Running With Heart: ❤❤❤ Mission 231

By Andrew Neville

My Activity Tracking

1,116
kms

My target 2310 kms

Recovery Week 16/10/21

Recovery week! 
An essential part of any training program, but I find it so hard mentally. Very similar to the taper period leading into race day.
Perhaps, I've found it worse this time because of the size of the event in front of me.
My head is telling me I need every run, every session,  to give me every chance of success at the Sonder Monster. Noting, that success at the Sonder Monster is just to finish. 
My body is telling me to chill, to enjoy a quieter week, to rest and be fresh for the return to hard training on Monday.
And rest (and recovery) is important. I know that - deep down. Especially this week. 
I had my 2nd Covid shot on Sunday and it hit me for 6 for 2 days. Recovery is needed.
So is patience. 
I want to be out there, hitting the trails. Improving myself. Preparing myself for the challenge to come. The challenge I'm in. Yet it's just one week. And a needed week.
Forget the training for a sec. Life alone is hectic and stressful at the moment: Covid; lockdowns; vaccines; roadmaps to freedom; family and friends safety and well being; a business to run; mental health; the list could go on. 
Yet as I rest, and take a step back into the shadows so to speak, my head is screaming at me "What are you doing? Get out there. Train. Run. You need to. You need this".
And I do. But I also need the rest. The recovery. This journey isn't a sprint. It's an Ultra. Slow and steady. Patience. God taught me that at City2Surf perhaps 12 years ago and it's a lesson I've had to remind myself of countless times since and it's never let me down. 
Rest up.

Here we go! 30/09/21 ❤

It's official!!
I am entered in the 231km Sonder Monster in May 2022.
I will be running the entire Larapinta Trail in the Northern Territory, Australia as part of the West Macs Running Festival.
WHY?
In support of @heartfoundationau , to help fight Australia's No.1 Killer Disease - Heart Disease.
Every km, in training and in the event itself, Running With Heart.

Frustrations ❤ 26/08/21

It has been a frustrating week.
My training had been going so well, near perfect in terms of consistency. Over 18 weeks and 5 days, I had only missed 1 run.
Then it all changed in the split of a second last Saturday. 
I had just began my run session for the day - it was going to be a hill session, ran over 60 minutes. It lasted 600m
Heading down my first descent,  I rolled my right ankle badly on a rock. And that was my run done.
Thankfully,  my wife, Monique was also out running and was able to help me with the slow limp home. The afternoon was spent with Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. 
I was a dejected figure.
Angry. Frustrated. Annoyed. 
I couldn't weigh bear, it was sore and swollen.
I went to bed hoping that I would wake and a miracle had occurred.  That I'd be able to head out into the early spring weather for my 2hr Long Run. Sadly,  that didn't happen. Still sore, swollen and unable to walk.
The only place I headed was the emergency department. 
After 90 minutes, I left with good news - there was no fracture. I also left with crutches. 
The past 4 days has seen improvement, but it has been used perhaps more than it should have.  It is hard to rest as a Personal Trainer. 
I can walk on it at least. There is still pain and some swelling. There is now also bruising. 
The thing that perhaps has been hardest is not running. I've gone from missing only run in 19 weeks, to missing 5 runs in 6 days. Making it more frustrating is that I was primed to take on 100km for the first time in a few weeks. 
Now, I sit here, with my foot elevated,  my right ankle in a compressed sleeve, not knowing my plans for the next few weeks. 
Frustrated? Yes. 
Annoyed? Absolutely. 
Giving up? Not a chance.
This injury, although incredibly frustrating,  is simply a speed bump. 
It's part of the journey.  And the journey continues, every step (when I can), as always, Running With Heart. 
Andrew

