Saturday, September 10, 2016

Surf Coast Century 100km Race Report - 3 Sept 2016

I was nervous all week, even feeling a little bit sick this time around. The last few ultras I have raced have all worked out perfectly and I was almost thinking that my "good run" would have to come to an end somewhere. Was this the one where things go wrong? My Coach Brendan Davies, who has been coaching me for over 2 years, reassured me that I was ready for this race. My nerves settled when we arrived in Victoria and the day before the race Nathan and I checked out some of the checkpoints, trail and the amazing scenery. I packed my checkpoint bags and was thinking back on some of the first ultras I had raced and the enormous amount of stuff I packed unsure of what I may need. This time it was just a small bag with some spare shoes and socks for after the beach run, extra clothes in case the weather would change and my nutrition (Mainly SIS gels and GoHydro tablets).

It was an early morning beach start and the Anglesea Beach was packed. 100km Solo and Relay runners and the 50km Solo runners lined up, not sure how many all up but there were 217 Solo 100km Runners which included 63 Females. I have always been a cautious starter but this race had a much different elevation profile and the first 21km were pretty much beach running. I had changed my plans around to go out much harder than usual and see if I would be able to maintain that pace throughout the race.

Leg 1 "Coastline Crusade" with the spectacular line of the Anglesea Cliffs on our left and Ocean on our right past the famed Bells Beach but it was too fresh and I didn't see any nudist at the optional clothing beach along the way. This leg worked out harder than I anticipated, there were many more reef platforms, coastal rock, soft sand, rock pools and knee deep water around the rocks but I was able to get to "Danger Point" Torquay only a few minutes behind my estimated time.

A quick sock and shoe change and I was back on the trail for Leg 2 "Ironbark Basin". This section I enjoyed the most, beautiful scenery, single trail and lots of people on the side of the trail cheering you on. I was able to hold my pace and felt comfortable pushing without overdoing it. The end of leg 2 was back at the Anglesea Beach and also the place where the 50km solo runners finish.

Only spending a few minutes at the checkpoint I was back out for Leg 3 "Currawong Falls" and crawling underneath that bridge everyone was talking about. Only about 80cm high, we had to crawl on hands and knees underneath the bridge and trust me after 50km of running this is not the easiest thing to do. On the other side we climbed up "Heartbreak Hill" to the top of Mt Ingoldsby which was the first of the bigger climbs. This leg was the hilliest of the legs but with still about 45km to go I didn't push too hard. Descending down and back up some slippery clay 4WD tracks, lucky we didn't get much rain, it looks like it could get pretty messy out there. On the other side was, as they called it, another rather epic hill. I cruised my way through to the end of leg 3 at Moggs Creek Picnic Area.
Leg 4 "Black Diamond" only 23km to go with plenty lookouts and lighthouses. I was running under my target time and still feeling pretty good. I wanted to finish Sub 12 hours and was thinking about anything and everything that made my push to get it done. At this stage I had no idea what my position was in the field but felt great and I kept passing people which made me even more determined. After the lighthouse we went back down the beach and had another 7km of beach running before heading up the last few stairs to get off the beach onto Melba Parade and Surf Coast Walk. Getting close to the finish line and I ran through a little town, people had dragged their chairs out on the footpath and were having parties in front of their houses cheering runners on as we were running past. That was AWSOME!!

11 hours and 32 min, I was stoked!!! 5th Female and 4th in my age group 20-39. Sub 12 hours and received the Big 1 litre Sub 12 hours Beer Stein.

As always I couldn't have done this without the support of many people. The best crew "WaterBoy" Nathan, you've got these checkpoints pretty much under control and getting through it within a few minutes without any stress is awesome! My Coach Brendan who keeps pushing me to strive harder and has helped me believe that there are no limits. And many of my running friends from Rocky, Blue Mountains, Kingaroy and other parts of the world. I spend most of my running hours solo and I very much appreciate all your support and company on trail and on those long RRR road runs. You all rock!!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Limburg Zwaarste 100km Race Report - 16 April 2016

In 2014 I ran my first 100km race The Limburg Zwaarste and this was also the last time that I visited all of my family. So.... perfect time to go back and visit my family and run a race :-)
Getting ready - only 1 hour in the dark
This race was particularly tricky for me. I felt great and with the cooler weather and the great preparation from my coach Brendan Davies I wanted to better my time from 2014 by at least 1 hour and 45 minutes (Under 13 hours). I have always been a back of the pack starter but needed to move forward to mid/front of the field for a better start of the race. 

