"Never be limited by other people's limited imaginations. If you adopt their attitudes, then the possibility won't exist because you'll have already shut it out." -Mae Jemison, astronaut

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sturm und Drang: Eat and Run

Reading Scott Jurek's new book was easy. It was compelling. It didn't take a lot of energy. I could read it first thing over brekkie or late at night or waiting for my take-away. In fact, I wanted to read it at all those times. And more.

It was easy reading, but that doesn't mean it wasn't intellectually stirring. In fact, it even got me rather riled up at times. And certainly got me motivated in regards to my running.




I'll immediately put forward my grumble about Americans (and those Pommies across the pond from them) continuing to speak this arcane imperial language that is sooooo 20th century! I know 105 degrees Fahrenheit must be hot, 20,000 feet elevation change in a race must be a lot, and a 7 min/mile must be fast, but I really won't get the impact of those things unless they are put in metric. And there are 6.5 billion of us in this world with a similar "language" issue. Isn't there an Avaaz petition we could sign on this? ;)

The book is basically an autobiography in chronological order, with recipes thrown in every 20 pages or so. Scott writes very candidly as an insider in the elite ultrarunning world - on friendships and sponsorships and some of the nasty 'gossipy' crueler side to the sport. He emphasises over and over again that success in ultramarathons is not so much about genes but about effort and will (yet, as you read his book you will probably be struck with how much knowledge he tried to gain through intellectually understanding the sport - not just by being mentally "stronger.")

I thought I was decently well read in the running literature (and other literature), but Scott's book left me with a list of at least 10 books I'd never heard of! (After getting to count the likes of Noam Chomsky, The Power of Now, and The Brothers Karamazov).

The veganism and recipes have gotten me sufficiently curious. I want to give it a try, but it really seems like a bloody lot of work. It's actually pretty easy being a vegetarian as I mostly am. On a slack night, a tin of kidney beans and tomatoes with spinach and chili powder thrown over pasta makes a pretty complete healthy meal. To become vegetarian all I had to do was stop eating meat and start eating legumes (beans, lentils, soy). To become vegan - and particularly Scott's brand of veganism with its emphasis on alkaline and less common foods - means I will be trying to fall in love with food preparation. I mean, the guy takes a travel blender when he goes anywhere!

But I've decided that this winter (Perth winter/northern hemisphere summer), I'll try some more of his ideas. Because I do know there is science behind a lot of what he's advocating - science that's good for runners, like alkaline foods. Since I'll be overseas for 2.5 months, doing limited amounts of work, I should be able to try introducing this change into my life. I thought I was being good finally buying and eating kale for the first time only a month ago! Now I'll be looking for turmeric root and shoyu (no, I don't know what that is) and adzuki beans.

Here's the thing that really gave my brain a challenge, though....Scott says repeatedly that ultrarunners are just like the stereotypes we all hear - they are recovering addicts, they are looking to solve a problem or running from something, they are masochists. He writes on p.181:

To run 100 miles and more is to bring the body to the point of breaking, to bring the mind to the point of destruction, to arrive at that place where you can alter your consciousness....
Sturm und Drang: the German Romantics

Am I a freak among freaks then? Am I in a state of denial because I don't believe this? Why does ultrarunning have to be all Sturm und Drang? Can't we have a little of the rationalist Enlightenment movement amongst us? Breaking and Destruction, be damned!

Just as when I saw Yiannis Kouros's documentary last month, I was draw to it and energised by it, but I didn't agree at all with his philosophy of "killing" himself when he races. What about something more like Oneness or pehaps even Transcendance? What about just running so that you can be in the present moment? I've written about that several times before. When I went to Commonwealth 24hr I remember looking forward to 24 luxurious hours of being in the moment. And the only thing I missed when the Bibbulmun was over? The simplicity of the day to day routine...being in the moment.

