OMG – considering my earlier race events throughout the year, this had to be one of my all time highlights (excluding OCR worlds). I had the most amazing, incredible, sensational weekend that a race could offer. Even though the Saturday morning did start off with having no sleep and scraping in a few quick power naps as I nodded off on the way from Melbourne to Bright on Friday night whilst Dave tried to avoid any possibility of kangaroos or any other Aussie wildlife trying to commit suicide during the night.
The night before
I was actually thankful that I decided to take my usual 5.15am morning workout off in preparation for the weekend. Unfortunately there wasn’t much I could do in the way of changing times of R&B Fridays Live concert that was happening the night before. Any other sensible person would have opted not to go, especially with a full on weekend happening, but this was an opportunity to relive my early years especially with TLC, Montell Jordan and Nelly all playing live. I was half expecting to come out by about 10.30pm so at least we could get a few hours sleep before the race, but no this had to be one of the longest concerts ever. Being more like a festival then a concert, having to pick up the tickets from Hisense area at 5pm, this meant that I had to literally rush home from work, get changed and get to Hisense from Highett in a record amount of time. Surprisingly we did, but I was thankful everything was packed and ready to go in the van, so we didn’t have to worry about it after the concert. During the night and whilst we were waiting at the start on the concert we then thought about accommodation for Saturday night. Initially we were just going to stay in the van (which was still the plan), but the problem was the fact we would end up stinking especially after doing the Super and Sprint, so thought we would go for a campsite instead. The $40 we had to pay for the night was well worth it just to have access to some showers.
The concert ran late – bloody typical (what concert ever runs late??), instead of finishing at a normal, reasonable hour of 10.30pm it finished at 11.45pm!!! This really was going to be a very long night, especially as I was off my seat dancing for probably 95% of the time. We got home, fed the cat enough to last until Sunday and started to make our way to Bright eventually leaving home at about 12.51am!!! Getting out of Melbourne is always the hard part and once you get onto Sydney Road, we are all good to go. Stopping off at a service station first (no harm in filling up) even with half a tank. To say I was a little nervous about the weekend was an understatement, I hadn’t ran really since the worlds, so to put in over 60kms was going to be challenging. The ongoing doubts about doing an Ultra Beast were seriously creeping in, and there were a few times I actually thought about changing from the Ultra to the Beast. At about 4am we stopped at another service station, I couldn’t quite face a service station coffee and opted for a hot chocolate instead (after all it was the middle of the night), this turned out to be an unwise choice, the service guy thought I might like some extra chocolate sauce in the hot chocolate, which initially was quite delicious but ended up becoming extremely sickly. To the point, where I actually thought I would need to pull over and throw it all up. I literally had visions of winding down the windows and this brown (chocolately stuff) would be spewed all down the side of Dave’s van. Hhhmm nice
We eventually arrived at 6am, the car park was already filling, so we knew we didn’t have long to get our race packs and say our hellos, try and get some food and hydrate a little. At this point I think I was just a walking zombie, probably not really coherent either.
Things are never as easy as what they seem, with a couple of issues with our registration packs which quickly got sorted out. It was time to start the Super, not really enough time to get any sleep, food or hydrate, but I guess I will live with the consequences.
Again, this year hasn’t been the best year for races for me, so I was happy to enjoy the day and say hello to everyone and when I say everyone I mean everyone. :)
Dave and I decided to run together which we haven’t done for years, since Dave had only just done Survival Run the weekend prior, he was happy to go at my pace.
We started the Super, 14km course and we would start the 7km Sprint after we finished that one. It started off well, I wasn’t planning on trying to keep up with everyone, so was happy to start at the back of the pack soaking in the atmosphere. The first couple of obstacles are always good just to ease into it, but soon after that we came across the balance beams, and I did something I had never done before on the balance beam and I slipped off!!! WTF, ok 30 burpees not much I can do but get on and do them. The whole event actually ended up with me failing a lot of obstacles that I usually just get through, so resulting in a hell of a lot of burpees for me. Oh well I guess I got some extra time on course, it was fun when you do see people to get a quick hug and chat as your running down the hill (never mind about cutting across the course), just love this about OCR. We were sent on our merry way, and the sun was shining brightly, and now it was starting to get warm. The views trek up to Mt Mystic was long and hard, seeing Matt Murphy just fly down, with Lachie not far behind, gave you a little seed of doubt (we were taking our time) so if they have only reached the bottom, how high was the top!!! It wasn’t long until we found out, wow that really is an arse burner which just went on and on and on (a bit like this post).
