Coast to Kosci Runner Hints C2K 2015

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Now this goes a bit over my actual level of talent, but that’s never stopped me before…..

I’m really excited that a whole bunch of my mates will be experiencing this race for the first time this year, but there are some things that I probably wish I’d been told. Or more correctly, that I had been told and wish I’d remembered.

Do not pull out of the race for any reason other than impending death. You have been personally picked for this race based on the RD’s view of your ability to finish. Up until about 2 years ago, no female had ever DNF’d. The race has a very low DNF rate, don’t be responsible for making it worse! Maybe I’m just pissed that I didn’t get a start? Haha, there’s only 50 places, make your selection worth it.*

*I did actually take to an ultra running group yesterday and argue that health is more important than a race and a DNF is not the end of the world. The truth lies somewhere between these two opposing opinions…… I’m not your Mum, do what you think is best.

Run slowly. Generally you are considered to be running too fast if you crack out the first marathon in less than 5 hours. Remember you’ve got about 5 marathons to go after that…..

I made lots of mistakes, here are a few-

  1. Having coffee at 24km Pericoe Rd intersection. I’d had no coffee for 2 weeks before the race and I was gagging for it. I should have waited until much later in the day, it wasn’t a strategically good decision to have it so early.
  2. Running too many of the (small) hills. One of my abiding memories is Jane Trumper leaning out of the crew car as she went past and screaming ‘Walk the bloody hills Adam!’. Don’t tell her I said this, but she was right.
  3. I had run the numbers in 2012, and knew that if I could crack out the first 100km in under 14 hours I could walk the rest of the way and still make the cuts. I became obsessed with this as a first timer, wanting to ensure my ability to finish even if walking. I went through 100km in 12:44 which was too fast. Going maybe 1-1.5 hours slower there could have helped me a LOT in the back end. Roger passed me at 100km and I think beat me by 4 hours!
  4. Mismanaged my chafing strategy. But you all know that and I don’t want to talk about it today. Ask Wayne ‘Blue Dog’ Gregory about his Japanese flag……
  5. At about 80km into my run it started pissing down rain, but only for 20 minutes or so. I should have changed my shoes right then but I was afraid of wasting my last pair of dry shoes too early- then I had to have roadside triage on my blisters at 140km.
  6. I also should have worn my shoes in a bit more. I love having a fresh pair of shoes for a big race, but in this case they had an issue with the inner soles.
  7. My longest run before the race was 65km. I had planned to go longer but made a rookie mistake of not taking sun cream on a very hot day. Don’t stress about doing stupid long runs, but do enough to give yourself the confidence to know you will finish.

Buy a few things that are treats for you, I was loving cherry tomatoes because they aren’t sweet. Ginger chocolate, Cherry Ripe, nut bars etc. Eat small but often. As the distances get longer, the food you eat starts to look less like ‘race’ food and more like ‘normal’ food. Practise eating everyday food during your long runs. Remember a gel isn’t going to be very useful during a 40 hour run. Figure out how you are going to get some protein- in such a long run you are going to need some.

Sparkling mineral water is 75c a bottle at Coles and tastes wonderful after hours of sports drink/ electrolytes. Buy a few bottles.

Read the race reports. Plan your race- make sure your crew know your plans, but be flexible enough to not be rattled when things change. Think about how absolutely awesome it will be if it rains the whole time- you’ll get to claim you finished in a ‘bad’ year!

One last thing-practise taping your feet. Get your shoes off at every opportunity until the race- simply exposing them to air will toughen them up. Walk around the house barefoot. After your shower in the morning- spray your feet with metho. This will toughen the skin. If you develop big callouses- go and see a podiatrist before the race to have them cut off. Any REALLY tough patch of skin can become a problem.

Get one of those Leigionairres caps that have a flap that covers your neck. You’ll be out for at least one entire day in the sun, and this might be the only race you’ll do where wearing one isn’t silly. I bought mine from eBay for $8 and it had an unexpected bonus- printing on the front that wasn’t in the pic- it said ‘Tiger Brave’ or something equally ridiculous.

