glasshouse amazement

"how is everything going?"
"well, ive got bad news and ive got good news. i'll give you the bad news first: we're lost"

"we're lost? And what's the good news?

"we're making VERY good time!"

an amazing weekend, i could not feel more happy, or high, than i am right now ...

pre race 'le tour' - friday september 10
a long overnight drive down to the sunshine coast through thursday night saw me arrive right on quarter after ten to meet for the pre race tour ... everyone was being placed in cars ready to drive to a few checkpoints and check out once again some of the places we will be running ... given my lack of directional prowess and my enormous ability to end up lost even on my regular trails! an important time for me to take in as much as i possibly could!! placed in a car with david who knows every nook and cranny of the area a blessing, and andrew, paul and glen!

unfortunately, rain, cut us short. but quickened our speed to the pub for lunch and a drink :) on the way david kept trying to assure me that despite the rain - the mud and wet would dry up by the morning, - while the rain pelted down on us and the cars couldnt get through?!! ha! uh huh

catching up with everyone from last year, most of whom i have stayed in contact with in various forms throughout the year, really lovely. plus the chance to meet others. a beer and a couple of slices of pumpkin and feta pizza - w00t! the young apprentice chef burned my pizza and had to remake it and so i was last to get food - she was so sweet and apologetic and all i could think of was storm and told her it was all ok - i dont mind burned food, so probably wouldnt have minded it anyways :D

we got to leave and head out to the other side for the 160km peeps later on and even though not doing it anymore, i tagged along for the ride.

ended up staying in a cabin - which saved me an hour trip down to kings beach which at midnight especially, after running, became a godsend - went back to the cabin and to lay witness to rob hall packing all his cp bags while everyone else rested - BOY - was i ever underprepared in comparison!!!! a mobile chemist shop, i dont think there a single tablet not accounted for in his stash (i HAD heard stories but thought they were just exaggerated!) and so much of his own food he had - i had a couple of things but was really relying on the cp's, knowing they were so full on with anything we needed - but i felt the need to do more for myself after witnessing that!! i raced to the shops and bought a couple extra bags only to find, i didnt really know or have anything i really wanted packed in them anyway :) so chucked some shoes and socks in each, and extra snakes, some wet weather gear - the only 'real' cp bag was with my headlamp and torch, and a toothbrush and paste! - for cp 8. (too early in the end but safer than sorry)

the race - saturday september 11 photos of tour, race day and sunday

soooo excited in the morning, with other people getting ready too, and knowing they are going out to do even longer, facing the 100miler, really felt i was doing the easy option! arrive in time for a slice of toast and a banana, weigh in and blood pressure - and we had a late start
but we ... were off

the first loop around, some easy running and a good warm up, lots of muddy bits to avoid ... long grasses at the beginning - the sandy bits were great as the rain had compacted them making them easy to run on than the soft sand - in a group for most of it so no chance of getting lost with so many people :) yay - started with carol, and not sure what happened to her, a bit of running with keith, and carol eventually caught up, we were running side by side - turned to our left where a long line of guys, their backs all turned from the trail of course, facing out taking a wee amongst the trees! if only i had captured the moment - hilarious - oh we girls have it nowhere as easy as that!
completed the loop we both headed back into the school to take our toilet break, came back out, grabbed some watermelon and banana and headed to mt beerburrum - dropped the backpacks at the bottom, steep mountain! on the way up passed many heading down already, hi-five a few, pass markus on his way down and he tells me ive got about 100m to go - phew, for i was just about dead! keep going, what seemed an eternity later, passed another guy who says to me, nearly there, about 200m to go ! what the, markus!?!! made it, carol already on her way down ... the guy marking our names off at top tells me to enjoy the view, i take a quick glance, and head back down, came down, way too fast, way too heavy, pass many also on their way up - give them words of encouragement too, but tell none of them how far they still have to go, ha!
nearly at the bottom, my calves start to cramp up, high just below the back of the knee ... damn, ONE thing i never wanted was cramps! arrive at the bottom looking forward to a nice quick and easy couple of kms run downwards on the dirt road that was uphill on the way in and, my calves, froze. i couldnt put my legs together, nor walk. i tried massaging and they seized up more ... slowly, like a robot, i started walking, hoping they would relax a little bit ... but they never did :/
seemed forever before i eventually made it back to where i dropped my back pack and schultzy was there directing people still, told him bout the cramps, got some salt tablets out of my pack, water - which i had stupidly headed off without - and swallowed them gratefully - he sent me off in the new direction, my calves had started to ease a tiny bit, but i knew i would never catch the group i had been with nor carol again - headed back onto the trail for cp3a ... slow slow jogging trying to ease the pain out - came across rob hall, he had done something to his ankle :/ and was planning on pulling out at the next cp - he gave me some cramp advice and i was able to only slowly get ahead of him....