When we bumped into Lexie at the tyre drag we ended up staying for a little while having a good old chat and gossip. Seriously we were not racing hence the long stop overs and chats, we were just enjoying where we were. Throughout the Super I kept failing obstacles, but would power through others (very strange), maybe the lack of sleep would have had something to do with this but I still enjoyed being there and being part of this amazing event. The best part was just running with Dave, it had been so long that I had almost forgotten what it was like to actually enjoy being on course together. More hugs from The Compound chicks–it really was an event filled with burpees and hugs and some obstacles.
During the net climb, I got a little stuck with both calfs cramping!! To be honest it would have looked extremely amusing, especially as I couldn’t go anywhere. Dave was shouting for me to either go up or come down, but I actually couldn’t do either. After forcing some stretching on the net, I was able to get up and over the container and down the otherside to carry on with the rest of the course. Being a little cautious of the cramps and tears.
Sprint and cramps
The last section of the course was the rope traverse (Failed), Fortress (Failed), barbed wire crawl (didn’t fail), with a quick feed and meet up the awesome OCR crew, we thought we would run out with Ponts. Now this was a little interesting, both making me run the 7km so it wasn't really that long when cramps started to kick in. The usual twinges and muscle fatigues that started to destroy my legs, this time round we had no Mt Mystic to climb so at least we had a little leg rest break. Dave was starting to get seriously worried about me doing the Ultra, seriously if I cant even get through 7km without cramping up, how on earth was I going to get through the Ultra. It went relatively quickly even with the set back of cramps, it was time for some well earned food and rest.
We were supposed to meet everyone for dinner, but first we had to find the campsite, have a shower and pick up some supplies. The campsite was located on the river, it really was beautiful and tranquil. The kids were a little noisy but it was still set in just a beautiful location. We sorted the van and Dave converted it into a little camper for us to get some sleep, we managed to have a shower and walk to the little town to grab some food. We were just too tired to do anything else, so we engulfed a burger, and it was absolutely amazing.
This was probably the earliest night that we have had in a long time, we went to bed before it even got dark, kids were still running around outside, but exhaustion had really it us by then.
After so many talks the day before about changing to the Beast, I was still unsure that I was going to be able to do it and if it was better for me to just to do 21kms instead. More mind games, in the end I decided to go with the flow, see how I feel after transition and if I wanted to carry on I would. The cut off points were really daunting and I did wonder how I was going to complete it, but I will never know unless I tried.
We seemed to have to much stuff for transition, with everyone else having small tubs. I think I packed everything including the kitchen sink. The usual racers bum kicked in, so I ran to the bathrooms for the fifth time that morning whilst the Beast got ready to leave. Little did we know that it wasn’t just the Beast that were leaving but also the Ultra Beast, after 10 minutes in the bathroom I came out with Dave frantically letting me know that they have already started. No time to think, Max let us through the starting position. Now I did crack the shits a little the day before, failing on obstacles that I don’t usually fail on, so this time round I was determined not to make the same mistake twice. Approaching the balance beams, the negative thoughts were creeping in, but I took it slow and steady with one point nearly going arse over tit, but somehow making a miraculously recovery. Safe from the burpees ;) we found by now we were starting to catch up (this is not fun trying to recover 10 minutes), especially as were supposed to be taking in our stride to ensure we can do the full distance. Never mind that went out the window, I guess we were running.
Actually feeling quite comfortable with the pace and distance, and with the hydration pack and a good nights sleep, I was having the most amazing time. Even after missing the ball throw at the top of Mystic Mountain. The burpees had the most amazing, breath taking view, so I was happy. At this stage we were level with another couple, but for some reason they took a break at the top of mystic, for me I thought it was best just to keep on going without stopping. The run down of course was the fun part, taking a little care with footing, but trying to let go as much as possible.
This run was not going to be filled with 20 minutes stop and chats, but to ensure we get to each cut off point. There was no way if we were doing this that I was going to DNF. After getting to the mid section of Mystic, we had to do the spear throw, and to my surprise and astonishment I actually got it!!! This was turning into the best day ever… Big happy dances all around, especially when I got the next one and the one after that. I did miss the last one as I probably got a little cocky, but I was just over the moon to get 3 out of 4 spear throws.
The whole event was tiring, exhilarating, rewarding, emotional, hard work plus so much more. I was so happy to achieve something with Dave by my side, and when we got across the finish line, surprising flood of emotions overcame me. It pretty much took everything I had to stop myself from bursting into tears. I knew then that I had made the right decision to do the Ultra, I would have most definitely have regretted it if I hadn’t. Plus I got the biggest piece of race bling ever!!