This one has been on the ‘to do’ list for a few years now.
7 am start so left house at 5:30 for the scenic drive to dayboro and then up the Mt Mee tourist drive through the D’aguilar ranges.
Met up with Wolfgang at the start, discussed my target time of between 5-6 hours given the course elevation gain of 1300m.
At the 700m mark I kicked a rock with my right foot and hit the deck with a commando roll to maintain some momentum but my hands to the brunt and were ripped to shreds, blood everywhere. (Probably my second best ‘stack’ after one on the Lake Manchester trail race a few years back where i managed to put a foot through the opposite shoelace loop!)
Only about 50 competitors doing the full Marathon so the crowd thinned out quite quickly and I got into my stride after 1km. In fact I felt great so I pushed a bit more always conscious that the return leg ends with a 10km climb!
The initial 10km was undulating but downhill overall which was a bit of a quad bashing. At 8km I found a guy called Gav taking a photos of an engorged Python straddling the track. It’s recent ?possum? Meal still fat in its belly! Gav was treating this as a training run for the Hardcore 100 miler in the Phillipines! I let him go ahead 🙂
I clocked the first 10km in 48minutes and realised I was going out too fast, but felt good so continued.
A creek crossing denoted the lowest point on the trail as it often does, at around 11km. Then an undulating climb to about 16km where we reach checkpoint 2 and the bitumen part of the course – a 5-6km undulation ridge line with fantastic views of the Glasshouse Mountains to the north and open rolling farmland all around.
The leaders were on third way back and flying!! 1 and 2 had a considerable lead.
I reached half marathon mark at 1:50, again too fast. The turnaround point at the Mt Mee tennis courts around 22km I reached around 1:55 I stopped and fuelled for a few minutes. I was 7th upon arrival!
The relay runners joined the fray here and some fresh legs hit the course. I got back to and was still feeling good back up and down on the rolling bitumen. Checkpoint 2 again, now at about 28km and 2:30 on the clock, more fuelling and still in good spirits. This is further than I’d run all year! Given my significant lack of training.
Back on the trail and downhill however things began to deteriorate, by 30km (3hrs in) some cramps started in the foot and calf and I realised I hadn’t been keeping fluids or salts high enough early enough, I’d not realised the humidity levels and the amount of sweat I was discharging. By 32km my entire lower body locked up; buttocks, quads, calf, hip flexors and feet all cramped and I hobbled along like the tin man. I knew I was way behind with hydration and started feeling sick as I drank hydrolyse and ate homemade caffeinated nut and date balls. Too little too late, I’d been here before at Hare and Hounds Ultra in 2013, interestingly also at 32km! The heat stress I suffered then caused me to DNF. I refused to repeat that.
I tripped on another rock, the resultant stumble cramped me yet again. Only 10 km to go, mostly uphill. In a hurdle an effort I kept putting one foot forward, agonisingly, aiming for checkpoint 1 at around 36km. Somehow I kept going, somehow I didn’t spew. I was passed again and again by runners. Every time I tried to move faster than I walk I locked up.
At checkpoint 1 I sat down and tried to slow my heart rate, settle my stomach and gather my wits. I felt dreadful. I was very close to pulling out!
Shortly after leaving the checkpoint Wolfgang, a fellow Bunyaville runner, caught me and gave me a salt tablet which I somehow managed to keep down. We chatted then he continued finishing the race strongly. I plodded. With about 3-4 km to go we entered a relatively flat portion of the course through pine forest and my sick feeling started to abate and my walking speed increased fractionally
I calculated my finish time….about 5:01, I needed to go sub 5hrs somehow. I walked as fast as I could, still cramped, still getting overtaken. 1km out I calculated again, I needed a 7 or 8 min/km not a 10 or 11 min/km. Impossible to do walking. So I made ran, agonisingly a few 50m stretches, in an ugly Quasimodo, leg dragging manner……I made it. 4:59.
Wolfgang handed me a beer at the finish but I was unsure if it would stay down……thankfully it did then I gorged myself on sausages and salad at the BBQ.
A few stretches and a Juice Plus+ Complete for the road. And home.
Anticipated wipeout for the rest of the day given the struggle and the lack of training. However my recovery was rapid, the rest of the day continued as normal, took the dog for a walk with family, felt pretty good.
I expected the two day delay, it never came. I was running again on the Tuesday….and feeling good! Remarkable. But why? How?
It could be the one month trial of Juice Plus increasing my overall health, I’d like to think so, and the experiment continues……..