferei Australia, Valley Fitness, Suunto Australia and of course my main sponsors Inov-8. Many thanks to Lake Crackenback Resort and Spa, Mountain Sports, Southern Highlands Challenge, Heysen 105, Sydney Trail Series and the Australian Running Convention who have given me opportunities as an ambassador this year.

Thanks always to my awesome wife Nadine for being my number 1 supporter, sustainer and maintainer! It was just as big a year for her as it was for me and I know the sacrifices and compromises you've made for me. Thank you so much.

It was also a massive year from a work perspective. This year I've spent a lot more time investing into my UP Coaching business and getting that off the ground and running in more a full time capacity. I've been overwhelmed with the response and on a lot of levels I've learnt a lot of lessons in what it means to run a fully fledged business. But I've enjoyed the journey so far immensely. From running two weekly training sessions; running weekend camps, taking groups for trail running clinics and all the online coaching; it's been another super busy but rewarding journey. Look out for plenty of UP Coaching Crew to feature in and around big races in 2015. Thank you to all my clients and casual visitors who have been part of UP Coaching in 2014.

The other initiative that I feel particularly proud of too is Trail Kids which I cofounded with my good friend Jo Brischetto. To see kids getting outside, being active in the great Australia bush and introducing them to the wonderful sport of trail running is just incredibly enriching for both the kids and myself. It's at the grassroots where the future of the sport in Australia lies and I'm proud that I have a small little input at this level.

Shortly, I'll post my running plans for 2015.

Nabbing 5th in the UTWT was a nice reward for a lot of hard work!

2014 - Year In Review

video

Like most things these days I seem to be running way behind...but I have finally found a few minutes to reflect back on the last 365 days and remind myself of some of the great running related memories, achievements, surprises and a few inevitable disappointments of 2014.

If I could summarise 2014 in one word it would be busy! It seemed, and it certainly felt like I was always a couple of weeks away from travelling or coming back to reality of life and my passport pretty much remained on the office table all year round instead of it being put away in it's safe place where it should be. I certainly racked up some frequent flyer points this year. Hong Kong, New Zealand, Japan, USA and Qatar were all visited internationally with a couple of additional trips to Victoria and South Australia too for good measure!

At the start of 2014, if there was one big goal I wanted to nail was a big result in a big international ultra event. What that result would look like I didn't know, that was to be an internal measure that I could only determine at the time. Being a perfectionist of some sort this was always going to be a bit of a futile task and it's probably then no surprise that I feel like there were a couple of missed chances despite what on paper look like descent results.

So what about the races? Well it was another huge racing year. There were a stack of highs and there were one or two lows too. I can reflect back and be content in knowing I stayed true to my values as a runner, and this has never changed over my career - to be a prolific racer but have a one or two 'A' races, to be versatile over various distances and terrains and to give back to the sport the very joy that I get out of it.

If you like numbers, then these are the statistics.

Races: 41
Range: 5km to 240km, Road and Trail (no track this year)
Podium (Top 3): 33
Victories: 18 (1 shared victory)

Road

Running for Australia in the IAU 100km World Championship was definitely a highlight of the year
Although it didn't really feel like a big year of road running in comparison to trail, it actually ended up being quite significant. The highlights being.
  • 2nd at the Narrabeen All Nighter 12h; running 145km and ranking 3rd on the Australian all time 12h road rankings. Quite a surprise given I was planning to stop at 100km.
  • Breaking my only road PB for the year, lowering my 5k time by one second!.
  • Winning the Centennial Park Ultra 100km (although how this is called a road event is still a mystery)
  • Picking up a couple of podiums in road marathons at the M7 and Carcoar.
  • 12th at the 100km World Championships, running a sub 7h time.
The World Championships was an 'A' race for me this year and I finished just a minute outside my PB (although to be fair on a much tougher course and in more testing conditions). However, I can't help thinking that it was a case of a missed opportunity. I was definitely going into the race thinking I could get deep in the Top 10 with a time of around 6:45. Unfortunately things took a bit of a turn in the last quarter of the race and I missed the Top 10 by less than 80 seconds. But a wonderfully rewarding and fulfilling experience for sure.

Another highlight was regularly attending my local parkrun at Penrith Lakes. I love the parkrun concept and it's just a wonderful global health initiative. It's grassroots racing and it's where, for many, the joy of running is found. I look forward to continuing to be present as often as I can and spending time with other runners from the local Penrith and Blue Mountains area.

The other moment on the road this year, which deserves a blog post of its own, was Coast to Kosci, the 240km mammoth that I finished the year on. So many mixed feelings and lessons learned and I will get around to putting all these down soon.

