Up, Up and Away!

Originally posted at http://www.thememoryjogger.com.au/up-up-and-away/ on 2 Dec 2014 (which by the way is me also – just in case you hadn’t worked it out 😉 )

What a stupidly busy day – into work early for some meetings and organise a few things before heading home to finish packing and get organised for the flight to Dubai.  Obviously, no training.

The biggest dilemma… What kit to pack for the Singapore Marathon and what else I will need for my training runs?  I elected for my Melbourne Marathon Finisher’s shirt – but it was a toss up between that and my Two Bays Trail Run 10th Anniversary running tee.

On my feet, I always wear my Hoka One One’s – Stinson Tarmacs (which are now called Stinson Lite).  To minimise blisters, Injinji socks – love my Injinji’s.  Shorts were Adidas running shorts with a zip pocket (for the hotel card) and UnderArmour compression shorts (best way to look after the legs and reduce chafing).

I normally run with a SpiderBelt that has tags for my race bib and pocket for GoPro camera and any nutrition (minimum is Endurolytes, Dextro Tabs and maybe a gel or two for emergencies!) Also packed in the bag were couple of extra shirts for good luck, another pair of shorts and plenty of socks.

After quite a bit of shuffling around I managed to squeeze all my running gear, work clothes and some casual gear.   I was probably going to push the limits for carry-on luggage – but figured I should be ok.

My one tip for choosing running gear for an event – always go for gear that you have worn before and know won’t rub or ride up.  If you haven’t worn it before, don’t risk it in a race!

More work from home for an hour or two before it was time to leave.  Given it was a late night flight we decided to grab a bite to eat between home and the airport.

Dinner at Masani in Carlton was very nice. Good food and good service – although a little slow due to a company Christmas function keeping the staff under the pump.

Masani in Carlton.

Masani in Carlton.

After dinner, Diane drove me to the airport to drop me off so I could wait for boarding. It was a long wait and the lounge was closed so I napped, window shopped, read my book and attempted to get some work done – in all honesty, I failed at each activity.  Past midnight after a long day was not good for maintaining focus and airport chairs aren’t good for sleeping – so I just gave up.

As you would expect when arriving at the airport really early to catch a flight – it was delayed.  A long night ahead with a 15 odd hour flight ahead. No running for a while it seems.

Happy running!

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Runners in the suitcase…

Originally posted  at  http://www.thememoryjogger.com.au/runners-in-the-suitcase/ on 1 Dec 2014.

Tomorrow I fly out to Dubai where I will stay for a few days before flying to Singapore. I say tomorrow, but it’s actually 3:30am tomorrow morning so it’s as much today as it is tomorrow!

Given I haven’t packed and have a mountain of things to do before I leave, training has had to take a back seat.

It doesn’t mean I haven’t thought about running or my training program. I’m always contemplating what training I should be doing and questioning whether I’m doing enough. Travel can be a disruption to training, but whenever I have a trip planned one of the first things I do after I’ve set the dates is hop on-line and look for new and interesting places to run, or find an event that I can sign up for.

The runners are always packed in the suitcase – best way to see a city ;)

As luck would have it, I arrive in Singapore in time to run the Singapore marathon! :)

I’ve already signed up and had a quick look at the runners guide and what I need to bring with me to collect my race kit.  Of particular interest to me was how many, and the location of the, drink stations – heat and humidity aren’t normal conditions for Melbourne area!

My prep is far from ideal for running a marathon – or at least in a decent time, but still feel I can run it – even underprepared and running in extreme humidity and heat.  Arrogant? Not really, more confident in what I can push my body to do.  As I said – it won’t be a startling time and it’s a pretty flat track.

SCMS banner

I’ve found a few running routes on-line for Dubai as part of my training, but as I’m tapering they won’t be big runs, but good for blowing away the jet lag cobwebs and rolling over the legs.

Singapore should be a very interesting running experience and I’m really starting to look forward to it – stay tuned.

Happy Running!


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Feeling like a Turtle…

Originally posted on http://www.thememoryjogger.com.au/feeling-like-a-turtle/ on 30 Nov 2014.

In this blog my aim is to provide some insight into the training program that I am applying in preparation for MDS2015 and some insights into the purpose – raising awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s Australia.  That said, if all I do is record my training from every day – you’ll soon get sick of it as there’ a fair amount of repeating prior training days – after all, practice makes perfect.

