Thursday, 28 July 2011

Round and round...

So, here I sit for a 'Race' review?!  I question this as the Relay for Life which was held in Bundaberg on the 23/24th of July, could hardly be called a race!  It is a great event, one of Cancer Councils biggest, to raise money for Cancer research.  Teams are organised to have one persons walking the 450-500m track at all times, for 18hours.  I, as I did last year, would be doing the event for the entire time with my trusty side kick Lee!

So as we did last year, Nashy organised a Police team.  Although it was very disappointing again that no one at the station got involved, (apart from Nashy and I!) we were keen as mustard!  We rolled up at about 2:30pm to get ready for a 3pm start.  Once 3 came around they do a survivors walk.  This is where those who have had/have cancer walk a lap with their carers.  It is a lovely start to the event.  Once this had happened, we were into it, all be it late!  Dad was also part of the team, however he was more there to have a good time and a chat this year...good on him!  Tegs stuck around for a while however wanted to get the big unit Pria home!  I waved them off and would see them in the morning.

Dad and Pria doing a lap
We initially had a goal of 120km and had worked on running 10min and then walking 5min.  This got off to a great start.  I did however suffer from some pretty bad stomach issues for about 6hours.  At times it was so bad I couldn't talk, just keep moving.  We did even talk about how great it would be to do three back to back marathons (approx 126km)...who knows what could have happened!

At this time, I got a visit from Elane and Angelo!  It was great to see them come down and yell at us as we went past!

At around dusk, they hold another ceremony where people write personal messages on paper bags and then light a tea light candle inside it.  Everyone then walks a lap with their bag and then places them around the inside of the track.  It is a very touching moment and great to remember those who are fighting/have fought cancer.  This again took a fair amount of time, however, we just relaxed and enjoyed the experience.

Once running again, it was looking less likely we were going to meet our km goal.  This was mainly due to the time being cut short.  We figured that we would only end up with about 16hours, instead of the organised 18.  Again, we just kept positive and kept working at it!

We got another visit from Pete and Karen.  Their smiling faces were lovely to see as the night was wearing on.

At about 9pm I was SO tired!  I dont know why, but after a coffee from the Boss, I came good!

I also got a visit from one of my sponsors, Michael from Jack Splats who turned up with one of his mates.  It was great to see these guys and the look of confusion as to why we would want to run around a track for so long!

We were able to maintain our run walk plan for about 8hours, however at that point we were getting pretty tired.  We had however done 60k in that time!  We had a change of clothes into warmer ones (it was COLD) and decided to walk a lap, run a lap.  At this time I also started to develop a very sore left hamstring.  I pushed through though.

In the early hours of the morning we were kept buzy checking my phone for updates on the mighty Cadel in the final stage of the Tour de France, the time trial!  Lee and I were both VERY excited to see him smash the final stage and finally win the tour!  Made us very proud to be Aussies!

The Green Meanie!
SO, through the night we went, plugging/shuffling away.  Dad had enough and wanted a kip.  We had dubbed him the 'Green Meanie' as during the event he had his green calf socks on and a green jumper.  It wasn't until he went to 'bed' however that the laughs really began.  We ducked into our teams gear to get some food and saw a green mound???  On closer inspection, there were legs coming out underneath!  It was the BOSS!!!  It is amazing what will make you laugh and spur you on when you are tired!

So on we went!  Through the early hours of the morning, and we were both looking forward to seeing dawn break.  By this time my hammie was GONE and although I don't condone it, was into the ibuprofen!  I was HURTING!  I was quite worried I had actually injured it, but kept going.  At this time we got another visit from the ever faithful Mandy, and then a bit later, Rebecca turned up!  IT was lovely to see these faces too and do a few laps with them, even though by this stage our 'running' pace was pitiful!

In the morning, we had another little break as Dad gave a little talk about his cancer battle/victory.  He did a great job as usual and made the Grills' proud.

So on we went for the final stages, and decided to pull the pin at 16hours.  This was only a short time before the official finish of the relay, however it made a nice whole number, so that was to be it!

Once we had a quick sit down, we went to the official finishing ceremony and celebrated the end of another successful relay event!

So when all was said and done, we reached just over 107km in the 16hours.  Although I didn't quite reach my goal, I was still happy with the outcome considering the reduced time and my buggered hamstring.  Our team raised over $1200 and as a whole the event raised over $110,000!!!  Incredible!
Lee and I after 107km!

