City 2 Surf 2015

I know i’t very late, but here it is…

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This years was my 9th City 2 Surf and I woke up very nervous on the morning of the race. If you’ve been reading my posts I’ve been having a few niggles with my right knee and running on the road seems to aggravate it sometimes, so I knew there was a chance today’s run could be painful.

Last year I had to line up for over 30mins to deposit my drop bag and almost missed the cut-off time for those so I decided to arrive (very) early this year to avoid the hassle and stress of that happening again. So I dropped off my bag and waited around stretching and trying to keep warm until my friends arrived. Ganesh was there and I had a chat to him about his running, such a lovely bloke and he has achieved so much with his running.

I had organised to meet Emma & Maria before the race as we were all in the same red start group, so once they arrived we made our way over to the start area after another quick pit stop to make sure I wouldn’t have to stop for the toilet on course.

My goal with this race every year is to beat my time from the previous year and in 2014 my time was 74:04. It wasn’t going to be easy to beat that time as I had not done a lot of speedwork and most of my training had been long, slow distance, but I always give it my all.

We ran a little warm up in the small area that we had and ran into some other Striders friends who were also in the same group. We chatted nervously at the start line and my thoughts turn to my grandmother… I had been raising funds for dementia research with CHeBA for the past few years and today we had a large CHeBA contingency which was wonderful to see. Today when I was struggling I would think of her to help push me along, I do this in so many of my runs and it always brings a calmness over me.

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When the gun went off we all passed on our best wishes and I tried to stay calm and comfortable with my running. I wasn’t sure if I would see the girls again along the course but I secretly hoped I would!

I felt pretty good that morning but felt that my goal time of under 74mins would not be doable, so I just tried to maintain a pace a little faster than what I was comfortable with and see how long I could hold it for. And I had decided weeks before that today I was going to make Heartbreak Hill my bitch!!

City2Surf is such a massive run, there’s so many people to dodge around and trip hazards on the road, but it also has a wonderful atmosphere and this year we were promised more music along the course which I was very much looking forward to.

I remember thinking how focused I felt in the first couple of kms, trying to remain relaxed in my body but pushing myself at the same time. A wonderful friend Brendan called out to me at one point as I was coming down one of the hills and we chatted for a short time about how he was running with his sister. I”m not sure how much I said to him at the time and I hope that I wasn’t rude, but I just had no breath to talk as I was really pushing myself to make up time on the downhills. Sorry Brendan!

Then I started to think about that Heartbreak Hill, it wasn’t far off and I was going to run it and push myself the whole way up and over the hill (like we had practised at Runlab so many times). So I dug in and kept my arms driving which kept the legs spinning over. I found a rhythm with my breath and tried to hold it the hold way up that bugger. I managed to pass a lot of people on this hill and when I got to the top I felt fantastic!I tried to keep up the pace on the next few sections and prepared myself for the several small hills that were coming up.

I remember looking at my watch at the halfway point and doing some calculations in my head, I wasn’t going as fast as I needed to get my goal time but there were quite a few downhills to come (a strength of mine) which I could possibly make up some time.

When I started to hurt I turned my actions top encourage other runners who had began to walk, most of them started running again and thanked me for the push. I like to do this and take the focus off myself when i’m running, plus I know how much it helps to encourage someone as I’ve been in their boat before and it sucks when you feel alone and beaten. They always smile and have a crack, just what I like to see!

And we finally approached the last hill, I ramped it up a notch as I knew that I had slowed for some reason, probably just getting tired. I was going to smash these few last downhills and I kept doing the calculations in my head to see if I would make the goal… it was going to be close.

Secretly my goal had been to get under 70mins…. and I started to think it may be possible!

The last 3km of that race are the hardest I have ever pushed myself before. I knew I really had to finish strong if I was to get close to either of my goals and I just ran my little heart out, passing many people as I headed towards the last bend on the road and down the small section to the finish line.

I was sprinting, I was hurting but I felt like I was flying….. I made it in 70:35!

To be completely honest, as I crossed that line and looked at my time the first thought that came into my head was negative as I had not cracked the 70min mark. I kept thinking how or what could I have done different during the race to get that 35 seconds back, what had I missed?! I kept playing over scenarios in my head, I shouldn’t have stopped for those 2 drinks stops, I should have positioned myself better at the start to avoid the crowds and having to dodge people, I should have….

Some much needed friendly faces appeared at the finish line, it was Georgie & Michael and a few others from SHR (Sydney Harbour Runners). I hadn’t seen them for a while so it really made me smile and we chatted and laughed about the race. I also chatted to a group of Runlabbers near the finish and then made my way over with Georgie to collect our drop bags.

We grabbed our bags and put on some warm clothes, it was a beautiful sunny day but I always get a little chill after a race, it’s the body taking time to recover from the exertions you’ve just put it through. I ran into Peta from work and some other SHRunners and it was great to see so many familiar faces, especially amongst an entry field of 65,000 people!

I planned to call past the Sydney Striders tent and the RunLab tent however after searching for 20-30mins and not being able to find them I gave up and headed to meet my CHeBA team mates for a bbq at one of the beaches south of Bondi. The walk to meet them gave me some time to reflect and take in the beautiful surroundings. The weather was picture perfect and I felt so lucky to be able to be a part of this sport we call running.

My mood started to lift and then it dawned on me, I had just run a PB by almost 4 minutes. Now that was something to be happy about!!

Heidi and a few others from CHeBA were there to greet us with big smiles! Most of them were very impressed with my time and I thought about how much of an idiot I had been for being so hard on myself. We are our own worst enemies sometimes!

I got some food and drink into me and was so happy when Megan arrived excited and happy with her run, she had smashed her goal and also done an amazing job in raising funds for CHeBA. Megan is a friend and PT client of mine and I had introduced her to CHeBA, I was very proud.

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We chatted for a long while as other CHeBA champions arrived and we heard there race stories. Unfortunately we also learnt that Prof Sachdev, one of CHeBA’s founders, had taken a fall during the run, he’d hurt his shoulder and been rushed to hospital. He was such a lovely man and we all felt sad when we heard the news.

Aside from the Professor’s bad luck it has been a pretty awesome day. I had learnt a lot and would be back in 2016 for my 10th time at this race, and I wold be ready to crack that 70mins!!

Happy running 😀

Careflight Woodford to Glenbrook 2015

It’s been a long while since my last running blog and there’s a very good reason, I took a break. After 18 months of training for the 2014 TNF100, getting injured, recovering, running Oxfam 100, then more training for the 2015 TNF100, I figured I should really give my body a well earned break. So I have spent the past 4-5 weeks enjoying no set training schedule and catching up with friends and family. There have been only 2 occasions that I have run during that time and both were for less than 7km each (and only as I had to take a run group for work, a great crew to run with). However I have done some cycling and some swimming to keep up a little cardio, but again they were not of a high intensity so i’m not sure they count.

