I managed a slightly faster time than 2014, but still had some issues. Fortunately (in a way) they were nothing related to an injury, overuse or doing something silly. Purely a lack of strength and toughness.
I did this race in 2014, and thought I had nailed my training this year to avoid the same mistakes. Which I did. And found new ones to make instead!
I remembered that the beach section was tougher than would be thought, so I took it a bit easier this year, and didn’t bother trying to avoid getting wet. The sand still takes it out of the legs, and the soft sections needed to be treated with caution, as they can come back to bite later!
The “heat” in the second leg had a bit of an impact on me, as I had done almost all my training in < 7 degrees. But the section through Ironbark was as I remembered it – fun and beautiful.
I came in to the 50km point pretty much bang on last years’ time, which surprised me a little, but I accepted it as fair as I had needed to stop for some equipment and foot issues. I figured I could make up some time on last years efforts in Leg 3, as I was definitely feeling stronger.
I hit the expected low point between 50 and 60, and when the sweepers appeared behind me I knew I was in lucky last place.
The climb up to the trig point was easy compared to my feelings last year, and I flew down the other side feeling good. Maybe too good. I had been battling nausea since around 30km and been struggling to get calories and water into me – but my legs were feeling strong. I really tried to make it to the next CP before dark so I kept running when I should have been taking some planned walk breaks. I didn’t make it by dark and had to pull the headlamp out – but it was also starting to get chilly so I put some layers back on and kept trucking.
But I really paid for my downhill run, and my quads were starting to feel like someone was hitting me with an axe each and every step. I was still run/walking, but was starting to hurt big-time on the downhills, and actually relishing the ups – even though that’s when the nausea was worst.
I managed to get a couple of cups of soup in at Moggs Ck, but only the broth – wasting all that lovely chicken and noodle goodness. I was feeling pretty low here, and was close to pulling out – I guess mainly because I was weary, a little nauseaus, and knew I was last, with the 3 sweepers waiting for me to leave. But I gave myself a little talk, did a clothing change and dragged myself over the timing mat to leave the CP. But you know you’re a fruit loop when, on those dark lonely stretches of trail, you say g’day and fist-bump the trail marking tape and arrows when they appear…….
I managed to keep doing some powerhiking and running/shuffling, making it in to Aireys inlet in a still OK-ish time. This was where I found out there were some folks only a few minutes ahead, so set off to track them down.
I was still managing some shuffle-running, and suddenly came across 1 + 3 people by 92km mark.
The stretch along Urqharts Beach was nice, but my final undoing, as my feet had enough, and relegated me to walking only.
I shuffled on in in the worst pain I have had at the end of an event – but in a strangely satisfying way. I was limited by basic lack of strength and toughness – as opposed to an injury or doing something silly (yeah, running down that big hill probably was silly actually).
The nausea and lack of calories would have made a difference – when unpacking I realised I had only managed less than ½ the calories I had planned, and most of them were in the first 1/3 of the event. I don’t think I managed anything other than small sips of water in the last 5 hrs.
I was well under the cutoff and took 10mins off last years time – but I was over my goal time. Lots of lessons learnt though! And some big changes needed if I still have eyes on TNF100 (UTA now).
My limiters this time around weren’t injuries, niggles, or doing something silly (like rolling an ankle). BUT they were a lack of strength in the legs and toughness in the feet. I ran too many of the downhills because I was feeling strong. Making up an hour in leg 3 came back with a vengeance in Leg 4, where I lost time. Lesson learnt!
I texted everyone I know and posted it on Facebook. NEVER. EVER. AGAIN. But you know what they say…… never say never again……….