We all met up on the Saturday
We headed out to the race start and met up with a heap of old buddies! The great thing about ultras, and in particular trail ultras is the familiar faces you see at every event, and the true characters that partake in these long runs! It was awesome to talk some rott with Coach Jeff, Rony, see Lori for the first time since returning from Africa, Lee and Dion, Alun, Ian and a heap of other friends and smiling faces.
Before long we gathered at the start line and headed off into the cool morning air. Flippen ridiculous...so cold I had to start with a shirt on. Ugh! That didn't last long though and it was off before 6:30am. Melinda, Dad and I all settled into a nice easy pace and enjoyed the morning banter. Melinda came into the event with an ITB problem and given the distance, the course and her injury, it was a big ask for her to even make the start line. Before about 10-15k was up, it was evident that her leg was causing some considerable drama. Down hills pretty much reduced her to a walk and were slow going.
Shortly after the 15k mark, we headed toward the infamous powerlines. Most people hate them (as did I last year at the miler when I had a chest infections!) but I love them. It is gnarly, brutal up and down trail for a few k's. This was SUPER tough on Melinda. The look on her face said it all and by the time we got to the end of this section, I really thought she was going to drop at the next check point.
To her credit though, she kept a good pace on the flats and up hills and once she got a little running in, we were moving along ok. We arrived at Checkpoint 8 and saw Ann smiling face! She is one of the amazing volunteers that sits in the middle of nowhere to help us runners out on race day! Our crew on the other hand was no where to be seen?? (I think they were drinking coffee) but we battled on.
The western and eastern loops here are tough little buggers and I always feel like I'm kind of heading into a dungeon to do battle. I have bonked hard on the western loop and it is a bit of a mental landmark for me. Melinda was reduced to the 'çrab' on the steep downhills but powerhiked the ups well and ran constant on the flats. After completing the western loop (and having a good laugh at a strange man hiding in the bush to ambush us (Coach)), seeing our beautiful crew of my two girls, Tegan, Mum and my grandma, we headed off for the eastern loop. After an awesome climb up Cooks lookout we arrived back at Checkpoint 8 before the trip home.
Now these two loops proved something to me. I don't want to sound pretentious here but in running, it takes a far bit to impress me these days...and my sister did just that! She was hurting and had no right to even finish 20k let alone battle on in some rough terrain...but she did. More on that in a bit.
After leaving Checkpoint 8 (and some first aid for Melinda by the Doc) we started the relatively rolling to flat terrain home, 12kish. Melinda was running really well on the flats and we were making up some really good time. Where once at Powerlines I thought we were looking at about 7hrs finish, we were now looking at sub 6hr 30min and finishing strong. We continued to spot competitors in the distance and push Melinda along to catch them. We reeled them in one by one until about 2-3k from the finish Melinda got super upset. We figured out that she must have got a big blood blister under her toenails (which I used to get all the time) and she had stepped on some un-even ground and burst them...very painful. I talked her through it and she kept on running.
About 1-2k from the finish we spotted Lori and worked real hard to try and catch her. We pushed Melinda every bit of that last 12k but we just couldn't quite the dreadlocked, sandal wearing hippy (my sister from another mother)! She got us by about 70metres. We finished the race in 6hrs and 20min and I couldn't be a more proud brother.
|The crew...with offspring in tow!|
On a personal note, we ran much slower than I usually do, but that is irrelevant. Today I feel fresh and never felt tired on the course. I soaked up the beautiful nature, positive conversation and lovely 6ish hours training on my feet! I have some massive plans for the rest of the years racing and this was a great building block! Thanks to Dad, Melinda, my beautiful family for being support crew once again, all my friends (new and old from the day) and my sponsor Chris at the Mower Doctor Bundy for helping another event go amazing! RIPPER!
As a last note, I have been at it again! I have been the guest on another Podcast with the Coach! I would love it if you have about 50minutes to spare to jump over to the below link and have a listen. We are mainly chatting about the upcoming Bundy's Fat Ass event, as well as footware, diet and just general rott! GOLD. There is also a link below for the Facebook page for the Fat Ass...send me a request on there and keep up to date with what should be a super fun event! Lastly, I have attached a link below for my affiliate link to Luna Sandals. If you are looking for some amazing footware, get on over there and get hooked up!
Well guys, that's it! Thanks for reading, hope you are all stella and training hard! Love you all, peace, respect and plants! Run Free...TattooRunner
Bundy's Fat Ass - http://www.facebook.com/groups/642144945811703/
The Podcast - http://www.coachjeff.com.au/2013/05/18/coach-jeff-podcast-316-running-podcast-088/
My Luna Sandals affiliate link - http://www.lunasandals.com/?aid=4c7p5f3p