After such a long break I was a little nervous going into Sundays race, a 24km trail run in the beautiful blue mountains, but I knew the course (which was all downhill after the 12km mark) as I had run it last year for the first time and managed a half marathon PB back then.

So Sunday morning I met Maria (my most awesome running buddy) at her place for 6:45am, then we picked up Fran and were on our way to the mountains to park at the finish line where we met Liz & Nigel who were transporting us to the start line (thank you so much guys!). Thankfully it wasn’t as cold as last year, but this also meant that I was dressed inappropriately as I probably should not have worn my long thermal tights. Oh well – too late now.

I ditched the gloves and the arm warmers and we got ready at the start line. Maria and I had decided to take it easy today as we both had done little to no training, but I knew she would probably kick my butt. Here’s a shot of a few of us goofing around at the start (below).

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We saw some others Sydney Striders and had a photo with the group before the gun went off and we were running up the first hill under sunny blue skies. We chatted and wished each other well for the run and Maria and I stuck together as the gun went off.

There were lots of ups and downs but nothing like some of the mountains I have run in the past, so I tried to run most of them or at least power walk up the ones that I walked. I felt great. I was slamming it down the hills and the body was feeling fantastic. I was so happy to be back out running on the trails and felt lucky to be there. I pushed myself a little more at the start than I probably should, but I knew the second half of the course would be a lot easier as it was a gradual decline to the finish after the 13km mark.

I realised early on that my Garmin was still set to Bike mode which was a bit annoying, but after both Maria and I trying to change it and failing I gave up. I left it on bike mode and relaxed back into my run feeling great. Somehow I managed to lose Maria when I was going downhill but she caught up to me again further along and I was happy to see her face. My right knee had started to hurt a few kms back. I had feared that it might flare up again after little to no running or strength work over the past couple of weeks, and I don’t think it had fully recovered since TNF.

From here the pain got progressively worse and I slowed my pace and added some walking (with lunging strides) to release some of the pain, but it didn’t get much better. I decided not to push myself and cause further injury and cruised home in the slowest possible speed to try and avoid making it worse.

I got passed by just about everybody, which wasn’t much fun. But I was still happy and kept smiling and chatting to the other runners as they came past. Some of them even stopped to see if I was okay. Trail runners are the nicest people 🙂

The last 4km seemed to go on forever and I was relieved to see the finish area when I eventually reached the Euroka clearing. There was a nice long downhill & an older lady in a hot pink top that I could not let beat me, so I blasted down that hill (with a lot of knee pain) and sprinted up the final hill to the finish line. I was so glad it was over so I could sit down and rest the knee.

I found our crew and we all chatted about our run and picked a lunch venue for celebrations (yes, there’s always something to celebrate). We ended up the Ori Cafe which is at the Oriental Hotel in Springwood and the meals were fantastic, I highly recommend that place if you’re ever up in the area.

My run didn’t go that great, but sometimes they don’t. It’s reminded me how important strength work is and that you really should not attempt a run of that distance with no training. Looks like some more rest and strength work is needed then i’ll be back into it again soon.

Stay tuned & happy running 😀

Redemption at The North Face 100

Like most of my race reports this is a long one, so grab a cuppa and get comfortable while I take you on a ride through the 2015 North Face 100.

On the Friday before race day I picked up my running buddy Maria and we made our way up to Katoomba in my little Toyota Yaris. I wish I had taken a photo of the boot of my car as it was chockers with gear for the run. We looked like we were going away for a week!!

When we got to Katoomba we did a grocery shop and the amount of food that we bought could probably have fed a small army. It’s quite hard to know what sort of food you’re going to feel like eating when you’re out on the trail for such a long period of time, so you always end up taking more than you actually need. And we only ‘just’ fit the shopping bags it into the boot with our gear, ha ha

We then checked into the 3 Explorers Hotel which was old but very comfortable and cosy, as it had a working heater and electric blankets. Maria and I carted our gear up to the room on the first floor (and spoke of how much we would hate these stairs on Sunday, ha ha) and got our gear ready for race day. My sister (Shelley) who had generously put her hand up to be our support crew (for a second time) would arrive on race morning to drive us to the start line.

My training in the lead up to this race had fallen (very) short of the kms I would like to have run, but a few small niggles had held me back along with starting my own business and not having the time to fit in as much training as I would have liked. I had spoken to my coach Damon about these issues in the weeks leading up to the race and to be brutally honest we thought that perhaps I should drop back to the 50km event, which I almost did. But my stubborn Taurean nature kicked in and I decided to lower my expectations for the race, so instead of aiming for a time my goal of 18 hrs that Maria and I had previously spoke of, instead I would be just aiming to finish the race. This decision meant that perhaps Maria and I would not end up running the course together because I did not want to hold her back from her goal, especially when she had been running up a storm and smashing her running goals lately!

So Maria packed her drop bags in case we did not end up running together and then we caught up with our good friend Emma who was staying at the same hotel. I helped Emma with her drop bags too, as she was missing her ultra buddy Dominic (our team mates from Oxfam last year), and we all jumped in my car and headed to Registration near Scenic World. Both Emma and Maria had never run this race before and were very nervous, okay I was very nervous too but I was just trying not to thin k about it!!

We had a fun time at rego and saw lots of our running mates, it seemed everywhere you turned there was someone that one of us knew. I saw friends who were doing the 50km for the first time, a friend Todd from High School, some friends from old workplaces and other running friends I had met on the trails over the past couple of years. The excitement and buzz in the room was electric!

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For some reason it didn’t feel quite real to me yet, that I was actually going to attempt this run again and I think I had been in denial about it all for the past week. Last year I got injured on Nellie’s Glen (halfway) and I pushed on for a long while, but eventually made the tough decision to pull out at 78kms or risk further injury, I was devastated. I had trained so hard for the run and felt more ready than ever to finish, but (like life) sometimes your run does not go to plan.

This year I was going to be rocking up to the start line with a race plan that i’d prepared the day before (last year I worked on it for weeks!!) and with no expectations, just the goal of crossing that finish line. My race plan is a document that I give to my support crew which has goal times and items needed for each checkpoint, and is usually 4-5 pages long but that’s because it also includes directions and maps to each of the checkpoints.

Now where was I? After a lovely welcome from the local Aborigines from the area, and some funny antics and information provided by the race director and the safety crew, we left rego quite late and headed back to our hotel for some much needed sleep. Setting and checking the alarm had been set a few times before our heads hit the pillow.

