Tag Archives: challenge yourself

An Adventure on the Motatapu Track

The weeks leading up to Motatapu were fraught with stress and worry. The truth is, I don’t really like 50km events, mostly because I’m not that great at the distance. My last two 50km events were pretty disappointing and this race was on a very technical trail with somewhere upward of 2900m of vertical climbing. My coach, Matt, agreed that the distance isn’t my “sweet spot” which in some ways takes the pressure off but also makes me want to prove myself. After my usual freak out 2 weeks before the race, I resigned myself to just giving it a go and seeing it as a good training run, if nothing else.

The morning of the race saw me up at 4:30am, it was a new experience getting to sleep in my own bed the night before a race, but not necessarily a good thing in the end. Being that I am still solo parenting it meant that the night before had been anything but restful, I spent the night preparing everything so my kids would be ok for race day until my friend Rachael arrived to hang out with them and also doing all my usual saturday jobs around the house so I wouldn’t have to do them sunday. In the darkness I quickly and quietly got ready. I left a little early to go pick up another runner, Peter, who had flown in for the race from Sydney and needed a lift and local runner Ruth, who actual won the women’s race on the day. We chatted on the way to the start and I actually found it helped calm my nerves. Once we arrived Ruth and I sat in the car to chat some more, non to keen to get out and stand around in the cold for longer than we needed. Eventually the start line called and we went our separate ways. As I strolled to the start line (obviously not my favourite place) I wandered along side Lucy B, wishing her well for her run and chatting about the views past Fern Burn Hut, the furthest I had been along the trail.

At the start line I found the finish line drop bag trailer and mucked around with my bag, debating whether to start with my fleece or stow it in my bag headed to the finish line in Arrowtown. It was a chilly 7’C but I knew that even at this temp once I got a km or so in I would feel uncomfortably warm and restricted. As they called for the briefing, I made the decision to stash my fleece and rely on my gloves for warmth. As I rocked back and forth trying to keep warm while listening to the RD explain the low river route to Arrowtown I looked around, hoping to see a glimpse of my running idol, Anna Frost. Unfortunately it was not to be. With 2 minutes until the start I found a space, did a warm up routine and tried to quieten my mind. I was worried about the first cutoff, about the run along the dirt road to the trail and about how my body would hold up after it had felt niggly and tight all week.

As the airhorn rang out I was glad we were started. I switched on my headlamp, a little glad for the cover of darkness as it felt easier for some reason. I was ignoring heart rate until I hit the first cutoff point so I settled into what felt like a comfortably hard pace. I let a lot of people go, trying not to let the mind games start and found a few people sitting around my pace and just stuck with them. The road went quickly, all I really remember is my light on the legs of the people in front of me, the dust being kicked up by my fellow runners and the grunts and mumbled words of those around me. Sooner than I thought we hit the trail and I immediately felt calmer. I had run this part of the trail in the dark and felt comfortable, enjoying being able to push a little harder than usual on the trail. I knew the flow of the trail and while others ran past me, working hard, their breath heavy, I felt like I floated finding a flow, a rhythm. I didn’t care that others passed by at this point, I knew it was going to get harder ahead and as I hit the deer gate marking the entry to the The Stacks Conservation Area I glanced at my watch, happy with the time it showed, comforted that I should be able to make the cutoff point if I wasn’t held up too much. At the beech forest the trail became more technical, but I knew that and while I kept things comfortably hard I was buoyed that I was obviously more comfortable than many ahead of me, as I crept up behind and asked to pass here and there. I was delighted as my headlamp flashed upon the big red fairy mushrooms here and there. I hadn’t been on the trail here for over a month and had never seen these delights here in the forest before. I smiled, thinking of my friend Liv, fairy houses deep in the beech forest for sure. As I stepped across a tree root my ankle reminded me that it wasn’t 100% happy and I made sure to watch my footing. We began to climb out of the forest to see that the sky had lightened and I was slowed by a long line of people. Although I knew I could move faster I hesitated to ask to pass, as the line was so long it would have mean asking 10-15 times. I figured a slow in pace for a bit would not make me miss the cutoff and would help with the coming climbs. Eventually people stepped off the trail and I was able to move at my own pace, I came across another runner who was removing clothing and stowing in her pack, she fell in behind me and introduced herself, saying she knew me from Instagram, that made me laugh and we chatted as we jogged along. As we came around the corner Fern Burn Hut came into view and I let out a little whoop of joy, happy in the knowledge that I had beat the cutoff. I wondered what gear they would be checking, as we had been told there would be a mandatory gear check and went through my checklist in my head to see if I needed anything here.

