“Beyond the very extreme of fatigue and distress, we may find amounts of ease and power we never dreamed ourselves to own; sources of strength never taxed at all because we never push through the obstruction” – William James

Buffalo Stampede Ultra Skyrun – 75km. Photo by Aurora Images.

Post Surf Coast Century Wrap-up. Nightmare on Eumeralla.

So it is now the Tuesday after the Surf Coast Century 100km event that I raced last Saturday. It was a fantastic event with a lot of my fellow running buddies in the Surf Coast Trail Runners (SCTR’s). Lots of massive personal achievements over the weekend in a range of the different distances on offer. The organiser Sam from Rapid Ascent really knows how to run a top notch event.

For me however it was bitter-sweet. I can say it was the toughest journey by far I have ever been on during an ultra. From heavy legs in the beginning to slurring my words like a drunk at 45km to smashing hills faster than ever at 80km there were some very extreme lows and very extreme highs.

Rewind. Training plan went well. Pretty damn well actually. A good taper of 2 weeks and I was feeling nice and relaxed prior to the event, definitely ready to go. My plan was pretty simple. Tailwind nutrition (approx 175cals in 400-500mls) per hour. Cliff Shot Bloks (33 cals per blok) to chew on and add additional cals – approx one per hour. So just over 200 cals per hour which I have tried and tested in training and other events with success.

Leg 1 – Anglesea to Torquay. 21km

The start was fantastic. I made sure I snuck up towards the front as not to get caught up to much in traffic going through the starting arch and around the first few headlands. Ended up running with my mates Sean and Jarrod after a couple headlands and stuck with them for the entire leg. Perfect pace, feeling comfortable, legs started to feel a little heavy and I put it down to the soft sand around (a little more than last year). Came into the checkpoint in Torquay at 21km to friends cheering and my parents waiting to fulfill their duties as crew for the first time. My friend Matt was also on hand to lend some advice and support. A quick change into dry socks and Hokas, a swap of empty flasks for full ones and I was off again.

Just before leaving CP1. Photo Cred - Matt Hosking

Just before leaving CP1. Photo Cred – Matt Hosking

Leg 2 – Torquay to Anglesea 28km

I felt pretty good running into the start of leg 2. I knew the trails and knew what was ahead. The hills did feel a bit harder then normal and the legs were not responding the way I would have ideally liked however. Sean was behind me and closed the gap so we could have the odd chat. A few relay runners passed us. Then climbing up from Bells Beach things started to feel a little harder. I pushed on with Sean. We went through Ironbark checkpoint, I grabbed a quick sip of water and Sean stopped to refill a flask. He soon caught up with me again and into the Eumeralla single track we went.

This is where things started to get a little fuzzy. I usually love love love single track but I was not feeling this at all. I was leading Sean and another runner through and I was starting to struggle. My legs felt heavy. I started to feel a little nauseous and was even having the odd dizzy spell. The first thing that went through my head was “not enough calories, get them into you” so I made sure I was swigging my tailwind at regular intervals and throwing down more cliff shot bloks to top me up. It didn’t take long though and I needed to stop to take a leak and also to take a very quick break to center myself. Sean and the other runner charged on. It was the last I would see of my mate Sean for the day.

Seeing the colour of my pee was my first major indicator that things were not going well. It was a very dark tea colour and I knew that that dark pee was usually an indication of dehydration. The weird thing was I was definitely on top of my hydration and I wasn’t pushing anywhere near my limit. I had hydrated well going into the event also. Pee colour noted – I continued. I did start to feel very warm as I wound my way through the undulating single track. Relay runners were catching me easy now and the odd 100km and 50km runner. My pace was decreasing. I stopped and had to take off an adidas ‘compression’ type short sleeve top I had under my SCTR top. My head was spinning a little here as well. The cooler air blowing through my top did feel fantastic. I pushed on.

