Friday, May 25, 2012

Check Point 5 Queen Victoria to The Finish the Fairmont Resort

I ran into Check Point 5 Queen Victoria Hospital after 89km with mixed feelings. I'd lost 3th place. I had a sore knee and and I felt slightly ashamed that I could not keep the 3rd place. There was a descent crowd at the Check Point. Heaps of people were calling my name and cheering for me. I just wanted to make everyone proud by getting onto the podium. I wanted to come third or better so much.
As I entered the bag drop area I was so surprised to spot Bernadette at the food station area. I dare not look again or slow down thinking that she might see me.  She should be about a kilometre up the road. What was she still doing here? I quickly found my bag. I ripped out my Hydralyte hydration bottles of my back pack and popped in my trusty old Sustain mix in one side of my back pack and chilled water into the other. I grabbed my gels and I was off and out of there in about a minute. I took my first sip of my Sustain mix and it just just gold. In my head it took the sick feeling in my gut away. It was just bliss.
I was running to the cheer of the crowd and I was back in 3rd place just like that. About thirty seconds later I was passed by Bernadette again. She was going to make me work for 3rd position. She instantly gained about twenty meters on me. Your brian is a funny thing. Your mood can change from absolute distress and disappointment in yourself and your ability to a focused super human running machine in a matter of minutes. My thoughts in my head started to tick over. I'm on this road climbing only a slight hill. My legs had a new lease of life because they found the climb so easy compared to Kedumba. My knee stopped hurting. I could run and run fast.  I past by a bunch of guys in a Hotted up V8 Holden Commodore with the number plate GNW100 drove past with the entire contents of the car yelling "Go Shona". It was just the best sight and just the encouragement I needed. Being a mum of two I love to be yelled at from a car. I spotted the 90km sign. I thought to myself. I'm better than 4th. I've just won the GNW100 I hold the record for that course. I have 10km to go. I like running 10km. I ignored that I'd already run 90km and just thought about the next 10km. I have two 10km Foot Point Trail series course records. I said to myself. I want to be on the podium. My friends and family would be so proud of me if I was on the podium. Mikey and the kids Keisha and Milla want me to be on the podium. The next 10km is a technical single man track. I love running on a single man track. I'm one of the best single man track runners going around. I'm going to run down Bernadette now.
With this new lease of life I ran down Bernadette, then ran straight past her. I past another 3 guys then Bradley Vartsch who was so nice to me coming up Kedumba ran up beside me. He looked back and checked to see where Bernadette was and said. "You've got a lead and it looks like the gap is growing." He assured me. I don't know why he wanted to help me but he did.
"Thank's Mate". Was all I think I said. I just wanted to get to the single man track and hide from Bernadette. We pushed on together. He ran slightly in front of me setting the pace. I yell directions from behind helping him find his way to the single man track. We passed another guy. We were making great time. I dared not look back to see where Bernadette was. I was being hunted and I was running scared.
We hit the single man track and his pace slowed slightly. "Do you want to pass" He asked.
"Nah....wait yes". With that I was off like a maniac flying through the technical single man track and willing the descents to come thick and fast because I knew I would gain time on Bernadette the tougher the track became. I gave the track my absolute all. Telling myself that it was only 10km and I was amazing 10km runner. I past over Wentworth Falls I ran under the over hanging cliffs past the picnic grounds up and down the countless sets of stairs and I remembered what happened to me last year at the 95km mark when I was passed by a Kiwi Jean Beaumont and that I was not going to let anyone pass me this year.
I've learnt so much in a year. Last year I did not put new batteries in my head torch so my light was so crap. This year I had lithium batteries in my Led Lensor and it lit up the track so brightly. I could run at a fantastic pace using my full agility skills to manoeuvre through the sand stone maze of a track.
I climbed a set of stairs and I check to see if anyone was behind me. I spotted a head torch about 100m behind me. It was pitch black. Total darkness. I could not tell if the person behind me was a male or a female. Run, Run, Run. I pushed into my quads with my hands. I made them move fast and swiftly over the sets of uneven bush stairs. I started to breath deeper. Come one. Only 5km to go. They are hurting too. Go, Go, Go. I started to gasp for air. Getting the most out of my lungs. I could hear the tremendous effort I was exhorting. My lungs told me I was at my limit. I was gasping for air. I know that sound it is the sound of me running fast.
