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6/12/24 hr Running Festival - The Report
Monday, 15 July 2013 08:22

Wow.  What an event!


I was awake early (1 am, out of bed at 3:30), nervous (as per my last post), worried that I had bitten off more than I could handle and really concerned about my ability to handle the conditions.  I needn't have worried so!  I had my breakfast of cornflakes and toast (with jam) and some water.  I forgot to have a coffee (I don't know how).  I had a shower, applied body glide in every place I could think of, and dressed in my running gear.  A little foam rollering of my quads, hamstrings and glutes, but not too much.  Liberal mounts of body glide onto my feet, two pairs of socks, and my Kayano shoes.  Another check of facebook to find some other awake nervous souls!


I headed down to the course about 45 minutes ahead of the start time in solid rain.  By the time I arrived, the rain was light, but I still took my umbrella with me.  I wandered past the row of tents, looking for the tent that I was to be sharing with Emma Vaughan and Gabrielle Vaughton.  I was pointed in the right direction, put my bag down, went to see race director and coach, Ben Hockings, said hello to the early volunteers and crew and tried to just enjoy the growing festive atmosphere.  Everyone was concerned about the weather, but resigned to trying to deal with it as best we all could.  It was wonderful to see Beck down there in the dark, along with so many other running buddies.  A last minute pitstop and it was time to start.  I opted to start with my raincoat on as more rain was forecast and I was concerned about getting cold, but really, it's a 2.2 km loop!  Within half a lap, the coat was around my waist.  I was trotting along, chatting to Deb, a workmate of an old friend of mine, Sally Ann (I'd been told to look out for her), and we tried to keep our pace nice and slow.  


To get to 100km in the 12 hours, I needed to average 7:11 minutes per km.  It is tricky to run that slow.  Most of my long runs, I was trying to run as slow as 6:00 per km, but even so I would drift towards 5:40 most of the time.  Sometimes an early recovery run, especially on a Wednesday after Tuesday night sprints, would see me plodding at 6:22 pace in the first km or two.  I was keen to run low 6:00 pace for the first few hours nonetheless, to achieve a bit of a buffer for things like toilet stops, or if I would need to change shoes or clothes at any point.  On my second lap, my sister, Erica, appeared out of the darkness.  She ran 35 minutes last week - her longest ever run, and has often said she can't run further than 20 minutes.  I had usually replied with 'you must be trying to go too fast', but she didn't think so.  Well, she did amazing things on Saturday.  We fell into a rhythm, she was cheered at the start area as my number was recorded and she racked up 5 laps with me for a total of about 12 km.  Just after she left, my son and niece ran over and did a couple more laps with me.  They only did a couple as they hadn't had breakfast yet, and were excited to get on with the rest of their day.  They weren't the only 10 year olds out there, however.  There was a 10 year old competitor in the 6 hr run, whose mother was running the 12 hr, and her dad was in the 24 hr.  She managed to cover 42km in her 6 hours, running most of the first 2 hours and walking most of the last 4 hours, but always moving.  And chatting!


By this time, near 8am, some of the usual Saturday morning runners were starting to come out.  Toni from the Tuesday night speed group ran a lap with me, and then Nick from the same group ran a couple with me.  The 24 hour runners started to arrive so there was more to see, people to say hello to s I moved past the staging area.  I had fallen into a rhythm after the first couple of hours of walking for a couple of hundred meters every lap, usually out of the staging area, so I could grab something to eat and drink and walk a little for that to settle.  On offer to eat were triangles of sandwiches - cheese or cheese and cucumber - I ate quite a few of them, especially the cucumber ones, the usual pretzel and chips (none for me), some lollies (I definitely had them), and as the day wore on, vegan cupcakes and other treats from Five Little Figs appeared and brownies and muesli slice from Maurice Maffei (who also ran the 24 hour) kept us going.  I did have a half cupcake at one point late morning, but it didn't settle very well, so I stuck to the water, gatorade, coke, lollies and sandwiches.  I didn't eat every lap, but nor was it structured - I just went with how I was feeling.  I drank on most laps, mostly water, but sometimes I had a sweet drink as well as a water.