I tried to keep my tailwind going down but something was wrong and it was getting worse. On the hills when I would start my normal power hike I felt like throwing up. So I would start to run and feel a little better but then when on flat ground again I would feel dizzy and start to stumble on the odd rock or root sticking out. I was at about 40km and I started to get pretty out of it. I thought to myself all I had to do was get to the next checkpoint at halfway and I would be fine. That was still 9km away and the last 3-4 km had felt like eternity though. The next 5-6km were most mind-bending and challenging kms I have ever done. At the top of almost every small climb and sometimes halfway up I had to stop, hands on knees, swaying side to side, trying not to puke and just wanting to crawl up in a ball on the side of the trail and fall asleep. I resisted, but shit it was hard.

So many people were passing me, I wished each one the best and gave them support where I could. I didn’t want to let on how bad I was suffering – I’m not sure why – maybe pride or something like that. At around 45km I rang through to my parents to let them know I wasn’t good and I would need some extras ready at the next checkpoint – some coke, chocolate, water, and my handheld bottle filled with Tailwind. My mum later advised me that she knew I didn’t sound good as I was slurring my words. I took another pee – even darker than before and bloody stinky. Awesome I thought. My insides hurt, I was slurring my words like a drunk, running/walking like one too and I was peeing smelly tea. A number of times while stopped I had my phone out ready to call the event director to say I was done, but I didn’t. I’m not sure what it was but I something inside of me said just keep moving you dick and you will be fine. Just get to the next checkpoint. So I did.

I made it down to Anglesea and the last 1-2km were actually much better – I put it down to the relief of being so close to seeing my wife, son and parents. I had been thinking about my family the entire way and it definitely helped push me through. I ran into the checkpoint to familiar friends and family again which lifted my spirits immensely. Hugging my wife and son felt fantastic and it was so good to see them. Matt was also here again and his advice was crucial. I collapsed on the grass and started chugging back water and coke. It was so good to sit down. It was decided that I would take my hand-held bottle and fill it with water – not tailwind as I had just downed a can of coke – enough calories to last me for some time. After 5-10mins I felt a whole lot better. I couldn’t believe that just 30min ago I was contemplating ended the race. I was also not too far over my goal time of 4hrs 30 mins for the first half and left Anglesea for the final 51km at 5 hours 7 mins.

Feeling a tad better leaving Anglesea - Photo Cred - Matt Hosking

Feeling a tad better leaving Anglesea – Photo Cred – Matt Hosking

Leg 3 – Anglesea to Moggs Creek – 28km

I was starting to get my groove back. I took it easy and was feeling a whole lot better. Sipping only on water for the next 12-14km I felt pretty good. Heartbreak hill came and went – not too bad. I was passing the odd runner and keeping up with some of the relay runners. I caught up on a small train of runners (mostly 100km’ers) heading into onto Currawong Falls track and played swapsies for a while. I was back on the Tailwind now and started the small climb towards Currawong Falls itself. Uh oh, I was starting to get that nauseous feeling back. I walked. It got worse. I ran slowly and it was bearable. Until I passed Currawong Falls and started the climb up to the trig point. “Shit” I thought, not again. The dizziness started to return and I played a game of trying to run and walk without the dizziness and nausea tipping into the red zone. Others started passing me again. The hills were really hurting and I knew the hills on this course hadn’t really started yet. I wasn’t sure how I was going to cope.

Then it hit me. I clued onto what wasn’t working and my body was somehow trying to reject. My go-to nutrition for over a year was maybe to blame. So 67km in I decided that at the next checkpoint I needed to switch it up. I knew they would have water and some solid food. Having this epiphany I did feel a little better and was actually looking forward to trying to claw something back from the race. I rang my parents at around 69km and said to pour out my tailwind and replace it with some back-up powerade I had in my supplies. I came into the 70km checkpoint at Distillery Creek and had a good 5min break guzzling a decent amount of water and getting a few pieces of some kind of oat slice down. I filled my handheld bottle and one flask with water, the other flask with an electrolyte solution (which I guessed was a Hammer electrolyte product) and carried on. I knew it was only 7km till the next checkpoint then 23km till the finish – it sounded so easy.