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Views back to Glendhu Bay, where we started.

As we got to the hut we were informed there was no check other than to make sure our mandatory SPOT tracker was on, so I walked on through, excited to see the top of the next climb as it would be completely new territory. As we climbed I pulled my pace back and began watching my heart rate. The sun was just starting to touch the tops of the surrounding mountains. I was trucking along comfortably, being passed here and there but also passing others. The climb continued and suddenly I was aware that I could see my breath, looking at my feet I saw frost on the plants around the trail and mist rising off the small creek I had just hopped over, it was a bit of alpine magic. After a nice little punchy climb I was disturbed by a whirring sound and noticed a drone in the sky, coming around the incline we were greeted by a helicopter. I smiled and said hi to one of the volunteers standing nearby and headed over and down the ridge. On my left was a steep drop, beautiful but a little scary. If you go to the Motatapu Ultra page this ridge is the photo banner.

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A small dirt path lead down into the shadowy valley, the runners ahead of me looking like colourful specks, yes it was that far and steep. I concentrated on my foot placement, not really looking at the drop worried that fear would overtake me. I slipped once, just slightly and reminded myself to breath, to watch my feet and keep moving, stopping was not an option. We hit the valley floor and crossed the creek to be met with a wall of mountain. I knew that after this climb we would descend again and then be at the second checkpoint. I reached up to move some hair from my face and my hand banged my headlamp, I quickly added that to the list of things I needed to deal with as I began the climb/scramble up the hill. I chatted to other runners, talking about the views, the steepness, the way we had to hoist ourselves up the trail using the branches and grass – it was so freaking fun! At around this point I caught up to Ricky who had overtaken me awhile back and along with a female ultra team (there is also a race for teams of two over the ultra distance), we jogged into the second checkpoint at Highland Hut. My GPS was reading 17km, although I knew from the website that the Hut was meant to be 15km, so I made a note to add 2km to the distance for each following checkpoint.

At the checkpoint, the volunteers welcomed us and pointed us in the direction of the water. Ricky and I set up side by side. I removed my headlamp and swapped it for my hat, tying my buff onto my front pack straps for use later on and set about refilling my bottles. Ricky made a comment about my “elicit white powder” and we had a little laugh. Filling my bottles I got my pack on and moved to leave, as the vollies shared that the lead male had just gone through the last checkpoint – holy crap that’s fast! Across the creek, I jogged along the flat enjoying being able to move with more rhythm I started to catch up some others. The next 2 big climbs are a a blur of chats, of watching my feet, of looking across mountains in awe of the space I was in, watching lizards run around my feet and butterflies flying across my path, basically feeling like I was the luckiest person in the world.

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Valley views from the top of one of the climbs

In between the two climbs there was a steep descent down into a valley of beech forest and some welcome shade. The sun was now high, the highlands have no cover other than the waist high tussock grasses and due to past experiences of heat stroke in races I was very mindful of my temperature. As we hit the bottom of the valley and crossed the creek flowing through it, I removed my buff and drenched it in icy water, washing my face and neck, I plunged it in again and then reattached it to my pack. As we climbed I would use the buff to keep me cool whenever the breeze dropped and I was left in the belting sun. At the top of the third climb a dirt road far below came into view, I could see very (very) small figures and the woman just ahead of me commented that it was probably the marathon runners and mountain bikers, whose paths we would cross up ahead. Soon we were descending and on a small scramble, that reminded me of one of my training runs, I managed to overtake two women, another ultra team. Further down the descent I overtook two men and was caught up by one of the women I had just passed. She commented on the guy with the deck chair on a flat section below, as we got closer it became apparent he had a camera. The woman I was running with decided to hang back and wait for her team mate as I ran ahead. As I passed I thanked him for being out here and I sincerely meant it, generally the photographers have packed up and left when I run through.