At the start line

My biggest worry was starting too hard and not being able to pull it off but Brendan had told me plenty of times that I am much more experienced runner now and needed to trust in my training and it would all fall into place on race day. 126 people lined up for the 100km

Crew Nathan "WaterBoy" and Janny
I was lucky again to have an amazing crew, Nathan "WaterBoy" and my Mum and Dad. It was cold and windy but it was still dry, the forecast was not looking great but that did not made me feel an less confident.

Finding my rhythm

This race has plenty of checkpoints looked after by amazing volunteers with plenty of food and drink options for everyone. I decided to stick to my usual race "food" of SIS gels, electrolytes, bananas and bars.

We had to cross the roads multiple times and that was chaos as the Amstel Gold Race (Annual Road Bicycle Race with approx. 16000 competitors) was held on the same day and racing in the same region.

We had 4 seasons in one day, wind, sun, rain and hail and around lunch time some of the trail became nice slippery. It didn't matter... everyone seemed to enjoy the challenge and the landscape was pretty no matter what.

At checkpoint 7 I was told by the event organisers that I was first female going through for the 100km. 30km to go and I was still feeling pretty good. The hardest part of the race was done but because of the rain the trail was muddy and very slippery. Time to dig deep and get it done!

Last 10km..... Nath told me that if I put in I would be able to get under 13 hours. Although I felt exhausted I was able to find that last bit of energy to bring it home.

I finished in 12:47:10 - 1st Female and 25th overall (91 finished the 100km). I had an absolute awesome day!! 2400 meters elevation. Yes Holland is not totally flat ;-)
I improved my time from 2014 by almost 2 hours. What a difference training with a coach can make!!! Thanks again Brendan for all your training and guidance. I'm excited to find out what's next :-)

Thanks again to my awesome crew, Nathan, Mum and Dad!! I couldn't have done it without you. My training buddies from Australia that always keep me pushing a little harder and a little further, especially on the Saturday long runs. Run2Day Veenendaal organised all my nutrition, thanks for getting this ready, very much appreciated. Thanks to the events organisers and volunteers, it is a massive event to prepare and it was very well organised. I enjoyed every minute of it!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Glasshouse 100 Mile (GH100) Race Report 12 September 2015

The weeks leading into this 100mile race were full of ups and downs from feeling totally ready and excited to nervous, stressed and anxious. My Coach Brendan Davies had to set me back on the right track many times and it was only a week before the race that all of a sudden I felt totally at ease and the nerves disappeared. I had my gear and nutrition sorted and I was ready to hit the trails knowing it was going to be a very long day and night out in the bush. I was lucky to have such an amazing crew with Nathan, Nicole, Mick and Matt I was confident that they would get me through this epic race.

Nathan, Nicole and I drove down early Friday morning, a 7 hours drive to the Glasshouse Mountains gave us just enough time to check in at "Crookneck Retreat" and got some last minute groceries before registration. We all went to bed at around 8pm and to my surprise I fell asleep and did not wake up until 4am when the alarm went off. Even then I felt good about the run, not nervous, just excited to get out and start this adventure.

It was a 6am start with 38 starters and only 4 females. As usual I started at the back and I was happy staying there. I was positive that I was going to finish this run no matter how long it would take me, I would run my own race, at my pace. Walk the hills and run the downs and flats for as much as I could. Everyone was buzzing and chatting about anything and everything, already discussing what race we would run after this one, so that first loop went by with in no time.

The second section started with a nice climb up Mt Beerburrum. It's only a couple of k's but has an average of over 25% incline. After that we disappeared back onto the trail on our way to the next checkpoint. 

At that time I was running about 32nd overall and 3rd female, feeling pretty relaxed and happy. A couple more checkpoints went by and we covered some easy roads but also some technical trails including the Goat Track which is pretty tricky. Nathan and Nicole made sure that every time I left the checkpoints I was all topped with fluids, gels and something to snack on.

We had been very lucky with the weather as it was overcast most of the morning, and coming from a hot and humid Rockhampton this temperature was perfect. In the afternoon the sun started to come out and it warmed up especially in some sections where there wasn't a lot of shade. I was going through a lot of water and electrolytes in the afternoon and sometimes I had just enough to get me to the next checkpoint.

At around 60km I was ready for the 2 Bracalba loops, a nice easy downhill run for a few kilometers until you hit the bottom. After this the first loop just keeps going up and down very short steep hills which made even running down them difficult. After the big climb back out of the first loop I was in about 25th position and 2nd female. A quick re-fill and back down all the way to the bottom with a left turn this time. This loop was much easier and had some nice single trail which  I really enjoyed. When I arrived for the 3rd time at this checkpoint Matt had joined the crew. There were a lot of runners at this checkpoint who had either pulled out or had a long break. We had covered about 80km by this stage.

