The Great North Walk 100s Race Report -10/11 September

    img_5498gnw100slogocolourI believe I have procrastinated enough over how to describe my latest challenge. The Great North Walk 100 miles. Which actually was 175.3km, but who was counting. Well I know I was in the final 25.4km leg when the characteristic of the trail had described the final 10km’s as “HARD” they meant it.

I went into this event knowing all to well of the stories from runners being defeated by the rugged terrain and the demanding ascents and descents. Along with the added creek crossings, slippery rocks and roots and a hard to follow trail. As an Ultra endurance runner what more could I ask for in a challenge?

Leading into the event I had faced many challenges within myself. Training solo and at times feeling as I was losing my mojo. It took a couple of quick trips down south to run a 55km Glasshouse trail event “Flinders Tour”, coming in 5th Female and the Rainbow Beach Marathon coming in 2rd Female to get myself refocused and bring back my love for the trail along with my confidence. Training Solo for many hours each day for a miler does test your commitment. But I have had this one on my radar for a while and I just knew this was my window of opportunity to experience this tough course. Knowing all to well the history behind it.

It was a first that I was totally prepared for an event. Knowing I was stepping into the unknown I was not able to be anything but ready for the unexpected. I had read the map and detailed directions and had many concerns, which I was hoping to resolve prior to the start line. Even with the comfort from previous years runners reassuring me that if I stick to the directions the trail is tough but easy to follow, I still had doubts of some sections.

So at the start line I stood in the drizzling raining knowing all too well that there was no time for doubt now and bring on the challenge. The finishing line is only 100 miles plus some away, I have 36 hours to get there. A small amount of time out of my life to have an amazing journey.screen-shot-2016-09-22-at-3-44-12-pm

6am and 150 runners start their journey. Many re attempting a finish or going from a 100km finish to attempting the big Miler. The first leg was 29kms of a variety of sealed and trail road along with the first tough climb with some amazing views, then descending into the Old Watagan Forestry known as “the jungle”, a true description of its beauty. Wet slippery and tough all in the first Leg of the race.

Reaching Checkpoint 1(Old Watagan Forestry HQ) my adrenaline was pumping and excited at what was ahead. The field of runners where spreading quickly and on leaving Checkpoint 1 it was not long before I found myself solo and now having to rely on my map descriptions and keeping a close eye out for markings.

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The markings just had to match the scenery of cause, just making it a bit more challenging.

The second leg I remained focused for much of the way until hitting the open gravel road leading into Checkpoint 2(Congewai Public School). I was feeling good but I knew the third leg was going to test me out. It was not only going to be tough with ascents and descents but also technical. Obtaining my walking poles at CP2 was a good call. gnw1004Already I was hearing of runners being defeated by the rugged terrain and many knew all too well what laid ahead going into the next Checkpoint. At times I felt like I was on my home training ground running up the back of our Mount Archer or running through the Glasshouse mountains. Other times I felt like I was reliving the beauty of New Zealand’s Tarawera Ultra and whilst crossing farmland filled with cattle I was reminded of my adventures on the Heysen 105 trail.

So much diversity all in one day already, but what I was about to step into was my worse nightmare.

Night was falling quickly and I knew I needed to cover ground fast knowing I will be stepping into darkness and had concerns going into the 3rd checkpoint. My fears quickly turned into reality as darkness fell and with it came silence. I had used running shoe marks in the ground as a comfort knowing I was heading in the right direction. This comfort was no longer there and now I had to visualize what I was told the previous night. I soon found myself on the wrong trail. Knowing where I was, was good but were to go back to get on the correct track was getting me emotional stressed and I had no alternative other than to back track and re evaluate my position. I soon surrendered and had no alternative other than to wait at the turn I knew the lead runners were going to be coming back out from Checkpoint 3 and get directions. It seemed like forever till I saw headlights and the comfort of voices. They quickly got me back on track and I soon found how I easily missed the trail. I had also had a fall in the dark a slid down the embankment, having to claw my way back on the trail during my disorientation. I had also lost my sunglasses which although are materialistic I shed some tears, thinking how was I going to not let this race defeat me. I had taken wrong turns on even marked trails before but never could call myself disorientated or lost that could bring such fear out of me. I entered Checkpoint 3(Basin Campsite) got checked in and dove into my husbands arms for security and reassurance. I knew I had to tag onto another runner to get myself to the next checkpoint. Not because of the not knowing where I was going but for the reassurance of having the company. The long day of much of it running solo was playing games with my capabilities after going off track. I quickly tagged a 100km runner eager for some company to his finishing line being my ½ way mark. My anxiety quickly settled once back out on the trail with the 100km runners grouping up being their last leg. It was great running with some company. I was looking forward to the next checkpoint. It was the finishing line for the 100km runners and that meant excitement and lots of smiles. Plus food, as my body was telling me it was now time for dinner.

