Saturday, May 28, 2016

Ultra Trail Australia Race Report 2016 : In Photos

                                               Ultra Trail World Clip of UTA 100 2016

Start of Group 6 UTA 100 14 May 2016(all photos from Aurora Photos)

Narrow Neck

Narrow Neck

Just Before Check Point 4

Before Check point 5

Heading to Katoomba Aquatic Centre

Crossing the Finish Line

Finish line

Monday, May 23, 2016

ULTRA TRAIL AUSTRALIA 100 : The Race Report 2016

The Blue Mountains

Scenic World Walkway Pic by Jade

BorisFit Just before the Run

Ultra Trail Australia 100 is the new name and a second go at trying to finish this race and get a better time.

If there is anything to be learnt about any endurance racing it is patience , have a plan and then have another plan . As in life nothing always goes right and the real adventure is in adaptation and strategies to cope.At the end of this adventure I crossed the line in 19.53 hrs just before the 20 hour cut off for the buckle .18 minutes slower than last year but very thankful to have finished and feeling a lot better than last year . My climb up Furber and the run along Leura were actually better than last year , where I fell down badly was the lack of any ability to walk/hike up the last 7-8kms and possibly trying to have the strength to push harder in the early part to get as much distance in the day .
At NarrowNeck before hitting Tarros Ladders about 15km into the run

The lead up to the race had been absolutely perfect . I had a coach Zach Bitter and a plan for 20 weeks of training to make sure I got through the race and was in the best shape possible .The only worry was the lack of elevation in Perth and being able to train in like conditions but whilst it is ideal particularly for the downhill sections which did in the end slow me down , many runners have trained in the flat lands with great results.

I also changed my diet and dropped nearly 8kgs and more than 10kgs since September last year .

Despite all that , I never once underestimated this run. Having done NorthFace 100 last year I knew it was tough and anything could happen. The plan and training were done .There is a nervous tension when you look out at the Blue Mountains and the valley below.

The 2 days prior the wind was whipping around and it was cold but on the day , the weather was perfect . It was cool enough for me to wear my gloves and buff and as wave six started (the second last wave) , I went out very slow keeping a talking pace and walking any incline.  Four km into the run we start down to the Scenic world walkway and it is slow with the congestion but that suits me. I am careful over the landslide section and there is another queue at the Golden Stairs. Once I am at the top the crowd thins and 11km in we are at CP1 . A quick refill of the bladder and a fruit and bar and I am off . It takes me 1.47 .

Check Pt 2 Dunphy's Camp

Narrow Neck

Tarros Ladders waiting
The run along Narrow neck is spectacular , I got a few pictures and this stretch to Dunphy's is about 21km.
It take me 3 hours with a 15 minute wait at Tarros to go down the ladders . It is at this point I start to feel the heat .More runners are walking and I try to keep running whilst only walking the hill sections. At Dunphy's I get  another bladder refill and fruit and I head off .

Check Point 3

IronPot Ridge

Coming into Check point 3

This  section was a little tougher with Ironpot Ridge and the climb on the Private Property into Check point 3. It was endless . I enjoyed Ironpot ridge and whilst it was hot and dusty I  felt pretty good . The climb after Ironpot ridge with the steep sections were a different story. My ability to hike fast did not exist .Learning to walk up quickly is a necessary skill in Ultra running unfortunately. I recall just wanting to finish this section. I was also beginning to suffer from the chaffing in the thighs and nether regions despite the volumes of Vaseline.

At Checkpoint 3 . Chris and the support crew were there and I got some more vasline , changed my top and another bladder refill , some bars and chocolate and I was off .Possibily spent about 10-15 minutes at the check point. Distance 46 km and the section from Cpeckpoint 2 to 3 was about 14 km ,  done in 2.5 hours.

Check point 4 and chicken soup

Check point 4 Katoomba Aquatic Centre

Was a short section of about 11km but took me about 2 hours . But there was Nellies Glen and I struggled up this climb with a few cramps . Aside from that I was just glad to get to Check point 4 . I noticed that there were less runners about compared to last year as well.

I knew at this point any chance of finishing in a better time were slipping and the target of 17.30 was really going to be impossible with the tougher sections and the darkness ahead. I had a few falls that made me slow down a fair bit.