Between 70km and 77km I knew there was a decent climb which I was a little worried about. After my break at 70km though I was feeling a little better. I took it easy and ran when I could. I caught up with another runner Garth  who I met during the Two Bays 56km Trail run earlier in the year and was glad to have some company for a while. He was going at a nice steady pace so I stuck with him as we past the dam and started the hill. As time went on I felt better and better. The more water I got down the more energy I seemed to acquire. I quickened the pace near the top of the hill and by the time I was coming back down the other side I was feeling fantastic. In fact better than fantastic – this was the best I had felt all day! I smashed the downhill coming into Moggs Creek checkpoint passing numerous runners running close to a 4min pace at times. I was pumped. I ran hard all the way into the checkpoint looking for my parents as I passed through chute of supporters. I couldn’t see them but found Matt once again and also another friend Erin. Matt did a quick perimeter search for my parents but there was no sign of them. A quick call on Matt’s phone to them and we worked out through a little bit of miscommunication that they were waiting at Distillery Creek which I passed 7km earlier. I couldn’t wait so I told them to wait at Aireys Inlet Checkpoint with my supplies which I would pass through in another 9km at the 86km mark. In the meantime I loaded up with water and another refill of the Hammer electrolyte solution. I also took out my emergency Cliff Shot gel I had in my pack.

Moggs Creek 77km - Photo Cred - Matt Hosking

Moggs Creek 77km – Photo Cred – Matt Hosking

Leg 4 – Moggs Creek to Anglesea – 23km

I raced off still on a high and ran reasonably hard into the last set of major hills on the course which led out to the coast lookout. Taking the smallest amount of the gel as I didn’t want to upset my stomach I gradually nibbled away at it for the next 9km. It tasted really good actually – double caffeine/coffee flavour. My kidneys felt like someone had kicked the shit out of them, my abdomen was also feeling pretty beaten up, my hips and hammies were tight (probably due to poor form from my fatigue) but I was in such a good headspace nothing could stop me. I power hiked a couple of small spots on those hills before heading down that beautiful lookout track, passing through the small area of houses and up the dirt road that lead up the hill behind Aireys Inlet. I rang my parents one more time just to check they would be there.

It was great to see my parents at 86km. I quickly changed my flasks over for powerade, got a new packet of Blok shots and cracked a can of Red Bull just to help keep my ‘perkiness’ going. I had half the can and had to get going. I walked with my parents for a couple of mins towards the lighthouse before trotting off for the final stretch. The last kms were pretty uneventful. I had a few ups and down, similar to a normal long run. The 3.5km stretch on the beach after Urqhart’s Bluff wasn’t much fun however as the sand was a mud-type consistency. Not enough to make you slow too much but you still felt every single step take a little more effort.

I did have my eye on a sub 11 hour finish leaving Aireys Inlet but with 5km to go I knew it was just out of reach. I actually couldn’t believe I still had managed to scrap back something from this day and finish within my last resort 12 hour cut-off goal. No matter what – I was getting that big boy beer stein (sub 12hr finishers receive a 1L beer stein, sub 16hr finishers a 700ml stein which I recieved the year prior). I was still passing people in the last 5km as they were obviously starting to feel the effects of the 95km prior. My race had started at 65km so I felt like I had a bit more to give! Seeing my friends Bin and Vonsie with around 1km to go was fantastic too. I actually stopped and had a quick chat which allowed another runner to pass me. I didn’t care too much though as I was just happy to finish the race under 12 hours now and see my family.

