<body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\x3d10151877\x26blogName\x3dfat+boy+running\x26publishMode\x3dPUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\x26navbarType\x3dBLUE\x26layoutType\x3dCLASSIC\x26searchRoot\x3dhttp://fatboyrunning.blogspot.com/search\x26blogLocale\x3den_US\x26v\x3d2\x26homepageUrl\x3dhttp://fatboyrunning.blogspot.com/\x26vt\x3d-1940203768184484158', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>

fat boy running

"A man must love a thing very much if he not only
practices it without any hope of fame and money, but
even practices it without any hope of doing it well."

Western States Report pt 1

Wednesday, July 25, 2007
I didn’t sleep a wink. I didn’t sleep a wink! I didn’t sleep a wink. Oh god, oh god, oh god! I can’t do this! I didn’t sleep a wink. I can’t run 100 miles. What am I going to do. I can’t do this! I can’t run through a second night without any sleep. Oh my god! What am I going to do?

I half open my eyes. The others are moving around the room getting ready. They move silently and with purpose preparing for the big day.

I close my eyes again and just lay there my mind spinning around. Ok what are my options? I can just tell them I am not going and go back to sleep? No way. They aren’t going to let me. Ok what else is there? I could just get up and get ready?

I open my eyes again and my feet hit the floor. I think there is talking but I can not connect. My gear is all sitting in order on the floor ready to put on. I take great care with each item, for I am dressing for battle and each item has its own power. Do not rush with a sock for a crease could mean a blister. Slowly I dress with what I guess is called mindfulness.

All ready we head for breakfast. Many of the group are there and chatting full of nervous energy. I can not connect my mind is else where. Dog would say I am in the zone. I am not sure where I am I just know that casual conversation is beyond me. I eat a toasted peanut butter and jelly bagel and some black coffee. I sit there quietly and stare into the unknown. The room is filled with movement. Lets go Spud tells me I march out the door and into the car. I can not even tell you who was driving on that cool dark morning I was just a lump.

We arrived at Squaw Valley and head off to get our numbers and chips. I took the same care with them as I did with the rest of my gear. Now we were in a room with 400 runners and crew and everyone was excited. I found a corner and sat on the floor. The room swirled around me as I sat there watching everyone’s shoes and gaiters. I closed my eyes for a moment. There was nothing more to do, the time was now almost here and I felt a kind of peace as I surrendered to what was about to come.

Soon everyone was heading outside into the cold. Pictures were taken under the start and then all facing the mountain ahead we waited. Aussie Aussie Aussie came echoning from the back of the crowd. Oi Oi Oi was the reply from different parts of the group. We were there as individuals yes but we were also there as a team and as a team we were going to be watched by so many so far away. The enormity hit me and I staggered for a second. I was here! This was my dream and I am now here. Then the voices of the crowd started 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 the shotgun fired and we were released like large smelly flightless doves set free on the mountain. I was with Whippet, our plan was start slow and slow down.

As we climbed the mountain we saw Gordy. Gordy was god. He started the Western States and 100 mile races. I have so few heros and yet here was one and I was running next to him. Whippet says to me as he points at Gordy “Mr Sub 24, stay with Gordy and we will be fine”. As we climb the mountain the sun starts to rise, I look back down the mountain at lake Tahoe and the surrounding valleys. It is simply magical. We climb further and chat with those around. I feel good to be here and finally on my way.

The top is soon here and the track winds down in single file. Tim Tweitmeyer said to just settle into the group you are in and not to worry about overtaking since you will probably end up tripping in the scrub and bang yourself up very early in the race. But then Gordy took off around the group and Whippet soon followed. I was happy to just stay and although slow cruised down the trail in the middle of a large group of runners. The landscape was beautiful with wildflowers everywhere in full bloom. I choose a nice spot for a pee and stood looking out on the mountains and valleys and the colours of the flowers as I water the small patch of ground in front of me.