got to cp3a - grabbed some banana from ann, tamyka (and friend) got me some salt tablets - took 2, tried to stretch the calves a little, it wasnt gonna help so figured ive either got to suck it up and deal with it or keep going - saw rob coming in, grabbed a couple of snakes, sucked it up, and took off - heading to cp 3, 4, 5 then 6 - pretty much the day became some great running spots and being really proud of myself and how well i was running, mixed in with avoiding the most frustrating mud puddles/ditches - able to avoid some, landing in others, feet just seemingly continuously wet and caked in mud inches thick underneath, nothing like working the legs out even more!
i eventually worked out a strategy for the calf cramps, they were ok as long as i ran flat or downhill, as soon as there was a slight uphill, i actually felt the cramping start, like electric pulsing - if i slowed, i caught them in time to not take hold and seize up, so, whilst not ideal, it at least kept me moving forwards all day, so, i ended up adopting that for the rest of the race, also keeping the salt and magnesium up and heaps and heaps and heaps of water ...
a lost point between 3a and 4 - saw me running along seeing runners coming towards me, ended up being keith and a couple of other 100milers - they said we were going the wrong way, i said we werent as i had just passed some tape, but they said they hadnt seen any for ages, we turned back around, found the tape i had passed, we worked out it was old tape, and eventually found the turn off, the dolomite arrow had been washed away by the rain and was very faint - a fortunate mishap for me as i would have kept running along the path i was on also
climbing through a gate shortly after that, my thigh cramped! WOW - OUCH! never had one of those, had to massage it out and it never gave me further trouble again but was just a nagging pain to let me know it had been!

eventually caught keith and a couple of other runners again, and david, fell into rhythm with them for a while - nice chatting too - they took off - cramping was giving me some real strife at this stage - david had dropped back a bit and he eventually caught me again along with a couple of 50k ladies ...
eating was very haphazard. more thirsty all the time, drinking more coke than i have probably consumed in a lifetime, and litres of water - got watermelon and banana in and down and at one of the cp's a potato mounted high with salt! tasted disgusting but YUM!
up weetbix hill came across 50k'ers struggling upwards, the ladies who had passed me earlier, one of them yelled down to me if i had some voltaren, yelled back yes, one had a hurt knee the other sore back, so, gave them two each, then took the opportunity to remember and thought maybe they might help with the cramps a little and took two myself - climbed then ran with them for a while - renee and nicola - stayed with them till cp 5 - i headed in and out quickly, couldnt stomach any food, they didnt look anywhere near ready to leave - my thoughts had also been to not stop at cp's - but to keep moving around, the check point people are SO marvellous and they fill the bottles, get food etc ...

a looooong road run before hitting more of the same goat track, the terrain rugged, had to bum and slither it more than a few times down craggy bits! i have no idea how anyone would 'run' them, caught up with another two 50k'ers, john and kerrie - lovely people, kerrie doing her 19th year of a gh race, some enormous mud sections to conquer, john and i got ahead, and he eventually stopped to wait for kerrie, i took off, ... shortly after this was my first run in with the motorbikes ! thought it had all seemed a little quiet to last year! not to be after THAT.
eventually made 6 though, could not think of ANY food i felt like again, took some salt tablets, got three litres of water ready for the powerlines, grabbed some coke, some snakes, and headed off ... got my (ex) trainer on the mobile ... and walked along for a while chatting with her - it was simply glorious - the birds were so loud even she could hear them - sunny, but i was in the shade, avoiding mud, some patches just couldn't be, but was just feeling enormously happy and excited and alive ... she boosted my spirits too, just hearing a voice from home and knowing others are thinking about you - hung up, and took off running -
passed more motorbikers getting ready to head off, they gave me some uplifting words (yes really!, they arent all bad) made it to the powerlines, now, last year, with my bung ankle they took me nearly two hours, i wasnt even sure how long they would take, but, did them in under an hour which most impressed me, however, SOSOSOSOSO HOT ! i think it is my favourite part though, it just changes constantly and seems, well, dunno. just fun. :) i drank all the water, by the end, i was so thirsty, but my stomach SO full and bloated, i had to drink and spit the water out, it wet my mouth and lips but didnt fill the stomach anymore ... bill caught me up, walked with him for a while! walked!??? i had to run to keep up with him, OMG! i eventually had to admit defeat and he took off... must say, david was right though, the actual ground for the most part of the powerlines, WAS dried out from the sun - figure! ... came out of the powerlines with another couple of 100k'ers and we made our way to cp8 together ...

