At 8:45pm on Boxing Day 2021, I found myself running on a beach in the dark, barefoot and grinning wearing only a pair of running shorts. Minutes before, I had been sitting on a couch about to watch TV with my wife. 10 days later, I had Covid-19 and was finding it hard to walk up the stairs at age 38.
A busy Christmas full of food and drink, combined with the 2-hour drive to Sunshine Beach that afternoon had us both feeling lethargic.
Walking into the living room after the kids were asleep, I was weighing up showering and settling in, or going for a jog to burn off some energy.
Channeling my new David Goggins-inspired motivation, I made the call to do the hard thing. A run it would be.
Opening the door and into the night I instantly knew I’d made the right decision; the night felt friendly and welcoming. It felt right.
A short walk from the house and I was on the beach — the scene morphing from pitch blank to muted greys and whites as my eyes adjusted to the dark.
By 8:45pm, 90s hard rock music was cranking in my ears and the tidal zone shimmered ahead of me in the moonlight like a lake. With every stride, my foot landed on the reflection of the night sky and I half expected to sink. I never did. Sand crabs scattered as the vibrations of my feet drove them away from their night scavenging. One even latched onto my foot for a time.
For the first time in a long time, I felt completely and utterly in tune with the world (and without sounding like a full hippy, the universe).
Around 12kms in though, my toes started blistering as the refreshingly cool sand turned into sandpaper. I ended the run at 15kms, and despite the bruised toes and aching calves, was on a high for days.
On New Years Eve 2021, I went for another jog, still buzzing. But the first happy steps quickly turned into a confused and laborious plod as my body quickly sheened under a thick film of sweat. Now I sweat a lot at the best of times, but instant sweat was new. “Maybe it’s the weather and the drinks last night?” I said to myself as I puffed up and down the trails. A few days later another run felt the same. 2 days later I tested positive to Covid-19.
The infection itself hung around till mid-January, at which point I left it another week and started training again, this time aiming to use what I’d gleaned in both books (particularly Roll’s) to get a good strong foundation built.
I’d seen promotions for the Noosa Ultra Trail happening in late March this year, and had initially thought of doing the 25km race. But after going through Covid-19 and reading the books, I decided the 50kms would be a more ambitious goal. I’d run 12 half marathon distances during 2021, but had struggled to mentally grasp a marathon before. Further made sense; I could kill two birds with one stone.
On the 19th of January, I registered for the 50km and set about putting a plan together.
I’ll be updating this blog periodically as I go through the journey of preparing for and competing in the Noosa Ultra Trail, as well as what happens after.
Note: This is not quite a snap decision made in the heat of the moment with no running history (it’s probably not that great for your body to do this kind of distance/event without any base fitness so my advice is start small and slow). I’ve been running consistently since late 2018 when I realised I’d been trending towards being a lazy slob for the best part of 7 years. I’ve probably only been taking distance a bit more seriously since 2021.