Monday, 24 February 2014

Fit - Check, Race - Check, Injured - Check....

Well, Sunday just gone was my first race for the year, Beerway at Daybreak.  I was really looking forward to it and had been training really well in the lead up.  I had been having some niggles in my left foot for about a month prior (stemming from Coast 2 Kosci) and about a week to 10days before race day, it was really giving me grief even when not running.  Like all good ultra runners, I ignored it and got on with my race plans.

We had a busy day the day before, checking things out and preparing for our pending move to the Sunny Coast.  Super exciting.  I then got to bed at a reasonable hour after deciding the girls wouldn't come down to Beerwah from Noosa, where we were staying, for this one due to me having to leave at 2:15am!  I have a goal this year of doing under 4hr 30min at a 50k event and was gonna shoot for it at Beerwah...that was until the weather arrived and I saw that the winner of the event in November (same course but at night) did just over 5hrs.....might not crack the goal in this event!

So, Saturday morning, I got up, got sorted and down to the start line.  It had been raining pretty decently since early evening the night before and there were still good solid downpours on the way to the race was gonna be sloppy!  Upon arrival, I met up with mum and dad and everything went as usual before the start at 4am.

The start of the race went by pretty smoothly, apart from the fact that it was muddy, wet and pretty technical.  The first 6.5k was pretty challenging and made more so by the use of headlamps.  I made my way through this un-scaved to the first checkpoint and saw the beautiful Ann.  She is a gem!  After this there was some good running and all was clicking off well.  At about 5:10am I turned off my headlamp and continued on my way.  I could feel my foot was sore but kept on movin.

The race operated by doing the 20k loop back to base, then the 30k loop back to base and finish.  The rest of the first loop went by pretty much to plan and I arrived back to base in good spirits.  I had been checking out footprints in the mud and guessed I must have been in about 5th position.  When I got back to base, I headed off again and now had the fun of catching a some of the 30k runners who had started not long after my arrival at base after my first loop.  This kept things interesting but my foot started to hurt.  I ignored it and ran that first technical 6.5k pretty darn hard.  I was bombing the hills and hiking with purpose...loved it!

At about the 30k (about 3hrs) mark, I passed the guy in 4th position and kept moving well although by this stage my foot was bad.  I got to the 33k checkpoint and was unsure if I was going to keep on going.  There was a nurse there (one of the fairies) who iced my foot, strapped it and gave me some panadol.  I decided to keep on going, although by this stage the pain was almost unbearable, making me grunt every few steps and affecting my gait.  This was bad as then I started to get some pretty substantial pain in the back of my knee and calf because of the over compensating.  I was very steady and obviously got passed by a number of runners in the 30 and 50k events.  I continued to move forward as best I could, unsure what the rest of the race was going to give me, and even wether I was going to finish.  I ran into Alun, the race director who was out on the course and had a chat to him.  He was supportive as always and offered some words of encouragement.

I got to a checkpoint at about 40k and a ultra running hero who I know (in my eyes anyway...heck she has done Badwater!) Susanna was there.  She could obviously see I was in a bad way and she contacted Alun to come and pick me up in his vehicle.  I sat down for a second and heard that it was about a 4.5k loop out and back to their checkpoint.  After having one of Susanna's home made vegan balls (OMGosh....INCREDIBLE!) I decided to do the loop and see how I went.  No real change.  Amazingly painful, grunting, hobbling and generally in a bad way.  Surprisingly, I passed a few people from here on in.  I tried to stay positive and enjoy the moment and this was punctuated by seeing two wild horses.  Beautiful.  I kept on thinking of Tim Olsen going into beast mode and him grunting when he means business.  Well I meant business, the business of finishing this race, one way or another.

I got back to Susanna's checkpoint, was grumpy (I HATE being grumpy on the trails cause this is where my peace is, but my foot was so bad it was affecting all parts of me).  I grabbed another one of those amazing balls and kept going as best I could.  The last 6-7km went by about the same....really painful, hobbling when I could, getting to the finish line the quickest way I could.

I arrived in a finish time of 5hr 48min and in 9th position.  I was done.  Physically, I didn't even feel tired or that I had done much, but my left leg, particularly my foot was destroyed.  Very disappointing.  My biggest regret of the day however is not acknowledging the people cheering for me at the finish.  I am really sorry to you all that I didn't look up, smile and hoot and holla like I usually do.  The injury had got the better of me and I just didn't have it in me.  I am sorry for not having the attitude I usually do and I hope you can understand.