Celebrating Milestones ❤ 17/08/21

It's been a big few days of milestones. 
FIRSTLY, I recorded my 10th Running With Podcast. I'm truly amazed how the podcast has been received and the conversations it has started. I've been enjoying sharing my story - from my early days of running to now, and how different moments along the way have influenced who I am today. 
Sharing my personal battles in the journey has been easier than I imagined and so rewarding. I look forward to continuing to share more of my journey and who I am and where I'm going in the weeks ahead as I prepare for the Sonder Monster. 
You can listen to the episodes of the Running With Heart Podcast on Spotify or the Running With Heart YouTube Channel:
https://youtu.be/uHo3sbdt4dk

The SECOND milestone was completing an 8hr Training Run - my longest training run to date. Ever. Only twice before have I gone longer. Both in events.  Firstly the long day at Big Red Run (11hr 38min - 84km) in 2016 and the 12hr fundraising event for Team Keely (12hr - 78km) in December 2020. I've pulled up really well from the 8hr run showing the training is paying off. I know though I have more to do though to achieve the ultimate goal of running 231km for the Heart Foundation. I know my mental strength and self belief needs a lot of focus too.

The THIRD milestone was reaching over $2000 in the fundraising tally. This has been helped along by over 45 people signing up to the 231 Skipping Challenge.  The challenge alone has raised over $1000. The response has been incredible and beyond my wildest expectations.  THANK YOU everyone for supporting Mission 231 and the Heart Foundation. 

I look forward to sharing more milestones with you, as we achieve them along the journey towards the 231km Sonder Monster in May 2022.
Run With Heart. 
Andrew

Taking The Good With The Bad ❤ 09/08/21

Wouldn't it be nice if every run could go well, be enjoyable and be finished feeling fantastic?
Unfortunately, it doesn't happen that way.
As runners, and just like in every day life, we have to take the good days with the bad.
I had one such experience on the weekend.
On Saturday, I was down for a 
2hr night run, to be backed up on Sunday morning with a 2.5hr run.
Both runs I was doing on the trails.
I spent Saturday excited for the late afternoon to come so I could get out and start the adventure of running by head torch, under the stars.
Needless to say, the run didn't go to plan. From the moment it started, the run had no rhythm to it. I was start, stop. Start, stop. Whether it was for fallen trees, blackberries, vlogging or sunset photos. It just wasn't flowing freely. My legs were heavy and my mind wasn't in the game. I found it hard to focus and had to battle negative talk. Some hills that I usually cruise up, were walked. Some with hands on thighs. 
At 70 minutes I almost pulled the pin. 
But I persisted.  Pushed on. And finished the run. It felt messy, slow and hard. 
Doubts rose in my head about the ability to see this mission through.
Sunday, promised a new day. But I was apprehensive about the run after struggling through 2hrs only 14hrs earlier.
Today, the run was 30min longer and I was chasing 732m elevation (250m more than yesterday) to achieve my goal of 2000m elevation for the week. 
The run was the complete opposite of yesterday. The hills were easier. My rhythm was good. My legs although tired, felt strong. At 2hrs, with only 30min to go, I wanted to keep running. To run further. The longer I ran, the better I felt. 
In fact, when I finished and discovered I was 22m short of my elevation goal, I continued for another 5 minutes to gain the needed elevation. Goal achieved. 
My confidence in completing the mission returned.  
All in one run. 
Saturday felt horrible. Sunday, it felt amazing. Not perfect but amazing. Especially so after Saturday.
And that's what's important.  Taking the good with the bad. 
We learn from the bad runs. Not only from our errors but we learn a new level of grit, determination and resilience.  
And it is through applying these lessons and traits to ourselves, we improve both as a person and a runner. 
And through this period of growth, we develop an appreciation of the journey, accepting that without the bad, we can't experience the good. 
Run With Heart.
Andrew


Grateful 19/07/21 ❤

Do you ever stop and think how lucky you are? Do you do it enough?
I know I certainly don't. 

