The Hillary Ultra – NZ

Last year I caught sight of discussion of a new race being developed in New Zealand, a race following the Hillary Trail just outside of Auckland.  This quickly grabbed my attention as the trail looked tough and beautiful, and what a great chance to see it!

MapOfCourse

After a long process to gain all the necessary approvals and support, Race Director Shaun Collins (Lactic Turkey Events) was able to announce at the end of December that the race had go ahead for 29 March 2014 (great timing for me, a nice pre-birthday trip away).  The event offered an Ultra – 80k taking in the whole trail (with a few extra kms thrown in), as well as 34k and 16k races.

I must admit I went into the race slightly under researched and prepared, only committing to the race 3 weeks prior after finishing 6FT Track.  How hard can 80k with 3000m of ascent be?  Ok, yes hard, but that is similar ascent to Bogong to Hotham but spread over 80k, and way less than the Cradle Mountain Ultra which is also 80k.  I mention these races now as there are definitely similarities in the punishing I was signing up for.  So now, post race I know that the 3000m of ascent was perhaps a bit of an underestimation, with my Suunto Ambit bringing it in at 3500m (so close to the same as TNF100).


2014-The-Hillary-Elevation-Chart

Getting across to Auckland for the race and to registration was simple, nearly easier that some of the long road trips we make here is Australia to Ultras.  A quick flight across on the day before the race, jump in hire car, drop stuff at motel (nicely located near registration and 15mins to the start line) and off to registration.  After a quick efficient registration and drop bag drop off, I took a quick drive out to the start line to check where I needed to be early the next morning.

After a rather too short sleep, off to the start line (with no kangaroos to avoid on the roads!).  We all met for the pre-race briefing with lots of energy and nerves as we prepared to set off for our long day.

And we're off….and jogging at a comfortable pace - no made sprints from anyone.

And we’re off….and jogging at a comfortable pace – no made sprints from anyone.

The race started at 6am, with everyone setting off at a comfortable pace into the darkness.  A fun first hour in the dark it was!  After an easy 2k loop on wide gravel walking trail to warm up (and the first of many foot baths to clean our shoes to assist in preventing spread of Kauri Dieback disease) we then ducked off onto single track.  Plenty of undulations, stairs, bridges and twists and turns to fly along in the dark (think the old final TNF leg along the cliff line, done on fresh legs in the dark).  I would perhaps next time take a stronger head torch for this section (had not taken my normal one as did not want to leave in a drop bag) as your light and comfort on trail in the dark certainly makes a big difference through this section.  I chatted with a few local runners through here, including Jo Johansen who rolled out another brilliant performance (having won Tarawera 2 weeks previously) to win the ladies and 8th overall.

Early run in the dark

Early run in the dark

We exited the single track and out onto wider dirt roads just as the sun came up and clocked through a few of the only easy kms for the day as we headed into Checkpoint 1 at Huai.  From here the first climb began, with some nice easy climbing, before it became some more serious climbing and an introduction to the themes of the day, climbing, descending and tree roots!  A good chat with local – Gary Philpott about the trail and some Aussie runs before he powered on uphill while I focussed on getting some calories in.  Only a few kms to the top, but then more ups and downs along the cliff lines – the theme for the day starting!  Some truly beautiful views, great running and then steep descent, ascent and descent in to Checkpoint 2 at Whatipu (being chased down to the checkpoint by the young legs of 15yo Reegan Absolum – who having run the trail twice previously was granted approval to race and demonstrated he will be a strong force in the future).

Some early photos, an excuse to pause & enjoy the views

Some early photos, an excuse to pause & enjoy the views

As we left the checkpoint and climbed again, local Heather Davidson came passed and powering thru for a strong 2nd place. Lots of fun technical single track followed the climb descending once again into a valley (must really work of my technical tight single track to do this one again!), yet another climb and down into the aid station at Karekare.

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Once again, leave the aid station and climb, with another good solid climb to reach beautiful views out along the coast, and then heading through the outskirts of Piha with a few road kms before heading into beautiful walking trails and crossing a stream at the top of Kitekite Falls – avoiding tourists and locals who make good use of the trails and the falls.  Once off the walking trails, a couple of kms of gravel road through town down to the Piha aid station along the beach.