At the checkpoint I had a soup , changed my top and socks and again more Vaseline but the skin was just red and raw. I left after a 30 minute break and it was still light as I ran towards the lookout and headed into the valley. Again the legs had felt good after the break and food and managed to run a fair bit of the section slowly , There were stages where it was hard going on the single track and I was walking and following a few runners . This section I think was the worse as it went on for quite a bit and took me 4.5 hrs . I ran the road section into Queen Victoria Hospital and had a bit of a break at Checkpoint 5 but found the single track in the dark the toughest . A change of top and a cup of tea , more Vaseline and filling the bladder again. I was at this point getting pretty tired .

The Finish line / Furber Stairs

This last section with the descent down Ketumba and then the climb was always dreaded as my legs were tiring and hurting. I took slow runs down and walked a fair way of this section.I was by myself for most of the time and a hand full of runners passed . The climb was all walk up hill but for me at a much slower pace. I was glad to get to the water refill station and then another 45 minutes or so to the sewerage treatment point with the mud and the start of the single track along the Leura forrest to the base. This whole section took a good 3 hours for me . I then ran most of the forest section passing runners as I knew I needed to get to the base of Furber Stairs before 19.30 . I just made it and then hauled myself up those stairs in 24 minutes to cross the line at 19.53.

Despite the weight loss and the training it was still a hard run. The last 2 sections in the dark probably was the difference but I was just glad to have finished .It was a tougher race than last year with the heat and more stairs . My Garmin showed 5200 m but officially it was 4500m .

Like life many lessons to be learnt . Have a plan and a back up  one . Uncertainties such the chaffing came up despite the experience of last year . I coped . I had enough nutrition nearly 3500 calories of food and tailwind .Did run out of water for the last 5km but managed . If there was anything I could do differently it would be to have run the first section harder to get more kms covered before dark but then there is a fine line of bonking like I did last year.

Sometimes there isn't a simple answer and really who cares . When you look out as the sun sets from the outlook over the 3 sisters I saw the hues of the sky and the light dancing over the valley . The race , my running and the many hundreds  ahead and behind just didn't quite matter much anymore. Maybe the whole point of an ultra is really not the time or winning but knowing how beautiful the world can be and how small we are in it, possibly learning to enjoy the moment for what it is and learning that from all  that suffering , be it self induced , there is much to appreciate.

Timing pointSpeedRankTime of dayRace time
952mScenic World- km/h -Sat. 06:5700:00:00
1023mNarrow Neck6,01 km/h 994Sat. 08:4401:47:09
765mLittle Cedar Gap5,94 km/h 969Sat. 10:3403:37:43
631mDunphys Camp6,67 km/h 975Sat. 11:5304:56:12
756mIronpot Ridge Turnaround- km/h ---
576mSix Foot Track5,50 km/h 904Sat. 14:28 / Sat. 14:3807:31:32
981mKatoomba Aquatic Centre4,19 km/h 887Sat. 17:0610:09:22
921mSublime Point Rd4,33 km/h 796Sat. 19:3112:34:38
836mQueen Victoria Hospital4,88 km/h 767Sat. 21:3414:37:11
609mSewage Treatment Works- km/h ---
802mBase of Furber Steps4,23 km/h 763Sun. 02:2619:29:03
952mScenic World2,62 km/h 761Sun. 02:5019:53:32

Friday, May 13, 2016

WEEK 20 Race Week


Monday's run at Elizabeth Quay

Tips From Scott Hawker

Ultra Australia 100 is on this Saturday 14May 2016 at Scenic World Katoomba. I have all made it to the start line and that is a big start . Feeling good and the weight is steady at about 68-69kgs and I think I have levelled out as the tapering has stopped any major weight loss but no gain.

The week has been easy with a slow run of 5km on Monday and another easy run on Tuesday and a 10 minute row on the rower at Cross fit. Wednesday I did nothing and flew out on the Red Eye to Sydney . Thursday at Katoomba getting registered and ready for the race .

Hoping all the training works and other then any unforeseen issues and /or the weather I am as ready as I will be.

The race previews and reviews of the elite runners are up. Great runners like Ryan Sandes are coming and as usual it will be a fast race for them.100-mens-preview from the Ultra 168 Website


Sunday, May 8, 2016

Week 19 Full Taper Mode

WTF An Ultra Marathon

Shocking Blue - Venus (before Bananarama)
Standing on the Mountain TOP

One week left and the last longish run is done.