It can be so easy to get caught up in the stresses and worries of the world that all we see is "cloudy skies" and the "bad things" that are happening to us right now. Not realising that there is good things happening too. We perhaps just take them for granted.
The other day whilst out running, I realised how much i have to be thankful for. 
Firstly, the fact with Covid currently locking down Greater Sydney, with which the border is less than 50km away, I have the freedom to leave my house when I want. I can run as far as I want, for as long as I want. 
I can still operate my PT business. Yes on restrictions, and differently to how I was 18 months ago, but I can still do it. 
These are just two examples of being grateful during Covid. 
I am also blessed to have a supportive, loving wife and family who have more belief in me than I do, and encourage, support, and sacrifice a great deal for me to chase my dreams.
I'm grateful to be surrounded by a community both in the flesh and online that supports and cheers for me every single day as I share this Mission 231 journey and offer the fitness service that is ANT Fitness. 
I'm grateful that I'm showered with the gift of running and talking that has provided the opportunities to be given a platform to talk of fitness, health, the Heart Foundation and mental health. One such opportunity came tonight, with the chance to talk to the boys on the Pick 199 Podcast, providing a wider audience with which to share my Running With Heart message. Truly grateful.
So many things to be grateful for, yet I can catch myself some days, most days if I'm honest, complaining, whinging and worrying about things not going how I planned, or the weather or something far less trivial. 
As they say, there is someone always worse off, we just need to remind ourselves of that.
I also believe there is a positive in every situation - even when it appears there are only "cloudy skies". 
We just need to change our outlook and our attitude, and we will soon realise how much we have to be truly grateful for.
Run With Heart.

Persistence 08/07/21 ❤

Things don't always go to plan, even in running. Sometimes, especially in running. 
But it is how we respond to those curveballs that are thrown our way  or the obstacles we have to navigate on our journey that ultimately determine the outcome. 
It comes down to persistence - how much we are willing to push through, to endure, despite the circumstances before we give up.
I'm fast learning in Ultra Running, you need a high level of persistence to not just have a chance at succeeding at your goals but just to get through a training run. 
In the last 2 weeks alone, I've had 3 training sessions where it would have been easy to throw my hands in the air and say "I'm done, it's just not my day".
But I didn't. I persisted.
Training 1: I'm out on the trails for a 90min run. In the first 30 minutes, I had an eye to eye confrontation with 2 Kangaroos that made the Hulk look small; a stare off with a ready to charge wombat; then a fall in the mud whilst trying to avoid a mud hole. (Yes, I ended up in the said mud hole anyway).
Training 2: This time out for a 75min trail run at lunch. 10 minutes in and the body is  not feeling it. Everything is heavy and did I mention hungry? My mind wasn't even in the game and I even paused in front of a fallen branch at hip height to try and muster the energy to bend to get under it. Then nearing the end I stepped onto a fallen log across the path to have it give way and crash onto my left shoulder. 
Training 3: 2 days after my Training 2 mishaps. I've headed out for a 5hr Long Run. I have a crook stomach 40 minutes and have another 25 minutes before there's a toilet. I make it.
10 minutes later I'm replicating the speed skaters ahead of Steve Bradbury in his race for gold. Except my ice was mud. I went up and came crushing down. Yep, on that left shoulder.  And ribs. And hip. And wrist. Boy it hurt! I'm 90 minutes in. I have 3.5hrs to go. Surely I'm in my right to stop? Call it a day. 
No. I persisted. Why?
Because it's not about me. It's about the Mission. Mission 231. It's about the Heart Foundation. It's about the cause.
The reason for continuing were greater than the reasons for stopping. 
If I'm going to succeed at running 231km on the Larapinta Trail for the Heart Foundation, I've got to get use to falling and picking myself up and persisting. I'm going to be fatigued.  There are lots of rocks. Lots. I've got to run on those rocks through the night. Twice. There are going to be trips. It's a given. 
I need to be persistent. A lot.
But it is certainly so much easier to persist when it's for a cause.  Something close to your heart. And that's what I have with my Running With Heart Mission 231.
Yes the trips are are given. But so is my persistence!