But don’t worry; I won’t be boring you with every minute detail from every program, but providing sufficient insight about the training – just in case you’re interested ;)

Today – it’s back to the gym for a solid workout. More core work and upper body – why upper body when my focus is running? Well the MDS requires me to be self sufficient for the entire 250km+ journey carrying everything I will need except water – which is rationed out by the race organisers.

The MDS organisers are very specific in regards to the mandatory gear that I have to carry, plus a list of recommended gear. All up, I’m expecting my backpack to be around 10kgs or so at the start of the race – as I consume my food – it will get lighter! Here is the mandatory list and items provided by the organisers:

Mandatory equipment:
• backpack MDS or equivalent
• sleeping bag,
• head torch with spare batteries,
• 10 safety pins,
• compass, with 1° or 2° precision,
• lighter,
• a whistle,
• knife with metal blade,
• tropical disinfectant,
• anti-venom pump,
• a signalling mirror,
• one aluminium survival sheet,
• one tube of sun cream,
• 200 euros or equivalent in foreign currency.

Marathon Kit:
It is supplied by the organisation and will include the following:

• a road-book issued on 03 April,
• a distress beacon,
• an electronic transponder,
• salt tablets,
• sachets for the toilets
• ID marks

So as you can see there’s a lot to cart around with me  in my backpack – so much so that I’ll be looking like a turtle – so long as I’m not as slow as one!!!

If you’ve ever run with a backpack for any period of time, you will know that it places additional demands on the body. For a race of this length and difficulty, I will need to ensure that my shoulders, upper and lower back, arms and core are conditioned to enable me to carry the weight and hold form.

The MDS Ultra-bag is much bigger than a normal running backpack and the weight I will be carrying is more than double what I am used to carrying on some of my bigger runs. I know I’m not yet conditioned so there will be plenty of work to do in the gym and with the backpack to get me ready for MDS2015.


The other reason for working the upper body is that running burns a lot of energy. Not investing time and effort into creating a balanced program that works all the muscle groups can create imbalance in the body.

I’m not exactly built like a whippet, but I’m not a big build either. When I was in heavy training mode for some longer runs last year, I copped a lot of criticism and comments that I was too thin. So I’m trying to keep a better balance and ensure I don’t waste away!

My MDS backpack is on order and I’m expecting it to arrive in January for some solid training runs to condition me for running with it for six days in a row. It’s both daunting and exciting :)

Happy Running!

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Neighborhood Running

Originally posted on http://www.thememoryjogger.com.au/neighborhood-running/ on 29 Nov 2014.

Even though I have had the opportunity to run in some amazing locations and gaze over spectacular scenery – there have been plenty more runs that are not exotic, but my local neighborhood. Hey, I’m not complaining, just observing.

A few of the places I have run...

A few of the places I have run…

I’m pretty lucky though (other than living in a very hilly area) as I have some interesting runs that I have created that give me a mix of road, footpath, track and trail – and of course – hills!

I’d hate to add up the exact number of kilometres I have racked up around my local area – but I suspect it is hundreds and hundreds and probably well over a thousand. The circuits have become so familiar to me that I can calculate how far I am from home (or any other key geographic point for that matter) by both time and distance.

I can tell you the gradients of each hill; points that you can get water – be it a tap at a service station, a front yard tap or a properly serviced water station; points where traffic can be dangerous; the best place to cross the road to avoid traffic congestion so you don’t need to stop running; areas where the footpath is uneven and needs to be traversed with care; and even which houses have a dog that will start barking as you trundle by.

When I drive up to the shops or around the local area I find myself noting areas I have run (sometimes out loud) and estimating how long it would take me to run home from those points! Or keeping an eye out for hidden trails tracks that I’ve yet to explore.   Don’t shake your head as if it’s weird – if you’re a runner you do it too I’m sure – yes you do – admit it!

From my house, I have devised 5km, 6km, 9km, 10km, 14km, 17km, 20km and 40km circuits that I run regularly – and some longer ones for my big outings. The familiarity can be good as I know exactly how far I have to go and how far I have gone and if I develop an injury know how and where I can shorten the circuit.

On the flip side, sometimes familiarity can breed contempt and I fail to take in my surrounds letting my mind wander or start daydreaming – not respecting or appreciating where I am and what I am doing.

Every day I run is a special day. I’m very lucky that I can run when many cannot – and one day (hopefully a very, very long time from today!) I know I also will not be able to run – or at least not like I can today.