Having run most of the morning on my own, I had a brief chat with another runner as we left the aid station (with no immediate climb this time) and headed along the beach before turning off and heading once again in to the forest.  Climbing once again up onto the head land and then slightly inland through farm land and into a beautiful (and steep) valley.  Very steep dirt ‘road’ dropping you quickly down into the valley, with a river crossing (delaying me a few minutes to enjoy a soak), before the steep climb out the other  side of the valley.  This climb is super steep, with good grip and constant forward momentum needed to avoid slipping back – I would not like to try this (or many of the technical single track sections) in the wet, as with a clay base I can only image how slippery it would become.  This climb seemed the longest of the day, with a false top, before another fun descent on single track.  Not long into the descent, I glimpsed another runner and gradually caught him – Gerard Waters, another local with some good knowledge of the track and a sense of humour.  A few quick words, the odd joke and we found ourselves together until the finish.  At the bottom of the descent is the very tempting Lake Wainamu – by this time the day was getting very warm, and without much breeze a dip would have been great.  Instead, skirting the lake, we then ran down along the huge Bethells sand dunes, electing to stay in the shallow water where possible to keep cool.

Bethells aid station brought welcome cold drinks, light banter, and a quick refill of my pack, before heading thru horse paddock (and convincing one of the horses it really didn’t want my salt & vinegar chips) to the next climb.  With 16k to the finish at Muriwai, Gerard ‘helpfully’ pointed out where we were headed to along the coast line – looks a long way!  Following the coastal cliff line for 9k dropping and climbing along sheep tracks and watching out feet to avoid being tripped by the grasses across the track (which after a near miss along the cliffs I decided to be more careful of).  Along here we sighted first runners in a long time climbing behind us, with Shannon-Leigh Litt gradually reeling us in (and surprised herself to see others after a long time on her own).

Another climb, another amazing view

Another climb, another amazing view

Turning away from the coast, be face the last big hurdle of the race with a few hundred metres of stairs facing us to climb to the top of the cliff line.  Here we caught a few tail enders from the shorter races, and also an injured hiker, stopping briefly to see if he needed help (strained knee – so not looking forward to the climb).  Surprising ourselves, the stairs were quickly done, with a short stop at a drinks station at the top, and off jogging down the road, for 2.5k before a short single track descent, some road and a lovely descent down to the beach.  Hitting the beach we were caught by another runner, who we chased across the sand, before turning inland over the dunes.  Hitting the road behind the dunes we managed to find some speed again for the gentle climb towards the finish, re-passing Ryan Cook, before a nice run on the grass through to the finish – 11:50!  Fourth female, happy with a sub 12hr on that tough course.

Smiling to the finish

Smiling to the finish

The mens race was won by Stephan Quentin who was brought across from France by his sponsors for Tarawera, but didn’t have a good day there, still affected by travel (and not his type of technical course anyway).  He ran a blistering fast 8:38 and loved the technical course.  We Aussies will get to see him race at TNF100 this year as he heads our way after some more time in NZ.

I must admit finishing it I had that well known, never again thought, quickly replaced by that was fun, what next as I caught up with people I had met throughout the day and we chatted about our days as we watched others finishing.  A lift back to my car at the start with some of the other runners (thank you gentlemen!!), a good sleep and then the race festivities were completed with a great post-run breakfast and awards ceremony.  Fantastically organised and with a video teaser of the event ready for us (see below) – just to convince us we really want to go back next year!

I definitely rate this as one of the toughest ultras I have done – and I tend not to shy away from the tough ones.  Those 80kms have a bit of everything thrown in there, with very few easy kms.  In trying to liken it to Aussie runs, the Coastal beauty of GOW100, the night tough single track of TNF100, the never ending tree roots of Cradle Mountain.  As I mentioned before, the track in wet conditions would be even tougher!  Perhaps training needs to be just running up and down a steep creek bed.    Knowing the course definitely would help with overall times, but for me getting to experience it as something completely new was awesome – and justified having put on immigration paperwork I was there for a holiday – surely 80k of trail is a holiday!!

The event organisation was brilliant with a clearly marked course, lots of helpful volunteers, well stocked aid stations and pre-post race atmosphere.  The sheer feat of organising all of the foot wash stations we went through along the way was huge (there were lots!!  I am very good now at brushing my shoes and then walking across the mats of solution).  The work to get the approvals and to put the race together quickly once the approvals came through was thorough and greatly appreciated!  Hopefully this even will get approval for future years and can become one of the iconic NZ ultras!  It certainly has all the hallmarks and the course to support this.  Aussie runners, definitely consider putting this one on your list – you know you want to go experience it! If in doubt have a look at this :


(And when you see the person being chased down the steep hill, that is me 🙂 ).

