Wednesday, 11 February 2009

12 Hours at Caboolture, 3 Hours of running, 9 of painful walking

Having had a couple of good runs during the week, reckoned that finally i could do a Caboolture Dusk to Dawn 12 Hour race that i could be content with.
It had been a relatively mild week and it appeared likely that at last we'd get a run without the normal huge humidity.
Listening to the cricket on the drive up it appeared for a change that the interstate runners would be heading up for cooler running conditions (sounding particularly like great Death Valley training conditions in Melbourne, however things that would occur down there the next couple of days were enough to take my mind off running for the time being).
Arrived with an hour to spare giving me time to check in and also catch up with some of the other runners as well as my lap score Di Schott (thanks Di, i did try to provide entertainment as i run around but the music on 4KQ didn't seem to quite do it for me !).
Certainly this was one time i'd be acclimatised and running topless and wearing the infamous Nike Free 4.0's i couldn't really be more comfortable, now it was just a case of getting my act together for 12 hours.
As well as the food and drink supplied i was more prepared than previous years bringing 2 600Ml bottles of Solo, 2 600Ml bottles of Fruit Cup Cordial, 2 600 Ml bottles of Lemon Lime Staminade, 2 Litre bottles of chocolate milk, 4 Hot Cross Buns, some lollies, 4 Strawberry Banana GU's,
2 Chocolate Muesli Bars, 2 Endura Bars and some Succeed Caps as well as an "emergency" stubbie of Carlton Cold, reckon i had everything i needed for every eventuality.
Started off nicely and felt very comfortable, rare for me in a lap race, was going a similar pace to John Pearson and Nic Moloney (both much more accomplished runners than me in this event) in the 12 Hours and Danny Hooley, Adrian Pearce, Tressa Lindenberg, Julie McCallium and Eleena Rosevear in the 6 Hours, so had plenty around me to keep me running consistently as well as knowing that Michael Lovric (with a surprisingly unhealthy start) and Roger Guard and Geoff Last as always dangerous competitors.
The first hour was my much preferred anti clockwise, but even the next was still churning them out nicely at around 12KPH, a couple of laps before the 3 Hour turnaround i was beginning to feel a twinge in my neck, definitely not a good sign but for the moment was hoping it would pass.
However after another half hour or so found the neck problem had moved further down my spine and i was beginning to have lower back problems, definitely a bad sign.
Can't say it was instant but one moment was travelling reasonably but a little stiff necked next moment my hips just felt out of whack, not good at all, was beginning to feel sciatic nerve related.
At this point i realised any lofty ambitions were to be abandoned and it was going only to be mental toughness, sheer bloodymindedness as well as a bit of ego going to keep me out there for the full 12 Hours, pulling out really wasn't an option.
The next few hours i did occassionally run, not because i was feeling better but simply that pride (and dare i say arrogance) needed to bring out the best in my racing just wouldn't let me get lapped repeatedly, sometimes i could even keep pace with the fast runners for a couple of laps but ultimately this felt like it was doing me more harm than good. A couple of other runners had offered me painkillers but personally don't like them and really if i did take them felt like i was conceding defeat to my body.
So basically the next 3 Hours consisted of walking, occasionally chatting, very occasionally running a fast K and trying to keep my mind of the pain listening to the music over the speakers adding only another half marathon onto the 35K's i'd done the first 3.
Just before 6 Hours was up i was talking to Tamyka, who conceded she hadn't done the mileage needed for this event so was pulling out at 6 Hours and she mentioned she could get me a massage after she finished, definitely an offer worth taking.
So about 6:15 in she introduced me to her friend Leslie (not sure of the female spelling of the name this is my best shot), and she worked on me for 15 minutes, lots of early pain but once eased back a little felt somewhat better but once she got working on my piriformis i had to simply start biting my hand, definitely no question what the problem was with me.
Back on the track and start churning out some useful laps, was running with Nic for a while and he offered me the remainder of his beer stubbie (as he found a whole one too much when running), that certainly perked me up and for the next hour between that and the massage i was back into a decent running zone. Maybe this last half wasn't going to be a disaster ???
Unfortunately my "miracle cure" worked for only an hour or so, around 7.5 Hours i was back to walking (pretty sure it was with a lean) and back to singing along to the radio when they had a decent song.
Whilst all this was going on John and Susannah were going at a great pace and lapping me uncountable times as well as most other runners and the walkers, for the most part Steel Beveridge (walking) was my only overtaking victim, it was going to be a long morning.
It's strange (and very typical me), sometimes the adrenaline rush from good music is a great painkiller whilst i couldn't claim i ran fast there would be points i'd hear a song i really liked i'd sing along whilst passing the lap counters and try as hard as possible to get back before it finished, i think this example pretty much sums up the speed i was moving at best: Heard "Honky Tonk Women" start around 50 Metres into a lap by the time i'd done the remaining lap just made it for the final line, so all 3 minutes and 2 seconds of that song to do 450 Metres and that was me at my fastest !.
Can't really say much about the hours until sunrise, i just kept moving, struggling more on the anticlockwise loops simply because my left ankle couldn't handle the pressure on tight turns (think i know exactly how Kingston Town used to feel when racing in Melbourne !).
Sunrise is usually the signal here for a new beginning but this time it just meant closer to the end and i plodded on, no faster no slower, just occassionally grimacing a little more when i'd get a spasm.
With around half an hour to go Martin (Lapscorer Di's Husband) turned up and walked with me, a bit of a chat took my mind of the pain to some degree and probably moved a little faster ultimately ending up with a new PW for this course: 96.1737 Kilometres, even worse than a similar back stricken run my first start in 2006 (98.5K's), just happy it was all over.
Lot's of great performances out there, PB's for John and Susannah, as predicted Roger came home very well as did Michael after nausea problems and Nic still managed his 100K with time to spare as well as other good performances by the rest of the field.
A big thanks as usual to Geoffrey & Betty Williams for organising and to all that make this event so special, guess i'd better make it back next year to get my revenge on the course.
As an update, went to the chiropractor yesterday and (with a massage beforehand -still very sore - really wish i didn't swear when masseuses just touch a little too hard must be off putting to people waiting !!) after a fair bit of manipulation noticeably better though i'm going back on Monday, there's still life in this broken down Ultra runner.

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