Saturday, 23 February 2013

100km walk training update & more

I've definitely filled that "what shall I do after the marathon's complete" void, with plans now in place to walk the 100km Oxfam Trailwalker in under 24 hours (we are entered as a team and the cutoff is 48 hours but I want a boundary I can push) and visions of a further long run (marathon or half marathon tba) in late May in the Barossa Valley.

Stupidly I’ve been thinking “if I can run 42.2kms surely I can walk 100kms”, I really put that theory to the test on Friday night where myself and my fellow Trailwalker Team mates pulled an all-nighter and walked from Olinda to Warburton in the Dandenong’s a total of 48kms . With backpacks stacked with supplies, spare socks, jumpers, long pants, gloves and beannies in case it got cold, as well as gels, anti infalm tablets, band-aids and more we loaded up on carbs at a local Olinda restaurant and then chucked the laden backpacks on, adjusted our headlamps, checked our maps and headed off into the moonrise (sun hadn’t quite set).

The first trail, as soon as it was becoming dark, was a little gnarly, with tree roots and rocks and I was seriously thinking “how the hell am I going to go 11 or so hours with this little lamp” as my 50 year old eyes were struggling to see 5 metres in front of myself. Our navigator was top class, firmly reading all instructions at each turn and making sure we didn’t wander off track in any way (although we did get lost a couple of times it wasn’t her fault the instructions left a lot to be desired in one or two places). The first section of the trail was quite narrow so you couldn’t walk 2 abreast, and our leader took control of a decent sized stick, once she became sick of walking into cobwebs, to clear the way for the tail enders. There were a number of fallen trees to clamber over and we could only really imagine to remoteness and the beauty of the place as it was pretty bloody dark.

Once we got to Mt Evelyn only to wander around aimlessly for a while at the local sports ground trying to find a “bridge to our right” and then eventually onto the Warburton trail things eased up a bit. Even though the first 30 minutes of that trek was taken up by our navigator debating the poor instructions to find the trail, at least we now know our right from left and we are grateful to another team who were resting in a car park who told us we were going the wrong way and most helpfully put us back on track.

The Warburton Trail is easy for walking with a gravel surface which is flat and wide enough to take all four of us abreast if we’d have wanted it that way. It would be a great trail to run, and something I may do one day. We generally split into pairs for the majority of the trail, swapping around at intervals and chatting to keep ourselves on the job at hand. We did have a few repair stops where socks and/or shoes were changed, snakes consumed, bread rolls and bananas devoured and drinks of various types guzzled. I did have a burning desire for a coffee about 3am and may have to ask our ever helpful support crew to carry a thermos or two to keep us caffeinated during the night.

Once we hit the 30km mark a few blister injuries did kick in for my team mates (thankfully I was blister free – the legacy of working that out during my marathon training) so the remaining 18kms was a struggle for some. But full credit to all of them, they soldiered on under duress to fulfil the planned 48km hike. Even though our support crew member, who had risen at 4.40am, must have been laughing at the sight of us staggering up the hill as sunrise beckoned, she was kind enough to hold back the laughter until we all groaned about the pain, moaned as we tried to stretch, and generally whined about the various ailments.

Recovery at home was not ideal with a sleepless night not a wonderful mix with an 8 and 10 year old wanting their due attention, and them being booked into a birthday party. But the duties required added to my training and I am now mentally stronger for the effort (although probably physically weaker).

The theory of do Radox baths actually work was put to the test, and I don’t care if the whole salt bath theory is total bunkum the bath I did have was the most enjoyable I’ve ever had, and that include the ice cold bath I had after my marathon. There is probably nothing better than a nice water based relaxation after an endurance activity and this bath break was probably one of the highlights of my week (throw in the added bonus of one kid being on the playstation3 and the other playing on the pc so there was silence, I could well have thrown in a meditation session).

Other training has consisted of following the Gold Coast Marathon Beginners Training plan and I’ve run each recommended run for weeks six and seven, although skipping today’s planned long run as I think a 48km walk equates to 17.5 km jog, and even if it actually doesn’t I’m not really in any state to go running today. But plans are in place to hit the running track with sprint training on Tuesday, and to ensure I’m in tip top shape I spend 30 minutes the morning going through a full stretch routine, I can’t be in that great a shape though as it did raise a sweat at one stage – I’m blaming the 32 degrees Celsius temperatures and no amount of convincing will make me change my mind – just the same as “it said left at the traffic lights” is not a clear instruction.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

100km walk update

Update time – you may have noticed that I’ve changed the title of this blog – no point in it being titled “Can a 50 year old run a marathon” when I’ve already done so and the intention was to keep the blog going to see if I slipped back into a couch potato lifestyle or kept the activity going and given the content was also about charity insanities that I perform the new title is “50 years of age and I ran a marathon – what charity challenges are ahead?”

As you know from the last two updates, I am participating in the Oxfam Trailwalker Melbourne event that starts on 19 April this year. They say the event is one of the toughest charity endurance events on the planet, so why not give it a try. Basically it entails a team of four all starting and finishing together and walking a trail of 100kms through the Dandenongs on the South East of Melbourne. Some of the criteria – you need to complete it in under 48 hours (we plan on roughly 24 hours as we’re not stopping to sleep, just straight through until the end), you must raise at least $1,000 for Oxfam (we’ve got that covered as we have $430 so far, 94 people booked into our trivia night at $10 per head and CGU kindly matching us $ for $ up to $1k), entry fee was $750 for the team so not cheap, you do need to be committed. Speaking of being committed you can’t just wake up on April 19 and say I think I’ll walk 100kms – the amount of training will be significant to get us through this both mentally and physically. Suppose we better start ramping it up then.