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Happy to see the photographer!

I could now see Roses Hut and behind it the final big climb to Roses Saddle. Trying not to dwell on the climb ahead, I made my way to the road below. At the road we headed right against the flow of marathoners and mountain bikers. Making sure I smiled and said hello to each person, I was starting to feel the tiredness creep in, the hello’s and hi fives helped buoy me along to the checkpoint. Greeted once again by cheerful volunteers, I took off my pack and busied myself refilling flasks and my bladder with the help of one of the volunteers. There were a number of others sitting on the steps, one person dealing with some large blisters, others eating or resting. The checkpoint had the usual chips, crackers, lollies and also a big tub of chocolate brownie. As I shoved everything back in my pack I contemplated the brownie but decided that just before a big climb it was probably not a good idea. I set off again as quickly as I could, I was hot and tired and was worried that if I paused it would be for longer than required.

I took the next climb slow, mostly because I was tired. I focussed on the people ahead, making sure I wasn’t falling behind and trying to catch them if I could. Around now two things started happening. A slight cramp had been developing in the middle toe on my left foot and when I placed my foot in a certain way pain would surge through the ball of my foot, so I watched how I put my foot very carefully in each step, thankfully my ankle had stopped hurting. Despite staying on top of my nutrition I was starting to get dizzy whenever I looked up or around. As there was nothing I could really do about it, I decided that I would rather be dizzy at the top than half way up the mountain and kept my head down and kept moving. The last climb started out fairly easy, then halfway up the mountain we proceeded straight up the ridgeline. My fellow runners were all also battling the mountain by this point, with people pulling off to sit by the side of the trail, some shaking their heads, others with their head in their hands. Despite my tiredness and the heat, I actually felt ok, just a bit out of pep. At the top I was excited to see the river below and the thought of sinking into it helped me find the energy to run down the mountain at a decent trot, overtaking a couple of people.

At the base we were greeted with two signs, one pointing to the “High Water” route, the traditional poled route and the “Low Water” route. At the briefing we had been advised to take the low route, which looked a lot more inviting at this point, we were also told that while we would be in the river there would be streamer markers to show where we could hop out and move along the bank. I stepped into the river and was soon in up to my knees. There were no visual markers and the two people ahead of me were slowly picking their way along close to the bank. I figured I was wet anyway so I waded along the river, I had the biggest grin on my face as it was just so damn fun. The water was that clear alpine blue, with a rocky, pebbly bottom, it reminded me of rock hopping at the creek back in Australia. It was slow going, every now and again we would see some pink flagging tape and jump out of the creek, gingerly pushing our way through the spiky matagouri and rose bush only to be back in the river in 20-50m. Did I mention fun! I absolutely loved this section, although it was slow going between finding footing, keeping an eye on the river banks for tape and making sure I stayed upright. Tiredness had well and truly set in but there were people around me constantly, which made it easier to keep moving. After about 4km of this we hit the next checkpoint. From here on we were only crossing the river, running predominantly on 4 wheel drive tracks. My legs were starting to hurt, the pain in my glutes reminding me of the latter stages of Alpine Challenge. My mind was also turning to my kids and my bus home, which I was obviously not going to make. I had an hour to get to the finish to be within my own expectations for the run and to catch the bus, I knew that wasn’t going to happen. I was jogging along ok when around the corner I spied a pole marker. Unsure of whether to follow the poled route or the 4 wheel drive track I stopped to get out my course map to check. Before I could properly check another runner came along and confidently announced “this way” and in my tired state I just went “ok”. I should have known better. 200m in I knew it was the wrong way and turned around after shouting these thoughts ahead. The other runner came charging back, apologising as he passed, I jogged along, feeling a little defeated and silly for my mistake. I began to spiral a little here. The length of time on feet, combined with worry about how I was going to get home plus my steps off course were building up in my head. Seeing it as another sugar low I started into my emergency m&m’s and willed myself to jog everything I could. The last 7km were tough, the lengthening shadows were a constant reminder of how long I’d been out there and although the 4wd track had pretty outlook on the mountains I was finding it quite boring after all the mountain majesty of earlier in the day. I was running well on the downhills but ups that I would normally run were now being hiked and the flats were a constant negotiation between my head and legs.