So today’s run was my local run – 14.5kms at a reasonable clip averaging 5 minutes 22 seconds per km.  I’ve got a marathon to run in a few days so no need to get too carried away – but it was a nice run along road, trails, tracks and paths – through beautiful bush-land, beside a babbling creek, with magpies warbling and in wonderful sunshine.

Next time you pull on your runners for a local training run – open your eyes and take in the sights, breath in the air and enjoy your run wherever it maybe – embrace your run.


Mullum Mullum Creek in my neighborhood.

Mullum Mullum Creek in my neighborhood.


Happy Running!

Posted in Fight Dementia, Fitness, Fund Raising, Marathon Training, Running, Trail Running, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rest Day Benefits

Originally posted on http://www.thememoryjogger.com.au/rest-day-benefits/ on 28 Nov 2014.


A day off training is somewhat of a guilty pleasure. Not getting up in the dark to head out for training and punishing the body can be nice – but at the same time, you wonder if you are undoing all your hard work by taking a break. The simple answer is, “Of course not.”

That is of course, as long as you aren’t binging on junk food, knocking back half a dozen beers and generally abusing your body.

Rest days are important and they should be appreciated. A day of rest is just as important as a training day as it allows the muscles time to repair and recover.

It is not uncommon for professional training plans (even for Olympic athletes and other elite sports people) in order to allow the body time to recuperate. Workouts place greater strain on our muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones and joints. Our body’s immune system is activated when there are muscle tears or joint strains, but if the body doesn’t have a break between training events, the system doesn’t have enough time to catch up and start repairing the body.

Deciding not to have a rest day raises the risk of injury. If you are like me and a large part of your life is high-impact sport such as running – you need to know that running can place stress on your joints and lower extremities to a level that has the ability to crack bones and tighten muscles. Without the occasional a day off here and there, calf muscles can tighten, tendons of the feet can lead to bone spurs, shin splints can develop, muscle tears and strain can occur and there is so much more.

Now of course, rest days will vary in frequency and type depending on the individual, the intensity of workouts and style of exercise. Bodybuilders may only want to take a day off from lifting, but still do cardio or work different muscle groups. Runners may opt for Pilates or Yoga with a focus on different parts of the body.

The more experienced you are and the greater level of fitness, the greater tolerance you will have for continuing to do some light activity during a rest day.  However, if you are a just getting started in developing your fitness your rest day should probably be a real rest day in which you do little or no activity at all.

My simple philosophy is listen to your body – know your body and let it guide you. If you are genuinely sore from a workout and still fatigued then rest is probably just what you need. If, on the other hand, your body just wants to bludge, get out there!

Important to note, your nutritional requirements on a rest day should be different to a training day or an event day. Just remember, you won’t be burning anywhere near as many calories off on a rest day, and, the fuel you would need for an intense workout or long run is markedly different to a day of chilling and relaxing.

Stick to your nutrition plan, but make it a light day – eat well, eat right, eat on time and drink lots of water and again – listen to your body.

On the days you are giving your body a rest, spend the time exercising your brain = healthy body and healthy mind are both keys to reducing the risk of dementia. Any activity that involves thinking and learning can improve your brain health and help protect against dementia.

Recent evidence suggests that greater benefit comes from more complex and challenging mental activities. The more brain activities you do, the more frequently you do them and the more complex the activity, the lower your risk of dementia is likely to be, as with keeping a healthy body and monitoring your nutrition.

Your body is a temple and should be given the love and attention it needs to enable you to achieve your fitness goals and set you up for a long and happy life. Don’t let it become the “temple of doom” – give it rest when it needs it and don’t abuse the rest days – but use them to make your training days and competing days the best they can be.

Relax and Happy Running!

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Gym for Core

Originally posted at http://www.thememoryjogger.com.au/gym-for-core/ on 27 Nov 2o14

My fund raising activities have been slow due to work, but I am progressively getting my schedule in order. Taking on a new job as a CEO a couple of months back has demanded my time and attention. It’s going well, but there is plenty to do and I’m still learning the business.

That said, no job is worth sacrificing your well-being so I know I need to commit time to training, family, friend and interests other than just work.

An important part of my training regime is regular gym work with a major emphasis on core as well as endurance. Having lived with arthritis for nearly 15 years, I’ve had to manage my body and be careful with the amount of impact activity such as running that I undertake.

