Tuesday, December 20, 2011

And then, a year or so later...

Mmm... I see that my previous blog post has me preparing for the Sydney Marathon, um, last year. It's just as well I don't write this for money - the family would be living in a cardboard box by now.

Here are a few highlights from the last year and a bit...

Sydney Marathon, September 19, 2010

After my early exit from this race in 2008 I had a few pre-race nerves. However, everything went well and I finished in a tad under 4hr 30m feeling good. I ran wearing my thin Vibram Cherry huaraches which were not only comfy the whole way but a good conversation starter as well.

Coastal Classic trail run, September 25, 2010

This was the inaugural running of the Coastal Classic, with a beautiful course through Sydney's Royal National Park, and I'd been looking forward to it for months.

Now you might think that running a 30km technical trail, complete with brutal hills and sand slogging, six days after a marathon is not such a good idea for a middle aged office worker. Well, you'd be right. I felt tired at the start line, shattered by about 20km, and was shuffling pathetically for the last few kilometres - but I made it to the finish line.

The sense of achievement was short-lived. The next day, my left foot was worryingly swollen and painful. When it failed to respond to the usual treatment (ignoring it for a week or two) I reluctantly went for x-rays and scans and discovered that I'd injured a joint badly enough to be off running for some time.

The latter part of 2010 and the first few months of 2011 consisted of unsuccessful attempts to begin running regularly, interspersed with extended periods of sulking.

Barefoot Ted, March 2011

Long before 'Born to Run' was published, Ted McDonald, aka Barefoot Ted, was inspiring ordinary people like myself to run with less sole and more soul. It was from Ted's website that I first learned about huaraches and how to make and wear them. So it was a great pleasure to finally meet the man himself when he visited Sydney for a few days in March.

This photo was taken just before heading out with Ted and a small group of other runners for a lunchtime trot through The Domain and Botanic Gardens.

On the road again

Fast forward to May: the foot finally seemed all better and I made my comeback at the Sri Chinmoy 16km Iron Cove event, running slowly but very happily.

My plan to run the 2011 Coastal Classic was foiled by a badly timed dose of flu, but I did get to do many of my other favourite races including the Shoalhaven King of the Mountain (32km trail), Willy to Billy bush run (34km trail) and the remaining races in the Sri Chinmoy Sydney series. The Sri races in particular are always a great tonic for the spirit as well as the body, each one filled with friendliness, good humour and encouragement.

Long, slow plans for 2012

The plan for next year is to tackle some longer events, starting with the Narrabeen All Nighter 12 hour race in early January, my first attempt at a trail ultramarathon with The North Face 100km event in May, and the Sri Chinmoy 24 hour race in June.

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