Monday, April 27, 2015

NorthFace100 Week15 Getting Excited

Poster for KINGS PARK 1930s
Sunset at the State Memorial in the week leading to ANZAC Day 2015

The Week is the last big build of training before there is a gradual reduction in training at least in volume rather than intensity . I feel good and the weight is slowly coming down.

Monday .After the non starter weekend of training from my bout of illness, I started this weeks training with a lunchtime run of 7.5kms and then at 4 pm I did a lactate test at the Running Centre running nearly 5km but stopping every 3 minutes after a warm up for a blood test. Got the results which show my threshold and it has definitely improved since last year and probably is at about where I was in 2011.

Blood Lactate (mmol/L)
Speed (km/h)
Heart Rate (bpm)
Pace (min/km)

Training Zones:

Pace (min/km)
Heart Rate (bpm)
Easy (Zone 1)
5:46 – 7:00
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Steady (Z2)
5:27 – 5:46
132 – 139
Tempo (Z3)
5:03 – 5:27
140 – 151
Threshold (Z4)
4:44 – 5:03
152 – 156
VO2 Max (Z5)
4:34 – 4:44
> 157

This test was performed with the treadmill set to 1 degree incline, as this has been shown to most accurately resemble outdoor running.

I then went for a 10km run at Kings park running about 6.30 pace. Legs felt good.

Garmin run Monday

Garmin run Monday 2

Tuesday . I have not been training much in the morning and confined my training to the evenings and that has allowed me a lot more rest time which has actually helped . I again only did one session this evening riding my bike at King's park for about 80 minutes doing 5 laps around the Park along Lovekin and Forrest Drives with a 1.5km climb each lap .

Wednesday : I ran at Kings Park again doing 70 minutes of hills and 10 minutes warm up and cool down .Managed 7 repeats of a 5 minutes uphill on an incline of about 6-7 % and 5 minutes down .Finished with 12.5kms .Legs again were good and the pace was about 6.30 minutes per km.
I managed to roughly calculate the  altitude /climb and estimate the total  climb distance to be about 40 - 60 meters over a 800 meter distance making the total altitude at about 350 m

Wednesday's Run

Thursday : Rode to cross fit and then did "Angie" minus the pull ups with 100 sit ups. push ups and squats .Then rode back home. About 30 minutes with Cross fit and 90 minutes on the bike just on the small chain ring today.
Morning View from DNA Tower , King's Park

Friday: Rode to work and then did a 1 hour session at Kings Park. I did 10 minutes on the DNA tower  followed by 10 minutes running up and down a short hill about 80-100 metres with about 20 degree angle and then 10 minutes running flat and then repeated it again. managed i think about 450m of elevation as I did about 17 DNA climbs and 11 runs up the hill with the Tower at 15 m and the hill at about 20m

Saturday :  ANZAC Day and the commemoration of the centenary of the landing of Australian and New Zealand Troops on the beach at Gallipoli , Turkey. It was a beautiful Perth autumn day and I had a late start and rode my bike to Sorrento where I had coffee at the Sorrento Life saving club and caught up with a few north coasters who were there after their ride. Then rode home via Hepburn but had the headwind for most of the way so the legs did work a bit . Just a 40km ride in about 1.5 hrs.

In the afternoon did cross fit but we had a 15 minute warm up and then a series of work outs for about 16 minutes so it was a good short work out but got everyone sweating.

Sunday : Last big work out .We all gathered at 5am at Kings park and then started out at Mount Street . Nice and cool so I used my arm warmers . I started with 20 climbs of Mount Street and then ran over to Kokoda and did 10 climbs of Kokoda before finishing with 5 more climbs at Mount Street with a coffee break. I felt pretty good and the legs seemed fine .We finished after about 4 hours so did not quite do the 5 hours .In terms of altitude I think I did about 45m x 25 Mount street and 65m x 10 Kokoda which is a total of  1775 m and just over 20km . In the evening Molly and I did an easy 50 minute run covering 6 plus kms to make it 5 hrs for the day.