The trail opened out and I opened up my stride and passed a few people. Soon I saw Tanky and she was telling me whippet was just by. I was happy with my pace and kept it going. Soon RMC was there in front. He said he was not sure what was coming so had no idea of pace. I have no idea either but I guess we will have to figure it out as we go I said. Then in the distance I saw Brendan. Hey this is cool I know Brendan finishes these things well and is about my pace so I will try to keep him in sight and all will be good. I strode down a hill and bang. Rolled my ankle. Fear and apprehension rocked my happy little world. Oh crap! I can’t run 100 miles on a rolled ankle. Is this how my run is going to be?? I tried to settle my head down and assess what my ankle was doing. It felt ok. It will be fine I told myself you are just panicking. Then bang I fell over. Now I was really stressing. But I kept moving forward. I slowed my pace and started to take care with every single step. This was going to be a long long day.

Things did settle and the checkpoints were so amazing. There was always someone there to be your “slave” they would fill your bottles and make sure you had everything you need. They would stand there next to you whilst you ate with your bottles in hand ready to see you off. It was so cool. The novelty of it all soon had my head in an ok place but then over I went again.

Now I was feeling crappy, my ankle hurt and I had a splitting headache and I was feeling tired from no sleep. I wondered if I could do it. I could still see Brendan so my pace was good but everything else was a mess. Then I lost Brendan as he flew down a hill but I was too scared of another fall and took my time.

Another checkpoint and I decided I would walk. The guy in front asked me if I wanted to pass but I said now I was feeling like crap and I was going to walk for a while. He said he had stomach issues and was going to walk too. The company made it a little easier. I kept telling myself that this bad patch would pass and all I needed to do was keep relentlessly moving forward. A women passed me and then a moment later she fell badly. She quickly got up shook herself off and kept going. It was a wake up call for me to stop being a baby shake myself off and get running. I did. My spirits were still down but I was running. Then we hit a climb. I enjoyed the climbs. After this climb was Robertson Flats and crew and supporters would be there. I could do with some familiar faces. As I strode into the checkpoint I could see the green and gold. There was cheering and I heard my name. I then unloaded all my woes on those around me. I did some blister care and then I was told to get going. I did and was out there on the trail again. I felt a little lighter after leaving some of my woes back there.

It is quiet a long downhill after Robertson’s Flat and I seem to be travelling pretty slowly. It felt like everyone was passing me. It is single trail and so every time I heard the beat of feet I would move aside. It was starting to get quite warm too and this is how I travelled for ages.

I knew I had a big climb at Devils Thumb but other then that I was just running and walking and trying to keep my fluid intake up. They measure you at so many different aid stations I did not want to have any weight issues.

I hit Last Chance and noticed they had a big Aussie Assault banner hanging there which was pretty cool. I suddenly felt like I was getting somewhere since it was only a few more miles (all up hill mind you) to Devils Thumb and that was near enough half way. I felt hot and tired and started to not want to eat what was available at the ccheckpoints. My weight was good – phew. Then someone was talking to me. I was vague and was too busy forcing food into me to really engage but as I hit the trail I realised it was Penny an ex pat. I wish I had been more present. As I sttod there I noticed Brendan leaving. Wow! I am still near Brendan! Ok that is not too bad I must still be travelling ok. Then I hear Kel. He is over in the medical getting his blisters done. “What’s the odds. 365 starts and never a blister before now. I looked down at Kel’s nike frees with the safety pins and reply “maybe it is your shoe choice?” I start to head out but stop for a moment and cool down with the bucket and sponge. Ok Devil’s Thumb here I come.

