Tarawera 102km 2017

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I’m still disappointed by the way I let myself slack off during Coast to Kosci in December, so I was hoping that I’d be able to concentrate on pushing hard while tired. let’s see how that went…..

Months ago Sarah said ‘should we do Tarawera? Entries open next week…’

Before I’d had a chance to reply (I’m not a fast thinker) we had flights, accomodation and 2 race entries. I’d been fascinated with the race for a couple of years and this would be my first international race!

The flight over the ditch was uneventful, pity I couldn’t say the same about work. I had a few items lingering on my list that just wouldn’t die, resulting in a fair bit of lost sleep in the few previous days. At Auckland airport we had a nice surprise, Sarah had ordered a small car from Avis and we’d been given a Commodore SV6 with all sorts of bells and whistles. It was pretty bloody quick too, I nicknamed it Vlad, destroyer of continents. Except it was a horrible grey colour. So she then became Brad, destroyer of continence.

Kath and Camille- Winners!

Our first night we stayed in Auckland and had dinner with my sister and her family, they took us to Epolitos Pizza and it was awesome- I managed to annihilate nearly and entire 18 inch pizza and we killed Sarah’s diet that night too (sorry Hailey!). Sarah had booked us into a reasonably priced hotel, it was the hotel Surrey, decorated like an Elizabethan guest house. Got to be honest, despite all of the quirky and interesting bric-a-brac around the place it really didn’t work as a theme. But despite me being horribly bitchy the room was a lot larger than expected, had great facilities and friendly staff. Pity there was only 2 hours free internet…..

I used my 2 free hours to watch a live FaceBook video of Chris Kostman, the race director of the Badwater 135 race, as he was reading out the names of the 100 lucky people who would get to run the race this year. He started by talking about all the talented runners who he’d had to leave off the list and my heart sank. I mean, if he’d left off the talented runners then I had no chance right? Well it turns out that he read my name out, about 90th into the list!. I’m running Badwater baby, yes I am!

We saddled up Brad for a 3 hour drive down to Rotarua the next morning. Nothing much to tell about the drive except that a lot of New Zealand roads seem to merge from 2 lanes into 1 with very little warning and there may have been one or two brown trouser moments before I got fully used to it…..we weren’t really in danger, I was just remembering the Avis rep say ‘ ……and there’s a three thousand dollar excess…..’

Off to the Holiday Inn Rotarua which was race headquarters for the weekend and we had a quick look at the expo, found Jill and made our way to the AirBnB that we had for the weekend. Then back to race HQ to collect race kit and weigh in. Unfortunately I had suggested 4pm for an NRG meetup and team photo and didn’t finish getting weighed in until 4:20 (or perhaps much later?) Anyway, in combination with some work things I completely had the shits and really just wanted to get ready for the race and finish my work. So we headed back to the house and I became a computer hermit while the others made a huge meal of spaghetti bolognese. Leftovers went into the fridge to be reheated after the race.

By the time I’d finished getting ready it was nearly 10pm and I was exhausted, so of course my body decided that staring at the ceiling for a while would be appropriate punishment. I don’t normally have issues sleeping, but when I do it can be properly irritating.

Rising at 4am local time is actually 2am Sydney time and of course it felt like I hadn’t slept much at all. I’m not good with less than 10 hours a night (you read that right!) so after several nights of this I was a bit gaga.

(Look away now if squeamish)

Continuing on with the poo theme, it wasn’t at all surprising that I had no luck ‘dropping the kids off at the pool’ at 2am Sydney time. It’s always a good idea to spend a couple of minutes before a race in quiet contemplation in the smallest room of the house, but this time my body said ‘it’s fucking 2am, fuck off’

(Welcome back squeamish people)

Walking by myself to the race start in the dark I came across an older kiwi gentleman wearing thongs (er, sorry jandals) so I started chatting with him. Turns out he s a former 24 hour track runner who is going to see the start. Choice bro.

Of course it’s a very big race so I hardly saw anyone I knew at the start, but after the gun went off I settled in and found a few mates. Of course having found out about Badwater only 18 hours ago, I was compelled to tell everyone in the entire race about it. This led to a few interesting realisations- firstly, only about 30-40% of people had any idea what I was talking about (they smiled and nodded their heads), but also that the people who did know about the race must have thought I was joking. Yeah, I might have to lose a couple of kg before the race!

And then we were off- I started my Garmin on gun time so I’d have a few seconds up my sleeve if needed, and checked as I crossed the start- 50 seconds had elapsed. I put my head torch away as it was perfectly easy to run with the light from other people. I was loving the gentle uphills and spongy trail, but I knew that wouldn’t last!

I’d printed a pace and elevation chart off the website and filled in the checkpoint times from a couple of runners- one for 14 hours and one for 16 hours. Pity I didn’t have time to check them because they both turned out to be horrible choices, and we’ll see why a bit later.

Most of the first 60km of this course is single track- it varies from very easy, sandy tracks through scrub to gnarly hand over fist climbing. The run has ‘only’ 2500m of climbing but the main difficulty with the run is the many km of little climbs and descents over tree roots. So you can put this down to excuses but I have fairly massive feet, my eyesight isn’t perfect and I’m reasonably tall- these things make it very difficult for me to put my feet down easily and glide over the roots. Or perhaps I just didn’t do enough training on tight, technical terrain. Anyway, it gets VERY tiring having to concentrate, and I really had the shits after about 40km of this. I know it sounds like I had the shits the whole weekend but that isn’t true- I still hadn’t done my morning poo!

I’d actually managed to stick to the 14 hour plan up until the 50km mark- my chosen runner had done the first 60km in 8:55 and had blasted the last 40km in 5 hours. What’s wrong with those numbers? Well, it means that he took it really easy for 60km then worked his arse off for 40km. I was 25 minutes behind his time by the 62km mark and things were not looking good, especially when I looked at my 16 hour guys times. I realised I was only 15 minutes in front of his times, so suddenly I was battling for a 16 hour finish? What I hadn’t realised was that my chosen 16 hour runner had done decently well for much of the race then crashed horribly somewhere around where I was- I should have studied those times better!

I had bonked pretty hard at Coast to Kosci and I was looking for a bit of redemption here- so I was pretty happy to ease into the first 60km and then make it hurt for a while. So when I left the 60km check point I was primed for some running but it looked like there was more single track!

Luckily around the next corner we were greeted with some wide fire trails covered in soft pine needles that looked like they went forever. I was in heaven. But I was also pretty sore and a bit grumpy from the previous 60km, so I got out my headphones, put on some music and did The Robot. This is when I focus on my running form, trying to keep everything nicely upright, using my glutes and doing a very easy, low energy run. It worked, and I started passing heaps of people. Side note- some dickhead told me not to call them fire tails, as they are actually forestry roads. Sorry buddy but whilst you may be technically correct, I don’t care, and I’m too old to change.

It was time to start calculating finish times. As I’ve explained above, this was an exercise in extreme frustration. For a while I had no idea whether I was possibly able to push for sub 14 hours or if I was going to have to fight for sub 17!

Analysing the results above you can see around the 40km mark where I kind of lost interest- I was also worried about going too fast and not having enough energy to finish strong. For me, nailing those next 2 sections would be key to getting a better time. Er, and also losing 5kg would undoubtedly help!

This left me at the 62km mark in 9.5 hours- a sub 14 wasn’t going to happen without a 4.5 hour next 40km. Rested and on the road in good conditions that eminently possible, but even on lovely groomed trail it wasn’t likely after 62km!

Several times over the next few hours I nearly gave up, and several times I decided to keep pushing based on my wish to have a good result at this race. You can see how I was steadily making up places but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Finally deciding that sub 9 minute km’s would get me under 15 hours, I was pretty happy and from there it was all about making sure each slow km was balanced with a faster one. I had to make sure that every 10-20 minutes I pulled out a lolly to keep my energy up, and I started playing mental games to keep moving at the required pace. And then disaster.

I’d stolen a chart off the race website that included stats on checkpoint distances and expected times for leaders and BOP, and I was using this on the run to figure out my pace. Running towards the last checkpoint I noticed a small problem- the checkpoint at 100km showed that the distance to the end was now 0km. Which is a mistake- it’s a 102km race! FAAAAAARK! I still had another 2.4km to go! So I bolted, trusting that I had enough strength to not collapse…..

And so I did- I felt a bit of a bastard passing people towards the finish line but my calculations paid off and the clock was showing 54, 55, 56 seconds as I was rushing though the finish chute, for a final time of 14:44:57. That first 14 is super important to me, a huge result considering my fitness and lack of experience on the course.

I’m really proud of the fact that I kept up the pressure, passed a lot of people in the last few sections and even did one or two sub 6min/km! The secret in this case turned out to be Jack Links soft beef jerky. It was kind of hard to chew and swallow, but I had one strip at 40km and another at 60km. This had the effect of making my legs feel much less trashed- I’d normally like to have an amino acid like Taurine but had forgotten to arrange it.

From 487 starters in the 102km category, there were 455 finishers and thus 32 DNF. And for the curious-  I finally dropped a load off in a nice warm bathroom next to the finish line.