Our synchronised iPhone alarms went off at 5.00am, so we got up and prepared ourselves for race day. I had some breakfast (banana, muffin and a coffee) then dressed for the start. Shelley (support crew and sister) arrived at the hotel on time as planned and drove myself, Maria and Emma to the start line. Emma was starting in the wave before us so we let her out of the car close to the start line and then parked the car.

We made our way nervously to the start line and wished many friends well along the way. As we walked up I managed to see Andrew (a friend from my gym) and several of my Sydney Striders mates as they set off in the earlier wave. It was starting to feel real and I could not stay in denial mode for much longer.

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Maria and I chatted to Leah and Liz and slowly made our way to the start area where all too soon the gun went off and we were running!!

The North Face 100 2015

The North Face 100 2015

Start 6.40am at Scenic World (10.5km to CP1) 

The first section of the course is road and includes a few hills, it’s also an out and back which I like in this race because you get to see your mates running back towards you and wish them well for one last time before hitting the trails. It’s also nice to run back past the start/finish area and be cheered on by all of the many supporters, including my wonderful sister, as we would not see them again until we hit CP3 at 46kms.

After the road section you head down Furber step and then head right towards the Landslide and the Golden Stairs, before heading up to Narrowneck. Just after Furber steps somebody had managed to fall and was being taken care of by some other runners, and as I approached them I also slipped and managed to land on my (well padded) butt, cut my hands up a little, and ripped a hole in my tights! But thankfully I was not hurt and I’d chosen to wear black undies that day!! 😉

This section was lots of fun and we chatted to many runners through the different terrain. It felt cooler than last year and there was some cloud cover, and I hoped it would not rain. A man playing music and wearing a fluorescent vest (already) went past us up the hill, so we chatted to him and many others who were all in high spirits at this point.

CP1 at Narrowneck (20.5 to CP2) ETA 8.25am 

Maria and I arrived at CP1 10 minutes ahead of schedule (8.15am) and it was nice to know we had a bit of a buffer up our sleeves, even if only a small one. We both had a quick toilet stop, I grabbed a band aid for my finger as it had been bleeding since my little stack earlier on, and then we got back out onto the trail.

This section had some magnificent views as we run at one of the highest points on the course, however I did not stop to take any photos this year as I wanted to keep my momentum going.

Maria and I enjoyed running together and were keeping the same pace, much to my surprise as I thought she would be much speedier than me on race day (but that came later, ha ha).

The North Face 100 2015

The North Face 100 2015

The North Face 100 2015

The North Face 100 2015

We took in the views and eventually got to Tarros Ladders to find a short queue and we waited for our turn. If you have read my blogs before you will know that I do not like heights, so I was a little nervous about climbing down these ladders strapped to the side of the cliff. Okay, I was VERY nervous about it!

It came my turn to climb down the ladders (after I let MAria go first) and I tried to calm my breathing and my nerves. And I was doing really well until I got to about halfway and had to walk the narrow ‘plank’ to the next ladder, which meant that I looked down and freaked out. I lost control of my breathing and water started coming out of my eyes, but I just kept saying to myself “One step at a time, keep moving and you’ll get there”. Eventually I got to the bottom, after some much needed encouragement from Maria who was counting the steps for me to let me know how far until it would be over. And when i got to the bottom Maria gave me a big hug and we carried on our way down the mountain.

CP2 at Dunphys Camp (15km to CP3) ETA 12.00pm

We got into Dunphys Camp at 11.10am which was 50 mins before our scheduled arrival time of midday. Woohoo!! We got some food, filled up our water and queued for the toilet. We spent a little too much time here queued for the toilet, but I did not want to have to go in the bush later down the trail.

After a quick chat with our friend Paul we left Dunphys Camp and headed for the next landmark, the Ironpot Mountain. Most of this section of the course is on Private Property so not very many people get to train on this section of the course.

There is a very steep hill section up to the top of the Ironpot Mountain and Maria is much better on the hills than me due to her smaller frame. My goal for this early stage in the race had been to just stick with her for as long as I could and so far it had been going to plan, but I feared she would move ahead of me soon.

Partway along the ridge Maria got ahead of me and I got stuck behind some runners. On top of the ridge there is an out and back section again, so you get to see many other runners coming back towards you and wish them well. I really like this and just about every runner gives you a smile and wishes you well. The camaraderie out on the trails is amazing.

On top of the ridge there was a gentleman playing a didgeridoo, the same gentleman who had welcomed up at the registration the night before. I didn’t stop to listen like last year, but I thanked him (both times I went past) and continued up to the turn around point hoping I would catch up to Maria again soon.

After the turn around point I eventually caught up to Maria and we headed down the slippery section off the Mountain and into the beautiful fields that greeted us at the bottom. Then it was onto some fire trail and up a large windy driveway which met the start of the Megalong Road. It’s a tough, continuous slog up that hill and every bend reveals another incline. So you just keep moving and pushing and praying it will end soon.

We got to the top and Maria started to run, I needed a minute to breath (or so my head was telling me) so I walked for a little while at the top before gathering myself and catching up to her again promising myself not to lose her yet.

Just before the checkpoint there was a professional photographer and we got some great shots (below).

The North Face 100 2015

The North Face 100 2015

The North Face 100 2015

The North Face 100 2015

CP3 at The Six Foot Track (11km to CP4) ETA 2.40pm

We arrived at CP3 at 1:48pm which was again 50 mins before our scheduled time and we could not locate my sister who was set to meet us there. I gave her a quick call and she was shocked to hear we had already arrived! She was just leaving the car and she sprinted up to meet us with food and clothing while we filled the water up in our packs.

My awesome trail running buddy Sarah-Jane was the first person I saw coming into the checkpoint and I have to thank her for the photo below. It was great to see a familiar face and seeing all the support crews waiting and cheering us into the checkpoint was such a lift!

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I changed into some warmer clothes and we chatted nervously to my sister who was so happy that we were progressing as well as we were. She told us we looked fresh and gave us a big hug before we headed out onto the trail again.

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We left the checkpoint after a 14 minute stop (longer than planned) but felt much better to be in warmer clothes. Maria and I both knew the next section of the course very well as it traveled along the Six Foot track, a trail we had raced and run many times. So we knew the joys of the HUGE stairs that awaited us at the foot of Nellie’s Glen.

Maria was looking strong and I was starting to fade a little. We ran together for a while and we collected and chatted to a lovely lady called Ellen who was from the Mountains (Glenbrook I think). Eventually we got ahead of Ellen and then I also had to let Maria go ahead of me. My head was telling me to walk (stupid brain). I was angry with myself for walking these flatish sections, but felt I needed the break to prepare myself for the 900+ muddy, uneven stairs that were coming up.