Down, Down, Down I head but I have been watching the people that pass me and try to emulate there downhill technique. They land on their heels and there steps are small and they roll along. It seems to be working since I do not get passed for ages. I look out over the edge and can see how far down the canyon goes. It is a bloody long way down and I know not only do I have to run down there but then back up the other side. It is kind of depressing but I put it out of my mind and focus on running down the rocky path. Before long I could see the bottom. I remember on the DVD “race for the Soul” how they all have a soak in the river just before Devil’s Thumb. I wanted to add that experience to my adventure and climbed down to the water’s edge. I seem to be the only one with this in mind but I don’t care. I take off my shoes and socks and soak my feet in the cool water. It feels divine. My feet are starting to look a bit beaten up and there is a big white crease on the ball of my left foot. A few people now seeing me down at the water head down too. One fellow asks if I am ok.

I get my socks and shoes on and start heading back up. I feel happy to be heading up hill and just settle into a nice pace. There is a girl looking distressed I stop and have a chat to her. She is feeling dizzy. I told her to take a gu and some water ‘cause it is just a sugar low. I offer her a gu but she has one and says she will have a sit, take the gu and will be fine. I keep heading up. I just plod along. Then there are some people cheering. People always mean you are close to the checkpoint. They are yelling about popsicles. It takes me a while to figure out they are taking about iceblocks. Then I am there in the hustle bustle of the aid station. I give my water bottles to my helper. Ice and water in both I please. I weight in. 161lbs which is what I weighed in at the start so that is perfect. I look at the food. Every aid station is the same and I am so over all the choices. But I still need the fuel so I eat some fruit and some cookies and take some for the trail then I grab a popsicle. I notice a pile of people sitting in the chairs on the side like a pile of wounded. I am glad I am not one of them.
Down, down, down I go. My quads are starting to complain. I start doing the maths. Ok if it took me 12 1/2 hours to get to half way I am not going to make sub 24. Now I have so much daylight left and my main light is 15 miles away (Foresthill School). I am only just going to make to Michigan Bluff before dark. Luckily I have a spare light there.

My blisters start to bother me more and more so when I hit the next checkpoint I ask about sorting my blister out. I take of my wet manky sock and the guy puts a piece of tape on my foot in a vein attempt at trying to sort the problem out. Whilst this is happening there is a guy behind me throwing his guts up. They are going to pull him. I look at my watch for the first time since I can see the board with the cut off times. I am blown away to see I have 5 minutes before the 30 hr split. Crap!! I head up the mountain toward Michigan Bluff .

For the first time since Robertson Flats I feel tired. I know that it will be night soon enough and I am worried about my tiredness and being alone through the night. I know that with the dark and my tiredness I will get into a bad head space and DNF-ing will be a big issue. I start to wonder if I will see any Aussies at the next place. Maybe I can ask if they can organise a pacer for me at Foresthill. Yeah that is what I will do get a pacer and the company will get me through the night. After the long climb I enter Michigan Bluff feeling a bit down. My foot is really hurting and I am worn out. I can not see anyone I know. I move to the food table and just stare. I then see Steve (Tanky’s other) and he is chatting to me. I really needed the familiar face and it brings me back. I tell him about the pacer idea and then I head over to the medical area. The guys in the medical area sort out my feet. They do a brilliant job. It is nice just sitting there. A fellow with a dog comes over and keeps me company chatting away. We laugh about nothing and then I am done with new socks from my drop back and all bandaged up. I see Phil (Mushroom Boy) and he tells me I can come over and drink Bills champagne. I head over and have some juice and also tell phil my need for a pacer. It was rather long stay but I came out of there feeling good. I head up the road as the darkness fell, it was a nice smooth fire trail and it felt wonderful to run without watching my feet. There are a few people in front of me. Everyone seems to have picked up a pacer I soon catch them and pass them. I am feeling good. I get my light on and settle into a nice running pace. Soon I am back to downhill on single trail. There is a noise behind me in the dark. I shit myself and turn my light back to see what the hell it is. There is an old guy running down the trail without a light on. We chat for a bit as I run behind him. He tells me that I need to move my feet like a big wheel and not to break ‘cause it trashes your quads. He also asks me about blisters. Yep I am having problems. He tells me “your foot and shoe should just meld into one and that way there is not rubbing and no rubbing means no blisters. Then he is gone, down into the dark. I try to follow his advice and wonder if I just hallucinated the whole thing. His advice worked and I was now back to climbing.

