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Sept 2003 - Glasshouse 100mile Trail Reportby David McKinnon
It took me nearly 3 years to complete 100 miles. That's pretty damn slow in kms per hour. I first joked about the event a month or so before my first marathon attempt in 2001. The plan was to do a sub 4-hour marathon, then do the 50km event at GH 3 weeks later, then 'the big one' that September. My failure in the first event and subsequent enjoyment at my first trail run/ultra led me to pledge never again to do a road marathon and to only ever obsess about the trail. That year was also the first time I was ever to hear about iliotibial band (ITB) syndrome. Although training quite well (for me!) that year I had to pull out of the event due to ITB of my Right knee that had flared up about 7 weeks prior. The following year I had that same problem at the opposite time of year. It flared up soon after the 50km in May that year and so I gave up training for the 100 early; only to change my mind 8 weeks before and patch together some sort of form that would see me start but never finish. I pulled out after 70kms. Work commitments in the first half of 2003 gave me ample time to recover. After about 4 months of training it was with great excitement that I would be fit and healthy enough to finally have a good crack at the GH100.
My team from the previous year was to return with me. My long suffering partner Ruth - who I'm sure wishes she never heard the word Glasshouse; and my mate Konrad. Together we form "Team DONUT". This year Ruth and I decided to make our way up the night before and did the traditional Friday night check-in, meet and greet and feed. We sat at a big table with the Thompsons, Team Barron, Roger Guard and his wife and Carol La Plant and her hubbie Phil Brown. Talk was of course all about the weather and the course. I managed to convince myself but no-one else that it would in fact be cooler this year. Of course I passed on the pasta and had the chicken Kiev. I am a true gustatory idiot. All the other runners had a big plate of ravioli (or RAVOLI) as it was spelt on the menu.
Due to a drug induced sleep I woke a little dizzy about 4am and did some packing for the team truck - my not so trusty 10 year old Lancer; that had just spent the last week at the mechanics. I was quite nervous but settled right down as soon as I made it to the Sportsground and saw the other maniacs preparing for their torture. Made the usual checks of equipment and drop bags; did a bit of a stretch and soon we were off at just after 5:30am. Ian Javes led us out of the ground - quite fitting. We all soon settled into a rhythm; with Bill Thompson bringing up his traditional early race position, me catching Nick Barclay, Kerrie Hall and Ian J and eventually passing them before cp2. Everyone else ran off like it was a half-marathon. On the way down from Mt Beerburrum Kieron led about 5 others hot on his heels. He stopped to introduce himself - considering the tight finish obviously a critical early error - had he not done this he would have been outright 1st by at least one second. My initial pacing plan was to make it to cp4 at about 3hrs and then cp5 at about 4hrs. I was 5 or so minutes ahead of schedule at cp3 so gave Ruth a call on the mobile just to make sure she wouldn't miss me at our initial meeting point (cp4). On the way to 4 Ian J and 2 of the 50 milers caught up with me and I heard that Carol had missed that damn left turn just after cp 3 (that I also missed in July). Sure enough I saw a slightly worried Phil waiting for her at cp4. Filled my 2l camelbak and took 2 more lots of nibblies with me. At this stage I had eaten very well taking in 6 items of chips/fruit that I had packed at the Sportsground; though I didn't have much breaky because of nerves before starting. Also put on my ugly visor/handkerchief hat for the first time. I passed Ian going up the first hill and eventually arrived at cp5 just before the 4 hour mark. Weighed in at 55kgs which was a little light - was 58 at the official weigh-in the night before but was wearing jeans. There's no way I would've lost anything between start and 5. I had actually forgotten how rough it was out the back of the lookout - quite a few long slippery uphill sections - and was a little worried about the hills on the next 2 sections coming up.