On approaching Yarramalong Public School, Checkpoint 4, husband Phil was there ready to rug me up for the cool night ahead and provided me with some warm soup and reassurance. 14237679_10209559258113573_4183617738074680759_nAnd guess what was waiting there also for me? My lost sunglasses handed in by a runner. I felt fate was on my side again.

We both knew I was concerned with the next leg. The directions seemed vague and being in the darkness I was not keen to head out alone. So off we went seeking a pacer waiting for their runner on a mercy mission. One was found but the runner was another 30+ minutes out, then I had to wait for the runner to recovery and ready to leave. I had plenty of time up my sleeve and decided to wait it out rather than risk the unknown. With 1 ½ hours at Checkpoint 4 I am sure the volunteers were starting to wonder if I was ever intending to continue. Hearing that 27 runners had already pulled out at Checkpoint 2 along with more planning to end their Miler at the 100km finishing. The Miler had defeated them. I was starting to get more determined to finish this Miler. Though I had some more unexpected hurdles unknown to me at this time that I was about to be confronted with. As if continuous ascents and descents weren’t challenging enough.

Leaving Checkpoint 4 was exciting I had fresh legs, fueled and armed for the darkness. All was going well but with fatigue setting in and having some difficult climbs that were technical being in the dark we slowed quickly. The night air was getting colder and the night demons were closing in. It seemed like the rocks were never ending to climb up or down and unforgiving. I was thankful for the walking poles aiding for additional support. When we entered out onto the fire trail it was like hitting an ice wall, the mist in the air biting any bare skin that was not covered. We had slowed too much that our core body temps had dropped and I knew we were in trouble. The night demons had caught us as well. I had dozed off into space a couple of times and was getting wobbly on the feet. I knew I had to leave the comfort of the pacer and runner and keep moving. I had reached a car of a crew going in to collect a runner. I had decided that I was in no state to go back into the forest for the next climb. Between the cold and night demons I could not even read my map directions. As a tear rolled down my eye thinking how could I let it finally defeat me? I also felt for the other runner I had left behind knowing all too well of his fate. Was this to be my first DNF…Really… I made it this far……

But fate was not going to allow this to happen. I heard voices of runners, at first I thought I was hallucinating. They stopped and knew I was in a bad way. I was unable to speak clearly but they knew I needed to get moving and put another layer over me to get me warm. Once moving my core body temp warmed and my head started to clear. Before going back into the forest they fueled me with coke and it was not long before I was back to the land of living and I had left the night demons back on the fire trail. To this day I owe my finishing to a runner called Tez and his pacer Cress. They knew I was in my darkest hour and what to do as any trail runner does. They quickly accepted me as baggage till I could hold myself together. Unfortunately for Tez I enjoyed his company so much I tagged him all the way to the finishing line. We watched the sunrise going into Checkpoint 5(Somersby Public School) for breakfast and got to know each other through to checkpoint 6 (Mooney Mooney Creek)covering ground quickly.

Checkpoint 6 was the best. I finally got my Vegemite sandwich I had been hanging out for and we were headed to that finishing line. The scenery was stunning down in the rain forest pockets of the valley. Waterfalls and streams were refreshing. But then followed steep climbs leading to open Sandstone Plateaus. The views were just magnificent and the site of water meant the finishing line was close.

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Okay…Really..That is called a trail !!!!!

Tez and I had got to know each other well over many hours. I am sure if you asked Tez he would know exactly how many. He joked how he couldn’t dump me and I think at times I became his nightmare of that female voice in his head. The final 10kms seemed forever. The rock climbs that many hours ago seemed fun and amazing were now relentless and tiring.

