Saturday 1st August - start 9 am
Time: 24 hours
Distance: 135.5 km
Rate: 10' 38" per km ave or 5.65 kms per hour
Track: 500 metres of compacted granite
Weather: day time - sunny, temp mid afternoon 20 degrees, humidity 50%, wind calm
Weather: night time - cool to cold soon after sun down, temp 3 am, 6 degrees, humidity 95%, wind calm, felt like temp - 3.2 degrees, clear sky
Week & Aug: 135.5 km, Year: 2720.4 km
Not sure how to write or describe the experience. Failed to get near expectations by along way, exceeded expectations by a long way in mental toughness to be still moving when the final whistle was sounded. Troubles in the day time with an injury and plenty more at night when the coldness descended.
Firstly, the track is not flat as there is a rise of around 2-3 metres from bottom to top. Surface is great to run on, compacted granite that remained intact throughout. The track is almost kidney shaped, that really had no bearing on any result.
We arrived at the venue on Friday afternoon and set up our tent on a grassy patch near the start/finish line and between that area and the kitchen, about half way down the slope. The 48 hour competitors were well in to their event, some running and some on a walk plan early on with still an day and a half to go.
My 24 hour run started at 9 in the morning meaning an unhurried morning to be ready. Ten of us stood on the start line, 9 runners and 1 walker. Later on 3 of them stopped at 100 kms so in reality there were 6 of us in the running for the 24 hour. The walker had his own event and in fact finished in 2nd place overall.
A plan to run for around 24 minutes ( 4 kms), walk 1 lap for the first 6 hours and then slowly decrease the running as fatigue set in but still have energy to walk a reasonable pace worked well. At the end of 6 hours I had completed 101 laps ( 50.5 kms) but was having a right side hip flexor problem. The swallowing of a couple of Voltarin tablets, a couple of pain killers and a few salt tablets seemed to ease the pain and by the end of 12 hours ( 9 pm) I had completed 189 laps ( 94.5 kms).
However the wheels were falling off slowly with the right side ITB causing problems with my right knee. Running was causing plenty of pain through the right quad and below the knee, but walking was Ok. Distances were dropping back with 100 km being passed in just over 13 hours.
The next problem was that it was getting very cold during the night, even the 12 hour runners starting at 9 pm and running freely were commenting. During the night the air temp dropped to around 6 degrees,but with humidity at 95%, dew every where settling on tents as pools of water, the actual temp was well below zero.
Next problem, walking was too slow to generate heat so keeping warm was the next issue. Solution add layers ? Not quite, 2 long sleeved thermal tops, running singlet and a thick Canberra suitable jumper still not enough, plus gloves, long shorts under normal running shorts. Answer, sleep for 2 hours under 2 blankets in tent from 3 am to 5 am. Never been so cold in all my life, and in Qld of all places. Funny to watch a 48 hour competitor walking around the track with a blanket doubled around himself just so he could add a few laps every now and again. The local Queenslanders were having a hard time of it as well. The sun rose around 6 am, and it soon warmed up so I managed another 27 laps ( 13.5 kms ) walking to finish with 135.5 kms to finish 4 th overall in the 24 hour run.
Energy wise I felt good all day, pity about the physical side but that is just the nature of running ultras. Anything can happen on the day, and usually does. Mentally, very happy to still be circulating at the end and planning the rest of the year to redeem myself.
As I write this on Tuesday night, knee still painful, if not right by early next week, visit physio. Time not important as I intend to take August very easy to recover anyway.