Here is my rationalist-spiritualist belief: that ultrarunning is just about being in the moment. Learning to ignore little pains whilst running an ultra (not the pain of some serious injury) is part of learning to be in the moment. To accept that the finish line is still 78 km or 14 hours away is to accept being in the moment. To accept what is. To drop any attachments or aversions. It is a meditation for life. And at the same time, you can get uber-fit ;)
Enlightenment: "The Age of Reason"

It's not about self-hate or trying to kill off any part of myself. It's not about looking outside of myself for something I don't have. It's already here within me. My perfect nature is already here and I just have to strip off the onion layers and be in the moment to see it. And let others see it.

Sooooo...read the book and let me know what you think. Are we all a bunch of whacked out dysfunctional junkies? And I'm just in the denial phase?

Enter to win your own book by clicking here. I'll draw for the book on the 1st! Then maybe we'll form a therapy group ;)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Multilingual Trail Running


I was so pleased when Yoshifumi Ikeda from The Perth Express contacted me to contribute to a feature in their magazine on trail running. Their team went to great efforts to gather a lot of information for the Japanese Australian community in order to promote trail running for fun and fitness. Their 6 page spread includes maps of local runs and various bits of advice... I hope I said good things because I can't read it!

Stand aside, Kilian and Ellie, because I am now the "Leading Person of Trail Running" ;)

It was fun to see many of my trail mates have their photos put in the magazine, as well. I do hope this means we attract more people to the sport.

I decided to host a beginners/intermediate trail running course at the beginning of July and it sold out quite quickly with 15 people (I didn't want it too big or it won't be useful). I will host an afternoon one, too, if there's interest. It's something I didn't even think of until I was directly asked.

Well, I'm off to do a bit of PhD work in Geraldton this weekend, 400 km north of Perth. I'm going to cuddle up in my hostel room with Scott Jurek's book and get that done (it's certainly not a chore!) so I can post the competition on Monday. And I've got a little Lore of Running section to read and some recce work to do on Sunday, hopefully, on the drive home, looking for a PTS half marathon course for 27th October.

All the best for this weekend to those running King of the Mountain in Perth and the Sri Chinmoy 24hr in Sydney, which I decided to forego. Way up in New York, WA ultra running colleague Grahak Cunningham is at 288 miles (463km) after 4 days.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

"Altitude" Training in Normobaric Conditions?

Cover of the yet-to-be-created Journal of Unapplied Physiology?
Yup, I'm back to the research! I took a digital wander over to the Journal of Applied Physiology's latest 2012 volume (would a Journal of Unapplied Physiology contain articles on the best ways to lay on your sofa and eat crisps??)

A brilliant set of studies has just been released from a group of Swiss and French researchers on altitude training in one of those purpose-built houses that simulate altitude. This one is a French state one located at 1,135mtr above sea level. But they can simulate the air inside as they like. This is the same idea as those tents you read about - where you can buy a tent to sleep in within your own home.

Centre National de Ski Nordique
It's long been argued that the effects of altitude training might be placebo. And perhaps there's a group training effect when you go to an "altitude training centre" as these places are filled with other highly motivated athletes, you're away from work, and focused on athletics.

Previous research studies have all been unblind - that is, everyone knows whether they are in the "oxygen-starved" group or the control group. So, there's another argument that the control group will be less motivated in a research study because they know the other group is getting this awesome training advantage (supposedly). That would make them less motivated. This is a "nocebo" effect. I know I'm getting nothing and the other group is getting the best, so I feel and act as if it's hopeless to try.

This group of studies was done double-blind. It's the first one ever! They put 16 endurance cyclists in this house for 8 weeks of study. They could oxygen-control each room separately, so no one knew which group they were in. And they moved their rooms and roommates around every week. When people were asked to guess which group they were in, their guesses were no better than chance.

Home-based altitude tent
The studies were really very elegant, but I won't go into all the details here (J Appl Physiol v112 pp.106-117 and pp.2027-2036). They took measurements of everything - muscle protein biopsy, VO2max, hemoglobin mass, plasma lactate, plasma pH.... They tested the cyclists in sprints and in longer endurance rides.