Charlie came out and ran 3 laps with me - the furthest flat run he has ever done, and his hips were more sore than mine afterwards!  He did say that he could see how it was quite enjoyable, though.  Nick came out and ran 8km with me, and the distraction was very welcome.  Running and chatting (no land speed records under threat here!) really helped pass the time.


A coffee was brought for me by a great running buddy late morning which was magnificent!  It also meant I had my longest walking break whilst I drank it, but it was about time - late morning by then.  I'd been able to average 6:16 min/km in the first 4 hours, then a loo stop shifted that to 6:22 min/km.  Over the next few hours, that slowly drifted out to 6:25 min/km.  I reached 6 hours and 55km, running by now with Travis and Mick from Run4Autism who were competing in the 24 hr event.  We had realised that our planned paces were going to coincide pretty well, so I enjoyed a few hours chatting with them.  Travis has worked very hard this year to raise the profile of Autism, and the need for a specialised school here in SA, so there was a media presence - he had been interviewed before his start and there was a crew taking footage of him running.  That was a good distraction for more than an hour with us finally reaching the trees and being out of shot to be able to walk for a while again.  We walked for a hundred metres or so twice per lap now.  I then spent perhaps half an hour trying to work out what pace I needed for the rest of the day.  It was now that I realised I was tired.  Although I could work out I had 45km to do in 6 hours, and that meant 7.5km per hour, I could not work out at all what pace I needed, not how to even frame the equation.  Not my usual style!  (the answer is 8:00 minutes per km)


Seeing some of the 6 hour competitors at their finish mark, crying with relief and a sense of achievement was buoying.  Congratulating runners on their achievement, patting a walker on the shoulder in passing, marvelling at how far some had travelled (65 km!).  More things to chat about with Travis and Mick.  


A uni buddy, Ben ran for a little over an hour in the mid afternoon, taking some go pro footage that we can try to edit together for a promo at some point.  I think he enjoyed the chance to see how the event worked, and the cheers and support from all the crews as we ran past each lap was fantastic. Danielle and Rita came out for the late afternoon shift as the weather looked threatening with very dark clouds over the hills.  More chatting to be done, asking about Rita's thesis and their morning run, and more time to while away.  From about the 7 hour mark, I realised that I was definitely going to get to 100km.  I was feeling quite fine.  My hips were tight and my left foot was a little sore where my foot was rubbing in the arch, but that hadn't changed since about the 3 hour mark.  We celebrated the 84.4km mark - a double marathon a little after the 9 hours.


Most of my family wandered over - Mum, my brother Block - it was his birthday, my kids, a couple of my nieces.  I chatted to Block while I walked, then my daughter ran alongside me, cartwheeling periodically for a half lap, until she was closest to my mum's house again.  She and my stepdaughter then stayed at the playground for a while so they could wave at me as I went past a few more times.


Suddenly, with a couple of hours to go, I felt a blister pop under my right toes and it stung!  I hadn't realised I had one there, but it was quite sore.  As we got to the staging area again, I could see Sue the first aid attendant, and asked for her help.  I peeled off the shoe and socks and found only a minor popped blister, along with a couple of other juicy ones.  Sue smeared it liberally in vaseline, along with each of the socks as I put them back on.  The first few steps were stinging again, but it soon settled.  


Danielle and Rita headed home, and I was jogging alone for a while.  I then hit my hard spot.  I wasn't especially sore.  I wasn't overly tired (I was tired, but I didn't feel distressed about that).  I wasn't hungry, nor low blood sugar, nor thirsty.  I think I had been so 'up', so chatty, so engaged all day, that I just ran out of 'up'.  I cried a little bit.  I tried to lift myself back up, but I struggled.  I kept running.  And crying.  I chatted to Deb again, who told me not to cry, cos she would too.  I caught up with Travis and Mick again, but I was still just feeling flat and let the move ahead.  My tent buddy ran past strongly again; Emma managed to cover 60km in her first 6 hours and was well on track to meet her 12 hour target of 110km, in anticiation of 200km for the 24 hours.  I tried to ask her to ask her husband and mother in law who were crewing for her and able to help me to find my headphones in my bag.  I couldn't find the right words and stuttered and struggled to make it clear I wanted the headphones (not ear phones nor head buds!), so I could escape into some music for a while.  