Results thanks to Leigh Reynolds-

62km
Matt Carroll 5:18:52 – 3rd (4th overall)*
Joe Gallaher 7:02:16 – 25th (in his first run longer than 32km!)
Victoria Watson. 8:24:13
Teresa Liu. 10:11:55
Sarah Connor 10:34:43

*Chicked! Ruth Croft had an amazing performance, 1st woman by nearly an hour and 2nd outright, just 6mins behind Majell Backhausen

87km
Allison Davies 15:38:09

102km
Katharine Carty 10:27:57 – 9th (29th overall, in a stacked international field!)
Hugh Mander. 13:31:21
Blas Mex. 14:12:33
Adam Connor. 14:44:57
Leigh Reynolds. 17:12:06
Kenneth Low. 17:12:06
Nadia Ackarie. 18:29:06
Zoe Howard. 19:32:01

 

UTA50 & UTA100 Training Run List 2017

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Here is the full program with notes, enjoy!
Each link will take you to the FaceBook Event page.
If you are unsure about coming, you can still add these events to your calendar by selecting ‘export event’ then ‘save to calendar’ like this-

 

14 March
Launch Night UTA50 & UTA100 Runners
Come and have a drink to meet your fellow victims and scare the new people with stories of epic suffering
 Week 1
18 March
HahnMich Manoeuvre UTA50 & UTA100 Runners
This run has 2 loops so you can do 17km, 14km or the full 32km
Week 2
25 March
26 March
Buffalo Stampede UTA50 & UTA100 Runners
This is an alternative to the run on the day before- various distances, all hard.
Week 3
1 April
Greater Nosh 32.5km UTA50 Runners
I’m a little uncomfortable about using this run as it is an NRG run. Does anyone have an alternative suggestion?
2 April
Mt Solitary 45km UTA100 Runners
Week 4
8 April
Jabulani Challenge 45km UTA50 & UTA100
45km for the 100km runners, shorter distances available for the 50km runners
April 8-9
Alternative to Jabulani- distances from 21km to 50km
Week 5
15 April
Fatass Hellgate Gorge– UTA100 Runners
We love and hate this run in just about equal quantities. This is Easter weekend- one option is can stay at Katoomba YMCA on Friday to make the morning drive a little easier. What do you think?
 Week 6
April 22
Beyond the Black Stump 35km UTA50 & UTA100 Runners
 Week 7
29 April
UTA100 Start to Finish Via Jamison Valley 44km UTA100 Runners
Week 8
6 May
Brooklyn to Hornsby 43km UTA100 Runners
This one is viciously difficult! Bail out points….
Brooklyn to Cowan Return 26km UTA50 Runners
Galston Gut Buster 21km UTA50 Runners (option)
 Week 9
Friday 12 May
Manly Dam + Beer UTA50 & UTA100 Runners
Note this is on a Friday so you can spend the whole weekend with your family!
Remember them?
Race Day!
 20 May
Ultra Trail Australia UTA50 & UTA100 Runners
27 May
Post Race Celebration UTA50 & UTA100 Runners
Note this is on Friday so you can hobble straight from work

Coast to Kosci 2016 C2K Guest Post- Adam Kavanagh

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Coast to Kosci 2016 – Adam Kavanagh

How did it come to this?

With GNW just a fresh memory, the application week for C2K had suddenly crept up on me. I knew we couldn’t afford for me to apply and I knew that Kat wouldn’t be happy with me applying. However, I am useless when it comes to peer pressure. With the voices of Lisa, Adrian and Geoff ringing in my ears “It would be a shame to waste the fitness…” I applied at the 11th hour, thinking there would be no way that I would get accepted on my first entry.

So on the 2nd of October, when the email came in at Broke saying you have been accepted – I was a little bit surprised and terrified, especially as I was nursing a bad lower back that had crept up on me after PT on the 30th September.

Training

Well, that is an interesting concept, isn’t it? My lower back was causing me issues sleeping, walking, sitting, and all things in between, so training went right out of the window.

I remember some interesting motivational phone calls from Liz and Adrian telling me what I should be doing. I told them I was doing everything I could based on what the physio was telling me – but more importantly what my back was saying, too.

I know it wasn’t enough. I know I should have done more. Which are two reasons that made me keep putting one foot in front of the other. However, I had done substantially more Km each week in the lead to C2K than I had done in the lead up to GNW, so I know I was in a better state because of that. I know that I wasn’t helped when 2 weeks before the run I stood on broken glass and badly bruised my heel – not the best prep’, there, either!

Race Week

I don’t think I slept properly for the week before the run. Everything had been thrown into disarray by Adrian not being able to crew for me at the last minute. Fortunately for me (not him) Dave was in the right place at the right time and he agreed to help me out.

I think I had an easier time of things on Thursday morning than Lisa did sorting her car out. We could have taken the jeep but we would have been nowhere near as comfortable! I was pretty quiet on the way down to Eden. It was a long way, and I certainly got a bit overawed by roads and views once we got south of Canberra.

The pre-race dinner was great, but I was definitely feeling out of my depth with the talent of the other runners that were there that evening. And the support crews. I felt bad that I hadn’t organised fancy crew shirts. I had barely organised anything – it had all been done on the back of a fag packet by text. My crew weren’t even sure if I’d be running until 2 weeks before! (Nor was I to be fair.)

Race Day

And so the day arrived. Friday 9 December, and we were watching the sun come up on twofold bay. I felt completely out of my depth as everyone seemed so calm and in control, and everyone seemed to be here on their second or third run – I felt like the only newbie.

I thoroughly enjoyed the pictures and the understated atmosphere at the start. I tried to touch the water but there was no way I was getting saltwater on my trainers and wet feet at the start of the run. The fact that we were all going to be going from sea level all the way to the summit of Kosciusko didn’t even enter my head – the numbers were just far too big to comprehend.

All too soon and yet at the same time not soon enough, we were off, through the crowds of cheering crew and onto the firetrail up the hill. I have to wonder if the crews knew exactly what they were in for when they were cheering away at that stage? I don’t think they had any easier time of it than we runners did, with the lack of sleep and food!

I fell in with a group of people pretty early on in the first 24km: Adam Connor, Jane Trumper, Roger Hanney, Pater Caligourili. I had run with Adam before at the inaugural southern highland challenge, and I knew Roger from Hoka. Jane I knew because she had pushed in front of me twice at dinner the night before 😉 Peter was also a newbie with me although I do remember his comment – ‘you can virtually coast from GNW to this on your fitness’ I certainly didn’t believe him, but it made me feel better and slightly less nervous! Roger and Adam surpassed themselves with some seriously un-PC chat which made me laugh a lot. I stayed very silent though – these guys knew each other and I was the newcomer!

We passed Rolland Hassel, and Hailey Maxwell, and then they passed us and that seemed to be the way the morning was panning out, a bit of chat and meeting some new cool people. Jan went passed us on the uphill somewhere and then we caught him back up. Towards the end of the first 24km, we all started to thin out and spread out. Peter and I got into CP1 together – but his crew were nowhere to be seen so he went to the station and I got looked after by the crew. The first of MANY times they would be helping me out.

Everything was going nicely to plan – albeit with only having completed 10% of the race! Although the runners had spread out, it was only by 1-2Km, with several people in that space. It became a really nice feature of the race that I got to see the same crew members time and time again. Rolland Hassel’s crew were great, David (Peter’s crew) was really great as well and he always made sure to say hello and offer a word on the way past – for the whole race. I think a special mention has to go to Roger Hanney’s crew in the Tailwind bus. They were consistently positive and friendly and I saw them loads over the first 30 hours of the race. I didn’t see too much of Jane’s crew until later in the day when I called SJ Lisa because she looked like her from a distance and I thought I was expecting to see them around the next corner!

 

As the day progressed, so did the wind increase – seemingly exponentially. I know that my crew were worried about the fact that I wasn’t running with anybody, but I had seen and chatted to people. It also gave me a way to save energy and just focus on the job in hand. It was quite funny how you could pick the vibe from someone as to whether or not they wanted to chat almost 10m before you got to them, or them to you, too!

One of the moments early in the day had me jumping about 6 foot and moving quicker than I did all weekend. About 8 foot in front of me just baking on the track was a red bellied black snake that was about 2m long. He was just sat there looking at me and although I tried to get my camera out, I was too far away by then, and I had to shout back to Roger Hanney behind me that he should probably cross over because of the snake. Did not want to see any more of them through the day – I expected that with all the traffic on course, they would be long gone.

One of the things that crept into my head was the race report where Adam Connor talked about shaving down but not well enough and it causing him some issues. I thought I had shaved down well, but left enough manscaping so as not to cause issues. Oh no. How very wrong I was. I was causing myself some big issues down there, and no amount of Vaseline seemed to be quelling the burning fire in my crotch. Fire crotch for a whole new reason than normal!

The road into Cathcart was a beast. The wind was absolutely brutal and it was right on the nose, as well. It certainly sapped a great deal of energy going into the wind. It was here that I started to see Kristy Lovegrove in front of me. I had followed her into town, but she was leaving just as I got to the pit stop of noodles and spuds and a chance to wash my hands. It was gold. She then stayed resolutely 500m-1Km or more in front of me for the rest of the afternoon. More on that later.

It was after we turned off the Monaro Freeway that the crew dressed up. I saw Liz’s skull with an irish hat on and thought “that’s very interesting – not very Liz – but very interesting nonetheless.” It then took me several minutes to realise that in the impromptu stop, they had all dressed up. I was glad they had stopped though, I needed more Vaseline and sun screen!

 

Once the wind died as the sun went down it was absolutely beautiful up there. The views were great and it was really really peaceful. Exactly why I wanted to be out there. I certainly didn’t want to be out there amongst the wind and the road kill that littered the verges. That was stinky!

By the time the sun went down at Checkpoint 3, I had somehow managed to pass Kristy – but it wasn’t for long. She just flew down the hill after the CP and I remember thinking – I wish my quads could do that. But it was not to be! “Wind her up and watch her go’ was the response from her crew when I commented on how quick she was down the hill. I caught Graeme Wye going up the hill – he was suffering from indigestion – and you could hear it from a long way off – they were some massive burps!

At about 2100, I finally got someone to run with me and it was great. I told Dave that it didn’t matter if he didn’t want to talk – or that if he did and I didn’t answer I wasn’t being rude I was just conserving energy – I think that is what had done me so well by that stage – saving energy, etc, etc. I told him I’d be quiet and then talked at him all the way up the hill to the wind turbines. Which was a massive problem because I forgot to eat or drink. Until we got to just shy of the top. I was in the wrong clothes, with no energy – big mess up.

This is where I think I started to annoy Lisa – right where she started running with me. Because of my fascination with numbers and planning times and talking things through interminably in my head. I remember one of the things I had been thinking about all day was sleeping at a similar stage to when I did on GNW – 110Km. Lisa let me try a little bit later on than that – but when her and Liz were chatting about people coming – I had to jump up and carry on – annoyed that I’d wasted time. I remember we walked past Nicky Redl at some stage – she wasn’t impressed when I made a comment that we still had more than half the race to go. After what Brick had told me at GNW – I’m now a firm believer that the halfway point is actually about the 60-70% mark on longer runs.