I hit the road and for a moment my mind could not make out where I was or what I was looking at. The checkpoint was there but my brain had just spent too much time alone in the dark. I grabbed some water and food and headed up the road. I wish I had asked where to next because I was not sure if I was suppose to just follow the road or maybe there was a bush trail I should be looking out for. I just followed the road and before long people were coming down the road. I guess to see their runner. Cool people means checkpoint. Then I met up with Steve, Tanky was doing well and he walked with me for a bit before heading back down to see Tanky. I started to run up the hill wanting to get to the checkpoint and see if there was a pacer for me. As I ran I started to really feel good. Plus the words of encouragement from all the passing people helped me along. I know that after Foresthill it was a gradual downhill to Rucky Chucky and after Rucky Chucky it was much easier running. So the hard stuff was behind me and I was still running. This is definitely a good sign. I ran into Foresthill and there was vegie and a fellow named Ian. Ian was going to pace me. Fantastic. I mucked around a bit and was told to stop pfaffing and get moving. Ian and I headed off into the night.

6 Foot 06

Monday, March 13, 2006

Well there had been a lot of trash talk leading up to this great race and so I felt I needed to have a good run and maybe if I was lucky a great run. I know that in his younger days Whippet had a 32-33?min 10km PB which told me that he was capable of beating me easy. RMC I was worried had gone into secret 6 Foot training and was going to have a blinder. Well in my dreams I would also beat Spud but was uncertain how that was going to happen so I did not think about that one too hard.

Got up there Friday afternoon and grabbed a tofu burger then got the keys and found our weekend home and then that evening went for some Indian food. Not long after the Indian I knew there was something wrong with my guts. I stated getting terrible pain. I put it down to indigestions and hoped a good night sleep would see it ok. Unfortunately the sleep did not go well and I was up half the night either in fetal position or in the bathroom.

Race day I put the stomach trouble out of my head and headed out. The ultra guys all seemed to hang together talking the usually stuff and Brendan kept us amused with his pack and head torch.

Soon it was start time and the first group was off. I was only 2 back in the second group but got hammered at the start with shoving and elbowing as we madly moved to the stairs. I really look forward to getting to the fire trail and trying to settle into a rhythm. Stomach not good but everything else felt good. Passed through the first water stop and decided to have a sip. Stomach pain! So I did not bother drinking again until after Cox. My legs and footing felt great on the roller coaster down to Cox. Although on the way down I saw RMC have a huge fall. He picked himself up and seemed ok but it looked nasty. There seemed to be a so many people on the ride to Cox and the single trail made passing difficult. Next year I think I will try to get there earlier.

Hit the Cox went for the River crossing thinking it would be a good photo but was all over the place on the rocks and I am sure the photo I imagined was not going to happen. I knew that I would not get to Pluvi without some food and water so I ate a piece of watermelon and had a drink. Ouch! Heading up Mini Mini I started to feel like I could bear the pain in my gut and so I really needed to keep forcing the watermelon and water in and I‘d survive. I made Pluvi in 3:01, I was hoping for 2:55 but still felt I had some run in my legs and started my plod to Deviation. If I could push it I may still make a sub 5. On the Black Range I passed Hermie who said he was spent and did not seem to have anything left in his tank. Then in the distance I could see a fellow brightly dressed in all the coolrunning gear taking photos and cheering everyone on, it was Plu. Plu ran with me for a minute and informed me that whippet was 10 minutes ahead, I slumped, but Spud was only 7 minutes away, I picked up. 7 minutes? Maybe I could catch him! So I picked up my pace but after about 100m I realized that was definitely kidding myself. Then Amjan passed me, looking way to cheerful and running way to well. Dam it this will be the second time she has beaten me here. Last time was only my a few seconds. There were moments of feeling crappy. Everyone was now in front of me, well except for RMC but he had fallen over. The in the distance was Graham Wye. I could now focus on him and catch him. Dam him for beating me in last years PMC by 5 minutes and making me come dead last!! I caught up and we talked about how we always finish every race within a few minutes of each other and then I pulled away. It is funny how you look for small challenges to keep your head busy and not thinking about how much everything hurts. Especially your stomach!

