Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tony and Erin - Running Together

Many moons and months ago, Erin was extremely excited to announce to the whole wide world (and on Facebook!) that she had signed her dad up for the You Yangs' 30KM trail run on 20th July 2014. She was simply ecstatic, to say the least, as it was going to be her first run together with her dad.

We had the liberty of being introduced to Tony, Erin's dad, on the course that day. Both of them were looking strong, AND finished strong. They both looked like they could have tackled another 20km, had they been given a chance.

Her extended family at Surf Coast Trail Runners were there to share her excitement and I thought, why not have them share their story with everyone else here? How cool is it, to be running a race with your dad (or mum)? :)

Running up The Saddle at You Yangs 30KM Trail Run.
Photo credit: Aldonio / Trails+.

1. Tony, what was your reaction when Erin first mentioned to you that you were going to do a 30KM trail run?
(Tony) Erin first suggested to Helen (her mum) and I that we stay over one more day and travel back to New Plymouth on Monday, July 21st. When we asked why she said there was a trail run on and that she wanted to take part in it with me.

I became worried. When I asked what distance Erin suggested two – 30km and 50km. After a few days of thought, I opted for 30km. I am not that fit and 30km sounded a long way, especially as Erin is improving both in speed and fitness.

(Erin) He’s fitter than he's letting on... I’ve seen him complete marathons! How many marathons have you done, dad? I think the 30km was a good choice after such a busy week prior to the event. We really enjoyed it.

(Tony) I have completed 34 marathons: 21 Mountain to Surfs, 1 Auckland Marathon, 1 Christchurch Marathon, 5 Wellington Marathon, and 6 Rotorua Marathons.

The first was the NGC Mountain to Surf Marathon in 1993. You were nearly 6 years old then, Erin.
I finished in a time of 2 hrs 55 mins and 24 seconds.

Tony's personal best of  2:34:31 at
the Mountain to Surf 1999.
My fastest time was 2 hrs 34 mins and 31 secs, again in the Mountain to Surf in 1999.
My slowest is 3 hrs 16 mins 23 secs in 2013.

The last few years my pace has dropped a touch and now struggle to break 3 hrs.

This year I ran 3 hrs 5 mins and 42 secs for the local marathon, 11 mins quicker than last year. At 40 km mark I had to stop and take my right shoe off as one of my toe nails had blistered and the nail was starting to come off. I ran 2 kms barefoot before I could put my shoe on again. Came 1st in my age group.

That is something else we share, Erin. Runners toes.

(Erin) We do! Let me add that in…..

(Tony) I love the challenge of the marathon and I hope to carry on running them for some years to come.

Of special note, Helen has always tried to support me on my marathons. She has followed me on all 21 Mountain to Surfs - handing out drinks and encouraging me, and being there at the finish.

(Yvonne) I'm a bit speechless now ...

2. What did you both talk about during the run? Did you share any deep dark secrets that you've never shared with each other before?
(Tony) Of course, we talked about a lot of things BUT I have always lived by the rule that what gets said on the run stays on the run. If you want to know what got said then you will need to run with both Erin and I.

(Erin) Haha I agree with the what gets said on the run, stays on the run.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Rocking Rockwell Road Aid Station

Photo credit: Bin.
Manning an aid station at a race is never easy. Manning a main aid station is even tougher!

This year at the You Yangs Trail Run, the hubs and I volunteered to help out at the event. We were assigned an aid station to man and since we've had at least one prior experience, we were fine with it. 

It was a lovely day out at the You Yangs. The weather was brilliant, with just teeny pissy shower that was too weak to wash the grime off weary runners. We forgot to bring foldable chairs/stools as we were rushing that morning (what else is new?) but thankfully there were several rocks nearby which made good seats.

We failed to realise, or keep forgetting, that our aid station was the hub of all activities. We were located at an intersection/crossroad where runners from 80km to 50km to 30km to 15km and 5km would come by our station. Basically, all runners. With runners coming from 3 different directions at times, it was one heck of a party! :)

It never ceases to amaze me how polite participants can be. They thank us for being there that day, and every time someone said, "Thanks for being here today. You're amazing/kind/wonderful!" 

I would fumble a lame reply, like, "No worries, uhh, have a good run! Enjoy your run!"