Thankfully, they found them easily, and I was able to get myself sorted out.  My choice of music here was not sophisticated.  It was angry, 'I'll show you' type of stuff.  I started with Mr Brightside. It's cheesy, but I like it.  Then Prodigy.  Veruca Salt.  The Libertines (Can't stand me now).  Running along, singing under my breath, trying to shift my head, enjoy the rhythm.  By the time I moved onto Fatboy Slim, I was feeling peppy again and ready to chat.  The boys in blue were back (Trav and Mick) and I was ready to see that 100km marker roll around.  We checked the distance with the lap keepers - I was a little over 1 km ahead of the tally because of all the corners in the course, so two cheers were in order.  Mick got some footage on his phone as my borrowed Suunto watch clicked over 100.0 km!  Woo hoo!  Only 1 km further, Ben Hocking was at the 100km marker to get my official time - 11:28:31 for 100km.  A high five, a text message to a few, and back to jogging out the last half hour.  More high fives as I went through the staging area - letting all and sundry know I had reached 100km.  Matt came along on the next lap, running the 24 hour, and we ran the last 3 or more km without a walk stop.  He and Graham pushed me to run the last bit faster, getting down to 5:15 pace for the last few hundred meters.  Then the horn blew, and the run was over.


I am still waiting for even provisional results, but I know I reached 104km official, and a little over 105km on the GPS.  I walked across the dark boggy oval towards the staging area.  I was tired and not sure really what I was feeling.  I was glad to be stopped, but really wanted just to get on with my recovery.  I hugged a few hardy souls in the dark at the start, looked at the heavy food area - there was hot soup ready and lasagne, although the pizza from earlier in the afternoon was all gone (I didn't have any during the day).  I had a brief congratulatory chat to Louise who I had run the 66km night run with earlier in the year, and had run 111km today.  I didn't feel like food, and so just went to get my things, pack my bag and drive home.  It didn't even occur to me that there would be a presentation (it was in the handbook, which I had read, but I just wanted to get home).  I wanted to see Charlie, see the kids, have a bath and not be standing anymore.


I finished in 3rd place female, which was an honour - my first ever running trophy!  I received my medal and trophy on Sunday morning when I went down to cheer and support for the last 2 hours or so of the 24 hour.  I was there to see Howard run 100 miles for the first time, and to see Barry establish a new age distance record for a 58 year old of 192km in 24 hours.  I was on the 200km marker when Emma ran through with 10 minutes to spare - achieving her goal of reaching 200km and setting a record for this event (furthest ever) and winning outright.  She finished with a little over 201km.  I am so proud of her!  I had a big hug with Karen when she came back in, running over 140km in the 24 hours, having been crying for the entire last 2 hours, but surrounded by running buddies who kept her going, 1 step at a time.  She's feeling fine now :-)






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Health News

This weeks links

The Cancer Council came out this week and announced that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption, and that alcohol should be considered to be as carcinogenic as smoking and asbestos are.  As well as being highly associated with throat and mouth cancers, it is now found to correlate highly with breast and bowel cancers.  Perhaps it should not be so surprising that a substance that can so alter mood and ability, even at very mild levels should turn out to be in fact, not good for us.

This story, an editorial from the British Journal of Sports Medicine earlier this year has some amazing targets - it ties in with our look at sitting and health, and is about developing healthcare systems that support exercise - recognise it as being as vital a measure of our health as is blood sugar levels or blood pressure.  It recommends 150 minutes of physical activity per week for adults as a minimum.  30 mins on 5 days.  For children, it is 420 mins / week - 60 minutes every day.  How close are you?

This is another article on inactivity / obesity and health from Sports Medicine Australia, highlighting the link between an inactive childhood and a lifetime of battling depression.  It is food for thought (!) these days where there seems to be much paranoia about safety of children away from their parents watchful eyes, and therefore a tendency to want to keep them closely under watch instead of encouraging more activity and indeed risk taking behaviours.  The ability to judge situations for risk and to be able to take appropriate risks builds self esteem and resilience.  Not much to do with bowel cancer awareness, but close to my heart as well.

Another article on sitting

This one is in really simple terms - if you walk 30 mins (as recommended) and sleep 8 hours, most of us still have 15.5 hours per day not moving.  You cannot sit all day behind a screen, then drive your car and sit and watch tv with out it being bad for you.  A good read.