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Every now and then

Some of the Terrigal Trotters team on the way to the
Woodford to Glenbrook 25km Trail Race.

It is nine months since my last Woodford to Glenbrook 25km trail run (it was postponed three months last year because of flooding), and my life during those nine months has been quite eventful, particularly on the health front.  Five months ago, when dealing with the Deep Vein Thrombosis, Pulmonary Embolism and Atrial Flutter, I was telling myself that if I could just run again, even a few kilometres a week, I would be happy.  I did not give myself any chance of running Woodford to Glenbrook this year, so was very happy to not only be on the starting line yesterday, but feeling well enough to race.

My right Achilles tendon and heel remain very painful, but otherwise I have been feeling fit, so I was keen to see what I could do without any great pre-race expectations.  Last year I ran 2:01 and was second in the 60+ age group.  I hoped to go sub-2:00 this year and win the 60+.

It was a cold morning in the Blue Mountains with an icy wind, but the sun was shining and once we started running the cold didn't seem so bad.  I started steadily with the goal of running within myself for the first 10 kilometres, and that approach worked well, though left me weaving through many of the 380-strong field on the rocky undulating fire trail.  I didn't push it up the hills, trying to keep my breathing regular, but still sensitive to a pressure I could feel in the centre of my chest as my heart rate rose.  This pressure may always have been there, but would have been unnoticed a year ago.  A little worrying nevertheless.

A whale wallowed just off Copa beach during my
slow recovery walk this morning.

Even running within myself, I was gaining a few places on the climbs, but was doing even better on the flats and steep technical downhills.  As last year, I really enjoyed letting myself go down the hills, trusting myself to react quickly enough on the loose rocky track as I slalomed through slower runners.  It made me feel young again, though in a concession to my health issues, I was wearing a medical wristband alerting any paramedics to the Warfarin (blood thinner) I was taking.  Cuts would bleed profusely and a bad head knock could risk a brain haemmorhage.

The last 10 kilometres of the race was on a gradual downhill section that seemed never-ending.  By this time, my bad Achilles was very painful and I fought to maintain an even stride though every step hurt badly.  I still managed to catch a few more people, though lost a couple of places in the last few hundred metres on the race to the finish line.

I was surprised and pleased to see my time of 1:52, and later to find I had won the 60+ age group by 20 minutes.  A very satisfying day, though walking today has been very painful on my sore heel.  I see a specialist this week to review my blood clot issues and hopefully get off the Warfarin.  I'm not getting my hopes up.


  1. Dave
    I read you Blogg often and find your thoughts interesting and the places you manage to run in your travels. I really feel for you with your Achilles issues. I had issues for a few years but thankfully that has past. at my worst I ran GNW and was timed out at the Basin over an hour posts the 11pm cutoff.

    In the circumstances your run on Sunday despite what you write was brilliant with not only an age win but I would guess much more satisfying time 10 minutes quicker than last year.

    I a running the Gold Coast marathon on Sunday chasing a sub 3.30. For some reason I am not as confident as I should be.

    Best wishes

    Ray James

  2. I haven't been able to run since Sunday, Ray, because of the heel. Even walking with heel raises is very painful. I suspect surgery is needed for a heel spur and will give the doctor a call this arvo.

    You looked pretty comfortable, I thought, at Macleay River, so sub-3:30 has to be a good chance. I hope it all comes together for you on Sunday.

    Good luck,


  3. How did the heel issue going? 3.26 at Gold Coastp - quickest in 4 years. Best wishes with the heel.

  4. Great run, Ray. You're an inspiration! I'm not surprised at the good time, but know they never come easy, and can well appreciate how it must feel to do your best time for four years. I'm still struggling badly with the heel and have booked a doctor's appointment. It's frustrating to finally feel fit again but then be hampered by the heel. but that's the life of a runner, eh? Well done. Dave.