They are just SO polite!!!!!!
So sweeeeeeeeeeet.
I want to thank them in return, for having such wonderful manners. 
And for being awesome runners!

Kirra was 1st female in the 50KM, finishing in 4:42

Watching the lead packs come through in all seriousness was interesting. Not everyone would stop and refuel, as I suppose they would have done so at other aid stations or have enough in their hydration packs. Besides ours, there were 3 other aid stations along the course (for the 50 and 80km).

Photo credit: Gary.

We enjoyed cheering them on, having the chance to ring our Buffalo Stampede cow bells like crazy. Gary's little bub, Angelena was the star attraction when they were with us for a short period of time. She's a little Mashimaro! :)

There were a lot of happy smiley faces and there were a lot of weary ones, too. Some of the runners looked exhausted and on the verge of collapsing, and some were still smiling even after a long, long day.

One guy had a bloody knee and I offered him a wet wipe/tissue to clean it up but he declined. I felt like a mother hen when I tried insisting, but he firmly declined.

I realised later on that it would be unmanly to clean up a little cut. :)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Runner Profile: Kirsten Maplestone

with Mr Pinchy.
Meet Kirsten a.k.a Kirk, who is a member of the crazy pants gang (if there is such a thing). This tall lass is usually decked in her bright tights when on the run, so you will definitely recognise her from afar. When she's not running, you'll see her volunteering at events. 

Didn't you spot this clown at the Rollercoaster Run this year? Or a mad woman passionately cheering the runners at Buffalo Stampede? :)

Last month, she had the spotlight focused on her when she completed her first marathon ever at the inaugural Surf Coast Trail Marathon. Talk about a huge fanfare! 

1. Ms Funny Crazy Pants, how long have you been running?
I’ve been running on and off for about three years and trail running since September. I was never good at or interested in running and only started as my work did the promoting for a 5k event and paid for our entry. Then a girl at work conned me into Run 4 Kids 14km, then quickly had me signing up for Run Melbourne half marathon (justified by saying it was just another 7kms).

I must admit I got swept into trail running too, I went on a running camp and on my return I signed up with 5 days to go for Leg 1 of Surf Coast Century with a relay team I’d never met before (BONUS I’m still great friends with you/them). SCC scared the heck out of me, battling 21kms of soft and hard sand, running through ocean water up to my waist, slippery mossy rocks and climbing sketchy cliffs with a massive drop below, all while my cheap hydropack was chaffing my back off (I’ve now invested in a quality pack). I had nightmares but signed up to battle it all over again this year for 50km.

2. In this short stint of time, do you believe you have grown as a runner? What are the positive changes you see in yourself?
Well I couldn’t have gotten worse, hahaha. I’ve always been a run/walker and struggled to get my asthma under control when I first started. I’m now finding the breathing easier and can keep a constant pace up for a while. Most of the battles are fought in my mind but I’m a stubborn cow and will NEVER give up. Quitting is not an option for me but I do like a good fight. I experienced a lot of pain as a teenager/young adult (with major jaw and facial surgery) which toughened me up. Maybe too tough as it took me over a week to realise my leg was fractured even when I heard the snap and was in denial.

(The fracture happened in January this year.)

I’ve gradually become more confident in my ability with the help from my friends...it might be a Facebook post, a hug before a race, a message to say I’ve inspired someone to sign up for a marathon (please don’t hate me after), even a special loom made by a friend's child….it all helps to make me stronger. And of course there is the training, you can’t improve without the hard work and qualifying for Two Bays 28km was my turning point. Being in a race with qualifiers and cutoffs was stressful but what an accomplishment. Crossing the line with my six year old niece holding my hand and a giant grin on her face was golden.

Crossing the finish line at Two Bays Run 2014.

3. And the negatives, if any?
Injury. I’d always been jealous of people with crutches and I took it all back when I had to deal with them in January from a fractured fibular (leg). Getting my fitness back was a surprising struggle but has made me more focused. It broke my heart to cancel the solid racing I had planned (Roller Coaster, Buffalo Stampede and North Face 50) but then I discovered volunteering and saw what happens on the ‘other side’ and it has been a blast. I’ve dressed as a clown (one of my greatest fears), strapped a cow bell to me for a whole weekend of cheering and extremely hard work, hung out with international champion runners such as Anna Frost and Dakota Jones and collected life long friends from around Australia who I’ve made plans to run with in the future.

