I had a ball – loved it – will do it again.
The lead up to Narabeen has been a long time coming, and on the night I was feeling pretty calm – it didn’t seem quite real. Negsplit and B came to pick me up and off we went. Set up spot, got changed, briefing, then……off we ran. Thankfully, my first few hundred metres weren’t to shape my race – my shoelace came undone! A quick stop to fix it and off I went.
Lots of people out on the path for the first couple of laps, some of them cheering, a few that were unimpressed to be bothered by a group of runners, and others who stopped to ask what we were doing……and were a little baffled when I said we were running for 12 hours and had just started!
As it got darker on the second and third laps…..out came the head torches. I was hoping not to have to run with a torch, but it got too tricky to negotiate a few quite dark sections when it was constantly changing with headlamps coming and going in both directions…..I think all dark would have been easier. So, out came my lamp – but waist lamp and I kept it on the dullest setting, just enough to light the path ahead of me. It also made the dips a little easier to see…before you felt them!
I was managing to run fine, and happy to run a lap and have a quick break at the crew for some water, food and a chat. I had a great crew and certainly wouldn’t have got through it without them. Negsplit was keeping quiet tabs on my fuel and water intake – it wasn’t enough. Each lap he’d try to get me to eat more, and I honestly felt OK and thought I was eating enough. I knew I had to eat, everyone had told me eating was so important, but I just didn’t want to. I had huge amounts to choose from, and would have a few bites, but not much more. At one point I had some Naprosyn to keep my back happy (before it got sore) and didn’t have enough to wash it down, so had a horrible burning feeling for the next lap – and walked more than I wanted to, to settle it a little. Thankfully it came good.
When 3 hours were up, I was at a time and a km PB already! And I felt great, I was loving the laps, seeing the other runners, but running my own race. I started to wind down a little as I neared my ‘marathon’ lap……my socks were not comfortable (and I had trouble with them all night), my knee/itb was starting to get sore and my legs tired. Change of socks, some work on my knee (ouch!!!!!!) and then off to crack my marathon. I was pretty excited coming through that lap!
I can’t remember at what point we had the discussion, but negsplit was asking me how I was feeling out there. He kept telling me I was looking strong as I came in each time, but my answer was getting to be “its getting hard and my legs are tired”. We talked about whether I wanted to walk a lap for a rest…..but I had said before the race, I didn’t want to walk a whole lap if I could help it. Mentally, I knew if I did, it would be so hard to run again. So, negsplit suggested walking out of the carpark, get running again, run to the turnaround, walk 100m or so, then run back in and another break for food/water. And that’s what I did for the rest of the night. It worked well for me. Enough running to get into a rhythm and to dull the pain a little, and then enough of a walk to rest briefly. Getting started to run each time was a few painful steps but I managed it mostly OK.
I completely lost track of my laps, I was just running and keeping my feet going. It was nice to have the constant change of runners going by and the encouragement from everyone was great. At the risk of forgetting people….AaronR, Lotsahare, Cazzy1, Koala1, BlueDog, Josh, Zac, Addison, Jo Blake, Slowmo, Horrie, Bluebel, Ninjette, BernieG and a couple who I’m not sure of names…….your encouragement was great.
I was a little wary of what to expect in the early hours of the morning – people had warned me about the sleep monsters and the lull after 2am…….it never happened for me. I loved running through the night. For me, the toughest part was sunrise! It didn’t help me at all, and in fact those last 2 hours in daylight were the worst. The pain by then in my legs was horrible, I had managed to stumble and stubb my left foot at some point during the night, and my toes were really sore……then my arch was agony,…..and all the while I could see in broad daylight how far I still had to run each lap ahead of me. Horrible!
I cracked 60km at 10 hours. I was so happy (although may not have looked so at the time) – and I remember coming back to the crew, putting my lamp down and asking if I could go home now! I had hoped for 60km and was so pleased to get there, and couldn’t face any more. It was an option to walk it in for the last couple of hours, but I didn’t like that thought either, so got my act together, another couple of bites of something (not enough) and got myself back out there.
Each lap then became a mental game for me to finish and see if I could do another one. I felt like I was barely running as I had slowed so much, but they kept telling me I looked strong as I came back in. I was on my 19th full lap, and at the turnaround, Chops said I would have time for one more (before they change to short laps for the last hour)…..I doubted it, but it gave me food for thought for my run back……and I got faster and thought that I had to try and get another one in. A quick turnaround for that one, TKR walked it out of the carpark with me so I could eat and walk to save time, and then I had to painfully start running again to make it. And I did! 20 full laps!!!!!!!!
Then the short laps started. 500m out and back. Everyone seemed to get a second wind and were flying through them. Blue Dog had a really tough night, but it was fantastic to see him flying through the laps…..he was on fire. Lotshare wasn’t so lucky, and she really came into trouble, I have no idea how she continued to move, it looked so painful….but she kept it up and eventually came good enough to run again – one tough lady! I was in agony at this point, it hurt more to walk, so in theory it was better to run……but that hurt too. I managed to do some sort of hobble that picked up to something resembling a run. I felt like I was flying, but I certainly wasn’t, but the atmosphere was catching and everyone was trying to get as much in as they could. I was aiming to get to 70km at that point…..then was going to walk it in….but then pushed it to see how far past 70 I could go, I didn’t want to break my resolve about not walking a full lap now. And so I kept running…..didn’t stop at the crew for the last couple, just kept going.
And made it I did!
There is no way that I would have got through without my fabulous crew. Negsplit has been looking after me for ages in training, was brilliant at keeping tabs on me and keeping me going and on track during the night, and also keeping me conscious on the way home when I passed out in the car! (Hmmm, really do need to eat more!). B was brilliant to be there all night helping out, TKR for coming out and staying right through, working on my legs – even though I was anything but grateful at the time!, Kath for surprising me by being there at the start, and my Dad for turning up for the last hour – had to see for himself if I could pull this off……and is mightily proud that I did. All the messages that came through the night and before from friends and family, and Seris, it was lovely to see you at the end, even if I didn’t seem grateful at the time.
To my long suffering family – thank you so much It wasn’t just this weekend for them, they have lived with me through this for the last 12 months and have been brilliant. It was great to have them there for a few hours at the start to get me going. Mr Gadfly still thinks I’m nuts, but is so very proud, and I’m sure Gadfairy could have done without a quiet week last week while I was ‘resting’ and this week while I’m recovering, but she has been great and had a ball coming out too. She tells me next year she is staying the whole night!
Recovery – OUCH!!!!!!!!
My comment on Monday was: I'm pretty sore and stiff, walking is tricky, stairs are impossible and sitting and standing hurt like crazy. Both ITB are shot, quads not happy and my knees spasm and lock at times nearly sending me flying backwards. I have blisters on 5 toes and will prob lose 2 toe nails.
A day later and today it’s not quite so dramatic, but still painful and stiff. Back to work tomorrow, so I’m hoping that there is more improvement over night and I may be able to walk a little less like a robot!
But no complaints! I loved it, I will do it again and I’d say I’m pretty much hooked! I honestly didn’t know what to expect with the endless laps, running through the night etc……but it was all good.
Next up …….a couple of things on the cards........... I’m aiming to get up and running just a little before I plan too much!