It was already starting to get a tad warm on the way to 6. My thoughts went immediately to the power-line section between 6 and 8 and so chugged along at a comfortable pace. I had already started doing a fair bit of fast walking to save the quads. The goat track was just as I had left it the week prior. Some rain the night before may have made it a little less slippery - or at least so my mind convinced itself so. I took quick breaks to eat along both the goat track and Hennessey's Hill - sitting down for about 2-3 minutes both times. This would be a regular occurrence in the first 10 or so hours of the race. Initially my stomach could take eating whilst moving, then sitting, then not at all! I never like to spend time at checkpoints - the chairs are too comfortable - and initially preferred to sit down in shaded areas of the track to eat. Checkpoint 6 has to be my favourite. From the (?Woodford-lookout) road it is just under a km north. On arriving you see two turns; one to the left that takes you to cp's 8 (or 7) and this long downhill (about 200m) followed by a similar uphill that takes you the long way back to 5. The thought of going down and up that long hill had psyched out many a hardened competitor. I was pleased to see Ruth again and had phoned ahead my order for the next section - some food and another camelback bladder reload. I also took the opportunity to pour cold water over my head and wet my hat. I had brought several litres of frozen water in the car that would prove quite refreshing over the next few hours.
The way to 8 takes you down a hill then thru some shaded cooler areas before out to a road to which cp7 is to your right and Woodford-Beerburrum road and cp8 to the left. It was along this initial section that I ran into Jan Herrmann and have to admit was a little surprised. I was listening to my music by now and thought he must have been a 50 miler until I turned around to look at his number as an afterthought. Said something to the effect of "are you alright" then of course realized I couldn't hear his answer and gave a polite thumbs up. Standing on the W-B Rd looking at the track under the powerlines is an awesome sight. I had shown Ruth this the week before when reviewing the course and her only comment was to laugh and tell me I was completely mad. The first time I saw it I thought it wouldn't be so bad because it was all 'a gentle up'. Bad thought. 50 metres past the road is the first sharp down - clearly the worst. It seems to go for about 100m or so. Inbetween concentrating on not falling I was thinking how damn quickly Bill had got down this hill a couple of weeks ago and then decided not to think about that again. The section then goes mostly down for the first 25 minutes or so then mostly up for the next 50 minutes or so. Every time you get to the top of a hill and see a right turn it gives you a false sense of security that the end is near. And then another 10 minutes later you're still sweating in 40+ degree heat in the direct sunlight. There are a few cool/covered patches (of 20 metres or so) and chose one of these to have a quick bite. Jan had (of course) recovered by now and raced past me. The last 500m or so of rough stuff I caught the 50 milers who had passed me before cp4. They didn't look happy. One had ran out of water and the other had cramp. At the end of the hills (about the 5th right turn at the top of a hill) is a lovely 800m or so of track through bush until you reach another hot road for the last 2kms to cp8. I sat once again in the bush (for about 5 minutes) and thoroughly expected the 50 milers to catch back up but didn't until the road.
Once again at cp8 I cooled myself with ice-cold water and I think I shrieked with joy this time. There are 2 loops to do at 8 both returning to the same point via a track up the middle. For some reason the 'B' loop of 8.0kms was done first and the 'A' loop of 10.8 second. I thought this was a good opportunity to see how everyone else was faring. The first loop was no problems. I had left Jan at the cp and ran down most of the downhill and flat before having another quick bite-break and walking the last 5kms or so back to 8. Sean Greenhill and Rodney Ladyman caught me going up the long hill back to the cp. They of course were a whole loop ahead by that stage. I learnt that Kieron Thompson and Walter Brumniach were running together in the lead. I assumed that I was seeing the third and fourth place-getters as it was about this time I had heard of 'a bit of trouble' occurring with Ian Wright. I also noticed a concerned team Barron waiting for Adam to appear after Sean and Rodney. I got the impression he was running well late.
