Monday, May 6, 2013

Ultra Running for charity: 750km in 10 days

750km in 10 days in the interest of Crohns Disease.  An awful disease that affects so many people without the majority even knowing what it is.  It's so unknown, that as I write about it, even spell check picks it up............. It wasn't until a couple of years ago when a dear friend of mine, Sandra, told me about her condition with Crohns that I was personally brought into reality just how it can severely impact the lives of sufferers.

With ZERO government support and/or funding, all awareness, research and support comes from charity fundraising, of which has brought me to my next big adventure.  For in depth info on Crohns Disease, follow this link: http://www.crohnsandcolitis.com.au/

Sandra approached me a couple of months ago asking whether I'd be interested in helping raise awareness.  Not knowing how or when, but just whether I'd be interested should the opportunity arise.  "Absolutely"

A couple of months passed as I brainstormed how this is going to happen.  With several ideas floating in my head, the theme that kept leaping to the top was related to my running interests.  Not only due to my own passion for distance running, but also knowing the running community so well, that they are a very caring and supportive culture in general.  OK, so I'm going to run for Crohns!  Now, where and when?

If I'm going to do this, it's gotta be huge.  With the level that Crohns affects peoples lives, this run needs to somehow try and be comparable.  Right, so it's of to Melbourne I go.

On Saturday 12th April 2014, I, with support crew in tow, will set of on a 10 day adventure from Adelaide, to Melbourne aiming at covering 75km's per day.  Well that is the concept at this stage based on where I think my training is at.  Ideally I'd like to get this up to 84.4km's per day purely for a point to say it's 2 marathons a day.  I know I can run more than this in a day as I've done so a few times before, BUT, I've never had to back it up several days in a row.  This will be the challenge!

What am I up against?
Distance: Training for this distance is not about fitness.  It's about conditioning!!!!  You can be as fit as you like but if the body can not withstand the constant pounding and hour upon hour of relentless movement, you will break down.  In fact, 1/3 of this challenge will be just getting to the start line in tact, injury free.  I estimate that for the body to be prepared, I will need to be up to around 700-800km's per month in training, for at least 3-4 months in the lead up with a steady increase from my current 400-500kms.  This will give tendons and ligaments time to develop the strength and resistance required to withstand the torture that will no doubt set in from around day 3 onwards.

Back to Back days: It's one thing to run 75kms+ in one day.  It's another to be able to do it 10 days in a row.  I know how I've felt the day following these types of runs, and although I've been feeling better and better after each ultra I've finished, I still don't think I'm at a point where I could go out and run another.  This will be an area of training for sure.

Fuelling: 75kms = approximately 5000 calories consumption, + BMR.  Therefore, I'd be looking at needing around 7000 calories per day just to attempt to maintain equilibrium.  The trouble with that, is in the past I've had a relatively sensitive tummy post 7-8 hours on the run.  Consuming, and more importantly PROCESSING this volume of energy will be a make or break for this adventure.  No energy, means no go!!!!

The mind: How does one stay focussed and on top of things on plain, boring, never ending bitumen roads, hour after hour, day after day.  I like to think that I'm quite well disciplined, and strong willed, but no doubt this strength will be tested big time at some point.  There will be dozens of highs and lows through this run that I'd better be prepared for.

Navigation:  Getting from Adelaide to Melbourne is relatively easy.  However, getting there without using the convenience of the freeways will be interesting.  Getting out of Adelaide, and getting into Melbourne without adding on too many unwanted km's will be a high priority.  Day 1 will be a fair challenge with some fairly decent hill climbs to kick me off on the journey.  From there on it's relatively flat.  Melbourne CBD however is littered with freeways, but I'm sure with the right research, I'll find a reasonable route though.

Support: There's no way I could run this without a good support crew.  With this in mind, my lovely wife has committed to cruising along behind me in a campervan, of which will carry all the gear and supplies, along with the comfy pillow I will no doubt be longing for at the end of each day.  To help break up the monotony of each day, I've already had generous offers from the local running community to come out and meet me at different stages and join me for a fair chunk of the trek.  Gotta love the supportive nature of ultra runners...........

Sponsors: And most importantly, the sponsors.  The main reason I'm doing this adventure; to raise funds and awareness for Crohns Disease.  The target is $20,000.  Anything above this would be fabulous.

WHY?
Why not?  Sadly, many people with Crohns Disease struggle to lead a normal, typical life let alone enjoy things we take for granted such as running among many things.  So instead of me just running and running mile upon mile for personal joy, why no put it all to good use?

There's a lot of work to do, many people to approach and loads of training to come.  This will be a challenge of epic scale for me.  But no doubt it still does not compare to what Sandra and her Crohns suffering counterparts endure everyday.

On this page, as well on Facebook I will update on a regular basis how the preparations are going and how people may donate towards the cause once the Crohns & Colitis Australia Foundation have set up the direct.  Any help anyone can give would go a long way.

It all starts now.......................