Also, you might think you run with your legs, but a strong core is a major benefit for running endurance events.  When you start to fatigue, a strong core will help maintain form even when it is hurting. Breaking form is one sure way to bring a run undone and create pain and suffering in places you didn’t even know you had!

Why? Well, when you’re absolutely knackered nearing the end of a long run, your coordination and posture can suffer, causing you to slow down and break form.  A strong core developed through a variety of core-strengthening workouts will improve your coordination and posture throughout a run, even in the latter part of a marathon or ultra marathon when you will undoubtedly need it most.  Afterall, the strength in your limbs are intimately tied to the strength in your torso.

Core strength training is key to reinforcing the way that your pelvis, abs, hips and lower back work together.  When you are fit, well-toned core muscles work in sync and ensure that when your foot hits the ground, your trunk remains solid.  A good core prevents any wobbling in your torso and keeps you from deflecting energy.

Core strength training also improves stability and balance, two qualities that you’ll lose without practice, and when you are running trails and different terrain, this is even more important.  A strong core and good balance help you recover from missteps and stumbles – and if you’re anything like me you have a few of these on a big outing!

Supplementing any core work, I try to spend some time on the elliptical machine (cross trainer) and the stair master (I hate this machine).  Working on the running muscles with as little impact as possible.

Given my dodgy hips, I also work hard on my hip adductors and abductors.  I figure the stronger they are, the less I’ll hurt and less trouble they’ll give me.

photo 1

So well I may not have ripped abs and an awesome six-pack, my core is pretty good – but it could be better.  More planking (side and front), more supermans, more crunches, more bosu and more medicine ball ab twists combined with a weights session designed to build strength not bulk.

photo 2

MDS looms closer everyday and I know that any shortcuts in training will catch me out later on – and I don’t want that to be while I’m trekking across the Sahara Desert in 50 degree heat!

Crunch, crunch – Happy Running!


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Fueling the Engine

Orginally posted at http://www.thememoryjogger.com.au/fueling-the-engine/  26 Nov 14

With a pretty busy schedule at work at the moment it’s been hard to squeeze any longish runs in during the week.  Preparing for a trip overseas, managing the day to day at work and juggling a few other balls at the same time has meant that training time as been compromised.

Today I hit my standard 5km circuit near home. It has a few hills to test the legs and doesn’t cross any roads that will cause undue delays. Normally it’s a good run to take Missy and Bella on as it’s in Missy’s range before she starts to tire. Not a startling quick time but a reasonable hit out to get the motor running for the day.

It’s always a challenge balancing training, work, home life and any other activities that are happening.  Personally I seem to be struggling more than usual.  I’m behind in my studies for my PT course and have been delinquent in getting all my fundraising activities happening.  No matter how hard I work, there’s always more to be done.

That said – no use complaining. Plenty others in worse situations than mine who seem to manage ok.  And when it all boils down, all of my busyness is pretty much of my own doing.  I think I just need to be a little more judicious in how I allocate my time so as not to waste any.

One thing I have done is to start testing the freeze-dried food I am planning to take with me on MDS.  The initial thought is that it will taste like garbage and I’ll all but starve as I trek across the desert burning up calories at a ridiculous speed every day.  Pleased to say that I don’t think this will be the case!

Nutrition and hydration are the keys to making it through any endurance event.  All the training in the world can leave you short if you fail to plan your calorie intake correctly.  For MDS – the organisers are very, very specific on the minimum requirements.   I know I’ll drop a few kilograms across the journey but that’s to be expected.  However, being unable to fuel my body adequately could be catastrophic.

To my surprise, the meals taste really good. I’ve decided to try the range from Back Country Cuisine from New Zealand.  I bought a vegetarian selection from the range to try that includes Vegetarian Stirfry; Chana Masala; and Nasi Goreng.  So far haven’t hit a bad one – although the Chana Masala was a little on the spicy/hot side – so may give it a rest.

BC_NASI_GORENG_1serveWhen I’m on an endurance event I consume so much sweet stuff to provide energy, all I want at end of the event is something savoury and salty to eat. I’m yet to try out the flameless heater packs but hoping they work as well as they say (and that I can take them into Morocco).  Best thing about these meals – they weigh only 90 grams each :)

Still need to sort out my running snacks and other nutritional requirements, but I’m feeling like I’ve got the main meals just about sorted!

Bon appétit and Happy Running!

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