Run, Run, Run. I spotted the 3km to go marker then descend down 200m to Lillian's Bridge. I bounded down the stairs taking 2-3 steps at a time knowing that I still had to try and increase the gap on who ever was chasing me. I ran across the bridge and pleaded with my quads to push up this final set of steps which would continue to climb for the next 2km. I check back and I increased the gap on who ever was following me. Push, Push, Push. I push on my quads and pleaded with myself to start to run. Run, Run, Run. The boggy man is chasing you. Go. He will catch you go. I ran when I could and then had to power walk up the steps that were too steep to run and I just kept urging myself on. Go, Go, Go. I looked back and I spotted the runner only 200m behind me. Come on. You want 3rd position. Go. It's Bernadette. She is going to get you. Come on only 1500m to go that's less than 10 more minutes of pain go.
I looked up and spotted the lights of the  Fairmont Resort, I ran past the green grass of the of the golf course. I could hear the music playing from the finish line and I could hear people cheering. Come on only a few more hundred meters. I ran out on the the grassy lawn of the Fairmont Resort ground and spotted the finish line. I checked behind me and there was a runner only 200m back. Run. Run. Run. I sighted Keisha and Milla at the bottom of the steps 20m from the finish line.
"Run. Keisha. Run Milla. There is someone chasing me. Run. Run. Run!" I yelled. I was worried they would get upset if I did not slow down to run with them. I got closer and I yelled again. "Run guys run. Run to the finish line, someone is chasing me, someone wants my third spot run!"
"Go Mummy." They both said and they took my cue and started to run.
They started to run but it was not fast enough I flew past them both. I pushed the last strength out of my quads up the final 10 steps and ran over the finish line with the kids running close behind. If I did not have someone on my tail I would have slowed down and ran across with them. But it was dark and I could not tell who was running behind me when you are a mum I swear you never get the perfect finish. Always torn between place and time goals and the perfect photo finish with your kids.
I was elated that I had made it onto the podium. I could not believe that I managed a personal best of 50 minutes and finished in 12 hours and 29 seconds. Mikey my husband and Sally my Barefoot Inc sponsor were at the finish line. I was so happy that I had made both my husband and my sponsors so proud of me. I felt like I have held up my end of the bargain with all the support I have received. I could not be happier. It was just the best feeling. I stood in the finishing area and allowed myself to enjoy the moment. I posed for a few photos and chatted to friends and family and just abosrbed the awesome achivement that I had accomplished. It was just the best. I stood in the lime light and I loved it. I had to make the most of it. Last year I quickly ran inside struggling for breath, sick as a dog, my lungs filled with mucous and my husband and kids were at a house somewhere else in Leura. This year I had my husband and kids here with me to share our family achievement.  It was just the most perfect finish. It just took 12 hours of some of my best racing to get it.
Who was just behind me. I think it was Paul Robertson. A guy who passed me on Kedumba but I managed to run down in the last 10km.
So how did I compare to the legends of the sport. Beth Cardelli broke the women's record by 20 minutes and managed a personal best from 2010 of 57 minutes with a time of 11 hours 18 minutes. (Beth was injured in 2011 she ran Western Staes 100 Mile and finshed 11th). Former course record holder Julie Quinn came 2nd with a fantastic time of 11 hours 51 minutes only 9 minutes ahead of me. Bernadette came 4th with a solid time of 12 hours 13 minutes. I have only allowed Beth Cardelli, Julie Quinn and the World Champion Nerea Martinez times beat my time. I have the 5th fastest time for the course.
So who is Bernadette? I had an idea of who she was from reading the pre-race reports but I later googled her. She is an ultra marathon running legend who hold the course record for many track ultra events. She has run 200.886km in 24 hours. 70.406km in 6 hours. 100 Mile in 18:17:25. She is also a physiologist. I'm probably happy I did not know who she was before hand..........
My breathing and sickness? I went into the doctor with my post race symptons 6 days later still wheezing and having trouble walking up the slightlest of hills without feeling breathless and I was then diagnosed with exercised induced asthma. I have been trying to get the bottom of my condition for 3 years now. I finally think I will be able to manage it.


  1. That runner was me not far behind you. I was catching you when at the 3km to go sign 11hrs35min I fell down a heap of stairs, corked my quad and was reduced to a slow walk to the finish. 6 runners past me in that last 3km and it took 41min to to finish from where I fell.

    1. Hi Bear,
      What a bummer to fall so close to the finish. You made me run so fast! Thanks for that. Even though it did not work out so well for you. I hope you have recovered!
      See you out running.

  2. Great to see you on the podium. Fantastic race report. Congratulations.