July 8, 2014

June 2014

“They just feel like stuff is supposed to happen to them,” he said. “They're not going to have to work for it. And that bugs me because I know how hard I had to work to get where I got. Sometimes they sit there in amazement at why I come out here every day. But I cannot let their way of thinking into my head.”  Tony Gwynn
Perth Marathon.  After a successful 12kmrun at HBF Run for a Reason during the last Sunday in May, I decided to tick the box on doing a marathon in Australia while my running was going well.  My original plan was to give a “good effort” to use a training run for the target race of the season, the Ultra Tour of Mt. Rinjani in August.  I figured 3 hours would be about right.  I would plan to run a comfortable 1:30 first Half, then a harder whatever I had 1:20-1:25 2nd half.  But I got excited and emotional and ended up coming through halfway rather comfortably in 1:19 with a group of 4 guys running together.  Shortly after halfway, I started to spiral into the pain cave.  My legs and back were so tight and out of whack that my shorts twisted to one side causing me to re-adjust every couple kilometres.  Then my joints- knees/hips- started to heat up with 15km to go.  I kept shortening my stride, increasing turnover to reduce the pain whilst maintaining a 2:40 marathon pace.  The crowd spurred me on the last 5 km allowing me to maintain a respectable 4 minutes per kilometer but I fell short of even splitting.  2:42 final time. 

Dissappointed I did not negative split.  Dissappointed I did not have the legs to run 2:40.  Dissappointed I needed 3 weeks to not feel pain in my knee for 3 weeks after.  Glad I didn’t snap in half or sustain serious injury.  Annoyed that I lost 3 weeks of training for Rinjani.  Relieved my engine (breathing) felt comfortable at that pace.  Happy with the effort.  Content with the time.  Satisfied I can use the learnings from this race to continue to understand my biomechanical issues.  Optimistic about my running future.  Hoping I survive RInjani without injury.    

The Perth Marathon is a beautiful race and spectator friendly as it completes two out and backs.  One could argue that it is boring, but I personally enjoyed the crowd support as the other two marathons I have run only had spectators at the finish line.  I couldn't get over how beautiful the day was for a wintery July afternoon.  The city glowed across the Swan River as I watched the awards ceremony.  My buddy Gerry PR’d by 5 minutes to take 2nd place.  I talked to Ethiopian woman who dropped at 41 km but still really happy.  One guy I ran with through halfway (1:19) ended up running  a nice  negative split 2:34 for a PR.  I took out my tent afterwards to rest a few hours before the awards ceremony.  People thought i had slept there the night before in the pouring rain.  No, not there, but 30 minutes away.  I lounged around there watching  the mid-packers drift on by from my temporary camp site for the afternoon.  These people inspire me. 

Running  for Rinjani.  The first two weeks of June were by far the best few weeks of running I have done in 2014.  Then I ran the Perth marathon on June 15th and that forced me to write off the remainder of the month.  I could hardly walk because of knee pain.  The physio at work looked at my quad flexibility and wondered how I could even run, let alone run a marathon.  Now, 3 weeks later and a lot of quad stretching and agonizing lacrosse ball massage, the knee feels better.  I just ran 15 km today but do not feel like I will have enough time to properly train for Rinjani as I leave August 3rd.  I might just have to walk/hike/survive the 52km torture course.
Reading.  Art of learning, the Snow Leopard, The Obstacle is the Way.  All good books but the Snow Leopard resonated with me the most.  I listened to this classic as read by the author, 95 year old Peter Matthiessen, as he recounted the story over 40 years earlier in the Snowy Himalayas.  This adventure narrative reminds me of one of my favourites, the Green Hills of Africa by Ernest Hemingway.  It makes me want to do an epic adventure of some sort, and write a story about it.  If I were to write a book, this would be the style I would go for.    

Learning.  I did a knife making course and a intro level kayaking course in June.  I bought a new camera so I can take some pictures.  The knifemaking was a lot of fun because it encompasses so many different skills- forging, grinding, polishing, woodworking, heat treating- and it renewed my joy for building stuff.  The kayaking course was mainly a stepping stone to start training for the avon descent in August but I have since decided it is just not a possibility with my schedule and lack of anywhere to put a a kayak.    Lots of other things to learn this year- surfing, sailing, spear fishing are a few that come to mind.    

Good Article on Tony Gwynn:


  1. Hi Zach, congrats again on winning the Mount Rinjani Ultra, you really amazed us all with your blazing fast time record!
    The struggle & commitment you've gone through for Rinjani really inspires me.
    Are you going to the Bromo Tengger Semeru ultra on November? You should dude, check their website here: http://bromotenggersemeru100ultra.com

    Btw, it's great to chat with you back at Senaru & look forward to hear your next race.

  2. Thank You Ario, Just saw this now. Haha. keep training hard.

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