Coastal Onslaught – 65 km of Tummy Troubles

About a hundred of us stood in the gusty winds that assaulted us along the exposed shore. Aldinga beach, a relatively bare shoreline with an awkwardly positioned blow up banner touting the start line for our 65 km Ultramarathon. The course was essentially a very liberal version of ‘follow the sea for 65 km until you get to North Haven’. This naturally meant course marking would be not only sparse, but potentially non existent.

I was a ‘bus starter’. Leaving our cars at the end point, about 20 of us caught the grey liner at 5:30 am to the commencement point. If only I had anticipated what the day would entail, I may have made some very different decisions with my food consumption the night before. You will understand my meaning very soon…. read more

Perseverance vs Stubbornness

Are they two sides of the same coin? Is being stubborn the same characteristic as persevering? If so, why is there a negative connotation associated with the former?

I have been called both, stubborn when scrutinised, perseverant when celebrated. “Why can’t you skip tonight’s training session, stop being so stubborn”, “Just take ones bite of the donut, it won’t kill you, you stubborn b**ch”.
In contrast, I’ve also heard my fair share of “Wow, how do you persevere through the pain, to run 100 km”, “You must be so dedicated to train so much and persevere through the boredom of so many hours of workout” etc.
So which is it, stubbornness or perseverance, a dedicated pursuit towards something grander or a selfish, close minded activity that needs to have more ‘flexibility’ attached to it? read more

Half as broken – Cleland 50 km Ultramarathon

How does one feel after a 50 km ultra marathon?…. Half as broken compared to running a full century I guess. Last Sunday, I participated in Adelaide’s inaugural 50 km Cleland trail race. I haven’t run an event shorter than 100 km for years now, so this was somewhat out of my comfort zone (if there is such a thing). My decision to participate was sporadic; after reading the final weather forecast on Wednesday and being guaranteed a rain-free day, the possibility was made concrete. The idea to participate was actually another of my midnight epiphanies. I tend to wake up a number of times throughout the night with a sea of ideas swarming through my mind. This one simply whispered “Cleland”, and I felt an accompanying sense of security – the universe spoke. read more

Belief becomes fact

‘Belief will help create the fact’ – a slightly bastardised version of William James’ quote in “Is Life Worth Living?” The Will to Believe and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy (1897), that pinpoints the psychological tactic I used to survive my most recent ultramarathon.

100 km of running through mountaineous trails might not be everyone’s cup of tea – but I’m a chai latte addict. There is something sacrosanct, therapeutic and intrinsically raw about sacrificing oneself to the powers of nature and commencing a journey of 100 km, wearing only one’s clothes and carrying a backpack of supplies. One must respect the distance, acknowledge it, yet not become overwhelmed by the toll the endeavour will take. It ultimately comes down to putting one foot in front of the other, and repeating this sequence very many times. One has to accept, from the outset, that the process will be treacherous, challenging and issues will arise; pain is inevitable. Yet, to finish an ultramarathon, there must also be an accompanying degree of faith, a belief that the end WILL appear and that amidst the trials and tribulations, one will cross the finish line. read more