WSER (Western States Endurance Run) 28/06/21 ❤

Over the weekend I was fortunate enough to be able to watch the livestream of WSER - the world's oldest 100 mile trail run and is arguably the pinnacle of Ultra Running. 
Watching Jim Walmsley achieve a 3-peat, Beth Pascal winning the womens race, and numerous other heroic performances, is nothing short of inspiring. 
It makes you want to run. And run far. It is so motivating. 
But then you see the other side of the race. The moments of despair.  The runners who's race just wasn't meant to be this year. And it's in these moments that makes me question once again my own journey and my own chances of success in my mission.
If these incredible athletes, fall short of their goal of 160km because it just wasn't their day/race...how am I meant to get to my goal of 231km? What if that happens to me? What if it isn't my day when the Sonder Monster comes around next May?
And these thoughts are all part of the journey. The preparation. The mental training. For I know, come the big event, the mental challenge will be more than likely bigger than the physical challenge. The mind will want the body to stop before the body needs to or wants to.
So it's important to recognise these moments of doubt now and to use them to build my mental toughness. To remember, that running isn't about comparing yourself to others. Because everyone is different and everyone's race goals, expectations and journeys are different.
When I'm running the Sonder Monster, I'm not running to win. I'm there to do my best and make a difference for people who have battled or are battling heart disease. And when things get tough, and don't go my way, I need to pick myself up and keep moving forward, because it won't matter if I'm running fast or slow, as long as I'm running with heart.

Rest Days 22/06/21 ❤

Today was a rest day in my training program.
I find I get agitated and well, restless on rest days.
I think and I feel that I should be running, out training.
However, I am learning, although slowly, to appreciate the rest days. To enjoy them.
They are as important, if not more important than the training days.
For without rest, without recovery, my body can't perform at the quality standard I expect from it. At the level I need it to, especially when preparing for such an epic event like the Sonder Monster. 
And as my weekly kilometres increase,  the rest days and the quality of them  become even more important. 
As the old saying goes: practice makes perfect. Yes, even when it comes to rest!

Self Belief vs Self Doubt 20/06/21 ❤

Saturday night is the night I usually allocate the most time to stretching and visualisation. 
I will spend 40 minutes stretching the body, focusing on any area that may feel tighter than usual. During this stretching time, my mind will wander to thoughts of the journey to come and the ultimate destination - running the 231km of the Larapinta Trail in the Sonder Monster event. 
This then leads into 10 minutes of lying on my back, eyes closed, visualising race day. How I feel, what it might look like and how I might perform. 
Here I am looking for positive images and positive reactions. It helps builds both self confidence and self belief.
However, it doesn't always work out that way. Sometimes, I can find a negative thought slips in...perhaps it is picturing running out of water in the middle of nowhere,  far from any checkpoint. It might be thinking "what happens if I have an anxiety attack" in the middle of nowhere?"
These sudden negative thoughts can quickly build to an avalanche of thoughts that have my self belief spiralling out of control and soon I'm questioning my role in this mission and my chances of success.
So it is important for me, as I lie there on my back in my visualisation mode, to quickly recognise any thought that maybe negative, and replace them with positive thoughts and outcomes. That is the aim of my visualisation training...to build a positive mindset and to be in a position to remain positive on race day regardless of what situation is thrown at me.
The weekly session also contributes I find, to taking a positive mindset into my weekly running.
Run with heart.

The Podcast 13/06/2021 ❤

I am excited to announce that the very first episode of the "Running With Heart" Podcast is available on both Spotify and YouTube.
The Podcast gives me the opportunity to share the journey even more with you, my supporters. 
The weekly episodes will cover a range of topics including: My training and journey progress; discussion on heart health issues; Mission 231 - it's fundraising and the big event itself - the Sonder Monster.  
The podcast will also provide an opportunity of reflection on my past running adventures and training when I open up some of my running journals. 
It also gives me the chance to share and talk of my own mental health battles and provide an insight into myself that not many know or get to see. Hopefully, it will encourage a lot more talk in the area of mental health too.
So head across to Spotify or YouTube and have a listen, I'd love to know what you think.

