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Tarawera Ultra The Build Up

Tarawera Ultra The Build Up

 

I have unfinished business at Tarawera Ultra 100km. In 2013 I had to pull out of the event in the most gory circumstance. I was shitting blood from about 30km and after working myself back into the event at about 60-75km I then was pissing blood. It was extremely scary experience for me. I decided to pull out of the 100km event at the 85km check point. No one wants to damage their organs whilst racing or training for a an ultra. It’s just not worth it. I’m a mum, a wife, a daughter, a sister and I have a family to care and provide for. I have to return home safe for them. I was given the 85km win however never felt like I deserved the award so I happily gave my medal to Jenni Hoogeveen who was the first female who entered and finished the 85km distance.

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My First Spartan Race

My First Spartan Race

I drove out to the Spartan Race at the Mt Ivory Conference Centre bitting my nails. I was totally unprepared for the Spartan Race Sprint 7km Brisbane Obstacle Course Race in Ipswich on Saturday. I’d forgotten to cut my nails before the drive out to Ivory Rock Conference. I figured I’d lose a few nails if they were not short.
I had not trained for the Spartan Race Sprint Brisbane apart from gardening in my new massive Brisbane backyard in The Gap, doing 3 sets of 10 burpees in between some running drills and core exercises the day before. That should do it I naively thought. I was hoping that my personal training conditioning, trail running agility and my childhood gymnastics skills would get me to the finish line. Technically I had not even entered it yet. I was about 50/50 whether to do it or not that week. I have Tarawera Ultra 100km on a week later and I did not want to risk injuring myself. I’d been wanting to do one for about a year but the timing always seemed to not be right. 3 days before the event, after a bit of persuading from my Aussie Inov8 Team contacts and Paul my Physio at Body Leadership who had me do a Video Blog for Obstacal Course Australia I decided to enter the race. Besides, it would be a nice way to start the year by doing something totally out of my comfort zone.

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Hakuba International Trail 2013

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.

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Interview with Ben Duffus Winner of Surf Coast Century 2013

Ben Duffus is a fresh talent breaking onto the Australian Ultra Running Circuit. He has just won 2 Australian Ultra’s the Surf Coast Century and he was on the winning team at the 96km Kokoda Challenge all this while studying physic’s uni. This 21 year old’s name is one to remember. He was kind enough to spare some of his time to chat with me about his trail running adventures so far.

 

Shona Stephenson: You have a few memorable wins under your belt – what was the hardest (and why) and do you have a favourite win?
Ben Duffus: It’s very difficult to quantify a “hardest win”. I would say that the races I DNFed were the hardest! Having said that, it is hard to go past Pomona King of the Mountain in terms of shear “pain per second”! It’s only 4.5km long but involves going up and back down the 439m high Mt Cooroora. The burn going up was incredible and while the downhill was an absolute blast, it left my quads feeling like they had just lost a fight with a meat tenderiser! That feeling was probably also partly due to having run the Kokoda Challenge two weeks beforehand. Sharing the Kokoda Challenge win with my Kokoda Spirit Racing team mates was very special so it would have to be my “favourite” win.

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Shona Stephenson UTMB – Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc Race Report

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.

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Whitney Dagg: Interview with the winner of the Surf Coast Century

Shona: You have a few memorable wins under your belt – what was the hardest
(and why) and do you have a favourite win?

Whitney Dagg: My recent win at the Surf Coast Century was by far the toughest.
Mainly because it was 100km but also because I got a sore IT band at
half way and had to run with the pain in the side of my knee for 50km.
Pain relief helped but it required mental toughness. I was determined for
a good result and thats what I got.

Shona: What’s a favourite training session or run (that most advances your
fitness or abilities)?

Whitney Dagg: I love getting up in the hills above Dunedin, away from the city. A
good long run with a few tough climbs and some technical descents
always feels like your getting somewhere with both your fitness and
skills.

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Skyrunning – Ice Trail Tarentaise

Photo By Ian Corless

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.

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Skyrunning – The Mt Blanc Marathon

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.

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Mt Solitary Blue Mountains

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 “Mt Solitary Blue Mountains”

North Face 100

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.

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inov-8 Race Elite 180 Thermoshell

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.

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