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If in pain and need cooling, hug a gum tree for some love. Tez hugged many. 🙂

Our humor became our survival. “Rock what Rock”. To this day I do not believe I will ever create a rock garden. I suddenly could feel and smell the sea air, my want for the finish was growing. We were hoping for a 3pm roll in on presentation but it was not meant to be. 7kms out I finally got phone reception and called Phil. I really just needed to hear his voice. He says “See you in a half an hour then darling, you are nearly here”. Like as if…Rocks…Still more Rocks to go down. Yes down is easy for someone who has not already ran, walked, climbed and crawled the last 170km of rugged terrain. So I will leave it to your imagination of the descriptive words that came from my mouth when I saw the climb down to the beach. I am surprised that Tez did not push me down to relieve him of some of his pain.

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And we exist to the beach at Patonga. What a beautiful sight it was.:-)

We were both hurting but Tez had continually spoken of his family, the love for his wife and young children was a joy to hear. They were waiting at the beach entrance for him to run him home. It was knowing this that got him through the pain of the final decent. Being greeted on the beach surrounded by his beautiful family, running to the kissing pole (the finishing) was such an amazing and memorable feeling. I could see the emotion in Tez’s eyes hidden behind his glasses. These young children inspired him and kept him going through the long torturous hours of pain he had endured. Their excitement of seeing their Dad made all the pain go away and I was so grateful to experience and being a part of his journey, becoming part of mine. Running those final meters surrounded by his loved ones was the highlight of the entire event. Thank you Tez for putting up with me along with my really bad sense of humor. I do act like a lady off the trail…Really.:-) Sharing 33rd place was an honor. With 85 starters for the Miler, only 46 survived and we were two of them. Cress.. Thank you for you quick actions in saving me from that DNF option. Dean and Brad I am so grateful for allowing me to tag along and sharing your stories throughout the final hours keeping me focused on the finishing line. Brad I am so sorry for my bad ars attitude responses to your encouragement of “we are nearly there”. I hope I am forgiven and I am no longer a bad memory. All you guys were awesome.14322320_10154269872280219_4272978020642405500_n

My husband Phil, we made a super amazing team (finally we got it right). Knowing you were waiting at each checkpoint freezing you backside off and not complaining once. Providing me with all my needs and reassurance to get to the next one. I could not ask for more in a crew and in a husband with such commitment. 14330168_10155172046657538_3816498927387522141_nI love you dearly for not just being there throughout the event but during the long months of many training hours leading into race. I could not ask more from such an amazing man and husband.

The volunteers were all amazing at each checkpoint. Your support and passion for the event that could not happen without you all, I know all the runners are sincerely grateful. Race Director David Byrnes your love for trails and allowing endurance runners to experience their boundaries in such an event in our home country we cannot thank you enough. Your website warning lives up to each word written. This race is one that deserves respect and appreciated for it toughness. I once said I would never do a race twice but this one has got me. I will return more aware and prepared but also still with the respect of what it may deliver. Greg Brown, thank you for setting the challenge, along with your hospitality and caring for my needs after the race. My Coach Greg Rowsell your ongoing commitment to get me mentally and physically prepared for every start and finishing line. Along with never doubting my ability to achieve my goals, I could not thank you enough. My physio Erin from Movement Improvement for your ongoing care to ensure my body is fined tuned and remained injury free.Your honesty and advice is priceless.gnw100I could have written a race report on the beautiful scenery or many other descriptions of the trail. In reality this race is spectacular and with amazing views to see but it is about the runners seeking to challenge their bodies and pushing the boundaries to see what they can achieve is the true story behind this race.img_5498

Love My Running 🙂

 

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Gold Coast 100 Supermarathon Race Report