The hill to Caves Rd was ok and then I knew it was getting time for the big down hill to the finish. I ran well on the up and down to the last stretch and then I hammered the hill. Hit the cobblestones and just let go and then coming down the stairs and hearing all the cheers and my name on the PA was magic. Ok no sub 5 but a PB. Next year it will be sub 5 and a buckle!

That afternoon and night I was back in fetal position with a heat pack on my stomach but hey who cares I ran a PB.

12 Foot Track

Sunday, August 21, 2005

A cool clear morning saw 8 people turn out for the annual pilgrimage from Explorer’s Tree to Jenolan Caves and back; commonly know as the 12 Foot Track. After a brief pose for photos at the tree and a “ready set go” from Kevin, we were off. It was easy going as we descended down Nellies Glenn stairs then along the single trail until it opened out into the fire trail at the bottom of the valley. The morning was magnificent, it was cool and the puddles were still frozen. For the moment there were 4 of us together (Kevin, Andrew, Ken & myself) running along the fire trail. We ambled on at an easy pace all excited at the day ahead and chatted about all things running. I could not drink from my Camelbak because the water had frozen in the tube, but with that said, I did not feel cold.

Soon enough we arrived at Megalong Valley Road and were greeted by our group of supporters who had lovingly driven our drop bags down there. A quick grab of a few things and then the rest was stashed in a hole in the tree for the return journey. I was already feeling warm enough to remove my top and ran pretty much the rest of the run in a Coolmax T. About 10 minutes out from Megalong Valley is the tree where an ex 6 Foot runner’s ashes are. We all stood there for a moment and admired the views from this spot. I could see how a man could love this place so much that he wanted to spend an eternity there.

OK, our moment was over, we had running to do. I took off down the hill and a moment later Andrew flew past me. He was a demon on the down hill! I stuck close as we rollercoasted our way down to the Cox River. As we were nearing the Cox I was busy telling Andrew how we should be able to get across the river without getting our feet wet and in mid sentence he planted his foot into a small puddle soaking one foot. We did manage to rock hop across the river and to the other side without any further drama. As we neared the water tank we could see a coolrunning shirt. We were starting to think Kevin had found a short cut but soon realised that it was Sean about to embark on the accent to Pluvi. We filled our water bottles and had some food and were about to leave when Kevin arrived.

We walked up Mini Mini and once again I forgot how many hills there were and kept telling Andrew that this was the last one. We rock hopped a few streams and then were on the serious climb to Pluvi. Andrew and I chatted so much I was surprised at how quickly we got to the top and even more surprised when my phone started ringing. Funnily enough I was taking to Plu as I reached Pluvi.

We ran/walked to the Black Range Camping Ground where there was still some snow on the ground which just added to the experience. I think we were both running out of food and were getting hungry so we were both looking forward to some of the food in our drop bags. As we arrived we saw a plastic bag tied to a sign. It was part of Andrew’s stuff but mine was no where to be seen. I did notice a crow chomping away on something and on closer study, saw it was one of my rock cakes! Well I was bloody hungry and ran after that crow, finally rescuing my rock cake from its grasp. Bit of a dust off, and it tasted fine! We did start to feel a bit worried about the rest of the gear but knew we would cross paths with Sean again when he was on the return trip and sort it all out. My tussle with the crow had Andrew chuckling for the rest of the way down to the caves. As we ran we commented on Phil’s 12 Foot race report and how he had reached a “trance like zen state where he glided along”, so at intermittent moments one of us would ask the other “have you reached that state yet? The reply was always “nope.” In the middle of our act Phil came running by. He was way ahead of us and looking good. He told us that Sean’s crew weren’t at the Black Range with our drop bags because Sean had sent them on a task to pre order chips for him at Caves House. Well this amused us both and we played on this for quite a while.