1km to go - Photo Cred - Wong Bin

1km to go – Photo Cred – Wong Bin

Running along the final stretch of beach it was so nice to be running here in daylight. Last time it had just got dark so it emphasised how far I had come from my 13hr 30min finish last year. I am always so humbled by all the spectators and supporters who cheer for you and everyone else out on the course – no matter what distance they are doing. It makes you feel really nice inside and I tried to thank every single person. Seeing that finish line though was a relief. By far the hardest day I’ve had out in an event so far. I crossed the line and was in my wife’s embrace within seconds and hugging my cheeky little son. 11hrs 7 mins.

So what went wrong? I had been at bit of a loss of words to explain how and why the day went so pear-shaped. Here are some thoughts I have had too:

  • Tailwind – on this particular day my body did not like Tailwind nutrition. Whether it was too high in salt or I was perhaps getting too many calories in I’m not sure. Bottom line however was I couldn’t drink it. This was so strange as well as I have had it every long run and every event for an entire year and have never had a problem. I can’t get my head around it and am now a little reluctant to go back. I probably will though as it has been so reliable and easy.
  • Overheating? – I started the day with two layers (a thin compression layer and thicker trail tshirt) and arm sleeves. I took the arm sleeves off as soon as I was warm enough later in Leg 1 and took off my compression layer halfway through Leg 2 – was this too late and the damage done? I’m not too sure. I did feel better after the compression layer was off but I haven’t had this issue before and it didn’t stop the downward spiral I was already in.
  • Going out too hard? – I thought about this and I was only 2 mins ahead of my target time after Leg 1 (1hr 48mins), I didn’t go hard after this and then the crash happened. So I don’t think it was going too hard.
  • Illness? A possibility. I did wake up with a light headache which I took two panadol for. I also took a hayfever pill. These have never affected my running previously. Perhaps I was coming down with something and the headache was the first symptom? Unlikely but a possibility.

I have bounced back really well since the event, even the next day I was eating like a horse and feeling pretty good considering. I realised I did lose a lot of weight – perhaps more than 10%. I weighed myself 2 nights later and I was sitting on 74kg (normally 78.5kg). After most events I will bounce back to my normal weight within 1-2 days easily but this time it took me 4. So I estimate my weight possibly being less than 70kg at race finish. If anyone has any ideas or has had a similar experience to what happened to me I’d love to hear.

Here is a link to the details: http://www.movescount.com/moves/move40526234. Thanks to Anthony for letting me use his Ambit for the day!!

I’d also like to say a massive thanks to my parents for racing around crewing and supporting me on the day. My mate Matt Hosking for delivering crucial level-headed and logical advice when I wasn’t in the best state to make decisions for myself. All the support from other friends, runners, and SCTR’s was amazing – thank you! And of course as always my wife – for putting up with my long runs, looking after our son, unwavering support throughout everything and for just being her – thank you and I love you.

Homemade 100km tag - Photo Cred - Wong Bin

Homemade 100km tag – Photo Cred – Wong Bin

I’m not sure what’s next. I have nothing booked. And I kind of like it that way:-)

I’m Back! SCC Training & heaps more!

Oh man have I been slack! Just looking back and my last post was almost 2 months ago. For good reason but I’m sorry little blog – I promise to be more consistent…..well I’ll try:-)

So what’s been happening. Well since my NZ trip I have had my head down bum up focusing on training, I started a new full time job in the city which requires me to wear actual corporate attire (boooooo) and my friend William and I have started a new project called Functional Running (here comes the plug – check it out at http://www.functionalrunning.com.au).

Training wise I have been going pretty well. Following my plan for the Surf Coast Century 100km (2 weeks away today) as much as I can. I am down a little on the total number of kms I would have liked but I am very happy with the quality of the runs – and best of all I am injury free! Woohoo! I must be doing something right. Of course the highlights of the training are the long runs including a few over 50km down on the event course itself and the 50km You Yangs Trail Run. I actually came 10th in the You Yangs run! My best result to date and smashed my target time of 5 hours. Though I didn’t run as well as I would have liked towards the end.

Anyway here are a few picture galleries of some of the more eventful runs I’ve had over the last 7-8 weeks or so.

home….

