So you’re standing there, embracing the sea breeze, light about to go off; perfect rave conditions. Pumping up your iPod you yell 10 seconds before the gun goes off; “And the Rave has already started!”
Who would have ever thought Defqon1 would return so early?
“When you feel like giving up 1 hour remix” sends Goosebumps through you; you can’t help but feeling that 6min km pace is too slow; there’s this itch to go out! Give it all you got!
“But, this is a ‘special rave’ you tell yourself. More chance of, well, having a heart attack…”
“BULLSHIT!” It’s that itching voice wanting to step up to 4min km’s. “How many fatalities and hospital admissions per rave???”
It’s one of those many lessons you’re learning to master; knowing when to stop, rethink and filter between objectivity and too much subjectivity.
Too many opinions = psycho!!
First lap is 2km, forward planning you yell out to your crew “Water and at 10k give some of that Bread and Butter pudding slice”
Lap 2 is underway; 3km lap’s have started and you notice you have company; a fellow just behind you. 5k races would tell you to speed it up a little bit and play her around as she tries to take over her, but you keep your pace and let her sit there. Coming around the turn point and crewing area you notice your cute father poised there with a loaf of rice bread shoving it in your face. It’s 5km;
“10km bread and butter pudding” – you conserve your energy with your words
Lap 3 and the conversation finally starts; stares have subsided, our preconceptions accumulated and assumptions to be tested. It sort of reminds you of that idea in one of your Extension German Text “Spaghetti Für Zwei”; your thoughts begin to trail as you remember the story…
Heinz war bald vierzehn und fühlte sich sehr cool…
You can almost recite the 10min42 recording…you actually have on your Ipod now. Your desire is repressed to listen to that as the lady is trying to get your attention.
“So how have you done any of the Ultra’s before?”
Your guess is that she is trying to establish where she’s at in terms of you. There’s a form of comfort in knowing that someone is at or below your level.
You reply with the “Oh no, no just did a Marathon under age, as you do. Just giving this one a go actually. Trying to keep up the 6min k pace. How about you?”
“Sameee to the 6k pace!” It’s a form of commonality; a founding friendship establishing element. “I’ve done a few others.”
You try and show you know a bit about the field, it’s how the human psyche works; “Like North Face and Wild End?”
“Yeah how did you know! So what training have you done for this?”
Think, think, think!
“In all honesty I just go to raves whenever I know they are on and that is pretty much 12 hours and not too dissimilar…wait this song just came on and reminds me of Maths…”
“Oh no, that’s not something you want to be thinking about during this!”
“I know, it’s making me too nostalgic…”
We established our grounding; no intimidation; all preconceptions from any outfits, crewing or setup resolved.
Skip a few laps;
In a nutshell you are right ahead of this lady each time you pass the start, your ipod is sending up impulses throughout your body; drinking 750mL every lap, starting to feel the darkness and BAM…
Calmly and collectively you are informed that no headlights for this run as it disturbs runners eyes. Your Ipod is be your savior for this dimly lit course… a savior in many ways!
Come 20k mark
Your dad has finally located the bread and butter pudding IN the paper bag. You take the bag, finally don’t have a mother screaming at you for using your hands to grab a mouthful and give it back to your dad who stands there with a headlamp on, looking as though he has been through the search of his life for this food! (Note to self – pack better next time).
The bread makes you feel slightly sick; is it hunger or is it vomiting or is it the wrong thing to eat?
You tried to avoid reading any internet doc’s on ultra running just simply because of the confusion that could result, so don’t have anything to fall back apart from the feelings. And you feel pretty GREAT you’ve keep up the pace, you’ve just run a half marathon and 1/5 of the way there!!!
But word of warning from a passing competitor;
“Wait until 2 or 3am come along…then you will feel it. The pain and the sleep deprivation…” (obviously you tried to turn your Ipod up louder for that comment but were a TAD too late; you don’t like hearing those comments; those comments – I wish they had the ‘not equals to’ sign on Word Doc – don’t equal motivation!)
