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, December 30, 2016

Gear reviews

Technically not a formal gear review, this will be an ongoing place to reflect on what worked and what didn't. As much a response to my fading memory as a constructive contribution to gear seekers.

After 10hours on the slopes of Mt Buller yesterday in atrocious conditions on a technically challenging, steep slope for an out and back of just 27km (yep less than 3km/hr gives you some idea of conditions), I can easily reflect on what worked.

Pack: Aarn Marathon Magic 11 which is out of production. It is actually about 20l and I have modified it adding the front pockets from the larger models. Brilliant. There wasn't much actual running but it rides great and having front pocket access means I rarely have to take it off.
Cons: Not waterproof.

Waterproofs: wore my new Z-Packs cuben fibre poncho nearly the whole day. A great test given the muggy conditions down low and cooler up high. With a mix of drizzle, hail and heavy rain it deflected everything. The breezy nature kept me from overheating but kept me warm when the hood was pulled up. The trail style kings would hate this one, looking like an oversized caftan in bland grey, it stood up to the test. The long, loose back draped over my pack (meaning no pack cover was needed). Very light when scrunched up and stashed and doubles as a tarp if needed. Carried ultralight (<90gm and="" anorak="" berghaus="" case.="" in="" just="" montane="" p="" waterproof="" windpants="">Cons: baggy tail snagged a couple of times and pulled the stitching away on one side zip. Will add an elastic waist band (2XU bib belt will be ideal) to counter this. Arms are exposed and got soaked. Will get some water-resistant arm warmers to add.

Nav: used my iphone with the Avenza maps (from GSER) and the course from the RD for the Hut2Hut overlayed. Worked perfectly and with the iphone 6s on airplane mode used bugger all batteries. Kept in pocket in Kathmandu small waterproof pouch. (Not suitable for picture taking.) Also had new Garmin Oregon 650 handheld gps. Worked great except need more practice on knobology and check plotted course is not in yellow! Ran it on rechargeable batteries and was showing only half used after 10hours. Carried a Sunto battery bank and cable. Rooftop 'waterproof' map. Didn't use much and ended up like paper-maché. Contact covered course notes. Were handy and survived the deluge. Carried Silva compass of course.

Food/fluid: Started fasted with just a guzzle of water before. Went 2 hours before starting sips on water-carb mix. Got to turn-around in 5 hours on just half a bottle (300mls). Had a Shotz bar and finished the bottle here. (Refilled untreated water from Howqua after leaving Steripen in van deliberately.) Only drank another couple hundred mls on the return 5hours and ate a cherry ripe. So total about 800mls + 2 scoops of powder, a Shotz and cherry ripe for 10 hours. Felt OK and didn't bonk or really get hungry.

Poles: Black Diamond Ultra-Z. Perfect. Have the wrist straps removed. Given the climb could have used them but prefer the ease of release and grab.

Clothes: Macpac you-beaut thermal. Excellent. I have got a but cold in this when wet before but layered up this time with merino worked great. Helly-Hanson merino blend zip neck top. Excellent. Groundeffects merino short sleeved bike jersey with foam padding in back pockets. Always a winner. Only removed the Helly at the river when it cleared and warmed up for an hour. Otherwise wore everything all day. (Carried Macpac merino skivvy and merino tights, merino balaclava, merino under gloves and Macpac ultralight puffy jacket.) Wore bike gloves that got soaked and would have been cold overnight but had OR warm gloves to slip underneath. Usually wear Macpac merinos underneath. Would like waterproof fingerless gloves. Would not be able to swipe phone for nav if wearing fingered gloves. Kathmandu Dri-motion boxers-awesome. Aldi bike shorts. Awesome. DHB bike shorts without liner. Got a bit loose when wet, need a belt to tighten if needed.

Shoes: Altra Olympus 2.0. These are the bomb. Amazing traction, even on wet rock, within limits of course. Great cushioning. Plenty of toe room. Hard to beat.
Socks: Injinji over calf. No dramas. Never is with these.
Gaiter: Kathmandu waterproof jobs. Worked good. No under shoe straps (removed) and rode up some.

This was the finish photo on the summit for the second time. That's the cairn beside me. Limit of visibility is not much beyond arms length.