Post race equated to ice, ibuprofen, numerous messages to my good friend and physio Nix and rest.  A couple of days post race, I have had an X-ray and it has come back clear.  I am due to have a MRI also as it is believed I may have a stress fracture in the fifth metatarsal of my left foot.  Time will tell. This week however I am resting, hoping my foot comes good quick smart to start training for Wild Horse at Easter time.

I want to thank everyone for their support in this race.  The checkpoint volunteers were amazing and so so important in getting me through.  Alun, you put on a top event and I know everyone enjoyed it, keep up the super work!! A big thanks to my sponsor too at for looking after me.

Although the race did not go as planned, I am proud that I worked my way through it.  Medically I probably should have stopped, but I think the DNF would have hurt more than the pain in my foot during the race.  I continue to fall in love with ultra trail running, the good, the bad and the beautiful. It is an amazing sport and I can not wait for the next event to roll around!  Run free, plant strong!
Always time for a smile after a few k's on the trail!

Sunday, 9 February 2014

A catch up...hang on!

Gday y'all!  Well, to say life has been hectic for us over the last couple of months, particularly the last month, would be an understatement!  There have been MANY exciting things happening and I thought it was about time I updated you all so everyone knows whats up and can't claim they didn't know!

So, a month or two back, after lengthy discussion, Tegan and I decided it was time to move to the Sunshine Coast.  We have been wanting to do this for a couple of years now and the time just hasn't been right.  Now though, we feel God is moving us on to a new and exciting adventure!  We weren't sure how it was all gonna take place but we made the decision and went at it!  I kept hearing all these things about talking the first step and the rest will just happen so that is exactly what we did.  Through our random daily Bible devotions we have also got a number of confirming verses that we need to go!

At this point, long story short, we have been able to secure a beautiful house to house sit for a lovely couple who are missionaries.  They are going on a mission trip on the 21st of March for three months and we will be moving into their house to look after their place, get settled in and hopefully find somewhere of our own to buy.  We have a dream of having a house in Buderim and running a small health Bed and Breakfast from it.  I will be offering additional trail running tours of the area and we will also look at offering picnic baskets and trail walking tours as well.  It is SUPER exciting that is for sure!

Tegan has secured her dream job and will be starting THIS Sunday.  She is going to be working Sunday, Monday Tuesday and driving back and forth from Bundy until we can get into our house sit house.  I will play daddy daycare and then work Wednesday to Saturday still at Nanas before starting work at the Sunshine Coast when we move down.  I have got a job at Skäl Coffee in Peregian and have a few other things on the go so that will be cool for when I get down there!

The girls are booked into care from when we all move down, so all is working out perfectly.  We have had the house on the market for a couple of weeks now and just praying it will sell ASAP, as that is kinda the last piece of the puzzle.

I have made the decision not to continue with Uni at this point for a number of reasons.  The most important reason was that between working part time, studying full time and training, I was barely seeing the girls.  It was a full on year last year.  I am looking at the possibility of studying something by distance, however still looking at the options.  I also couldn't really see myself going to work everyday, stuck in a cubical!  Ugh!

I have completely come to the point in my life where I do not care about money but only about being happy!  I of course will always work to provide for my family but job status etc no longer holds any importance to me.  As long as I LOVE my job and am helping people on a daily basis, this is what matters to me!  This is one of the reasons leaving Nanas Pantry (my current workplace) is going to be SO hard.  There is exciting things happening there and I LOVE going to work, every shift.  It is a beautiful environment with amazing people and I will miss them so much.

Of course it is also going to be hard leaving family and friends behind, but the positive is that we will be just down the road and once we have our own place, they will have somewhere to come and stay!

So there it is kids!  The Grills' are out of Bundy!  One of the final reasons for moving is the location.  We are head over heels with the Coast and a location like the Buderim area is perfect for us.  The shops are close for Tegs, the beach is just down the road and the mountains are at our doorstep for my running.  Whilst this might seem trivial to some of you, to have a supportive wife toward my running, and being willing to move somewhere I can really improve as an athlete is so SO incredibly heart warming.  My best friend and soul mate Tegs is one of a kind and this new adventure is gonna be epic with her, hand in hand!

Now your up to date!