Hillary_003350

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Injinji Stromlo 12hr Race, a (VERY) belated post

So after many reminders, I am at last getting to a race report on the Stromlo 12 Hour Race.

Why has it taken so long…..No excuse other than I needed to re-find real enjoyment in running before writing this…..I guess that hints as to the toll my first road ultra had on me!

I knew going in to it that running for 12 hours through the night on a 1k loop road course would be tough mentally.  One of the reasons I have loved ultras so far is that I really enjoy running on trail through amazing scenery, this is not what Stromlo offered 🙂

With about 30 runners starting the race it was a nice number of people and range of runners, with some great experience joining us newbies on the start line.  I struggled for the first few hours to hold pace back to where I knew it needed to be to keep going.  Feeling strong, you just want to get moving, and with a large storm drenching us early, it also helped stay warm.

 

 

From quite early I suffered stomach issues, something I have had in the past, but have worked out my nutrition to avoid it. Unfortunately obviously need to work on the different requirements for a night time start.  So after numerous pit stops (I think 9 by end of race) I started to cramp really badly in my stomach (new running experience) and was really questioning at the 5hr mark if I could keep going.  At this stage I also started to get some glute overload issues that stemmed from running longer on road in Hokas than I had before.  Quick break to change shoes, force some fluid in & I got myself back out there and lapping at more regular intervals (helped that some friends had arrived to watch – felt I better stay out there at least until they went home).

Shifted focus to regular run/walk routine & got music (and later podcast) pumping.  Hit another low around 8 hours as was really struggling to get anything into stomach, so stopped very briefly and had some drinks.  With less than 2 hours to go cars started to arrive in to set up for and compete in the other races, this gave another pick me up as really showed it would be light soon.  At this point I knuckled down & set myself goal to just run solidly to the end, managing to keep a good solid pace through the final 90mins.

Very happy to finish with a total of 105.6km, second female and 5th individual.  Less kms that I wanted, but completed it, and according to Garmin, with my poor race line & all the side trips, had actually done 110km.  Note to self get better at sticking to the racing line (a lot of drifting around on the track happening in the very dark parts of the course overnight).

A huge congratulations to all who ran and in particular to Oliver & Pam who both ran controlled consistent races to win.

Happy to have experienced it, not sure how long until I will do another road ultra!

As I mentioned earlier this run did play with my head, it also left me with a lot more leg soreness than I have had post 100k trail races, so it has taken me a while to get back into a happy running place.  I am there again…..so a new blog coming in next few days on training & re-finding the fun 🙂

 

 

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Bogong to Hotham Race Report 8 Jan 2012

Bogong to Hotham is a great classic mountain trail race that has earned it’s reputation as the toughest mile-for-mile trail race in Australia.

Starting at Mountain Creek Campground runners climb the massive Mt Bogong, descend T-Spur to Big River before the next big climb up Duane’s Spur to reach the Bogong High Plains. Passing through the main aid station at Langford Gap, runners continue across the high plains before dropping to the Cobungra River and climbing Swindler’s Spur on the way to the finish at Mt Hotham summit.

Having run this race in 2011 as my first true ultra I was looking forward to returning to face the tough course with a few more kms in my legs.  We head down to Mt Beauty a few days early to enjoy a family break and some beautiful warm weather in the mountains.
Whilst some rain and moderate winds were forecast for race day, all was looking good for a nice race at a coolish 12 degrees top for Mt Hotham.  The course includes large sections of walking tracks that with the good weather in lead up to the race, Vic Parks staff had managed to get in and clear of some large (very) fallen trees that would have made interesting obstacles.At race briefing and check in on Saturday there were plenty of fast times being talked about with some serious talent in the mens field. There were also plenty hoping they would be able to get to Langfords Gap (35k) inside the 6hr cutoff and then struggle on through to the end.  Great to catch up with some now familiar faces and meet some new ones before heading off to try and get some sleep.Race day dawned overcast and drizzly, and waiting for the start there were already plenty of waterproof jackets being worn despite the upcoming initial climb.  I elected to start just in t-shirt as knew I would be heating up very quickly on the climb up to Bogong.  After roll call, a quick ‘go’ and the pace was on from the get go with the leaders making the most of the flattish first 2k to the Staircase.

