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My North Face 100, by numbers….

I’ve been waiting for clarity to arrive over what I feel about completing my first 100km race so I could say something deeply profound whilst both entertaining and moving you all to tears with my words of ultra-running reflection and wisdom.

Unfortunately clarity hasn’t arrived yet and I’m still just a bit of an overwhelmed mess. A grinning mess, but a mess all the same.

So instead of some emotional stuff, here is a brief summary of my day (and half a night) at The North Face 100, in numbers. Limited profoundness.

4.55 … the time my race day alarm went off, irrelevant really given that I had been awake all night stressing if my alarm would go off correctly. It did, it always does, but by this time I was up, dressed, had checked mandatory gear (see below) and been to the loo at least 3 times.

9 … number of times I checked all my mandatory gear was still where I left it. Someone may have stolen my emergency blanket or 7.5cm wide compression bandage over-night you know!

6.40… start o’clock. I crossed the start line with my super coach Sarah-Anne who had helped get me there injury free, more physically and mentally prepared than I otherwise would have been and way more familiar with single leg TRX work than I ever would like to be again. Around 5km in, SA bounded down the hill like an excited gazelle and I knew that I had to hold back if I wanted to have enough in the tank to get me beyond 6km!

20 … number of dollars I found on the trail. Will return to rightful owner with proof of ownership.

4 … litres of Tailwind (and about the same again of water) consumed. Yes, it does give you a windy tail after 12 hours on the stuff.

3 … bananas, 2 vegemite sandwiches, 3 roast potatoes, 10 cheesy rice crackers, 14 extra strength salt tablets, 1 orange, 2 slices of watermelon, 1 pot noodle, a bit of pasta salad, 4 energy bars, 3 gels and ½ a snickers. Well done guts, thank you for not letting the side down!

1 … very well timed poo. I was so damn pleased with myself about this one – the need to ‘go’ washed over me not a second before I was passing right by the public facilities at Echo Point. Never has a toilet seat been so comfy. Never have I cared less that I was in a public loo… 😉

3 … badly timed bush wees – you don’t see a soul on the trail for ages, and then 2 come along at once whilst you are badly hidden with your pants down. Three times people, three times.

72 … the km that I started to allow myself to think that I could actually do this. I could make it to the end, I could, I could!

73 … the km that I started to think I might not be able to do this.

74 … the km that I thought again that I could actually do this. I could make it to the end, I could, I could! Aaaand repeat for 5 more hours…..

78 … the km where I decided it was appropriate for a quick burpee at the checkpoint exit before I waved goodbye to my crew. Seemingly I can’t resist a crowd pleaser burpee even in the most unnecessary of circumstances.

6 … the number of tracks I listened to before the music started to annoy me. It’s confirmed, I just can’t run with music – except for maybe Push It by Salt n Pepa, that was friggin awesome.

85 … the km where it got really, really tough. Dark, lonely, relentless. When would the quad destroying down finish? Where are you delicious upward gradient? Oh, there you are, you hilly son of a b*tch, all 13 km of you to the finish. My race would have had a different finishing time if I hadn’t teamed up with a new-found running buddy, Anneke, for this last section – I am so, so glad that I only have to imagine how hard it would have been solo. Thank you Anneke for saving my sanity – we bloody did it!

33 … approximate minutes spent in checkpoints. My other half and checkpoint-extraordinaire Euie, was an absolute legend and followed the spreadsheets (!) and lists to a T, as much through fear of getting it wrong and having to withstand the Steggles wrath as love I think. Either way, he nailed it and made the seemingly impossible task ahead possible.

4 … number of ‘Dad jokes’ shared with the heroic folk manning the 91km water station. Impressively, if I do say so myself, after 14 hours and 91km on my feet and limited surplus energy for brain power, I correctly delivered “What’s the difference between a dirty bus station and a lobster with breast implants?” **

Countless… the number of good vibes, amazing words, cheers, messages and ongoing encouragement from total strangers and my AMAZING support crew (who were without a shadow, the best cheer squad in town – you may have seen them – they were the ones with the glow sticks, bubbles, a mega-phone and moves like Jagger). THIS is what makes this event so special – not us fools who deem it necessary to put one foot in front of the other for hours on end, but the folk on the sidelines and behind the scenes that allow us to tick off some crazy dream. (Does that count as profound?!)

4 … lasting ‘chafes’. Armpit (left), inner thigh (left), inner thigh (right), bum (centre). 😉

17… approximate times I’ve wanted to go up to a total stranger since being back home and tell them ‘I ran 100km at the weekend’. Any other TNF100 runners get that?!

100km … 16 hours 18 minutes … and one day that I’m proud of myself for not just talking about, but actually doing. It’s now firmly tucked away in the life’s experiences filing cabinet for evermore waiting for the next adventure to join it.

46 … hours it took after finishing for me to think “yeh, maybe I could do that again”.

To be continued….

** One is a crusty bus station and one is a busty crustacean.

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