It’s been a couple of days since I got back from home – NZ. I’m still on a high and don’t want to come down. After months and months of planning and side-stepping around conversations my family and I managed to pull of an amazing surprise for my dad’s 60th birthday. He thought he was staying up in Wanaka with my brother Ben and his family for a long weekend but little did he know my wife, my son and I were travelling over from wombat country and also my sister and her daughter down from Motueka (top of South Island of NZ). After a few hiccups and delays we had dad in shock and tears with our faces pressed up against the windows of the house we would be staying in for the next 5 days. The first time since our wedding (3+ years) we had all been together. And a fantastic chance to have my son Josh meet and spend time with his relatives.

The view from our holiday home

The view from our holiday home

And yes I did manage to get up a mountain. Just the one big one. And a couple of smaller runs. I was hoping to meet up with legend Mal Law but a mix of bad timing and lack of phone access on my part meant I ran alone. I arrived in the dark on Friday night and watched my first sunrise in NZ from atop Roy’s Peak. I’ll let the pictures do the talking. Here’s a few of my favourites – the rest are in the gallery below.

Looking back up to Roy's Peak

Looking back up to Roy’s Peak

Gorgeous

Gorgeous

Just before first light

Just before first light

Ridge trail

Ridge trail

Looking west

Looking west

Gorgeous sunrise colours on the way down

Gorgeous sunrise colours on the way down

 

1578m high with amazing view. Definitely a great start to the trip. This however wasn’t a running trip – it was all about the family so any running was going to be a bonus.

Here is a link to the Roy’s Peak run on Strava for those interested – http://www.strava.com/activities/160609517

The following day my brother Ben and I (not too hungover from dad’s party the night prior) managed to get out on the trails. Ben rode his mountain bike and I ran alongside. We had some fun at Dean’s Bank – a cross country mountain bike trail. I managed to take a few shortcuts through a lot of the switchbacks to almost keep up with him. Great little hit out but it was more worthwhile just being out with my bro. Details here – http://www.strava.com/activities/160609919. We did plan to also do a mission early the following morning up Mt Ithmus but terrible weather conditions overnight and very poor visibility meant we had to cancel our attempt.

The last morning came way too quick and I had to get out for a run. There were clear skies and I went for a trot up Mt Iron close to town. Some great views from this smaller mountain (more of a hill). Strava details here – http://www.strava.com/activities/160589685

An amazing weekend with family and friends. Waaaayyy too short but that’s all we could manage. I wish I could have travelled to my home town of Dunedin and see all my other friends but just didn’t have time and the trip was mainly for dad. We had our final goodbyes at the iconic Cardrona pub on our way to the airport. Beautiful way to finish the trip. No doubt we will be back again – hopefully sooner this time and maybe I can get a few more mountains in😉

The iconic Cardrona Hotel

The iconic Cardrona Hotel

Trails Review – Werribee Gorge State Park

Got to the top just in time

I figure every once and a while a location review would be cool to write about and gives me a chance to share some photos. So this past weekend I went out with friend’s Anthony and Erin to check out Werribee Gorge State Park. Don’t be mislead first of all – it is over 40km from the township of Werribee. The park is just off the Western Highway past Bacchus Marsh.

I had been wanted to check out this spot for a while and never got the time until now. And I am glad I did! Great spot. We got out there nice and early before 6am as we all had a few things on later in the day. Pitch black and pretty fresh as well. We parked at the Quarry Picnic Area and started off on the Circuit Loop. State Park’s map say it is around 10km (ended up being just over 8km) so we thought this would be a good start. Anthony ran the 1st loop with Erin and I before heading off to kick ass at his Park Run. Erin and I continued on another loop with a detour up to the Island Lookout on the way.

So early, so happy!

So early, so happy!

The Circuit Loop itself really started to kick ass scenery wise as it wound its way down into the gorge. Wide easy rocky trails transformed into so nice flowing single track down alongside the river.