Preparation for the trip across and getting all the equipment together.Made easy with the list from last year :

NorthFace 100 Preparation List

    Mandatory Gear for the Ultra Australia 100
  1. Running Pack: Salomon SLab 12 pack
  2. Long Sleeve Thermal Top and pants
  3. Waterproof Jacket with hood
  4. Beanie/Balaclava/Buff
  5. Full fingered lightweight gloves: Merino wool jobbies
  6. High Visibility Safety Vest:  
  7. Headlamp:
  8. Small backup Headlamp: LED Lenser P5R
  9. Mobile Phone: Whatever is in your pocket
  10. Compass
  11. Whistle: Part of pack, of just go into any outdoor shop and bag yourself one
  12. Emergency Space Blanket: Part of Salomon Slab 12l
  13. Compression Bandage
  14. FireLighter block 
    Supplied by the organisers as you never know when you might want to get that steak you’ve been saving in your backpack on the go for dinner
  15. Lightweight Dry Sack: Sea to Summit
  16. 2L water bladder: Hydrapak I have a 1.5l and 2 small flask
    The one in the Salomon backpack is only 1.5l. I use Hydrapaks, but again, much down to personal choice. Most generally do what they say they’re going to do, which is hold water and not leak.
  17. Waterproof Map Case
  18. OPTIONAL GEAR (Likely that you’ll need to stash this at CP4 and use it later on) Long Leg waterproof pants
     100 weight Long Sleeve fleece top :Take to race
Otherwise ,it has been a really easy relaxed week with just one hardish run .Monday was a rest day one of possibly 3 in the whole 5 months . On Tuesday I ran 5kms and rode in the evening covering 30 plus km in the dark. I was feeling it in the end . On Wednesday an early ride to work and then in the evening I ran at King's park with a 20 min warm up including a run up Kokoda Trail then 5 x 8 minutes at about 45 secs faster then my start pace. It was getting dark so running on the footpath took some getting use to. It was hard and the first 8min was at 5 minute per km pace so a lot faster . then I walked for a minute and jogged for a minute before the second 8 minute session which was up a 4% incline and did that in 5.50sec pace and again 2 minute recovery and the 3rd 8 minute was faster as it was down hill with a 5 minute pace . the 4th 8 minute session was undulating and managed a 5.5km pace with running up Mount Street once .Finished with a slow recovery run back to the office with 12.7km in 80 min.

Thursday was an overcast day and I ran for 30 minutes in Kings Park covering a short 4kms .

Friday I was supposed to run an hour but with a massage yesterday the legs were sore and tired and a rest seemed a better bet
Watching the waves , the rainbow and dark clouds
A cold day and the beach to myself with the body boarder

Saturday an easy run at Trigg with Molly , JD ,Lindsay and Andree . An easy run of 60 min 7kms .Then coffee and Molly got a swim at the beach.

Sunday same run at Trigg for an hour and about 7kms as well. It was really cold so good conditions for Katoomba which is forecast to be between 4 and 18 C . A nice easy week with 35 km and  4hr 30 min , 45 min cross fit and 2hrs of cycling .

Thursday, May 5, 2016


Running at Trigg on Monday ANZAC Day 2016

Molly at the Trigg after the run on a cold wet day

Zamia Trails View towards the City Sunday's long run


The hard work is done and the Tapering week starts . This week was a short training week with 8 hours in total of running.On Monday it was a public Holiday 25 April 2016 and so I had an easy short run of 5.75km at Trigg on the limestone trails in the rain with Molly and everyone else. Molly also had a swim at the beach and a dog bath at Furbabies cafe after the run and swim.

On Tuesday , I ran an easy 5.5km on the treadmill and had cross fit in the evening 1 hour with just core strength exercises and 100 bench press , 100 sit-ups and 100 dead lifts , 100  ring rows .Sore arms for a few days.

Wednesday I ran an easy 60 minutes at King's Park and did 7 km and then on Thursday a 90 minute session in the evening with 12 repeats of mount Street and one of Malcolm street for about 800m of elevation and 12km .

Friday an easy flat run of 8km and Saturday an easy 70 minute run and 8.5 km with 45 minutes cross fit session in the afternoon .Sunday we were at Zamia and ran for 2 hours with 30 minutes 45 secs faster than the long run pace. I managed to get the 5kms I did between 5.37 min/km and 6.18 mins/km pace .Finished with 16.4 km and did a fair bit of undulating trails in Zamia.

Saturday's WOD
Ultimately the work load and running is tapering , hence the nice word TAPER .The work is done and not much to be gained by pushing out huge miles and lots to lose . If there is anything to be learnt it is to start to relax and focus on pulling all the logistics needed. To focus on nutrition and strategy for the race.

Two good articles put up recently are:

The 1 Race Tip That Matters Most Posted on May 3, 2016 by Kerry Suter 


OzSquad’s UTA50 Top 10 Taper and Race-day Tips (Try saying that after 4 hours on the trails)

Have a Mental strategy