I would have killed for something like this during the race last year, perhaps not very practical….

 

Best of luck everyone- I’ll see you in Eden.

Nikki Wynd Interview

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Most of you know of Nikki Wynd from her amazing performance at Badwater this year- winning female, 4th overall, second fastest female ever. Well, I was lucky enough meet her briefly as she flew past at Coast to Kosci last year. The only overseas race I’ve ever really wanted to do is Badwater, so I figured I could feature her as my first actual interview on this blog- and to my surprise she said yes!

Also- I’m not any sort of journalist or writer- if the questions suck, send me some hints and I’ll do better next time!

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Photos by Chris Kostman

1. Congratulations on your win at Badwater this year! How do enter and get accepted for a race like that? (Cough, asking for a friend……)
ha ha, good try Adam.  You need to complete 3 ultra marathons over 160kms and this does not include 24hour track races.  So basically I spent 18 months building a resume so to speak of not only 100 mile races but also 100km races.  I also tried to pick the toughest ones in Australia – ie: C2K, GNW and I also did Glasshouse. You also then have to answer questions about things like “what does the name Badwater mean to you”, who is your favorite BW legend etc.  So they want to know that you know everything there is to know about this race. 
2. You’ve done the race before- how much of an advantage do you think previous experience is worth in this race?
Well last year the race was run on a difference course so I didn’t have that as an advantage but I went back there not as intimidated and scared as I was last year.  Last year I actually didn’t feel like I should have been there, so after running 3rd there last year I did feel well I did deserve my spot and I was a lot calmer and probably a lot more low key than last year.  Last year I was absolutely petrified.
3. How did your strategy differ this year? In another interview you mentioned walking breaks- how does that work?
I think just another year of ultra’s under my belt made a difference. I felt more confident as I had done another 3 races over 200kms.   I had a strategy this year and had strategic walking breaks factored into my running. I found having the walking breaks, just 2 mins at a time, really made my legs feel a lot fresher in the back end of the race.  Last year I actually felt like I held back a little bit to much, this year a very good running mentor of mine Mal Cree told me to “run on feel” and that was what I did.  I wanted to feel like I had given it everything that I had and when I crossed the finish line I knew I had nothing left in the tank. 
Nikki Wynd, David Eadie at Badwater
4. One interview says you’ve only been running for 5 years. This doesn’t seem likely as I’ve also been running for 5 years and I’ve never won anything (jealous!). And yet you seem to have done just about every long distance race I can find- what other races would you like to do?
I have been running marathons on and off for probably the last 10 years, but I didn’t take up Ultra Running until 2010 when I did Oxfam with some friends from my local gym.  I liked the fact you were allowed to walk and eat in ultra’s, and it was a lot of fun getting out to train with friends.  Next year I am keen to do my first 48 hour race and then after this I am not really sure.  A part of me actually feels I am ready to take a bit of a break from racing and just train for fun. 
5. The reason I was able to score this interview was because we met briefly at Coast 2 Kosci- how would you compare that race to Badwater?
how could I forget you from C2K…….I must admit your shaving story was the highlight of the presentation at C2K last year.  I actually think they are pretty similar races, its actually really difficult to say which is harder, C2K is longer and the last few years the weather has been cold and crap however Badwater has a lot more climbing and elevation and the high temps (48+), also the night start at Badwater was tough too. I am hoping this year at C2K we just get hot weather and good conditions as those that know me well know that I am not good in the cold. 
*editors note- I suppose there are worse things than being known Australia-wide for having chafed nuts but I’m struggling to think of any right now….