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Majestic cliffs popped up all along the gorge, with the sun shining on them they looked unreal.

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Quite a few sections where you had to ‘rock-hop’  and really take it easy.

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Amazing scenery the entire way down the gorge.

The section of cable attached to the rock where you actually had to do a little amateur rock climbing had to be one of the highlights of the trail.

Coming out of the gorge you finish with a run alongside a historic aqueduct – here’s where you can get a bit of speed on. The aqueduct leads you out of the gorge to Meikles Point Picnic Area where you take a left. Here is the biggest climb of the loop, a nice wide track ending with a small section of single track that brings you back to Quarry Picnic Area.

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The Centenary Track that detours off the Circuit Loop Track takes you up to Island Lookout. A beautiful start to the track leads you down to Junction Pool. You then leave the State Park area and enter the W James Whyte Island Reserve area. This was basically farmland with a short, and in some places overgrown, section of single track before leading up and up and up and decent hill on a 4wd farm track. Lot of kangaroos around this area and we made it to the top to see a gorgeous sunrise. A 1km loop at the top takes you around the top of the hill with views on all side – the best being into Werribee Gorge. We then took a bit of a short-cut (not recommended) and headed down what we thought was the shortest route back to Junction Pool. It did get very steep however and luckily we had some nice long grass to hang onto and support us. Definitely added a sense of adventure to the day haha

Overall a fantastic area to go and have a trail run. The circuit loop has everything. Technical sections, good descents, challenging ascents, flat speedier sections, ‘rock climbing’ and some spectacular scenery. Definitely a hidden gem out here in the west of Melbourne. Because of the short 8+km loop this would be suited for all abilities at your chosen pace. You could easily do 3 loops out here for a good hit out. Each loop has around 380m elevation. Erin and I ran 2 loops with a Island Lookout detour – 21+km and 1150m elevation. I know I will be heading out here again!

For more information check out the State Parks website – http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/explore/parks/werribee-gorge-state-park

Gear Review – Compressport Trail Shorts

“…overall, these shorts killed it”

It’s been a few weeks since my last post. ‘Life’ has been busy. But my first gear review! Woohoo! With my reviews I am taking the approach of keeping it casual and honest while trying to give things a proper go without outside influences or my own past perceptions and/or experiences of a product or brand influence my assessment. Probably easier said than done but I will give being as neutral as possible a damn good shot:-)

The shorts!

The shorts!

First Impression
Pulling these shorts out of the box I was surprised at the feel and how light they actually felt. I knew they would have to be light but they are really light! And considering the expected quality for the price tag I was a little dubious. They felt almost silky which didn’t really appeal to me as I didn’t want another pair of run-of-the-mill compression shorts. I requested a red pair (they currently come in either red or black) as I’m trying to inject some colour back into my trail running wardrobe. They did look good on first sight – stylish and something written about being ‘born in Switzerland’ on the bottom of the quad.

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Lunch Time
What I think of when I see or think or these Compressport Trail Shorts is ‘packing lunch’. And trying them on for the first time and looking in the mirror definitely confirms – ‘yes, your lunch is packed and everyone can see it’. These shorts are popular with a lot of the obstacle course racing (ocr) crew and this is where I first saw that term – ‘packing lunch’ – on a Facebook comment so I can’t take credit for it. But if you are shy or don’t like showing your ‘junk’ then perhaps don’t go for the red colour. I have been told the black is a little more discreet but don’t take my word for it. I will definitely be wearing shorts over top of these or another option would be wearing something like speedos underneath.

Lil bunny packing lunch

Lil bunny packing lunch

They took a little effort getting on the first time as these things are tight! But boy once they were on did they feel good. I went specifically from the sizing Compressport recommends and chose the T2 – the same size as the calf sleeves I have from Compressport. Having them on I wanted to go and run mountains and utilise the special super duper ‘power climb’ grip on the quads while power climbing up vertical faces.