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Charge to the finish!

With the finish line in earshot, about 1.5km away, I resolved to run the rest of the way, I was happy that I did but so very tired once I crossed it. It was also kind of bittersweet. I had just been on a most amazing adventure, but it was the first ultra I had run without having anyone I knew waiting for me at the finishline. Instead of revelling in what had just happened, I walked as fast as I could to the info tent to find out if there was another bus I could catch and where my drop bag was. Once the bag was found, I had changed and the bus was sorted I sat down and was greeted with messages from family and friends who had been watching. That made it a little easier. When I got home I also got a hug from my friend Rach, who had given up her saturday arvo and evening to look after my kids – thats just how awesome she is.

Despite the amazing fun I had out on the course (seriously, I was so happy out there until the last 8km), by Sunday afternoon my run time had clouded my joy. I was disappointed, I had had higher expectations of myself and my ego was a little battered by the result. Luckily I have an amazing support network. Thanks to my dear friends, who indulge my mental frailties, and my wonderful coach who always hears out my whinges and then tells it like it is to give me some perspective, after a few days I was able to move past that detail. In fact the joy has come flooding back and I am really looking forward to heading back out on the Motatapu trail over the coming months of training (or that could be the recovery induced lack of training talking).

So, to sum up, Motatapu Ultra was a most amazing adventure. It was everything I expected and a little more. It is easily the hardest race I have ever done (including Shotover and the 50km legs of Northburn and Alpine Challenge) but also the most fun I’ve ever had running a 50k race and was stunningly beautiful. In fact if I had to encapsulate it in three words it would be epically, brutally beautiful. You should totally run it!

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Having the best fun ever

Gear
Ultimate Direction Adventure Vesta 2.0
Injinji socks/hat/buff
Derby Skinz skirt
Aldi compression shorts (seriously my favourite!)
Inov8 trailroc 245’s
Suunto Ambit3 Peak

Nutrition
TrailBrew
Clif Bars
Snickers
Potato Crisps
M&M’s
Fresh red apple
Fresh Pineapple

Thanks to
Injinji Performance Products and TrailBrew for their ongoing support on my adventures
My coach, Matt from Judd Adventures
My hubby and kids for encouraging and supporting my running
My support crew who were with me in spirit all day long
My friend Rach, who looked after my kids so I could go have an adventure.
The crew and volunteers from Motatapu for such an amazing event.

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The 2017 Run that Changed Everything

Having run both Northburn (you don’t race it, you survive it!) and my first 100 mile race you would think those would be pivotal runs and that one of those would have been the most important run of my year. Or maybe the run where I broke my 5km personal best? Or my 10km best time? No. None of those were it.

The most important run of my year happened on July 24th. The kids and I had flown out to our new home in Wanaka just 7 days before. We had had a whirlwind week of travel, settling in to our unfurnished house, with nothing but the things we brought in our suitcases. My coach, Matt, had set me a “Welcome to Wanaka” run. It involved summiting  the quintessential Roy’s Peak and Matt warned me it would involve snow and possibly ice, warranting a quick trip to the local outdoor store for some microspikes.