I hope this blog finds you all fit and well and chasing your dreams in 2014.  What a year it is going to be!  Have a ripper week all, keep smiling, fighting the good fight, eating plants and loving life.  Blog hugs for you!  Run free...Mat

PS - On the training front, all is going AMAZING!  I have been logging 100-140k a week in prep for Beerwah at Dawn (in two weeks) and I am running faster and stronger than ever.  I aim to run fast at this event and see how things pan out!  Good times ahead!

Saturday, 1 February 2014

More MASSIVE news and a back out....for now!

I completed this post on Thursday...sorry about the delay in posting!

First....the MASSIVE news!  This week I secured my first major sponsorship!!!!  So so stoked!!!  I have hooked up with Injinji Sports Performance, an online distributor for a number of brands.  They supported dad and I during our run from Bundy to Brisbane and back and I approached them this week about something official.  The owner, Paul got back to me and presented an amazing offer!  So, I naturally took it up!  For those who don't know, ISP stock Altra Shoes (which I now run in the majority of the time), Injinji Socks (which I can STRONGLY recommend from when I used to wear socks...they are THE best sock out there), Ultimate Direction and Body Glide, both of which I use every day and a number of other products.  I just want to thank Paul and his team for their on going support and I can't wait to work together going forward!  Thanks so much guys, and to all of you readers out there, jump over to their site at                       and grab all the gear you need!

First week E2...

26/1 - Today was a good day!  Very exciting for Tegan and I in that we announced to our friends that we are moving to the Sunny Coast!  We are so pumped, a little nervous and seriously looking forward to getting down there to start a new adventure!  Very cool!  It was also the start of my 100days E2 plan.  I stuck to the guidelines well, however probably ate a bit too much as I think I was playing catch up from the last couple of days big milage.  All good though!  Had a crazy, windy 15k run with dad this morning to kick off the day which kicked everything off well!  Todays hit out saw 135k for the week which I am happy with!  First day down and all good!  Start weight - 81.8kg

27/28-1 - The last two days have been so busy!  Everything is happening with moving to the Coast and life seems to be blurring into one!  The last couple of days E2 wise have been OK but still feel like I am eating too much.  I think a problem is that I am not taking on enough through the day and then night rolls round and I am super hungry.  Still stuck within the guidelines though!  Yes!  Tomorrow we head to the Sunny Coast to stay with our good friends Tim and Lisa and scope out some places to live and the vibe in general.  Tegs also has a job trial which is super exciting.  I am just about to go to bed early cause I am beat!  Day 2 and 3 done!

29/1 - Today was terrible!  Well not the day but my feeling in general!  I did 15k this morning and it was a full on struggle!  I had no motivation and it felt like my energy was way down.  Sucked!  Then we drove to the Sunny Coast where I was so tired...even to the point of Tegs and I going for a walk and I felt dizzy!  I went to bed super early (for me) and slept well, although completely drained!  Lets see how tomorrow is...

30/1 - I woke this morning at 4:30am like normal, to do 22k.  I was annihilated!  I went back to bed for an hour (unheard of!) and got up to see how I felt.  Still terrible!  I went out and did 5k and it felt like 50k!  No more!

After talking to Tegs, chatting to some friends and having a good think about things, I have decided to back out of the Engine 2 plan for the moment.  This is for a number of reasons.  Firstly, when things start affecting my running (regardless of what they are) it causes major problems for me!  This is SO important to me and I don't want any external factor to affect my training.  Secondly, it has affected my mental state with my running and life in general.  Not good.  I stand by everything I wrote in my last blog about E2 being the ultimate way to eat however when I am in bulk training(110-180km per week running) I need the easy calories and pick me ups to keep me going.  I am obviously sticking to my plant based vegan diet going forward and still have the goal of getting under 75kg this year however I am just going to do this slowly, eating a healthy, rounded vegan diet, but not restricting what vegan food I can eat.

I feel silly and like a cop out bailing so early on this plan however I am glad I started it and gave it another quick go.  I can absolutely see myself eating this way 100% in the future however whilst I am running like a mad man, a bit of sensible balance in my plant based eating doesn't hurt anyone I don't think!  This is from my experience and only mine.  I know a number of people who train and perform amazingly as a fruitarian but this is my experience and thoughts of where I am at at the moment.

Thank you for your help and support through all I do friends.  Lets keep moving forward positively together and change the world one by one!  All good things, life is blessed and if we don't give things a crack we will never know!  Love you all, run free, vegan and strong!