Raising Awareness 09/06/21 ❤

Yes Mission 231 is about running 231km on the Larapinta Trail in support of the Heart Foundation. 
But that support isn't just limited to raising donations for the Heart Foundation to fight heart disease... Australia's No.1 Killer.
It is also about raising awareness of heart disease, heart health, and how you can look after your own health. 
Do you know the risk factors of heart disease? Do you know how many you have?
Do you know the signs of a Heart Attack?
As a first step may I suggest you please checkout the Heart Foundation website: www.heartfoundation.org.au 
and follow them on Instagram:
@heartfoundationau
or on Facebook:
@HeartFoundation

Night Running: 06/06/21 ❤

Rounded off the week with a late Sunday afternoon run.
Went out on the local trails for a bit over 2hrs and made sure I got in at least 30 minutes in the dark.
With the Sonder Monster taking anywhere between 48 and 60 hours, I know I've got two nights out running the Larapinta trail.
I've got to make sure I spend a lot of time in the next 12 months running by head torch. This is to help me train for the navigation of trails in the dark, quick reflexes and core work for those stumbles on rocks and tree roots and getting use to things that go bump in the shadows. 

Touched by the support! ❤ 04/06/21

I'm so grateful for all the encouragement and support I've received verbally in the first week of the mission. 
To know so many people are already invested in this journey and their belief in me is very touching.
Thank you.
To have so much support drives me in the tougher training sessions and helps keeps me motivated. 
Run with heart. 
Andrew

The start of the journey! ❤ 01/06/21

In 2019, it had been 6 years since I'd run the NYC Marathon for the Heart Foundation and although I'd done some smaller fund-raising events in that time, I felt it was again time to commit to something big for the Heart Foundation. 
The Boston Marathon had been on my "to do list" since NYC and so I began the Running With Heart: The Boston Project.
Unfortunately, as I continued working towards qualifying for Boston, the Covid Pandemic took over the world. Races became virtual. The Boston Marathon for me, was no longer a realistic option.
During 2020, I completed 2 virtual marathons. Yet, I still felt the call to do something for the Heart Foundation. Something big. 
I realised that the Marathon for me was not the challenge I was after. Having completed 13 of them, it was in my comfort zone. I wanted something that took me outside my comfort zone. Something that forced me to grow, to challenge who I was and what I am capable of.
Then I heard about the Sonder Monster - a race that gave you the opportunity to run the entire Larapinta trail (231km) with over 8000m of elevation. The catch - you had to complete it in under 60hrs.
At first I dismissed it. No way. Crazy stuff. Not for me. 
The furthest I've run is 84km in 2016 at Big Red Run, and more recently 78km in December 2020 at a 12hr fundraising event for FOP and #teamkeely. 231km - no thank you. 
But Larapinta kept showing up - in magazines, news stories, social media posts. I was inspired by reading "Rise of the Ultra Runners" by Adharanand Finn.
I prayed. Listened. Prayed again. 
Slowly the dots were being connected, my doubts answered in various ways through podcasts,  articles, and people like Lucy Batholomew.
It was time. This was it. The challenge.  12 months to prepare. To test myself in the Australian Outback once again. To attempt an event,  a distance,  I honestly have no idea whether I can complete. 
Because it is not about me. It is about Running With Heart. Running for the Heart Foundation and for all those who have in someway been affected by Heart Disease, Australia's biggest killer.
So come with me on this journey into the unknown. 
Do I have what it takes? 
Can I run 231km? 
I'm certainly going to try. 
And as always,  every step, will be Running With Heart.

Mission 231 ❤ 31/05/21

I’ve taken on a challenge to Do it for Heart!

Heart disease remains Australia’s biggest killer, claiming 48 lives every day. 

Stop and think about that statistic for a moment. 

THAT IS 2 LIVES EVERY HOUR!

I am a Personal Trainer and keen runner who is passionate about fitness and health.

I have lost family and friends to Heart Disease, and know many others too, who have lost loved ones to Australia's Biggest Killer.

This is why I started "Running With Heart" back in 2010, raising money and awareness for the Heart Foundation, whilst training for and running my first half marathon. Since then I've run various half and full marathons for the Heart Foundation including the NYC Marathon in 2013. 

