Monday, February 13, 2012

Mt Solitary, Inov8 Roc Lite 268 and Dead Wombat Creek


  Finally the torrential rain in Sydney had stopped just in time for my clients and I to run the Sun Run 6.5km Dee Why to Manly Beach. I then headed from the Beach at Manly to the Wentworth Falls in the Blue Mountains, to Run to Mt Solitary and back again, about 30 plus kilometres. I wanted test the Inov8 Roc Lite 268. I had see if they will with hold the impact of me flying the down Kedumba Fire Train. I also wanted to check out the climb on the Mt Solitary Circuit and get some hard kilometres under my city girl legs.

I managed to convince Mia, to come out with me, she has entered 6 Foot Track, and needs the training. We headed out late, we hit the track at about 11:30am the sun was shining, the sky was a stunning blue, it was getting hot as we were leaving the cold, damp cliffs of the Wentworth Falls area, climbing up onto the Kings Tableland, I was soon stripping off my singlet and running just in my bra. We passed a group of tourist, I thought I would ask the Tour Guide for directions. "Where is your map?" He said in a caustic tone.  I giggled, as a map would not help you in this area, there is just a maze he was clearly having a bad day, taking 20 tourist to the falls. He was stressed out, grumpy and in a foul mood. He did not help us, which I thought was really rude, as a trail runner, I always try and help out. We took a few wrong turns, but we soon were flying down the Kings Tableland Road, past the old Queen Victoria Hospital and onto the fire trail.
Mia and I kept stopping to chat to other walkers, I guess we were a sight, 2 hot 30ish year old supper fit runners in their prime heading out together, me in just my bra and my compressions and Mia with her amazing chest and her hot pink running belt were a sight for an old walkers eyes. No wonder we were stopped. I ran with Mia for the first 7kms, we dropped some water at the top of the Kedumba Fire trail and then I had to leave her. I released my breaks and I flew down the Kedumba Fire Trail, loving my Roc Lite 268. They felt great. My foot could move in all directions to accommodate the uneven surface. I could take the impact on the balls of the feet and enjoyed the smooth ride down the monstrous descent of 850m. I was having a ball, the shoes felt great and they offered enough protection from the sharp fire trail stones for my sensitive feet. (2010 I had to take 4 months off running to rehab stress fractures). 

I waited for Mia at the Junction on the trail, and once Mia caught up we turned right and followed the trail deeper into the valley, and soon came across the Mount Solitary Walking Route. We decided to run to Chinaman's Cave. So off we went, I stayed with Mia through this section, not wanting her to get lost. Her eyesight is not as sharp as mine and the trail was really difficult to follow. After 2km of a winding single man track we came across a creek. It was fast flowing, mud brown and up to our hips. Technically we should not have entered the dirty creek, but we took a gamble, picked the best spot to enter the rapids and we were soon back on dry land and re-joined to the trail on the other side. We both took a few steps and smelt death. Something was dead. The oh so wrong, revolting smell and the thought of leeches being everywhere was enough to get me up and running again. So with the fear of death and leeches in my head I was off and climbing up to the top of Mount Solitary.
The Roc Lite's were so good at gripping to the wet clay surface that whilst I was climbing up the amazingly steep ridge onto Mt Solitary I noticed how well they adapted to the surface. I was so impressed that I was compelled to take a photo of the terrain and the Inov8 Roc Lite 268. They ate their way up the side for the mountain. I was loving the new freedom the shoes gave me. Finally, a shoe that was light weight, supportive and with amazing grip. My foot was free to make contact with the  slope at any angle it wished, so I was able to run up most of the climb. Well enough of the climb, until I started to have to watch out for leeches at the Bush Stairs close to the top.


