Monday, 7 January 2008

New Years in Sydney

Since the last post, the Gold Coast has been practically shut down beach wise, and frankly i was anxiously in need of race of some sort, so it was off to Sydney for "Beyond The Black Stump" unquestionably Australia's biggest fatass run.
Left the coast a little later than planned so didn't hit the start area till 2AM New Years Day (having forgotten about changing the clock in the car i wondered just what was going on when i heard loud successive bangs in Buladelah only to stop and realise they were fireworks heralding the new year). I'm not really a New Years Eve Party person (personally i reckon it's up there with Queens Birthday in terms of silly Public Holidays), so really wasn't fussed by having 700 odd K's although the fact it rained for the first 460 made me wonder just when i'd make it back !!.
Bit of a sleep in the car although i'd just dropped off when the Police 4WD rolled into the car park, thought i'd better be proactive so opened the window and said that me (and the campervan also in the car park) were there early for a 7 o'clock run with some mates, thankfully they seemed happy with that explanation and wished me a happy new year.
By 6 we had people rolling in and by start time there were over 140 people, had a good chat with alot of people i hadn't seen for a while (alot of our US Aussie Assault there as well).
Good run down to the ferry but had to wait for it, by which time i was a bit cool (not a bad thing after the oppressive humidity early on), then the long climb from the river. Overall was feeling pretty good but cursing the fact i'd forgotten to take any Karls Caps with me as i was sweating heavily and i reckon i was set up for cramps before run end !!. Despite having run around the area years ago when i was living in Sydney i had never seen the "ruined castle" before and was intrigued.
Good run back but probably got carried away on the last downhill 2K's as a few of us tried to catch the ferry. Missing that ferry cost me alot, from a group of 5 we became a group of 20 odd and my quads were trashed.
The climb out from the river was one i'd previously done in the 2002 Trailwalker so i knew i had a long crawl to get out, almost on cue i cramped up, pretty much both calfs were seized up and was not enjoying it at all.
Pretty much all of the other runners from that ferry passed me before i hit the top and i was joined by a Blue Mountains runner "Rob", and was thankful for the company.
Massive thanks to Badwater Hero, Jan Herrman who had set up an esky at the top, one beer was what my body was calling out for and it's request was answered !!!.
From then on run with Rob who like me had never done this run before so was a little unsure where we were going (seemed too much road to me), finally finished in around 3:57 well behind the real guns out there but nevertheless pretty happy.
From then on it sitting around and catching up with people as we waited for the rest of the field to come in.
Was staying with running mate Wayne in Sans Souci, which is a good 50K's from the race, so i had an "interesting" drive as my ever cramping legs meant i had to regularly turn into minor streets and stop the car and get out and stretch (not even a cup of chips helped !!), something like 90 minutes to drive that distance (also couldn't find my UBD so was using a very sketchy one page map !!).
A dip in the pool was the answer to my prayers (and a beer didn't hurt either) and after a while was feeling human again.
Ended up having beef vindaloo down the road (as usual i requested the hottest they could make) for dinner so ultimately a really good New Years Day and plans of a day at the Cricket the next day.
The above map is my run the next day, shame i wasn't wearing a watch as by the time i'd made it back the cricket was on the box !!. Nevertheless a very enjoyable run along the bay, at times i was wondering just where i was with suburb names like Sandringham and Brighton so i did feel at home !.
Still two solid runs in two days (or 3 in 6 actually) meant i could give serious thought about heading down to Bogong to Hotham with some of the runners and if nothing else lending a hand sweeping (The hardest single day Ultra in Australia by far).
The next day was spent at the SCG, can't say it was a bad day of cricket but in hindsight it was probably the worst day of the five. Cloudy and windy described it best and by the time i'd got back was seriously wondering whether yet again i was on the way to a cold. Still i got all my gear out for the trip to Bogong and really was looking forward to a road trip and ultimately one of my favourite mountains Bogong.
Next morning wake with a scratchy throat (first hope that's from some of the liquors we'd had the night before but then realise yes a cold again - at least once a month since last June). Spend a couple of hours coughing and spluttering in bed before i decide i'd better go for a run to get a better idea of how i feel.
Only 7 K's i needed to run to realise that
(A) the cold was only going to get worse - Shades of Western States
(B) i was going to probably share that cold with the two runners also in the car (after all i was sweeping not racing) so pulled the pin and pretty much spent the day lying down, feeling sorry for myself, watching the cricket on the box.
By days end was actually feeling a bit better so i gave another runner driving down on the Saturday a call to see if possibly i could get a lift. So basically i could get a lift at 7AM if i wanted, just a case of seeing how i felt in the morning.
That'll be the next blog post !

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