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

Monday, January 29, 2007

145 days to go

When you say it like that it can freak you out. Yep, 145 days until
WS100. Shit, I better get organised. I have to do some service of some
sort. I need a new passport, visa, insurance........Oh, and I need to
do some more training. With all the 6' nonsense on CR it is easy to
forget that all these little ultras are just training runs for the big
one. And then there is the added distraction of Hardrock and Kosci
after WS. I need to get some focus back. And some early nights.
Had a split run today. An hour in the morning with Wendy and my eldest
daughter at an easy pace wasn't really enough for the day. So I went
out for another hour and a 1/4 tonight after walking the dogs. It was
surprisingly easy and I found I had to hold myself back as I floated
along the golf course in the waxing moonlight. I am trying to keep my
runs slow and easy to build an aerobic base. And to build a solid base
of mileage. I need to get in some bike miles as well. The little jaunts
into town or to work are not really cutting it. Time. The same old
problem. Making time. Balance. It's all about the balance. And
perspective. I don't want to make hard work of it and lose all the

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Build a base

Slept in this morning so didn't get down the coast for my planned long
run. Managed a solid couple of hours on my local trail and with the
temperature moderate for the first time in weeks, I found myself
pushing a solid pace. I switched to fast walking on the hills as part
of my 6' hill-walk training. It's always a good sign when you finish
feeling better than when you started. So no long run this week but with
2 1/2 hours on Friday backed up with a solid 2 hours today I feel I'm
starting to build that base for later in the year. 4 weeks until
Maroondah which I plan to take fairly conservatively and then just 3
weeks to 6 Foot, where I might have a go. Someone suggested that I go
hard and either A) set a great time or B) crash spectacularly. I really
don't like the taste of those DNF cookies so I think I will settle for
a plan somewhere in between. In fact I reckon if I stick with Spud as
long as I can and then just try to finish off I should do OK. Hang on,
that's starting to sound too much like plan A. Maybe plan C where I
stick with Tim and just outsprint him on the line? :)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Entry is in......

<excerpt><fontfamily><param>Times</param>I have been trail running and
bushwalking pretty much all my life. I am quite comfortable in the
bush with a map and compass. I have backcountry hiked solo for many
years. While I enjoy most trail running my preference is for technical
alpine trail. When I started running ultras I looked at Hardrock as
the ultimate goal but for many years felt it was beyond my
capabilities. Over the last two years I have completed three 100 mile
trail ultras. While the opportunity to run 100 milers (yet alone
mountainous 100 milers) in Australia is obviously very limited, last
November I completed the Great North Walk 100 miler. This is a 108
mile trail race with a 36 hour cut-off. There are only 6 checkpoints
and the course is only minimally marked. This years race was held in
very hot conditions (high 30’s degree Centigrade) necessitating
runners carry up to 3 litres of water, plus food and emergency gear
between checkpoints, which could be up to 5 hours apart. While not run
at altitude, there are 6,200 metres (20,000 ft) of elevation gain and
loss. Of the 28 starters only 10 finished. In those pulling out there
were some very experienced runners including a multiple finisher of
Hardrock (5th place 2001) and several other 100 mile veterans,
including 2 Western States finishers.

When I broke 24 hours at the Glasshouse 100 last September it gave me
great confidence that I could complete Great North Walk 100. When I
completed the Great North Walk 100 miler last November it gave me
great confidence that I could complete Hardrock 100. I feel I have
served my apprenticeship and now want the opportunity to graduate.
Completing Hardrock would for me, be that graduation.


Along with some personal groveling that I have edited, this forms the
basis of my Hardrock application. Posted today. Where are those dice?