But NOW it is time for something EPIC! Something that is way outside my comfort zone and that pushes me to the edge of my endurance.

I'm taking on the challenge of the Sonder Monster in 2022. That is, running the entire length of the Larapinta Trail in the Northern Territory, Australia.  All 231km of it. And in less than 60 hours.

Every km is going to be Running With Heart, raising money and awareness for the Heart Foundation. 

And I would like you to support me please. 

Your donation will help the Heart Foundation to transform Australia’s heart health by:

  • Funding life-changing heart research

  • Supporting health professionals working to prevent, diagnose and treat heart disease

  • Providing heart-healthy programs and resources for everyday Australians.

Please make a donation today, click the donate button. Every donation, big or small will help me get closer to my goal.

All donations over $2 are tax deductible and you’ll get a receipt by email as soon as you make your donation

Thank you for your support in this epic event. 

Thank you to my Sponsors

$1,000

Anonymous

$229.68

Portland Central 2/3/4

The following 2/3/4 class members will be supporting your amazing efforts and this wonderful cause by using their fitness time each day to continue to develop their skipping skills. Annalise, Mackenzie, Scarlette, Abbi, Nash, Keona, Jack, Emily, Maddison, Reaghan and Caleb.

$187.92

Portland Central

The following 5/6 class members would love to use their fitness time and skipping challenges to support your very worthy cause. Thanks for making a difference - Jossie, Rhys, Declan, Cameron, Alyzah, Riverlee, Byron, Dakoda and Temprence

$120.06

Melissa Bayer

Keep 🏃‍♂️ 😃💪🏼👏🏼

$115

231 Skippers

231 Skipping Multiple Donations

$104.40

Mel Bayer

Hard like concrete!! 💪🏼💪🏼Lol all the very best for this mammoth run Andrew. You’ll crush it!

$52.20

Nyrie Williams

$52.20

Wayne Griffin

Wish you all the best with this event

$52.20

Scott & Yas

Go get them Bulldog

$52.20

Evelyn Staff

Good luck with your run Andrew

$50

Sue Rose

$50

Tiger Feltham

Just one more Andrew

$50

Monique

Walking 231 Skipping 231 ❤❤❤

$50

Dianne And Ken Clarke

Run like the wind, Andrew !

$50

Deb Woolmer

Keep Running

$35

Andrew Neville

Every journey begins with heart.

$30

Anonymous

Nothing grows inside your comfort zone

$26.10

Tom King

231 skipping

$20.88

Sharon Chown

231 Skipping You are such an inspiration bro. You don't just run with heart, you live life with heart. Always in your corner. Love you. Sharon xx

$20.88

Ashleigh Groves

231 walking challenge

$20.88

Dara Rushworth

241 Walking

$20.88

Tammy

231 Walking

$20.88

Bianca G

231 walking

$20.88

Maree

231 Walking

$20.88

Jennifer Cordina

A great cause glad to help out

$20.88

Nereash Nicholson

231 walking

$20.88

Dray Family

Good luck. we will be cheering you on all the way

$20.88

Jo Curran

231 skipping

$20.88

Maree

231 Skipping

$20.88

Lana Taig

231 skipping

$20.88

Rebecca

231 Skipping

$20.88

Lynette Rabe

231 skipping

$20.88

Mal Sleet

231 Skipping

$20.88

Monesha

231 Skipping

$20.88

Lachlan

231 Skipping

$20

Wayne Griffin

231 skipping

$20

Bob Dobson

231 Skipping

$20

Leanne Whitelock

231 Skipping

$20

Janice Scanlan

231 Walking

$20

Ant Fitness

231 Walking

$20

Dara Rushworth

231 skipping

$20

Rochelle Nicholson

Congratulations Andrew, your commitment is inspiring! 231 skipping :-)

$15.38

Andrew Neville

Saturday Long Run

$7.50

Andrew Neville

Climbing stairs on the journey