I just want to thank everyone for their support during this event!  Weather it was commenting on my Facebook updates through the relay, coming down and saying gday, or donating money, you are all very special!  We had a ripper time and it wouldn't have been the same without you.  Personally, I had the biggest donations from Terry O'Shay Smash Repairs (thanks Mandy), Jack Splat Paint Ball (thanks Michael), and The Place Hairdressing (the best place in Bundy to get your hair looking all schmick!)  Thanks for your continual support guys, looking forward to the next event!  Thanks also to Nashy and Leisa for their organised of the team and going to so much effort to get all the logistics sorted out!  A top event!!!

Bless your heart all and thanks for reading!  Run on and until next time!

PS - As I sit and write this, five days after the relay, the hammie is almost better and I have managed to do 25k this week.  ALL GOOD!  Look out the Glasshouse 100k in September!!!  

Friday, 22 July 2011

A little bit emo...

So I had a topic for this blog however have been brought to a couple of more important the former will wait!  Hope your confused!

This week has been lingering in the back of my mind for some time now...  So, for those of you who don't know, in May of 2009, I had major surgery and got a benign tumor removed from my pituitary gland (the base of my brain).  To cut a long story short, it was not cancer however, if not treated it would have killed me.  So, the point of all this babble is that on Thursday this week I had a check up in Brisbane and was quite concerned as my results lately have been on the constant slide.  Much to my relief, the doctors are very happy with my progress and things are sitting 'normal'.

This all got me medical issues, whilst are minor on the big scheme of things, sometimes get me upset and worried about 'what might be'.  I guess this is normal when having something like I had?  This then in turn gets me thinking about the bigger scheme of things and how my issue is so small in the big wide world.  We have had a couple of family friends over the last 6months to a year who have been so close to not making it, it is not even funny.  Then to hear their wives and their attitudes, and their trust in God is just something truly amazing!!!  It is a good kick in the ass for me to wake up to myself and stop thinking 'poor me'!

This is something that frustrates me about people these days (oh yeah I'm so old!).  Everyone always wants to have a whinge about something so trivial when they should just shut their mouths and have a little think!  There are folks out there fighting for life and being over the moon to have taken one step, that their chemo has worked, that they can use their hand again or that they can finally eat a home cooked meal and not have to be fed through a tube!

Lets keep our heads in the game people and be thankful that life is GOLD and we are so blessed to have clothes to wear, food to eat, clean (kinda) air to breath and choices in life!!!  We truly are blessed and honored to live in this awesome country!  

So, all this leads into this weekend.  Most of you will know that I am doing Relay for Life.  Last year, my mate and I did the entire thing together, 18hours and I am aiming to do the same starting at 3pm today at Bundy Showgrounds.  I am aiming for a minimum of 120km's.  I will be doing it for the old man, who a couple of years ago had prostate cancer, however this year want to specifically keep going for our good mates John and Pete!  I don't know if you fellas read this or not, but you are absolute legends and do not deserve to have gone through what you have over the last while.  Sometimes crap things happen to good people!  Sucks!  I hope you don't mind that I have mentioned you in here but I just what to honor you both, let you know to keep fighting and that I will be thinking of you fellas and your lovely wives through the Relay today/tonight and tomorrow.

If anyone can come out and say gday, please do (bring your runners, if you throw in some coin Im sure you could jump on the track).  If you cant make it, I know there are so many great charities out there, but please consider donating to our team 'Cop this Lot' through the below link.  Keep smiling people!  The sun is shining, life is good and GET RUNNING!  Until next time, RUN ON!

(A special thought to those doing the Flinders Tour this weekend...wish I could be there but I will be thinking of you, have a ripper race!  Cant wait to hear all about it!)


Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Running for running's sake.

This week has got me thinking about running for running's sake.  Let me explain.

These days there are a lot of people out there running for something, a charity, a family member, a cause, whatever.  Now let me say this is AWESOME!  I have done it many times before and I have many good friends that have (See Andy Bowen ) done it and are going to do it in the future (heck, I will be too, next week in fact!)  But in saying this, sometimes we get caught up in what we are 'doing' and forget about the simple, pure, pleasure of putting one foot in front of the other.

As most of you know, I have big dreams and ambitions of what I want to achieve in my life.  Not for any other reason than to get the most out of the short time I have on earth and live it up!  I am constantly thinking of new adventures I can have and crazy things I can do.  This week our family have been looking at going over to do the Northburn 100 in New Zealand in March.  I am super keen and looking at doing the 100miler.