At Dalgetty was where I was told I could have a sleep. I was well within my time frames and everything was going well – so the crew were happy that I could have a sleep. The hall was sooooo loud and soooo hot, though. I ended up lying there hating everyone for being so loud and not actually asleep at all. It made me really angry with myself. When I went to the toilet and realized the car crash that was occurring in my shorts – that compounded my grumpiness. Although I at least managed to use the toilet. Lesson #1 – if you feel like crap – do one – it will probably help a great deal.

So when Liz and I stepped off at about 0330, I was not in a very good place at all. It was tough. Every step hurt my chaffed bits; and it started to get cold. I remember telling Liz “All I want to do is cry.” “Well just fcuking cry then.” Is not quite the response I expected, while at the same time it WAS exactly the response I expected and needed.

As the sun came up, I went through periods where every single part of me was trembling. I certainly considered quitting – many many times. I remember at 0730 thinking – I can be in the car by 0745 and all this pain will be gone by 0800. I also distinctly remember thinking “How on earth can I tell Dave, Lisa, and Liz that I’m quitting because it’s tough? ‘Thanks for giving up 4 days and driving for hours but I’m just a bit tired and broken – we can chill at a café in Jindabyne until we can check into our hotel for the night and then watch everyone who didn’t quit get their akubras.’” I also thought how uncomfortable that 6 hour drive home would be in utter silence. I think I hoped I would have a really bad injury that would then enable me to justify withdrawing when it finally got diagnosed.

Liz just stayed a little bit ahead of me – always out of reach unless I asked for something to eat or drink – which was often. And usually followed by a wee as well. The race doctor had said to drink to thirst – but the dry air and the cough meant that I permanently felt thirsty even when I knew I wasn’t. I have no idea how she had the patience to put up with me.

When the roving doctor pulled up alongside me I don’t think I was quick enough with my thumbs-up. He leant out of the car and told me that I was fine. That I had hours until the cut off at Charlotte’s Pass. That there were people behind me who were also fine and were going to make the cut. That was the final thing I needed. How could I quit 17 hours before the cut off and then look people in the eye when I went home? Time to keep plodding on and see what occurred.

Liz kept me pushing through the remains of the dawn chill and then let me sleep for 10 mins when the sun had come up. Just what I needed. In the driveway of a house. I had to answer the call of nature just across the road. Oh how I wish I had waited a few minutes and round the corner and I would have been in peace and quiet, without getting disturbed… That sleep in the sun worked wonders and seemed to recharge my batteries.

Liz was able to keep me pushing through from there until Jindabyne. Again it was the roving doctor who helped me out. I had sent Dave off 8km to the CP, which was a mistake. Billy the doctor gave us a ginger beer and topped up our water. I also got to use the loo at the lake. Lesson #2 – never pass up a loo. It was at this stage that we went past one of the people who ended up retiring. He was in a bad way and Liz gave him the rest of the ginger beer. His wife asked us about our poles and if they helped our knees to which we said yes. She then turned round to her husband and said “See – I told you so!” Just what I am sure he wanted to hear after 180Km!

The caravan park was another opportunity for a break with a sleep and a feed and calypso ice lollies! By this stage I had found the slather in the car and the Vaseline had been relegated. The slather had tea tree oil in and that was cleaning things up down there far better than Vaseline ever could. Gentle antiseptic worked wonders. I think I would still be chaffed now without it.

I had slowly frittered through my spare time, but it wasn’t too much of a drama. Now Lisa had the job of dragging me up from Jindabyne to the summit through Perisher and Charlotte’s Pass. There was still 50Km to go and it felt like it as all going to be uphill – until we got there and realised there was LOADS of down hill, as well! Lisa had a job on, convincing me not to sit down every single time I wanted to eat or drink. Fortunately there was absolutely no shade anywhere – so I knew that sitting down in the sun was not the most sensible thing for us to be doing.

And then Liz produced the Umbrella! Shade – on a stick! I think it made a world of difference as the sun was merciless. And wearing a reflective vest didn’t help the situation. Oh how I regretted not being able to get a very thin and skinny running one prior to the race…

One of the moments that I did find funny was a slight navigational error by the crew. They added another 5Km onto what we had to do. Which came at exactly the same time that Scottish Michael told us the hills were only undulating from where we at that stage – a complete lie! They felt pretty bad about it – but not as bad as Lisa and I did when we saw the two valleys we had to descend into and then climb out of – wish I could remember the name. I know that Diggers Creek was at the bottom of one of them, with a hotel and a lake at the same place. They were tough hills.

I think I actually slept on my way out of the second one into Smiggins. Lisa was reading things out from Facebook and I said to her – “I have no idea what you’ve been talking about for the past 20 minutes.” I was trying to stay awake but failing miserably. We got a good feed in Perisher, which was awesome. And then it was over to Liz to get me up to Charlotte’s Pass. I felt bad not getting Dave to run – but I knew that Lisa and Liz would bollock me more than him and give me a bit more tough love. He’d be nice to me – which wasn’t what I would be needing!

Just short of Charlotte’s Pass was where it started to get cold as the sun was coming down. I had a plan with what I wanted to wear, but it hadn’t survived contact with the crew. Dave had taken my ron hill tracksters up to the checkpoint – but I needed warm kit where the car was. I argued with Lisa and Liz and told them what I wanted – but couldn’t understand why I couldn’t have them! Liz then proceeded to try and pull my merino thermal pants over the swollen legs and trainers. I remember the unseen look on her face when I told her “I told you that wouldn’t work” the silence and the pause spoke more than anything. But we eventually got the pants on and I trudged up the road with a blanket around my bum, arguing with Liz about not wanting to look like a hobo.

I think that was the worst behaved that I was for the crew over the course of the run. I think by that stage I also knew that we were going to finish. I knew it was going to hurt, though: my quads were cactus, my right knee was sore, as was my right hip and right thigh felt like it had been caulked. When I told Liz during my low spot (4 hours) she told to politely be quiet when I suggested maybe I had fractured my femur in my hip joint like Lisa’s friend had done…

After a bit of too and fro with kit checks and then some questions by the doctor, we were off. Not quite at the breakneck speed that a seemingly crippled Jane Trumper was coming down the hill with a not quite so broken looking Roger Hanney chasing her down. It was a lovely evening on the hill, I was gutted that I hadn’t been able to get the crew up in the day time so we could get some snaps with a view.

Just before we got to the snow crossing, we saw Jo Hedges and Pete Colagiuri again which was great. Jo and I have now been in a few races together – and apart from CP Ultra – he has finished in front of me. It’s great to see people on new runs. Crossing the snow was a little bit worse than it needed to be – certainly for Lisa. I will be honest, there were enough people with Dave and Liz looking after her, so I cracked on. I was really worried she wasn’t going to make it across, but I don’t think there was ANY danger of Liz letting that happen. I remember hearing Lisa say “I’m going to turn back” and Liz’s response was “No, you won’t.” I knew we were all going to make it when I heard that! It wasn’t until the way back that you could see quite how steep the run off from the snow actually was – you would have been sliding a LONG way!

The path after that was circuitous to say the least. A mixture of geo textile filled with rocks, and then smooth slabs. Until finally we got round the corner and there was the Streslecki Monument. The picture says it all – I was exhausted. I couldn’t face trying to get up on top – I would never have made it down again. All I wanted to do was make sure we got off the hill in as good a time as possible – so we got about three photos and that was it. I wanted to get back across the snow before everyone else in case there was someone who freaked out. I needn’t have worried – Lisa and Liz sprinted across and it was me holding things up because stepping down the snow steps was murderous on my right knee. The other two people who had summited with us were then off and past me. It was all I could do to keep Simon Roberts behind me with his bad knee. Although I was on the summit with Adam Connor, he managed to beat me by about 4 minutes. I had actually spent a fair bit of time with everyone who was in the few places ahead of me throughout the previous two days!

Something that Liz told me was that when I get near to a deadline or a hurdle, I switched off. That certainly happened with 1km to finish. I kept falling asleep and it was all that Dave could do to keep me on the straight and narrow and not go crashing into the wall on my right, or off the cliff on my left. I really wanted to try and keep my place – I didn’t want to get caught towards the end so I did try and speed it up. Which must have been laughable for Dave because it probably wasn’t as fast as I thought it was! I kept hoping it was just around the corner, but as with everything in the latter stages of the race, 1km felt like 1.5km and five minutes felt like ten. When I saw the finish line I did try to run. I really wanted to, but it was more of a shuffle into Paul Every’s arms over the finish! They got me a chair and a brew and that was it – I had finished 240Km that I never thought I would attempt, leave alone finish.

As my brew was handed to me I tried to stand up to get into the car but my knees were non-existent and I had to get lifted into the car by Diane and another lady. I do remember making the effort (it felt like I was making an effort!) to thank Billy for his wise words that got me to where I was.

But the race wasn’t over – it was a hell of a drive down to Jindabyne and I felt like I didn’t have the strength to move in the back of the car. Liz and Lisa did a great job driving down and keeping us on the road. It felt like the drive took forever – I thought I was sleeping although Liz assures me they were just micro naps. She must’ve been threaders with my attempts at crap chat to keep her awake. Although the stench coming off me should have been enough to keep anyone awake – I stank like the dead wombats I had seen by the side of the road!

It certainly took a fair bit of effort to get undressed that night. Point to note for when I crew in the future – get your own room so you don’t have to worry about the smell or the snoring or anything else that you do annoying your long-suffering crew. I made some very strange noises through the night when I got up for my old man wee. It took about 5 mins to get 3 metres to the toilet.

Lessons

SO aside from a new hat and some confused memories, what did I get out of the race? A new found appreciation for what is possible when you are working with a great team who are as focused on the outcome as you are. Probably more focused in fact as they had a little bit more rest in order to be rational about things. Some actual lessons:

  1. If you feel like crap – do one – it will probably help.
  2. Never pass up the opportunity to use a loo.
  3. Never use Vaseline again – not down there. Never use bum vas on your lips, either.
  4. Always carry an umbrella in your car
  5. Always be polite to your crew – and everybody else around you. You can’t do anything without them. If your tired plans don’t come to fruition – listen to theirs – it’ll be better.

It has taken me two weeks to write this – I’m sure it will have taken you that long to read, as well. I’m still a bit overawed by what we did together. I take every opportunity to wear my hat now – much to the style chagrin of Kathryn. I have to wonder what is acceptable though, do I wear it everywhere as a crew cap? I said I would never do it again – but I can’t say that now. I would love to go under 40 hours and I think with the knowledge I have now, that I would be able to achieve that. Although I think I would rather crew for someone and give them the opportunity to complete this undertaking.