there. the dr took hold of me for weigh in. i had gained 4.1kgs!!!!! :/ i was SO bloated and felt so nauseous. i couldnt eat a thing, a whole smorgasbord of delights to choose from to eat including anns choccie slice! and i felt like ... nothing! told him i had been taking salt tablets for the cramps - he said to take no more, he looked at the thigh cramp, said he wanted to put ice on it, thinking that meant sitting and spending time there i said it was fine ... he said i could keep going and i could keep standing while he put it on ... my shorts came down, no humility on the trail, and he strapped the ice to me, well, wrapped loads and loads and loads of sticky tape around my thigh with the ice underneath, oh it felt good - then with the advice to not drink any water on the 7k loop, but to drink, wet and spit as i had been doing, he allowed me to head off ... by the time i made the top of the first hill though, the ice had fallen out and the sticky tape formed a circle around my ankle, i could not bend down to get it off without my legs threatening to cramp so left it there till i came out :)

the loop was 'endless' but the end came, damn that last km uphill is a KILLER! im sure its longer than that ha ... toilet break :P~~ dr grabbed me to weigh again, 3.7kgs over, i got scared thinking they were going to pull me, i know what happens if you are too much under, i had no idea about the opposite .... he had told me too much water was dangerous before i headed in but other than trying to empty myself i knew not the solution! assured them i had not drank any while in there, he let me go on.. felt relief, my skin was white with salt, my top, had a white semi circle of salt, and at one point i was scraping the salt off my skin and licking my fingers :D - ok, sounds yukky, but oh AMAZINGLY refreshing...

carol was at the cp foraging around in her bags, she thought i had just headed in and was about to do the loop, i said i had done it and was heading to 7, so was she, i cant believe i eventually caught her up again! she asked did i want to run with her for the rest and do the night together, said yes, so, i changed shoes here, grabbed my night lamp cos thats where i had stored it but we still had a good hour or so of daylight and, we headed off... i had been dreading the night and navigating it so it was really nice to have the thought of company

the easiest part of the whole course is from 8 to 7 - it was mostly dirt roads, meandering, we had some good running, avoidance of many many MANY mud patches, carol went in a couple of times, they became very frustrating, caught up with glen (100miler), stayed with him a while then took off, and got to 7 in very good time (well for me :D)... it was really good fun - was even able to do the 4kms loop at 7 in the light - a very good run through and in and out of it quickly

once out though, still couldnt stand the thought of food, markus was sitting there, chatted with him, he thought i was just about to do it - nope! thanked him for the 100metres to go warning :P - he actually looked worse for wear so i worried a little about him, sorted headlamp on head, torch in back pack for back up, and off carol and i went, heading back to 6 ... had stopped taking salt, but still felt nauseous, grabbed a snake to eat along the way again but ended up sending it into the bush for some skippies - felt, head wise, really GREAT!

darkness was soon upon us so headlamp time, i thought with the cooler evening the cramping would ease up but this was not to be the case, however, for the most part, i dealt with it - maybe took a little too much voltaren, nausea had sunk deeply in by now and didnt manage to get anymore food in at all for the rest of the race, just sipped on water, .. cp6 then 5 get a little mixed up, between the two, one of them cheered us in, that was mighty awesome!! one of the ladies actually recognised me from runners world and chatted excitedly, theres a forgotten memory brought back to freshen me up!!
another actually had biccies and brie!!! what the - talk about missing out on the gourmet :) man! i couldnt stomach it but damn it looked good, one of the cp ladies handed me some vegetarian pizza at one of them with an 'excuse my fingers' - as i held out a muddy palm, i doubt, anywhere her hands had been would be of ANY problem :D

was tough finding the way at times, felt really lucky to be running with carol as she had done the training run a couple of weeks previously which helped negotiate, between the two of us we made the way, but the relief whenever we came across a white ribbon hanging down - never to be underestimated - i found the white ribbons becoming better than best friends!!!!
harder to negotiate both the craggy bits and the mud puddles in the dark, - tight, single track sections in parts, trees down and hunting paths to go around them - but it was the BEST, most AWESOME fun! - absolutely glorious at night - the sky was just a gorgeous canopy of stars to run under - magic, is the only word to describe life at this point!