I refilled my camelbak at cp8 but this time with powdered powerade and unfortunately got a blast of powder that must have settled down the bottom. After a few odd facial expressions a better shake solved the problem however after my next quick bite (too) soon after, my stomach decided to object to in the usual manner. This was only about 1km into the loop and I have to admit I was a little worried initially. Fortunately (!) I had learnt from an upchuck in the 50km that July and managed to settle my mind and stomach and make it back to cp8 for the second time a little down on fluid and calories but not too bad. It would've been this loop in which the (shade) temp maxed out at 34.7 degrees. At the start of the loop I was somewhat surprised to see Bill (who walks the whole way) only 10 minutes back from me as I thought I had done a lot of running thus far. It worried me because Bill is a great barometer of where you need to be in order to finish under the 30 hours. He managed to catch me at the end of the 2nd loop at 8; but by that time I figured he was flying over the hills and heading for a 13-hour 1st half; quicker than last year. I decided to spend some 20 minutes at cp8 regrouping before heading out to 7. I figured that I needed to get some fluid and food down and get my brain in order for the last 2 hours of daylight. It was here where I started to fall apart the year before. It also didn't seem any point in racing out along the hot road back to 7. Ian J and Bill met me back at the cp and headed off at least 5 minutes before me (and Jan was long gone!) and Kerry came and left before me also. I thought at the time that this was back to 7 but was actually out onto the 2nd loop at 8. A thought before leaving 8 from my trusty crew was whether I would be needing lighting before 7. This seemed to spring me into action seeing what time it was (about 4pm) and I decided to grab a mini-maglite just incase I got lost - I hadn't done this section for a while! With some running I got within 20m of Ian but decided some cheese and dip was in order and had yet another sit. The section back to 7 had multiple long, straight sections on lightly sandy roads and trails so I could see Bill and Ian several times. At one stage I seemed to be catching them just by walking and was encouraged by this. The sun was getting a little low and with a bit more hurry I arrived at cp7 with Bill; Ian only a minute or so back. I actually felt quite a sense of achievement arriving at 7. I knew the night was coming soon. After the loop at 7 I knew the course very well. Most of the heat and hills were gone. I still felt a little sick but was still eating bits and pieces. I heard here that Ian W had pulled out after getting lost on the way back to 7, running out of water and getting blisters. I had also heard that he wasn't completely well the week prior.
I have to admit I look like a complete idiot in my night gear. I am blind as a bat without glasses and rather than wear my prescription Oakley sunglasses at night I also own a pair of clear lenses with bright red frames. This topped with my need for a white head band under my Petzel headlamp made me the look like the belle of the ball. I can only hope than Mrs T ran out of MB's on that digital camera of hers. My night experience consists of a 2 hour goat track run before the 2001 event that I DNS'd. Crap. Bill had taken off ahead of me again and after running a little I was once again catching him by walking! - no mean feat. Ruth had done her job for the day and Konrad was going to baby-sit me for the night. I was amazed at how long we could do without external lighting. Even with no moon we lasted until 6pm. My old petzl breaking 3 weeks prior to GH was the best thing that happened to me. Somewhat perplexed on the mater of the new LED headlamps, I received some advice from 'Mr.G", went shopping about town and eventually settled on a Petzl MYO5. It quoted 100m range with the xenon halogen bulb and 15m with the brightest LED. I thought yeah right. It was superb. Within minutes I was comfortable. Coming up to a crossroad I could zoom ahead and see the red arrows in the trees. I lighted the whole path in front of Bill and I for most of the long way back to 7. We passed through the halfway mark at about 13 hours.
Konrad had swapped cars with Ruth at the Sportsground and was waiting for me back at cp7. Crap. Actually no he wasn't. Where the hell is he? Aaaah the beauty of a mobile phone …… no answer. Double crap. Blister appearing on my Right heel - carried some tape in my camelbak all day so decided to repair as well as have some tea to settle the tummy. Phil leant me some Aerogard. Needed also to re-vaseline the lads and luckily someone 'lent' me some. Bet that poor guy never used that ever again. A turse phone call and Konrad arrived a few minutes later, I grabbed some drink and chips and ran down the road guided by LED. I decided to stop in the bushes for a bite once more but by this time it was taking well over 5 minutes to get stuff down so I decided it was all sit-down meals at the checkpoints from now on.
