Sunday, March 29, 2009

100km in Less than 18 hours!

Two weeks ago I agreed to be part of a four person team to run/walk 100km in 48 hours in the Melbourne Oxfam Trailwalkers. One of the team members had previously told me that if I could train for the 32km run on King Island than I would get through 100km. My running coach also told me that if I kept my heart rate at 130 bpm, I would be able to get through the distance in 18 hours!

Early Friday morning I met the final member of my team - three tall, strong, fit guys and me! We made our way to the start line and waited for our 8.30am start. The gun went and we were off at a very slow jog. Interestingly we started passing teams in the first 2-3km - obviously some teams had sprinted off running to get ahead of the pack and then commenced their walk!

Start-CP1 - the first section was 12.5km and it took us 1hr 24min, unfortunately I was already starting to feel some blisters forming on my heels!

CP1-CP2 - the next section was an easy 9km in 2hr 4 min obviously there is a HUGE hill here in Lysterfield Park that slowed us down a little! But the view at the top, Trig Point, did offer spectacular 360 degree views of Melbourne. It was around this point that we started catching up with walking teams - that had started 1.5 hours before us! I also taped up my heels to help deal with the blister issues (total=21.5km).

CP2-CP3 a casual 13.3km section which took us 1 hr 33 min. This was also a hilly section the trail climbs up into Belgrave, past the home of Puffing Billy, before heading north through the heavily wooded Sherbrooke Forest trail that leads into Grants Picnic Ground. It was during this section that on some of the steeper parts walkers were overtaking me. I really struggled with being overtaken and to make sure I stuck to my race strategy - keeping heart rate at 130 bpm and not trying to catch and overtake them. Pacing was more important here then beating them to the top of the hill. I just told myself 'they might pass me going up the hill but I will definitely catch them going down the hill and beyond!' (total=34.8km).

CP3-CP4 was 11.7km in 2hr 13 min. I enjoyed overtaking the walking teams and it was interesting hearing the response to the people we were overtaking while we were running when they realised that we had started 1.5 hours later than them! (total=46.5km).

CP4-CP5 - just an easy 8km in 1hr 26 min still mixing our running and walking (total=54.5km).

CP5-CP6 the next section was 8.5km in 1hr 55min (total=63km).

CP6-CP7 - we now started on the Warbuton Rail Trail - long and flat for 13km. It was at this point I wasn't having fun anymore. I spent the whole 13km wondering when we were going to start running again and too nervous to ask in case I had to run more - as it turns out we didn't do any running after this point! It took us 2hr 35 min and it had gotten dark during our walk. I was trailing behind the guys although I wasn't that far behind and I was feeling tired, achy legs and weary. We got into the rest stop and I had a peanut butter sandwich, an ibuprofen, a caffeine tablet, chocolate, Endura drink, put on my skins and warm clothing and I felt fantastic (total=76km).

CP7-CP8 - I am not sure what helped me after that rest stop but I sure got my second wind and in fact I took off walking so fast that I left all the guys behind! Actually Gary ended up doing a little run just to catch up with me! This section was 14.5km and we even managed to pass a number of teams - not bad considering these teams had started at 7am - a full hour and 30 minutes before us!!!! To entertain ourselves we decided to overtake the next team we saw by running! it amused us greatly and spurred us to keep on moving! This next section took us 3 hr 3 min (total=90.5).

CP8-finish - 9.5km in 1hr 53min. This last section was perhaps the most challenging with a really big hill to climb that at one point was so steep we almost had to crawl up on our hands and knees. The boys again took off on the steep mountain trail but they waited for me at the top of the trail. At this point I overtook the guys and basically left them behind. I was walking on this mountain road side in the total darkness just with a head torch to light the way and I was entirely by myself. I actually really enjoyed it, it was kind of surreal, then I hit the really steep section but just kept powering on. I must have been speedy because at one point I heard some scrambling in the bushes - I think I scared a kangaroo who wasn't expecting some chick to be walking past at 2am in the morning! I got to the top of the hill and waited for the guys and then called out 'I'm the king of the world'. As a team we all then travelled down that steep hill and ran across the footy oval to finish 100km in 17 hours and 56 minutes. We were all so happy to be finished. The first thing I did was to take off my shoes and check out my plethora of blisters!!!! (total=100km).

Of the 714 teams registered for the Oxfam Trailwalkers, 18 teams didn't finish, and only 436 teams completed the event with a team of four people - which really puts our teams efforts into perspective. Of the 436 teams of four that finished we placed 34 and of the mixed teams we placed 16/387.

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