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

Sunday, December 31, 2006


So I can sign off a fairly successful running year. Started pretty
ordinary with itb problems forcing a dnf at Bogong. The fact that I
hadn't really trained at all meant this was no surprise. Then an
absolute crap run at Maroondah and I was thinking this could be a bad
year. Debuted 6' with a sub 5 hr-beer-bet-winning run that hurt like
hell, but got me back on track. Ran 88 mins in a "training run" at the
local 1/2 marathon. Happy with that. Had an absolute pearler of a run
at the Prom 100 before missing a late turn and adding a few kms and a
couple of hours. But it's hard to beat the Prom runs. I love that
place. Headed north for a cameo appearance at the GH50miler. Ran hard
with Spud and Dom for the first half then limped home on a sore itb for
a good hour pb. What's a few soft tissue issues between friends? For
some unknown reason I then decided to run the GC100 again. I guess the
kids holiday thing combined looked like a good package. Had probably
the worst run of my life and came away with a lasting momento of an
arthritic big toe. That was it for road/track races forever. I now had
a definite WS qualifier and the wait was on. Got the confirmed entry in
July. Lost a good month to the toe. 12' track in August was an
excursion into the familiar territory of ultras on no training. Well,
not quite. Once my toe allowed I had started logging some consistent
miles, albeit low volume, with a wish to avoid ever repeating the GC100
disaster. 12' was a race rather than a run this year. I was unprepared
for the competitiveness and was caught napping. That and some more itb
issues saw me tird to round up the mellum podium still in a pb of 12:20
something. Only 3 weeks until GH100. At least I didn't have a
Trailwalker to worry about. Given my limited prep I had no
expectations. Realistically I hoped to go 25 hours. That would have
been a pb and a good run. 22:38 and finishing with a near sprint over
the last 8 km was beyond my wildest dreams. Gave me endless confidence.
Went to Brindabella to see what everyone raves about. With a bit of an
affinity for down hill runs I thought I would have some fun. Boring
firetrail that pounded my quads and blew out one of my shoes midsoles
leaving me with a trashed achilles. 3 weeks to GNW and the pressure was
on. Tried a 10km run 2 weeks out and couldn't walk the next day. That
was it: no running and intensive rehab and icing for 2 weeks. It was
still tender through GNW but held together and another surprising
success with a finish after 5 weeks of averaging less than 15 km per
week (including Brindy). For the first time I actually thought I
wouldn't mind a crack at Kosci. Not this year, though. Crewing turned
into pacing after Tim pulled up lame and I managed to run/walk with
Spud for the last 90km up the mountain. Good taste for what is needed.
Maybe next year? So I haven't worked out my average mileage but I
wouldn't be surprised if I raced more than I trained. But it worked
when it counted. It confirmed my belief that running ultras is way more
mental than physical. Next year is WS year and everything pretty much
revolves around that. But I'm kicking the year off fitter and healthier
than the last so hopefully I can convert that into some good races.
Starting with 6'. This will be my launching pad. I have filled in my
calendar for the year but I am focused on 6' for now. Time to get
serious. Lets see what can be done when I really put my mind to it.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Fun run

Hammies are a little sore today after the tough session yesterday so
took it easy with just a couple of hours on the bike. Felt good and
cruised through the hills. I think losing those couple of extra kilos
that I've been carrying is really making a difference. That and all the
strength work in the gym is starting to pay off. Tomorrow Wendy makes
her racing debut with the Dawnbuster funrun around town. I haven't run
it since I was a member of the local running club years ago but she
wanted a target to build up to and the 5.5 km was achievable in the
time frame we had. I will run with her as pacer and possibly run home
to get a few more kms in to end the year on a positive note. Roll on

Friday, December 29, 2006

Focus on 6'

After 6' 2006 I said I wouldn't come back. While I love the course and
the race is really well organised, I had a real problem with the crowd.
I had won the infamous beer bet and gone sub 5 off a very limited prep
so decided to quit while I was ahead. But I've been seduced into a
return visit. And once Bogong was cancelled the deal was sealed. Now I
am focused on producing a good time. The only problem with that is the
associated obligation to train hard. I still have the Maroondah 50
first but I'm pretty much using that as a training run.
So with that in mind I hit the trail again today with a renewed
purpose. Well at least until UCB rang to confer on some important gear
purchase. I pushed the hills and floated that flats with fast turnover.
I was a little tired by the end but had cranked out some quality ks.
The tricky achilles was a little sore once I cooled down but I'm on the
road again. The 2 Bays next weekend will be a good measure of where I'm

Small steps

Short run tonight. Short week at work but still tired. I should be
bursting with energy with all the days off and the build up for Bogong.
I think I overdid the weights. And I was back on the stairs today......

Monday, December 25, 2006

Ready to start the new year

So I haven't had time, energy or inclination to post to this blog in
ages. But as the year draws to a close I start to refocus on my main
aim for 2007: Western States. I had a solid trail run today. Since
Bogong was cancelled I stopped with the heat acclimatisation and
carrying 5kg on my back with every run. I still had a pack on after
running with W and the dogs but it was near empty. I did 3 hard hill
repeats on the Nature Trail loop. I bombed the steep technical downhill
section. On the second run there were a couple of old walkers on their
way up and I couldn't resist getting some big air time off one of the
bike ramps as I went past. I don't think my knees were too
appreciative, but it sure was a buzz. I was out for about 3 hours total
with some solid up-hill power walking and fast and furious downs. I
will do 2 Bays in a couple of weeks, 55km. Then Maroondah, 54km in
February. Six foot in March, 46km. Prom in April, 100km. May still
deciding between the 80km night run at Glasshouse, as I have done the
last couple of years or Walhalla. I figure with petrol the way it is it
will be just as cheap to go to GH. And it is a perfect training run.
Then I need one last solid hitout at the end of May. I would love to do
a Fatass 12' but the credits are already wearing thin. And with GH100
and GNW100 still to go in the year I could be in big trouble........So
many races and so little cartilage left. Every run now feels like a
training run for WS. Common sense and the coach say that all the races
should be run and not raced. But that is near impossible. And I'm only
doing 6' if I'm in good shape. Which I should be. And after the shocker
at Maroondah last year I will want to run that hard. And GH50 is hard
to hold back with the first 10km all downhill. Oh well, I guess that's
the way I approach all my ultras so why should I change this year?