6. Your partner David Eadie is also a very handy runner- how do you decide who gets to do which race?
I must say that I am very very lucky to have such a supportive partner who totally gets what I do.  At the moment David is happy to take a back seat and just be my training partner.  He has spent 20 years at a competitive level so is quite happy to just jog around with me (and carry my bags as he likes to tell people).  We are pretty lucky to do what we do together.  We have travelled to so many amazing places together all thanks to our running.  He is also the one who keeps me on the straight and narrow and makes sure I am eating properly and looking after myself.  
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Photos by Chris Kostman

7. Favourite race or distance? Often we finish a race and immediately think we could improve with a few changes. What race have you done that you think you could go much better at?
I really love the 24hour track races and would love to break 230kms.  At the moment my current distance is 221kms. 

8. Bucket list runs… Any that you haven’t done yet that you’d love to have a good crack at? (very similar to Q4 I guess)
Next year the 48hour race in Canberra. UTMB and Western States. 

finish line

Photos by Chris Kostman

9. Goals for the next 12 months? Do you prefer trail, road or track? You seem to have done all of these!
I started off running trail however the past few years I have definitely done most of my racing on road and track.  I do love the track, this would probably be my preferred surface at the moment, I find i can just get into the zone and keep going.  The next 12 months – Canberra 48hour in March, Oxfam with my girlfriends Sam Gash & Jodie Obourne in April and back to Badwater in July

10. What tips would you have for someone wanting to step up from a marathon or 100km distance?
I really think that the step up from Marathon to 100km is quite easy.  Introduce strategic walk breaks, have  a plan, practice your plan in training, find out what works best for you.  Train on the surface you plan on doing your race on and be consistent but listen to your body.  I think the main thing is to have fun, find some friends to train with and remember its not going to be easy but it will be worth it.  Nothing beats the feeling of crossing that finish line achieving your goal……..

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Photos by Chris Kostman

* I also said to Nikki that she could promote her coaching business here- this blog is non commercial but I’m happy to support people who support the sport. She didn’t send me a link but go and have a look- The Running Man

Coast to Kosci Crew Hints

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I’m not the last word in experts on this race but having crewed twice and raced once, I’ve been there for 3 out of the 10 years the race has existed.

This year many of my mates have scored a start for their first time, so I’m keen to pass on some of the hints I’ve been privileged to get from others.

Firstly, you need to download and read this document about crewing by Diane Weaver. It really does have the best information you can get about the race from a crewing angle. All I’m going to do here is fill out a couple of other things that I think are important for crews. None of this is official, just my opinion. Disregard at will!

  1. Your runner needs to arrange accomodation ASAP or you will miss out on getting a ground floor room at Lake Jindabyne. Imagine trying to get upstairs after running 240km? Actually there is video of me doing just that last year. Not pretty.
  2. You should travel to Eden on Wednesday before the race. Plenty of options, but I like staying at the Sapphire Sun caravan park. This gives you a whole day (Thursday) to get ready, fill the car up, arrange stuff and relax before the race.
  3. You should not travel home on the Sunday after the race. Hang around the Lake Jindabyne Hotel, sleep and eat (party just a little?) with us on Sunday night. Travel back on Monday, work on Tuesday. Maybe.
  4. An ideal crew number is 3. After the 100km mark you can have 1 person pacing, one sleeping and one driving. With 2 you’re going to have some very tired crew!
  5. Can you get a storage unit for the top of the car? Once the race starts you can stuff all of your crap in there that you don’t need for your runner
  6. It’s traditional for all crew to join their runner for the 18km round trip from Charlotte Pass to the top and back. But you can’t go up without a bunch of mandatory gear- it’s listed in Diane’s doc above. Get all of this together before the start of the race, put it in a bag, and know where it is. You’ll be tired when you need it.
  7. It’s traditional for your runner to supply running shirts for the crew- I hope to see some cool designs out there!
  8. Get a marine cooler to store stuff in. Having ice after 3 days on the road is brilliant.
  9. Get a box of water bottles- yes I know it’s not very green, but if you freeze some, the space they take can be made useful. And you can crush the bottles afterwards. Also bulk water for making sports drink etc.
  10. Garbage bags
  11. Bring a bikini. Yes, even you Mr Hairy Nuts. The day before the race there is a 7km run for the crew called Cossie to Coast. OK a swimming costume will do instead of a bikini. But a girl can dream.