Back at 6 I saw a very dejected, ill looking Adam Barron sitting on a chair. After a check of the heel and an attempted feed I summonsed my strength, convinced by the stories of the now benign Beerwah loop. Jan was leaving just as I arrived and Bill just arrived at 6 as I left. As I was leaving Adam headed to his car to go back to the hotel. I also heard that Ian J pulled out at 7 and I think Carol there also. I couldn't see the beautiful long downhill-uphill section I'd seen many times before; but just as well because I was feeling a little buggered by now. The new Beerwah loop is now quite flat on the way out because you go from cp6 instead of 5 (last year). The way back has also been 'graded' so all of the deep ruts made by the damn trail bikers are gone. It is also a lot less slippery - something that always worries me in that section. Bill had told me earlier that he had marked the course and I was quite happy with that -until I didn't see a marker for what seemed like 10 minutes. I have to admit I started to panic a bit. Convinced to go on more by the fact that I couldn't go back over those bloody hills again I eventually saw some tape and fist pumped the air. After what seemed an eternity I reached this huge uphill that I almost couldn't get up it was so slippery and then knew I was almost back to Connection Rd, and then only a km or 2 to cp5.
A quick check of the watch saw that my long sits at cp7 (about 25 mins total) and 6 (another 20 mins) had eroded my time and I was starting to get a little edgy. Jan was sitting at cp5 when I arrived and was wondering where the Greenhill's had left his beer. This of course made me feel worse because this was when I really started to feel quite nauseus. Some more tea and now half a packet of savoury shapes and I knew this couldn't continue. Further time didn't really help me settle and I decided to head back to Glasshouse Mountains Rd and cp1, after my timekeeper Bill had already left. Apart from a brief rough bit around Mt Tibberowuccum (where Jan fell!) the way back to 1 is all on fire trail/road and is quite a net downhill. I was making good time and decided to just do a battery change at 1 (about 30 seconds) and keep going to base. I did a fair bit of running to 1 and a bit to base but was steadily feeling more nauseus. On the way back to base I did some calculating for the Eastern loop. Five 9km (approx) sections at walking pace of 6kms/hr was 7.5 hours. I would lose about 20 mins in addition going up and down Wild Horse Mountain (WHM). Leaving myself 9 hours to do the Eastern section would give me 70 mins up my sleeve. I thought I would need at least this considering my last few sits had cost me about 20 each. I had hardly eaten anything for the last 4 hours and my camelbak bladder was pretty much dead weight. I was only drinking tea.
I made another brave (but actually stupid) phone call to Konrad to state the plan - peaches, tea, 10 mins and I was out of there. Quick weight check and this confirmed the plan - 55kgs, the same as 17 hours ago at cp5. Through gritted teeth I kept the fruit and about half a cup of tea down. Bill was coming down from his shower. Jan had just left before my arrival. I thought it would be good psychologically to leave before Bill and as planned left right on 21:00 hrs into the race. Nick, who had been infront of me after cp2 I heard had gotten lost between 5 and 1 and was still making his way back.
I thought it rather strange that I hadn't heard of the leaders coming in yet and thought a light along Moffat's Rd must have been Kieron or Walter but when it didn't move realized that it was the house in the distance. The whole Eastern loop is essentially flat except for the trip up and back WHM (700m each way). It is about 7.7km to cp9 and then the WHM trip makes it 9.1kms. Walking the whole way I made it to cp9 on time but stupidly decided to crack on up the mountain as 'it would be better to sit down after, not before'. When I got back Jan was looking happy after getting his beer but all I could do was put my head in my hands and look at the tea sitting there for me. The kind cp people asked me how I was feeling …. S#%T, I replied. I really thought I was in trouble here. I really was in trouble here. The leaders Kieron and Walter came through. I had met Kieron's pacer, Tony Howes in previous years. Tony himself has completed the GH100. Bill made the same cheeky comment that I had made a few minutes earlier about the leaders being 'slow' but by this time I realized Kieron's partner was there the whole time and replied 'easy enough for us to say, Bill' - thought that may excuse my previous comment. "The Ladies Man" soon arrived back from 10 and headed up the mountain in pursuit of the leaders. Both Jan and Bill left for 10. The leaders came back down and headed to the finish. And I was still sitting there. It was pretty cold by this time, despite me changing into my long pants at 5 and having a t-shirt, long sleeve top and now a jumper on. Still sat there looking at my tea. Eventually (?30 mins) made a comment to Konrad to the effect of 'well eventually I'll have to decide whether or not I just head out again'. Konrad did a really good job of assuring me that I would feel better, but looked pretty concerned. With a stern voice said that "I don't care if I finish in 34 hours", Pinned my race number to the front of my jumper, put my headlamp back on and announced my imminent departure. Stood up and felt quite dizzy. Can't remember if I sat back down again or stood for a while but toddled off less than a minute later. Meanwhile the leaders were racing home. Kieron and Walter tied for first place in just under 23 hours. Rodney Ladyman in his first 100 miler was fantastic; finishing only 20 minutes behind.
