|What a feeling. (Photo courtesy of Oxfam Trailwalker)|
It's generally the case with racing ultramarathons, that because of the length of time they take to complete, that if something is going wrong, you have enough time to make an adjustment and get yourself back on track. On Friday, at Oxfam Trailwalker Melbourne, I got a lesson in the opposite and I have laziness to blame.
Early on i was cruising, having a ball, enjoying the trails with 4 mates, the hills were coming easy and we were on track with our time goal to break 10 hours. We did have another team in front of us, but i think we were pretty confident that if we stuck to our plan they'd eventually come back to us, and sure enough coming out of the checkpoint at about the 60km mark there they were in sight, just up the trail. I reminded the guys not to worry about chasing them down yet, but to just stick to our pace as we were comfortable and they'd probably hate being able to constantly see us behind them.
When racing, I like to think I have my nutrition pretty dialled in. Nothing for the first hour, then a gel every 20 mins and s cap every hour. It's a proven formula. On Friday though, things had been going so well that i'd been paying less attention to the timing of getting those gels in, and slowly i'd been building up a calorie deficit that started causing me some serious dizziness just over 70km in.
I think one of the great characteristics of our team, that really aids our success is how well we look after each other when someone is struggling. I let the guys know that I wasn't feeling great and straight away I had Kev feeding me s caps, rohan pushing me uphill onto the O'Shanessey Aqueduct and Clarkey getting me to set the pace. It was a hard slog along the Aqueduct, but by the last checkpoint I was feeling much better and able to finish strong.
Two uncomfortable hours aside, Friday was awesome. To individually set yourself a very challenging goal, then to put in the work and execute a plan to achieve that goal is great, but to set and achieve that goal as a team with 3 great guys alongside you is simply awesome, and i'm yet to find anything else that can give you a comparable buzz. I can't recommend team events like Trailwalker enough.
I have nothing but gratitude and admiration to Clarkey, Rohan and Kev for running those 9 hours and 52 minutes with me and the same feelings for our fantastic support crew, Kim, John, Bryan, Emma and Debbie. I'm sure they got us in and out of the checkpoints faster than any other team.