2015 TNF for some T2F!
race # 5676, finish time 11hrs 01min
(my poetic version is on the next page, here)
Cave trolls and flying leeches
I live in Mildura, which one might describe as “topographically subdued”. No hills. No stairs. So why sign up for the hilly and stair-ey North Face? I’m mad.
3am weekday alarms. Long dark miles. Infinite repeats of a bridge abutment ramp. Sandhills with Toby. Toby makes me work. Toby helps my strength. Toby is round and heavy but if I chain him up and drag him around it’s a good workout. Toby is a big fat 4wd tyre……… I’m mad.
They say ultra-running is mostly type 2 fun…. not fun when you’re doing it, but fun afterwards. T2F, with a little T1F. So I didn’t bring my husband on this trip………… now I could enjoy my own misery without the guilt of someone else’s!
I started in the last wave as I’m always slow and sometimes last, but my goals were simple – finish in the time limit and enjoy.
The first leg was ridiculous. Seriously. We went up. We went down. Repeat. A bazillion times. But the views were gob-smackingly awesome and the terrain unending fun (both T1F and T2F). The overhang parts were brilliant (if a little wet) and I did my very best to impersonate a cave troll for the sneaky cameras and tourists.
I spent a little while with a runner who held their hands in the air when descending. Of course that quickly had me calling her Jazz-Hands! But I had a knee “thing” and sadly, I fell behind Jazz-Hands. At the 14km water stop I came good and then managed a fair bit of running – after all, the next checkpoint was the hospital. Convenient! I then considered the hospital might have been a quarantine spot for highly infectious diseases or really mad people, as it was a looooong way from town. Appropriate?
I escaped that CP just ahead of the top male 100km runners and ticked down the hill at a nice jog. Then, coming around a corner, who do I see? JAZZ-HANDS!!! We walked and talked a bit more down through the steep stuff. When it was less steep I ran a little and before I knew it was tottering into the last waterpoint. Onwards and upwards! Yeah…… about that……… quite a ways up isn’t it? My knee did its thing and I teetered up the hill like a Thunderbird employed at Monty Pythons Ministry of Silly Walks (cue 70’s flashbacks).
I encountered what must have been the races only leech after that little open grassy area – which then became the worlds first acrobatic flying leech. I gave myself another good layer of Bushmans and donated my can to the next marshal I saw just in case.
The trail through the forest and across a couple of sketchy little creeks was super cool and totally T1F. A bit more running to the bridge over the last creek and I had my first tumble of the day – 900m from the finish! I “bounced” up and began the “Ascent of the Furbers”……… Summited? Eventually. Finish line? Brilliant.
So next year the 100? Wouldn’t dream of it.
But yep, I’m still mad, so let the nightmares begin……… when can I sign up?
“Toby, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship”.
Brilliant race. Brilliant people. Extra hats off to the marshals in all the out-of-the-way spots keeping us safe and on the right track. And cheers to the sweepers – damn happy I didn’t see you, but damn happy you were there.
Until next year!
Last piece of mandatory gear, a North Face lightweight fleece.