Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Narrow Neck CP1 to Dunphy's Camp CP2

I quickly filled re-filled up my hydration mix at Narrow Neck Check Point. Hydration and fuelling is so important in a 100km event. If you get it wrong you stop running and you are walking. In this event I had changed my nutritional strategy. I was going got use Hydralyte Sports and Gu Roctanes. I was to have a Gu Roctane every 30 minutes with water then drink my electrolyte mix every 15 minutes. I had tested it out in my last training session and it seemed to work.
I ran on wanting to get to Dunphy's Camp in less than 2 hours from here. I knew Beth and Julie were chasing me I had to push on and work hard through this exposed fire trail section of the course. The ridge was full of spectators, film crews, photographers. I felt like a move star being followed by the film crew in  a 4WD up the ridge. It did not bother me. It is great that our sport is getting the exposure it deserves.
Never have I seen such a pristine day on Narrow Neck Ridge. I could see mountain ranges in the distance that I have never been able to see before. The air was so clear and clean. The sun was shining. Perfect conditions for a mountain ultra. Perfect conditions for filming an event.
I pushed on as the guys who I passed on the Golden Stairs one by one passed me on Narrow Neck. A few kilometres later a friend of mine Noel passed. "Hi Shona, Beth is not far behind". He warned me.
"I know". I replied. I knew she would catch me on Narrow Neck. We know how each other inside out. We were able to train together on 2 occasions and we had a fair idea of each others race plans. She is an amazing athlete. Her name I etched in my brain since my first 6 Foot Track 3 years ago when I first saw her fly past me up a fire trail near the Pluviometer. She is an amazing climber. So light on her feet. So strong in her mind.
I pushed on trying my best to get the most out of my injured hamstring. One of my clients leaked to a his mate (not naming names but you know who you are...hehehe )who trains with Beth that my hamstring was buggered. The information was then all over Facebook. You can't hide anywhere any more. I injured it while I was sprinting in the Foot Point Trail Series 10km only 2 weeks ago. I had to go and see my Physio for the first time in a year to get it worked on. Before the event this injury played on my conscience. I really did not know how it was going to hold up. Less than two weeks ago I could not run. I had to really nurse the injury to get to the start line of the event. I always remember Paul Roos the old Sydney Swans coach saying something like you can always tell a true athlete by the way they can work through any injury. He was talking about Tadhg Kennelly and his come back from a serious knee and shoulder injuries juste before they won the Premiership in 2006. In a way I had to prove all the non believers that I could run though anything. I'd run my first 100km Oxfam TW with 2 broken feet. (After the event I took myself to the hospital and got crutches and I was unable to run for 3 months). I could run with a hamstring strain.
My goal was to average under 6 minute pace for this section to stay ahead of Julie and Beth for as long as possible. At the 23km mark a few minutes later Beth came up next to me. She looked so strong. She had a real push through her legs that I have not seen in her before.
"Hey Beth. Well done". I said to my mate.
"Hey Shona, how are you going? You are doing so well". She encouraged.
"Just chilling". I replied. I was hurting a bit. You will always hurt when you lose first position. I dug in a bit and started to pick up my tempo again. I stayed with her for a further 2km until the 25km mark before I lost her. It took me until Tarros Ladders to catch her again. I descended the ladder as fast as I safely could. Unlike in training the ladder was an aluminium ladder with a rope cage around it preventing the runners from falling so I was as fast as ever. The trail then changed from an open fire trail back to single man track. With in a few hundred meters I was back on Beth's tail flying so fast she heard me coming and jumped out of my way. In doing her best to to not hold me up she almost injured herself as she fell into the grass next to the track.
"Beth I could have waited to pass, I was eating a gel". I yelled as gravity had it's way with me on the descent.
"Take me out why don't you Shona!" Beth yelled joking as I disappeared up the track.
I felt bad, I did not mean for her to fall. I would have waited. She is just so nice. She went out of her way to help me and I appreciate that.
On the next climb she was hot on my tail.
"Tell me when and I'll move for you" I said to her as she followed me up Mount Debert.
"Now" She said and I made some space and let her and my mate Shane pass.
At the top of the climb I spotted them again and within 50 meters I was again on their tail. This time they were ready for me and I was way more careful. I purposely cut a corner on a switch back so I did not get in their way and I was off and flying again. I was able to hold my lead as the first female until the 34km mark before Beth's strength of high cadence tempo running saw her take the lead near Breakfast Creek.
I was hurting on the climbs. I check my hydration, drank some water. Chilled out again. Took 20 walking steps walking and rested a little. I re-focused and checked my splits. I was still on time for a sub- 4 hour 38km at CP2. I just had to get up and over the next few climbs.
I hate open fire trail running. It just does my head in. It is a weakness and I have to work on it. I knew I had a tough climb coming up after the check point and I prepared my head for it.
"Run" I urged myself. I started counting out a tempo to run to 12345678910,2 2345678910, 32345678910, 42345678910, 52345678910, 62345678910, 72345678910, 82345678910, 92345678910, 102345678910. (If you are a Pt client of mine you will know this high knee drill well) .Usually by the time you get to 10 you are at the top of the climb or the climb gradient has eased.
My guts were starting to get a bit sore. I decided that I hated the Hydralyte mix and I just wanted my old trust Sustain mix but there will be none to have until CP5. It felt like there was too much glucose in it. Either that or I was sick and the mucus in my gut was sending it a bit off. I made it to the top of Lyre Bird Ridge and just tried to hold on. A few guys caught up with me and I did my best to stay with them as I ran up the final climb and slid down the steep fire trail into Dunphy's Camp. I had completed 38km in 3 hours and 56 minutes. A PB for the 38km by 10 minutes. I just hoped it will be enough to stay ahead of Julie and anyone else who was chasing me down.

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