Jan – June 2016

18/5 – This last weekend saw my comeback race at Cooks Tour 50miler.  After a rough month or two with mysterious leach born injury, I managed to put together about seven weeks of solid, un-injured GOOD training.  I had some high hopes going into this race but knew full well it was going to be a hectic four days.

On Saturday, we drove down to Woodford and set up camp at the pool.  After our traditional dinner at the pub we bunkered down for the night and tried to stay warm.  I was up at 2am and ready to roll for the 3am start!  The course was changed due to low numbers in the miler to do the 33k and then the 50k course back to back.  This suited me fine.  I started running with my old mate Nick and top lad, Kiran.  We chatted and the k’s flew by in the dark.  Nick took off from us after a while and Kiran and I settled into a good pace together.  We must have been getting carried away with our conversation as we missed a turn and ended up off course for probably about 10min. Ugh!  After finding our way back and a decent stack, we ran together to the pool before heading back out on the 50k course.

I was then on my own as Kiran put the foot down.  I was still running strong but not able to stay with the speedster!  I cruised along nicely and after a quick nature stop, and only had a rough time over a few k’s leading out to Checkpoint 4.  Here we did a couple of tough loops where I usually struggle but on this day, ran strong.  It was then time to head back toward home and I continued to run well.  I was on the hunt, reeling in runners from different races and having a good time of it.

Due to my detour and both courses being long, I ended up completing 86k in 9hr 12min.  In a small field, it was good enough for 3rd place and I was SUPER happy with how I ran all day.  The hard couple of months training I put in really paid off!  Stoked.  We hung out, ate and chatted for a while before we had to drive back to Bargara.

The following days were epic!  To finish a course from last term at Uni, I had to go to Residential School on Monday and Tuesday.  So, I was up at 3:30am to drive to Rocky.  I was WRECKED and not sure how I made it!  I had a nice couple of days but I was just so tired!  By Tuesday night I was home again and happy to be back to our lovely beach shack.

It has been a super interesting first couple of months to the year and I am looking forward to some rad, hard racing in the back half of the year.  I have been devising a secret master plan which I will reveal in time but I think it could be my most adventurous project thus far.

Thank you to everyone for standing by me in these last few months, particularly my family for the help and support you have offered.  Onward and upward from here on in!

I hope and pray you are on your own adventures and can not wait to hear all about them!  Keep charging friends, loving life and eating plants!  PEACE!

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5/5 – Well it has been a busy few weeks with a tonne of training, life loving and an interview done.  My build up for Cooks Tour has been really great and I have strung together some weeks of high milage and quality workouts….so things are looking good for race day a week and a half away.  Outside of this, life is great and I have no real complaints.

The main purpose of todays snappy blog is to make y’all aware of a recent interview that I did with Melanie of Eager for Life.  I am really proud of the interview and I think you will like it too!  If your keen to check out what I had to say, click here and have a read!  These types of interviews are so fun and I feel privileged to be a part of them.  It helps me get my name out there and also builds awareness around Melanie’s wonderful work.  Everyone is joyful!

So friends, just a snappy big for today to say that I love y’all and I hope this finds you well.  I look forward to reporting on Cooks Tour, hopefully with some great results.  Much love friends.

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9/4 – What is up my friends!?  Hope y’all having a ripper week and enjoying the last bit of this warm weather before the winter gloom moves in!  Im not sure where you are in the world, but here at Bargara it is magical!  I am lapping it up….trust me!

If you have been watching my Instagram at all, you would have seen this week that I have been in contact with a great Australian company, Good Fuel Co. about potential sponsorship.  They sent me five Thunderbird Bars; which is one of the brands they distribute, for my sampling and reviewing.  I was super stoked to get them, ingest their goodness and take some notes in the process.  So, here is my review on the five flavours of Thunderbird Bars up for grabs!

First up, Thunderbird Bars are raw, vegan, gluten free and sugar free!  Winning at life!  A quote from their website, the bars are….’an artisan energy bar company committed to producing powerful sources of human fuel. They strive to reinvent the energy bar by creating products that push the limits of nutrition, packaging design and community’.

The first thing that struck up my interest is the flavours!  1. Cherry, Walnut and Cinnamon.  2. Lemon, Cashew and Apricot, Pineapple.  3. Mango and Papaya.  4. Cashew, Fig and Carrot and lastly 5. Almond, Apricot and Vanilla.  Super interesting!  Every bar has only between six and nine whole food ingredients.  All SUPER yummy, basic and nutrient dense.  Upon opening, it is visibly noticeable that the ingredients labeled are actually IN the bars.  I really like the fact that they haven’t been blended to a pulp and create an awesome texture to the bars.  The size of them is fair, although when it comes to healthy food like this, I always want more!  Priced at $4.95 each (with free shipping from Good Fuel Co.), they are at the higher price end of this type of product.  Whilst there are many other bars on the market that are great and at a cheeper price point, Thunderbird Bars would be considered a premium bar.  So, lets look at the different flavours on offer….