I need something to train and aim for. I’ve not got the training motivation at the moment. Which is probably good as it will give me a chance to rest. All I have done in the past two weeks is eat drink and sleep. I didn’t have an appreciation for how tired I would be after the race. I nearly got a migraine on the Tuesday at work, which hasn’t happened for 15 years.

 

All that remains if you’ve gotten this far is to say thank you very much for enabling me to say I finished Coast to Kosci in 2016. A Miler and 240Km this year. What next?

 

Coast to Kosci 2016 C2K

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img_3827C2K weekend is basically a hippie love fest for self flagellators and their mates.

There, I’ve said it. Now that I’ve said it, I’ll also state that I never want to be anywhere else on that weekend in December.

This story started in September last year when I found out I had missed out on a spot in the race. It was a harsh but fair decision and I decided to redouble my efforts to get into the race. Luckily five of my other friends from NRG had earned a spot but unluckily only three of them made to the start line- but all three did exceptionally well and the bug was working it’s way round in the minds of other NRG’ers!

This year when the invitations came around another five NRG’ers were picked and luckily I was one of them. The bad part was there was suddenly scramble for crew members. But my secret weapon was Piera Kohout who had been asking me for race dates since before the race date was even announced. I also managed to get on board Tanya Carroll who is very calm, a great organiser and a great runner. The final member of the team was Tex Whitney who is a mate from a long time back, and I knew he would fit in with no problems. All three of them are very well organised, experts in their field, calm under pressure and exactly what I needed in team.

As none of my crew had crewed before for this race, I tried to make sets of instruction so that everything would be easy for them. In fact I probably make things more complicated than they need to be, and didn’t spend enough time training them on the use of all the bits and pieces. Apparently I sent them into meltdown when I asked for an espresso- I’d provided a machine that works in the car but the instructions aren’t all that clear……

 

The trip down was uneventful and quite fun through Berry and had some fresh doughnuts. Dinner with Jane Trumper and Hailey Maxwell and their respective crews was fun, although sitting in a pub and drinking soda water was an experience I could probably improve upon.

Thursday we started packing the car and organising things and suddenly it was time to mark the course for Cossie To Coast, the 7km fun run for the teams. Went down for a nap and asked to be woken up at 4:30pm for a 4:45pm race start, but didn’t realise until we got there that about 60-70 runners had assembled. True to form there were some appalling costumes, but since you can’t have fashion without victims I will state for the record that Lucy Bartholemew looks better in that dress, sorry George…..

After some stern words about running over Billy Pearce’s C2K race markings I sent them off in a colourful and chaotic cloud of dust.

garth-being-shy

Sorry no names for this one!

But you came here for a different race, didn’t you? OK after the crew race we went to the Eden Fishermans Club where the pre race event was held upstairs for the first time- I think this worked really well because we didn’t wait too long to get fed and the food didn’t appear to run out before being replenished! Well done to the organisers, I’m not sure why a move from downstairs to upstairs made a difference but it did appear to work.

Home to our cabin for an early night but of course I couldn’t sleep. And then I dreamed about not sleeping- to the point that at 4:15am when my alarm went off I was actually dreaming about being on a bus and late to the race. At least I knew I had been asleep because I vividly remember the dream, but I didn’t feel rested. We headed down to Boydtown Beach, Got our prerace photos and at 5:30 AM after a quiet countdown by race director Paul Every we were off.

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My planning 2014 have been very simple. I knew that if I ran the first 100 km in under 14 hours, that I could walk the rest of the race without being too close to the cut-offs. This time I had a very sternly worded email from my coach (that included a few swear words so I knew he was serious) that said ‘don’t allow yourself to think that you can simply walk from the 100km mark’ Great advice. The new plan was to do the first 100km in about 14 hours and push on a bit harder during the night where is there are some very boring bits. But I had kind of forgotten about the death march up from Thredbo River…..

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And that’s the way we did it. A very easy first 100 km came up in 13 hours and 50 minutes- just about perfect. I was very pleased about the way we pushed on during the night time sections where I would typically have walked. And we made it to Dalgety (148km) in good time in good condition. Whilst I wasn’t overall any faster in this first 100 miles (to the bottom of Beloka Range), my body had held up much better than in 2014. I did getting very tired towards the end of the night I’m told my crew that I wanted 30 minutes rest in the car before it got light. They weren’t happy about this but I jumped in the car, had a short rest, and got up again feeling great in only 15 minutes. I had agreed to have some noodles going up Beloka range which was a mistake in the first place however what made it even worse was the water the noodles were made with was merely warm and not hot. Poor Tanya had to deal with me saying ‘this is possibly the worst most disgusting thing I had ever in my life’. But we got a laugh out of it and perhaps some poor hungry piece of wildlife has a better opinion of half crunchy noodles than I do. At the top of Beloka there is only about 17km into Jindabyne but it does seem to take forever, we went from brisk early-morning sunlight to full on daytime while still approaching Jindabyne.

Jane always says the race starts at Jindabyne. We got refreshed, had a couple of coffees and set off for Thredbo River. I had refused the offer of deodorant from my crew- which was a bad mistake I was to later learn. Probably a bad mistake for them to accept my refusal! Through the river I had a little mental collapse, I was just unprepared for the next 10 hours of climbing, however I decided to break it up into smaller chunks and that did make it mentally manageable. 5 km to the park entrance, 20 km to perisher, 9 km (ish) from there to Charlotte pass.

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The grinders start grinding, all the way to the grim peak…..

Not much to say about this except it became grim and grimmer during the day- and we really needed our fly nets. Tex stayed with me for a good part of this and we manage to communicate communicate via grunts for hours on end. We had a few bright moments when Rebecca, Gavin, Jess, and the Tailwind bus came past and decided to try to cheer it up. It didn’t really work but there were a few moments of hilarity in amongst the terrible grind. Of course Rogers team getting past meant that Roger got past as well, luckily by that point his brain was only going about five times the speed of mine because I didn’t have the strength to murder him for his terrible jokes.

It was fantastic to finally get to Perisher, Because from there it is only around 10 km to Charlotte pass. Unfortunately around here I lost any ability I had to run and it must have been pretty horrible watching me grind out those last few kilometres. I think I still have a lot to learn about keeping up the pressure later on in these long races. Poor Piera and Tanya had the job of keeping me company in these sections and it must have been horrible. Piera was entertaining and trying to get me moving faster, Tanya was quietly encouraging. I’m not sure either method worked because I was being a stubborn old man but thank goodness they were there to stave off the mental buzzards that were circling above.
At Charlotte pass my crew sat me down for 5 minutes, got me changed had mandatory gear ready and went about things like Formula One pitstop. It was fantastic to watch. Joe Hedges spotted me sitting down and blew through like a man on a mission. He been in all sorts of trouble overnight and was now looking like coming good. I knew he would, but there also went my chance of not being the last NRG person….

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What rhymes with ‘truck’?

We left Charlotte pass at exactly 7 PM. We slipped down from an approximately 39 hour finish to around a 40 hour finish. And then it all went Pete Tong. Only a couple of hundred metres from Charlotte pass I found that I couldn’t lift my left leg any more. We had to send somebody back to get my poles because I hadn’t thought I would need them. When I got them all I could do was rest on the polls and use my hips to swing my left leg forward. I was going as fast as I could but kept on looking down my watch and seeing 24 to 26 minutes per kilometre. I can see my crew in front having quiet conversations with each other urgently discussing what to do. I have to admit I’m not very flexible and some of these situations every time they came up to me and said ‘you’ll have to go faster if you want to finish’ I’d reply ‘you just want me to go faster so you can be off the mountain quicker’

Sometimes I’m not one of the worlds fastest brains hey…..

At one point I was only travelling at 1.2km/h and it was starting to look like becoming a very long night. I never thought I wouldn’t make it, but later calculations showed just how close we were.

Piera had decided I needed drugs, but in the rush to make sure we had all of the mandatory gear, nobody had thought to pack any. So they were desperately asking other runners coming off the mountain if they had any. Wayne ‘Blue Dog’ Gregory once again became my saviour when he admitted he had Panadol Osteo. I think Piera may have ripped them out of his hands while demanding I take 2 immediately. Now I don’t typically take headache tablets or anti inflams etc. so I didn’t really expect these to do much. I stand (walk) corrected- Tex says that within 7 minutes I was walking better and within 20 minutes had almost regained full motion. It’s a miracle!

So we pushed on to the summit and met a few more runners on the way. It was like Pitt St trying to get across the ice and line up to take our summit shots.

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on the way down I actually handed my poles to Tanya and could almost run! We had summited at exactly 11pm, meaning it had taken us 4 hours to ascend. If it had taken 4 hours to get back to Charlotte Pass we would have finished at 1am, only 30 minutes before the cutoff. While I NEVER thought I would not finish, doing those sums on the way down was very sobering. The injury had come out of the blue, but it was real- it took a few days before I was able to fully engage my hip flexor again.
Garth Mcinerny suggested that I may have caused it by engaging my glutes up the big hill and some weakness pushed my toes out to the side causing the flexor issue (I think). This does make sense because in some video you can see my left toes flick out- I’ll have to watch that in future.

Doesn’t look comfortable hey? Check left foot flicking out…..

On the way up I was having some minor hallucinations- the ice underfoot was moving (interesting rather than dangerous) but on the way down those carefully constructed walls in my psyche were crumbling down at an increasing rate. I had issued a number of crew commandments in my guide, one of them being ‘don’t lie to me about time or distance- if it’s 5km of 50km, just give it to me straight’.
But we had one person join us for the final ascent who hadn’t read the notes! I was very grateful that John had come along but I’d been trying to hold in my lingering madness and despair. Unfortunately after about 50 ‘nearly there’ ‘not much longer’ and ‘not far now’ some of them escaped and I whimpered ‘I NEED to be asleep. I can no longer be conscious’ and in the last 4km the trees started to turn into faces etc. The bonus being some quite interesting art installations that apparently were put there specifically for me. Anyway, the worst was when we got to the finish line- I turned my headlamp off so Tex could get nicer finish shot, and of course the lack of light suddenly meant that my mind could make up whatever the fuck it liked, and so it did.
There was a bit of Keystone Cops with ‘Adam, the finish line is over here’ then me heading off in the opposite direction, I thought we had it all worked out when I did finally spot the finish line, but of course I then had to try to climb over the invisible barriers. Someone on the finish line very helpfully showed me that they weren’t there and I shuffled across the finish line at 1:08am Sunday, 2 days after starting. Four hours up the mountain, 2:08 down. A quick hug from Paul and Diane (yes those hugs make it all worthwhile!) and we made the long drive down the mountain to a well deserved sleep.