The start of Staircase Spur

I settled in to a steady pace getting warmed up ready for the slog I knew was coming.  Steep climbs are definitely not my strength thou I have been gradually improving. It took me a few kms of the climb to get into a good rhythm, but then just marched and jogged the flatter sections until we got above the treeline and at that point needed to pick up pace a bit more to keep warm as the winds were high and sleet stinging as it hit.  Plenty of runners were stopping out in the open to put jackets on, but knowing that I handle these conditions fairly well as long as moving (plenty of hiking & snowboarding in worse) I stuck without it, instead focussed on getting quickly across the plains and back into the trees after summiting.  Through this section re-passed a lot of runners who were slowing to try and keep on the path in the buffeting winds.  I made up about 6mins on the climb on last year, so obviously gradually improving on climbing.

Enjoyed the run down to Big River, though was a bit slower than last year as was being careful in the muddy conditions (though still seemed to be overtaking people).  Lots of groaning and crashing from the trees whilst heading down to the river and then on the next big climb up Duane’s Spur reminding you of the high winds & keeping me moving to get out of them. Duane’s is steeper than the first climb, but established a rhythm quickly and was happy to get thru the climb without any rests needed and overtake a couple of guys on the way.

At the hut at the top of the climb (23k) we were then informed that the race would be ending at Langfords Gap (35k) for safety reasons. Hearing this I stopped for longer than planned to add thermal as well as put on my jacket in readiness for the run across the High Plains, electing to look after myself thru here rather than try to race hard.  While doing this Steph Gaskell came back past me, so was aware I would be either in 3rd or 4th (unsure of exactly who I had passed coming off Bogong in the sleet!).  I chatted to a male runner and then to Steph briefly on heading out to discuss the race stopping decision – having run the course before I was aware of how windy the course beyond Langfords would be and agree this was best decision for safety of the whole field. (even with warmer gear the wind would still have been a massive challenge and potential for trees down etc high).

The High Plains on a good day

The High Plains on a good day (two days prior to race)

Along the High Plains the winds were really gusting.  When behind me I had no choice but to run as it pushed out forward so hard, when a cross wind I struggled to stay on the path, and if headwind just moving forward was a struggle.  Rain was also fairly steady now and plenty of water to run through on the trail just to add to the fun (and yes, it was actually quite fun, I was in a good headspace, feeling strong, and humming away – lucky no one could hear).

Once again I really enjoyed the single track section thru the trees before heading along the aquaduct track to Langfords, although again in the winds was hard to get into a good consistent tempo.  Once on the aquaduct trail there was plenty of headwind to face for the final kms, getting worse for the last few hundred metres into the checkpoint – no sprint finishes!

So race stopped at 35k – 5:22 to this point, 2nd female (again) with Beth Cardelli 1st in 5:00.  I took 5:32 to the same spot last year, so an improvement in time, with the time picked up on the climbs, not the descents and open sections where I normally would have expected.

Andy Hewat the Race Director and his team had done a great job of setting up extra gazebos at Langfords (and manually holding them down) so we could keep out of the wind while they organised lifts to get runners off the mountain as quickly as possible.  A huge thank you to the volunteer who had got her husband to come up to ferry runners down, as really appreciated being straight out of the wind and on way back for a shower. The way that they ensured we were told the race was cancelled asap and then dealt with getting everyone of the mountain quickly and safely was exceptional.

Mt Bogong leading up to the Race vs Race Day

Mt Bogong view day before vs day of race

Great footage showing the race upfront, runner comments and conditions thanks to http://www.ultra168.com here :

Afternoon spent relaxing with family rather than another punishing 29k of trails, then nice catch up and chat about the conditions at the presentations.  Seeing my 5yo daughters face when my name was read out for 2nd was priceless, so excited and loves ‘our’ trophy.

Legs have recovered well this far, despite some ‘new’ discomfort around left knee for a day or two – a result I think of all the running trying to hold myself against the wind hitting from one side.

Lessons learnt:

I am getting better at climbing, once I got focussed on rhythm I stopped losing time.