  1. Cherry, walnut and cinnamon – This flavour was really pleasant, had a mild taste and surprisingly in the ingredients there was sweet potato!  My favourite!  The overall taste was really nice and not at all overbearing.  I could really taste the sweet potato and with big chunks of walnuts (which I don’t usually chase), was a great combo.  A great start to my Thunderbird experience!

2.  Lemon, cashew and apricot – The apricot in this bar was pretty    prevalent and whilst I usually love lemon, it created an interesting (not sure good??) flavour.  I don’t know what it was about this one but the smell when I opened the packet was a bit bizarre and not all that inviting.  Unfortunately, this was my least favourite flavour.

3. Pineapple, mango and papaya – Oh my gosh!  This flavour was amazing!!  The taste and texture was beautiful.  There were unsuspecting ingredients in this bar again (prunes and buckwheat), but combined with the main products, created a taste to die for!  Yum!

4.  Cashew, figs and carrot – Carrot in a raw bar?!  Weird!  But hay, I LOVE figs so maybe it could work! Well….it did!  Again this bar was beautiful and along with bar three above, my favourite!  The lingering after taste of this bar was amazing.  An odd, really tasty bar!

5.  Almond, apricot and vanilla – The ingredients in this bar again looked really appealing.  It was a really chunky bar and I think I even got a whole almond!  Yes!  The apricot flavour was a little overbearing in this one and I was hoping for a little more vanilla/almond flavour but it was still an enjoyable feed!  A great last experience!

All the nutritional information for the bars can be found at the Good Fuel Co. website, but trust me, it is ALL good!  I have also posted some photos of the bars etc. on my Instagram page at Adventures and Activism so go check them out.  As mentioned, shipping is free within Australia on all products from Good fuel, and I can really see Thunderbird bars making a dent in the health food community in Australia.

I just want to thank Kitty and the team at Good Fuel Co. for sending them to me and make sure you head over and pick some up!  Tell em I sent ya!

Have a rad week everyone!  I hope you enjoyed this little different blog and your training, life, love and adventure is going ripper!  Much love!  Run on, Plant Strong.

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3/4 – WHAT IS UP?!  Well, I am back!  After all the muck around of the last month and a half, I started back running last week.  I started short and built up over the week and this week started back on a seven week program for Cooks Tour 50miler.  Thats a lot of weeks!  It has been a bit of a testing time but I believe all these things happen for a reason.

I managed to put on a couple of kgs over the time I was unable to run, so this past seven days, committed to a Raw Till 4 style of eating.  This also was an interesting experiment and one that went pretty well.  I managed to lose the weight I put on and am ready for the next six weeks build up for Cooks.  Come at me!  I am aiming to budge those last few kilos I am always on about to be in the leanest, fittest shape possible for this race.  As a part of this journey, I have started a ‘one photo a day for a year’ on Instagram.  This is a big challenge that sometimes seems a little overwhelming but one that I am enjoying thus far.  Check out my handle at Adventures and Activism if your keen.

Additionally, on the social media front, I have also just completed an electronic interview with Melanie at Eager for Life.  This will be posted on her page in the next couple of weeks so stand by for that announcement too.  She is a beautiful soul and doing some great work in all things health and vegan.

I have recently been in touch with an Australian company Good Fuel Co. and have been sent some super yummy Thunderbird Raw Bars.  I am in the process of sampling and reviewing the bars so stay tuned for that!  In the mean time, if you need any natural race/life fuel, check out their site for a mix of bars, chia gels and cool kit.

Apart from running related adventures, life is moving along nicely.  I am now working pretty much full time hours at the Windmill and have some exciting ventures planned for this year work and holiday wise.  This week has also been school holidays which always throws a bit of a spanner in the works for working parents.  We have been blessed to have the help of my mum and without her this week would have been pretty much non-doable!  Thanks mum!

Sometimes, life at Bargara seems to roll on without any major activity to announce.  However, it is in these day to day’s that I find solace and peace.  Our existence here truly is blessed and one that I cherish.  Whilst I believe in constantly being on the hunt for ‘better’, being content in the present and what we are given is a gift.  Much love and gratitude.