I need to point this out- Was never in danger from the hallucinations, the bad ones were merely a product of me turning off my light and I had a team of people around me to prevent problems. I’m relating the story because it is funny, not dangerous.

The next morning was filled with people telling me how terrible I looked and how worried they were that I wasn’t going to make it- just as well I didn’t have them as crew!

Anything I can say about my team will be inadequate but I will try anyway- they dealt with every situation with grace and equanimity. I basically promised them a sub 40 hour finish and when it all went to poo, they went above and beyond in trying to keep me moving. I suspect Piera probably suffered from my bloody mindedness the most. She obviously took my health very seriously and I knew that if I did as she said I would be ok. But she also tried to make me go faster when my lizard brain was saying no, and no matter what logical explanations I had for slacking off she’s probably seen it so many times in her job- I should have tried a little harder!

I finished in about the right place- if I had pushed a little more, not had a hip flexor issue or any number of other excuses I could have finished with Damon, Jane, Roger, Matt, Joe or others. As it happened, I needed to suck up my pride, admit that sub 40 was just a dream, and get it done. I’m proud to have done that but I’d be absolutely nowhere without that crew- you were wonderfull and I thank you!

Here is my splits, I’ll try to update when I track down my 2014 times-

40 Adam Connor M NSW Finished 06:37:00 09:20:00 14:53:00 21:45:00 29:00:00 35:08:00 43:38:28

Could I do it better? Yes absolutely. Getting a bit of mongrel back in those later stages, not making so many rookie mistakes and I think I could take a few HOURS off that time of 43:38. I just need to get permission from my wife…….

Photo Credits- Thank you so much to Tex Whitney, Billy Bridle and Rebekah Markey for the pics!

Not all Change is Good

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I ran for the first time since Coast to Kosci yesterday, and for the first time I knew I wouldn’t see Ann Preston on the bike path. She was killed Sunday morning while cycling with a bunch of other friends from NRG.
I’m guessing no one else knows this but I used to see her regularly on the bike path and would always stop for a chat. I’m sure this became annoying to her but I just couldn’t pass up the chance to be in her company. I know you’ll think that is a bit creepy (and I don’t care), but I do deliberately cultivate friendships with smart and interesting people, and Ann was all that! And there was just something that made me want to stop and chat.

It’s common for us to think of those who’ve died as more than a bit saintly, but I didn’t know Ann that well so the effect is even greater with me. I never saw her get upset or angry, never saw her lose her temper, always with that thoughtful and caring look on her face. Definitely a saint, and one who had decided to have a career in public health to care for people. Perhaps we can make her a double or triple saint?

The terrible tragedy for those of us who are left is that we don’t feel worthy when someone so talented has been taken. I’ve done some truly shitty things in my life and have not contributed back to society half as much in my (cough) 50% longer life as Ann did. It just isn’t fair.

To try to make sense if a tragedy like this I’m very tempted to plead for people to grab life by the balls, live in the moment, don’t wait, do it now etc. But we all know that tomorrow I’m going to wake up and be the same sarcastic arsehole as ever. What I will do however is try to treasure those simple moments a bit more, try to be a bit better as a human and honour the memory of someone very special who has gone.

It is kind of embarrassing to write all of this about someone who I hardly knew at all. But I can’t help the feelings that her death has caused and I needed to do something to make sense of this truly shitty event. Normally I would treat my FaceBook friends to a blasting but I did violate a request to keep quiet about it on FaceBook and got a whole heap of people giving me sympathy- which I don’t want. I deleted the post.

And she was a beautiful person. Again, you can take that however you like but it’s the pure unvarnished truth. Beauty can take many forms but you rarely get someone who is beautiful on the outside who doesn’t have some sort of weirdness or evil within. Yes I’ll admit that I wasn’t that close (again), but if there was a serial killer inside it was well hidden. I’m completely gutted that I’ll no longer have the chance to stop her for a chat- but now I’m glad I did.

Thank you Ann

Coast To Kosci Resources 2016 C2K

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There’s plenty of race reports out there but I’ve tried to make a short list of things that will help. Skim some, ignore others but here it is-

For Everyone

The most important thing that everyone needs to do is read the rules-

http://www.coast2kosci.com/documents/Documents_2016/C2K_2016_Race_Rules.pdf

*The mandatory gear for summiting is in the rules document.
The very next thing to do is read Diane Weavers crewing tips. Even if you are a runner it might prompt you to want something different, or to add something. This is the gold standard of advice-

http://www.coast2kosci.com/documents/C2K_CrewingTipsandBits.pdf

You also need to know the race schedule-

http://www.coast2kosci.com/documents/Documents_2016/C2K_2016_Race_Schedule.pdf

Here’s a minute by minute rundown of what will happen during a 40 hour race-

C2K Race Planner 2015

and here’s a report of my crewing experience last year, this might be of interest to those crewing?

C2K 2015 Crewing Guide

For Runners

Runners, have a look at the race reports hosted on the website. I read every single one before my 2014 run- Have a look at the’Race Reports’ tab, but here is 2004-

http://www.coast2kosci.com/racereports2004.html

 

Runners (and crew!) check out Team George’s fabulous tips for packing-

 

And for a bit of light entertainment check out Roger Hanney’s hilarious summary of the event-

https://medium.com/time-to-fly/coast2kosci-101-a-users-guide-bea8a1008f37#.o1dc7qjb7

And Graham Doke’s reply has some great advice

https://medium.com/@graham.doke/rogers-a-hard-act-to-follow-but-i-ll-rise-to-the-challenge-and-cast-some-words-out-there-for-e7be71e22a38#.rbp301pgp

If you’d like to avoid some of the mistakes I made as a first timer in 2014, read this-

Coast to Kosciuszko C2K 2014

If you’d like to find out how Roger beat me in that very same race and got his PB as a second timer- We were together at the 100km mark, and he was nearly 7 hours ahead at the end- amazing!

Coast2Kosci 2014 Race Report, by Roger Hanney

(Don’t stop there, read more of his stuff, he’s a very funny and talented man)

Here is a list of tips for first time runners (anyone who has any more please let me know!)-

C2K Runner Hints 2015

 

Runners have a look at the Pace Calculator

And there’s probably enough material to send you to sleep if you do a search –

I’m Bored and Need to Sleep

Medical
A special note from Andy Hewat- Race Medic. These principles designed in conjunction with researchers and race medics at Western States Endurance Run- take note!

With runners and crew busy with last minute prep please take a moment to read the following information about the most likely serious medical problems that could end your race. It is long but important information.

The following information is adapted from the Western States Endurance Run website where much of the leading research has been conducted on the welfare of ultrarunners. Some of the main risks, but certainly not all of them, are listed here. These should be understood and remembered by all runners, before and during the event.

1. Renal Shutdown: Cases of renal shutdown (acute renal failure) have been reported in ultramarathons. Renal shutdown (known technically as acute kidney injury or AKI) occurs from muscle tissue injury which causes the release of the protein myoglobininto the blood. Myoglobin is cleared from the blood by the kidneys and will look brownish-coloured in the urine, but it is also a toxin to the kidneys and can cause acute vasospasm in the small arteries that supply the kidneys leading to AKI as a result of rhabdomyolysis. Appropriate training is key to prevention of AKI from rhabdomyolysis, and adequate hydration is key to both prevention and treatment of AKI, a syndrome that can be worsened by the use of NSAIDs. Ultra runners have required dialysis treatments after other races, and some have been hospitalised for several days with IV fluids to correct partial renal shutdown. While usually reversible in healthy people, AKI may cause permanent impairment of kidney function. IT IS CRUCIAL TO CONTINUE HYDRATING FOR SEVERAL DAYS FOLLOWING THE RUN OR UNTIL THE URINE IS LIGHT YELLOW AND OF NORMAL FREQUENCY. The Terrible Three: Research at WS100 has demonstrated that starting the run with a pre-existing injury, low training miles due to the injury, and masking the injury during the run using anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen (nurofen), could very well earn the runner a trip to the hospital with acute renal failure. The lesson is simple; if you are determined to start the run with an injury and low training miles, do not attempt to mask the pain with a pill (any pill). Let common sense be your guide and stop when your body tells you to stop.

2. Heat Stroke/Hyperthermia: Your muscles produce tremendous amounts of heat when running up and down hill. The faster the pace, the more heat is produced. In addition to the generation of heat from metabolism, environmental heat stress can be significant during the run. Heat stroke can cause death, kidney failure and brain damage. It is important that runners be aware of the symptoms of impending heat injury. These include but are not limited to: nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness, faintness, irritability, lassitude, confusion, weakness, and rapid heart rate. Impending heat stroke may be preceded by a decrease in sweating and the appearance of goose bumps on the skin, especially over the chest. Heat stroke may progress from minimal symptoms to complete collapse in a very short period of time. A light-coloured shirt and cap, particularly if kept wet during the run, can help. Acclimatization to heat requires approximately two weeks. If signs of heat exhaustion occur, we recommend rapid cooling by applying ice to the groin, neck and armpits.

3. Risks Associated With Low Blood Sodium: Low blood sodium concentrations (hyponatremia) in ultramarathon runners have been associated with severe illness requiring hospitalisation and several deaths among participants of shorter events. Generally, those individuals who are symptomatic with hyponatremia have been overhydrating. But, hyponatremia may occur with weight gain and weight loss, so weight change is not helpful in making the diagnosis. Because of the release of stored water when you metabolize glycogen stores, you should expect to lose 3-5% of your body weight during the run to maintain appropriate hydration. It is important to note that hyponatremia may in fact worsen after the race, as unabsorbed fluid in the stomach can be rapidly absorbed once you stop exercising. Signs and symptoms of hyponatremia may include bloating, nausea, vomiting, headache, confusion, incoordination, dizziness and fatigue. If left untreated, hyponatremia may progress to seizures, pulmonary and cerebral oedema, coma and death. The best way to avoid developing symptomatic hyponatremia is to not overhydrate. There is no evidence that consuming additional sodium or using electrolyte-containing drinks rather than water is preventative of exercise-induced hyponatremia. If symptoms develop, one needs to assess whether they are due to overhydration. If that is the case, then stop fluid intake until you remove excess fluid through urination. If severe symptoms present, this is a medical emergency. The runner should be transported to a hospital and treated with intravenous hypertonic saline. Since the typical fluid used for intravenous hydration (referred to as normal saline) can exacerbate exercise-associated hyponatremia, point of care blood testing should be done before IV fluids are started wherever possible.