We hit the final decent down to the Caves and Andrew took off. He had the pace on the downhill and he was hoping to catch Sean’s crew and make sure they left the rest of his stuff back at the Range. I did not want to be too far behind so I tried my best to relax and let gravity do its thing. It is a scary hill to fly down and I prayed for smooth run since a trip would mean hospital. On the way down I saw Sean who was looking strong and determined and a moment later, Jan who said that he was battling his usual issues.

I got to the Caves at 6:05 which was pretty dam close to my plan. At Caves Andrew grabbed a coke and a sandwich and I just filled my camelback. I headed off up the climb, with Andrew to follow after he had eaten. The climb from the Caves is tough and went on forever. We crossed Caves Road and then started to become preoccupied about our drop bags and what we would find. Andrew’s head torch was in the gear not to mention the fact that we definitely did not have enough food for the rest of the run. Well our prayers were answered for when we rounded the final corner to the camping ground I said to Andrew how it would be fantastic if not only our was gear was there but also a Blue Ford (meaning Tanya was there waiting). And there it was a Blue Ford with all our gear sitting on the hood. We both let out a sigh of relief.

We were both still in good spirits and chatted with my lovely partner. We ate our fill and stocked up on food for the trip to Megalong Valley. I think I got carried away and my pack felt like it weighed a hundred kilos! The Black Range was met at a steady pace with a few walks. I was surprised at how quickly the Pluvi came up and we decided that with Andrew’s downhill speed we would part there. He was out of sight in a minute. I ran as hard as my legs allowed and was happy with the my speed. I could feel a small rock in my shoe but did not want to stop so simply ignored it. A moment later my shoe felt wet. I imagined the blister I had been feeling on the ball of my left foot had burst. I hoped it was a blood blister since that would look good when I showed Tanya my bloody sock later which would further reinforce her belief that I was insane.

Man it is a much nicer experience running down from Pluvi than the usual upward slog. In no time I was at the end and running along the flat between Pluvi and Mini Mini. I was hoping Andrew missed the company and was taking it slow so I kept running. I saw him again on the next up hill and he waited as I caught up. We stopped at one spot where the view of the rolling hills and valleys were lit up by the sunset reflecting off the cliffs. Scattered around were Kangaroos getting their last feed before dark. As we stood there I realised that there wasn’t a sound other than the wind in the trees. If Andrew was a girl I would have held his hand at that moment but instead I just said “how cool is this”. We decided it was a good time to get out our lights and off we went in the mad dash down Mini Mini.

Dark descended and soon I was engulfed in the small world contained in the beam of my spot light. Running down hill in that small beam of light took all my focus and for a moment everything else ceased to exist. Until the silence of the night was broken by a brief scream only a few minutes ahead. Then suddenly before I could work out what the scream was about I was about to run into a large cow!! I managed to avoid the collision but as I continued down the hill I could hear a sound behind me. I turned to see this big cow madly running down the hill right behind me. I shone the torch at him, yelled and he stopped. Cows freak me out man!!