Trail

Running in Western States was a dream come true
Some highlights:
  • 6th at Ultra Trail Mt Fuji (UTMF)
  • 3rd at TNF100
  • 8th at Western States 
  • 1st, shared with Dave Eadie at Surf Coast Century
  • 1st at Heysen 105
  • 1st and setting a new course record at Oxfam Sydney Trailwalker with 3 mates.
The trails were once again where it all happened this year. There were a couple of great results but the one I probably got the most satisfaction from was at Ultra Trail Mt Fuji. It is a 100mile race with +9500m and not really the type of race that I'm suited for, nor where my strengths lie with all the ascending. The field was stacked, with a classy international field assembled, and I fought hard all day and night for that result. The other result of significance was of course my other 'A' race of the year, Western States, the Grandaddy of all US 100 milers. But like the World 100km, I can't help but think a Top 5 spot was within reach, especially as I was there abouts with the finishers 4th to 7th all day. In the end only 12 minutes separated 8th to 4th. This has definitely left me hungry to go back next year and finish the job!

I also finished 5th in the overall series rankings of the Ultra Trail World Tour. This was a big surprise and to be in the same cohort of some big name international runners was a huge honour but good reward for all the hours of training.

Of course I have to thank my sponsors and supporters for enabling me to be able to do what I love. I hope I've been a good representative for what you and your companies stand for. I'm very grateful to Barefootinc, Hammer Nutrition Australia, 2XU, Injinji Performance Products, Ferei Australia, Valley Fitness, Suunto Australia and of course my main sponsors Inov-8. Many thanks to Lake Crackenback Resort and Spa, Mountain Sports, Southern Highlands Challenge, Heysen 105, Sydney Trail Series and the Australian Running Convention who have given me opportunities as an ambassador this year.

Thanks always to my awesome wife Nadine for being my number 1 supporter, sustainer and maintainer! It was just as big a year for her as it was for me and I know the sacrifices and compromises you've made for me. Thank you so much.

It was also a massive year from a work perspective. This year I've spent a lot more time investing into my UP Coaching business and getting that off the ground and running in more a full time capacity. I've been overwhelmed with the response and on a lot of levels I've learnt a lot of lessons in what it means to run a fully fledged business. But I've enjoyed the journey so far immensely. From running two weekly training sessions; running weekend camps, taking groups for trail running clinics and all the online coaching; it's been another super busy but rewarding journey. Look out for plenty of UP Coaching Crew to feature in and around big races in 2015. Thank you to all my clients and casual visitors who have been part of UP Coaching in 2014.

The other initiative that I feel particularly proud of too is Trail Kids which I cofounded with my good friend Jo Brischetto. To see kids getting outside, being active in the great Australia bush and introducing them to the wonderful sport of trail running is just incredibly enriching for both the kids and myself. It's at the grassroots where the future of the sport in Australia lies and I'm proud that I have a small little input at this level.

Shortly, I'll post my running plans for 2015.

Nabbing 5th in the UTWT was a nice reward for a lot of hard work!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

IAU 100km World Championship Review - In Numbers

Well it was a road race after all. So this review is one for the data lovers!


Quarter Split Rankings
  • 0-25km: 32nd
  • 26-50km: 32nd
  • 51-75:10th
  • 76-100km: 9th
Result
  • 6:56:45
  • 12th out of 91 finishers (139 starters)
  • Seconds outside the Top 10: 74s
  • Missed PB: 1m19s
  • Lapped by: 2 (Max King and Jonas Budd)
  • M35 Masters Championship placing had I entered: 1st! Arrggghhh
Australian Teams Positions
  • Women: 6th out of 9
  • Men: 8th out of 18
Nutrition
  • Number of Hammer Gels consumed: 18
  • Average Carbs consumed per hour: 54g
Water and Electrolyte
  • Water: 600ml-800ml per hour
  • 1 Hammer Enduralyte Extreme per hour
  • Peed in my pants: 2
Environment
  • Temperature at start: 25
  • Humidity at start: 69%
  • Number of U Turns: 300
Gear
  • Shoes: Inov-8 233g, 6mm drop


Lastly, thanks to Rob Boyce and all at AURA for another opportunity to represent and be captain of the might Aussie Team. Thanks for the hosts Aspire Zone and the IAU of course for making this all possible. I will be back next year!

IAU 100km World Championship Review - In Numbers

Well it was a road race after all. So this review is one for the data lovers!