RaceBib

Another 100k Road Race finishing line crossed. Gold Coast 100 Supermarathon 2016. Once again as usual many things learned and experienced from another successful run. It is always an amazing feeling to finally get to the pre race briefing reuniting with many runners from around the country after weeks or months of training. As the start line gets closer so do some doubts and feelings about your preparations leading into the event. You have a plan and always like to think that is the one that is going to work for you but on the day this my not happen and the backup options have to come into action to get you across that finishing line. I had been excited about this event for many months. Running along the beach side on an expected flat course, I had a visualization of how I would have liked the race to pan out. I had heard this race was a tough one, thinking this because it was on the road, which can be tough on the body after several hours. With this course this was not the case. This race was tough because it had a couple of hills, traffic and shared footpaths involved, along with the mental factor of doing the 25km loop 4 times. Each time became tougher as the day become warmer and the Saturday traffic both on the road and footpath became busier. I had seriously underestimated and respected the course. Yes I had read the course but I believe the word FLAT I had completely taken in the wrong perspective in my race plan.IMG_5156

So at the start line I stand ready. Running off as the sun was rising I must say was a great start of a race when given such perfect weather conditions on the day. I was lucky enough to have three support crew giving me an advantage of not having to think about digging into drop bags for nutrition or refilling bottles.

MidRaceTaryn
Ok Taryn what is for what again!!! 🙂

The course was a 25km out and back loop from Rudd Park at Burleigh Heads to North Kirra  4 times. I was anticipating the course to be mostly on paths following the beach for majority of the course. Not expecting to be running along side a busy road crossing over a major roads without road marshaling and running amongst the Saturday morning surfers and families out on their weekend outings. Though I must say other than a few dog walker concerns the majority of people watched and were very supportive and kept you on your toes, along with their encouragement. It was great to hear encouraging comments coming from completes strangers. The day was beautiful, once reaching the beachfront on the first lap it was hard not to soak up the feeling and hearing the ocean waves rolling onto the beach. It was without doubt an event that did not lack activity and amusement throughout the entire day. From Park run runners support to festive entertainment.

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Runner Deb Whiteley took the opportunity to get a photo with Elvis whilst doing her first Ultra Event. Well Done Deb :-).

The return back to the start/finishing turnaround was a bit more challenging, as the downhills quickly become uphill. I had underestimated the Currumbin hill and the incline returning back to Burleigh Heads Park. Returning on each lap these guys had seem to have grown each time feeling tougher on the body. Though keeping to my plan I stayed on track, planning a negative spit on each lap, knowing the toughest was going to be the 2 laps in the warmth of the day. But the negative split plan just was a bit more of a negative than first planned. I must say running through a wedding ceremony in the park was one of my highlights along with being offered a drink on the next lap after the ceremony was over. Maybe the beer would have gone down well at that point as I had pulled up with a cramp in the calve and a sudden realization that my race plan was about to change into a survival plan it did make me smile as they cheered me on my way. What amazed me most on the day was the ongoing support from all the other runners and the ongoing smiles throughout day even as each lap become tougher. The Ultra Running Community are truly amazing people.

So my race plan changed, but it did not change that finishing line feeling. As I approached the home run and the heart raced I could only smile knowing I was about to successfully cross another 100km finishing line. Regardless of where you place in the field crossing that line is a winning feeling. Knowing you gave it all you had on the day and enjoyed every moment.FinishingPhoto

I sincerely thank my dietitian Taryn Richardson (Dietitian Approved) who committed herself through out the entire day to ensure I received the correct nutrition. Her commitment throughout the day was amazing. Katherine Stark who once again was at the turn around point kicking me up the rear and getting me back out to face the next lap with a smile. And finally the surprised support of my husband, Phil Austin who drove the entire way after a weeks work and sat at the 10k water station being on the side of a busy major highway all day handing me refills under Taryn’s instructions. I could not have been blessed with a better team to help me throughout the day.CrewPic

Race Director Ian Cornelius and Shelly Ostrouhoff once again put on a professional National titles event that was appreciated by all who crossed the line and involved throughout the day. Being the final time this course is going to be ran, many Ultra runners old and new will be looking forward to the new course at Runaway Bay in 2017.

What I learned;

  • Never underestimate a course description, take in all possibilities
  • Surfers have right of way (they have lack of vision when carrying those big suckers)
  • Mars Bars may be a great carb loading in an event but not for this belly (note to self and Katherine Stark).
  • You do not need to be on the podium to be a winner with a smile.FinishingMedal

 

Love My Running :-).