There you go- nothing earth shattering here but I hope it helps. I will update this if anything else comes to mind. This advice is in addition to the usual things you’ll need like food, a sharp knife, deodorant, blankets, chairs and a crew member who is very good at organisation. Knowing where something is located is just as important as having it onboard! Oh, and a camera- don’t forget a decent camera!

For more reading, here’s a basic search. It includes a couple of guest reports from Kirrily Dear and Joe Ward, as well as my own experience crewing and running. Sometimes little things make a big difference- for me it was cherry tomatoes- those amazing little bubbles of fruit took away a lot of the flavour fatigue from the sweet things I was eating. Also here is Jane’s report from 2013.

 

Guest Post- Russell Evans- Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc UTMB 2105

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The Loop UTMB 2015

 

Rather than start from the beginning, I want to start from a place where it almost ended.

I was in a public rest room just outside the check point of Courmayeur, throwing my own pity party. My legs felt like they were shot, my chaffing was cringe worthy and it was 28 degrees and climbing; not the ideal state when one still has 93km to go.

It didn’t start off that badly. I had arrived in Chamonix on Wednesday afternoon with the start being on Friday night. My strategy was to make the jet lag work in my favour; I was going to be awake at night and sleepy during the day. For those that don’t know, Chamonix is in the foothills on the French side of Mount Blanc. Everywhere you look there are great vistas of the Alps, and every view is a postcard. The tough thing about being in a new place is that you want to explore, but walking around endlessly would ruin my 6 months of training, so I basically stayed at the hotel only going out for food and registration. One observation when I got to registration was that everyone nibbling on a baguette, perfect carb option I think I went through 3!

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The race starts at 6pm, forcing the elites to go through one night section. I had strategically taken Stilnox to knock me out till about noon on race day. I left the hotel about 5:30pm and started to walk to the start. The town was buzzing! People notice your bib and yell “Allez! Allez!” with passion, for today I was a rockstar.

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Getting near the start line I found a patch of grass and sat down in the shade and only got up when I heard the countdown. It’s hard to describe the start, but the streets are lined with 6+ people deep. The announcer gives words of encouragement, some along the lines of “Once the body gives up, the mind takes over. When the mind gives up the heart gets you to the end”, (which I quite liked)…… You hear the theme music in the back ground (Vangeelis Conquest of Paradise), which still gives me goose bumps, then the gun goes off and you basically walk the first kilometer till you are able to get a slow gait happening. Even after 3k’s there are still people lining the path cheering you on.

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Basically the whole course can be described as: go up a hill, go down a hill, go up a hill, go down a hill, then run some flat area………..just kidding…..there are no flat areas, you go up another hill and repeat!

La Houches is where things start to get pretty messy. You start climbing up a ski hill, basically 800m of elevation in 4km, (this was a baby compared to those that followed). I pulled out my sissy sticks, put my head down and started the climb. The thing that really surprised me is that the hill was lined with supporters all ringing cowbells; reminding me of the scenes of the Tour de France. I understand the race is a big deal for these small towns, as the UTMB gets more popular so do these small towns.

The encouragement was appreciated and before long I had made the pass of Le Delevret. One down, seven to go! (Croix Bonhomme, Col De Seigne, Col Des Pyramides Calcaires (new this year), Arete Du Mont-Favre, Grand col Ferret, La Glete, Catonge and the monster Tete ux vents).

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So far the trail was a mixture of single track and fire trail with nothing too technical. Being not the most coordinated of runners this was a good thing. The trail up to Croix Bonhomme was more or less a test of strength: one foot in front of the other repeat until you reach the top. Soon enough I had made the second summit and began the decent, this time the decent was very technical and steep. Many runners that I had passed coming up the hill were overtaking me on the way down. A general observation about European runners is that they are great at descending tough technical trail even when they have ran 120km.  The tough single trail decent gave way to an easy fire trail and I was able to make up the places I lost. As I came into Champax-Lac, spirits were high as I was running well and had an overall feeling of well-being.