I ended up power walking with a gentleman who was doing his 6th TNF100 and another lady who was running it for the first time. We got to Nellie’s Glen together and I let them go ahead of me as I thought I would be quite slow on this section. Unfortunately I was right and soon I could not see them ahead of me, plus I got overtaken by some speedy runners who were doing some very heavy breathing as they went past. My friend Rob from Nike caught up to me at one stage too and we chatted for a while. He had taken a fall and was not doing too well, he wasn’t very optimistic about making it to the finish line, but I tried to change his mind and keep him positive.

To my surprise I caught up to a lady, but she was not in a good way and was vomiting on the side of the trail every 10-20 steps. I didn’t want to get to close for fear that it might make me feel sick too, but I kept an eye on her and talked to her to help her get up the stairs one at a time. Taking the focus off myself for this brief section seemed to make the time pass more quickly and before we knew it we were at the top of the stairs and celebrating!

It was about here that I realised how light the sky was. That might sound a bit silly, but at this point last year it had already gotten dark and I had needed my head torch to see the trail and stairs coming up the Glen. But today it felt like there was a lot more daylight left which really lifted my spirits as it reminded me I was well ahead of schedule.

At the top of the stairs there was a short section of trail followed by some road into the next checkpoint. As I ran along the street there were people out the front of their houses who cheered me on and wished me well, and I actually overtook some runners before I got to the checkpoint.

CP4 at Katoomba Aquatic Centre (21km to CP5) ETA 4.40pm

I arrived at CP4 at 3.55pm which was 45 minutes ahead of schedule, so I was still traveling quite consistently and on target to an 18 hour finish. Was that really possible!! I started cry…

My sisters smiley face was waiting to greet me as I came into the checkpoint and she helped me change and feed. I put on some dry clothes (thermal shirt) and picked up my AyUp headlamp (thanks Nigel). I also had some help from Sarah-Jane who came over to assist and got me moving and out the door again quickly to make the most of the daylight that was left.

I saw Maria just before she was leaving the checkpoint and I would have loved to leave with her but I still needed to eat! So off she went with my blessing and I stuffed some food down my gob. I think it was rice pudding and nutella sandwiches. I only stayed in this checkpoint for 12 minutes, much quicker than last year when I spent more than 20 mins here, and felt elated to be out the door with the sunlight still beaming through the trees.

How good was this!! I was so happy!! But this next section was one of the toughest parts of the course, full of stairs and I had bad memories of it last year when I had hobbled most of it in pain. But this year I was determined to run a lot of this section, even the stairs, and I really was feeling fantastic so I pushed it a little harder than I had all day.

The North Face 100 2015

The North Face 100 2015

And eventually (to my surprise) I managed to catch up to Maria who I think had stopped for a toilet break. I was so happy to see her again! You can tell by the smile on our faces below.

The North Face 100 2015

The North Face 100 2015

The North Face 100 2015

The North Face 100 2015

This section included some really pretty areas. We ran past Echo Point where you could hear runners being cheered over the finish line in the distance. The beautiful Leura Cascades where I had stopped many times for photos during training runs. There was also Lillians Bridge and Wentworth Falls but it had grown dark before we got to these and so the starry sky was now our only view.

There was a water point at 66km and we were delighted to see our friend Brad here to greet us with a smile. He had been following our progress after he had completed the 50km race earlier in the day (what a LEGEND!). I quickly made a toilet stop here, then grabbed some lollies and we got back out onto the trail again, into the darkness.

It was somewhere in this next section that I lost Maria again. She was still looking so strong and I was still struggling a little, so again I pushed her to go on ahead and kept moving my legs as fast as they would carry me.

The North Face 100 2015

The North Face 100 2015

The North Face 100 2015

The North Face 100 2015

This year there seemed to be much, much less stairs than last year. I don’t know why, but the mind does play tricks on you when you’re fatigued (and injured like last year). I kept moving at a consistent pace and hoped I would catch Maria at some point.

I was still feeling very positive about how I was travelling and even though the legs muscles were feeling tight I did another check of my body and was feeling much better than I had expected to feel at this point. I had changed into different shoes at the last checkpoint and so was enjoying the luxury of the extra foam in my Hoka One One.

When I eventually reached the end of the trail and hit the road section which I knew took me down into checkpoint 5, I started to cry. Last year I had started to cry at the same spot but for a totally different reason. This year I was still running, and I promised myself to run all the way down the hill and into the next checkpoint. And I did.

CP5 at Queen Victoria Hospital (22km to Finish) ETA 8.20pm

I sobbed my way into CP5 at 8.06pm which meant I was still on track to finish in under 18 hours, it felt like my dream was still within reach. Some of my beautiful Sydney Strider friends were waiting at this checkpoint for their runners and they cheered me in very loudly. Leonor and Margaret had a hilarious sign that said “F**k the wall” and I agreed!

Shelley and Brad greeted me with big smiles and were excited at how well I was doing. They told me that Maria had only just left the checkpoint before I arrived and I was thrilled to hear she was doing so well, she would definitely crack the 18 hour target. How exciting!

We got me into some more dry clothes and I put my CHeBA (UNSW Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing) singlet over the top of my thermal. I had been raising funds through this event to help Dementia research, as my grandmother has Alzheimer’s, and the singlet reminded me of her and would push me through the hard parts of the next section of the course.

I then scoffed down some noodles that I had been craving too and got myself moving again before I got too cold (and comfortable)!

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Finish at Scenic World ETA 12.15am

I spent 16 minutes at CP5 which wasn’t too bad considering all that I got done and in the back of my mind I was trying to calculate whether or not I had a chance of making the finish within our original 18hr goal time. I headed out into the darkness up the hill towards the start of Kedumba. Kedumba is a 10km downhill section that would tear up your quads and knees if you let it. I had promised myself that I would run down all of this section and despite having some knee pain I stuck to that plan all the way, passing many runners as I did so. It felt pretty good to be moving past people and keep the legs ticking over, and it also meant that I kept warm.

Mos of the downhill here looks the same, wide fire trail with trees either side. There are a few small concrete sections but not very much.

I reached the clearing at the bottom of the mountain at 11.05pm and there was a water stop at the 91km mark. This meant that I had about 1.5 hrs to get to the finish line. It was do-able, but there was a lot of up hill to come so I would need to keep moving, no walking.

