This post is a little more reflective, but most importantly answers questions I've been most frequently asked about my experience at the Great North Walk 100s.
Did you sleep?
Nope. No time for that.
So you were going for almost 34 hours straight?Well, by the time we got home, clean, fed, and had a celebratory scotch, I hadn't slept for probably closer to 42 hours...
Did you eat during the race?
Absolutely. The menu wasn't all that glamorous though - Sustagen poppers, lemonade, Hydralyte, potato chips, boiled potato, chocolates (Mars, Twix, Caramello Koalas), banana bread, GU, hot vegetable soup and Coke.
Were there toilets?Why does everyone always want to know about this? I'm not going to go into detail but what I will say is that if you take up trail running, there has to be at least some part of you that isn't afraid of getting back to nature. That's all.
Did anyone wear a bunny suit?
No. Don't get me wrong, a bunny suit is a great idea for a parkrun anniversary or Bridge to Brisbane. But would you wear something heavy and hot unnecessarily if you were running 100 miles, or 100 kilometres for that matter? I didn't think so.
Were you ever scared?
The only time I was truly scared was on leaving CP4, in the early hours of the morning. I walked up a hill in the town the Checkpoint was in, and spotted some animal eyes glowing in the dark about 50 metres up the road. I stopped because I didn't know what was behind these glowing eyes... it turned out to be two domestic dogs, but I didn't know that... and even so I didn't know they were friendly domestic dogs until they strolled past me down the hill.
Did you encounter any wildlife?
Apart from the previously mentioned domestic dogs, I saw one massive goanna, I think on the first stage of the event. It was basking on a rock beside the trail. I heard it move as I approached, which drew my attention to it.. at which point I screamed as if someone was murdering me! It just sat there as I went past. No problems.
OK so you ran 100 miles, you achieved your goal, right?
No, I didn't achieve my goal. I am pretty proud of the fact that I got through 160ks/100miles and it's a great milestone for me. But I didn't finish the race, so I didn't get the qualifying points for UTMB that I was chasing.
Did you punch them when they said you couldn't continue?
No one from the event team was there when I got to the last checkpoint - I was last on course and my event crew was there, so the event team made the decision to leave me in my crew's hands and packed up on time. Let's be honest... I wasn't about to punch my crew after the awesome job they'd done all weekend!
Could you have done anything differently on race day?
Not much I don't think. I ran as much as I could, and as hard as I could, and I didn't spend a lot of time at checkpoints. Even though I lost weight between the start and Checkpoint 2 I corrected this, so I felt good and stayed healthy throughout the race. My Garmin wasn't measuring correctly due to long patches in dense forest, so keeping track of how many ks I'd done, how many I had left, and the time remaining became increasingly difficult into the second day of the race. Not that I'm trying to make excuses. There is really no sugar coating the fact that I tried my hardest and came up just a little bit short.
What would you do differently next time?
I'd like to try and do a course reccy of a Section Five and Section One. These had the most technical single track that was at times, difficult to follow. I would also train more on technical single track - though where to find it locally I'm not sure. More research and exploring to be done... I'd also seriously consider having a pace runner for Section 5. I probably also should have briefed my crew to tell me if I got behind my worst case scenario time.
Are you all recovered?
Not really. I've inflamed or slightly strained my tibialis posterior which runs down the inside of my leg, beside my calf muscle, and turns into a tendon in my ankle. So this is what recovery is looking like for me - acupuncture and physio.
Did you have "eat week"?
I celebrate "eat week" in the week after every big event - a week where I eat whatever I want. Last week was no different. I ate fish and chips, pizza, Donut Time, a selection of bakery items, one of the best pies in Australia, cheese platters, lots of wine. On Sunday I went on a fruitless journey looking for a slice of New York baked cheesecake. (I did also have a good percentage of actual proper nutritious meals... promise!)
Are you going to relax for a bit now?Yes.
But after that, what's your next running goal?
I don't know what's next. It's the first time in a while that I haven't had a clear post race plan. Even if I had have got the points for UTMB - I still wasn't sure exactly how I would prepare for that. But without the points, it's time for a new plan. There are lot so of possibilities, both for interim training runs and new goals.
I have recently found another 4 point qualifier for the UTMB next year - the Alpine Challenge in November. But even mentioning it is nothing but crazy talk...