When: Last Saturday and part of Sunday
Where: Glasshouse Mountains near Caboolture, Qld
Distance: 163 kms
Time: 1 day, 3 hrs, 50 mins and 30 secs
Rate: 10' 15 " per km
Weather: sunny, temp at start 12 degrees, middle of day 27 degrees, middle of night 14 degrees, finish 20 degrees, humidity 30%, wind calm
Week: 194.9 km
Sept: 233.35 km
Year: 3619.7 km
Rain dampened the track but not the enthusiasm of 30 starters in the 100 mile event plus the starters in the 100 km event starting 30 minutes later. The Friday night pasta meal and race briefing mainly centred around what a mango tree looks like. Part of the course description on "coolrunning" had runners turning at a mango tree, great if you know what to look for. Local runner and Glasshouse stalwart Bill Thompson, had us in laughter when showing the difference between a mango, a custard apple, and several other local tree branches. Still a bit of a change from a fully grown tree, which I still didn't see on the run.
Race brief over and back to recheck the gear before an early start at 5: 30 in the morning. I still forgot the sock gaiters but that wasn't to be the main problem during the run. Just before run start weight check and recorded on race number, checked again regularly during the run to prevent dehydration. I am recorded at 61 kg in race gear excluding water bottles, compulsory for entire journey.
Race morning, just getting light, last minute instructions from director Ian Javes and away we all went at a slowish pace for us mere mortals down the back. There is no point going fast, like the horse that leads the Melbourne Cup still with one lap to go, speed will only come to haunt you later.
Start at Beerburrum school, referred to as base or CP2. An short lap of 10 kms back to base then up Mt Beerburrum, one of the few mtns in the whole area that you can go to the top. Fairly steep on a concrete walking track, slippery with twigs and leaves, care needed, don't won't a fall early. Views are great over the Glasshouse area but no chance to enjoy the scenery today.
Down and into the bush land that will be our environment for a day. I had settled into a slow but comfortable groove with Tamsin and we ran together for a long while, slowly catching a few 100 km runners easing into their run. Fairly flat for a while, lots of shade as it was warming up, all dirt forest roads or sandy bush tracks until we hit the goat track leading to CP5 near the lookout. Then it started to get rough and tough and hilly. The goat track is well named, and bits of logging in the state forest here has made it just a little bit rougher.
Somewhere between CP5 and 6 evidence of the warmth when I spotted what I first though was a big stick, a 2.5 metre python on the edge of the track, stretched out, very distinctive, and very big. Tamsin I think is a vet, she knew and identified the snake, she thought it was beauty, I was a bit nervous for a long while.
On with the show and the hours and kms went on and it got warmer, but little humidity, so conditions were still Ok. Tamsin eased ahead on the power lines section, horrible 4 km track, reasonably open and exposed, sand and dirt and undulating, you either love or hate this section. It is also around 45 km s into the run.
First sign of feet problems when I got to CP8, blisters due to the uneven surface. Medical check and some repairs, not a good sign with feet problems, weight Ok, food intake good, feeling good, pace Ok, walking all the ups, jogging the flat and downs.
I did have a rough plan, and just over 30 minutes behind schedule at this point of time. Loops of 8a and 8b return to CP8, the doctor said the feet were Ok, blisters were too deep to fix properly, put up and shut up. I was right after repairs and fine for the rest of the run. They need attending to now and I will visit my local doctor later this week. As I digress, blisters are of concern as a story was going around of a Korean girl in a race in France only a couple of weeks ago, didn't attend to blisters and as a result lost one of her feet at the ankle on one leg and the other leg below the knee from infections. It is a serious problem in ultras.
The tracks flatten out but get sandy as we headed into the night section, dark at 6 pm but I took the torch, long sleeved top and bike pants from about 5 pm. As the local runners tell, it's the difference in day time to night time temps that lead to hypothermia. Later at night I also put on some very light weight cotton gloves.
Crappy section early on in the dark where I came across a runner, Craig, who had leg problems on a steep part in the middle of nowhere. He was wanting to retire, so I informed the next checkpoint. He almost made it by walking and limping, and eventually withdrew and got a lift back to base. Very disappointing to have to retire for any reason when you have put so much into getting to the run in the first place.
That was at CP5 near the lookout and finally some good dirt road, down hill for a while and a chance to go from a fast walk into a slow jog. Not much difference, but it feels better.
Finally made it to base and the end of the western section. I had covered 110 kms in 17 hours, only 53 kms to go, when the winner crossed the finishing line. Bloody hell!!! Finished!!! Mind you there were only about 6 people to see him do it. Well done Tugger!
He probably went off to bed and I went off out into the darkness on a dirt bike path on Steve Irwin Way going to Wild Horse Mtn. I had finished my running for the race, now a good speed power walk, much slower up the mountain to place a token on a cup to indicate you had made it to the top. Even at night, the view is really good, even better when you do it a second time on the way back in the daylight.
After Wild Horse Mtn, the eastern section has two loops each about 10 km long, easy to follow, well marked with dolomite arrows on the ground, white ribbons hanging from trees, and red glow sticks about at important corners. However, you must concentrate at all times, even after nearly a day of constant moving. Poor Suzannah, missed corners twice and covered extra distance, using a mobile phone to ask for directions from one of the course markers in the middle of the night.
Disappointed here at 3 or 4 am to get passed by 3 runners, just going a little better than me after 140 kms. Still, I was in forward motion, I could see the sun coming up, it was going to get warmer and I was closing in on the finish line.
The sun came up nearing Wild Horse Mtn again, then it was 12 kms to the finish back to Steve Irwin Way and on to the school we called base. Several cars tooted as I made my way next to the highway, obviously fellow runners long finished, but appreciating the efforts of others. Earlier I said, about 6 people saw the winner finish, but I had a crowd of 20 there when I crossed the line, and gee it was great. I lost less than 1 kg in weight during the run, must have taken in plenty.
A tough day out, good fun, do it again, maybe, maybe not. Good to catch up with fellow ultra nuts, very few real die hards about in this sport. A couple of hours after the run has finished, all they talk about about is " are you doing Great North Walk or Coast to Kozi? " How about recovering from this one?
Presentations over, received the cup and medal for finishing, photo taken, then off to get some sleep. It's not until then that the tiredness sets in, so a couple of hours of rest, then shower, food and back to bed. It helps to take a couple of pain killers, then into the pool at the motel for 15 minutes for some cool water, that helps.
We left on Monday for home, arrived middle of the afternoon Tuesday, away from home for almost 2 and a half weeks. Some bad weather, rain and storms in the first week, nothing very hot, warm on race day, nice the rest of the time. The Garmin GPS is still not back after it stopped, but other than that all went well.
Blisters get looked at later this week, no running until early next week, maybe a bike ride later this week or over the weekend. Next big run, Brindabella Classic on 19th Oct, only 54 kms, should be able to that.