 At the top of the 1000m climb I stopped and asked a couple of medical students take my photo. About 10 of them were nested up on the mountain. I chatted to them for some time, they told me about a dead wombat they had seen close to the creek at the base of the mountain. That must have been that bad smell we had noticed on our way up. I waited for Mia to join me. It soon became apparent that they were all covered with leeches. One by one they spotted a leech on their legs, stomachs, shoulders, backs, they started pulling them off each other. One guy found one down his pants. So he started to undress. The group was starting to gross me out. I was leech free, and I wanted to keep it that way. I was fast enough to keep them off me though the bush I was not going to hang around these guys any more. They were leech magnets. "Mia, Miiiiiiaaaaaa" I shouted down the cliff. I had been stopped for some time and I wanted to get moving again. After a few more shouts she appeared. She had been attached by just one leech on her shin. It had already dropped off her. We ate a gel and took off along the ridge deeper into the Mountain. I wanted to clock up about 36kms, the same as the Megalong Mega. But clearly these kms were worth more than Kms on the 6 Foot Track, and Mia was starting to look tired, so when my GSP clocked up 15.5kms Mia and I decided to head back down off the Mountain. I did have a 2km Ocean Swim the next day, the Cole Classic, so I took the sensible option and headed back.


 Again the Roc Lite 268 were amazing, gripping on the soft clay, helping me descend off the steep ridge of the mountain. The heal gripped nicely into the soil, as I slid my way off the canyon and back down to the creek below. I stayed with Mia, making sure we both got to the creek safely. Mia, was adamant that she was drinking out of "a" creek that day. She had drunk out of Nellies Glen whilst on the 6 Foot Track, and wanted to drink some cold mountain water. I suggested that she did not, seeing that the water was dirty, we had had so much rain and who knows what was in there. I was worried about what had run off into the brown creek. She still had water in her hydration pack and we had more stashed up at the 7km to go mark. But Mia is a nature girl, a bit of a hippy and very stubborn, so there was no way I could convince her otherwise, so she drank out of the creek.
With in seconds of drinking, we walked a couple of metres and smelt something dead. Fuck. "It must be that dead wombat those medical students were talking about. Mia, you've just drunk out of Dead Wombat Creek". Man, she could be in real trouble soon. I just hoped that the part that she drank out of was not contaminated.
We crossed the creek, which we now affectionally named "Dead Wombat Creek", and headed back to Kedumba. Mia was going slowly, and I am shit scared of leeches, so I jumped in the lead and ran  up the climb about to the fire trail of Sublime Ridge.
I was enjoying the climb, I was also testing out my UltrAspire Pack out again. It was a stinking hot day and I was wet with sweat, and it seemed that I was only going to get one minor chaff mark on the lower middle part of my back. Next time I will have to apply more Paw, Paw ointment on my back. My shoulders, ribs were all clear so this as a positive for me. 
Once on the Fire Trail I found a eroded boulder to sit on and text my husband and friends about my adventures. After some time I soon started to spot leeches in the leaf litter, I was surrounded, marooned on my island boulder. Man I've remained leech free for 21km, and I have to wait, I'm just leech bate sitting here. Hurry up Mia, "Mia, Miiiiiiaaaa", I called out into the forest. In just the nick of time, when a leech was attaching it's self to the bottom of my Inov8 shoes Mia appeared from the trail, but not from the opening of the trail, she was a appeared few meters off course bush bashing her way through the vegetation. This made me giggled. She must be out of it, to loose the track so close to the junction. What a nutter.
"Mia, thank god your here, I'm being attacked by leeches!". Well one tiny leech was trying to attack me. I dragged it aggressively through the dirt to hopefully kill it and remove it from my shoe.
"I've been chucking for the last 5 minutes, I think that water was bad, I drank out of Dead Wombat Creek, I'm going to be slow." Fuck, I thought we were 10km from my car, and Mia was clearly sick. 
"I'll run back to the car and drive back and pick you up, you just walk out, you have water 3kms up the road, you will be O'kay, can you have a gel?" I asked.
"Nah, I can't hold anything down." Mia express looking a bit stressed.