I honestly don't know how I got to 10. My phone rang a short time after leaving 9 and I knew it was either a concerned Konrad or a lost Konrad. Hopeing for the best I answered the phone saying I felt a little better than when I left - the answer being "I can't find cp10". I thought it was quite funny. I figured I would be over 2 hours anyway and was unlikely to go on even if I made it there. His question was basically should he go to where I told him I thought the cp was or should he follow the signs ….. and I thought MY mind was leaving me. That actually cheered me up and basically staggered the 9.8kms to 10 just as it was getting light. Only a km or so from 10 I saw Sean and his pacer heading home - he was looking quite strong but obviously was now a fair way behind the leaders. I must have been feeling better at 10 because all I could do was bitch and whine about how I hadn't eaten or drunk anything for hours and really should've pulled out hours ago. I could drink again but not eat. In a moment of true enlightenment I announced to Konrad and the Hall boys that "This is *-ing insane you know". They agreed. The main thought I couldn't get out of my mind was how on earth could I finish this race on "tea, sugar and adrenaline" for the last 9 hours. No amount of convincing myself to think one cp at a time or on distance instead of time could shake this. Both Bill and Jan had long left cp10 for the 8.4km return loop. I had never done a >24 hour event before, but had heard a 'rumor' that once the sun gets up on the second day you suddenly feel reborn. I was thinking about this when it was radioed through that Kerrie was leaving 9 for 10. Even though I had seen it before I couldn't believe Kerrie's toughness in continuing even though she appeared certain to me to finish over 30 hours (in my mind anyway). My self pity vanished, drank the rest of my tea and headed off at a fast walk which soon turned into a run …. Up a slight hill. Konrad was heading back to Brisbane now and was leaving stuff for me at 10 before Ruth would take over for the final push. Ruth called which gave me a huge lift and all of a sudden I felt like I could actually not only finish, but do so under 30 hours. I saw Bill and Jan quite early on the loop which means I had fallen a long way behind (at least 30 mins behind Bill). Jan had gotten lost after a ?well meaning local had moved some of the witches hats marking the way! I didn't run again after my initial spurt but was walking at least at 6.5km/hr pace. A quick change back into day clothes at 10, some fresh drink in my camelbak which I was now sipping again and I was off from 10; Bill was still sitting down - getting a foot massage from Jane. Not long after I saw Kerrie coming towards me; despite my increased pace she had done her 9.8km in the time I had done 9km. She is the toughest person I know. Maybe =1st with Bill.
The 9.8km back to cp9 went forever. I walked the whole way in just over 90 minutes I think. You can see WHM from early on and it seems like 20km until you make the 'final' turn to head back around towards cp9. I was feeling dizzy and weak and thought it was probably hypoglycemia. Some sugar charged tea at 9 saw me head up WHM for the last time. A few quizzical looks from the tourists didn't phase me. I saw Bill for the upteenth time almost on return to 9. The rest of the tea went down quickly and I strode off for the final 7.7kms. Constantly worried about falls, snakes, missed turns I never found I could relax. Even when I got back to Glasshouse Mountains Rd I only felt easier when I saw Ruth's car following me along. Passing by the Sportsground I started feeling very emotional and actually started to cry. This was a bit disconcerting because I didn't want to walk over the line balling my eyes out. I crossed under the bridge at 28:35 and used my last bit of mental energy to keep myself together. Ian J was at the finish line to shake my hand. This was a really good moment because without Ian's help - advice, showing me the course, running the event, training with me - I never would have been there. I stood there for a while wondering what to do. Ian was asking me what coloured mug I wanted but I just couldn't answer. I sat down, threw my hat off and covered my face as I fell apart. Kieron came and gave me a comforting word or two. It took me a while to stop blubbering and be able to talk.