Send me an Angel, Send me an Angel, Right now, Right now.
It’s a trance song that’s playing on your ipod.
You’ve been pretty consistent, keeping to your target, finished your bread and butter pudding slice but suddenly it’s there.
Do you remember those cartoon shows where there’s the hero in between two wall’s that are merging together as he tries to escape? He puts his legs out to try and stop them, then tries again with his hands? The hero always seems to be some sort of Ice-Age-cutie-look-alike and ALWAYS gets out (I always forgot the reason why though…).
But NO this is not another one of your-mind-wandering-repeats-because-you-are-reaching-midnight-and-running-a-pretty-long-way thought. That wall analogy is what you are feeling; pain in your legs and dead of energy.
You scream out “PANADINE” as you run by and funnily enough there stands one of those people you’d expect to see on customer-delivery-expert-adds smiling with a lamp shining on 2 pills and some red flavoured carb gel.
Take one of these Panadine tablets
And you’re feeling it; You start to walk as you notice your dad is doing his nightly midnight walk.
“Dad why am I doing this? I’m not even half way there! It hurts! This Bra hurts, I need tape…”
“Ok well get back there you don’t have much time to muck around. James is waiting for you with the tape. Just lift up your top and he’ll fix you up. And you are doing this because you are AMAZING!”
Reaching the Marathon Distance
There stands customer-delivery-expert man, poised with a tablet in one hand and strawberry flavoured carb gel in the other.
“We’ll get that tape on you but as you do so just bend down and stretch you adductors”
Positioning yourself in a squatting-for-the-toilet pose you cry in agony; it’s a combination of the tape and the position.
“We’re not in China!” It’s the race co-coordinator laughing quietly behind this scene.
“Speaking of which,” I mutter, “Haven’t been to the toilet yet…”
Customer-service-guy feels my skin; “You are salty as! And very dry! We have to make sure we monitor this…” It’s more directed at my father who has now returned.
The tablet and gel get consumed and BOOM! It’s like the good old days again; instant effect; your body seems to have that affect. Hairy Lemon’s ring a bell…?
You’re buzzing with energy and shout words of encouragement to everyone on your way to complete your first 100k run…when you felt like changing to the 12 hour event…
On a side note
Truth being said, upon reflection, you can’t remember the vivid details you did remember at the start. But your whole body changed with the gel and panadine. The electrolytes, the protein, all those fancy mumbo-jumbo things; you would like to scream on some advertisement how great they were!
16 laps to go
You repress that desire to Mathematically calculate that simple Year 4 Equation in your head; 16 x 3. They say innocence is bliss; it sure is when it means that 16 laps feels like nothing! You are jumping for joy…until you notice your watch is reading 3min40 km’s…MUST slow down you say…resist the urge. But wow does it feel great. And this customer-excellence guy is shouting;
“HOW MANY LAPS DO YOU HAVE!”
“16” you repeat.
“I SAID HOW MANY LAPS!!!”
“16!!” you yell back as you continue your 16th last lap, “AND HELL YES CAN I DO THIS!!”
Between then and Sunrise
Each lap you were provided your refreshment; each lap you had to show that your 750mL bottle was empty; no way did you want to calculate 750mL x 35 laps…
Each lap you just felt I am doing this. These Gels are working, this crew is great, the water on my body each lap I pass is a blessing. There were a few moments of:
“PLEASE SOME MORE PANADINE”…
You couldn’t see the nods but finally after your plees came (alongside some choc coated protein ball) Voltaren… a pill of wonders…of bliss…of ceasing any other muscles spasms…
Now to the best part; SUNRISE
It had been a night of using an Ipod as your sole lighting, where the closure of the Restaurant nearby had meant complete darkness on one part of the course… the ducks were a cue when you got to this part…you had to make sure you gave way…of course!! A night where the darkness brought upon hallucinations; garbage bins starting becoming humans, almost pilgrims praising down and bowing to you. But the sun…the light…on the water…it was like no other feeling. It was as though Genesis had come to life, as though you were an element, you felt so connected, with everybody, the animals, the wildlife, the surroundings, the participants. You could not help but preach;
“And God said, let there be light!”
