I did not get a lot of sleep the night before, but it turned out to be a brilliant, sunny day which kept the mind awake!
I met with my fellow supersheilas at 0730 hours, raring to go. Tony stepped up to the plate as support person, with Shell’s Steve as backup and Duckgirl otherwise occupied (she stepped up to the night duty).
We started at a comfy plod, but all needed to go for a whizz at the first toilet stop – we were queued up for about half an hour, so that set us back.
A flying stop through CP 1, with a banana and some GU drink, and a stretch.
About halfway to Lysterfield, the blister burn started up in my hindfeet. The damage was inspected over lunch at CP2 and dressed with the caring assistance of Tigerboy.
We were lucky enough to have TB come and meet us on the way to CP 3, and he helped haul us up the hills. Another flying stop at CP 3. I was feeling fantastic from the ankles up.
Grants to Mt Evelyn was an unenjoyable part of the course – the track was slippery with mud, with loads of branches poking out, and a sheer drop on the right! Then Hacketts. I was very lucky to get some text messages during this time, so texting back distracted me. Then a seemingly very long walk to CP4, Olinda.
Dinner was some noodles, bread and chippeees, then to inspect the damage on my feet – the blisters had gotten larger despite the dressings, so I changed over my dressings and socks, and sucked it up. Berny and Dave (Mr and Mrs Wombatoutofhell) came along to join us on a tough part of the trail.
The Olinda to Mt Evelyn part is one of the toughest (save for Tanty Hill) parts of the trail, with Melba track and its steep up and downhills. The uphills were fine – made much easier with a walking stick (thanks to Jay for teaching me to use it properly). The downhill was very slow (but faster than what I had done previously). I saw quite a few people fall over and was glad I took it slowly. Unfortunately, it really mushed the crap out of my feet, and stirred up the blisters big time. The uneven, gravelly path after this didn’t help.
Finished the big hills and met up with Corrie and Buster the lab. Buster had been cheeky, stealing food. Gotta love hounds – they like to look unfed. Dave and Berny had very kindly got us some coffee.
After this, my walking slowed to a crawl down the warby trail from Cogs Cafe to CP 5- the hindfeet were really hurting and I was starting to get muscle strains from walking on tippy-toes. Finally made it to CP 5 and again surveyed the damage – the blisters had grown to about 1 x 2 inches and were very big and tense. The “to pop or not to pop” debate moved up a notch. The other girls were preparing to move on in colder weather while I agonised about whether to continue. I got out of the car and had difficulty standing on my hindfeet, and then really doubted whether I could continue. The girls waited (freezing their collective tits off) while I had my feet tended too. I thought that it would do the trick but I was still stumbling about and realised that I was not going to be able to do another 40km.
I was very disappointed – felt like crying – as the rest of the body was holding up well. But as Jay pointed out I would have buggered my feet.
So I got Ian to come and pick me up, which he graciously did.
It was all a bit of a bastard, but I had tried my best – had hiked about 40km with ever-enlarging blisters. I had also trained hard, and, otherwise, I would have been able to continue. I had sustained injuries (hip and ITB) and gotten over them. Just a bit of a bugger, but I will get over it.
Well done to Jay, Shells and Michelle, who gallantly kept going, and finished at about 2pm in quite warm weather – that tanty hill would have been a bitch.
A big happy 30th to Shelley, what an amazing way to ring in your thirties – onward and upward from here.
Michelle also did a fantastic job – she bravely carried on up the hills despite saying “I can’t do them!”. Yes, you could, and you did!
Also a big thanks to Tony, Dave, Berny and Duckgirl – they were magnificent.
Even though I did not finish, I still achieved a lot from training for the event:
- fitness up hills
- conquering (to a degree) my morbid fear of downhills and uneven surfaces
- endurance by time on the feet
- fueling for long exercise
- Discipline and commitment to a team – I had never done a team sport before.
I will not be doing it again though! I was thinking, while I was waiting for Ian, that I need to change my approach to exercise, from masochistic to a little hedonistic. I found the longer training walks quite difficult to recover from – I needed lots more sleep for a week after, and the DOMS was a bitch sometimes.
My new goal is a good (<= 60 minute) 10km time. I will take Dave up on the offer to pace me. Training for this will likely be a bit less tiring and time consuming. It is also quite an easily achievable goal.
And also, much more of the exercise I enjoy – mindless sessions on the x-trainer, step classes with Jessica, jazz and contemporary classes, fun runs (8-14km distance). I was previously finding it difficult to motivate myself for exercise because I felt I had to go hard – but in order for it to be sustainable it needs to be enjoyable.
Tonight – some time with my hubby – because he has not been seeing a lot of me with the training. I am sure all the girls will take the opportunity to spend more time with their loved ones.