Sunday Run

Run: 2575m elevation , 9h20min distance 65kms
Cross fit : 1 hr
Bike: 4.5hrs or 115 kms
total: 14hr 50mins

Sunday, April 26, 2015

NorthFace100 Risk Management

Tarros ladders .Pic from Wild Runners

     Warning and Disclaimer
This event is for experienced trail runners only. Please ensure that you are sufficiently skilled to undertake the event. The course is a very tough, demanding course held in a remote location. There are very steep sections and sections that are rough under foot. It is your responsibility to ensure that you are fit enough to complete the event which make take you up to 28 hours to finish. Ensure that you are in good health and that you do not have any illness that will hinder your ability to complete the event. It is your responsibility to monitor your health and condition during the event and to withdraw from the event if you are no longer fit enough to continue
             In the Competitors Briefing Notes NorthFace100 2015

As part of the preparation for Northface , I have read as much as I can. There is a lot about the run and whilst it is a fairly recent event not quite 10 years old it is an Iconic Australian Ultra event.(started by AROC in 2008)

I never contemplated running an ultra but it did and has been a welcome change to my usual routine of triathlon training. I have enjoyed the change and the different demands. I can't say the training has been demanding and I have not put my body through a huge volume of hours or mileage and that may be why the body has stood up well .

Having said that the training and the race has opened up a new world,  that of ultra running/ adventure racing . A few months ago whilst reading Outside Magazine online (full of interesting articles and well before I signed up for Northface ) I came across an interesting piece called A Firsthand Account of an Adventure-Racing Tragedy by Rebecca Rusch .I read it with interest and didn't think much of it other than the story written from the perspective of someone in the race with the harrowing tragedy of a death and whether it was preventable .

Conversely, Nigel’s death had a polarizing effect. Many athletes, including me, felt that the peak was a bad place for a checkpoint and that the accident was preventable. Yes, adventure racing is dangerous, we didn’t expect a race director to keep us entirely safe, and being able to make navigational decisions is one of the appeals of adventure racing. However, placing a checkpoint on Illabot Peaks, with exposed loose rock and no clear option for descent, amounted to poor course design and unnecessary risk. The navigational challenge would have been the same if the checkpoint had been located in the saddle below the peak.

Rebecca Rusch
What became a very interesting coincidence for me was that in reading much about the NorthFace 100 I read about the organisers AROC who happen to be part of the ill fated race in 2004. Two of the team were part of the race team in 2004 . The race directors  Tom Landon-Smith and Alina McMaster are husband and wife and owners of AROC Sport and were part of the team called AROC  on the primal quest race in 2004.As their website indicates they are well traveled and elite athletes having competed for Australia in cross country skiing and then pursuing adventure racing and now running a number of events.There is even a link on AROC's website to a short piece written by D J Brooks who was the support crew for AROC in the Primal Quest event in 2004 , about the incident.

Whilst Adventure Racing is such a different sport , the analysis of the article indicates the importance of organizing an event and safety . Any form of activity has risk .Understanding that risk , identifying that risk and tailoring the risk to the correct participant are so crucial but in the risk adverse world Lessons can be learnt . Preparation by  organizers are crucial and participants owe it to themselves to be as prepared and aware of the environment they are in . Hence whether it is an Ironman event or an adventure race or an ultra-race ( see Parliamentary enquiry into Kimberly Ultrarun and Daily Mail article on event ) there is an inevitable degree of accountability by the organizer to make it as safe as possible understanding the participants they are inviting to undertake the event .Clearly  the participant  has responsibilities as well , to understand the terrain , the conditions and the distance and make every effort to have trained for it . NorthFace seems to cover this .The mandatory gear list and the clear instructions as to what is required in this race means the uninitiated will suffer if ill prepared.Fortunately whilst it is in difficult terrain it is not in absolute wilderness and hopefully the weather and the phone reception hold out .

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

NorthFace100 Week14

Another video of the run

Who would have thought we are now in week 14 and just 26 days before the Race on 16 May 2015.

The training has been progressing although comparatively I have not done a lot of mileage when reading the training regimes of some ultra runners. Equally I have had no injuries and just muscle soreness.In comparison  Brendan Davies who won the event a few years ago averages 193km a week and has done 70k meters of climbing since the beginning of the year .

Monday : A recovery day with an easy 17km run.I ran just under 8km at Lunch time with some kms at 5.30 pace and some slower .In the evening I ran the rest a lot slower and the last 2.5km with Molly .The legs held up well after the weekend of training .

Tuesday. I did not do any real cross fit work out or cycling just focused on some techniques and stretching .

