After last weeks training the body felt just a little tired heading into what would be my final week of running before a well earned recovery week, this would also coincide with being my final week in Australia before heading over to London to continue my training with the team of trainers i have there. The week started in a slightly different fashion to normal, firstly i had both Sunday and Monday to rest (two days in a row off is an extreme luxury) but then came the kicker, speed work. Its not something i do every week but it must be done to keep me moving at the pace i wish to run through the Sahara, but since ive retired from soccer i have done very little.
It started on Tuesday when i had to run 15km, the first 4 kms were at a high tempo pace then every 5th km a flat out sprint for the entire km, this was repeated 3 times to make up the 15kms, lets just say i was glad that was over, although i thought is was. Wednesday was to be the same as but this time running 20kms (completing 4x1km sprints) forgive me if i wasnt thrilled about this session, but i was still struggling abit from the day befores session, so i had only one option, call in reinforcements, who better then the one and only Wooki, a World Ironman Championships competitor, a freak of an athlete, and one of my best mates Martin Barnes, i knew he would help me through it. We set off running decent times then the first sprint came, while i was loaded up with my backpack, my drift HD camera, and whole kit stomping away like a baby elephant, Barnesy was gliding along the pavementg like a gazelle, i did offer him a chance to carry my 10kg backpack for a few kms but for some reason he turned it down….
The run with Barnesy was a good chance to pick the brain of a mate who has competed in many endurance events over the last few years, and done extremely well at them, several lessons were learnt, as well as a few tips to be taken away from the run, i also think i may have taught him a thing or two as well! After these two speed sessions it was time to get back to the longer stuff, 35kms and find as many hills as i could, i ended up climbing a total of 450m over the 35kms, including the Famous race track Mount Panorama, again. On completing this run my legs were pretty shattered, my left calf was abit tight, and my legs were pretty shattered (yes it needed to be said twice)!
But i also was feeling good about myself as i had worked extremely hard over the last 10 days, and had only 2 days left of running before my recovery week. After my 35kms i was interviewed by the Western Advocate for a story on my transition from soccer player to Ultra Marathon madmen.
My penultimate run would be a simple marathon, 42kms on the flat at my usual pace. With a tough 70kms already done in the previous 3 days i thought some company would be a good idea for this run, so i called on the the running machine Blair Hurst to get me through it. Blair is in training for the New Zealand Ironman (which he is looking good to dominate by the way) so his training only allowed him to run with me for the first hour, but this was a huge support as the legs took a while to get going. After Blair headed off to the pool for a casual 4km swim i kept my head down and working hard, i started to feel pretty good after 20kms then things took a turn, my left calf tightened up quite alot, i was struggling, i felt like my muscle was going to burst, so i slowed my pace down to see if would help, it did nothing. My dilemma was that i was still about 7kms away from where i was staying but on a back road where not many cars travel, do i push on or do i walk???
I made the decision after 25kms to stop and walk and try my hand at hitch hiking, thats right a guy wearing a back pack, front back, chest mounted camera, tights, hat, sunglasses, and running shoes trying to hitch a ride, would you have picked him up? Eventually after soon realsining the old thumb up sign that you need a lift was not working at all i changed tactics and went for the jump up and down and wave my arms, it worked and i was picked up by a group of ladies who thought i was absoultely crazy running with a backpack on, but i must say a big thanks to them for actually stopping for a guy who clearly looked as dodgy as they come!
Unfortunately that was the end of my running for the week, very disapointed to end with a small little injury, although when you are running most days, clocking up 240kms in 2 weeks, these things can happen, its the (although calculated) small risk you take. With 2 days left in Australia before i was due to fly out to London i simply rested my calf, had treatment on it, and relaxed and took in some of the sights of Sydney, its a beautiful city with some amazing sights.
I still cannot be too disappointed though, a 90km week is still a solid week, although with a minor setback, I’m still extremely pleased with how my training has gone while in Australia. Its has been unbelievable to train with some of my best mates and learn from their experiences, they are all amazing athletes and ive taken away quite alot from them. They have completed countless marathons, numerous triathlons, Ironman races, Trail runs, and some have been athletes their entire lives, thanks boys! I must say a very big thank you to Matty Willis at Bathurst SportsCo for supplying me with all my training needs while i was in Australia, if you need any sporting apparell go and see Matty and tell him the Adventurer sent you!