 

 

CTC Rocky River Run Report

Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 3.03.26 pmThe last few months have certainly been exciting, challenging and rewarding. Being the first Ambassador of the CTC Rocky River Run for 2016 has certainly put another chapter in my running journey. Watching the dedication of many people to make this event happen was truly amazing. Their dedication as a non-for profit organization, raising money for a good cause. A cause that many forget to recognize yet has silently destroyed more families than we may realize. This event raised funds to address mental health issues and the prevention of youth suicide. Everyone involved in making this event happen held this close to their hearts. It is people like them that were willing to sacrifice their own time and long hours to ensure this event happened and all the funds went to such an important cause and awareness.

As the past weeks went by I watch many of these amazing people do the impossible to give us a fun enjoyable day. As the entries grew so did the excitement of watching people getting out and becoming actively involved. Runners started to appear around the streets of Rockhampton, training for an event within their own township. This event gave people an opportunity to experience that feeling of being at a start and crossing a finishing line for many different reasons. SponsorsDinner2

It was in 2011 that I had been given this opportunity at this very event for the first time and became a life changing experience. When 5k’s seemed like a long way has now turned into a journey of endless challenges. The smiles and encouragement amongst the runners and spectators was energizing. Bringing me back to where my journey began.

This event could not be possible without countless peoples generosity. Our Sponsors, Volunteers and of course participants. Local businesses graciously gave funds to support the cause and volunteers gave their time to help in numerous areas on the day. Being a part of this and watching it unfold up until the start line was an unforgettable experience. The weather was perfect for running and made an enjoyable morning outing for the entire family.

Thank you to Rockhampton Road Runners for assisting in providing pace runners in each event. They volunteered their time to help runners achieve their goals and encouraged many others out on the course. I know there are runners who were so grateful to have you all out there.

CTC took on a challenge that will now grow into something bigger and better for the years to come. The winners of the day are the ones we ran for, our youths in our community who need our help. They are why we all stood at that start line and crossed that finishing line.finishingline

Love My Running 🙂 Racebib

Cape to Cape for Cancer-Greg Brown

Greg Brown Cape to Cape
The Rockhampton Morning Bulletin-Saturday May 21st

This time last week I had the pleasure of running through town along side Greg Brown. Day 49 into his run from South East Cape in Tasmania to Cape York in Northern Queensland raising funds for Cancer. Approximately 5,500km’s in 90 days, which means waking up every morning no matter what conditions the day brings to run an average of 60-70km’s per day. This day last week was a warm one. Myself and another Ultra runner Raelene Bendall greeted him on the roadside at 7am. Greg had already nearly ticked over 10km’s for the morning and welcomed us with his usual big smile and gentle hug. Looking forward to his first morning break. Greg does not complain about the weather or does he about how he might be feeling. Remembering that this is Day 49, just another marathon plus a bit more. To think for the last 48 days he has done just that. Greg is such a humble guy, and enjoys the company of other runners along his journey. The stories he told throughout the day of the people he had met and the generosity he had come across his way was inspiring. It was so great to hear that there are still so many people still willing to give and support his cause in some way. Random people stopping on the roadside giving small amounts of money and showing their support.

 

Now to get a bigger picture of Greg’s journey. Greg does not have a large support crew assisting him financially. Or a nutrition program or a physio/medical team to patch up any injuries along the way, or a someone to wash and dry his clothes each day. No media support person or someone who writes about his day long journey. Greg has his close friend Phil towing a van who follows him, then stops about 10 or so kilometers up the road. Then Phil gets on a bike and rides back with water and electrolytes for Greg and will accompany him back to the van to which they start the next leg. Along with Phil requiring to repair repeated Tyre punctures throughout the day from our harsh roadsides. Now as my watch informs me that I had just completed a marathon, we still had yet to go through Rockhampton to reach Greg’s final kilometers for this day. I could only think how amazing this guy is. We finished our day on the north side of town at Degani’s Bakery, where we welcomed the air conditioning and for me the best coldest coffee milkshake. While Phil is off getting supplies from the supermarket, Greg is already preparing for the next day.

Day 50 we again arise early and met Greg to help him on his way out of town. With a couple of more runners joining him for the first leg of yet was just another day for Greg. On returning to Rockhampton and close to enjoying a cool shower and putting my feet up, I could not help but admire what this man is doing. Just image for a moment going to bed each night after 60-70km’s knowing you are about to do it all over again for 90 days. Knowing it is not about you or a finishing line but a goal. A goal to raise $100,000 for the Cancer Council. It takes someone special to take on such a challenge. Some would think of an easier way but for Greg running is his passion. So if you see Greg on your travels up in Northern Queensland. Give him a wave or maybe stop and hand over your spare coin.

