Monday, April 25, 2011

50km Coast Trek 2011 "We are thethe Champions"


WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS!!! WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS!

We did it, and no one believed me when I said we could do it. We came 1st out right in a Time of 7:42 minutes and  the Flyers were 2nd all female team in a time of 8:45minutes.
We got 1st and 2nd Female teams and First Overall for the 50km!!!!
The Go, Go’s  took  2 hours and 11 minutes off Tony Abbot’s time. The Flyers beat Tony by more than 1 hour 8 minutes, and he is an Iron Man. We are just a bunch of girls and mothers!
We crushed it. It was such a great feeling, such an emotional feeling, such a proud feeling to win it, and the bonus was to get 2nd Female Team. They beat the next all female team by 57 minutes!!!!!
Incredible. A huge gap. They were placed 4th overall and beat Adam Spencer ‘s Team by 49 minutes. He was trained by the Wild Women On Top Team.
The Party will be on a tentative Saturday April the 2nd. So keep that date free.
It was awesome, just awesome. Proving that you can do anything that you set your mind to with the correct training and incredible mental strength.
It was a mentally strenuous event, trying to hold your nerve and guide your team through to victory. Making sure everyone was safe, hydrated and full of energy was a test. Everyone faced their demons out there on Friday and won. All my girls finished the 50km event even if they were not in one of my Teams. Kate (Camperdown) finished in a time of  11:06 minutes and Natasha (Camperdown) finished in a time of 11:56 minutes. Well done.
It was dark when we arrived at the event, we of course chose not to bring head torches, so we were milling around in the dark, trying to discreetly wee in the bushes while we did our run throughs, ROM and stretches before we walked to the start line. There is always one last wee, or 2sey that you are trying to relieve your body from before you line up at the start line.
The tension was electrifying, I could feel it form my team mates, and they looked for guidance on what to do and when to do it. 15 minutes before the event we gathered the 2 teams and headed down to the Palm Beach Start Line.
I was bold as brass, knowing that I had every right to be front and centre on the start line, and I slid my way through the 1st wave crowd of 60 teams to position myself and a few of the team mates right at the middle of the start line. I was missing all of the girls in my team, thinking , where were they, I had lost them already. “Come on guys, they better not be too polite”, was what I thought came out of my mouth to Kathy who was standing next to me. We needed to be right at the front. And we deserved to be. “Renae”, I called across the crowd, “Get your butt up here, we are runners, we are not going to slow anyone down”, I yelled. “Shona, there are 2 starts, a celebrity start and then our one, don’t go with e celebrities”, she called back, “Renae, get up here, you are needed, there is a space for all of us”, I called back, getting nervous, thinking, just get up here and don’t worry about everyone else. We need to be together, we need to be here. One by one my team mates, politely moved through the crowd to be at the front. They were all relieved when I started talking to some old Oxfam Team Mates, who were organising the event, and they felt like they deserved to be there. And they did not at all seem to mind my methods of getting to the front!
The gun went off, for Adam Spencer, he got a head start on us by 5 minutes. It was nice that he received all the media attention for the event, I am sure it helped raise over 1/2 a million dollars for the Fred Hollows Foundation.
Next it was our turn, bang, and we were off, straight off the beach and onto firm ground as fast as we could without running too fast. We were on the road and in the lead, slowly edging ahead of the pack, and it stretched out in a long snake along Palm Beach. I was hitting my rhythm when Renae, had a nervous breakdown, “I can’t do this, this is the reason why I never did well in exams at Uni” she said in a nervous panic, “What? What the f@#k? We’re just going for a run” came out of my mouth, “Just calm down, we’re just going for a run at warm up pace, that’ all we are doing”, Her heart was beating so fast, the adrenaline took over and she was in a real state, I let her lead, to set the pace, took her water bottle off her so she was not holding anything, and told her to just concentrate on her running action.
Cool, we were off the beach first and hitting the stairs. We were in the lead, and catching the celebrities fast, we caught them before the track narrowed at the top of a hill in between 2 houses at the south end of Palm Beach. First goal accomplished. I knew that if we got to that section of the track first we would be hard to catch, there was a huge down hill on the other side descending into Whale Beach, and we just rolled on down. Renae, seemed to have gain some control of her nerves, so we were hitting a rhythm again. By the time we got to the end of Whale Beach I could only see 2 teams within 1km of us.
Again, more ground was gained when we went through Avalon, Bilgola, Newport, Bungan. Renae said she was feeling tight, and she may need to throw up. We tried to give her a sports bar, but it made her feel worse. We put another gel in her and slowed down a bit to let her body recover. She sounded like she was full of lactic acid, and needed time for it to pass. So we eased off the pace, Mia had a stretch and waited until she felt better.