Bill finished about 30 mins later. I popped back to the hotel for a shower and on my return could see Kerrie heading down Glasshouse Mountains Rd with about 1km and 6 mins to go. She came in 2 mins after the 30 hour cutoff. Nick came in another 20 mins later.
Physically I wasn't as bad as I had expected at the end. My legs were sore but that's expected. The pain on my heel that I decided to ignore for the last 10 hours was a blister under the tape I put down. I had lost another kilo on the final 46kms. Physically I actually felt quite good considering my intake over the last 10-12 hours. Obviously I had eaten more than enough early on. Mentally though was another matter.
To follow is a somewhat random list of things I found important in training and pre-race organization. They may help other very average runners like me do something that they clearly shouldn't be able to do…. For my first attempt at GH I spent countless hours on the net researching such information and trying various things on training runs. I certainly found that the US Ultra sites (eg. www.ultrunr.com) contain quite good information. Previous GH100 reports also provided much valuable information as well as inspiration. Below is what I found useful. In the end though we are all different.
Mileage: I had a minimum weekly distance of 80-100kms; I would increase this to 120-140km for intermittent weeks about 2 months prior. It seemed to be important not to do 120km+ every week and occasionally have a 'week off' by doing 80km or so. Type: Due to changing work conditions my training this year consisted of more frequent, shorter runs. Previously I would've done 3-4 runs per week of 15-60km; though recently have found running to and from work (9.5km each way) with a back-pack and then a 'bike session' when I got home a great way of picking up the mileage. At least once a week I would do a long (40km+) hilly run (eg. Balmoral to Mt Cootha and return) with my camelbak. It is obviously important to do heaps of hills on rough terrain which will be emulating the conditions of the run. Run the course itself if you can. On my 'day off' I would do heaps of stretching and may still do another bike session. Cross-Training: 2-3 sessions on the exercise bike of 30+ mins per week. Generally on days of my shorter runs or on days off. A lot of the ultra guys are now doing interval/speed work and weights. Personally I was a little scared to try new things (weights) this year in case I hurt my ITB again.
Tapering: Don't believe in it! Had a cold-induced week off 3 weeks before, did 90kms the next week and another 40km the week of the run. Other than having a light last week (usually 40-60kms) I never taper before an ultra.
Amount: I have heard stories of people like Yiannis Kouros eating 500-600 kcals per hour on the first day of a Sydney-Melbourne. Basically I aim to get down as many calories as I can with whatever my stomach can handle. On the day this meant about 300kcal/hr for the first 3 hours (including drinks), 250kcal/hr for hours 3-15 hours, 150kcal/hr for hours 15-20 and almost nothing after that! I thought I would fall apart however obviously what I had eaten early on, and a bit of sugar in the later stages kept me going. Keep in mind that I am only very small.
Type: The general consensus seems to be a ratio of 75%:15%:10% of Carbo:Protien:Fat. For me this meant some powergels (early on), potato chips, BBQ shapes, fruit (peaches), cheese and dip, museli bars, fruit bars. Most cp's carry sandwiches and fruit (eg. Bananas) and anything else can be varied on the day. My stomach is not my best friend at times so rely on my crew and/or drop bags and my camelbak to carry what I know my overly-picky stomach can keep down. Certainly most people find cp food very good. I feel pretty bad declining food from the volunteers but just know that I have to eat what I know I can.
Amount: There is a wide range of mls/hr I have seen quoted on the various sites. I survived on about 500-600mls/hr during the day. The last 9 hours I guessed I had about 1.5 litres in total!; and was obviously surviving on what I had consumed earlier. In general it's probably good to put a few kg's on in the first 5-10 hours of the run and hope to finish even. I have to admit I was surprised I only lost 1kg from the 4 to 28.5 hour mark. Obviously you will need to drink less at night and if you are scrawny like me.
Type: Most full strength sports drinks are too much for everyone's stomach. I just love blue powerade which everyone else finds just a little odd. Generally I have 2/3rd strength initially then by the end about ½ mix with water. Obviously water only will drop the salt level in your blood (hyponatraemia), you will fit and (hopefully) wake up in hospital.