You can follow Greg’s journey on Facebook Cape to Cape for Cancer. “An Ordinary Bloke on an Extra-Ordinary Journey.Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 4.06.42 pm

Today marks day 56. Greg Brown you maybe just an Ordinary Bloke but you are truly inspiring. Thank you for sharing your story by taking up such a amazing challenge.

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To make a donation visit www.capetocapeforcancer.com.au

All Best Greg on the remainder of your Journey. 🙂

NZ-Queenstown Trail Adventures

IMG_4685Writing something not related to a running event is always challenging. In saying that the past week in Queenstown, New Zealand has been far from lazing about and just doing a bit of site seeing. I have fully learned to appreciate any runners capabilities who live there. You can put your running shoes on and no matter which way you head off you find yourself tackling hills and the body quickly rebels knowing it is on new training turf. I soon found many trails that challenged me both physically and mentally. The diversity of terrain is truly amazing and I quickly found myself lost on adventurous trails leading to wherever they took me. Hours seemed short and the kilometers and elevations of my adventures soon became unaccountable. I was quickly amazed how my body adapted to the conditions I put it under. IMG_4877My biggest demon was running many hours solo. Not seeing anyone for hours and mentally had to let the serenity of being amongst nature that was unbelievably beautiful take over and remove any unwilling thoughts. By Friday I had adjusted to this and found myself pounding up the trails, now acclimatized not just to the cooler weather but to the terrain underfoot. IMG_4736Either my legs had just gave up fighting with me or they quickly adjusted to the consistency of the variable terrain and elevation. They certainly did not argue with my final run on the Friday.

Monday was tough. I hurt, my quads screamed at me and I had no idea what I was in for. On reaching the top of Ben Lomond Peak was breathtaking.  The crisp air, the silence and not a breath of wind was spectacular. I just stood there looking around, not thinking of anything else but how far I had come up and how high my legs had taken me.Mountain View1 I have no words other than photos that thankfully another adventurer having his lunch must have noticed my amazement and offered to take a photo on my phone. (He didn’t speak English but I handed over my iphone quickly to grasp the moment :-)).BenLomondPeak

Tuesday I awoke, body feeling the after effects from the previous day, but I was eager to find another trail. Feeling a bit sorry for my legs I headed around the lake on the Queenstown trail and Frankton track and followed the Kawarau River. In truth I actually did not really know where I ended up but I kept my promise to my legs and kept to a minimal elevation. Lucky I didn’t promise any distance.:-). Nothing like a short marathon for a days outing.

Wednesday was huge and spectacular. The plan was to run the Routeburn Track but on heading in I soon found a more challenging trail. The Rockburn Track that certainly tested my technical running skills. Trail2My backpack loaded for all weather conditions and nutrition knowing I could end up anywhere. I ran, walked and climbed throughout the day. The ground was moist and challenging with the added elevation. I sat at times to recover looking up thinking “How amazing is this”. Silence other than the constant sound of water running near by and purer untouched beauty. After finally reaching the tree line I stepped out onto the flats and was totally astonished at what I saw. I was amongst the clouds literally. I now had ski posts to follow and a 360 degree view of nothing but stunning scenery. While I soaked up what was around me, I kept watch on a slowly moving dark cloud soon to hit the ground I was on.