Here a girl called Ellen caught up to me, we had met earlier on the trail, and we chatted some more as I sat in behind her and just tried to keep up. We were moving at a pretty decent pace (or so I thought) and this section of the trail was  very muddy and tricky in some parts. I managed to stick with Ellen all the way to the bottom of Furber steps where I proclaimed to her that I had 20 mins to get to the finish line within 18 hrs. She moved aside and I shot up past her to push myself and use up every last bit of energy I had. My breathing got really heavy and so did the legs, but I wasn’t going to slow down now, I was too close and had come too afr to give up now. A gentleman moved aside to let me past and nicknamed me “Darth Vader’ due to the sounds that were coming out of my mouth (not the first time hey Damon, ha ha). They seemed to be a bit longer than I remembered.

When I reached the top near the boardwalk I was completely out of breath and thought I still had about 1km to go. As I looked at my watch I saw there was roughly 5-6 minutes till 18 hours and my head dropped as I feared that I wasn’t going to make it.

But to my surprise as i rounded the next corner the finish line was only 50 metres away and I sprinted over the line with the biggest smile on my face! I had done it. I had come back and finished the 100km course in 17 hours 55 minutes!!

The North Face 100 2015

The North Face 100 2015

Getting to bthat finish line is one of the hardest things I have ever done. It had taken me 18= months of training and preparation, but I had finally beaten the TNF100 course. I did not let it beat me a second time! It just goes to show that you should never give up on your dreams, no matter how big they are or how far away they might feel at time, just keep striving and learning and planning and you’ll get there. Never give up! Here’s a pic of me holding my Bronze Buckle which is given to everyone who completes the course in under 20 hours.

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And for all the statistics lovers, here are some more numbers for you:

Distance: 100km

Elevation Gain: 4,308m

Rank: 546th overall (out of 840), 95th Female (out of 187), 45th in my age group (out of 75)

The above results do not take into account the large amount of people who withdrew from the race on the day (DNF). There were actually 1,126 Entrants who toed the start line on Saturday morning but only 840 people who actually finished the race. That means 25% of people who ran did not make it to the finish line, a true testament of how tough this race really is.

So if you include all of the runners who started the race then my ranks looks more like this:

Overall: 546th out of 1126

Female: 95th out of 249

Age Group: 45th out of 102

tnf100 with shell

Now I must say a big thank you to my beautiful sister (pictured with me above on race day) who was not only there for me at this race, but has always been my support crew and motivator at every big race in my life. It has meant the world to me and I will be forever grateful.

Thanks Shelley!

And a big thanks also goes to the generous people who have have supported my running and helped me raise over $5,000 to help UNSW Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA). They are:

Kristian, Ganesh, Leah, Don, Sharon, The Tracey Family, Keira, Brendan, Lisa, Rebecca, Anonymous, Carol, Duncan, Anonymous, Matt, Kelly, The Roland Family, Joyce, Angela, Claire, Toni, The Hall Family, Sam, Anonymous & Anonymous

If you would like to donate to Dementia research through CHeBA you had better do it quickly here: https://cheba2.everydayhero.com/au/haileyrunstnf100

 

Happy Running 😀

Checking in

Last week I cam down with a sinus infection and it knocked me off my feet. I spent a good 4 days sleeping and even though i’m only just starting to feel human again, I’ve got a lot to look forward to. You see tomorrow I fly out to New Zealand and next weekend I will run my first overseas race, the Shooter Moonlight Mountain Marathon.

I have never visited New Zealand before so thought I’d get some extra time off work either side of the race to explore the country. I will be flying solo for this trip as the hubby is already back at work.

So tomorrow I fly to Auckland where I stay for a few days before flying to Christchurch to rock out at the Foo Fighters concert (yes i’m only flying to Christchurch and staying for 1 day to see them, they are my fav band and I would never miss a chance to see them in concert!!). Then I jump onto a bus and travel to Queenstown where I spend the rest of my holiday. I have a couple of days before the race to settle in and relax, then on 21 February i’ll be toeing the start line. After the race I have a couple of days rest and then I set off tramping Milford and Routeburn for just over a week. Then I fly home.

I am feeling very nervous and excited, but today i’m struggling to pack and keep worrying that I’ll forget to take something important. Fingers crossed that I don’t.

Keep well my friends and I promise to report back with all my stories when I return in March.

Happy running 😀

Race Report: Narrabeen Allnighter

How does one prepare for running a 5km lap race for 6hrs? That’s a very good question, as I’ve never done anything like this before. I know I’m good at working with a distance goal, so I estimated that I would be able to run 50km in that time and based my plan on that.

Now let’s start at the beginning when Brad talked me into doing the run, and then I talked some other friends into doing it too (FOMO plays strong with us), so we could all blame Brad if it went pear shaped on the day/night, ha ha

So I picked up my teammate Brad on Saturday afternoon around 7pm and we headed for Jamieson Park in Narrabeen. I parked the car and we walked up to the registration area to collect our bibs, t-shirts and buff/cooler (the gear was very cool) and then headed back to the car to pick up all our gear. We ran into lots of familiar faces, some fellow competitors and others who had come to cheer off the start. There was a really nice buzz in the air and it set a great mood for the start.

We setup an area with a table and chair and offered the team location to my mates who I had convinced to take part in the event too, it was the least I could do. Somehow I had managed to convince my good friends Maria & Emma to enter and they teamed up for the challenge. plus another friend Tom from SHRunners had dived in for the 12hr trail solo event, his first ultra!!

Brad, Maria and Tom readied themselves and we all headed over for the race briefing at about 8:10pm (a little late). There was a 12hr road race happening as part of the same event, just on a separate 1km lap (!!!!!) tarmac course, however the runners cross paths for a brief section which was the location of the timing mat. Each group took up their posts and shortly after the countdown began…. and they were off.

I knew I had about 30-40mins before I would see my mates again so I took the time to have some food and water and also to chat to other runners and supporters. Despite the humidity there was actually a cool breeze flowing and I ended up putting on a jacket and blanket to keep warm.

I stayed awake till about 10:30 and got to see the runners come through for a few laps. The comments were all about how hot it was (they were covered and dripping in sweat) and how boring it was (oh no!!). I saw my mates a few times and then then made a beeline for the car to try and get some sleep, and although I nodded off a couple of times they were only for very short periods. My small Yaris is not built for 6tt tall people and I was quite stiff when I got out of the car. My alarm went off at 1:00am but I was already awake. So I got my gear together, got changed and headed over to stretch and get my food and electrolytes out ready.

When I got back to our gear location I had just missed seeing Brad and Maria, but they were both on track to hit their 50km targets. Maria came flying in just before her last lap, the little pocket rocket wasn’t going to let anything stop her from achieving 50km and she smashed it with 10mins to spare. Well done Maria!! And only a few mins later Brad came flying through the checkpoint reaching his 50km goal too. What a champion!!