I had just dropped all three kids off for their first day at their new schools. It was probably good that I had been so busy dealing with all their anxieties about the coming day as it left me very little time to worry about my own endeavours. This would be the first time I ever ran in snow, the first time on the Roy’s Peak track, first time using microspikes and first time doing a long training run whilst solo parenting here in New Zealand. If I had really thought about it I may have been overwhelmed and backed out of the run.

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Less than a third of the way up – clouds coming in

When I got the start of the trailhead, I rang the local DOC (Department of Conservation) office to check the conditions. Having never run in snow or alpine environments before, I was being cautious. The climb was amazing, the views breathtaking. As I climbed higher the temperature continued to drop and snow patches lay on the ground. The snow deepened and became ice across sections of the track, prompting me to try out my new gear and attaching my microspikes to my shoes. I stopped twice to take urgent phone calls from the kids schools, checking on details and making sure we had all we needed for the week ahead. My hubby called to make sure everything had gone ok. It was a less than perfect “run” but it was real and it was cold and it was something I never thought I could do. As I reached the deep snowline, I began post holing my way to the summit.

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Above the snow line but not in deep snow yet

Checking my map and telling myself I could do this. Plenty of people do this every day. The snow was wet and cold. My toes were frozen. The views off the back side of Roys were steep and testing my fear of heights, but my head was firmly set on making it to the summit. There is a sense of relief as well as accomplishment to reaching a summit. When I reached the top I stood alone and just gazed out at the clouds in amazement, there was no view to speak of. I was amazed at what I had just done, that I was there, living in Wanaka, and that I had just summited a real mountain, alone, in the snow. That I could do that. Me. The hippy mum from Northern NSW who liked to run in the bush.

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Views thanks to a momentary break in the clouds

The run down was no less epic. I ran (as opposed to hiked) through snow, I felt the childlike thrill of freezing cold air on my cheeks, wet and frozen toes and the heat of my breath and body making steam around me. Then it started to snow. Just small delicate flakes, lasting less than a few seconds on my skin, but snow nonetheless.

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On the way down, jacket off and pink cheeks despite the cold

I finished my run. Breathless and exhilarated. I cried, the tension and anxiety of doing so many new things in such a short space of time coming out as tears. I looked up at the mountain, the peak fleetingly visible here and there between the clouds, in awe that I had just been up there.

That run changed a lot of things. It showed me I could do these new and hard things without someone there to hold my hand, to lead me along, to show me the way. I could be my guide. It didn’t mean being reckless or dangerous. I could be methodical and thoughtful. Prepare myself and take my own lead. I could do the hard thing and I could do it alone if need be. It was on that run that I learnt how much I love the mountains, the real mountains. I thought I did, but being there in that truly alpine environment that is such a start and scary beauty made me feel like this is where I belonged and I knew I wanted to spend more time there. I found that there is something about the challenge and the tinge of fear of doing something new, something outside the comfort zone that I love, that I take strength and joy from. Sometimes the mountain allows you to reach her summit and sometimes she doesn’t. I have hiked and run up a number of mountains since then, both here in New Zealand and back in Australia. The views from some have been amazing, easily better than that first run up Roy’s. Some have been little more than a trig point at the top of an alpine grassland. A few I haven’t made it to the top of, despite my best efforts, due to my fears getting the best of me or my time being short. Each has been an experience that I took something away from. Each has made me grow.

That first run up Roy’s Peak though, that was the run that changed everything. Its when I began to understand who I truly was, what it was I was searching for and where it was I wanted to be.

“The mountains are calling and I must go, and I will work on while I can, studying incessantly” (John Muir) for I still have so much to learn….

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Don’t You Get Scared?

It’s a common question. When people find out where I run and that I do so alone there are usually a few standard responses, either “I wish I could do that” (you totally can), “Your husband lets you do that?” (Seriously? WTF? That’s a WHOLE other blog post) and “But, don’t you get scared?”.

The answer is yes, I do get scared. We all get scared, don’t we? There are things that create fear in our hearts and minds, but it’s a choice as to what we do about that fear. How much power we give the fear and how we listen to it.