This then got me thinking about just plain old running.  Now I know that time, work, money, family etc can be a factor when doing certain things, but this week I have been thinking about how in the future, near or far I dont know, I would like to 'travel' by foot.  By this I mean, if Tegs, Pria and I go somewhere, I would love to 'travel' back by foot.  For example, if we go to Brisbane, I would love to pack some running gear, food, the credit card, my phone and run home.  Run as far as I want, find somewhere to camp for the night (or keep running) and just make my way home.  The possibilities are endless, where ever we went, if the above mentioned factors worked out I could 'travel' back home from anywhere!

I have to say at times I am guilty of it too, but I think in this day and age, we get so bogged down and caught up in 'living' that we forget about REALLY LIVING!  We should be focused on the things that used to matter, adventure, spirit, heart, faith, love, fear of the unknown, a little bit of healthy crazy!  Instead these days we seem to be more concerned about our next facebook status update, how much money we earn, how much 'stuff' we have and how much TV we can watch in one day!  The really important things!  HA! Yeah right!

So, I move forward, striving to keep my heart and mind on the important things in life!  A new adventure can be just around the corner if you want it to be!  Don't be scared to dream, look up instead of down, smile instead of frown, believe instead of doubt and for goodness sake GO FOR A RUN!!!  Never say never, if you want to do something, forks to everyone who says you cant...YOU CAN!

My passing word...set a goal this week guys!  Be it big or small, set one!  Make a difference in your life and you never know, you might even be a positive influence on those around you!  RUN ON friends!


Update - I dropped some good weight last week, now down to 87.1kg as of last Friday.

For those friends who are local, I am doing the Relay for Life (I told you I still will be doing fundraisers!) on the 23rd and 24th of this Month.  It starts at 3pm I believe at Bundy Showgrounds.  As I did last year, I will be aiming to move for the entire time 18hours!!!  I aim to do 120km plus...well see how we go!  If any of you would like to come out and cheer our team and others on, at any time of the day or night, it would be super!  Also, if any of you would like to donate to the cause, the Cancer Council, please contact me direct so it can go through our team.  THANKS!

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Road, rewarding and rattyness!

Well another Gold Coast Marathon has been run and won (not by me!)  and as much I was not really looking forward to a whole 42.2k on the road, this turned out to be one of the most rewarding and enjoyable runs I have done.  The reason for this?  The reason is that I did not do the run for me, I did it for two other people.

It was my dad's 10th Goldy Marathon so it was a very exciting time for him and great that we could do it together!  Our annual pilgrimage to the Gold Coast with my wife, mum and grandma happened yet again.  My aunty and uncle are also regular supporters.  My dad is a superstar and even though he did little to no training since the North Face (due to injury, not lack of wanting!) he still finished easy and paced another first time marathoner from Bundy.

Me offering Mandy a little 'encouragement'!
This leads to the main reason for my personal reward at the Goldy...pacing!  I made a decision about two to three weeks before the race that I would help one of my training buddies Mandy who was running her first marathon.  She had done MORE than enough training but lacked the most important asset in long distance running...the few inches between the ears (MENTAL STRENGTH!)  So I decided to give her a hand.

Now once we dealt with, and dealt with again and again Mandys thinking she would slow me down, not enjoy it etc, race day fast arrived and it was go time.  From the outset she did a great job however approaching 30k, started to fall in a hole.  The sun came out, the legs got tired and the negative thoughts flowed freely!  To cut a long story short, I stuck with her and we plodded our way to the finish.  Mandy showed fantastic spirit and courage to continue on and she should be VERY proud of her efforts, as should all those involved in the full, half and 10k events!  We finished in 4hours 34minutes with massive smiles on our faces and hugs all round!  This marathon was my slowest by about 35-40minutes but BY FAR my most rewarding.  To help someone else achieve their goal in a small way made the weekend very special!  Good times!

So, I think for now the road marathons are on the back burner.  I look forward to some upcoming off road/trail events and the long hard slogs in the bush.  This weekend was a eye opener for me also at how important mental strength is in what we do.  As ultra runners, our minds are so hardened and determined to the goal at hand that nothing seems impossible.  This acts as an overflow into out everyday life also and I reckon makes us stronger, more productive, energetic people in all we do!  I wouldn't want it any other way!

So, over all, well done Dad, Mandy, all the Bundy runners, and everyone else who took part in the weekends events.  I am sure that you all have your own personal journeys to tell about and I hope to hear them!  Run on friends and catch you soon.