4. Snow Hazards: Snow levels in the high country vary greatly from year to year. Wear shoes with good gripping characteristics, but falling will still be a risk. Snow conditions may vary from soft and slushy to rock-hard and icy at night. Run or hike slowly and with particular care and concentration in the snow. Sun glasses are highly recommended.

5. Effects of Cold/Hypothermia: Temperatures may be below zero in the high country during the night portion of the run. Hypothermia is a potentially serious risk, especially at night since one’s energy reserves will have been depleted from 1 or 2 days of running. Hypothermia can strike very quickly, particularly when pace slows from exhaustion or injury. The initial warning signs of hypothermia often include lethargy, disorientation and confusion. The runner will feel very cold with uncontrolled shivering and may become confused, unaware of the surroundings, and may possibly be an immediate danger to themself. Staying well-nourished, adequately hydrated and appropriately clothed will help avoid hypothermia. It is important that runners have access to warm clothing through their support crews and mandatory gear on the summit section.

6. Vehicle Hazards: More than 95% of Coast to Kosci is run on roads that are not closed to vehicles. Runners and pacers must be watchful for cars on all roads.

7. Use of Drugs: It is recommended that no drugs of any kind should be taken before, during or immediately after the run (unless prescription for a specific non-race related condition). Many drugs can increase the risk of heat stroke. A partial list of problem drugs includes amphetamines, tranquilizers, NSAIDS and diuretics. There is little known about drug reactions with the stress of running more than 100 miles.

8. Rhabdomyolysis: It has been found that some degree of muscle cell death in the legs occurs from participation in a run of this length. The recovery can take several months. This seems to be a bigger problem in runners who have exerted themselves beyond their level of training. Medical analysis of blood samples taken from Western States runners shows that this occurs to some degree in all runners. (See 1. Renal Shutdown.)

9. Overuse Injuries: Obviously, innumerable overuse injuries can occur, especially in the knee and the ankle. Blisters have prevented participants from finishing.

10. Common Fatigue: One of the dangers you will encounter is fatigue. Fatigue, combined with the effects of dehydration, hypothermia, hyperthermia, hyponatremia, hypoglycemia, sleep deprivation and other debilitating conditions can produce disorientation and irrationality.

Drugs in Sport v2

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If you haven’t read my original ‘Drugs in Sport‘ please have a quick look, here’s what happened in the last 2 years.

Nothing.

Well, not exactly nothing- on the recommendation of one runner i did get a referral from my Doctor to a respiratory specialist. Who just happens to be 400m from my front door. That referral stayed on my desk until it expired, so I got another one.

Then before this one expired, I thought I should take some action. In the last article I had decided that because a local GP said I didn’t qualify for any further treatment I would be satisfied with that. In reality, not knowing was gnawing at me. I didn’t necessarily need drugs but I needed to know.

So last Tuesday morning ( 1st November, Melbourne Cup Day!) I duly turned up to see Dr David Joffe. He has a bunch of Vietnam War memorabilia which was a bit intimidating, I wondered if he was going to tell me to HTFU!

But he turned out to be absolutely fascinating to talk to and of course very knowledgeable. After asking a whole bunch of questions about my current treatment, past and a whole bunch of lifestyle questions, he suggested that I probably have a low grade persistent asthma. Which does match my symptoms……unfortunately.

He has prescribed a newer version of Seretide called Breo Ellipta, and I’ve now been taking it for 6 days.

So, what has happened? I no longer have to make sure there is no blankets near my mouth so I can breath at night. Several times a day I inhale and wonder that it isn’t a struggle. I was even a bit light headed on occasion!

I CAN BREATHE!

But what about running? I’m not any faster, in fact I think I’m a bit slower! However I don’t seem to have the same issue with lactic acid that I used to. This kind of makes sense- my theory is that my ‘cruising speed’ was too close to my ‘fuck I’m dying speed’ and over the period of a long race I would just get worse and worse lactic acid buildup. You’ve seen the video of me the day after Coast To Kosci in 2014 right? I haven’t been able to do a full session of hills for a long time….. now it seems that I can run up a hill (slowly) without absolutely killing my lungs. Will I be able to run like a normal person? Too early to tell, I did feel a bit shit last week but hoping to be able to perform a bit better soon. Does this mean that I will finally be able to run so hard up a hill that I vomit? Oh, what joy!

Now that there is a bit more ‘breathing space’ (see what I did there?) between my cruising speed and my racing speed, I hope to suffer less during races. But I still don’t have any driving need to win. I’m still happy to be cannon fodder in these races……

So, what if I choose not to take the drugs? Well, as the good Doctor explained ‘when your bronchial tubes are constricted and you’re trying to push a lot of air through them, you’re probably desiccating your lungs. If you don’t have this medicine you could be screwed when you are 60 years old’. In fairness he seemed to indicate that this would be a problem for a non exerciser too.

And yes, the drug is on the WADA list of banned substances, as a beta-2-agonist. But then again so is Ventolin- so I guess the landscape hasn’t changed that much. So there you have it, this new treatment may allow me to run with less pain and with less damage to my body. Two thumbs up.

A couple of notes from online conversations I’ve had on FaceBook-
1. If you currently have or have previously had asthma, you should get regular updates with a specialist. I didn’t think this was needed but it seems I’ve been kidding myself.
2. I’ve never been drug tested for a race and don’t really expect to be- tests are expensive and a race will generally only test the top positions. If I failed a test I would be able to produce my medical exemption- have a look at this article– about 1% of tests are positive, of these 64% result in sanctions, 26% are not followed up and 10% get a Dr’s note. I need to read up about the right way to deal with this.
3. Honestly I’m quite pleased that the decision was made for me ‘take this or suffer later’ because the thoughts around taking a drug that could make me faster was weighing heavily on my mind. On the other hand, hundreds of people have known what it’s like to run with me while I’m hacking up a lung, I’m not making it up!
*just don’t read the drug information insert

 

Your Race Report {insert here}

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A lot of people don’t know how to set up their own blog, don’t have time or the inclination. I would love to publish it here for you!
If you would like to see a few, click here

Make it easy-

  1. Send in the plain text file, Microsoft Word doc, or any text based format that can be copied. PDF is not so good because we can’t retain the formatting.
  2. Don’t embed your pics in the doc- they will look terrible when extracted
  3. Send your pics in the email with the text, and name them- with your name! Name them in the order you want them to appear in the blog post, ie. John Smith 1, John Smith 2 etc.
  4. Get permission to use the pics that you send, and tell me who took them so I can thank them in your post!
  5. How many pics? You should supply about 1 pic for every 3-5 paragraphs. It breaks up the wall of text into readable chunks
  6. I can also put a link to your Strava activity if you provide it. Go to the activity, select the weird symbol to the left of the Kudos button, select ’embed on blog’ and send me the embed code that pops up.

 

How to write your race report-

  1. Write down what happened, very basic, in time order i.e.. when it happened
  2. Turn those facts into a story that someone might like to read- you don’t have to do much, people will still read a bad race report- but you’ll get heaps of praise if they like it!
  3. Include details about your gear, food, who you talked to, what worked, what didn’t, how you fought out of a bonk, how you triumphed or how you got totally smacked in the head by the race. Remember- people read these reports because they want to know what it’s like to run that race, and they are looking for tips to make it easier, or at least not make the mistakes you did. Be honest about your mistakes so you can read the report next year and not make them again! Running is not glamorous- stories about poo, wee, blood & snot are ok.
  4. Go back and include links for anything important- the race website, gear website, blog of someone you mention, link to results etc.
  5. Don’t forget to thank- your sponsors, your partner, your crew, the vollies, the race director, and the lady at Gelato Messina who will give you an extra scoop because you look hungry…

 

Alternatives
– Some races publish race reports on their website
– You can set up your own blog on WordPress.com
– Your running club may publish it in their newsletter. NRG does this!
– You can submit to the AURA Ultramag or magazines like Trail Run Mag
– Other runners with blogs- Chantelle and Robyn for example

 

Mental Strength & How To Get Some

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yoda-do-or-do-not

I’ve been asked quite a few times in recent weeks about the issue of mental strength as it relates to ultra marathons. I’ve never thought of myself as particularly strong mentally, but if you know me well you’ll also know that I have been faced with some fairly tough life events.