I run alone and at the moment I try and run every long run somewhere new, in an effort to mimic what will happen on race day where I will be running on ‘new to me’ trails and needing to navigate along the way. This can be scary, there is a chance I will get lost, or hurt, but I can’t let that fear dictate my life. I am a planner and I mitigate the danger as much as I can. I have a planned route. I tell at least two people where I am planning to run, how long I should take and when to start worrying if they haven’t heard from me. On every mountain or long run I take a full pack of gear, I always have, whether it be here in New Zealand or back in the subtropical National Parks of NSW and South East Queensland. In my pack I have dry thermals, a raincoat, beanie, spare food, water, a bivvy sac (think sleeping bag made out of space blanket material), first aid and a headlamp.

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Planning for any situation helps mitigate the fear.

Knowing I have these things in place helps me manage the fear. I usually have more fear before a new run than during. I will stress about running in a new place or if I know the conditions aren’t going to be the best, but nine times out ten, once I am underway the fears drop away.

But this doesn’t mean I blatantly ignore that fear. A month ago during training I decided to take on a particular trail near Lake Hawea called the Breast Hill Track. It gets a bit scrambly up the top and anyone who knows me will know I have a fear of heights. It was a cold and windy day, there were showers forecast, but I thought I would give it a go. As I got to the start of the first short scramble the wind came up the face of the mountain and hit me. I sat and calmed myself, willing myself to keep going. Yes, I was scared. This willing myself forward, getting beaten back, trying to quell my fears went on for about a kilometre. Then I reached my point of “no more”. The fear was too great. The wind was too hard, the trail too slick and my heart could find no joy, no reason to continue. Why? Because I no longer felt safe. Not just scared but also not safe. So I listened and went home and found a different trail to finish my run on.

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Rain, wind and fear on Breast Hill

Running alone as a woman also brings a special fear, one that is instilled in us from a young age. That fear that we shouldn’t do something because of what other people might do to us. There is, unfortunately, a culture of telling women to adjust their activities to keep themselves safe from men who may be out to do them harm. There have been many posts written about this, many debates about victim blaming and putting the onus on victims instead of perpetrators. It is also one of the main reasons many women who find out I run alone tell me they don’t feel safe to do the same. In five years of running, predominantly alone, on trails I have only felt unsafe twice because of the people I met on the trail. The first, I believe, was unfounded fear. I was doing my first solo night run and toward the end of it, when I was tired and already stressed, I crossed paths a group of men in their early twenties who were bush walking. They did and said nothing that would warrant fear, but still I was scared and put as much distance between them and me as I could. The second time, is the one time I feel something could have happened, but I listened to my gut and took steps to make myself safe. As I came off the trail at Mt Barney, a young guy pulled up in his ute and hopped out and approached myself and a man I had been chatting to about sport watches as we had made the final descent to the carpark. As I set about doing my cool down at my car, thinking about my snack waiting for me on the front seat, they had a short conversation and the you guy called out to me a comment about me looking super fit and threw me a look. Alarm bells went off, so instead of getting my snack and sitting at the picnic table like usual I hopped in my car and drove down the road to a spot where I could eat in the car. Less than 5 min later the ute pulled up beside my car, so I packed up and left to drive to the nearest town. But I didn’t let that fear control me. I was out on the trails again the next day.

So yes, I do get scared and when I get scared I try and work out if that fear is a socially instilled fear (women should not run alone), a fear fed by a phobia (this is too high) or a fear stemming from something I need to listen to for my own safety. I get scared. Sometimes terrified. I will have tears running down my face. Then, I will stop, take a deep breath and try and look at the fear, where is it coming from? Do I really have something to fear? And what should I do about it? I try to keep a level head and make sure I’m not letting irrational fear or fear caused by the unknown or worst case scenario thinking, stop me from having the adventures and experiences that I crave, whilst being mindful that fear is useful tool and we feel it for a reason, to keep us safe.

 

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I won’t let fear stop me from experiencing things like this!

Are You Mad?