Mix of nutrition was good, stuck to ½ hourly intake throughout race.
Need to watch electrolytes even in the cold – hands started to swell, but couple of S-Caps and all better

Gear:

Happy with all the gear used!!

Salomon S-Lab12 pack is awesome and using bottles in side pockets in addition to bladder was great.

Mix of Perpetuem and Accel gels sits well for me.

Inov-8 Talons once again performed brilliantly – just need to find a road shoe I like as much!

Also still really liking the wear-ability of my Proskins compression tights for the few days post race, nice to have compression without looking like it : )

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Reflecting and Planning

What a big year 2011 has seemed to be.  From a running perspective, my first ultra (Bogong to Hotham), two 100k races (TNF100 and GOW100s) and two trail marathons (6Ft Track and Deep Space) as well as PBs for 5k and 10k.  Certainly more than I was aiming for at this time a year ago.  Even with all the long races my overall kms for the year were 3045 (slightly surprised as had plenty of low km time post the long races to recover).

So, now what to aim for in 2012??

Bogong to Hotham is looming – under a week now and will be back for those huge climbs and great views. Looking like it will be a fast race up the front, so should be great seeing the guys power up Staircase Spur to Mt Bogong.

After Bogong at this stage the choice is either 12hour race at Stromlo Running Festival in February or 6Ft Track in March before TNF100 again in May. Definitely can’t do both in the lead up, so will make a decision after Bogong depending on how well I recover. Really would like to try a non trail ultra this year, so if not Stromlo, will look for one later in the year.

After TNF100 in May I will have a running break for 6 weeks, as need jaw surgery which I am hoping to line up for as close after TNF as possible – may as well jam all the pain in close together!!

No plans yet for the rest of the year as definitely dependant on how long I am unable to run with (Drs say 6wks, but will be hoping less, or at least to be back on bike quickly).

Other running goals – try and find a group to join for speed work occasionally, fit in additional long run each week (hopefully achievable with 3yo off to play school for 2 days a week this year and 5yo starting school!) and continuing to increase my average weekly kms.

Non running, get on with the study I have started but not finished on nutrition and fitness training 🙂

For now, I am enjoying a relaxing pre-race taper and less post christmas travel and rushing  around than normal. Guess I sold get motivated and get gear together for Bogong and kids packed for their ‘holiday’ to Mt Beauty!

Happy New Year to all!

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A big year, how things change.

Running the Deep Space Marathon last weekend and the lead up to it was a reminder for me of the journey I have taken over the last year.

I ran DSM in 2010 as my first off road marathon and to use as a qualifier for a trail ultra marathon.  Going in to the race last year I spent lots of time planning my race, organising gear and second guessing how I would go over  a tough, hilly trail course (I had run two road marathons in the lead up in 2010).  On race day 2010 I was lucky enough to find another runner (experienced ultra runner) who was travelling at about the same pace, so lots of chat, plenty of advice and his good pacing helped me get over the finish line in one piece and feeling ready to take a step up to longer races.

Since then I have run Bogong to Hotham 64k, 6 Foot Track (46k), North Face 100k and the Great Ocean Walk 100k – so a huge year of ultra races. Each race has brought it’s own challenges and plenty of opportunities to learn about myself, nutrition, gear, pacing, mental toughness etc. I am getting better at pre-planning based on the course and sticking to a plan (mostly!!). I have spent plenty of money trying different gear and nutrition options and have gradually worked out what suits me at this point (a topic for the future!!).

My training hasn’t really hit huge kms (compared to most doing ultras) as it really is a struggle some weeks to get runs in. Days like today where husband is away, one daughter is up at 6am and the other has just fallen asleep at 10pm – so no chance for a run at either end of the day. Mostly I do my runs early before the family is up and about, so have gradually got use to early starts (great practice for running by head torch!).  I look forward to running more during the day as the girls get older and off to school! NO complaints though as I am lucky to have family who are supportive of me heading off to do races that take me away for a few days or coming along & finding other things to do while I run all day then cheering me over the finish.

I have seen my attitude to long training runs change over the year – a 20-25k run on a Saturday use to be long, now that is a nice easy weekend! 30k – 40k perfectly normal, the hard ones being the 50k plus, but with only a few of these over the year they are manageable.