My plan always was to not spend too much time at the checkpoints, so again my crew checked all my gear and handed me my night light as I would most likely not be able to get to the next checkpoint before dark. I had a great run in this section and got to the checkpoint before dark. I was running on schedule. When I got to the next checkpoint Matt was waiting for me and Nathan and Nicole decided to take a break as they would do the early morning shift. I headed back out and just around the corner this guy jumps up.... It's Mick... awesome great surprise! It was amazing how much renewed energy you get every time you meet up with your crew.

It was getting pretty dark by now and I knew that if I just kept going every step would get me closer to that finish line. Another couple of checkpoints went by with some easy running and some tricky trail including the "Powerline" track. At Checkpoint 8 we heard that the next 5km was going to be super tough "The Dungeons", Oh yes they were right!!! Sliding down the steep hills, it was a very technical section which took a lot longer than expected but I got through. I was first female at checkpoint 9 and about 15th overall. It was still dark going through the loop at Swains Lookout and back through "The Dungeons", I will never forget this section!!! My crew were onto me as I wasn't drinking or eating and they were worried that I started dehydrating. Although I was hungry I struggled to eat.

Not far to go now, we had covered about 150km and the sun was coming up. Only 15km to the finish and one more checkpoint. I was amazed at how good I was feeling although my feet were very sore and I was tired I could still run some short distances. I checked my watch and noticed that if I could keep it together I would make it in just under 26 hours. I put my mind to it and blocked out the pain and ran for the finish.... Yes we did it!!! 1st Female and 12th overall. I'm super happy :-)

25 hours 58 minutes and 5 seconds
1st Female / 12th Overall 
165 km
3,642 Elevation
Matt, Mick, Me, Nathan & Nicole


I could not have done this without my amazing crew! Thank you so much for taking the time to help me get through this epic event. This was an adventure I will never forget!! I can't thank my crew enough and hopefully one day I can return the favour!

Thanks again Brendan for all your guidance, time and patience. I know I was not the easiest athlete to look after heading into this race. The training week in the Blue Mountains was very valuable and I can't wait to start planning for the next adventure!!

Also thanks everyone who sent messages before and during the race. I really appreciated your words of encouragement, the crew gave me updates during the race and they gave me a lot of motivation :-)

Strava Link:

Funny Facts
Calories burnt: 13,072
Step Count: 192,782

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The North Face 100 (TNF100) Race Report 16 May 2015

Saturday morning 16th May, 4am the alarm goes off.... Straight away the house is full of energy while we are getting ready to hit the start line of TNF100. Garry, Nicole and I are packing our last mandatory items into our backpack while we are "enjoying" a big breakfast. We pack all our gear into the car and Nathan "The WaterBoy" takes us to the start line at Scenic World. We are a little early as I need to be there at 6am for a "warmup" and a last minute pep talk with the 100km UpCoaching crew. With some last minute advice from my coach Brendan Davies, I get ready for the wave 3 start. Garry & Nicole are running the TNF 50km together this year. We wished each other luck and promise to have a few drinks at the finish line.

Nicole, Gaz & me at start line. Aido you look worried!! 
6.30am the start of wave 3, super pumped it's going to be an epic day!!! It was a lot warmer than it has been in the last couple of days and I am happy that I decided to run just in a t-shirt with arm warmers and gloves. Before I know it I am on my way down Furber Steps to Federal Pass and climb my way over the rocks of the Landslide and back up the 'Golden Stairs' to Check Point 1. I cruise through CP1 as it has only been 10.5km.

Leg 2 has amazing scenery with a run over Narrow Neck which will lead us to the Tarros Ladders

Narrow Neck
There is a line up waiting to go down Tarros Ladders, which I expected as there are only three people allowed at a time on each ladder. There is way around the ladder but I decided to take the time and recover,  have a gel and take in the stunning scenery.

line up at Tarros Ladders
Tarros Ladders
It doesn't take long to go down and I continue on the trail to CP2 Dunphy's Camp. I fill up my water bottles, grab a blueberry muffin and a banana and prepare myself for leg 3.

Leg 3 - Last year I struggles in this leg and I am trying not to think about the Iron Pot Ridge climb and descent. The trail continues through someones property and a horse seems entertained by all the runners coming through his paddock. Ok here we go... Iron Pot Ridge, a nice climb up to the ridge and a quick out and back over the Ridge. Then the downhill "Tinpot Hill", narrow, slippery sandy and super steep, I slide down grabbing tree after tree, little quick steps. It was easier than last year but still is not my favourite part of the race. I try to get back into the zone and follow the trail to CP 3.

