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Great Ocean Road Ultra – Report Card

May 18, 2016

“Every mountain top is within reach if you just keep climbing.” – Barry Finlay

Parsha Emor in a nutshell from

The Torah section of Emor (“Speak”) begins with the special laws pertaining to the kohanim (“priests”), the kohen gadol (“high priest”), and the Temple service: A kohen may not become ritually impure through contact with a dead body, save on the occasion of the death of a close relative. A kohen may not marry a divorcee, or a woman with a promiscuous past; a kohen gadol can marry only a virgin. A kohen with a physical deformity cannot serve in the Holy Temple, nor can a deformed animal be brought as an offering.

A newborn calf, lamb or kid must be left with its mother for seven days before being eligible for an offering; one may not slaughter an animal and its offspring on the same day.

The second part of Emor lists the annual Callings of Holiness—the festivals of the Jewish calendar: the weekly Shabbat; the bringing of the Passover offering on 14 Nissan; the seven-day Passover festival beginning on 15 Nissan; the bringing of the Omer offering from the first barley harvest on the second day of Passover, and the commencement, on that day, of the 49-day Counting of the Omer, culminating in the festival of Shavuot on the fiftieth day; a “remembrance of shofar blowing” on 1 Tishrei; a solemn fast day on 10 Tishrei; the Sukkot festival—during which we are to dwell in huts for seven days and take the “Four Kinds”—beginning on 15 Tishrei; and the immediately following holiday of the “eighth day” of Sukkot (Shemini Atzeret).

Next the Torah discusses the lighting of the menorah in the Temple, and the showbread (lechem hapanim) placed weekly on the table there.

Emor concludes with the incident of a man executed for blasphemy, and the penalties for murder (death) and for injuring one’s fellow or destroying his property (monetary compensation).

“…I try to make sure it’s not all about finish time and have other goals and to be grateful for lessons learnt!…” – Chrissie Wellington

I like to do a bit of introspection after a race and jot down a few point on what I have learnt from the experience or event. On Sunday I ran my first ultra-marathon. It was a 60km race on the Great Ocean Road in Victoria Australia.

Overall I have to admit that this was a very tough day. The course was very hilly, especially the extra diversions for the ultra-runners and although the weather was pretty mild for this time of the year, it was very windy at times with a bit of rain.


  • General

Overall I think I did sufficient training for the event. If I would have known of the how steep the diversions were beforehand, I would have possibly done more training on that type of terrain in the Dandenongs?

As I have often said, I really enjoyed the training. I had a few crappy weather days on Sundays, but that is life and as the say “the show must go on”. It is too easy to make excuses and skip sessions.

“The key is to trust in your preparation. You have done all you can, so focus on that fact. You will remain the same person before, during and after the race, so the result, however important, will not define you. The journey is what matters.” – Triathlete Chrissie Wellington

  • “Comrades”

I was lucky to have trained a bit with some mates who were training for the Comrades Marathon in South Africa. One of the highlights of training with them was that they had a training coach who set them a very strict and disciplined, but sometimes strange training program.


These guys really stuck to this program which is incredible and this level of self-discipline is very important. If the program said train for 2hours 45 mins, these guys stopped at that point. It is very easy to overtrain and get caught up emotionally in what you think you need to do. Good luck Mark and Daniel for Comrades. Your walking with a backpack training WILL pay dividends as crazy as you may think it was!

“The secret isn’t in your legs, but in your strength of mind. You need to go for a run when it is raining, windy, and snowing, when lightning sets trees on fire as you pass them, when snowflakes or hailstones strike your legs and body in the storm and make you weep, and in order to keep running, you have to wipe away the tears to see the stones, walls, or sky.”

Kilian Jornet, Run or Die

  •  The Crazy Barak

It is always good to find someone who is crazier than me while training. A friend Barak has been following a strict training program to run Comrades, but has not entered Comrades or any other event. I could not convince him to do the GO Ultra with me. I think that I am pretty self-motivated and disciplined in my training, but we all need a goal to push us along.

“Here’s your perfect goal ..: run an ultra!” – Dean Karnazes

I read a beautiful thought on the Aish website titled “Reaching Greatness[1]” – The Torah says “They shall be holy to their God and they shall not desecrate the name of their God. (Num. 21:6)”

The Torah states that Kohanim shall be holy to God and they shall not desecrate his name. This teaches us that a Kohen who falls short of holiness is guilty of desecrating G-d’s Name. Why is it considered desecrating G-d’s Name if one does not become holy? Surely there is a big gap between one who falls short of holiness and one who desecrates God’s name?