We then hit Mona Vale we were cruising just trying to maintain what we had already gained, there was no one in front of us. We past the leading 100km  group at Mona Vale.
We hit the head land to Turimetta Beach, and Renae was hurting. She was cramping already. I think she was just so nervous, that it set off a chain reaction of events in her body, the Adeline made her sweat more than usual. We were only at the 16km mark and we had 34kms to go. Something weird was going on, Renae, had completed all the training, she should not be cramping so badly, so early. She had completed 42km in a training run, she should not be suffering so badly so soon. “I don’t think I can do this” She said. The task ahead just seemed to great, she had just been over all of the toughest climbs, and this was all a part of the track she had not seen before. So mentally she had nothing to gauge it against. Renae, can run 16km in about 1.5 hours, she is more than fit enough to do the event. She just so nervous. And I think not seeing the start of the event was playing on her mind. She did not really believe she could do it.
We were coming first, it was just too much to give up now. I held her hand, and we looked at each other, we both shed a few tears, and I said “I will get you there, I won’t let you down. You are going to do this, and I will make sure you will” , “ We just have one more climb out of this next short beach then it is flat for 6km” “You have just done the toughest part of the race, it gets easier from now on”. We got up the climb, I Renae tried to eat Vegemite sandwiches, in the hope it would provide her with enough salt, but her body was too stressed to process it, so we had to keep feeding her the energy gels. They seemed to work.
 We followed the sign down to Turimetta Beach, and I thought it was odd, it did not feel right, when the cliff came into my sights, and the beach further away, I realised that the marker was placed incorrectly, I ran back to the sign to check again, and it was wrong, we guided some 100km team out the correct way in the hope that karma would pay off.
At the 25km check point, I sent Renae to St John’s Ambulance in the hope they could offer her something that I could not. She came back empty handed. I was so worried about her. It is just not good for someone to be cramping so early in an event, and we had only just reached the 1/2 way point. I had no idea if what I was suggesting was going to make her ill, or if it was going to get her to the finish line. But we worked out that Renae needed almost double the electrolytes that the rest of the team needed. So we used the supplies that our trusty support crew brought to the check point. In fact we had the only support crew there, being Janet and her Brother Tim, Sophie’s husband. We were so organised, everyone had their boxes with what they thought they needed to get through the 50km, Tim was even play “Eye of the Tiger” for us on his guitar as we left the check point. They were like angels, and they were just the best thing to see when you were feeling down.
We were off and running again onto Dee Why Beach, when Mia realised that she had forgotten to pack her Hydrolites, I sent her back, and waited for her whilst I sent Renae and Les on. That pack of Hydrolyites proved to be so handy later in the event.
Renae, seemed to have recovered, so much that Mia and I were having problems catching up with them, we had to call out to them to tell them to stop and wait. Crazy how you can feel really bad one minute and then feel fine the next. So Dee Why, then onto Curl Curl. When we hit the rocks at Curl Curl it was a 1.6m high tide, we had never trained with a tide that high, so we were really placed in a terrible amount of danger as we tried to make our way onto the beach, there was a massive 2m swell that day,and the waves were crashing up onto the rocks, and hitting the cliff.  We had only 30cm between us and the cliff above to transverse over, the were waves crashing into the huge boulders that we were trying to climb cross.It was dangerous, but there really was not any other way around. We had to try and cross through this section of rocks and waves, and try and do it in one piece. We stuck together, trying to keep everyone in each others site, and just hoping we did not get a huge freak wave crashing to sweep one of us away. Mia, hit the sand, and then me then Les, followed by Renae, she ran into the water in the hope that it would help her legs and cool her core temperature down. It seemed to work.
At the end of Curl Curl the beach, we had Freshwater, then Manly and then some much needed shade. It was a hot day 25C, and I had broken my hat trying to cool it down in the massive surf a couple of beaches back. At the end of Manly Beach Mia and I had a shower, and Renae kept going, she was not feeling good. At the top of the North Head in the bush, Renae, said “Shona , I don’t know what to do, I just feel bad, I feel sick.” I yelled to my team “Get your tops off, it’s too hot, let’s cool down” and I gave Renae another energy gel, and some corn chips, but she did not feel like eating. Mia suggested a hydrolites, and we put in an energy gel. We were just trying to keep her hydrated so she could get to the end.
Check point number 3 was at North Head, I had to ask a guide on the National Park where the check point was, he had no idea, so I asked where the guests house was, he said “Gate House?” “yes that’s the one”, I found the check point, and just as we were leaving we saw our angels again, Janet and Tim, thought they better give us some support and a cheer and some much needed help by providing some hydrolites ice pols and a friendly face.