Nearly at Six Foot Track CP3
CP3 is at 46km, this is the first time crew support is allowed and it was great to see Nath who had been sitting there for a while listening to the band playing some tunes. Nathan filled my bottles, refueled my backpack with some more gels and hammer bars and gave me a few slices of raisin bread to eat on my way out of CP3.

Leg 4 - In the course description the highlight of this legs is the stair ascent up to the Six Foot Track "a hard but classic Blue Mountain trail". We gain 480m in elevation between here and Katoomba. All I can say is stairs, stairs and more stairs. 57km in the race I get to the Katoomba Aquatic Centre still feeling pretty good. Nath checks all my gear, food and water and within a few minutes I am back out the door for leg 5.

Stunning views at Elysian Rock
Leg 5 - Last year I spend most of this leg already in the dark and this year I was so excited to be able to enjoy the amazing scenery that the Blue Mountains has to offer.

Fern City Leura
The list of highlights in this leg includes Echo Point Lookout at the Three Sisters, numerous waterfalls, Leura Cascades, cliff top walks, bridges, pool of Siloam and plenty of lookouts. Definitely my most favourite leg of the race.

Bonnie Doon

Jamison View
The trail continues and it is now time to pull the headlight out of my backpack. I still have a long way to go. Although it is now dark, I am still feeling ok and am still enjoying the challenge of navigating my way to the next CP.

I get to CP5 in 12 hours and 31 min (Last year 15h37min) a massive 3 hours and 6min faster than last year. This is the point where I pulled out last year, my first DNF, but I am not pulling out this year even if I have to crawl to the finish line!!! Nath hands me some nice dry warm clothes and a change of socks. A cup of warm chicken noodles will be dinner for tonight. I am slightly tired but still feeling confident that I can finish this last leg and beat this beast of a race. Nath told me that Garry & Nicole finished the TNF50 earlier in an amazing time, I'm super proud of their team effort!!

Leg 6 – The last and most difficult leg for me. I am hoping to get to the finish line in about 4 hours from here. Not far after I have left the Checkpoint I SMASH my head into a narrow gateway... how did I not see that!!! I take a few more pills for the pain and I continue on. I love downhill running but the downhill at Kudumba test my toughness. Quads are starting to burn and I trip over something invisible. The first fall for the day, not bad compare to last year! My back a little out of whack but lucky Nath packed my trekking poles for the last leg. The last Aid station is at 91km and I take my backpack of for a little relief and stretch out. All I know is that I have to keep moving, one foot in front of the other and I will get there. I called Nath to let him know that I will be out here for a little bit longer than expected.

The next few hours are a bit of a blur, my body would not let me take any gels, food, electrolytes or water so I keep taking tiny sips of water to stay hydrated. I continue climbing towards the cliff line of the Three Sisters. After this it levels out for a bit but it doesn't get any easier with creek crossing and slippery rocks in the dark. Another fall on the slippery rocks, fatigue has definitely set in and it takes me a little while to figure out how to get up. I follow the Federal Pass till I get to the bottom of Furber Steps, the final climb which will take me back to the top of the cliffs. 860 stairs with 200m elevation, I have to dig deep for every step. I can already hear the crowd and music at the finish, still a few more stairs to go. When I got to the top I manage to run the last couple hundred meters.  

YES the finish line!!!!!! Best thing I have seen all day :-)

Nath, Garry & Nicole standing at the last corner before the finish line cheering me home.... Yes I did it!!!! Nath hands me a beer... Cheers to that!!!

There are many people I have to thank. Without their help I would not have been able to do this Ultra Running. A very special thanks to Nath "The WaterBoy" as always he is the best support crew every, getting all my gear, fluids and fuel sorted. Garry & Nicole, training partners and support, congratulations on the massive achievement you did together!!! A weekend we will never forget!!!!

A very special thanks to my coach Brendan Davies for preparing me for this epic race. With his coaching I was able to conquer the Blue Mountains this year. The journey continues and the next challenge has already been set :-)
Everyone of the UpCoaching crew for the motivation, tips and support. Congratulations to all runners no matter how long you were out there for, we all had to push ourselves to even get to the start line. Stuart, Kathryn, Nicole & Jerrod, Aido you are all amazing runners!!

Thanks again to Aroc Sport and The North Face Australia for an amazing event. Bring on 2016!! #TNF100RaceReport or #TNF50RaceReport