Ultrarunner fighting Atrial Fibrilation (AF)

This blog has pretty much always been about running ultras, mostly Hardrock. It still is but now it is also about running after AFib. I was forced to miss Hardrock in 2011 due to the onset of AF but my long term goal was to get back to running milers. And hopefully help any other runners with AF who stumble upon this site. I never made it into Hardrock in 2012, or 2013, or 2014. I didn't have a qualifier for 2015. I ran Fatdog in Canada instead. That was tough. I finished my 4th Hardrock in 2016 and now I'm back to try for the magical number 5.

If you want the history of my AF the heart problems all started back on May 25 2011: http://howmanysleeps.blogspot.com/2011/05/out-of-hardrock.html

Friday, June 23, 2006

1 Sleep 'Till the Big One

Tomorrow is d-day for trail runners who have made the pilgrimage to the
Sierra Nevadas. I can only imagine the nerves I would be experiencing
had I made it there this year. The excitement of the build up would be
somewhat overwhelming. I can't wait to see the little blips make their
way across the map on the webcast. I might watch the dvd again tonight
as preparation and to help relate to the names on the map. I up-loaded
a pic of the silver buckle as my CR avatar. Thoroughly pretentious but
who cares. It reminds me every time I post that the next 12 months are
all about getting an entry, getting fit, and staying healthy. What the
hell. That's what it's been about for the last 12 months but I let the
brains trust talk me into prolonging the agony for another year. But as
John said half the fun is in the voyage to the starting line. With
plenty of ultras lined up between now and then I know I'm going to
enjoy the journey. If I can stay uninjured.

Had hoped to get out for a couple of hours of easy trail today. Took
the dogs for a run first to test the toe. Managed about 3 km on rough
grass wearing my old Tevas that have a stiff shank in the midsole but
ended in tears. So I took the coach's advice and dusted off the old
cannondale for a 1 1/2 hour ride. Did the Cementies hill twice then out
to the falls then up the road to Mount Pellier. Man am I unfit and my
legs weak. Bloody near killed me. Not to mention a few hairy incidents
on the loose gravel down hills. Must switch from the slicks back to mtb
treads. I'm going to put the old road bike onto the rollers in the gym.
I can cope with a tready when I'm injured but it has to be bad to get
on the rollers. 7 weeks to 12'. Getting bad. But then I'd limp 12'
rather than miss it. Keep Ken company. Might even persuade Kevin to
limp along at the back. That way when the rat appears I've only got to
out pace him....

Go John.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Big Toe Blues

Well, actually reds. It is still red. I haven't sort professional
help, as usual relying on my on inept diagnostics and some distant
curb-side consultations but I'm leaning towards gout! Crap. I really
don't want it to be gout but that would explain the incredible pain
and the duration of it. Also the onset several days after the run
rather than immediately. And the failure to respond to my usual home
remedies for soft-tissue injuries. Damn. I can at least walk now.
That's a start. Forget running. Maybe I might revisit mountain biking?
I like going downhill fast. It is interesting seeing the different
comments that this blogs elicits. From genuine empathy to harsh
criticism. Hmmm. Who's idea was this blog anyhow? I read recently in a
totally unreliable, unscientific article that you lose 10% of you
fitness after 1 week of not training. 20% after 2 weeks. Like I had
that much to lose! In retrospect that might explain my lack of
performance at GC100. If this were true I should have no fitness at
all by now. Well maybe it is. How fit do you need to play lawn bowls,
I wonder?

On a totally different topic I noticed that a legend of WS is retiring
this weekend: <fontfamily><param>Arial</param>Tim Twietmeyer recently
announced that his 25th running of the Western States 100 (WS100) this
June will be his last.


Monday, June 19, 2006

WS2006 vs World Cup

As the world watches the soccer World Cup unfold there are 400 odd
ultra runners making their way to the start line at Squaw Valley.
Sitting on the plane to the GC100 last week I couldn't help thinking I
should have been heading there myself. I had all the plans in place and
completing GH100 2005 gave me the necessary qualifier and confidence.
As I sit here with my aching toe elevated watching soccer in the early
hours of the morning I can only imagine the nervousness being
experienced by those counting down the last 6 sleeps until their race
begins. I won't be watching the world cup next weekend. The webcast of
the runner's progress will have all my attention.