The 'power grip'

The ‘power grip’

Let’s Go Running Already!
First time out wearing these ‘power shorts’ was a 30km trail run out in Lerderderg State Park – lots of technical climbs and descents (1300m+). I soon started to realise why these short were so expensive – they were fantastic! As I started the climbs I could feel the denier of the high quality compression material doing its job. They felt even better as the run went on. The abdominal band did feel a little weird a couple of times but it wasn’t enough to distract me from the run or great feeling of the leg compression. I worked reasonably hard on the run and found the shorts ‘breathed’ really well. I didn’t overheat – even with a pair of light trail shorts over top (to hide my lunch). The shorts apparently dry very quickly after swimming also – I have yet to test this out. The power climb grip decals on the quads actually did come in handy as they provide some grip – a whole lot better than your bare skin or normal compression shorts.

The Truth
So overall, these shorts killed it. I have been on a couple of runs now and they have got even better. Things I didn’t love? Well…..not much at all. I would suggest the black colour if you are planning on wearing them by themselves otherwise you might scare the kids down the street or perhaps be arrested. The abdominal band and ‘3D’ silicon grip on the lower back – I’m not sure how much support this actually provides and was not fussed about the whole idea. I did like the higher band however as there was no tightening required like with most compression shorts.

The abdominal waistband could use some work

The abdominal waistband could use some work

The good! Loved the seamless idea and very comfortable fit. The ‘hydrophobic’ or ‘sweat evacuation’ (hehe) material worked very well. The ‘7x Multi-graded compression’ (which Compressport claim they are the only one using this technology in running shorts) felt fantastic and provided me with support all over during the run. No chafe whatsoever. Great fit around the crotch. The power climb grip did provide something to grip onto during steep climbs. One handy little thing the majority of compression shorts also wouldn’t have is the little gel pocket at the back.

Back pocket

Back pocket

Best for: Trails and anything with decent elevation
Worst for: Runners on a budget
Price: $159.95

Compressport Sizing for the shorts

Compressport Sizing for the shorts

Overall Wombat Rating: 9/10 wombats. These shorts are really fantastic and if I could afford to kit out my running wardrobe with them I would. 1 point lost due to the red colour and the ‘exposure’ they provide, and the lack of support in the abdominal waist band.

If you would like a 20% discount on Compressport and it’s associated brands please head to the Wild Wombat Facebook page and send me a message. I can then send you the discount code.

 

Disclaimer: Healthmg/Compressport provided this product and the discount offer complimentary. I took it upon myself to write this review independently.

Wild Wombat

 

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So by now you might think I am obsessed with wombats….well they are pretty cool. The whole wombat idea started back in September 2013 on my last long training run before my first 100km event. My good mate Tim Kacprzak took me out for a night run to Lerderderg State Park. He had been there a few weeks earlier and said this place was awesome – steep hills, technical and beautiful. Since we were on a night run the views were a little hard to come by – but steep and technical yes it was! We ran to a little mountain called Mount Blackwood and on the return journey the ‘wild wombat’ seed was planted.

The bottom of Mt Blackwood during daylight

The bottom of Mt Blackwood during daylight

 

As we ran down a fire trail leading into the forest there was a crashing through the trees to the left of us. “Holy shit!” I yelled as this large marsupial galloped down our left side. Our head torches were barely quick enough to get a glimpse of the first and biggest wombat I had ever seen in the wild (I have now seen wombats almost every time I have ran out Lerderderg). We ran the rest of the way back a little more wary (well I did anyway). Running along the final 2km of single track I thought then how beautiful these trails were – even at night. I couldn’t imagine what they looked like during the day. I did go back to these trails numerous times during daylight hours.