In order to use these well you will need to know the course, what you will eat/drink and when, what pace you will be going, when your feet will blister etc….. Recently I have preferred to carry most simple things (eg. Spare tape, extra fluid) with me rather than spend much time guessing what I'll need and when.
Most people who will fail will do so because of feet (Blisters or 'hamburger feet') or 'just getting buggered' (calories/hydration).
Socks: Comfortable, close fitting socks are vital. I use plain cotton nike socks and have NEVER had a major problem with blisters. Because my feet are small (8.5-9.0) I use size 2-8 socks (kids or womens!) and find they fit like a glove. I have tried the fancy socks (thorlos etc…) and left them in my cupboard.
Tapeing: The best trick I ever learnt. Unless you are doing 100 milers in training; your feet will not be used to the rubbing likely to happen on the day. I use 1 or 2 layers depending on the area. 1st layer is compeed (blister block) by bandaid - expensive but worth it! 2nd layer is elastoplast over the top. I will end up putting compeed on one area of each foot on runs >80km and elastoplast over most of the inside/bottom of my feet. I don't use any Vaseline or bodyglide.
Normal road shoes are fine. No need for trail shoes. My Mizuno's are particularly flat on the sole and I am not very sure footed however still manage to cope.
The checkpoint people are great. They deal with grumpy runners with fussy needs at odd hours of the morning on little sleep themselves. Having said this though there's something about heading towards a loved-one or friend that really helps. When they are carrying ice-cold water on a hot day and have it all ready for you on your arrival then that's just even better. Can be an expensive exercise if you are from interstate.
Panadaol is OK. NSAIDS (Ibuprofen, Naproxen) aren't. I don't take them. Not only can they upset your stomach but can hurt your kidneys already suffering from muscle breakdown (rhabdomyolysis) and dehydration; and they contribute to hyponatraemia. Though they seem to be taken not uncommonly in the US Ultras.
(Not) Getting Lost
I really shouldn't run trail ultras. I have got no sense of direction. I always carry a map of the course and (small) compass. Getting lost in the 50km event in July was probably the best lesson I have had recently. I was one of the few who didn't get lost in the 100 miler. Knowing the course helps greatly.
Don't get cold. This will stop you in your tracks. LED lighting is fine on the flat, especially when you know where you are going. For the knarly bits I really prefer (Xenon) Halogen. The new Petzels I couldn't recommend highly enough. They have both. Always carry a spare torch and/or batteries. Carrying a mobile phone made me feel more comfortable particularly at night.
I didn't find it as hot this year even though it was 2 degrees warmer. I did 3 hard runs in 30+ degree heat in the middle of the day at GH in the 2 weeks prior. On the way to and from I would not use the air-conditioner in the car (a variation on the John Lindsay trick). Adequate hydration and a hat is a must. I used a visor with handkerchief pinned on the back.
I know I will never end up on the podium. I take pride in finishing as many races as possible and still being able to walk the next day. I am one of the few people who 'even' or 'negative' split the short ultras. It gives me a good feeling doing this - you seem to be going faster and faster throughout the race. All of my previously completed ultras (3 x 50km, 1 x 84km) had faster or just as quick second halves. I try and run all my (short) training runs around even splits. A 12-hour training run (91km) 6 weeks prior had a much slower second half but I faced problems with sore quads from the surface and 'couldn't' run. I'm not saying that even-splitting a 100 miler is an advantage, or even possible! But certainly going out too fast has its problems. Blisters, stomach problems and the night-time will always slow people down in the second half. I don't know of any formulae that exist that give ideal splits at this distance but certainly my 13 hrs/15.5 hrs splits seemed quite reasonable on the day. Any faster in that heat and there may not have been a second half. Any slower and I would've worried too much about the 30 hour time limit. If I was doing the first 50 miles as a race I probably could've done it in around 10.5hrs though it's hard to know with the heat and those hills. Most people say your total 100 mile time is 2.8 times your 50 mile time. There are also various 'time calculators' on the net that can predict your 100 mile time from shorter event times. How fast you go out in the first half is up to you!
Don't get it. The only thing that fixes me is stretching and iceing. I do both 3 times a day, EVERY day!
In case you're wondering about the early reference to Team Donut, Donut stands for Zero… as in zero ability, zero victories ….. team donut.
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