With this I was off running up the steep climb of Kedumba. I counted my steps up to 100 up the climb forging out a rhythm. The climb is straight up  for 850m on a wide fire trail. I  used up my last supplies of water just before my re-fill point at the 7km away from my car back at Wentworth Falls Car Park. I swopped water bottles and loved having my Sustain mix back again. I had been eating Nunns (Hydration tablet) for the last hour, but they fizzed up my nose. Sustain just makes my muscles feel nice. With my new supplies on board I was up and running, I felt great. My shoes felt springy on the hard surface, and I was enjoying stretching my legs and getting a kick on the road past the Queen Victoria Hospital. I ran up Kings Tableland Rd, I spotted a bucket on the side of the road, which will later come in handy, and turned left to rejoin the bush track to head back to Wentworth Falls. I passed 2 women walking their dogs and recognised, and greeted the local, who I had seen the last time I was running in the area. I hit the single man track again, hooned down the steps, past over Wentworth Falls and remembered the finish of TNF and tried to run as fast as I could back to the car to save Mia.
I  jumped in the car and drove back to get Mia. I found Mia at the Queen Victoria Hospital, looking like she had lost weight. She had a leech mark on her groin, one on her shin and with further inspection she had another 2 leeches on the heals of her feet inside her shoes. Nasty.
"Do you have a bucket in your car?" She asked, looking green as can be.
"Nah, but I saw a bucket on the side of the road up ahead, a pink one, you know those little buckets from the 80s, what were they called?" I said relieved that I take notice of what I  pass when I am running.
"An Itty Bitty Bin?" Mia said with a laugh.
"Yeah, and Itty Bitty Bin, it's just up ahead."Too Funny, and Itty Bitty Bin, the craze form the 80s, was  going to save my car form vomit. We removed the leeches from Mia's feet and we drove on and picked up the Itty Bitty Bin from the side of the road, and started the long drive back to Sydney. I hogged into the cookies. Offering Mia one, but knowing that they were all mine. She was feeling to sick to eat, excellent, I get them all of my awesome cookies, I thought not at all feeling guilty.
As we were driving back, Mia was belching, and looking sicker and sicker, the curvy roads of the Blue Mountains were making her stomach churn. She puked into the Itty Bitty Bin, and I had to pull over at Woodford to let her chuck freely. Man she was sick. If she drank any water, it was coming back up 10-15 minutes later. I only had gastro stops in the car. I had Maxalon's at home, but we had to drive all the way back to Sydney to get them. She emptied the bin of the spew contents into the weeds on the side of the road and got back in to car and we set off again.
I had lost it by now, everything seemed amusing, I had been awake since 5am, and I had run 39kms that day, (including the Sun run and Running back an extra few kms before I could catch a taxi) , on Oats, cookies, and a few gels. I was low on glucose and my brain was fried. Mia was worried she was making me feel sick. I thought it was just funny, she drunk out of Dead Wombat Creek, I was happy it was not me spewing for once. In the last month I had a really bad case of food poisoning from either seafood or eggs, I then had gastro a few weeks later, I then had a hernia. After the GNW I had a massive spew. I was just happy it was not me chucking in my car. Mia, also expressed that she has only chucked 3 times in the last 10 years, and on 2 occasions it had been with me. ( She was chucking whilst completing Oxfam at the 32km mark). This made me laugh more. Far out, the adventures you will go.
Half way down the freeway Mia puked again, and I found a emergency phone area to safely pull off the free way so she could finish. She chucked up everything, there was not much more left. When she returned to the car we both cracked up laughing. Bloody Dead Wombat Creek. With this thought in our heads, we drove for a further 30 minutes back to my house. I ran inside and got her some maxalon tablets, when I returned I found her chucking again on the side of the road on my street, now we were a sight to behold. Back in the city, only half dressed covered in mid and blood. This time she was bringing up bile. I decided to take her to the hospital only 1500m away and try and get her a Maxalon Shot, a shot of antibiotics any anything else she needed. Off we went to the hospital.  We checked her in. I could not stay. I had to leave. It was 7:30pm , I found everything funny, I still had not eaten properly, and I was putting off the really sick patients, with my constant giggling. Every time I looked  at Mia I burst out laughing. So I got the nurse to clean up Mia's leech wounds, and I was off. Only to spot a good friend of mine Kerion Blackmore running for the first time on 4 weeks. I told him the story and we were both in stitches on the side of the road. I was in tears, I found the day so funny.What a day.
Mia, soon left the hospital after being able to hold down Maxalon Tablets, and she was out running the next day with friends training for a 1/2 Marathon. Go Mia.

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