I could see ahead the poles directed me to a drop down into a valley. I knew I needed to be there before the cloud reached where I was currently. So quickly I headed towards the valley entrance and found it was going to be a fun ride down but a tough return. With a meeting time frame back were I started I thought best do an out and back rather than attempt going onto another trail. downhillvalleyThe descent into the valley was extreme but worth it. I found a stream down near the entrance out to the lake and took off my pack and rested. Time for some refueling and thoughts on my long return back. I knew from the climb down meant a tough return. It definitely did live up to my expectations. It tested my fitness level to climb back up to the flat and keep watch on my return meeting time. It totally took my breath away with only 40mins back to where I had predicated the cloud to drop, I found accurate. Where I ran across the flat only the hour before now become a challenging hike through slush. IMG_4817The moisture fallen on the ground had made it wetlands. Every step was unpredictable and deceiving of the depth it put my foot under. They skies were clearer but after several minutes I was looking forward to hitting the downhill valley return towards the Routeburn track. At the first river crossing washing my shoes from mud was relieving. The water so crystal clear and tasted so fresh.IMG_4762 I was now busting to get back to my meeting point to see husband, Phil and show my photo’s of where I had just been. I powered down the trail, promising my quads I would give them a nice oil bath that evening.:-). I must admit I pushed out hard to meet my time frame. With 3 minutes to spare I crossed the swaying bridge to a smiling awaiting husband. With an awesome day to remember.

Thursday once again I kept my promise to my body with a light run/walk around the lower trails. Having the opportunity to get some running pictures while Phil was taking photos of the waterfalls. Finally I got a jumping photo that still looks like more training is required.:-).

Friday, by now I had only a couple of trails that I wanted to cover and more confident in my ability in taking on some serious elevation. The legs were alive again and I was determined to have a nice steady but hard gradual run up the skyline track. Followed by ending the week with a scenic run around the Fernhill loop. FernhillIt was a sad moment running out of the path of falling leaves but my week had come to an end. Rain was predicted for the weekend with many locals welcoming the cooler wet weather to bring on the snow season.

Flying out was with mixed feelings. I was ready for home but in my head I was thinking, of the experience and training on the New Zealand trails could easily become addictive. Even after 5 days I feel stronger and ready to hit my home turf for some serious training leading up to the Gold Coast 100. Along with being the Ambassador for the CTC Rocky River Run 2016, I have plenty of excitement to head home to and looking forward to being part of making this event bigger and better than ever.Jumping Photo

Love My Running :-).

CTC Rocky River Run Ambassador

Being named as the charity run’s first ambassador for the CTC Rocky River Run for 2016 is not just overwhelming but an honor. The opportunity to give back to the community and to share my journey with others is something I am very passionate about. As you may have read many times in the last few days “I was not born to run, I just love to run”, is my motto. I just needed to find something to help me get through all the hectic day to day stresses. Something that let me escape from everything. I found running gave me the “ME” time I needed to clear my thoughts and bring me back to reality. I can’t take the washing, cleaning, kitchen or shopping list with me on a run. It is all left behind once the shoes are on. You can let your mind go into another space free for the chaotic and madness of life for a short while. If someone asked me back in 2011 “would you ever run a marathon” I would have laughed. I never thought I would be doing what I do today. It was just a dream I enjoyed visualizing while out running around our township. Sometimes you just got to go where life takes you and it has definitely taken me to places I never thought would be possible.Rocky River Run bibs

Being the Ambassador of this event has certainly brought back some memories. It only seems not long ago that I stood at the Rocky River Run 10k start line, my first ever event and very nervous. The memory is so very clear and crossing my first finishing line was just the most amazing feeling. I had no expectations, I just had a goal to finish. It was that feeling of accomplishment that has kept me going onto reaching higher goals. Along with the adventures that have come with it. It was certainly a turning point in my life not just in running but in my self confidence. Rocky River2 2012I have had the opportunity to meet some amazing people at all different running levels. You don’t have to be fast or look fantastic, just enjoy the experience and the atmosphere it brings. Being a charity event supporting young people going through a difficult time, I am sure will touch many hearts on the day.Rocky River 2013

CTC Rocky River Run is an event that encourages people of all ages and abilities. Allowing anyone to  experience what may be life changing or just an enjoyable active day out with the family. For me, I am looking forward to standing at this years start line with the excitement and appreciation, of where I have come and where I am going. Along with knowing I am supporting such a worthy  cause.Rocky River Run 2014

Love My Running :-).