So as Deep Space approached again I reflected on my year, but also on my attitude to it. Having only run 100k at GOW four weeks previously, I was treating this as a training run and therefore very relaxed about pre-event preparation, no carb load (a kids party the day before – note, this is not a good idea, it may result in side-trips during race) and only getting gear organised late the night before. Race morning it was lovely to just get out in the bush and run, lots of company, but no pressure to perform and knowing that the distance was well within my ability.  I stuck to plan, kept it easy, walked when too steep to run comfortably (starting to prep my legs for Bogong in January) and enjoyed chatting and the scenery! Finished 2nd female, but actually more happy that I took it easy, followed plan and didn’t get caught up in pushing hard – need to leave that for goal races.

Great day out and a fitting completion to a fun year of adventures. Now trying to plan the races for 2012, lots more trail, return to some of the ones I raced this year and perhaps a couple of long road events.

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Race Report Great Ocean Walk 100 – GOW100s

I have been rather slow in getting around to writing up a race report on the Great Ocean Walk 100k trail run. So three weeks on, at long last here it is (had to make sure I wrote it before running the next race this weekend).

The GOW100s follow the Great Ocean Walk – a walking trail running from Apollo Bay to the 12 Apostles Visitors Centre. This is a beautiful and diverse trail, throwing a bit of everything at you along the way!

After a pre-race gear check and race briefing on Saturday night, headed back to accommodation to finalise packing, brief crew on what I was likely to need at each of the four checkpoints and catch up with Keren who had come down from Melbourne with her daughter to help my sister Suzanne crew & to get herself hooked on ultras.

Way too little sleep, and up at 4:45 to get ready for pre-race checkin & a 6:15am start (food to eat, feet to tape, plenty of anti-chaffe gel to apply!). Lots of nervous runners milling around at the start, with some big goals time wise being aimed for. After some final words from the Race Director, Andy Hewatt, he set us on our way right on time.

From the outset the pace at the front was quick. I settled in with the second bunch (with a number of familiar faces), clocking through the first 3kms of bike trail in 4:40min kms, and watching the lead group disappear off.

It wasn’t long until we hit the mud that we had been warned about at pre-race briefing – ankle to knee deep and going on and on and on! Watched plenty of others around me fall or get feet/shoes stuck in the mud through this section. Luckily apparently my Inov8 Talon 190s love the mud! Good grip & never felt I was going to loose them. Felt it was easier in the mud to keep running, so went past during this section especially once hit downhills before heading into Checkpoint 1.

Quickly thru the first checkpoint setting how they would all be for the day, quick top up of fluids, grab extra food and gels & drink either a Perpetuem, Sustagen or late in the race, Coke.

Much less mud after the first checkpoint and some lovely single track, but this section also saw lots of sand too – a theme for the rest of the day, short sharp little hills & sand, sand and more sand. Brief rainstorm hit as we were heading down into Checkpoint 2 (a theme for my checkpoints thru the race), so quickly through and marching back up hill.

The 2km along Johanna Beach to Checkpoint 3  was not as bad as I expected, but was walked to save my legs – must try & get some sand training in next year! We the hit the climb through hilly farm land, a new surface to face, the rough farm tracks well potholed from cattle.

Found myself running with a lot of the same people on and off for the first 65k, so thank you for their company! Great chat with lots of runners along the way as we all went thru various stages and see-sawed back and forward. Ran & chatted with Dan Bleakman for quite a while – thanks for the company, but your talk of the snakes you had seen along the trail to that point had me looking at every stick on the trail for the rest of the run.

At about 65k I hit a low spot as we went in to a hilly section (steps, steps, steps) that was humid (very humid to me after all my training being in the Canberra early morning cold!). This point was the last time I saw Nikki Wynd who powered on from there to be first female and take over 3hours off her own female race record.  This section did have me questioning why I run ultras – perhaps one day when I have been doing them a while longer I will have a solid answer, but the views along this run & the sense of achievement in completing it for now give me an answer.

Once out of the protected area and into the wind, I picked up again and was back moving thru the final checkpoint relatively well. I knew I had time up my sleeve to finish in daylight, so was nice to be able to elect to pick up my light weight head torches (which were compulsory to carry from CP4) rather than my AYUP which I love for trails and night, but not super lightweight! I also pulled the bladder with sports drink out of my pack at this point as it was no longer sitting well with me, so just carrying water from here on in.