The altitude they simulated was 3,000 mtr above sea level. Of course, here's the crucial part....The barometric pressure stayed the same (the same as the pressure outside the house, which was 1,135mtr). They reduced the oxygen in the air (replacing it with nitrogen, as is standard in these houses and tents). So this is called "hypoxic" (hypo - lack of / oxic - oxygen). Stay with me, because you are going to sound so cool during your next long run with mates...I mean, how much longer can you go on about minimalist running or Kilian's Jornet's YouTube videos? ;)

Right, so we have a hypoxic setting (low oxygen), but "normobaric" (normal pressure). That means basically that the pressure of the atmosphere around you trying to shove oxygen into your red blood cells is unchanged. At REAL altitude, the amount of oxygen in the air IS ALWAYS the same as at sea level BUT the pressure is lower.

Everest


REAL oxygen at sea level: 20.9%
REAL oxygen at the top of Mount Everest: 20.9%

PRESSURE (the atmospheric/barometric pressure thing) average at sea level: 101kPa
PRESSURE at the top of Mount Everest: 30-37kPa


Since it's a very complex engineering kinda thing to try to adjust air pressure in these tents and houses (pressure valves...things could blow up), it's much simpler to just decrease the oxygen to mimic the same reaction your body goes through when you're at altitude (no pressure to push the oxygen into your red blood cells).

The findings of these studies?

No change between groups to 30 second all-out sprint, no improved endurance, no improvement to VO2max...no improvement to "muscular and systemic capacity for maintaining pH and K+ balance during exercise...." What they did see was a trend towards improved performance in both groups, suggesting that just consistent training itself was positive.

This is powerful. It suggests strongly to me as an athlete that I don't have to worry at the start line when the runner next to me says they've been living in an altitude house sponsored by their government for the past two months. Their advantage is only placebo - if I believe it works and they believe it works, they might have an advantage. But I believe it doesn't work now (if they've been in a "normobaric" house or tent) and I'll be sure to cite this research to dampen their placebo effect ;)
If not convinced, you can still build your own!

"Live high train low" has been getting increasing press for a few years now. We know living and training high isn't the best because you simply cannot work as powerfully at altitude due to this pressure problem of getting oxygen to your cells/muscles. Over time, you WILL lose power/speed. So, if you can sleep high but train below 1,500 mtr, you get the best of both worlds. That was the idea with the houses and tents.

Now, this research suggests strongly that the only real option left is to live on a mountain and drive down to the bottom each morning to train to get max performance. Not many people will live in such a geographically perfect position.

For me, consistent with the previous research I did two years ago, I will continue to arrive at altitude events about 3 days in advance - this acclimatization appears to be enough time to allow the majority of red blood cell changes to occur but isn't long enough that I'll get a negative impact to my speed (my speedwork is over by then).

But don't let me get you all down about having nothing to do with the thousands of dollars you've been tucking aside, living on a diet of highly processed white bread and 2 minute noodles, to get that tent or get to that altitude house.


There's always the altitude Training Mask or Powerlung, which will leave a lot more money in your pocket and show the same (non) effects in studies.

Or save even more money and go for the Altitude Training Beach Towel! Personally, I'm going to try taping one nostril shut and running with a straw up the other one tonight.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

But My Knees are Still Good!

Week 2 post-Kep Ultra. I think I spent more than I earned this week, between physio, the sports doctor, and the GP (okay, the GP is free, but there's still the time and petrol). And next week is the ultrasound.... Ahhh, how cheap running is!