I pray and hope this finds you all well.  Hopefully in the coming weeks we will start to experience some cooler weather here at Bargara but in the mean time, we will continue to sweat it out, love life and be grateful for every day we are given.  Namaste friends.

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18/3/16 -Well, the last couple of weeks have been a pretty up and down ride of emotion.  It is a reasonably long story so for those not interested, back out now!  It is kind of interesting though so if your keen, buckle up!

About a month and a bit ago, I went for a run up at Connondale National Park with Jason and got mauled by leaches.  I had no less than 20-30 on my feet (I was in sandals) for over five hours and it was TERRIBLE!  I didn’t think much of it at the time (apart from trying to stop the bleeding) and carried on.  As the next week went on, my right foot got pretty darn sore and I pretty much had to stop running.  I rested, was in a boot, walked and then tried to run after some time but still sore.  On physio and doctor advise I was assigned to the bike, no impact and as much rest as I could.

In the mean time, the lympth nodes in my groin got incredibly swollen and painful.  I was in a world of hurt, clammy and feeling rough!  I ended up in hospital after blood work and scans for observation.  It was initially believed I had cellulitis.  After some time again, nothing showed up and I was released eventually on antibiotics.  I took these for a week and three days after stopping, the swelling returned and I was back to the doctors.

After more blood work, a CT, bone scans and ultra sounds of my abdomen, groin and foot….NOTHING!  It has been super frustrating as my foot has been obviously sore and for thoes who know me, it takes A LOT to stop me running so I am none the wiser what is going on!  Basically at this point, I am going to start running on Monday and see what happens!  Who knows!  It is a mystery and I know my foot has been sore but still have no answers!

On a positive, as of tomorrow I would have done 800km on the bike in 19days!  Pretty stoked with that!  Good to be able to do something at least!

Providing my foot is ok, I intend on working up to do Cooks Tour 50miler and then possibly a 100miler in Melbourne in July.  One step at a time though, literally!

On a side note, after a fair amount of muck around and organising, we have settled on our little beach shack at Bargara and now are the proud owners.  We are SO SO happy here and feel completely blessed to have this home.

So, it has been a pretty hectic couple of weeks/months for me but hopefully onward and upward from here!  This weekend I was meant to be in New Zealand getting ready for Northburn 100miler tomorrow….but it was not meant to be unfortunately!  Next year I hope my dream will come true to do the race I have wanted to do for about three to four years.

I appreciate and love you all for your support and kindness through this process.  It means the world to me.  I hope this finds you all well, safe and rocking it!  Keep safe friends, much love and well chat soon!

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28/2/16 – Well…..it is two weeks into my injury and I am struggling on.  I think I wrote last week that nothing showed up on my scans but my foot be still sore….sometimes!  Potential stress fractures/sore foots are a tedious adventure thats for sure!

I did one week in the boot and then went and saw my physio Nix.  She is still a little perplexed as to what the injury is but gave me the go ahead to get out of the boot and start walking.  So, this week I have done: 10, 20, 30, 40, 60 and 60min walks.  It has actually been nice to be outside doing something instead of eating and dreaming of running!  My foot has held up well but it is so hard to tell exactly what it is doing.  This week, I will return to some running and see how things go with my foot.  It is so hard to tell.  But time will.

On a positive note, this week we went unconditional on our house!  We have absolutely loved this beach shack since we moved in.  We approached the owner about six months ago about buying the place but he said no.  However, about a month or so back, their circumstances changed and he asked us if we were still interested.  Of COURSE we were so we did everything in our power to make it happen!  It took a little while but after negotiating some speed bumps, everything has been finalised.  All that is left to do is sign the paperwork and everything settles early March.  We are SO stoked and love this little Beach Shack.  We will mould it into our own beach oasis over the years and it will be exciting to see where it ends up.

Apart from that, Corlè turned three this week (THREE) and all else is smoothly sailing.  I hope to have some good news next week about my foot but well see how that all pans out.  It could be worse that is for sure!

I hope and pray this finds you all fit, well and chasing after your dreams.  Keep smiling, loving life and being amazing.  Much love friends!

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21/2/16 – Well, what a week it has been!  Apart from all the normal (work, family, hang outs etc) I have had a rough trot of it!

So, as you would remember from last week, I found out I have a suspected stress fracture in my foot.  I was already a little bummed about this but then Monday something else started happening!  I got some serious swelling in my right groin, it was SUPER painful and I started feeling crappy!  This went on for a couple of days and I went to see my doctor on Wednesday.  I was feeling dusty!  She gave me referals for blood work and scans.  Well Wednesday night I nearly called the Ambulance cause I felt crook.  I battled on and went into work for a couple hours Thursday morning.  I then took off, got blood tests, my scans and my doctor sent me up to the hospital.  I was worried.