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Hardrock entry

I've wanted to run Hardrock for some time. I'm going to be in the
States for WS and flying home just 2 weeks before Hardrock this year.
It seems crazy not to put an entry in just in case I can pull off a
spot in the ballot and get a start. I've just flicked through some guys
photo journal of Hardrock from 2006 and I have to say the course freaks
me out a little. It is definitely one of those runs that both excite
you and scare you at the same time. What if I get an entry? What the
hell, I'll send in my application and just see what happens. It's all
Dave's fault. I was happy to just let it lie for another year but he
put an entry in and put it firmly back on the agenda.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Building a base

The coach has impressed upon me the need for a solid mileage base
leading into 6 Foot Track. I have a reasonable base but my mileage is
still way too low. So I have been adding some length to my regular runs
and plan to include more long runs. My 2 1/2 run today was slower than
usual but I ran 12km last night and I seldom run 2 days in a row. Plus
I did a brutal weight session on Wednesday night. My legs were like
jelly when I finished. I have been more consistent with my weight
regime so am confident the strength is building and hopefully that will
help resist injuries. I also have started the dreaded treadmill uphill
power walking training. If all these come together as planned I should
be in much better shape than last year. The added incentive of the beer
bet has really motivated me to get out there and put in some really
solid work. Hopefully it will pay off on the day.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

2 Bays Trail Fatass

Headed across the bay to run Brendan's 2 Bays Fatass in lieu of the
cancelled Bogong. Drove around the night before in a howling gale and
slept at the start in the kombi. Didn't get a lot of sleep due to the
wind but it was much better than getting up at 4am for the 2 hr drive
across. There was a good turn-out for such an impromptu run with about
12 doing the full 55km and another 4 or 5 doing the half. I decided to
carry 2 handhelds despite really only needing one, so that I had the
extra space for my phone and gels on the straps. Carried some food but
didn't eat most of it. There is a huge climb at the start and then some
continuous undulation all the way across the peninsula through some
scenic bush and open heathland. Generally good trail under foot with a
couple of sections of gravel road and short hauls of bitumen. I ran all
the way across with Brendan and we leap frogged 2 Ballarat boys. The
highlight was the snake encounter towards the turn-around. The 2 in
front hadn't seen it but had obviously stood on it or kicked it as it
was raised up to strike as I jumped over it. There was no time to stop
as I was so close behind the others and they were freaking out with my
yelling. In fact my yelling caused them to jump and the snake appeared
to pass through Brian's legs. It was at least 4-5 foot long and very
thick. Needless to say we were very attentive from then on. The 4 of us
arrived pretty close together at the turnaround. Julliet was there with
fruit-cake and water. And I bought a pepsi. I should have bought
another and filled one of my bottles for the return trip. The Ballarat
boys left well ahead of us and when I realised Brendan was traveling a
lot slower than I wanted to, I gave him a wave and took off in pursuit.
I eventually caught them with the aid of the pepsi rush. We had some
cooling rain on the way back and I almost got cold in my bike shirt. I
pulled away from the guys until the sugar wore off and I tripped and
face-planted indignantly. No damage but they ran serenely by. Forced a
GU down and ate all my ginger bears and picked up. Ran them down again
and took off on the long gravel road. I thought they might catch up on
the climb back up to Arthur's Seat but it never happened. Was feeling
really strong by the time I crossed the highest point again and pushed
it hard all the way back to the finish. Took 3:01 out, 10:04 at the
stop, then back in 3:07. Very even split so I am happy with that. If it
hadn't been for the energy lows through lack of food on the way back I
could have easily negatively split the course. Will need to work on
some portable food options for Maroondah and 6'. Rest day monday and
went out for an easy 7.5 km tonight to loosen up. Feeling fit and
healthy so compared to this time last year I am way ahead of the game.
I can almost taste that 6' beer.........mmmmmmmm

Friday, January 05, 2007

2 Bays horizon

Heading across the bay to run Brendan's Fatass 2 Bay Trail 55km on the
weekend. I've been trying to find some new trail shoes to preserve my
supply of montrails for the lead up to WS but no luck. So I will just
wear my leonas. Went out for a couple of hours of trail this morning
and it was stinking hot. I've started using the HR monitor again. I've
decided to get more serious about my training. I figure if I can run
some ok ultras off a little haphazard training I should be able to run
some good ones off a more structured and solid prep. So I'm building
mileage and strength in readiness for some quality work later in the
year. It will make it hard to run fast at the shorter ultras but I am
hoping that my fitness will allow me to run strongly through to the
finish and more than compensate for any loss of speed and freshness. In
fact Tim has thrown down the gauntlet for 6' and wants me to spot him
1/2 an hour for a beer. You know, I reckon I'm a good chance of pulling
it off and it will sure make things interesting. Especially that long
wait at Caves watching the clock tick down.