Hakuba International Trail 2013
After the UTMB (Ultra Trail Mount Blanc 2013) withdrawal I was physically, mentally and emotionally broken. I questioned why I was running. I was absolutely exhausted from my 2013 Trail Running season. I missed my family and kids dearly. What hurt more was that I was to have less than two weeks on the ground in Sydney with my family and beautiful girls before I was back on another plane to Tokyo.
At the start of 2013 I thought I was totally invincible. At the end of 2013 I had a suspected stress fracture in my Medial Malleolus and a tendonitis in my Tibialis Posterior. I’d made a commitment to Inov8 x Descente Japan to race Hakuba International Trails 2013 and I was not going to let my sponsors down.
On top of my ankle injuries had an extremely inflamed and painful left big toe. After the long haul flight from Geneva via London, stopping over in Singapore and landing in Sydney in 24 hours my toe felt like it was broken. It was a painful throbbing mess. When I touched down in Sydney I could not bare weight on it at all. On the Tuesday morning after the UTMB , I checked in with my family then I headed straight to RPA emergency to get both my big toe and my ankle looked at. The ankle was easy to clear from a regular fracture with a few test and manual manipulation. It still needed an MRI though to rule out a “stressy” and to see what had been giving me such grief over the past 1.5 years. My big toe was x-rayed and was also cleared of a fracture. Phew! I could let my Inov8 x Descente Japan Sponsors know I could race Hakuba International Trails 2013.
I had an awful lead up to the UTMB (Ultra Trail Du Mount Blanc) Europe’s biggest Trail Ultra 100 mile event of the year. Like most people living in Sydney in winter with children I was sick with a virus. I was also still going through personal hell and bad asthma when I boarded the plane from Sydney to Geneva, stopping over in Singapore to re-fuel and then landing in London. I felt like I’d learned enough from my last trip the European Alps to get a good result at the UTMB (Ultra Trail Du Mount Blanc).
I arrived in the gorgeous Chamonix in France. Chamonix was alive and buzzing with trail running athletes everywhere. I just had to take a walk down the main street and I’d bump into some of my trail running mates. The atmosphere in Chamonix was electric. The place was pumping with anticipation of the events that were starting throughout the week. This place was going off and we had not even started the first races of the Ultra Trail Festival yet.
Two days before Skyrunning Ice Trail Tarentaise 65km I realize I had run out of my preventive asthma medication. I started to freak out. I was sent into absolute panic. It was the end of my European Adventure and I had planed out my spending to the last Euro. I also later found out the Hotel Double Charged my credit card by mistake. The Aussie dollar was plummeting whilst I was on holiday’s. The little Aussie battler had lost 13% Shit! I have 2 kids back in Sydney and a Sydney mortgage to go with it. I run my own business’s if I don’t work I don’t get paid and I have almost been away for 3 weeks. Adding a possible overseas doctors bill plus medication could be really expensive. I contacted the Skyrunning Race Director and told them about my problem.
It was a chance of a life time to represent inov8 in the Skyrunning 2013 Series in Mt Blanc Marathon, Europe. Who would have thought that anyone would want an Australian who has never run through snow before to represent them at a Skyrunning 2013 event? The Skyrunning 2013 Series is notorious for being extremely tough and technical events with massive elevation gains and sometime losses.
The Skyrunning 2013 Races are located all over the world first starting in Spain Zegama 42km, France Mt Blanc Marathon 42km, USA Pikes Peak 42km, Switzerland Matterhorn Ultra’s 46km, Italy Lissome Extreme Sky Race 23km.
There is an Ultra Series including Transvulcania Ultramarathon 83km Spain, Andorra Ronda dels Cims 170km, Ice Trail Tarentaise 65km France, Speed Goat 50km Utah, Ultra Race of Champions UROC USA. Plus there is Vertical Climbs in Russia, Spain, France, Greece and Italy.
Monday June Public Holiday was the perfect time to hit the tracks on my own. My achilles tendon was still a bit iffy after I tore it the day before The North Face 100km. I wanted to run on my own so I did not feel any pressure to keep up with a training partner. I also wanted to use the opportunity to build my own mental strength, gain some confidence in my body again and try a few new things.