CBR.48HR – 12hr Track Event

RACE REPORT

This event was a first for me. Entering a 12 hour track event would have never been on my radar in the past.  I could never understand why someone would want to run in circles for such a long period of time. I had no idea how I would mentally prepare myself for such an event. But the time had come in my journey that I felt I needed to take up the challenge. The CBR.48hr Race in Canberra on the AIS track offered that opportunity to explore the unknown. Also knowing that many of the Elite Ultra Endurance Australian athletes were also going to be on the same track attempting record times soon turned my hesitation into excitement. Not knowing what the surface was going to be like along with the fact it also involves a 400m track (circles) was a bit daunting. I had only a short period of recovery time between events. Tarawera 100k Trail in New Zealand only weeks prior was tough and taxing on the body, so backing up with a track race was going to be a challenge. I was prepared for any outcome. Listening to my body and prevention of any injury resulting in a long recovery was my primary race plan. My intention was to obtain a good qualifying 100k time, but with many unknowns knew this may not happen and would then run the 12 hour event out.

Leaving home early Friday morning I felt prepared and positive. Disaster hit on arriving into Canberra to be informed that our baggage had not followed us on our connecting flights. It had already been a long day, a storm was approaching and both myself and support crew Sharon Kearney were not prepared for the cooler wet weather with all our warmer clothing including ALL my running items being in the missing baggage. My excitement immediately turned to anxiety, stress and all the “What if’s, Maybe’s, and How’s” came into play. Our accommodation was also minimal and a good walk to the track side. With the day hours ending and no means of transport we had only one option and that was to wait. So to bed I headed in the same clothes I had on from 4:30am. No toiletries, tired, drained and obviously overwhelmed. Sharon fought endlessly throughout the evening to locate and demand our baggage and finally at 11pm we received the phone call that our baggage will be couriered to us. So midnight PreRace day I was showering and getting warm and comfortable in an attempt to at least gain 5 hours of quality sleep.

RACE MORNING RaceBibthe excitement feeling did not appear until the race briefing. I remained focused on how I was going to run out the race. Once on the track the adrenaline kicked in. Joining the 48 and 24 hr runners was an honor. These guys and ladies had already been running for many hours in rain, cold and through the previous night, but still smiling and their determination and endurance was amazing. Sharing the track for 12 hours was brief in their eyes. The support on track side was unbelievable. Circles soon become just that. The day turned warm and long, athletes fatigued quickly along with myself. 4 hours in I had to face knowing that my 100k race time was not going to be possible but I felt strong and knew I had the endurance to hold out the 12 hour event. So dropped and settled into a comfortable pace and focused on building up the kilometers. As the 48 hour and 24 hour athletes reached milestones their commitment was just inspiring. Being encouraged  by Ultra legends Mick Thwaites and Nickki Wynd along with running along side Torill Fonn and Barry McBride amongst many others felt amazing. As the night fell the 100k qualifiers had left the track leaving only a few 12 hour competitors who had survived the afternoon to battle out the final 12 hour event. I quickly became determined to pick up some kilometers and into the evening was surprised to see my ranking slowly but quickly appear into 2nd place and holding first place female. Trophy2The 12 hours came to an end and the realization set in. 1st female 271 laps with 109km’s behind 1st male Francesco Ciancio 312 laps with 125km’s, he was just amazing to watch pumping out the final laps at an amazing pace.

Standing on the top of the 2000 Olympic Podium was the most amazing feeling. I had accomplished something I never thought I would attempt. Being apart of such an amazing event, being watched by the Australian Selectors and running along side some amazing athletes was worth every 400 meters. Watching Natasha Fraser accomplish a national qualifying 100k time was a privilege. Her strength and determination showed on each lap, she will be one to keep a watch on. My support crew Sharon came up against many challenges. Her task of limiting my stress and resolving issues we came up against before and during the event PodiumPicCBR48was just as challenging as my 12 hours of running in circles.

I learned so much from this event. 1.Your running gear never leaves your side 2. Check location and facilities when booking accommodation.(2.5k is not called close even being an Ultra runner) 3. Your check list, requirements and requests as a runner can never be in too much detail for your crew and everything needs to be written down. They can not read your mind. 🙂 4. I can not change the past but my experiences can be priceless.

Race Organiser Billy Pearce RaceDirectorput on an amazing inaugural event along with his team of volunteers. Without these people we would not have these awesome opportunities. Billy’s smile never left his face. This event will be on many runners calendars for the coming year.

I know what you are all thinking… Will this Ultra runner do circles again. Well, I will never say never as I certainly enjoyed it, but the open trail will always remain my passion.CBR48start.2

Love My Running. :-).