These trails stuck with me. They were so ‘raw’ and somewhat untouched – nothing like I had ran before. I also heard of these ‘Fat Ass runs’ where there was a tag-line of ‘No fees, no aid and no awards’. I loved that idea. Just get a group of people together and run – no worries about registration, crowds, logistics, support etc. Tim and I started discussing the idea of running a Fat Ass event out at Lerderderg. I knew the name had to involve wombat – I came up with a couple of names including ‘Crazy Wombat’ and ‘Wacky Wombat’ but in the end there was no doubt – ‘Wild Wombat’.

Things moved quickly and the Wild Wombat word was spread. We set up a Wild Wombat community page on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/wildwombatfatass30) and held our first Fat Ass event early December 2013. I contacted the State Park ranger and received permission to mark a 4km, 8km and 16km course – the Fat Ass 30 consisted of 2x 16km loops. The event was fantastic. Seeing people head out with no idea of what was to come, then return with the biggest grins on their faces was priceless. Apart from a couple of people running out of hydration the day went off without a hitch. In the end there was 40+ runners who took joined in the fun. After attending the event herself, Piffles Inc kindly interviewed Tim and I – that interview here – http://pifflesinc2.blogspot.com.au/2013/12/wild-wombat-fat-ass-30-quick-interview.html Here are a few photos from the day:

The Wild Wombat buzz was alive and supporters were asking for more. We also partnered up in a way with Surf Coast Trail Runners (https://www.facebook.com/groups/sctrs) – a larger running group I had been part of since earlier that year. I  planned a longer run but for the more experienced trail runners out there. I called it the Wild Wombat Crossing as we were going to run from one side of the state park at MacKenzies Flat to the other at Obrien’s Crossing. Once logistics were organised with transport and aid – as this was a point-to-point run – we had 17 trail addicts show up on the day. It ended up being a bloody tough day. With temperatures close to 40 degrees in the gullies the majority of the group took over 7 hours to complete the 32+km trek. Steep and technical terrain with a flood damaged 6km track at the end took a toll on many of us! But we all finished loving it! Here is Piffles Inc’s review of the day http://pifflesinc2.blogspot.com.au/2014/02/wild-wombat-crossing-mad-day-out.html

The Wombat Crossing Crew - photo cred Yvonne T

The Wombat Crossing Crew – photo cred Yvonne T

Yesterday we held Wild Wombat Fat Ass Version 2 – Superheros Vs Villains. A couple of people gave me the idea of a dress-up run for a bit of fun – I loved that idea. I set the theme of superheros and villains and everybody ran with it. To make it a little different I set the main 16km loop as a reverse loop – which everyone seemed to enjoy a little more. Tim was busy this time at the Under Armour World Tough Mudder Team tryouts so I took the reigns solo – but loved it. We were also very lucky to have Bennie Fox taking some amazing photos – all the photos below are attributed to his skill as a photographer. Here is a link to the full album on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.251439278395231.1073741836.187364348136058&type=1

I’m not sure what the future holds for Wild Wombat but no doubt there will be something that is challenging and fun on the horizon. Now….how to add some more elevation into the course……;-)

Embrace suffering – 9 hour Lerderderg Mission

So I completed my mission I was planning. Things went well up until around 5-6 hours in where I hit the wall. A combination of pushing too hard up hills, too much caffeinated nutrition and chocolate consumption (I love chocolate). I was feeling great too until it came on very quickly. And I went downhill very quickly. Within 30mins I had trouble running at all due to nausea and had to spend a fair amount of time walking. Heading up the steep hills I had to stop every 50m to take a break. This lasted for almost 2 hours until I wasn’t too far from the car. The visual distortions also kicked in a little…..You can see in the video where I was at my absolute lowest heading up one of the steeper hills out there. When I was around 5km from home my spirits lifted however and I got a boost and pushed all the way till the end. By far the most I have suffered in any run but so happy I kept moving and dealt with it out there. I definitely embraced some suffering out there.

I hope you guys enjoy the video. My first attempt at using Adobe Premiere Pro editing so please excuse my amateur skills. Thanks to my mate Jon for letting me use his GoPro Hero3 as well (a huge step up from my GoPro original!)