A little note about the checkpoints: They are filled with water, coke and a drink similar to tailwind (called Overstrim). The food is a mixture of salami, cheese, and crusty breads. I found them extremely easy to navigate and the volunteers were extremely helpful provided you were polite.

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I stayed away from salami and cheese but in hindsight I possibly should of given them a go. There was also a clear distinction of which country you were in, based on the types of cheese, salami, and bread. For what it’s worth, I had the best time in Switzerland’s checkpoints. They were so pumped to see you and nothing was too much trouble for them.

The climb to Col Seigne was epic. A fair amount steeper than the previous climbs and for the first time I noticed the altitude. I was becoming short of breath when above 2000 meters. The chit chat among runners was fairly scarce, however I did come across an American runner who I exchanged a little banter with and who had some great advice for running at altitude: sharp short breaths in. This seemed to help a little, as I was able to maintain a good pace up the climb. Once reaching the top, the next point is only about 500 meters away; you can almost reach out and touch it. However you have to descend about 400 meters, and then climb about 450 meters to reach Col Des Pyramides Calcaires, which is a new section of the course. This section was not friendly and the most technical of the course. It was to take about 2 hours for around four km, it didn’t really feel slow but that is about a kilometer every 30 minutes!

 

 

This peak was the second highest (about 2550m), and the toll of the race was starting to show. It was about 5:30 in the morning and I saw numerous people asleep on rocks at the top. When I asked if they were ok, they said they were just going to take a nap for 20 minutes and continue to run. But I guess the truth was, their race was done. The next decent was where things started to come unstuck. On unstable and rocky trail, basically I had to navigate this terrain on all fours. What’s worst was that my calves were starting to cramp and I decided not to take gels – WTF? (I knew this was bad but for some reason my brain said don’t take any more gels – I still question why my brain said “No”).

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The only blessing on the decent was that the sun was rising and I had survived my first night! The trail into Courmayeur was pretty much the same one epic accent and some brutal down hill segments. My condition continued to deteriorate; I had stopped taking gels, I was cramping and I had developed some nasty chafing in my nether regions. To make matters worst the temperature was climbing. Being a ginger, I tend to think of the sun as the devil, and anything over 25 degrees means I basically stop, find some shade, some beer and pass out. But I still had 93 km to go and for the first time I thought that I wasn’t going to finish. I still went into the checkpoint with the best intentions: go through my drop bag, get what I needed, and get rid of what I don’t and get out of that checkpoint. Courmayeur had everything though: beer, pasta, soup an array of snacks and just 2 male toilets for 2000 male runners. The queues were massive and although it wouldn’t have bothered me so much, except that I had to make some adjustments……….. But I will say a little nudity is ok in ultras.

Out of the Courmayeur checkpoint and into the frying pan, it had risen to 28 degrees and it was still climbing. I took refuge in a public toilet barely 500m out of the checkpoint.  It was time to make the call to tell my wife that my race was over. When she answered, she was full of praise and letting me know how well I was doing. But I was broken, and I was only 90 minutes above cut off and I was falling apart.

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Everyone should have Leah as a ‘phone a friend option’ in an Ultra. She is specialized in the craft of having an answer to every excuse known and also (a little unnerving) she said I was “skirt” if I didn’t continue. Ouch! With that I gathered what was left of my soul and started the climb to Refuge Bertone. Before you get to the nasty part of the climb you get to walk through the public square of Courmayeur, where I kid-you-not some guy announces your name and what seems to be the whole town gives you cheer. I remember the announcer said “It’s Russell and he’s all the way from Australia, Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!” He expected a retort with “Oi Oi Oi”, but I just kept my head down and thought that he could go screw himself, (gives you an idea about how low I was at this point of the race).