Every person is unique. In all history and creation there will never be two people exactly alike, with exactly the same mission. No one but me can achieve my purpose in life; no one but I can fulfill my particular part in the Divine plan. As the Mishnah in Avos states: “If I am not for myself, who will be for me?” You are not supposed to be like that guy or some other great person, rather you are to be yourself. Take all of your positive attributes and all your great qualities, and work on them until you become the best you can be.

  • Support Team

To train for an Ultra you definitely need support from both family and friends. You must not take for granted what they do for you – give you time to train, prepare meals, run with you and provide on-going prepping – Thanks.

The Race

  • Brother Lan

160515 - GOUltra3For me one of the highlights of doing the GO Ultra was running with my brother Elan. I think besides one training session, this was the first time we had run a race together. Thank BL.

  • Planning and more important execution

Going into this or any race, you definitely need a race plan. Elan and my plan was to try walk slowly through all water stations. These were roughly 5km apart. In hindsight I think that we needed a more disciplined approach for the rest of the race. 60km is a long way and you can’t just race the entire event! Even if you have a plan, you need to stick to the plan! AND need a backup plan for when the going gets tough.

  • Chatting on the run

One of the amazing things with the Ultra was the comradery amongst the competitors on the diversions. This support and encouragement really got me through some tough times.

  • Smell the roses

Before this event everyone said that you must just enjoy. Even though at times I was suffering, I can say that I enjoy doing these events and with such magnificent scenery on the Great Ocean Road, you have to enjoy the day.

“Nature’s arena has a way of humbling and energizing us.” Scott Jurek, Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness

  • The falling Piano

File 18-05-2016, 9 34 20 AMBefore doing my first Ironman, a friend said, somewhere along the course you going to feel a piano fall on you. I have to say – YIP a Piano landed on me and it was really tough to recover. Before the 1st diversion I was feeling excellent. The 1st diversion was straight up a mountain. It was 5km’s of pure climbing. I managed to run the entire way up, but I think this was possibly my un-doing. Steep downhills are always tough on your legs (Hilton K always says that the downhill Comrades is tougher than the up and recovery is longer?) and a strong headwind did not help. By the bottom I thought that I would find my feet again, but the the next 14km’s was an uphill (excuse the pun) battle with hills and a strong headwind. The 2nd diversion from the main road was a tough 2.5km’s up. I think this was the first time I have had to walk during a race.

  • Volunteers

Last, but in no way the least important, the volunteers. They did an absolutely amazing job. For them it was also a long day and they truly experienced the weather that makes Victoria famous – 4 seasons in a day.

  • Nutrition

For years I have said I want to stop eating these crap gels and bars on my run’s but I still have not taken the time to prepare healthy alternatives. These gels are truly too sweet and processed. Nutrition has become such a big part of my life and my preparation – Now I need to make it part of my race day! People asked what I did re carbo loading etc. pre-event. I honestly stuck to my normal diet. The only deviation was on the night before the event I cut out fibre and I just had brown rice with tuna in oil. When I arrived in Apollo bay on Saturday night I had a snack of nuts, coconut and berries. My sister in-law Romy was very surprised that I ate before bed! (Loren and I love our post dinner snacks, but we pre-prepare healthy snacks and don’t go back for more.)

Post event

File 18-05-2016, 9 35 26 AMI am very proud that I managed to complete this event, and was happy with my time. I definitely have a new level of respect for all those Comrades and Ultra runners. Not sure if I could have done another 28kms, but the body can do amazing things. Will I be back next year – Not sure!

“Winning isn’t about finishing in first place. It isn’t about beating the others. It is about overcoming yourself. Overcoming your body, your limitations, and your fears. Winning means surpassing yourself and turning your dreams into reality.”

Kilian Jornet, Córrer o Morir

File 18-05-2016, 1 57 46 PMPS – I had to stop en route home to enjoy the scenery and buys some local #lovecraftbeer from a brew pub in the Ottaways for a post run dinner at home.




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  1. Mom permalink

    Loved this blog in particular enjoyed all the ‘valid, meaningful’ quotes! Well done & especially for a brilliant achievement & result for both you & Lan on Sunday.

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