“The light doth shine”
You were quoting. But no one cared. Everyone was experiencing this wonder. The morning bike riders gave you a second glance, also the odd drunk here and there, sometimes a couple out for a Sunday morning stroll. But you could not help but share your joy. Because a positive emotion is not worth having unless you can share it and spread it around. Your thoughts begin to think back to Anthony Robbins and his quote of the ratio of negative words to positive words; at that stage you would like to remember that Maths but just remember overall ALOT more negative words and emotions. What does that say?? That society needs some form of cognitive shift!
So you continued spreading the emotion as you ran.
Come 94km you knew you had made it within the target 12 hour time and opted to power walk a lap and finally get that chat to James. You couldn’t actually bring your arm to extend to hold his hand, as your right arm had so become pre-empt to holding the Ipod and your Left to the drink bottle and assorted Gels. Keeping the walk at 8min30 km pace you watched the ducklings cross the road and expressed all forms of gratitude. It felt like this was you. This was where you could really think. Be at one. Reunite.
The Crowd, still wide awake, quite loud-voiced (but you were not quite sure if that was a microphone or just your head playing up) made your finish home a YES one.
“Here comes our 19 Year Old! Finishing her 100km! This is amazing! I can sure say that I was not thinking of anything like this at her age!!”
“Yes! I feel great! I feel fantastic! Thank you!!” You scream back as you cross the finish 11min40!
3rd place female overall
You feel quite drunk as you hobble around wondering what to do. James comes over and hugs your dirty body…your arms looks kind of blotchy from where the blood has gone to. Your pants have white spots from all the salt you have lost.
After the Race
Hobbling over to the lake you are assisted to take off your shoes and stare at your blood-blistered feet; you didn’t feel a thing!
Taking off your top you see all the scarring from your wired bra and number on your chest and stomach; didn’t feel much!
Adrenaline! What a great thing!
It stings in the water…too much to go all the way in, despite James splashing away it it’s serenity on this hot summer’s morning.
Back at the car you make a few changes to your outfit and start feeling faint…
“Get some protein into her!” It’s customer excellence guy who has just come over…
He hugs you. You embrace him; “Thank you sooooo much! Really.”
“Not to worry! I hope I didn’t take over your Dad and James’ Role. My name is Keith by the way…”
“Thank you…” You trail off as you lay down on the matt your dad has set up, raising your legs.
In no time the nurse is there checking your pulse; “everything will be alright”. As per standard nurse-calming-down-talk.
The protein-shake is fed into you as you lay down and tastes remarkably good. James jokes; “hey, maybe we should be having more of these!”
Bam! You’re asleep like a baby!
Until, car time! And BAM, unconscious, blissful dreams…none can describe.
The drunken Blur arriving Home
“Give a wave to Mummy” you look over at these three people barely recognizing them; one is poised with a garden hose, the other 2 lifting you out of the car.
In the Bathroom you turn to your left and see a Ghost, touch your arm and realise it’s you. You are white; FREAK OUT!
You scream as the water hits your chest and stomach and blisters and cuts!
“NO!” it’s a demand.
“Do you remember who I am?” It’s your dad towel-drying your half washed body.
In bed you fall, passing into a deep sleep with an armband around your arm for Blood Pressure, as your now-yellow-body goes into its sleep waves
Awake enough to express your gratitude only to be awoken to a proud father, your trophy and an upcoming massage!
Special Big Thank you:
Bren for firstly telling me about this event, then helping me out through training, tactics, race course review and his motivational achievements
Dad for being there, getting the best runners light (even though we didn’t need it!), hearing out my demanding voice during the run and keeping me conscious
James being there, the ears to relish my final lap joys, the water man and supporter
Keith: All his nutrition, hydration and motivational help!
All my supportive friends: For Firstly thinking I’m crazy but then believing in me and having faith in my ability.
Mum: for actually letting me do this…!