Me, hard at work starting the PTS short course racers last Sunday
My shoulder injury worsened on Monday. This was the shoulder I thought I "subluxed" (dislocated) when I fell whilst training at the end of April. After I decided to treat it like a rotator cuff tear and be really, really ginger with it, I was seeing improvement. But last weekend we staged a PTS trail race and I had to haul bins of gear and water. That seemed to be the catalyst in setting me back markedly. I couldn't move more than a few cm without sudden sharp pain by Monday. As always, it felt like the biceps. And that made sense with carrying being the thing that seemed to make it worse. But who tears their biceps falling?? I guess I'll find out on Tuesday, when we all stare at various shades of grey blobs on a screen and pretend to make sense of them.

My two toenails are still hanging on, but the jury is out as to whether much, if any parts of them, will stay.

And the right hamstring... (geez, does it end?!?). That was looking rather serious, with whispers of a tear, but then I started to get frustrated.... Not the toenails, the shoulder, the foot (yes, the foot still), AND the hammy! So I got focused. Plenty of heat, self-massage, and stretching, and I am so far seeing an amazing improvement. It's so easy to go for a run, but so hard to spend 10 minutes rolling. Therefore, using the adage of "If you keep doing what you're doing, you'll keep getting what you're getting" I decided I should treat this like I would treat it if I were approaching the finish line with someone breathing down my back. I'd put a little more effort in.

A moment to hone my own finish poses

This past week an email hit my inbox which somewhat surprised me. The president and national team manager for the Canadian ultra runners' association emailed me to tell me I'd be accepted to the national 24hr team to compete at the 9th IAU World 24hr Championship in Poland this September.

This is my third invitation to compete at an international event, after World Trails and Commonwealth 24hr last year. Somehow, I'd basically put it out of my head for this year. I had long ago decided with Rolf that we would go do an event together somewhere, where we could run for the joy of it, not for "sheep stations" (a win) as we say in Oz. We both love Europe and alpine settings, so the Transalpine Run was an easy choice. We signed up last December when entries opened. And I put the possibility of World 24 out of my mind.

September 2006
When I saw the email, I caught my breath. I have great respect for the fact that I was offered a position on the Canadian national team to compete internationally again. I don't take that for granted. Sometimes it's just a surreal feeling as I stand back and look at myself here in a position I never dreamed possible. I still remember wheezing along alone on the Rocky Mountain trails, carrying a stick against the cougars, everyone far ahead of me, hoping when we finished at the carpark later that the group wouldn't tell me I was just too slow and shouldn't come out any more.

This year, I'm running Transalps with Rolf. For the first time in five years, I am running in a race at "cappuccino pace." I might even carry a camera. I will still do things right - all the best and lightest gear, proper training, nutrition, and recovery. But I won't be spending 8 days on "red alert." What a treat! It's like a racer's version of ice cream!

Then, don't you worry...I'm scouting for a 50k record opportunity and have my sights on Coast to Kosciuszko in December, if I'm accepted.

P.S. Scott Jurek's book? A very engaging read so far - hard to put down. I'll post the competition in a week!

P.P.S. A fellow WA ultra runner, Grahak Cunningham, has arrived in New York City and starts the 3100 Mile Self-Transcendence Race tomorrow! This is his FOURTH time. He will spend over 40 days circling a block in the city to reach his goal. What a journey.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Bedside Table

By the time I'm tucking in for the night these days, I don't have a lot of mental power left. Much as I want to read The Brothers Karamazov or The Winter of Our Discontent (the latter of which has been in progress for some weeks now), I find myself re-reading the same paragraphs over and over. Unless I'm on a beach vacation, I need easier reading at night now.

But "easy" still has to be inspiring, eloquent, thought-provoking, instructional, and perhaps even slightly amusing at times.

Here's one I got that ticks all those boxes:

46 Days: Keeping up with Jennifer Pharr Davis on the Appalachian Trail.

This book was written by Jen's husband, Brew, who crewed for her on her June-July 2011 Fastest Known Time (FKT) completion of the 2,181 mile (3,510 km) Appalachian Trail in the USA. Jen broke her own female record and broke the overall record, taking 46 days, 11 hours, and 20 minutes to do the whole thing. She was basically hiking from 5 AM to 9 or 10 PM every day for 46 days. She took 26 hours off the previous record.