So Emma and I readied ourselves to start and chatted nervously with the other runners doing the same. It was great to see Sam Isbell toeing the line too! We were all a little sleepy but ready to go. The 6hour alarm sounded and we were out running.

I felt very sluggish to start but eventually fell into a rhythm and Emma and I ran and reminisced about Oxfam and other running funnies from the past. It was great to have her company. We actually saw a snake on the first lap but luckily it was only a python (not poisonous) and we continued around it on our way. During the night I also saw about 3 possums and decided they had sharper claws than we so let them cross before i continued on my run. I can’t remember at what time or km they were (I wonder why) so I thought I’d just mention it here.

And then I took a tumble. After the turnaround and when we got closer to the snake location again, someone told us it was up in the tree, so as I was looking up I tripped on a rock and went flying knees and hands first onto the gravel. I got up and dusted myself off, hands were ok but the knees took most of the fall and the right one was bleeding. I told myself to run it off and Emma asked if I was ok, I told her I was (even though it was starting to throb) but that’s because I wanted to stay positive and I thought I could run it off. And it worked for a while, so I took some pain killers later in the race and it helped me get through. It wasn’t a sharp pain so I didn’t think it was anything too serious, but it just didn’t feel quite right.

I’m not sure what else to mention as there’s not too much to mention when doing a lap race. We had a beautiful full moon which lit a most of the trail and some runners didn’t even use head torches (crazy if you ask me, more risk of tripping). The course had a lot of rocky gravel areas and a little bit of concrete at the turnaround point. I ran on the grass next to the path a few times as its softer on my legs, but there was also a ditch you had to be careful of, which luckily Em pointed out to me. Emma lives only 10mins drive from the course so was a local and had run this track before. I kept up with Em for as long a I could, which turned out to only be a few laps, then told her go ahead and I slowed to a more comfortable pace that I was used to.

Most of the laps ticked by pretty quickly and although I had some negative patches around the 20km mark I just kept running and drinking lots of water and electrolytes at each of the ends, plus a few gels along the way. I was dripping with sweat so needed more water than normal, and many of the guys ran shirtless throughout the night due to the humidity.

I looked forward to the high energy music and cheers from the start/finish area on each lap. I tried to guess the song that would be playing next and then sung whatever was playing for the start of the next lap. Great idea for the music guys!! Thanks!!

The best part of the course were the other runners, some of them who had been out there since 8pm the night before. I love chatting and helping others so I made a point of smiling and encouraging as much as I could, which is hard to do in the dark when all you can see is headlamps. This task was much easier once the sun started to rise and I think we all felt relief once we could ditch the headlamps and the finish drew closer.

It was so good to finally be able to see the other runners faces. The encouragement and support from other runners, not just the ones I knew, was awesome. My smiles and encouragement were returned by all but 1 (grumpy looking tattooed) runner who never responded and didn’t even look up once despite my cheers lap after lap, maybe he was suffering.

My buddy Tom doing his first 12hr/ultra was still out there going hard, Emma had lapped me and was looking very strong for 60km (!!) with Sam chasing her tail very closely, Wayne was holding onto 2nd and looking determined, my mate Darren was still going strong and we ran together for part of what was going to be his final lap (picture below). You guys are the best!!

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Photo Credit: Stefica Key

I hit a speedbump at 37km and had been walking sections of the laps. I was feeling light-headed so kept stopping to walk when it got really bad but it made the knee feel 10 times worse when I walked. I was out of ideas, so I just kept alternating walk/run. But seeing these familiar faces and hearing the support from others out there I pushed and ran some more to make sure that I’d hit 50km before the time ran out.

I saw Andy from Striders on one of my final laps and also Tanya & her kids, Carolyn, Nigel and Em’s lovely family. They cheered us on and my mood lifted a little, so great to see familiar faces and know they’d be there when I finished.

Here are a few photos from the wee early hours of the morning on Sunday. Stefica Key did an absolutely smashing job with these and I thank you very much for taking the time to capture these and encourage us while out on the course. Seeing you always makes me smile 🙂

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Photo Credit: Stefica Key

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Photo Credit: Stefica Key

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Photo Credit: Stefica Key

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Photo Credit: Stefica Key

Eventually I crossed the finish line and squinted at the bright sun now pouring over the lake and Jamieson Park. I stopped my Garmin and headed over to meet everyone and get into recovery mode.

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Photo Credit: Stefica Key

My team mate Brad and i were all thumbs up and very happy with our results. Between us we had managed to run 100km in under 12 hours, woohoo!!

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I still felt quite dizzy and my right leg started to cramp up too, I’ve never had that happen in a race before! Thankfully my buddies Nigel and Carolyn were keeping an eye out for me and they assisted me to remove my shoes and socks, elevate my legs, feed me bacon & eggs, and got some gel for me to rub on my cramping hamstring. I also sculled some electrolytes to help get the salt back into my body and hopefully stop the cramping. Here’s me stuffing my face with bacon (yum). it defintiely took my mind off how sore my knee was feeling too.

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Photo Credit: Nigel Huband

Emma gave me a compression bandage for my knee and I took some pain killers, i also made a mental note to ice the knee and elevate it for the rest of the day/night. I hoped it wasn’t anything too serious, but only time will tell.

Within about 20 minutes the dizziness stopped and I began to feel much better. We all chatted about the course and our run and how much we enjoyed it, then packed up our gear and the cars and headed over to the presentation area for the awards.

Would you believe that I actually scored the ‘Courageous’ female runner award due to the fact I had taken a bad stack early in the run yet kept going. I didn’t even know such an award existed and I think I know who to thanks for the nomination (Nigel?), ha ha. Here’s me accepting the award from organisers Horrie and Ron.

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Photo Credit: Nigel Huband

And how tired do i look here!!

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Photo Credit: Nigel Huband

I want to send a big, no huge THANK YOU out to all the organisers, volunteers, crews and runners in the event. It was well organised, well supported and without the friendly runner camaraderie it would not have been the same. This was a great event that i will not forget in a hurry and I encourage anyone who is thinking about doing it in 2016 to sign up now!!

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Photo Credit: Unknown

Congratulations to all the runners, new friends and old. We are a crazy bunch of people but you are what make it so special. I hope to see you all on the trails again soon.

Happy Running 😀

My epic weekend

Despite going back to work after 4 weeks off I have had a great week and have some of cool stuff to share with you all.

