Journey to 100 miles - GSER PART FIVE

The time seems about right for the next instalment of Journey to 100 Miles – the Great Southern Endurance Run.

We’re around 8 weeks or so out now & there’s a big update & lots of good news, on the back of a bit of a setback that happened along the way.

In late July I went out on a Monday on my own & did a 46km training run to Mt Nebo Café & back from Payne Road at The Gap that went very well – lots of PR’s & I finished feeling amazing.

I ran on Tuesday with no issues, but when it came to a Wednesday trail tempo session I started to experience some tightness & discomfort in my left calf, which was enough for me to pull right back on my intensity through to the end of the session.

Long story short, I had to rest & get some expert assistance from podiatrist Patrick Morrison at New Farm.

A series of weekly dry needling, massage & strength exercises got me right back on track & I was able to run the Mountain Goat Trails Series Surefoot 21km race on the 28th of August with no issues.

Next up was my “stepping stone” race, the Cairns to Port Douglas Trail Ultra – a distance of 120kms, which is longer than I’ve ever run before in a single push.

The weather in Cairns was hot & steamy, with light rain at the 5am start. Temperature was forecast to be around 29 degrees.

John, me & Kelly at the start of our adventure

I’m happy to say that the race went well – no issues at any stage, or any time that I felt any doubt about finishing. In fact, after taking things pretty easy for most of the race, I was able to complete the final 11kms at a good pace & finish on the beach in 22hours 18 minutes, which earned me a sub-24hr silver finisher’s buckle. Strava here.

The best part about this is that it gives me so much confidence about GSER – I’d always felt confident about being able to complete GSER, but this race seals the deal as far as the positive reinforcement I needed. I know if I had needed to keep going at the end of 120kms it was something I could have done.

My gear & nutrition choices worked out well – nutrition was mainly Tailwind Berry flavour, supplemented with a few Huma & Clif gels. I also had a cup of hot noodles at an aid station at around the 90km mark.

The shoe choice was Saucony Peregrine 12’s for the first 60kms & then Saucony Xodus Ultra for the last 60kms, coupled with Injinji Midweight Mini-Crew toe socks.

My pack was Raidlight, the watch was the Coros Vertix 2 (which still had more than 75% battery at the finish line) & of course my favourite headlamp, the Ferei HL40II coupled with the external battery & extension cable. The other great piece of gear was my Run Vault Headskinz, which was perfect for holding ice around my neck & then as a sweatband around my hand & wrist when the ice had melted.

The difference with GSER is the elevation – CTPDU 120 had around 4,000 meters, whereas GSER has close to 11,000 meters! However, what will make the difference is using running poles, which I didn’t use in Cairns. I’ll be using Leki Ultratrail FX.One trail running poles, which are amazing.

So, the training will continue, with lots of hills & long slow runs, coupled with some back-to-backs.

The other run on the plan is an all-night run, that will start around 8pm & go through to daybreak – probably around 50kms.

The next, and probably last instalment of the Journey to 100 Miles before the race report will be in late October, not long before the race in mid-November.

Until then, Happy Running & don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or comments.

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