Quarter Split Rankings
  • 0-25km: 32nd
  • 26-50km: 32nd
  • 51-75:10th
  • 76-100km: 9th
Result
  • 6:56:45
  • 12th out of 91 finishers (139 starters)
  • Seconds outside the Top 10: 74s
  • Missed PB: 1m19s
  • Lapped by: 2 (Max King and Jonas Budd)
  • M35 Masters Championship placing had I entered: 1st! Arrggghhh
Australian Teams Positions
  • Women: 6th out of 9
  • Men: 8th out of 18
Nutrition
  • Number of Hammer Gels consumed: 18
  • Average Carbs consumed per hour: 54g
Water and Electrolyte
  • Water: 600ml-800ml per hour
  • 1 Hammer Enduralyte Extreme per hour
  • Peed in my pants: 2
Environment
  • Temperature at start: 25
  • Humidity at start: 69%
  • Number of U Turns: 300
Gear
  • Shoes: Inov-8 233g, 6mm drop


Lastly, thanks to Rob Boyce and all at AURA for another opportunity to represent and be captain of the might Aussie Team. Thanks for the hosts Aspire Zone and the IAU of course for making this all possible. I will be back next year!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Coast2Kosci - Yikes!


It's D-day for my last event of the year, the epic 240km Coast 2 Kosci

I'm nervous as anything, this will by far the furthest and longest time I have gone 'out for a run'! Previously I've run the 175km Great North Walk and close to 22h at UTMF. I've been pouring over the details and my plan and think I have something in place that will see my finish and not be too broken!

It was nice of the boys over at Ultra168 to put me forward as a favourite, but to be honest, I'm going into an event like this very much a rookie and have only a small idea what to expect. 240km on the road is a long long way!



It looks even longer from space. See how zoomed out you have to make it just so the route fits into that space. That's freaking scary! You can probably tell how nervous I am by the excessive amount of exclamation marks in this post!

From all I've heard and from following the race in the past years, I know it will be a special journey. I can't wait to undertake it with all the other runners, crew and organisers.

I have my splits in place, my gear ready, my nutrition sorted and my Suunto loaded up with the race route. A race like this is never going to be to perfect but it's a blueprint of a plan and thankfully I have 3 wonderful crew that will be able to help me deal with issues as they arise. Thank you Stephane, Marcus and Lauren for giving up your weekend for me. I really hope I can repay the favour one day.

Last weekend I was down in the area hosting a trail running camp at Lake Crackenback Resort and the weather was superb. I hope it stays the same this weekend too. But I know too well the unpredictability of the mountains and will be preparing for blazing sun, rain, snow and wind. I've almost packed my whole wardrobe in preparation!

This is my last race for the year, and I couldn't think of a better way to end the year! Oh yes...I just did, sitting back on Saturday night downing a few Kosciuszko pale ales in the company of some extraordinary people.

Whichever way this race goes, it will sure make for one hell of an epic race report!

I believe you can track all the runners' progress here

Safe, strong running to all competitors and wishing all crew a wonderful experience with your athletes!

Coast2Kosci - Yikes!


It's D-day for my last event of the year, the epic 240km Coast 2 Kosci

I'm nervous as anything, this will by far the furthest and longest time I have gone 'out for a run'! Previously I've run the 175km Great North Walk and close to 22h at UTMF. I've been pouring over the details and my plan and think I have something in place that will see my finish and not be too broken!

It was nice of the boys over at Ultra168 to put me forward as a favourite, but to be honest, I'm going into an event like this very much a rookie and have only a small idea what to expect. 240km on the road is a long long way!



It looks even longer from space. See how zoomed out you have to make it just so the route fits into that space. That's freaking scary! You can probably tell how nervous I am by the excessive amount of exclamation marks in this post!

From all I've heard and from following the race in the past years, I know it will be a special journey. I can't wait to undertake it with all the other runners, crew and organisers.

I have my splits in place, my gear ready, my nutrition sorted and my Suunto loaded up with the race route. A race like this is never going to be to perfect but it's a blueprint of a plan and thankfully I have 3 wonderful crew that will be able to help me deal with issues as they arise. Thank you Stephane, Marcus and Lauren for giving up your weekend for me. I really hope I can repay the favour one day.

Last weekend I was down in the area hosting a trail running camp at Lake Crackenback Resort and the weather was superb. I hope it stays the same this weekend too. But I know too well the unpredictability of the mountains and will be preparing for blazing sun, rain, snow and wind. I've almost packed my whole wardrobe in preparation!

This is my last race for the year, and I couldn't think of a better way to end the year! Oh yes...I just did, sitting back on Saturday night downing a few Kosciuszko pale ales in the company of some extraordinary people.

Whichever way this race goes, it will sure make for one hell of an epic race report!

I believe you can track all the runners' progress here

Safe, strong running to all competitors and wishing all crew a wonderful experience with your athletes!