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Last Saturday I started my training with Sydney Striders again for the 6ft track trail (ultra) marathon which takes place in march 2015 in the Blue Mountains. Last year this was my first trail marathon and it was a most memorable experience. I loved every part of training for this race too, the people, the trails, and the challenges I conquered out there each week. If you would like to read about the 2014 race see here > https://haileyruns.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/2014-six-foot-track-marathon/

And now for last Sunday where I headed up to Narrabeen for the Sydney Trail Series (STS) with a few of my buddies from Sydney Harbour Runners (SHR). STS were hosting 7km, 10km & 15km events and normally I would always go for the long option, but seen as I had run the day before I chose the 7km short course. When I arrived the 15km race had just started and I got to say hello to a few friends I recognised out there and wished them well. I picked up my bib and ran into the lovely Kristy Dearinger, a friend and Iron(wo)man who is also a great person. She was running the 10km event with her friend Andrew.

I got to the start line with my SHR buddies and we all wished each other well. We had all signed up for the short course and those 3 are super speedy so I doubted that I would see them again until after the race. The gun went off and we all got moving up the first of several hills that would make up the first half of the race. It was steady going on fire trail and then got more and more technical as the course went along. I love technical so I was really feeling great and enjoying the playtime out in this new neck of woods. The first half of the course was pretty tough but the views at the top were amazing as promised, however I did not stop to take photos like I normally do, instead I carried on and tried to catch up to those in front of me.

I kept a very steady pace the whole run and the second half played to my strength, downhill. I overtook people as I worked my way down the trails and rocks and caught up with some of the 15km & 10km runners too. I saw Troy from my RunLab Cronulla crew who was doing the 15km event and it was also his first trail run. I felt great, my calves were a little tight but overall I felt I was in good shape. I kept moving down the hills and gained a lot of speed on the final descent, even though Troy went flying past me (ha ha). I looked up at one point and I could see my friend Kate about 200m ahead which was strange because she is very fast, but I just kept moving and made my way around the athletics track which was the final lap and finished the course in just under 43 minutes. I had been hoping for 45mins so i was very happy with my time. I saw the girls and we chatted about the course and how much we loved it.

And here’s the best bit, I came 4th!! 4th female outright!! That has never happened before in my life (well perhaps in primary school, over 20 yrs ago) and I actually did not even realise until I got home that night and checked the results online. Apparently they called my name out as I won my age group too, how awesome is that!! I was very, very proud 🙂

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Happy Running 😀

 

Hitting 50

I’ve always thought that with every race there is a new lesson to be learnt and challenges to overcome. Last Sunday definitely proved me right as I’ve learnt a great deal from the whole experience.

With only 5 weeks remaining until my first 100km ultra marathon I was keen to see how my body would cope running 50km on the road, so that had been the reason I signed up for this race. Well it was that, and also the heckling from my running mates who are always pushing me to have a go, of which I am very thankful.

So last Friday at lunchtime my friend Georgie drove us down to Canberra for the running festival. She was racing in the 10km on Saturday, along with Todd from SHRunners. There was quite a large group heading down for the events so we all planned to cheer them on during their race on saturday and then they would repay the favor on Sunday. However I felt like I was cheating them all as I knew I would be out there for the longest amount of time, as i was the only one from our group doing the ultra.

On Saturday we got up bright and early to head to the start and see them off. We raced around cheering them on at a few different points along the course and then saw them at the finish line for some final encouragement. Georgie got a new PB which was fantastic, and Todd was happy to finish as he’d been battling a cold all week prior to the race, as well as still being in recovery mode from a stack a few weeks back.

I was also lucky enough to spot an old family friend Jess as she ran over the finish line, as well at Matilda who had used my 10km entry bib to take part in the event. Originally I had signed up for the 10km course, however I had changed my mind closer to the event and had given her the entry as she was a local in Canberra and was keen to run when I contacted her.

The morning was lovely and when I got back to the hotel I decided to have a nap before the afternoon’s adventures, which consisted of going to watch the 3pm game of Raiders v Knights at GIO Stadium with Georgie & Todd, followed by 6pm dinner with our group to carb load.

I had a lovely penne bolognaise for dinner at the restaurant and got back to my hotel so I could be in bed by 9pm. I hadn’t slept well the night before so I was feeling very tired and wanted to get as much rest as possible.

My alarm went off at 4am on Sunday and I got up to have some toast and a banana for breakfast, as I wanted to make sure that I ate more than 2 hours before the race start time. So I went back to bed for 30 minutes after breakfast and then got up and prepared for the race. We were leaving the hotel at 5.20am to walk to the start line located just across the bridge about a 20 minute walk away.

There were quite a few people doing the half marathon and a few also doing the marathon, including two of our runners  who were competing in their first ever marathon, Janet and Brendan. I was so glad that the marathoners and ultra runners were doing the same course too as it meant we got to run with them for the first 42.195km before heading to our extended lap around the lake.

Here’s a few of queuing outside the loos before the race, that’s me on the far right.

before race with shr crew

I ran into some of my Sydney Striders buddies and had a quick selfie with Emma who I have been lucky enough to share some trails with over the past 6 months. She was locked in for the marathon and I wished her well.

before race with emma

We did a few warm up stretches and made our way to the start line, the nerves were building and I couldn’t believe that I  was going to do this. What was I thinking!! ha ha

at the start lineI also ran into Tilly and Brendan at the start line and we had a quick photo before the gun went off. Tilly was unfortunately struggling with a cold (which later turned into Laryngitis, I still can’t believe she finished the race!) and Brendan was popping his marathon cherry!!

 

 

at the start ine with tilly and brendan

The gun went off and our first section ran around the Parliament house, here’s a shot I took as we ran up the first hill. If you look closely to the left of the screen you can spot a guy wearing his full army uniform, we saw him a few times and he didn’t even break a sweat. What a machine!

parliament house

I also managed to get a selfie of myself and Rob from the Nike Sydney Store (below) as we ran up this first hill, it’s a bit blurred but not bad to say were were actually running when I took it.

running with rob at the start

It was at this point I handed my phone to our guys in the crowd, hopefully they would get some shots of me with in down the track. We wouldn’t see them again until about the 15km mark.

Rob and I ran a lot of the first 20km together, he’s quicker than me but was also using this run as a training event for TNF100. We also had the pleasure of being accompanied by Kathy (Kathleen I think) from the Sydney Striders. I had met her only the weekend before at the 10km race in Lane Cove where Simon had paced us all the way to the finish. Kathy was lovely and had a great sense of humour so it was really great to have her with us at this point too.

As we approached the 15km mark we were looking out for our crew and there they were. Todd, Georgie and Megan all cheering us along. It was so good to see them and take my mind of running for a moment.