we had one run in with a couple of carloads of 4wd drunken hooligans - parked at the side hooting and yelling away, had i been on my own, there is no way in hell i would have gone past them, i would have stayed in hiding till someone else came along, carol, was brave though - we ran past - they cheered and jeered and carried on, just smiled at them, i tried pretending to be brave! got a little way down the road and heard their car doors slamming and i said to carol - they are coming! ha! my hairs stood on end, she said it was ok - we went to the side of the road and they shouted out and acted stupid when passing but, then they were gone. phew. because really? we were on our own!!! THANK YOU carol. youve no idea how grateful i was for you.

heading towards six we were heading down a wrong path (not to far) fortunately had horrie call out to us and back on to the correct road, - lucky, were able to have others a little ahead and a little behind us for a little time after that and were able to negotiate slightly by if we could see lights, .... heading into the last section after 5 we found we had about 4k to go, and we were at 16hrs 12mins, i said to carol it would be super if we had a 16:?? time, and if we were able to run the last section well, then we would, it was actually hard though as with the long grasses, my headlamp was starting to lose its intense brightness (yeah, never thought to grab my torch out, too smart an idea!) over the trail it was difficult to see what was underfoot... then we came across a section where we couldnt find any ribbon - the main road was only metres away but i was certain if we had had to head to road, someone would have mentioned it so we kept looking and i eventually found the continuation right near the dolomite 'do not cross' line ... through here, i tripped on a log and did my first fall for the race, my hand grabbing a tree as i flew over the side, carol came racing to help me up, i wasnt hurt, too clkose to the finish to hurt! but lost my water bottle somewhere over the edge - better than losing me over it!

then ... VOILA! must say i WAS most impressed to see the sparkle of the school lights - so much that it diverted my attention from where i was running in the darkness to look sideways at it as we headed down the hill and know it wasnt a mirage, i went straight into a deep mud bog which grabbed my ankle and gave me a glorious fall flat on my face right at the end! sweet. got up, humbling tumble but unhurt again - continued running down the hill, through the carpark, to the front of the school, and ran smiling with carol, through the finish line! YAYAYAYAY!!

what an absolute blast - her garmin said 16:55 - so we were impressed with that ... doc was there, checked the calves and told me to head back to the cabin to a hot shower and into bed before they could get cold and seize right up, couldnt fight the nausea ... saw all the food and knew i needed some but could stomach none, then mallani was sitting eating soup, sent me up to the canteen to dianne, the best pumpkin soup heater up'per EVER. plus nice conversation, thank you. got some in. went to get our times, and they had us coming in at 17:15 ... (final monday morn to be 17:15:17) unsure how garmins can be different but, most happy still!

presentation day - sunday september 12
crawled into bed at about 1 after a shower, bummer i had a top bunk though, ache ouch climb up - everyone was out running or crewing still, woke at 4, just nauseous, ended up getting up, dressing and heading back to the school ... a great morning chatting with everyone there and cheering the 100milers as they each came in, some amazing adventures to be heard, presentations. then, the weekend over again... loooooong drive home

to ian, to every single check point volunteer who catered to our every need and listened to every mumble and grumble, to peter and martin for the care of us all and sticking up our broken bits, to other volunteers directing us at varying times, to other runners who i got the opportunity to run with and chat with along the way and keep the spirits flying, to CAROL! - a huge huge thank you, all.


BG said...

Looking forward to hearing the full story. It was great to see you again. xxx

Wida said...

Great work Ann. I take it that the next goal is 100 miles? :-)

anelike said...

you too bernie :) x

thanks glen, 100 miles? hmmmmmmm! :) yeah, i think so! you enjoyed it right?!

T.J. said...

Onya Annie. Super read.
Always inspired by your determination and 'can do' attitude to any challenge. Love seeing you smile! Stay happy!

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