Sunday, June 18, 2006


Crap. Never, never, never running that race again. Had probably my
worst ultra ever, competing with Maroondah Dam in Feb 2006 but worse
because it was twice as long and not on a trail. You know you are in
for a bad day when you feel crap 30 km into a 100 km race. I have to do
more training and take these things a little more seriously if I want
to avoid such ugly experiences. And to add insult to injury I have
ended up with an acutely inflamed IP joint in my big toe. This wasn't a
problem on the day. Tiredness. Tight ITBs/glutes and lifting toenails
didn't help. Poor food options. Bad early pacing. Which is ironic as I
went out with Roger Guard who I planned on sticking with because of his
great pacing ability. At the end of the first lap he pronounced that he
had gone out too fast. Bugger. We eased off and ran together on and off
for a few laps. He went on to still score a sub 10. I ran one lap with
Vivian who also protested that we were going too fast so I dropped
behind her to break the pace. She then left me for dead and finished
around 9 1/2. Went through the marathon under 4 hrs and 50 km under 5
hrs. Lack of fruit on the check points became a problem. If I had of
known I would have bought some the night before (late flight in). My
sister and kids arrived around midday with some sandwiches but I was
already off food. I switched to coke and my mp3 player much earlier
than usual but I figured I had nothing to lose as I felt terrible and
needed all reserves. Probably did the last 50 km on coke, juice and
water only. Ran a lap with Hermie before my pace fell right off. Vegie
Girl appeared track side and provided some much needed OJ. I was only
seeing runners as they passed me. I eventually had a little rest
trackside. I think I was actually curled up in the foetal position and
could have gone to sleep. I never really thought about a DNF but
seriously vowed to never return, using somewhat more flowery language.
Dave appeared as I was starting the 3rd last lap and joined me,
eventually completing 2 impromptu laps. This helped keep the pace up to
ensure a buffer for the 12 hour cut-off. Veg came out for the last lap
and dragged me around. I was down to a shuffle on the dark track and
kept wanting to reach up and switch on my headlamp, which of course I
didn't have. I lifted for the last lap of the track but was thoroughly
spent. I had nearly 1/2 an hour up my sleeve but the concept of missing
the cut was a strong motivator. A week later and I still cant walk. I
have a WS2007 qualifier but may have buggered up my training for GH100
in september. Have seriously considered just quitting ultras. If my toe
doesn't improve I might not have any choice.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

The Real Deal WS 2006

There are only 16 sleeps until WS 2006. There is still 50 cm of snow on
the high trail. It could be really tough going. There are runners still
looking for pacers. Ho, hum. I'll be watching the progress from my

3 days out from the GC100. Haven't had much of a lead up. Ran an easy
5km today with the puppies. A few niggles but that is standard. Once
you toe that line any pre-existing injuries don't count. Guaranteed
there'll be a few after. That concrete path is an absolute killer.
Plan: try and run fairly even splits and not get sucked along too
early. With no Fat Bloke, to tell stories and the entourage of Spud,
Run67 and G it won't be such a social occasion. I'll look for a more
sensible pace and see if I can bring it home stronger than last year.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Fat Ass going Soft aka Lard Ass

What's with this having water bags at Poor Mans Comrades? Why can't
people carry a bottle and fill it up when they see a tap, in true Fat
Ass style. No aid my arse. And why use up your crew credits on a
straight forward run like this. That would be like having crew at the
GC100. No way. Save them for something tough like GNW when you really
need someone out there. I hope they don't leave their empty bags on the
road. I had to pick up used Leppin wrappers on the trail at the Prom
recently. Not happy Jan. These runs are not fun runs. The spirit of
Fatass is as far removed from sanitised little water sachets as Bogong
is from the Blue Mountains. There'll be people running PMC in gorilla
suits soon.

No run today. Too tired. Weekly total of about 5km. Don't want to
overtrain. Upper body weights only. OMG I'm blogging.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Blog Silliness

There seems to be this compulsion to write blogs. I'm yet to be
convinced of the justification of such egotistical practices. Spend a
day with sick and dying people and do you really need the
self-indulgence that this form of expression demands? But on the other
hand perhaps it is the ideal forum to vent your spleen, climb up on
your soap box, or just ruminate at your leisure. Hmmmm.

WS2006 is approaching rapidly. I will be glued to the web master thingy
and immersing myself in the race from afar. I hope John gets his
buckle. Such a huge effort and commitment. I envy him being there but
look forward to my own opportunity.

Only 18 sleeps until WS2006.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Fat Ass Mania

What's going on? There are Fat Ass runs coming out of someones fat ass.
The calendar is full. No more. I can't cope.

Lots of sleeps left. I'm too tired to count.........