15km mark

15km mark 3

It was this point that I finally felt warm and could feel myself getting into a rhythm. This course was going to be pretty flat so I wanted to make sure I concentrated on not thinking about my legs or my feet. Unfortunately my plan failed.

By the time I got to 21km Rob had taken off and was building his gap with every out-and-back section that we saw him. Go Rob! So it was Kathy and I who stuck together for a little bit longer, we chatted and laughed and made friends with some of the other runners around us. I always like trying to make them smile as runners can sometimes look so serious during a race.

Then I walked. I wasn’t even half way and I was walking. I was so angry at myself for walking but my head was struggling. I had to let Kathy go unfortunately and I tried to turn my thoughts more positive.

I ran. I walked. I ran. I walked. I walked. I ran. I walked.

BY the time I got to the 25km point the soles of my feet were aching and I felt like my feet were the size of balloons. Every step felt painful to the pads of my feet and I was struggling not to think about it. I probably should have done some longer distance road runs in the lead up got this race, as my feet clearly weren’t used to hitting the pavement after all the trails I’ve done lately. Mental note to self.

I kept running and walking, and where possible I ran on the grassed sections to alleviate some of the pain. It didn’t seem to be getting any worse but it felt like the soles of my feet were bruised all over. All I could think about was taking off my shoes.

Then I tripped on a long blade of grass and I felt pain in my groin in the same spot that had been giving me issues about a month back. This was not turning out to be a good day.

I shortened my gait to try and minimise the groin pain that had started and i’m pretty sure if there were any photos of me during the middle sections of the race there would not be a smile. But the sun was shining and I was determined to finish.

I ran. I walked. I walked. I walked. I ran. I walked.

There were many sections on the course where there was an out-and-back and you got a chance to see the other runners. This was the only thing that kept me going, knowing that my mates were out there enduring this too. There support and encouragement kept me in better spirits than I cold muster.

For the next 3 hours I Ran and walked and tried to stay positive. It was the toughest race of my life mentally, and I think I have even blacked out some of it as I don’t know what else to write here about that part of the race. It was flat, a few hills and undulating sections and the sun was shining.

Thankfully when I got to about the 37km mark a lovely man who was cheering on runners ran with me for about 1 km and we had a chat as he got me back running again. I don’t know who he was but I was very thankful. And as we went up over the hill I realised there was a large crowd of people ahead and it really lifted my spirits to see so many people out here supporting there loved ones.

This was a great mood lifter as it was an out and back and i knew that I would get to run through here again at about the 40km mark. So I kept running, and slowly overtook a few more people. I found a bit of a rhythm again and when I got back to the same part with the crowd I spotted Anne from work. I was so excited to see a friendly face and I gave her a hug as I ran around the corner. For the marathoners they only had about 2kms to go, so I cheered them on and wishes them well and did everything I could to not think about the pain in my feet and groin.

I made my way up around a roundabout and turned left, then heard a man with a speaker announcing Marathoners to the right, Ultra runners to the left up onto the bike path. I was running up on the grass at this point and the guy on the microphone encouragement me to get back down onto the pavement and onto the course. He didn’t know the pain in my feet but I did as he said and kept running.

I got to the section where the marathoners were heading for the finish and I saw Russell from the Striders, I yelled out and encouraged him to crank it to the finish line as I followed the path towards our final lap around the lake.

My brain was over it, I just wanted to be finished. But I ran and walked when I needed to and about halfway along this section I realised it was an out-and-back so I got to see many other ultra runners who looked like they were in as much pain as me. We all cheered each other on and this really helped my mood to lift a little. I had less than 10kms to go.

Then I saw Matilda, I was so happy to see her. She had even brought down her beautiful dog to cheer me on. I gave her a hug and kept running towards the turn around point. As I rounded the bend I made sure I’d let the other runners know they were close to the turn around too, I knew the boost would help lift their spirits too.

I followed the path and took a left back up onto a bridge and when I got to the other side I saw Matilda again. She had come along to run/walk this section with me and I cannot express how much I needed her company and smiley face right at that point.

She ran ahead and got a few photos for me and we chatted about her 50km run that had been in the very same section of the course.

46km mark

So glad she got one of me smiling too. ha ha

47km mark

I really enjoyed running with Matilda and talking to her so a big thanks to her for taking my mind away from the pain and putting the smile back on my face. I owe you honey!

I crossed the last bridge at the finish area was in my sights. All I could think about was the faster you get there the sooner you can take your shoes off. My get felt huge and I just wanted to sit/lay down.  So I picked up the pace and then all of a sudden Parker was next to me running and cheering me on, he was a friend Karie’s from run club husband and a good runner too. He told me I had shot last him while he had been keeping an eye out so had to sprint to catch up. How lovely of him to be there.

Then I got closer to the line and Rob came to run with me too. I felt bad as he was trying to talk to me but I didn’t really have any words left and I was out of breath trying to speed up for the finish. Poor Rob, I hope he didn’t think I was ignoring him. I was just stuffed.

running to the finish

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running to the finish 2

Then i rounded the last U-turn and could hear all my crew cheering and waving and I couldn’t believe that I had made it. I sprinted the finish and overtook a couple of people in front of me. I’m not sure where the last spurt came from but I was so glad to have stuck it out and made it to the finish line.

at the finish line

after the race

Me with my first ‘Ultras Marathon’ medal 🙂

me with my medal

How cool was the medal!?!?

my medal

I grabbed some water and some bananas and got hugs from all of my team mates who cheered me up with their smiley faces. I owe so much to these guys for always supporting and encouraging me in the lead up to this race and many others. I love running with you guys and I know I can always count on you.

We went back to the hotel and showered and then headed for a recovery meal at the same place we’d had brekkie the day before. It was delish!!

recovery meal group shot

Janet and Brendan had both smashed their first marathons (front left) and I loved hearing their stories about the race. We congratulated each other and said our goodbyes. I look forward to seeing them all again at run club in just over a week.

Georgie and I headed back to her car and much to her surprise that I didn’t fall asleep in the car on the way home, we chatted all the way and scoffed down some pizza for dinner when we got to my place. Best pizza ever!!

Looking back I’m not sure why I was so hard on myself about how slow my run had been. I hadn’t been my fastest, but I’ve learnt that I can go on even when my body and head are telling me to stop. And I’m so glad that I pushed through because my legs and feet are feeling a million times better today (Wednesday) and my groin pain has gone al together. Though I know that I have lots more stretching and cross-training to do over the next few weeks so that my legs can recover fully.

Only 2 weeks until the Mt Solitary Ultra in the Blue Mountains, bring it on!!

Happy Running 😀