It turns out that these really didn’t prepare me for the force of will you need to finish some of the races we enter. So how did I go from being an unremarkable runner to a still unremarkable runner who has done some gnarly races who only has 2 DNF’s to his name? (Let’s analyse those DNF’s later)

  1. Hang around people who have the strength you need. I was very lucky to meet Jane Trumper early in my ultra career. Humble, unassuming but with a will of steel- you can see she has the perfect temperament for being a nurse. Loads of empathy, but no sympathy for time wasters and laggards. And it turns out that all of the other super tough people I have met through running are the same. You never know if you are going to finish an ultra, but these people don’t have excuses- they occasionally have reasons– like ‘I had to get helicoptered off the mountain’ but no excuses. I will never be that tough, but I’ve learned that your feet being sore is not a reason to give up- it’s an excuse, and we don’t do excuses.
  2. We all trick ourselves into faking it- how many times have you heard ‘it’s not a 100 mile race, it’s a series of half marathons between checkpoints’. Breaking it down into sections isn’t just smart- it’s pretty much essential if you’re going well beyond a marathon. In essence, ALL you need to do is make it to the next checkpoint. And then the next one, and the next. It’s as simple as that.
  3. Somewhat less reliable is the reward system- having a lush snack in your checkpoint bag. I definitely run for food, but I no longer do it during races. Whenever I finish a race of 100km or more I get KFC, but that serves more to keep my KFC intake down rather than my finish rate up.
  4. Read race reports. You can learn a lot from the DNF stories, and you can learn what sections of the race are going to be diabolical by reading other peoples experiences. This can give you some insurance against chucking your toys out of the pram when it gets tough.
  5. Plan. Know how far between aid stations. Know the course profile, know the cutoffs. I usually carry a piece of paper in a waterproof sleeve with these details, all because of a mistake I made a couple of years ago (more below). I sweat the details because it works for me. I can’t imagine going in to a race without this but I guess for some people, ignorance is bliss. Doesn’t work for me!
  6. Be adaptable. Brendan Davies ran Coast to Kosci a few years ago and was on course record pace for much of the race. Then something went wrong and his suffering went from epic to off the scale. He could have chucked it in knowing that he’d already achieved a whole bunch of special things, but what did he actually do? He had a sleep, got up, dusted himself off and finished the race. That’s a superbly gutsy (and classy) thing to do!
  7. When you let negative thoughts have space in your head, they multiply. Chase them out by having food, changing the subject of conversation or simply smiling to yourself- it works!
  8. Don’t do anything stupid. If you look at my race history you’ll see that I have carefully picked each race and hopped from smaller to larger distances without going for the biggest race available. I recently made a post about Spartathlon on FaceBook, lamenting that I would never be able to do it. A whole bunch of people said ‘yes you can!’ and I’m grateful for the support, but when you look at it rationally I would have a VERY poor chance of finishing. I’ll take on monumental challenges, but I want a chance of success!
  9. Work on your mental positivity. Recently for the Great North Walk 100s I had missed out on a bunch of training while supporting at Badwater, and the people I normally train with had made such enormous progress that I could not simply pick up training with them when back in Sydney. I had to focus on finishing rather than excelling in this race, because I badly needed a finish to qualify for Coast to Kosci. I found myself making publicly disparaging comments about my own performance. I spent about 2 weeks turning that around before the race and telling myself that I could finish and I’d be fine. My Coach agreed- he said ‘your preparation hasn’t been perfect, but you’ve done enough’ and that became my catch cry- ‘you’ve done enough!’. Sure enough, I had.
  10. Do more long races. Familiarity might breed contempt, but it sure as hell makes you ready for the next long race too! I am not naturally an adventurer, but after 6 years of running I am now comfortable running through the bush at night alone. If I have to.
  11. Have someone take your keys, car or both to the finish line. If you don’t make it, you don’t go home. Brutal, dangerous, but effective?
  12. This one from Wayne ‘Blue Dog’ Gregory- where is your inner mongrel? Your feet are like fat sausages full of mince, your knees are an unnatural shade of purple, you’ve been throwing up for hours, the chafing is so bad you can no longer wear pants- what to do? Find the part of you that doesn’t want to give up. Make it angry. Tell it you no longer give a f@ck about anything but finishing. Run naked. Tell your crew you’ll kill them if they take pics, but be secretly proud when they turn up on Facebook…..

everything-hurts-and-im-dying

So, my 2 DNF’s? The first was at Great North Walk 100 miler in 2013. Yes, the ‘hot year’. I made a lot of mistakes but the worst was this- I had added up how far the last 2 sections were and got 52km. I knew I had 9 hours of race time left and I decided that I couldn’t make 52km in 9 hours. I was mistaken- it was only 42km and I could have made it. Bugger. And THAT’S why I carry notes on me now…..

The second was at Buffalo Stampede 2015. I had entered the 75km ultra marathon, and it was my first experience with ‘Skyrunning’. Damn those hills were steep. I got to the marathon mark and decided that it would be stupid for me to jeopardise my race at Ultra Trail Australia in a few weeks simply to go over a few more hills. I feel justified that I made the right decision there because I had a brilliant race at UTA, and a friend who went the whole distance didn’t. But I do feel kind of stupid because I should have entered the marathon in the first place.

As you do more races you’ll meet all of the superstars of the sport. All of these people are super generous with their time. It’s a sport where we can speak directly to world beating athletes, but don’t fuck them around. Don’t say ‘I’d love to do XYZ race, but I have a bad upper flange gasket…’, ask them about their experience with that race. Don’t ask them for a diagnosis of your injury, go to a doctor! Ask them if they loved that race last month in Borneo/ Albania/ Nepal etc.

If you just have a whinge about how your knee hurts they will probably find a sudden need to be somewhere else. No excuses.

Great North Walk 100 miler GNW100 2016

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The lady in the weighing room yelled out ‘Seventy nine point seven kilos!’

Oh shit, this race is going to be more painful than predicted- I’m carrying a food baby or something. All of the other runners in the room are muttering ‘that can’t be right!’ when their weight is called out, including Jess Siegle, who must only weigh about 30kg  dripping wet anyway….

I’ve been wandering around telling anyone who would listen that I hate this race, it manages to suck and blow at the same time, I don’t want to be here, rather pull out my toenails with pliers etc. But realistically all of this negativity was coming from my subconscious. I didn’t feel ready, although the last few weeks of training had gone well, this isn’t a race you can fluke. On the plus side, I had a finish in 2014 and that gave me the confidence to believe I could do it again. So the race plan- no heroics, get the job done, get your qualifier for C2K and hopefully have a little fun along the way…..and coach Andy DuBois had told me ‘you’ve done enough, not a lot. But enough’ and so I clung to those words!

And the instructions from my wife about not picking up any randoms too. Let’s see how that worked out…..

He's not a random. But he can be pretty random....

He’s not a random. But he can be pretty random….

This year I didn’t see everybody on the start line, but there was a huge crew of friends and soon to be friends….. the start was pretty cool and had some light rain. I commented to someone that it was only supposed to be 2mm of sin and finishing around 9am. They replied that it was going to last until around lunch time. I wasn’t very happy about that but I was never uncomfortable- I’d had the choice to fast pack with my 120g rain jacket assuming I wouldn’t use it, or to take the 450g jacket for comfort. In the end I went light and that was a good decision.

Not much to tell about section 1, it’s a powerfully gnarly introduction to GNW. But like I said to a few people- you’ll feel like shit when you get to CP1 and wonder how you can possibly go another 145km, but you…. just can. I was amazed to get there in 4.5 hours, about 30 minutes before my estimate. I think the cool weather definitely helped there!

On the way out of CP1 I hooked up with 2 people- Alex the Doctor from Mudgee and a lady whose name I don’t remember. We spent some lovely time chatting, so lovely that we sailed straight past a turn and descended quite a long way in the wrong direction. Then the ladies husband came past in a car and gave us the bad news- oh well, could have been worse!

We carried on in good spirits towards CP2 and I had to let them go as they were doing the  100km race- OK, I admit it- they were too fast for me!

I had made a bit of a miscalculation with water on the first 2 legs- I didn’t actually run out but I did make a slight diversion to get water from 2 tanks along the course. This wasn’t helpful, as the water looked pretty vile, but I kept a bottle of it in case of emergency.

Best memory of this leg- a man in a pink skirt hugging a man with a pink iPhone cover and yelling out ‘so are you gay or what?’
Predictably, there was no answer to that question except ‘AAARGH, you broke my fucking nose when you hugged me!’

Despite all the stopping and lack of actual racing, I was pretty happy and on time to CP2. Sarah was there and I made the most of having ‘crew’ in my uncrewed race. I ate a can of dolmades (my tradition at this CP) got my water and stuff filled up and made my way out. I wanted to get my gear check done (you had to show everything which meant unpacking my whole bag) and I was pretty shitty when told that if I went to the gear check I wouldn’t be allowed to go back and sit down. But it does make sense to keep people moving in one direction so if you’re the vollie that I screwed my face up at, I’m sorry!

This was actually at CP2. Just before I told Roger 'get that f/ing camera out of my face!'

This was actually at CP2. Just before I told Roger ‘get that f/ing camera out of my face!’

I had picked up my headphones at CP2, and wandered through the farms towards the communications tower climb in a pretty good mood. A note about these climbs- I’m still trying to figure out what exactly is wrong with my body, but I typically lose a lot of places when climbing. In 2013 I think I lost 35 places just going up Heaton Gap! But somehow, in the 2016 version of the race I was climbing well. I could hear Hailey and her entourage behind me and expected them to catch me before the top, but I just kept a steady pace with few rests and made it before them!

Of course we all had to have a bit of a rest on the log at the top, and it became an instant party! Nick Barlow and Kirrily Dear turned up and we had a fantastic chat along the fire trails until they decided to take it out of first gear, and disappeared….

Party Log!

Party Log!

Time went fairly pleasantly for a while, and we did eventually catch Kurt topper, who looked happy to have some company. And all of a sudden we had the band back together! Hailey, Leah, Kurt and myself have all run together a fair bit so we settled in and enjoyed the moment. As we came into the CP, Leah had drifted off the back with some war injury issues, but we all made a pact to leave together, which meant being organised. That was great in theory but we used too much time, then I made it worse by needing a bathroom just as we were packing up to go. Anyway, long CP time but nothing to be done about that. Special thanks to Lea Marsh who helped me out here. I’m so sorry for not recognising you but I was a bit gaga by that stage!

The next section has some vicious ups, downs that never end, and an 11km road section that heads slightly up and is difficult to run if you aren’t in good shape. But we were all pretty happy and picked up a new friend- a guy called Ian who we chatted with and ran with into Yarramalong. We did really well here, someone would yell ‘run to the second pole’ and we’d all start jogging to the indicated spot. And because there was a few of us, we never really felt like we were pushing too hard or making the group suffer. It worked really well. Again, coming into the CP I was keen to make a new deal with my mates to keep running with them, and although CP4 is a major stop, I didn’t think we’d be too long. Oops, chasing socks, shoes, hunting down food, chatting to people. we spent way too much time at that CP as well, we’d had about an hour up our sleeve at CP2, pretty much all of that had evaporated by CP4. I think- well that’s how it seemed to my fevered brain.

Hailey picked up her pacer Brad Smithers- talk about a dream team- she also had Sally Dean as her crew! So we all got out of Yarramalong and hoped Brad would guide us through Dead Horse Creek- I have nightmares about that section because in 2012 with Jane Trumper we almost got hopelessly lost! Luckily the path is a lot easier to see these days.

