No matter which way you look at it, this 3 day race was always going to be a tough challenge! However, coming back from a draining year that left me barely able to run, followed by 3 months completely off running, was going to make it even tougher…..
Looking back at my training diary, I completed 8 weeks of training for this event….some of which was not of the best ‘quality’ as I tried to regain my running legs…and change my running gait at the same time!! A big ask! Therefore, although I would have liked to have finished the 3 days in a much faster time….I think that I finished it at all is something of which I can be proud.
Day 1 was 25kms with about 2,500m elevation. I had a fun day out…making a few new friends on the trail and sharing some laughs. It was good to finish at a reasonable time of the day and know that I had some rest and recovery time ahead of me. What was not so nice was knowing I had to do Mystic and Clearspot both ways again the next day…..
I was up bright and early again the next morning to do the 78k…I was not feeling as nervous as the day before but I still knew it was going to be a long day at the office.. I was right! I was run/hiking for 13 hours and 26 minutes! That’s a long time for 78k….but there was over 4,600m elevation to contend with…and a dodgy stomach. I had lots of trouble with my stomach when I did the Razorback 65k three weeks previously. This was mainly due to the sweet foods I was eating. This time I chose to eat more savoury foods. The best was the beef, almond and cranberry bar….salty and savoury and a good texture. I was rapt I had them!
I still had to eat some sweet stuff, however, for the instant energy…and I did pay for it. I shall hopefully continue to refine my nutrition plan for my racing…one day I will nail it!
I did hit a flat spot at about 50kms, which left me in the position that I had to go back down Clearspot in the dark…this was really tricky. My Ay-Ups are fantastic and made being able to see possible, but it’s still not the same as daylight. I slid down one section on my butt…I still have grazes two weeks later!
I finally finished at 8.26 on the Saturday night. Then I had to race back to our accommodation and get ready for the next race! Of course, I had John, my partner, helping me (he had also been crewing for me both days), which was great, but there was still a bit to do. The main thing was food…John raced out to get me a pizza….but all the take away shops were shut. He saw someone in one of the shops, and pleaded with them to make a pizza…and they did!! Thank goodness he was there to do that for me, or who knows what I would have done for food! Nothing else appealed and it’s hard when your stomach is dodgy to force unappealing food down. So, thanks John!
The next day when the alarm went off I felt sick with nerves.
We started, and I trotted along for nearly 1km, then my legs just seized…I couldn’t run. I tried, but it just wasn’t happening…I limped along crying and feeling sorry for myself. My friend Anja passed me and gave me a big hug and kind words of encouragement…then I saw my friends John and Glenda Signorini and they did the same…but I was still left wondering how I was going to complete 45kms with over 2500m climbing..
Miraculously…after climbing up Mystic, my legs warmed up and I was able to run again…I had a lot of catching up to do! I kept pushing on, passing people as I went..I think quite a few were amazed to see me, I think they may have expected me to DNF. Well, I didn’t DNF, instead I slogged it out in 8 long hours…I would never have thought it would take that long! I think that is evidence of my lack of fitness. Not to say that I was unfit, but I know I can do much better…I just hadn’t had the time to get to the level I would have liked. But, I finished! I was so happy!
This was a tough challenge, and one I am glad I completed. Although I was not as fit as I would have liked, I knew I had the mental and physical capabilities to finish. Who knows, maybe I’ll do it again next year…faster…
Massive thanks to all my sponsors:
La Sportiva: I wore the Helios; light, grippy and comfortable. What more do you want? Also, fabulously comfortable apparel.
Ryders Eyewear: Heat Sunglasses: fantastic for when the light changes a lot through the bush from bright to dappled.
Ay-Up lights: couldn’t have done the night run without them!
Rocktape: Helped keep my niggly leg in check and for taping my feet.
CW-X tights: absolutely essential for recovery between the races.
Oofos recovery thongs: the best thing ever to put on weary feet.
Far End Gear: It was great to be able to listen to tunes when I was feeling flat or needed the motivation.
Everest Sports Australia: Saltstick tablets were vital for keeping my electrolytes in balance.
Injinji toes socks: Fantastic for keeping blisters at bay.
Nathan Performance Gear: fantastic packs that carry all I need without chafing