Initial thoughts were that I had cellulitis, however after about six hours, checking bloods, pushing and prodding, it was determined that I had a sever reaction in my lymph nodes (groin) from……….getting mauled by the leaches up on the Connondale loop! What the heck!  I know I was worried about what those blood suckers were doing to me but far out!  I am now on some antibiotics, rest and recovery.  I still have some reasonable swelling but am feeling a bit better which is good.

Some good news though, my CT scan of my foot showed no fracture. This can mean a couple of things; that there is no fracture, that there is one but not showing up (common) or the fracture is really minor.  I am off to see my physio Nix again tomorrow and see what she thinks.  With a bit of luck, I will have to have only a couple of weeks off instead of six!  That would be beautiful!  I plan on starting some training again this week (yoga, bike riding) but I can not wait to get back running!  All in good time!

So, as you can see, it has been an interesting week that is for sure!  Heres hoping the rest of the year is a little less adventurous on the injury/illness side!  At the moment I am taking one step at a time, getting the diet in check and ready for when I can run again.  Super keen.

I hope this finds you all well!  Stay strong, smile big and cherish each day!   Much love and heres to a more uplifting report next week!  Beautiful!

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15/2 /16 – Well, the last couple of weeks since I posted has certainly been a wild ride!  My training was going SUPER well and I was shaping up for a real, red hot go at Northburn100miler the week before Easter.  I cranked out a 50k in the ridiculous humidy we have had in Bundy, I went to the Coast for a training weekend with Jason and Anna which included the 53k Connondale loop and heaps of fun.  I have been dragging tyres, stepping and doing bulk k’s to get ready for my next adventure…..until….

This week, since the Connondale loop, my foot has had a mysterious pain.  It has gotten sorer through the week to the point where 2k was very painful.  I had the whole weekend off and tried to run this morning and it ended in more bad pain.  I took a trip to Nix my physio friend and, scans need to confirm but it looks like I have a stress fracture in my right foot.  I am so devo that I am not going to be able to go to New Zealand to race as Northburn is a race I have wanted to do for about three years.  Looks like it will have to wait till next year! I will more than likely have 6weeks in a boot and no running.  Not happy!

On a positive though, I am really going to try and make the most of time away from running.  I don’t get to enjoy many other activities when I am running so I am looking forward to delving into my meditation practice, some yoga, biking and maybe some swimming.  Its no running, but it is something!  I want to also focus on cleaning up my diet and getting in the best ‘non-running’ shape I can so when I come back, Ill be ready to rumble!

Apart from running stuff, we are super excited that it looks like we are buying the Beach Shack we are living in.  We are still waiting on final approval but all is looking good!  We LOVE this house and have many plans for it over the years and really think it is a house we can grow in.  We have been so blessed with the opportunity and praying all the final bits and bobs go through.

All else is going well in the Grills house and life is gold!  I will be a hob-a-long for a while but it could be a lot worse.

I hope and pray this finds you all well, loving live and smiling like a crocodile!  Much love, stay the path and see ya soon.  Mat

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18/1/16 – This last week has been spent holidaying at Brunswick Heads and exploring the North Coast of NSW.  O.M.Gosh!  Beautiful and what an incredible time!  Without making you all jealous, it was ripper!  As a reminder, some of you might remember I lined up for Hares and Hounds before the holiday….well here is a little recap…

Well, you think I would have learnt by now but the week leading up to Hares and Hounds (taper week), I got sick. I got a terrible dry cough and kept me awake for the four nights leading up to the race. This in turn obviously made me tired, as well as ‘lung tired’ but otherwise not too bad. For those who don’t know, tapering is what you do leading up to a race, backing off your training and getting your body fresh for the big day. My tapers these days are pretty short however what I believe happens (not necessarily scientifically proven, just experiential) is that when I back off from large volumes of training, my body relaxes, along with my immune system, opening me up to sickness. Very incontinent. Anyway, no excuses, I still planned on having a good whack at my 4hr 30min goal just for the fun of it!

We rocked up to the race and camped out with friends. Dave then happened to inform me that the course had changed and was a fair bit harder. Probably would have helped if I studied the course before hand ay?! Anyway, this, and being not 100% health wise had me re-thinking my goals. All that said, I got a little sleep the night before after a fun dinner out with Jason, Anna, Dave, Vanessa, Mum, Dad and my crew and woke at 2am ready for a 3am start.

