Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Check Point 3 Old Ford Farm to Check Point 4 Katoomba Aquatic Centre.
I spotted my mate Noel again. We were both really happy to be exiting the Check Point under 6 hours. We ran on together out onto the 6 foot track and I enjoyed the company. The 6 Foot Track is special to most trail runners in NSW. It is our stomping ground and we know it well it always hurts and it always delivers some great stories so it is a special trail in my running heart.
Soon we were fed out onto a wide fire trail that slowly climbed for 6km to the base of the stairs of Nellies Glen. On this fire trail I was passed by a female runner. She was as fresh as could be and was running in the Pairs Division and had only just started 6km ago. Immediately I recognised her from last year. In 2011 this same runner had speed past me with hiking poles while I was taking a piss in the bushes. Ten meters after she hooned past me she let out the biggest scream, a huge Red Belly Black snake slithered less than a foot ahead of her.
"Going well Shona. Don't worry I'm in the Pairs" She said as she raced past.
"Hey did you not pass me last year at the exact same spot then almost step on a Red Belly Black Snake?" I asked.
We then both burst out laughing. We both could not believe that we were passing each other on the exact same place on the track and that we both remembered exactly what had happened the year before. It was a nutty day of chances. Thank goodness this year there was not a Red Belly to step on. I was feeling better now and I no longer wanted to be bitten by a snake. How your moods can change in olny 20km.
Noel dropped back a bit and I tried to catch the guy in front. The fire trail soon steepened and Noel passed me again. I followed Noel up the gorge and I soon passed him.
"I'm cramping". He grimaced and started to walk backwards."Walking backwards can sometimes help, but it is not making a difference"
"Take a salt tablet, you'll be okay" I reassured.
He was hurting and his obvious pain slowed him down. I reached the steps of Nellies and I could not have been happier. I have a love hate relationship with this section of the course. The steps are murder for your quads but they also indicate that you are close to the top. You just have to climb up 800m of them. It is the only place I would drink out of the creek it is just so beautiful and the stream is so clean. I pushed my hands into my quads and did my best to take one step per step up the massive climb. I spotted another male runner close to the top. I remembered what my friend said to me about Julie and I knew she would just keep coming. I pushed on and looked back a few times but I could not see anyone hunting me down and tried my hardest to stay focused on my goals.
Close to the top I caught the Kiwi Barefoot Inc Runner Brendon Keenan. I ran along behind him along the single man track and we soon caught up with my mate Shane.
"Hey Shane how are you going?" I asked.
"I'm cramping" He replied in pain.
"You cramped at this same spot last year. You never eat or drink enough. take a salt tablet". I replied. With that I was off and running with Brendon. We chatted and for a while and I did my best to stay with him on the climbs and before long I was able to pass him on the descent into the Katoomba Aquatic Centre.
I spotted Mikey and my two daughters Keisha and Milla standing in front of the brick Aquatic Centre holding fluro orange and yellow signs. Milla's sign read. "Go Mummy. 'Don't look back leave it all on the Track'" A quote from Racing Stripes a kids movie. Keisha's read "Go Mummy. Keep Going. Don't Quit".
A marshal came up to me and informed me that I would not have to carry my fleece or water proof pants in my back pack. Last year we had to carry the extra safty gear due to close to freezing conditions. The year the weather was so nice and warm. This must be my lucky day. Excellent, I thought. My back pack was probably a bit too small to carry the extra gear from check point 4 to the finish line. I did not have to worry about my back pack any more. Sweeeeeet!
I smiled and waved and ran into the 4th Check Point of the Day. Katoomba Aquatic Centre 65km 7 hours 24 minutes. I was feeling better. I could feel the end getting closer and I just love the next 15km.