Of course, having done the Bibbulmun Track FKT, I can probably get into this book quite easily. It was fascinating to read what she ate, how much support she had on the trail, her setbacks, and how her "pit crew" worked so well to help her achieve the record. Last night I made myself stop reading, as I was about to finish the book and didn't want it to end. So, tonight, huddled up to escape the cold of this old, uninsulated house, I will finish my journey with Jen and Brew.

And then??? Well, maybe, just maybe, John Steinbeck will get a turn for a few days again. BUT...John has a little competition in the form of Scott Jurek. The long awaited book that is perhaps part biography, memoir, vegan recipe book, and training guide, "Eat and Run" should land on my doorstep tomorrow!

I'll be reading the book over the next two weeks and then in the last week of June, I'll be running a competition where anyone who reads my blog or websites can win a copy! I'll have three to give away all together. Stay tuned!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Is 200km +5500 > 225km?

On the 1st of February, still in the throes of compartment syndrome, I registered for the Sri Chinmoy 24hr being held 23-24 June in Sydney. My goal: get that 225km open Canadian record I attempted at Commonwealths when things went pear-shaped. Registering was a mentally positive step in my recovery. I was going to be an ultra runner again.

I had also purchased a TNF100 bib off a running mate who needed to have surgery and couldn't go. A month out from the race, I tried adding a bit of speed work and it aggravated the injury. No speed work. Two weeks out I started forcing speed into my technical running, to at least try to hone those skills. And then I stood on the start line, thinking I was a 20% DNF risk.

TNF100, the hill session before Kep!
As we know, it worked out pretty well. Maybe I could've been a few minutes faster if I'd seen the course before or if I could've done the speed work. But it was a decent finish and my foot was only mildly irritated for a day.

Two weeks before TNF100, though, a very good running mate and race director of the Kep Ultra emailed a bunch of people to say he had 5 more entries open for his 3 June 75k and 100k races in WA.

Crap. Temptation. Though it was a flat trail (i.e., not technical), it was an interesting challenge ...treat it like a road race, but with +1,000 mtrs over 100km. I registered knowing I could still withdraw the day after TNF100. And then I had that "Hand in the Cookie Jar" conversation with my partner about what I'd done. I thought I'd keep my entry to myself, but the RD facebooked it. Oops.

TNF done and the questions started no more than 2 hrs later, "So, are you doing Kep?"

I said, "Let's just see how recovery goes." Three days later, I felt good and my heart rate was normal. But Wednesday night, a sudden sore throat and a head cold set in. Heart rate back up. A wait-and-see again.

Friday, two days before race day, I felt good again.

I needed race splits. What to pick? Well, my W40 100k track record is 8.52. Kep Ultra is 100k on gravel with +1000 mtrs. If I add 15 minutes for the gravel and 15 minutes for the mandatory gear (hydration, phone, etc, you don't need on a track), that's 9.22. A 5.30 pace. The RD had even gone to the trouble of putting up a pace calculator online. Easy.

No, wait. I forgot about the +1000 mtrs. How much does that add? 15 mins? 60 mins? Oh, and then I see the race is actually 102k, not 100 (or maybe it is 100, as it's 102 by Garmin and they measure long). But if there is another 2k, I need another 11mins.

What am I at? 10 1/2 hrs? What's the current female record? 10hr 57min. Men's? 9hr 11min. Complicated.

A minute to go
I decided to go with the 5.30 average plan, for a 9hr 24min finish. Of course, since 15km of the last 22km are uphill (on shattered legs), I would run the first sections closer to a 5.05-5.10 pace.

Then I needed to check the competition. I knew two of the four other female names in the 100k. A quick google search of the mystery names....

Crap. Ironman champion, ITU triathlon worlds, 3.15 marathons. And they're young.

Time to write some affirmations. If there was one big thing I took away from TNF100 that I could have controlled more, it was my attitude. I let apathy take over towards the end. "It's okay if I finish top 5. Top 5 is really good."