It was only 3 weeks after tearing it and one week after a 20km Saturday, 20km Sunday Glow Worm Tunnel Ultra Training Australia Camp weekend. It was my last chance I could put in some big kilometers before I headed over to Europe to Race the Skyrunning Mt Blanc Marathon and the Ice Trail 65km in Val d’Isere. Continue Reading
The North Face 100 2013 Race Report by Shona Stephenson. I’ve had a massive year 50km Aura Australian Ultra Runner Trail Champs VIC Feb 2013, Coastrek 50km NSW March 2013, Tarawera 85km (retired sick at 85km) NZ March 2013, Northburn 100M 160km NZ (my debut 100M) March 2013, UTMF 160km Japan April 2013 my 2nd 100M only a month later, plus 4 Sydney Trail Series speedy 10km and now I was about to run the premier Australian Event of the calendar The North Face 100km May 2013. In a way it is the last BIG Ultra Race in NSW Calendar before we all get a bit of a rest over winter then head to Europe for the Skyrunning Series.
It was 2 Wednesdays before The North Face 100 after a 10km time trial on road that I felt my Achilles go. It was only one and a 1/2 weeks after UTMF so I was probably still in recovery mode. I thought nothing of it as I have had Achilles tendonitis before and I’ve had so many other tendonitis before.
I tested the inov-8 180 Thermoshell whilst running and winning my first 100M event in Otago on the South Island of New Zealand, Northburn 100M. Otago is located in the roaring 40’s and is known for it’s gale forced winds and its sub-zero freezing temperatures. In 2012 there over an inch of snow found on runners whilst they ran across the alpine ridge lines at the Summit of Dunstan Mountain at over 1600m.
I am from Australia and I was petrified of being cold. I have never encountered snow so I was keen to make sure my body was going to stay at working temperature whilst running through the night for the first time. I made sure that I packed all my “Good Gear” for Northburn 100M.
The inov-8 180 Thermoshell is light. The size 10 UK weighs on my kitchen scales 216 Grams in its carry bag and 206 Grams out of it’s inov-8 stuff sac.
I just can’t go past the inov-8 f-LITE Range for my choice of good all round road running shoes. The inov-8 f-LITE 185 are the Precision Women’s Version of my favourite inov-8 f-LITE 195.
If you have a wide foot you may want to look at the inov-8 f-LITE 239. It is exactly the same shoe as the 185 but a wider fore foot fit.
The f-LITE range is traditionally a Cross Fit Shoe but I love wearing this range on the road, dirt, grass, treadmill. They are my Sydney City training shoes.
What makes the f-LITE 185 so special is that they only weigh 183 Grams on my kitchen scales yet they give my feet all the protection they need for the many kilometers I put into them a week racing around the streets of Sydney with my Personal Training Clients. I have had stress fractures in 2010 and since wearing inov-8 shoes I have not had any injuries. inov-8 shoes have taught me how to run lighter and more efficiently on my feet. Continue Reading
The Ultra Trail Mt Fuji (UTMF) and Japan lived up to it’s reputation on all fronts. Apart from the opportunity to run around Mt Fuji and experience this perfect mountain in all it’s glory, the UTMF course was so tough, ruggered and really technical. Some of the climbs were so steep they were un runnable, with a few of them needing ropes for safety and to just be able to scale the rock face on the mountain. At the gear check in we were made to show our travel insurance policy. WTF? Are you serious? What on earth would I need accident cover for?
How hard could the UTMF be? It can’t be that hard, people had finished it in 2012. If they could do it so could I. My goal for the UTMF was first to finish the course in one piece, finish the course un injured and hope that my effort would be good enough to give me a top 5 finish. This was my first true international event and I wanted to make sure I was representing inov-8+Descente, Barefoot Inc, Hammer, injinji, Skirt Sports, and Zenzah to my fullest capabilities. With these goals in mind I prepared for my 2nd 100M only 1 month after completing my 1st Northburn 100M in March.
Tarawera Ultra March 2013 was a total disaster. I just had the most public withdrawal from Tarawera 100km due to me pissing and shitting blood only 1 week before attempting Lisa Tamati’s, Northburn 100 mile. A week before Northburn 100 Miles, I was made to stay in hospital over night to re-hydrate and for monitoring and testing at Rotarura Hospital.
I was guttered because I also withdrew from Great North Walk 100 Mile in November 2012. Withdrawing from the 2 biggest and longest events in a row on my running calendar was not the way I wanted to start my 2013 Ultra Running Campaign.
My head told me to pull out of Northburn 100 Mile and just race the 50km and run some hill re-peats and look at it like well deserved training holiday. My heart said that I should race the 100 miler. I did not want to let race organizer of Northburn 100 Lisa Tamati down. Lisa is one of my heroes. She is one of the main reasons why I run ultras. I like most Ultra runners out there read “Running Hot”, and I was motivated to run Oxfam Trailwalker Sydney my first 100k in 2010. I wanted to support her event. Especially because she is a fellow female. “I support women in sport”. As the slogan goes. Continue Reading