It was a tough 6 hours. I wasn’t sure what to expect after Narrabeen had gone so well and I had enjoyed it so much. Was it a one off, or could I do it again? I would have loved to tackle the 12 hours, but only 5 weeks after Narrabeen, thought I had better take some advice and common sense and scale it back a little! And it gave me the chance to run with Ninjette, so that was a huge bonus. I had come down with a cold early in the week and was feeling pretty ordinary I must admit. Wed at training was tough and I did start to wonder if it was a wise idea to contemplate the trek to and from Canberra, and add in there a 6 hour run! Large doses of Vit C, D and Zinc, along with attempting to get extra sleep (not all that successful) and I was hoping to shake it off. Work was quite busy and stressful and lots to do at home too, so the lead up was anything but calm and relaxed……
I was hoping to get to a marathon distance, but not entirely sure that I could manage it. Negsplit had every confidence I would and I figured it was worth a shot. I didn’t have to run too much faster, just keep the crew stops short.
We were watching the storms roll around in the late afternoon and then watched as it became very windy all of a sudden and then dumped a huge electrical storm on us not long after the race started. It was much better to be out running in it I think, rather than trying to keep things dry in the crew area. Loads of water dumped on the track but I was surprised how well it drained away once the rain eased up. Starting off a 6hour race soaking wet isn’t the best idea, but I decided not to change shoes or clothes as I was feeling OK and would dry out soon enough. Maybe not the best decision considering the pretty angry circle of chaffing around my waist at the end of the race, but never mind.
The first couple of laps felt pretty horrible, my head was feeling heavy and it was hard to get my breathing settled. I thought I was in for a long night…..and I was really! It soon settled and the first couple of hours went through well and I was running faster than I had planned. The wheels started to fall off around 3 ½ hours I think. My head felt very heavy and I didn’t seem to be able to keep up any comfortable rhythm. Food and drink tasted horrible. What had worked at Narrabeen wasn’t working now. I think it was my head cold effecting my taste, as not even water was good. At some point I realised that everything was very blurry and I couldn’t focus. I wasn’t sure if it was low sugar, tiredness, or I just needed my glasses in the dark night. So, next lap I had some fluid, snakes and got my glasses. Not sure which one worked, but I came good again, picked up a bit and things felt a bit easier. It was up and down from there. I had lost track of how many laps but I knew I was clocking over kms faster than laps as the track was wide and I wasn’t running the race line. I was getting updates from Dad and ninjette as they came through, but my non maths brain was struggling with how many I had to do and how many I could do in my remaining time. No matter, it kept me distracted as I churned out more laps. By now I was into a pattern of walking ‘the hill’ and then running to the crew point. Ninjette was getting restless and wanting to run, and I was getting restless and wanting to finish. I had had enough and was struggling. ‘Navy Simon’ was a godsend. We had been chatting a bit over the previous few hours, but then we got into the walk pattern at the same time and stayed together for a couple of laps. Chatting away (well, mostly Simon) was a great distraction and I got in a couple of faster laps to get me very close to my target. Full of encouragement the whole way, despite the fact I got to stop in a very short time, but he was only half way, Simon was great.
With something like 10 min to go, I wasn’t sure whether I should push it for another 2 laps or just the one and take it easy. I didn’t know how many laps I was on (but for some reason thought it was about 38), but looked at my garmin and saw 41:xxkm….I decided that so long as my Garmin said 42.2 I was happy, and that I would give Ninjette every second of her 6 hours and not take any of her time. So, I slowed up a little, ran a little wider and crossed the line at 5:59:30 and my Garmin said 42.29km (42.3 when I download it). I was happy!!!! And ninjette was off…….
Turns out it was 41 laps and I wasn’t far off my target of 43 laps that I had set myself, so pretty pleased with that. I know it’s the laps that count, but I am also claiming the unofficial Garmin reading too.
Ninjette ran well to start off and had a spring in her step, but unfortunately it didn’t last long for her……she was reaching for voltaren for her achilles early on and not looking happy. I checked she was OK and then set off for a shower after a few of her laps…..and djb had assured me it was the best warm shower. Well, after what seemed an eternity, the water did warm up , but then OUCH as it hit my chaffing! Ah, but the warm water was fantastic. Showered, changed and feeling a little more awake, but still pretty shattered, I sat down to some 2 min noodles and some coke and to look after ninjette. She was doing it tough. I did feel bad, as it was me that had asked her to run in the first place…. I decided that sleep wasn’t an option and I would stick it out to help her through – and it was better for me too, as it kept me eating and drinking and moving. After about 3 ½ hours ninjette said she was going to run one more lap and then walk. But she never did! She kept going and churning out the laps. Yay!!!!! I’m not sure that she was impressed when I encouraged her to keep going for the last ‘part lap’ for the last few minutes, she was ready to stop at the lap scorers. But….another half lap in before the time went! Champion!
I have to say a huge thanks to my wonderful Dad. He saw me at the completion of Narrabeen, and decided that driving home after running for 6 hours and then up for another 6 hours while ninjette ran, wasn’t really a sensible idea. Mr Gadfly had to be here with Gadfairy and numerous things on, so Dad drove us there and back! Not only that, he stayed and crewed for my 6 hours which gave ninjette some time to rest and try and gather some sleep before her 6 hour run. He then caught a few hours sleep at the hotel and then back by 6am to see us finish! I asked Dad on the way home, if he was any closer to understanding why people ran around in circles in the dead of night…..he said no, he still thought we were all crazy!
And crazy we all are I’m sure – but it’s fun. I loved the course, loved the support from and for everyone out on the course and in the crew area. The ultra 168 guys set up crew next to us, along with Oliver Zambon and Bryonny just next to that. It’s amazing to watch the fast runners keep up the pace and also to see how they managed crew stops. Absolutely amazing to watch Michelle walk 101km!!! She was so consistent, so smooth and just kept going. Nice to chat to djb for a while in the early hours of the morning as we wound down and let the other 2 take over for the 2nd 6 hours. We were the only 2 teams in the 6 hour category, so absolutely no competition for the 168 guys…..but I think Go Go Gadjette should claim unofficial 1st women’s team!
Well done to Phil and Martin and all the team for a great event. Will I do it again? I think I might have to, just so I can say it wasn’t a fluke this time…..and of course there is that target of 43 laps I didn’t get to…..maybe even more next year?
A big thank you to Gadfairy and Mr Gadfly for letting me take off for the weekend on another one of my crazy running adventures, and knowing that this won’t be the last one. Thanks to negsplit for once again getting me through the training to get there and believing that I could get through it. …you were right again! And a big thank you to Ninjette for agreeing to run with me and coming on the adventure! After all your encouragement during and after Narrabeen, it was lovely to be able to meet up and do it all again with your support, and to support you through your 6 hours. It was fun…..in a painful sort of way!
What’s next? Longer term – 12 hr at the Sri Chinmoy 24hr in June. Shorter term – not sure, I can’t do the smh HM in May as I have music commitments, but I’m also not keen for a HM until later in the year. Will do some 5km and 10km races I suspect and some of the Sri Chinmoy races. ……and just keep the legs ticking over, keep up the kms and keep up the training. Bigger picture this year is to crack the sub 30min 5km……