The Cox had 3 people camping there and I also met up with Andrew again. We sorted our gear and food stuff and then headed out together to cross the Cox and make our way to Megalong Valley Road. As I rock hopped across the river I lost my balance. I teetered there almost about to fall in, when Andrew yelled “don’t fall in!” Lucky he said that since I was thinking a nice cool drip in the river would be just what I needed to wake me up. Thankfully I remained dry. As we crossed we were talking about how one year Kevin started crossing and then got disoriented and was uncertain which way he came from. Neither of us could understand how that could happen. Well that was until we realised that at that very moment, we weren’t sure where we were and became disoriented ourselves. We finally got over the river and then headed up the wrong track suddenly coming across a gate which was not there in the morning. Backtracking we soon found our error and were on our way toward Megalong Valley Road. For a while I led but I was getting lazy and started to walk even the smallest hill. Then ahead on the track I could see this dark figure coming toward us. I eventually could make out that it was a guy walking down the track without a light. As we got closer we realised it was the husband of one of the runners. He was making his way to the Cox to wait for her. The fact that he was doing it without any torch really blew our minds.

It seemed like a bit of a hike but the first gate gave us a taste of getting closer to the road and picked me up a bit. Once we hit the dirt road I knew we were nearly there and we quickly walked to the storage tree. At the tree we grabbed some more food and drink. I crouched down with my back on the tree to stretch my quads and had an euphoric moment with a couple of Anzac cookies. I could hear Andrew behind me having a similar experience with an orange. I realised at that moment 2 things, firstly I was very tired and could easily have nodded off. Second thing was I was going to make it to the finish.

With 8km to go we set off. I was surprised at how good I was feeling. The road was nice and smooth and did not need much effort to just plod along. Although in our tired state we got muddled a few times when there was more than one track. It was a case of making a simple thing difficult and we both vowed not to even look at another road and to just keep moving in a straight line. This worked well and we happily ran along, walking all hills. After a while Andrew decided to challenge our agreement of simply running in a straight line and started saying we had been going too long and must of missed the track somewhere. I started to believe him and visualise being miles off track and having to backtrack. Then I snapped out of it and told Andrew that he was being silly, this was the only bloody track!

Eventually the track narrowed and we were moving toward the infamous stairs. As we reached the bottom of the first step I grabbed a banana for energy and we headed up. I was not fit for these stairs and they were really tough. I would walk about 5 and then double over and try to catch my breath and then I would repeat. Andrew had no problems and I was divided between hating him for doing it so easily and appreciating the fact that he was waiting for me and offering encouragement. Then I heard Andrew utter the words I had been wishing for “Last stair!”. We hit the road and ran the final distance to the end. Where we were greeted by Andrew’s wife Wendy waiting in the car.

For me it was not just a long run but also a wonderful adventure and one I will be back for next year. I can only hope for such good company next time.


Monday, July 18, 2005

I managed to pick up a stomach bug from my son on the Saturday night,
which meant a poor night’s sleep. It is funny how you can manage to
finally get into a sound sleep just before the alarm. Anyway after not
wanting to get out of bed I got up and got ready for the run. It was
cold at the start so after registering I went back to the car and played
dinosaurs with Adam. Eventually I decided to get out and move about a
bit to loosen my body up and bumped in Marie and the KJ’s crowd for a chat.

Tanya and Adam came to the starting line and Adam asked me if I was
going to win. I said I would try. I kissed my family and was off. I ran
at a reasonable pace and the cold made it hard to breathe. I passed
Marie and co and after a km and settled into my pace. The first few km’s
are quite flat so it is a nice warm up and then there are few decent
hills before you hit the dirt roads. I ran well up the hills and
although tired I felt ok. Once we hit the dirt I was happy since this
was my long run training ground and I knew it well. I seemed to be
running with a young fellow with a Billy Bushies shirt and another guy
in a red singlet. We all ran the up and down hills differently but all
came together on the flat. It is funny how you always end up secretly
racing a bunch of people you do not know. As we came to the 10km mark I
started to feel light headed and very vague. The race became a bit dream
like. I started to wonder if I was going to have a story that had the
line in it “next thing I remember I was laying in the first aid tent”.
But fortunately I kept going and the weird feeling passed.

