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

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Year in review

Well I kind of lost the plot with the monitoring of my progress leading
into Western States. I guess this is one of the many reasons why I
never started a blog. The injury interrupted lead-up to States didn't
help things. There was a lot of angst and a lot of time spent walking
and doing rehab. But I figured it would be good to do a little
summation of the year as a record of what can only be described as a
good running year.

January: Really primed for a big tilt at B2H but the massive bush-fires
forced the cancellation. Brendan knocked together a Fatass 2 Bays of
around 54km across the Mornington Peninsula. Had a steady, solid run
and met a few new faces.

February: The closest thing to my local race: Maroondah Dam 50+. I was
feeling strong off the back of the high (for me) mileage I was using to
build a base for States. I didn't taper but that didn't seem to hurt
too much. I found myself in the lead in the first couple of kms and
managed to lead everyone into a dead end on the overgrown trail. That
pushed me to the back of the field. With the big climbs up to the 10km
mark I worked through the field, powering up the hills. I didn't
realise I was in second place behind Rob Grey and chased him down for
the company. We leapfrogged for most of the run before David Eaddie
changed gears up the back somewhere and came steaming past. I flew down
Mt St Leonard, determined to hold onto second place. It was a small
field but there were some good runners in the pack so I was pretty
happy with a podium finish and the trophy clock. It was a PB on this
course, despite getting lost at the start.

March: Six Foot Track. A fun weekend catching up with everyone. Went
out fairly solidly, again off high mileage and no taper. Was at the
front of the second wave by the stairs and held a good pace to the
river. Ran with Dog early on but he is very unsociable when racing,
especially when he is struggling. He had Uncle Dave pacing him to no
avail. Sean passed him on the stairs at Caves for one of the moments of
the year. I lost a lot of places trying to take it easy climbing Pluvi.
Started cramping on Black Range Rd again. Spud came past and I ran with
him for a while until cramps got me again. Managed to keep him in sight
until the big down hill and finished just in front of him. Another PB.
I would like to have a crack with proper prep someday.

April: My favourite run: the Prom 100. Some would say I did a Bradbury.
I say running these bush ultras involves more than just running. I ran
my own race and enjoyed the scenery. When I got back to the camp after
80km they told me there were only 2 runners still ahead of me and they
had only left 12 minutes ago. That was my quickest check-point stop
ever. And I ran like a man possessed for the last 20km. I had a bad
fall and my knee kept locking up but I wasn't backing off. It was also
the scene for my famous headlight face off at 20 metres: Paul Monks and
I hit the Mt Bishop carpark at the same time from opposite ends (he had
done the loop in reverse). We both switched our lights off at the same
time and the race was on in earnest. I wanted it more and the high
mileage training carried me home strongly. Only downside was the
patellofemoral condition I had developed.

May: Reluctantly flew to Glasshouse for the 50miler. The later start
time of 3am and my knee injury almost kept me at home. But I needed
another long hard run before States. The knee held out for the first 50
odd kms but left me limping home in a respectable but average time.
Spoke to Bill Thomson about Hardrock and resolved to keep my entry and
see how it all went at States before pulling out.

June: Western States Aussie Assault. Fantastic fun trip. Tough run.
Tougher than I expected and I suffered badly through lost fitness and
blistering feet. Slogged it out for an emotional finish. One of those
great runs that I will always remember. And a great road trip with

July: Drove over to the Hardrock territory. Really struggled on the
training run/hikes. Reluctantly decided to cut my losses and pull out.
Could I have made it? Seeing what I achieved over the rest of the year
I have to admit I now wonder if I could have done it. But I remember
how trashed my feet were, how unfit I was at that point, and how my
knee was still an issue. Maybe I should have tried but there is a
strong chance I would have failed and not recovered to complete all the
other great runs of the year.

August: Bellarine Rail Trail 68km. Boring as bat shit but I needed a
solid run and to test out the knee. Came through OK.

September: I really didn't want to do GH this year. But to miss out on
all that goes with it would have been too much. Then I got sick 2 weeks
out and although I recovered I was really depleted and had my worst 100
yet. But I finished and had fun with the Mellum crew.

October: Wow, no ultras? Did I miss something? Only Brindy that I will
never do again. Had some great bush training runs down in the Otway
Ranges. Must get down there more often.

November: GNW. This is a massive run by any standards. I had resolved
to make sure I got Tim home. I wasn't in any form for racing flat out
for time and it turned out to be a great group finish, adding a new
dimension. I love this run.

December: Coast-to-Kosci. Somehow I got sucked into the vortex that is
C2K. I rationaled that this might be my only chance to get the Triple
Crown and that I was in good enough form to finish so now was the time.
I knew I really only had one shot at it. The surface and distance would
do too much damage to my toes to justify ever coming back. So I never
contemplated not finishing. It was a journey, not a race. Tim had the
crew and allowed me to share so it became a team effort. The sense of
satisfaction is hard to describe but it is a run to take with you to
the grave. Either that or it will take you to the grave.

So that was my year.