On the way to the base of the climb I saw people turning back, hopes and dreams were being killed off with the 30 degree heat and a relentless gradient of the climb. When things were at their toughest, a little sign of encouragement came in the form of a gentle cold breeze, which gave me hope of making it to the next checkpoint. I thought to myself, I would just go on until I didn’t make a cut off. (I could live with that excuse.) The cramping had gone as soon as I got onto stable ground and the only thing that was slowing me down was the pain from the chaffing, which I was maintaining through applying ultra glide every hour (advice from Leah on the other side of the world). Randomly the night before the start I had spoken to a guy that had been timed out at the last check point, he told me it was devastating for him but I kind of liked the way he was back to give it another shot this year.

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The next 75km were purely about putting one foot in front of the other. I still hiked the hills and shuffled along the down hills and flats, (coach Andy would be proud). Highlights included the climb to highest peak at Grant Col Ferret where I had a really pure feeling of just existing.

The massage I had at Champex-Lac……. I popped my head in the medical tent and asked for some deep-heat, next thing you know I’m horizontal on a massage table with 3 physio’s working on my legs, two on my quads and one on my calves. I really did enjoy the Swiss side of the race.

By about 9:30am I had survived my second night and made it to Vallorcine, the checkpoint before the last climb to summit Tete aux vents. When you get to the tent, it kind of looked like a treatment facility for Zombies. The run had made our skin flake, various cuts and bruises having had a chance to weep and swell, and the sleep deprivation had completed the look. The cure was easy either finish or pull out.  Strangely though, this checkpoint is where a lot of people pull outWith only 21km to go, you are so close – why would you pull out?!

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For the first time in 24 hours I thought I could finish. I got out of the checkpoint and started the walk to the foothill of the climb to Tete Aux Vents. It soon dawned on me the reason why people pull out at Vallorcine: they know what is to come. I remember reading a race report from Anton Krupicka and even he said that the climb was pretty messed up. On this climb you don’t count stairs, you count switchbacks. It’s also completely exposed so one is forced to do battle with the elements. Climbing these monsters one learns there is a certain etiquette to the climb. You try to tag on to a group and hope that they are going slightly slower than your pace. Groups form and disappear throughout the climb; you do your best to drag along people who are suffering. At this part of the race there is a kinship between the runners where not a word is exchanged but only a passing glance or a slight hand movement to let people know to overtake you.

 

Up till this point I had been pretty good on the climbs. I would find and maintain a good rhythm, but for this climb however I decided to make myself hurt. I flew up the first 10 switchbacks only to realize that I had made an epic schoolboy error and blown up. The climb should of taken me 1 hour, instead it took me 3. I would try to cling on to groups but I would always fall behind and before I knew it I had 10 runners behind me wanting to pass. Throughout the run I was constantly trying to repress thoughts of finishing and try to stay in the moment. You have never finished this race until you’ve crossed the line in Chamonix. The last check point La Flegere you can see Chamonix below, only 7km to go with 800 meters of decent on technical terrain – oh so close!

I shuffled my way down and lost a couple of places on this section as once again my downhill technical skills were being shown up. I did see a girl roll her ankle badly on this section; she got up instantly and didn’t cry, didn’t yell out in pain but just continued to throw her body down the mountain. Acts of courage were the norm on this section and I really hoped she finished.

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With about 3km to go the path begins to line with people and the great thing is, these people worship you! Yelling praise, offering you food and water; one girl even offered to carry my bag! She was hot and French and sadly, I had to politely decline. The sacrifices we make!