Still with the 2 other guys we arrived at the start of Mt Skanzi. I
grabbed and piece of orange and had a drink and started an easy run up.
It is not a bad hill but enough to feel you have had a decent climb.
Billy Bushie was way ahead and the red singlet was a only a few seconds
behind as I hit the top. Another piece of orange and I caned it down the
other side. My knee and ankle were really starting to hurt on the
downhill but I just tried to relax and let gravity do the work. Got the
road, which I think is about 6km from the finish and could see in the
distance Billy Bushie and another guy. I thought about running them down
but decided to relax and focus on my stride. I ended up making up ground
on them and so now I focused on catching them. As I passed the first
fellow I could hear someone trying to pass me. I did not want any part
of this and stepped up my pace. Blew passed Billy Bushie and for the
next 5km ran hard with someone breathing down my neck. I think that the
person behind me had given up the thought of passing and was happy to
draft behind me. We passed about 4 people in the last few km. In the
final stretch I gave it everything I had and ended up with a time of
2:46. Once finished I did not feel to crash hot and after a brief chat
with Carolyn, Dougal and Marie and the KJ’s I headed home with Tanya and
Adam and needed a cuppa and a lie down.

Gold Coast Marathon

Monday, July 04, 2005
After all the hassles of cancelled flights I finally arrived at the Gold Coast Saturday night. The next morning was cool and at the race start I wandered sleepily around finally bumping into a bunch of coolrunners for a chat. Time was nearing and my race plan was to see how long I could stay with the 3:30 group so I positioned myself appropriately. The 3:30 guy had yellow balloons and for the first 5km I was having trouble keeping pace with the balloons, dropping back. I noticed Trukie and Redback were just in front and running at a pace that seemed right so I simply kept Truckie in my sights. After a while I caught up and enjoyed running with him. Truckie like to wave and engage the spectators, especially the partying groups in the balconies so it was fun tagging along. For a moment Tesso was with us and then I heard the chilling sound of someone falling. I looked back to see Tesso coming down hard on her shoulder. I stopped and headed over, Truckie was already there helping her up and she seemed ok.

Eventually we caught up to the yellow balloons and we passed them just before crossing over the bridge to Southport. Redback was there and we had our 3 person coolrunning train. It was good timing since we soon passed the loud and fabulous Coolrunning Cheer Squad and the 3 of us got one hell of a cheer. A runner nearby said she would sick with us since we were getting such great support. The support I received from all the coolrunners out there really brought home what a great community we are.

Things cruised along for a while until out of nowhere the yellow balloons caught up and then passed us. I really wanted to break 3:30 so I gritted my teeth and stayed with them. This is when things really started to hurt. I kept telling myself over and over “PB’s are not meant to come easy” and I kept my pace. My life simply became one of following 2 yellow balloons. Then suddenly the pacer went to the side of the road, maybe for a toilet stop and I was for the first time, balloon-less! Fortunately I started to pass a few people so that became my motivation and soon I was 2km out and had 3:18 on my watch. I felt strong and could smell home so I ran with purpose and as I hit the finishing shoot I could feel someone coming up to overtake me. I had never met the guy but he was not going to out sprint me to the finish. And with everything I had and gasping for air I ran over in (by my watch) 3:27:14.

After changing I headed over to the Cheer Squad and enjoyed hanging out with everyone and cheering not only the coolrunners but also anyone Japanese. After while we were approached by a Cop on a bike. We thought he was going to move us on but he simply told us there was a lady, in her 50’s, with our colours struggling a bit about 1.5km away. So on mass we grabbed our gear and walked up the road to greet and then run to the finish with Lucky Legs. I had a bit of a tear in my eye as the magic of the moment caught me and I felt proud to be part it.

Once Lucky Legs was finished I waisted no time heading over to the Surf Club for a bunch of beers with all the coolrunning brigade and to talk a bit of ultra running sh*t. What a great day. And people ask me why I run??