In January, I shared how I was going to start chasing points to get into the lottery for the UltraTrail Mont Blanc 100miler (UTMB) – you can read that post here: Big Scary Goals.

I had already accrued 5 points from my run at UltraTrail Australia 2016, but to gain entry to the lottery I required a further 10 points from a maximum of two more races by the end of 2017. After scouring through the racing calendar and working out what races were doable for me, I settled upon the Northburn 100km in March (5 points) and the Alpine Challenge100km in November (5 points).

About 4 weeks before I was due to run Northburn, which still to this minute has not had its point status confirmed, Alpine Challenge announced that their UTMB points had changed and you would now only qualify for 4 points when running the 100km. This kinda set a spanner in the works, along with Northburn not yet receiving its points status, I was a little worried my plans were going to be thwarted. I was already committed to running Northburn and truth be told, I was rather excited about taking on this tough course, so I put the thoughts of UTMB points aside and concentrated on completing Northburn. I figured, worst come to worst it would be good practice for the future, plus I was getting to run in New Zealand mountains, I was hardly about to start complaining.

At Northburn registration, Terry the RD, confirmed they would definitely have UTMB points and that it was just an administration issue which would be sorted in time for the lottery. You can read my full Northburn account here: One Good Day – Northburn 100k

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Northburn was amazing

About two weeks after running Northburn, I travelled up to the Gold Coast to speak to my coach, Matt from Judd Adventures, with the plan of discussing how Northburn went and then where I would go from here. I left home early that morning to light rain, the creeks were low and both hubby and I figured I would be back well before expected rain from Cyclone Debbie hit.

I had pretty much settled on sticking with the current plan (Alpine Challenge 100km in November) and then possibly doing Northburn 100mile the next year to get my required 15 points from 3 races, whilst applying for the CCC (UTMB’s little sister covering 100km) using my current points. As we sat talking, Matt surprised me and suggested that I do the miler at Alpine Challenge, worst case scenario I would DNF and still have the points to apply for the CCC regardless. I was a little stunned to be honest. At the same time though, the thought of doing that distance excited and ….. well….. terrified me. After chatting about Northburn, a bit more about UTMB points and future training we parted ways. I was excited to get home and share the news with my hubby, Sim, but mother nature had other plans.

I rang hubby to let him know I was on my way home and he told me that the creeks were rapidly rising and it was doubtful I would get home, he was about to leave to go get our kids from school and was unsure if he would make it back himself. He was in a panic and had to leave so I told him I would head to a friends and talk to him later.

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A wee bit stuck

So, I was stranded at a friends and I had this big exciting news to share. I told my friends Jill, Claire (who had lovingly given me a place to stay) and her partner Pat (who said he already knew that was going to happen) along my super support crew from Northburn, Sarah and Maz (who both confirmed I was crazy but that they were excited for me). I still hadn’t had a chance to tell hubby due to him having low battery power on his phone and communication being strictly crucial info only (he was also stranded at a friends house, closer to home). I also hadn’t done my usual “look what I’m doing next!!” on social media, mostly because the idea was and is still really terrifying. Then, when it became apparent that I was going to spend a second night at Pat and Claire’s I sent him a text telling him about moving up to miler distance. The convo was hilarious, mostly as he didn’t read the whole message the first time (a regular occurrence for Sim).

 

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So, now, a few days later, I am home, the clean up from Cyclone Debbie is in full swing, I am finally sharing what’s next and hubby has come around to the idea. He says he is excited for me, but thinks I’m crazy. And me? I am ridiculously excited (how unusual, right?) but I am also terrified out of my mind, to attempt to go for an extra 60km past what I have previously done. It is going to be such a long 2 days. I only have this life though and if nothing else I know its something I want to attempt, so why not now? Its just a little sooner than I thought it would be. I have all sorts of imposter syndrome and not good enough going on, but hey, as I said to Matt in my meeting, in for a penny, in for a pound. I may as well go the whole hog now and see what happens. If you never try, you never know.

Yes, I probably am mad, but in a good way. Right?