We were off and moving before long and I settled into pace with my mate Rod from Rocky. We were going a little faster than I planned but felt ok due to it being dark, cool and still able to converse, and CONVERSE we did! We had a lot of catching up to do. We pretty much stayed together till half way (apart from one little void) where we turned around and head for home. By this time the sun had come up and we were still moving well. At about the 35k mark I began to feel a little strain on my lungs from all the coughing but kept moving ok. Leading up to the 40k mark, Rod kept setting the pace and I was hanging on by a thread. In one section along the macadamia farm we were doing sub 5min pace and I was JUST hangin on. Not long after this, I really started battling for about 8k. I did all I could to hang with Rod and was super stoked for his company but he eventually surged ahead.

I did my best to keep moving forward as quick as I could but was losing time. From reasonably early on and after some calculations it looked like I could still hit a decent sub 5hr pace for the 52k but this also seemed to be fading quickly. I struggled through the final few k’s, doing all I could and ran in, hurting. I experienced some decent dizziness and headaches during the race, even though I was well and truly on top of my nutrition and fluids. I think this may just have been due to the sickness.

All that being said, I finished in a time of 4hr 59min (unofficial) and was overall really happy with how I ran. It was a completely different course, harder and much more beautiful. I really enjoyed the course. I managed to get pipped at the line by my buddy from the Coast Ben but many props to him, he finished strong. Rod finished a bit before me, dad struggled a bit but my hero of the day was Dave who ran amazingly and finished second, even after taking a slight wrong turn. I said it to him personally and Ill say it now, if he puts his head down, focuses, trains hard and rips in, with some experience, he is going to be a great trail ultra runner. It is an honour to know and be mates with such a humble, lovely guy. As usual at Hares and Hounds, it finished with a swim, a good feed and many laughs. I love my trail dirtbag family so very much and particularly Jason and Anna who helped with the kids and came out, just to hang, even when they weren’t racing. Much love. Thanks to mum too who helped out with my gear at the half way. Other props to Luna Sandals, Ultimate Direction and my girl Nike running shorts. Gold!

Another race done and dusted and more lessons learnt. A beautiful, tough day at the office but one I wouldn’t trade in an instant. Much love all, get out in nature, run trails and go vegan. Plant power for the win! Namaste!

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2/1/16 – Well, 2015 is done and dusted!  So so bizarre to think that we are now in 2016!  It seems like I blinked and the year was gone!  There have been some great highs and a few battles, but nothing that I could not learn from every day!  So, lets re-cap a few memorable moments….

The highlight of the year running wise was me surprisingly winning my first ever event.  The Buffalo Grand Slam consisted of three races over three days in Victorias high country (32k, 75k and 43k) with over 9000m of cumulative climbing.  I came out on top and to date, this is my most proudest result.  This then got backed up shortly after with me taking part in a four man team with the Gold Coast business Wild Earth and our taking third place overall.  I then placed 6th at Glasshouse 100miler (getting lost for the first time and adding about 8k to the course!), and a solid finish at Blackall 100.  I did a number of other races which were all super enjoyable, along with some cool adventures to the Connondale loop and Mt Walsh with my trail dirtbag buddies.  I also mentioned last week that I hit 5200k for the year which made me super proud of the year in running

This year saw my eldest daughter, Pria, finish her first year of school and my youngest, Corle grow into one of the funniest, spirited kids I have ever met.  Tegan has been doing an amazing job juggling extra work, house stuff and general life.  She is my true life mate and I couldn’t do anything I do without her loving support and guidance.  A little prodding in the right direction helps from time to time too!  We also attended my sisters wedding which was amazing and stoked to now officially have Adrian as part of our crazy family.

In other general life, we had some nice little weekend getaways, I finished my first year at uni doing teaching, took up Yoga, bought a little pop top caravan for our adventures, frequented a number of our favourite cafes, spent an absorbent amount of time at the beach and loved being active together as a family.  Life has certainly had its ups and downs but overall, it has been a solid year.

2016 is already shaping up to be a ripper.  I have some specific goals I am looking to achieve this year and adventures I want to take part in.  Our family I know will continue to go from strength to strength and I am also hoping to partake in a BIG adventure of another kind so stay tuned for that!

Lastly, I want to thank you all for following my adventures, being amazing friends and supporting me in my madness.  Remember, life is short, be compassionate, live healthfully, seek out a plant based lifestyle, be adventurous, be loving and kind to one another and embrace the moment.  Sending much love to y’all and heres to a ripper 2016.  Namaste!

Live long, Run on, Plant strong