Well, it doesn't matter where you are in the pack, if you let things like that creep into your thoughts, you are defeated. You will NOT achieve to your potential on the day.

Three metres in...the girls are all in front! Me in the red shorts.
So this time, I sat down and wrote all the reasons why I was so great and was destined to win. Sounds vain? Sure. But effective. The brain doesn't know the difference between reality and dream. And I wrote down other reasons why I should win (e.g., Rolf deserves it after crewing endlessly for me so much).

I kept my little paper close by over the next day leading to the race.

I also tweaked my fuel, making sure I took a few extra calories on 20 - 30 extra calories per hour was right - and I never had a single dizzy spell.

I wore the UltrAspire pack for the long sections where I needed to carry more water. I like its fit and even though it's an 8ltr pack, it weighs identical to the Nathan HPL020 (the regular one with just a few cubbies). The sternum straps seemed to stay in position better this time.

My only disappointment was my Inov-8 x-talons. I wondered if 100k of gravel would be too much for my feet in those "minimal" shoes. It wasn't. They were great. But they shrunk after they got wet at TNF100 and by 60k my toes were in pain. Blood blisters and two nails are going to come off.

Probably about km 6, me at the back of the lead pack.
I ran just a few minutes ahead of projections early in the day, which ended up in the bank for later. The first 19km into CP1 (Clackline), you are not allowed any crew. I ran the first 10km with the lead guys. Their pace quickened when we hit the 8k road section before CP1 and I watched them increase the gap, as I stayed within my own pace and plan.

Km 11-19 are road. Have now dropped back of the lead pack of guys.
As the sun climbed and the temperature inched up to 24 degrees, the lead guys started to falter. I passed three in the 8k grind up to the town of Chidlow (55k). In terms of time, I never even bothered to see where I was in the big picture. I just pulled out my splits every time I saw Rolf (every 6-12k after CP1) and went section-by-section, in bite-sized pieces.

The crewing part basically went to plan. Rolf forgot to hand me my fuel out of CP 3 when he had to hand me my headlamp and vest and spare batteries, along with water. That gave me a bonus 200 mtrs as I had to run back, yelling frantically for Rolf, hoping he wasn't gone yet. That must have thrown him off, because then he showed up at the wrong junction next! He was to meet me in 7k, but there he was at a 4k road crossing, holding out my water bottle and fuel! He watched me run by yelling, "This isn't Parkerville!" leaving him to madly figure out where Parkerville was and whether he could get there before me (he could and did!).

At the 60k mark (CP3 aid station), I knew I was still on track. But I thought it fell apart seriously after that. I was stupidly hot, pouring water over my head when I could. Then I passed another runner around 70k, as he was working through his own bad patch. And I realised that in over 40km, no one had passed me. That suddenly told me something - we were all suffering, not just me. So...hopefully that meant the girls behind me were suffering, too. But I couldn't rest easy on that (terrible thought, wishing suffering on people!).

Arriving at CP4: Bellevue, readying for the last 22k
At the 80k mark, I met Rolf at the final aid station. I dumped another bottle of water over myself and almost swore aloud at the shock of cold. The next section was the 15k climb. In my head, I cried woefully, "I don't know how I can do this!" But I didn't say it aloud. It wasn't helpful. And I frankly didn't have the energy. I didn't even register the faces of the 20 or so people there - they were just saviours with kind words and water. Rolf stopped crewing me here with the jeep. We were allowed pacers from the last aid station. I'd never used a pacer and don't like running with someone when I'm racing. I like to be on my own and am good at motivating myself. But here was a first time chance for Rolf to run with me during a race and see it up close. And for us to run together (getting him a long run in?) I also thought seeing him with his fresh legs would be inspiring. He's got a parkour streak in him :)

The trudge up the 15k hill I wanted to be at a 5.45 pace. Well, that was without really looking at the actual elevation grade or considering that now I was carrying 1.5ltrs on my back. Make that a 6.20 pace. Rolf kept looking back for girls. That was helpful, as it was an effort for me to even think about looking behind me, let alone trying to turn my body! We passed one guy and his pacer, which put me into 3rd position overall. I only looked at my Garmin to watch the time for fuel and electrolytes. I ate to desire, but also made sure it was no more than 15 minutes apart (if I wanted more sooner, that was okay). I couldn't even look at the distance marking. I couldn't bear to see it say anything other than "15k" which would mean the top of this eternal, torturous hill.