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1km to go and all I could do was call Leah to let her know that we had made it. I really mean that, had it not been for that ruthless pep talk on the phone from Australia 28 hours ago, I would not be on the streets of Chamonix approaching the end. My mind turned to how I would celebrate crossing the line. I looked at my poles and remembered the song that was tormenting me for the whole run: Y M C A. Pretty sure I could turn these poles into larger than usual letters? Awesome, I would become a Youtube sensation! However, I got to about 10 meters till the end where it is six deep and people are cheering you on. All I could think about was what a privilege it was to be able to participate in such an event and how lucky I was to be there. All I ended up doing was bowing and I’m happy I finished it that way. I crossed the finish line met the announcer; for those who know him from the net cast, yes he really does look like he is on speed! I shook the hand of the runner who finished behind me, grabbed a beer (free for finishers) and sat on the same patch of grass I had sat on 45 hours ago and just enjoyed the moment.

For those of you even remotely interested in this run, it is a must. Get the points and go into the lottery. Just make it happen! One of the hardest and most satisfying things I have ever done.

 

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What I learnt and what worked for me:

Napping
I had 3 naps: 10, 20 and 15 minutes at Arnuva, Champex-Lac and Trient. Without these naps I wouldn’t have finished. When you start talking to living wooden sculptures, you knew it was time to take a nap.

Maintenance of the body
I think I could of run a 40 hour-ish time had I not got chaffing. My cramping was unfortunate but was overcome with a change in terrain.  Once you are running for 12 plus hours its time to lube up again. Just do it, even if you don’t think you need it, this mistake almost cost me my race. Also, look after your feet and legs as much as you can. Be careful with compression, I wore compression Injinji socks, it almost been a month and I still don’t’ have all my feeling in my big toes.

Caffeine
I used it sparingly and only when I was broken. It was like having an escape route every time I got in a bad situation.

Panadol
For the first time I had used painkillers in a race but it really helped manage the pain from the chaffing. I’m not a big fan of taking painkillers as part of me thinks it is cheating, but under the circumstances I did what I had to do and I don’t regret the decision.

Food
Although I never did this during the race, get used to eating bread, salami and cheese, which was at every check point. This would help break the monotony of taking gels ever hour. Make sure you indulge in the soups and pasta, custom made for the run. I remember have a Bolognese at La Fouly and feeling like superman afterwards.

Training
Coach Andy at Mile 27. The training gives you every chance to finish the run. I would also recommend paying a little extra and getting the strength exercises as well to help run more efficiently.

Gear

Kicks: INOV-255 rocklites

Socks: Injinji Compression

Shorts : Speedo Board shorts over skins

T Shirt: Nike Dry knit

Sun Glasses: Julbo Powel

Hat: The Northface Sun-visor from finishing the 2013 100km

See you on the trails!

Guest Post- Tanya Carroll- GNW100 2015

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GNW Race Report

I thought it might be therapeutic to write down my learnings from the GNW miler on the weekend. Perhaps it will stop me from rocking in a corner in a foetal position for the next 12 months. Which surprises me, because yesterday I was REALLY REALLY HAPPY with my first ever choice to DNF a race, at the 132km checkpoint. I secretly congratulated myself for making the best bloody decision I have ever made in my entire life.

What a difference a day makes

Indulge me as I summarise the 25hrs leading up to my decision to pull out.

Nervous, started cautiously, enjoying running with friends, getting hot, bit hotter, really hot, SO DAMN HOT, I HATE THE HEAT! WHY DID I ENTER THIS HOT RACE!! HOW DID PEOPLE EVER DO THIS RACE WHEN IT WAS IN NOVEMBER AND IT WAS EVEN HOTTER!!!! Head spins, nausea, vomiting (on constant rotation), got a bit disorientated and tried to go back down what I thought were the Basin stairs, met Kirrily who turned me round again. Got mobile reception – woo hoo! Rang my pacer Leah to tell her she would have a much better time staying in Sydney and watching TV, rather than drive all this way – oh and I could also stop at the 100km mark like those other more sensible people. Devastated that she didn’t seem to be listening – she said my story would have to be a lot better than that to convince her. So work on my story I did. I worked on it for the next friggin 12 hours.