At this point, we put 2 hydrolite icy pols in Renae, and Les and I gave her a much needed rub down with voltaren. She was in absolute ecstasy, “So why could not have St John’s Ambulance do that at the 25km mark”, I said, I had to think of the footy players and what they do. They always get rub downs, so Les and I gave Renae one. It seemed to do the trick. Off we went, down the hill and onto the home stretch of the Manly to Balmoral only 15km to go. Just a bit more than the City to Surf.
After Collins Beach and Little manly Beach the call went out for Calippos! I ran ahead down to Manly Wharf to find some, I could not find a shop, so I had to go into Aldi to find a whole box. I jumped to the front of the Que., explaining that I was in a race and I needed to go ahead. I gave every one a Icy Pol and made Renae put the extra one in her Bra to cool her down. After another pee we were on our way. We headed through Seaforth, then another massage was administered to Renae, then through 40 baskets, and another pee stop. Then we were looking for check point number 4.
My GPS said that we had gone past the 42km mark by 500m, I dumped my pack, sent the others on and ran back along a small goat track I’d spotted about 200m back. No luck,there was not a check point marker at the end of this track. I ran back, it was just so much fun to run without a pack on, I was sprinting, I felt so light. I re-joined the girls and we continued on. I had so much energy and I was desperate to keep the pace up, I ran off, and tried to gee them up a bit by saying “Come on Stay with me”, But all the response was “Stay with us”, cool,  point noted, to the back of my team I went, and I let them set the pace. there was no point pushing these girls any faster than they were capable of, we were miles ahead of the next group, they were hurting and clearly doing their best, and I would hate to have one of them fall. It would have been stupid to go any faster.
The last section from manly to the Spit Bridge is mainly a single man track, so you have to have your whits about you otherwise you have gone down with a sprained ankle or worse. So we took it slow. Mia was starting to feel the effects of the Kms, she was getting a bit dizzy. Again, another energy gel, and more water. She needed to take it slow, she also could not be at the back either. So I stayed at the back. Mia was having problems finishing the race. Renae realised that she was in running distance and was starting to feel great when she realised she was out of water! She swore, and got really upset with herself. I said “I have heaps, I am carrying extra just in case. Here have my back pack, I’ll have yours”. I put my pack on her back and she felt the weight of water I was carrying. I think I had still over 2L in my pack. I mentioned that we will be having our last Gel now, we probably won’t need another one. We are less than 5km away.
Mia was having more problems the closer we got. She has never won anything so special before in her life and really did not want to make a mistake. She was having problems trusting her resolve. Trusting herself not to give up and to finish the race. I had to go behind her to make sure did did not drop off the back. She was tired, and just could not imagine being finished in less than 1/2 an hour.
Les was just such a power house, she was quite, so quite for Les and was just trying to get the job done. She was an awesome team mate to have, I did not have to worry about her. She had it, she could imagine winning, we spoke about it before the race and she did believe it, she believed it was possible and was comfortable with the idea. It is funny that Mia and Renae were not comfortable with the idea before the race started....
Past Contarf, for yet another wee, and we were running again, we crossed the spit bridge and Renae and Les could taste victory. Chinaman’s beach was crossed and our final climb accomplished. I Said “We can be finished in just 10 minutes if we just keep going”, we descended onto Balmoral Beach, and for the third time that day we were again slowed down by the Photographer, he was just running too slow for us. I found it really amusing that he could not keep up, it felt like we were going so slow. It just shows how fast we really were. We ran off the beach and headed straight for the stairs and onto the Broad walk. Of course they made the finish line 200m further than shown on the map,they never put the finish line closer than what they say, always further away,  but when I saw that yellow finish line my eyes for transfixed on it. I could not take my eyes off it. Again we slowed for Mia, but it did not matter, we were together, helping each other.We were so far ahead, it did not matter about the time. We joined hands and the tears came flooding out. I think I started crying 400m from the finish line. I just could not believe that I had got my first group of girls over the finish line. I was feeling so guilty for “conning” them into doing this event, they had suffered so much pain. But now that I had got my team to the finish line I was just so proud of them. They were all hurting in their own way, and I knew how they had struggled, and they did it. They did what everyone thought they could not do. They became a winner.
We came over the finish line all together holding hands, and the minute we crossed it we all cried some more, we sobbed separately in our own world of triumph, then we were bombarded by family, friends and the organisers, we then came together for a victory photo. This victory was my sweetest one yet. I thank my team for it. Renae, Les and Mia thank you and I would do it all again with you.

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