Anyway, Ian and I drifted out towards the front, but I was trying to stick with Brad because he knew where to go, but something seemed to be going wrong. Hailey was having a tough time and slowing down. I’d been very careful before and during the race to make ‘short term deals’ with people, ie. ‘let’s run together until the next CP, the we can re negotiate’. I had not promised to get anyone to the end or stick with someone if they had a meltdown. So now I was looking at my watch and seeing all of our time advantage slipping away, it was decision time. I needed to get moving, and I knew that Brad was the best possible person to help Hailey, and me hanging around was not going to help. So I had a short word and took off with Ian. He’s a good runner, very strong and confident. After about 10 minutes I looked behind me and Kurt had decided to come with us too- excellent!

 

Yeah, I don't know what i was thinking either

Yeah, I don’t know what I was thinking either

 

I knew that this section was going to take  6 to 6.5 hours and we needed to hustle. In 2014 I had left CP5 at 7:48am and made the finish with no issues, so that was my new target. During this leg we lost Kurt, so for a while it was just Ian and me. Then after coming out on the fire trail at 40 Acre Farm and getting nearly to the gate near where the houses start, I found a runner going the wrong way! He seemed really confused and asked me about which direction Gosford was, but in our sleep deprived state I finally worked out that he was a runner, was in the race, and simply needed help with directions. So I told him to tag along with us. His name was Jim and he turned out to be great company too!

Getting to the top of the hill where you meet the road coming in to CP5, I rang Sarah and yelled out a few instructions- I knew I’d be pushed for time so I made sure I made the most of having ‘crew’ at this CP! I wasn’t really thinking clearly by then but I reminded myself that I had not made a deal with these guys so I told them I’d be making a quick stop and getting out ASAP. I arrived at 7:48am to be handed a REAL COFFEE! Sarah had found a friend of hers who had a capsule machine and so I got a real espresso.

Her friend said ‘you look familiar’ so I said ‘do you watch a lot of porn?’

So um, sorry Sarah’s friend.

I was out of the CP in 4 minutes (my fastest one of the race) and popped my headphones on and settled in for the ‘flattest’ section of the race. At the end of the road section Jim caught me and although I was only alone for a few minutes it was nice to see him step up and push on. I’d calculated that we needed to average 11min/km along this section- it’s 18km so keeping up a gentle trot should do it easily. Unfortunately it can be quite technical and as I am tall, it doesn’t take much to make me slow in these bits. Then we came around a corner to see Andy Hewatt (Whippet) having a sleep!

He picked up his stuff and said ‘I’ll get you to the next CP in X:XX’ (I can’t remember the time but it was about 5x as fast as I’d ever done it before) and he started skipping along the tops of rocks and weaving in and out of the bushes. It really is poetry in motion just watching him run these technical sections. So there was me dragging my sorry carcass behind like Frankensteins monster following his master- and we made good progress. No, we made GREAT progress! Half way into the section we had been averaging 9min/km, meaning I could blow out to less than walking pace for the next half and still make my target. About 2km from the creek crossing Andy kept on looking around so I yelled at him to go ahead- he was keen to stick with us to help but he’d already rescued our race simply by pushing on for a few km. Thanks mate!

(some time later we came across Andy again. He was weaving all over the tail and when I called out to him he was startled. Because he’d been walking in his sleep!)

It now looked like Jim and I were good to push each other to the end. He’d done very well running all night by himself but I think his confidence in the maps had been shattered by going the wrong way, so I basically said ‘if you can keep up, I’ll show you the way’. I needn’t have worried, he was pretty much unbreakable. Funny story- I told him about how there’s a photo of me running along the beach in 2014 with a guy clearly behind me. But because you get the same time if you finish in the same minute, we were allocated the same time but he appears ahead on me in the results! Jim looked at me very seriously and said ‘I will wait a few minutes before coming up the beach so that doesn’t happen again’

And I said ‘Bollocks. I don’t care about that. Simply finishing is all I want and need.’

So we got into the final checkpoint at Mooney Mooney (what’s with the new approach and extra uphill Dave Byrnes you sadist?) spent too much time there again and wandered out feeling happy with progress, but not super relaxed. Why? Because in my race report from 2014 I hinted that the random runner I picked up had made me slow across the last few sections. This turns out to be a dirty lie. The reality is that you have to keep pushing pretty much all the way unless you have a great first half. Spending so much time in CP’s early on had cost me relaxation time in the back end. So to my random runner from 2014, sorry!

You get a lot of time during these races to think, and unfortunately I was thinking about those behind me. I was pretty sure that we had lost Leah at the Basin. She’s had a lot going on and a rough preparation so that was perfectly understandable. But I was also worried about Kurt and Hailey. Kurt has a habit of getting the full value out of his race entries- he’s had some of the most tear jerking gusty finishes in history. Seriously, he’s amazing. But I knew he wanted to pull out, and I think he was just lucky that Sarah and Sally pushed his partner out of the way and gave him some tough love. Anyway I’d been wondering whether either or both of them would miss the Staples Lookout cutoff at 3pm.

Sometime on this last section Ian caught up to us. I’m not sure if it was me who mentioned the Staples cutoff, but he was obsessed by it- he kept on saying ‘we’re not going to make it’ and I would reassure him we would. After the 3rd or 4th time I said ‘Ian, in 2014 I made it by an hour. I guarantee if you stick with me we’ll be there an hour early’. That seemed to placate him, although to be honest my brain wasn’t working so well, and my calculations all seemed to come up ‘inconclusive’. So I suppose being able to say things with confidence is the key, even if you’re unsure if you’re bullshitting.

So we made it with 1 hour 20 to spare, giving us over 3 hours to make the last 10km or so. The rest was uneventful except for a couple of things. I discovered a data screen on my watch that told me how far to go and how long it would take as well as my estimated finishing time. And it was scarily accurate! At 3.26km to go, I got a slap on the arse and Hailey and Brad trotted past. I thought for a moment about chasing them, it would be fun to see who could get down that last descent fastest without major bone breakage. But then I remembered that there was a couple of tricky turns to go and I figured I should show Jim the way. I know that goes against what I had done the whole race but I was also very grateful to him for pushing me up the horrible rock stairs around Mt Wondabyne. Anyway, once we got to the single track descent to Patonga I told Jim I was going to run and had an awesome time skipping down the rocks and across the beach.

kissing-the-post

And my parents were there! It was really nice to see them turn up to see me finish, I hope they enjoyed watching people come in too.

A special note about the amazing people from NRG. In 2013 when I first talked some victims into running this event I got a cautionary email from Dave Byrne questioning the sanity of having so many club members enter the full fat version of the race. I replied that we were all super human and not to worry. That didn’t work out so well, with only 2 out of about 8 people finishing due to the extreme conditions that year. To their immense credit, they all came back and finished in subsequent years and the tradition has grown- to the point where some Trotters were complaining that NRG have dominated their race!

How dominant? Well, how about a new female course record, 1st, 2nd and 4th female, and I was the last NRG’er- all the others had finished more than 6.5 HOURS in front of me!

100miler results
Robyn Bruins (1st lady) 3rd overall; new course record
Time: 23.49, PB of 5.15 hours
Kath Carty (2nd lady) 5th overall
Time: 24.40,  1st miler
Tim Lyndon (6th male) 8th overall
Time: 25.27, PB of 3:07 hours
Adrian Murdoch (7th male) 10th overall
Time: 25.37, 1st miler
Chantelle Farrelly (4th lady) 11th overall
Time: 25:49, PB of 3:01 hours
Adam Darwin equal (13th male) 18th overall
Time: 28.23, PB of 3:29 hours
Joe Hedges equal (13th male) 18th overall
Time: 28.23, PB of 5:19 hours
Adam Connor (30th male) 39th overall
Time: 34:53, PB of 4 mins

100km results
Tanya Carroll (8th lady) 25th overall
Time: 16:58

So my final time of 34:53 is only about 1 second per km faster than 2014, but the finish was a totally different beast. I felt 1000% better than 2014, where I’d basically been crying for a chair to sit on and almost had to be carried to the car. This year I felt great, never felt that I couldn’t go further and never felt like the task was hopeless. A lot of this had to do with the kinder weather we had this year. But interestingly the race still had a 49% DNF rate (it’s usually around 50%). I suspect this might be because people pushed harder early on due to the weather, and it bit them.

So, I only did this race to qualify for Coast To Kosci, and went around telling people that I hate it with a passion. How do I feel now? I must be mellowing because the hate is slipping away, to be replaced with a grudging respect and slight awe of this stupid fucking amazing race. Thanks Dave Byrnes and the Terrigall Trotters- I still think every swear word was well deserved, but I won’t say ‘never’ to coming back.

Full results here

 

Last
First
Event
Age Group
Checkpoint 1
Checkpoint2
Checkpoint 3
Checkpoint 4
Checkpoint 5
Checkpoint 6
Finish
Race
Name
Name
In
Out
race time
position
In
Out
leg
race time
position
total
race time
position
In
Out
leg
race time
position
total
race time
position
In
Out
leg
race time
position
total
race time
position
In
Out
leg
race time
position
total
race time
position
In
Out
leg
race time
position
total
race time
position
100 mile
leg
race time
position
total
race time
position
No.
Cut Off Times
600
1200
dif
overall
overall
1700
dif
leg
leg
dif
overall
overall
2300
dif
leg
leg
dif
overall
overall
400
dif
leg
leg
dif
overall
overall
1000
dif
leg
leg
dif
overall
overall
1300
dif
leg
leg
dif
overall
overall
1800
dif
leg
leg
dif
overall
overall
CONNOR
ADAM
100M
M40-49
1027
1033
427
04:27
93
1408
335
3:35
111
808
8:08
98
2011
2041
1411
14:11
95
0048
0127
407
04:07
82
1848
18:48
85
0748
0752
621
06:21
33
2548
25:48
38
1039
1049
247
02:47
21
2839
28:39
36
1653
604
6:04
44
3453
34:53
39
31

Sorry about the way those results look, I’ll fix it later.

Although I have thought of a good way to make it harder- at every checkpoint you must consume 1 full strength beer.

Who is in for the GNW Beer Miler?

family-at-finish

Photo credits- massive thank you to George Mihalakellis, Roger Hanney, Sally Dean and Jill Hennessy