I will say the lows were interrupted by amazing support at Checkpoints where heavenly creatures put ice packs on your neck, poured you Coke, salted your potatoes, asked you questions to check that you weren’t as delirious as you appeared, and gave hugs – I didn’t want to ever leave.

Somehow I made it to Yarramalong (also the 100k finish line) where with Leah and Russell’s help I carried on. After turning onto the track at Cherry Lane I had really had enough. I tried everything to persuade Leah to go back to the road. But no-one in Yarramalong has phone reception so who would pick us up? What sort of place is this!! Dumb ass town. Who came up with this GNW course anyway? I thought about setting off my personal locator beacon without telling Leah but decided it would be a bit (OK a lot) frivolous. Leah worked her magic and got me over the hump and with the cooler night air I was feeling much better. Our spirits were boosted by seeing Marty, Jen, Ross and Justine and we loped along together.

Got to Somersby not long after the sun had come up. I said in a very calm and sensible voice that I was keen to pull out, but that I would follow advice I had given to others and first lay down to nap and decide if that was the right thing to do. Ha-ha I fooled them – I’m never going to carry on, I just need a final few minutes to work on my story. 30 mins of snoozing and scheming. So up I got, confirmed that I was going to pull out, everyone argued, I ignored them, THE END.

Tanya GNW100 2015

Key learnings from this simultaneously sublime and torturous experience:

  • If you are going to do a race, have an absolute water tight reason for doing it – one that is going to pass the test when you are at your lowest possible point. My reason for doing GNW was to get points towards UTMB. The trouble was I knew once I had passed through Yarramalong that I already had secured 3 points, so I could no longer see the value of getting one extra point for another 9 hours of pain. I should have had a much more robust goal – to finish THIS epic race, not only to qualify for another.
  • A whole lot of little excuses cannot be added together to justify why you should quit.
    If each one isn’t reason enough to stop, then discard it, don’t combine it with all of your other floppy, sucky, limpy, saggy, flaccid, feeble and risible excuses. At the time I quit at 132kms I wasn’t injured and my nausea had subsided significantly. My excuses, and why they were crap are as follows :

 

Snivelling excuse # 1 to 6 Why they are crap What I should have been thinking
I can’t cope with hot temps I don’t get to choose the conditions. Don’t enter the race if I’m not prepared for whatever is thrown at me. Yes it’s hot. If I take my time at checkpoints I still have enough buffer to fast hike the whole way home if needed
I have been sick all week Probably the closest to a valid excuse. Yes I’ve been unwell but another 9 hours won’t kill me
I don’t want to feel like I did yesterday How I felt yesterday is irrelevant to how the rest of my race will pan out Stay in the moment. I feel good* right now – lets keep soldiering on.

*good is a relative term

I won’t get home until about 10pm by the time I finish the race, have a sleep in the car and drive home If I was worried about late nights/ lack of sleep I shouldn’t enter any ultra’s. Think this gets top prize for most wretched excuse Won’t my kids be chuffed when I wake them in the morning and tell them I finished.
I’d rather be with my kids right now. The few extra hours I will be away from them will be nothing compared to the hours of training Í will need to do if I decide to enter this race again to get even See left and above
My legs are sore Of course they are!!!! What do you think they are meant to feel like after 132kms you moron. This is tough but I am tougher
Rotated between :

–        I already have 3 UTMB points by getting to Yarramalong

–        I don’t even need points for the next draw

–        I don’t want to do any ultras ever again so you can stick your stupid points

My goal of gaining points was too easy to dismiss when the going got tough Have a goal that still works no matter how low you feel. With the wonderful and absurd benefit of hindsight, one motivator could have been “Do you want to be the only NRG runner not to finish?” I’m pretty sure this would have had me kissing that finishing post!

 

So with all that said and done I still took a lot of enjoyment and learnings out of the race. And so many amazing people helped make my experience what it was. And before you ask – no I really don’t need to go back to even the score!

 

Photo credit : Pip Candrick