As mentioned above we have arranged a trivia and games night for 14 March, at the Duke of Kent Hotel in Latrobe Street Melbourne, $10 entry fee, fun starts at 7.30pm, the pub has kindly agreed to have $15 meal specials for us between 6pm and 7pm and there are heaps of prizes on offer – of course the bar will be open. This is a public event so anybody who is in Melbourne and free on that night just direct message me via twitter @messy_tony and I’ll get back to you asap. Another part of the evening will be memorabilia auction where profits will also go to our fundraising, but it gets even better – CGU, as a major sponsor of the Collingwood Football Club, have donated a 2012 club football signed by the whole Collingwood team AND a jumper signed by Nick Maxwell and Harry O’Brien. Now as most Melbournian’s know you either love or hate Collingwood Football Club, but given the full proceeds from these items will be going to our team fundraising I’m hoping there are quite a few Magpie supporters there on the night to boost the coffers.

We also have team tee shirts arranged, courtesy of Primary School Wear ("PSW"), as well as flogging blocks of Oxfam Fair Trade Organic chocolate in the office, with all profits from that venture also going to the team. Again contact me via twitter or a comment in this blog if you're after some.

Training for myself has consisted of a few runs but nothing major as I’m still a little tight in a few muscles after the marathon, but did 6.7kms on Tuesday and will do 10kms or so on Saturday before long walk training ramps up. A couple of the other team members have been giving the 1000 steps at Upper Ferntree Gully a good working over, which is great to see and the other has been running a marathon training program. Looks like I could well be the one to let the team down unless I start amping up my physical activity. Looks like the snooze button will not be in use for the next couple of months (again!!!)

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Oxfam 100km training starts and Wiggle affiliation

It's been a busy week here at messcharityrun.

First up I finally got back on the horse post Hobart, even though the physio said to take two weeks off. I decided that the ankle was feeling ok and I’d test it out with a vigorous walk. Now I know that’s the sure fired way to exacerbate an injury but after you’ve trained for 6 months or so, and an upcoming 100km trail walk is niggling at your cortex, sitting around waiting to come good really isn’t an option. After 5kms of walking at a 9-10 min per kilometre pace, the usual “ants in my pants” syndrome kicked in and I jogged the last km or so at 6.40 pace. This was total insanity as I had a physio appointment early the next morning so could get treatment if the body did blow up. Good news is I pulled up fine, had a light treatment and am now getting on with things. That translated into another 6.85km vigorous walk/run on Wednesday evening as a warm up to the team trail walk on Friday night.

Our first team excursion with backpacks and runners took place on Friday evening (the get together to plan our training, fund raising, support crew etc. over pizza and a few glasses of wine doesn’t really count as an “excursion”). Three of us (one from another team) took the monster train trip into the Dandenongs and were met by two of our other team mates at the bottom of the Kokoda Memorial Walk, more commonly known as the 1,000 steps. This is the start of Section 3 of the Oxfam Trailwalker and is rated the hardest section of the course due to the 1,000 step and the steep hills. Backpacks stocked, trail shoes attached, drink bottles full, we headed off stopping every so often to refer to the map instructions and to take a few happy snaps. Personally I had a great time as I have had months and months of training pretty much on my lonesome for most of the time and it was great to have a few people to banter with and to share a laugh or two. We took 2 hours 46 mins and 17 seconds to cover the 10.52km course, so a tad slow but given about 30 mins was consumed by stops, the fact that it was pretty dark at the end and the 733 metre elevation gain it wasn’t a bad first outing for the team. Just watch out for single armed or legged characters wandering the streets of Melbourne, it could well be one of our crew missing the limb.

I followed up that late night with a very early rise on Saturday morning to attend the usual parkrun at Albert Park and ran my 2nd fastest official time of 30.09 for the 5kms so was quite happy with that result too. No ankle problems yet so am certainly all good post Hobart Marathon.

Earlier this week I also arranged for an affiliation with – you will notice their banner on the right hand side of this blog – and what that means is, if you go to their site using my banner and purchase something I will receive up to 4% commission from the sale. You pay no more than usual they just track your click from my site and credit me with a portion of the sale. As per ALL of my links, any commission earned is donated straight back to a featured charity. On my book blog ( I have affiliations with The Book Depository and Amazon and have donated the US$47.52 earned to various charities (Indigenous Literacy Foundation, CARE, Ultra Spirit and more), generally tipping in a few extra personal $ to make the donation a nice round amount. Any earnings from my affiliation with Wiggle will also go straight to charity with the amounts earned between now and mid April being tipped into our Oxfam Trailwalker Team at

We have also arranged a fundraising night for 14/3/13, with trivia, games and memorabilia to feature. This night is being held at the Duke of Kent Hotel in Latrobe Street in Melbourne, a special meal deal of $15 for a burger, steak sanga, parma or fish and chips and only $10 entry (if pre booked) and a full bar at bar prices the night is sure to be a huge success.  All proceeds will to go to our Trailwalker team. Any Melbourne based readers who would like to attend please leave a comment on the blog with contact details and I’ll get back to you asap.

This week will be a little quieter on the organisation front but will consist of some training but nothing back on the trails until 22 February where we are kicking off a 27.7km walk at 9pm to test out our night walking on trails skills.