Saturday
Oct142017

The Brisbane Track Ultra 2017

I had put in many long, lonely training runs on Knox track and the surrounding suburbs over the last few months. The weather I had trained in had been typical for Melbourne; ranging from rain, wind, snow, and hail to sunny days. The week of the race I had been running in 5 degrees Celsius and less. So, it was with fear I saw that the race day weather prediction was for 35 degrees!!!

Anyway, as I have well learnt (and I’m sure many of you have too!!) there are somethings we just can’t control, and the weather is one of them! I would just have to adapt. I bought some super-strength sunscreen and ensured I had lots of electrolytes. What more can you do??

I had been reducing my caffeine for two weeks prior to the race, and was completely caffeine-free for the last 3 days before the race. For this reason, I spent a bit of time the day before napping, and went to bed super-early the night before. The good thing about 24 hour track races is that they start a bit later so you can have a proper breakfast. The hotel my crew and I were staying at provided breakfast, so I had eggs, toast and cereal. I don’t like to race feeling hungry, nor do I like to race feeling overly full, so it’s a fine line to tread.

We were kindly given a lift to the track by one of the Brisbane Track Runners, which was greatly appreciated. We had to take all our luggage as well as my race supplies, as there was no point leaving our stuff at the hotel! There was not going to be any sleep this night!

I had done my long training runs at the track with 12 minutes running, 3 minutes brisk walking. This is how you run these long races. You don’t have the luxury of terrain to break up which muscles you use, so this helps with that. It also provides rest. It would be very difficult to run for 24 hours on a flat track with no rest at all.

I started the race doing 12/3’s. After about 12 hours, this degenerated to 10/5s. Towards the end, as the suffering really began, it went to 7/3, then 6/4, then 3/2…then finally to run 200/walk 200. I was truly suffering by this stage!! The heat had really taken its toll from the day before and the new day was heating up a lot too.

My crew had been great; providing me with food and drinks all day and night. I was pretty good with eating for the first 6 hours or so, but after that it became a struggle, as always. I mainly sucked on lollies and drank watered-down Gatorade to keep me going. Even so, it was way more than I normally consume in such a long race. My stomach always goes south!!

Another problem I encountered was related to the heat. Due to the heat, the runners were getting sprayed with water and provided with sponges. My crew was also pouring water on me. This was great, except it ended up getting in my shoes. Thus I ran for a good 12 hours with wet feet….the results are evident:

 

In saying that, I still think I needed the water. I don’t think I could’ve handled the heat otherwise. And the feet didn’t hurt that much when I was running. I knew there were problems with the toe as it was tingling, but I chose to ignore it, and the feeling went away!! The brain is an amazing thing!!

The last hour was, of course, the most difficult. I just wanted to stop. I was exhausted. The last half an hour or so, my body started leaning to the right and I was listing to the tight. I could not run in a straight line, I was struggling big time.

  


I want to thank my crew; John, Nikki and Leanne. I couldn’t have done it without them. I went into it wanting to get 200kms. The hot weather put paid to that, but that’s ok, it just means I have to try again!!



 

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