Prior to CP4 I had talked with & walked another runner into an unmanned water drop (site of CP4 in previous years, but just unmanned water there this year as CP had been moved to more accessible spot) as he was out of water & suffering badly, so pre-warned the CP volunteers to keep eye out for him. Was pleased to get a phone call from my crew to advise me he had arrived in, and to check ok to give him some S-Caps to help his cramping (and to check amounts etc).

The final stage had some course changes from previous years meaning more single track (less dirt roads) which was lots of fun, but on tired legs sandy hills were becoming very hard! Was really just focussing on keeping moving & looking forward to first glimpses of 12 Apostles!! Lovely chat along here with a 50 k runner (relay team) about why we do these events & some of the other events around, which helped take mind off to job at hand!

Definitely mixing jogging & walking thru last 10k, even more so when at 95k (not long after the joy of seeing 12 Apostles & knowing was nearly there!) felt something do in my foot, near heel…..No way was I stopping! Luckily not too far from there we came out onto the Great Ocean Road for the final 2k. This had to be worst section for me – 2k on road with high winds pushing me off the road…..but pulled out a decent run once could see the visitors centre signs and that if I hurried, under 13 hours was possible! Finished in 12:59!! Very happy with the time……but of course plenty of thoughts on what to work on next year!

Great to be able to sit around heater in tent out of rain at the finish and chat to others before heading back to the backpackers at Port Campbell of clean up, eat & share war stories. A good laugh at my puffy ankles the next morning – had slept in my Proskins compression tights (thanks for the trial Proskins!) and forgot to add compression socks, lets just say my legs looked good until you saw the cankles.  Unfortunately had to head off early to get back to Melbourne, and flight home – limited leave pass issued by the kids!

Huge thanks to my awesome crew!! And to all those who sent messages of support before and during the run. Is always great to be taking others along on the adventure (and perhaps corrupt a few into joining me on ultras!)

Placed 2nd female, 9th overall. Was great to see the strength of the field with both the mens & womens race records being blown away like so many other ultras this year.  Yes, from the moment I finished, was thinking of next year (and next ultra – so apparently the pain was not bad enough : ) Was rally pleased that nutrition thru the race went much better that at TNF100, so hopefully heading in the right direction now I have found I can use Perpetuem at checkpoints, stomach Accel Gels right thru and that having due bladders in my backpack meant I could switch easily between water and sports drink depending on how I felt.

The GOW100s course throws all sorts of terrain (and weather) at you, and i certainly not a course to under-estimate, but is very very well organised and had amazing trail and scenery to make it an enjoyable day. The checkpoints are all well stocked and have great volunteers making it possible to do this race without crew just using drop bags.

My post race recovery has consisted of a little running, a lot of eating and a lovely short holiday on the Gold Coast. I had a few blisters thru the race, so feet are still suffering a little, and the heel/ankle issue that sprang up during the race has slowly come good with massage, rest, icing etc, so hopefully all ready now to get back into some training!

Plan for me from here is to run Deep Space Marathon this coming weekend – just as a training run, it will be first long run back,. Then back down to Bogong to Hotham in January, a run I am looking forward to, it was my first ultra (yes, this journey started in January this year) and is a truly amazing course.

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The results are in…..Proskins Slim

I held off doing a final measurement at the end of my 28 day trial of Proskins Slim as it coincided with running GOW100 km and post race I had some leg swelling (normal fluid build up after a hard long race). Race report will be done soon and will share it with you.

Measurements are now done……

I am somewhat surprised (and of course pleased) to say I lost between 1.5 and 2cm from each thigh. I say surprised for a couple of reasons, I have lowish body fat (typical distance runner), although what I do have I do carry in hips/legs, and this trial started as I was at peak training and went thru taper period and carbohydrate load – not exactly an ideal body time!!

So, of course I am happy with the results of the trial! I am however, also happy with the product even without the cm loss. These are lovely comfortable, light and well fitting compression tights. Some may question the compression on trying them on, as they are thinner (therefore more comfortable & stretchy) than other compression tights. I can attest to the compression – you could see it after I slept in them post 100k race – puffy feet and normal legs!

I would like to thank Proskins for the opportunity to trial these and share my thoughts! I will be continuing to wear mine & will continue to post updates on how I find them longer term!

Back in the next few days with a race report on the GOW 100k, just taking me a while to put all the thoughts that run through your head during it together into a comprehensible story!

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