Between 6 - 7 km from the finish, I wanted to know the time of day, but couldn't find the energy to press the buttons to get that screen up on my Garmin. I asked Rolf what time it was. 3:44 PM. Okay, I didn't really register what it meant. I just wanted a goal to aim for to the end. I said, "7k x 6 minute/pace means I might finish in 45 minutes...4:30. But I just have to see how it goes." It was mostly downhill for 6k.

We carried on and I micro-managed my fuel and electrolytes. Then I saw the road crossing and roundabout up ahead - I knew that meant about 1k to go. I said, "What time is it?" Rolf said, "4:18"

It sunk in. "4.18! Oh my god! We're awesome! We're gonna do it!" I suddenly realised that we were really going to run the race that I had put down on paper, even though I had not once looked at time of day and my position in the big picture to see where I stood. And I thought with how much I was suffering the last 30k, I must be at least 45 minutes over projection.

I had 10 minutes to get the last km done, if I wanted a 9hr30 (4:30 PM) finish. As I started up the road, I saw the runner who I'd passed during his rough patch. He was in a car - he'd DNF'd. Damn. I surged. This last hill was for him.

The amazement at the finish line - I came in as predicted!
I hit the line, stopped my watch, and it read 9hr 24min 21sec. That's what I wrote on paper. Insane. What are the chances? I broke the former female course record by 1hr 33mins. I finished third overall, with the leading men coming in at new male course record times of 9.02 and 9.07.

I think having my iron stores up (related to the issues I've had in the past 6+ months) may be a pretty big thing. Oxygen transportation. Fairly vital. Still waiting on results from my surgery and recent blood work, though.

Race nutrition details:
Fuel: Hammer Perpetuem liquid and solids (~160-175 cal/hr) + Endurolytes every 30 min.

Water: 300ml/hr to start, up to 700/ml by the end (24 degrees, felt like 30 at my effort level).

Painkillers taken: None, as usual (mask the pain, run myself into an injury or run like an idiot because I can't feel my form).

Two days later and I am still trashed. My body is fairly traumatised, which is fair enough. I get hungry, but my taste buds are off. Everything feels like an effort and I breathe heavily on mild exertion. But I've been through this before - setting the track records. I know the drill and I'm taking good care of myself. Nutritious food, lots of water, short walks, elevating the feet....

With RD Rob Donkersloot, having just finished his own 100k race!
I have aggravated the left foot again just a little bit. I had a right hammy insertion issue late in TNF100 and it came back for Kep. It started as a tight addy/hip flexor and moved into the glute/hammy as well. My right psoas was tight before the race and I was doing self-massage. All this right leg stuff might be compensation related to the left foot issue - if I was adjusting my stride slightly to spend less time on my left foot, it would aggravate the right after 34,000 footfalls. Much as I tried to consciously watch my gait.

I really, really don't want to be injured again. I have just asked some serious stuff of my recovering body in the past month. So, naturally, it's not the right time to go for that 225k/24hr. It'll probably be more fun to wait until my AUS citizenship comes through, anyway. So, I'll take two 100k races with 5500 mtrs over the 225k right now.

Recovery time! There's a lot of healing to happen so I can come back strong(er) again. Now I'll go back to cheering some others to their goals. Yee haw!

Yes, I know this all probably means I could do my 100k track faster. But I'm not going to. At least not until I'm in the W45 age group ;)