So technically there are no negatives to running.

(Talk about extreme positivity! :D)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Anniversary of a Housebum

This month marks the one year that I have been living in Melbourne. How time freaking flies!


It's hard to be away from familiar surroundings, friends and family. Being away from family is one of the toughest sacrifices to make, but nothing money can't help. I mean, if you spend the money on phone calls and regular trips home, you're still doing your part in being close to the family.

We miss being able to return to our respective hometowns for a short weekend trip to spend some time with our parents.

Food and drinks with Dutamas Runners in July 2013! :)
Photo credit: Andrew

We miss being able to round up a few friends for a mamak session at times, as it simply isn't possible over here. Or maybe not yet.

I am reluctant in paying AUD$7.00 for a piece of roti canai and a small bowl of curry. When I did eventually do so, my roti wasn't great. We are lucky to have found an Indian eatery that serves the same for AUD$4.50 which tastes much better, and has good teh tarek

Dinner with the GCAM gang in July 2013!
Photo credit: Jamie

For both the hubs and I, our schedules here remain similar to the ones back home. Weekends are spent running, but instead of having to wake up at wee hours for a group run before it gets too hot,  we sleep in, have our breakfast or brunch, before driving off to our designated trails for an afternoon run. In summer, if we have some things to do in the morning, we can still proceed to the trails for an evening run before the sun sets at 8ish.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Melbourne Eats: Eating Out in Mt Beauty

We spent the Queen's Birthday weekend in Mt Beauty with the main purpose of climbing up Mt Bogong. As Mt Beauty is a small town, there are a handful of eateries in the vicinity without the need to drive far.

On our drive up to Mt Beauty, we made a quick pit stop at The Provender Country Bakehouse in Yea for a light lunch, comprising of 2 pies and 1 coffee, and a sticky lemon passionfruit muffin to take away. I can't remember which pies we had, possibly a steak and cheese one and a veggie pastie. The coffee wasn't great, but the place was packed, as always!

We first stumbled upon this place when we were driving back from Bright (for the Razorback Run) and we liked their pies. The bakery has been a regular Great Aussie Pie Competition winner for years now, and you'll see a plague in the bakery stating just that.

Address: 56 High Street, Yea, VIC 3717.
Links: Trip Advisor

Flour + Water
171 Kiewa Valley Highway
Tawonga South, VIC 3698

We were early for dinner!

We had dinner there on our 1st night and ordered a pizza and one of the specials. The roast pumpkin pizza was topped with pine nuts, feta and baby spinach and I enjoyed it very much.

The lighting doesn't do the food justice. :)

The special was creamy dreamy prawn linguine which was not very dreamy at all, in my opinion. It was bland and sure, there were a lot of prawns, but the sauce lacked depth. There was no prawn-y taste in the creamy sauce, as they may have been cooked separately and added later to the dish.

We shared a bottle of beer. With beer, wine and liquer, I was ready to fall into bed!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Weekend Run: Mt Bogong, Highest Peak in Victoria

Sunday, 8th June 2014.
Queen's Birthday weekend.

Four hours later ...

"YAY! Finally!!" I sighed with relief.

After what felt like forever, we were finally out on top in the open, eager to check out the stunning view.

Are we there yet?
We had just reached the end of Eskdale Spur. 

We looked around, squinting through the fog in attempt to admire the curves of the horizon. It was impossible to snap a decent picture of the view!

As the fog crept nearer, I wondered whether we had made the right decision for this weekend's excursion. Especially when there was no one in sight!

Probably because everyone would take Staircase Spur up to the summit instead of Eskdale Spur ...

We quickly hurried off into the fog, hoping that the summit wasn't too far away. 

Outrunning a fog was not easy, especially on a rocky track. Visibility was bad, but we could see the snow poles poking out of the fog and using that as our guide, we made our way towards one pole at a time.

It was the howling winds that freaked me out. They howled like crazy, as if asking us to get off the mountain,  what were we doing there, Mt Bogong belonged to them, and only them.

Occasionally we'd stop behind a rock (like the one on the left above) and waited for the winds to die down a while, before we continued on. I was secretly terrified of being blown off the mountain!

When it was quiet, it was tranquility at its best.