Wednesday. I ran at lunch time as I had an engagement in the evening. It was supposed to be a 90 minute session but I did about 1.15 with a run to Kings Park and then just hill repeats for an hour I managed about 40 minutes and then ran back to work . Did not do much in terms of altitude but it was still a hard session focusing on running down .Ran about 12kms .

Thursday. An easy day with a ride to cross fit but did not do anything at cross fit and just rode back. Rode 41kms in about 90 minutes with stops.

Friday. Just an hour with 5mins steps , 5 mins hills and 5 minutes flats for an hour.I went to Joyce street for a change and finished the hour but the stomach wasn't feeling too good .Unfortunately I had a bit of the gastro or a virus as the next 2 days I was in bed and or in the toilet . as a result no long run or any training for the weekend .I felt a lot better on Sunday but still weak and decided to just not push it .A very short week of training but felt better for it and I have not missed any training in the past 14 weeks so 1missed session wasn't too bad.

With 3 and a bit weeks to the race , there is one more big week of training and then a taper .Starting to focus on my nutrition and what to wear on the run /walk.  Just need to write it out and focus on getting all the issues sorted out. I have all my gear and more . Just want to test my lights out to see how long they last on a battery .I have found some helpful hints on the Internet and 2 good links are :

Northface 100 tips


Whilst its been a short training week , the rest has been good. I weigh 72kgs and have a few more kgs to lose before the race. I have read lots and if anything whilst the volume has been relatively low compared to the elite runners , i do feel that in 14 weeks my running and stamina especially on climbs has improved . Its not how fast you run up the hill that counts ,  its whether the legs will last the distance.

Runs: 4.15 or 35kms
Bike: 1.5hrs or 41kms
cross fit : 30 minutes
Total: 6.15hrs

Sunday, April 12, 2015

North Face Week 13 ...The business End

WAMC 40Miler at Helena Tavern

The long weekend helped .Easter a time of christian renewal and remembering what sacrifice was made .unfortunately , I didn't make it to church much to the families annoyance. It was a big week of training and recovery between two runs. Monday was backing up the Saturday run with another run on tired legs.My left knee with little tendon strength after years of hockey and many dislocations and ligament damage was feeling the worse for wear after Saturday but I used a guard and voltaren which helped keep the knee steady on the gravel surface. Monday was the WAMC 40 miler and we ran a team with Peter first , followed by me and then Lindsay and John D. I ran an 18.6 km leg and whilst the legs were tired I managed to slowly increase the pace and I think i did a negative split with the 2nd nine plus kms being faster . I felt reasonably good although I don't think I had much fuel left simply because I had no nutrition on the 18km run and 2 cups of water. But the purpose was just to test the legs and keep going , speed was not critical. I estimated over the 18km course about 170 m of elevation.
(link to Garmin map of the run leg I did for the 40miler relay)

Pete Richards first runner in our relay (in light blue singlet)

Amanda did the 40miler

Lindsay 3rd runner in the relay

Finishing my leg and handing over to Lindsay at Mt Helena Tavern

John on the last leg

At the turn around

Strolling in under 6 hours
Tuesday I had a rest and did not cycle.
Wednesday . The weather wasn't great and overcast for most of the day. I did my run in the evening heading to Mount street about 1.25 kms and then did 3 x 20minutes with about 2.5minutes for a break between each 20 minute set. each set was just running up mount Street as far as I could run in 30 seconds and then running down and repeating that every minute . I ended up running 10kms and the sprints up were hard managing about 70-100 meters each run up the hill but I was recovering on the way down and found I wasn't running down hill faster . I ended up managing to get down at the end of the minute so little or no recovery even with the runs up being 2-4 seconds less than the full 30 secs. The legs were pretty much done at the end and I took a slow run back to the office in the dark .I estimate I did about 215 m of elevation .

Thursday.A wet day so I skipped cross fit as I finished late and just did a 65 minute session on the wind trainer with a  CTX 90 minute video featuring a ride around Melbourne . Found it quite hard with the heat in the room and the resistance on the bike .Only rode about 27.5kms in that time with lots of 2 minutes hard sessions in the 65 minutes .

Friday evening's sunset from the DNA Tower
Friday .Wet in the morning and cleared up in the evening .Perth has had 100mm of rain this week and we need it .I ran in the evening and fortunately no rain at Kings Park DNA Tower with a 8minute warm up and then 20 minutes of the DNA tower and a short break and another 20 minute session and then a short 800m run and 20 minutes of the Tower and a short cool down.Finished in 1.23 with 40 climbs , 600m of elevation and 4km of running .

On the Kokoda Trail 

View from Kokoda Trail to Swan River below

Coffee at the Cafe

Kings Park Run 11 April 2015 (link to Garmin data)

Saturday. An early start at 5am and we ran for a few kms and then headed for Mount Street. I did 10 repeats at 43 m in elevation each and then did 10 at Kokoda @ 65m and then another 10 at Mount Street . I also ran around the Park between climbs and finished with 27.3kms and I estimate about 1550m in elevation in 4hr 50min. The legs were feeling it at the end with the Friday session .

Probably a little slower than the 26km and 2000m of elevation a few weeks earlier but the legs were tired from the Friday session as well. In the afternoon I got a massage which did hurt a bit but felt good in the end and then we did a relay at cross fit with 5 rounds each of exercises. that was tiring but manageable. The next day the arms were really sore from the ring pulls I did .  

Sunday .I was going to cycle but in the end with the rain I opted for a rest day.

Run: 60km or 9.5 hrs elevation 2500m
Cross fit: 40mins
Cycling: 65mins or 27.5km
Total: 11.15hr

Rest is Important

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

North Face Week 12

Close up of Molly relaxing

Easy week . After 11 weeks we do get a relatively easy week. As the legs were pretty sore after Sunday , I had a rest day on Monday and ran my easy 10km on Tuesday in the evening. made all the difference as the legs were just tired from 3 days of training with the WOD 15.5 games on the Saturday really tiring the legs even though it was just 15 minutes of exercise.

Again had a break on Wednesday and ran 8km on Thursday in the afternoon and then rode to cross fit where we had a group challenge of exercises /basically doing 300 of various exercises with each team participant adding to the score. I did wall ball push ups , hand stands wall walks (a few only) , for about 30 minutes , then rode home.

Good Friday , I got up early to ride to Scarborough where we were doing a short 45 minute session of running up the steps and a short sprint with a 90 sec rest between. I got a puncture on Reid Hwy and forgot my tire levers but a cyclist came by and helped but still took me a while as the tire was pretty tight on the wheel and he left before I got the new tube back and the tire on the wheel .Ended up using a 50 cent piece to lever the tire in . Got to Joy street and did 30 minutes  before we went to Georges for breakfast. I then rode back to the office to get the car. Not too hard a work out but I did carry my back  pack with my camel back and all my gear and that made the ride a bit of a work out on some of the hills.

JD on the KOM trail at about 5.30am

Checking out the lights

Mundaring Weir Hotel just after 7am
Roos at the Hotel
Pete Richards coming up one of the hills next to the pipeline

Pete climbing another hill
Only the Dog to greet us at the end of the run
Saturday's WOD

Garmin Connect (link to map of the run)

Saturday.We did our long run today instead of Sunday to allow a rest day before running the WAMC 40miler in a relay team on Monday. Another early start with everyone getting to the Helena Primary school at 5am and the plan was to run the King of the Mountain course and back in the 5 hours with our packs and gear. Got to test the lights out in the bush , and there were lots of Kangaroos rustling in the bush .It was reasonably cool but I soon felt warm with a cotton T shirt and the sweat just made it uncomfortable with the Salomon camelback  and got some abrasions on my back from the constant chaffing . We were doing a reasonable time and walking up the hills . I managed to stay with Pete for the whole run although he would get ahead of me and I would catch up ever slowly .. I think I managed to even out the pace a bit . We got to Mundaring Weir road (see Garmin Connect link above) at about 7am and then walked to the Hotel but as the Cafe was not open we turned around and started back. Pete and I then just continued to run and walk at our pace and got back to the school in about 4.20 hrs . My left knee was sore probably from the hard gravel surface .  The quads weren't feeling too bad and I managed to keep the heart rate in check so no hard runs up hills. Finished the 31 km in about an 8.26 pace. We were hoping for at least a 1000m of elevation .Just not sure if we got there as most mapmyrun and strava sites show the KOM run at about 300m to 500 one way so probably somewhere in between.

Saturday afternoon at cross fit was a slow pace affair with a relay of exercises .I managed 3 rounds and it did help the tight tired muscles.

Was a different much easier week accept for the long run.

Run: 7hrs or 51kms and about 500 to 1000m
Bike: 65km or 3 hrs
cross fit 45mins
Total : 10.45hrs