|Lake Samsonvale at 'too early' o'clock.|
|Russ with his race-face on|
Some of the highlights:
• During the night, while collecting a check point on said single track, we came across two guys on foot. After some brief chat they nervously asked “Umm, did you see a couple of bikes on your way here? We’ve, ah, forgotten where we put them…” It was easy to do as you dumped your rig on the ground and hiked into the scrub to find CPs. It’s a good idea to remember which way you came in.
• While you spend a good deal of time taking care of each other, there’s always time to have a chuckle at a team mate’s misery. John had stomach issues on the last run leg, hadn’t eaten for a couple of hours and ended up on tow on the monotonous road back to HQ. In the morning stillness a howl of pain rang out and I thought he’d broken his leg. The tow rope had snapped and recoiled into abdomen like a gun shot. This was not a highlight for John, obviously.
• The last few hours of a race are spent thinking about what food I’d like to inhale and where I might get it. Crossing the line to free pizza was bliss although a coffee van would have certified it as ‘best race ever’.
• The first short run leg was fast(ish) and I spent the rest of the race wanting to amputate my left leg. My ongoing hamstring injury didn’t like the increase in pace, tightened up and resulted in a searing pain in my arse for the next 12 hours. Oddly, the 9-hour bike leg seemed to sort it out. Or it preferred the shorter strides as everyone shuffled through the later run. Having to roll out of the kayak and crawl to CPs with a paralysed limb wasn’t too graceful.
• I knew our navigators were tired when we paddled to the wrong island on the final kayak. It probably cost us second place but I guess we don’t race for second. As tempting as it is, don’t follow other teams as they’re often lost too.
• That feeling of looking in my last food bag and realising there was absolutely nothing in there I wanted to force into my digestive system. My latest discovery is that jam goes poorly on wraps when stored for any significant amount of time. Savoury is king.
I like to include at least one glimpse into the mind of an adventure racer or a helpful tip. There is a perception out there that those at the front of the pack don’t hurt as much or have unlimited time to train and prepare. I turned up to this race stressed and sleep deprived from 2 weeks straight of work and 1am bed-times needing to submit two uni assignments before I left Hobart. I’d struggled fitting in training and introduced the 59-minute workout to my repertoire in an effort to do at least something. Feeling out of my depth fitness-wise and limping around with a dysfunctional hamstring there was a good hour of self-pity and a few tears. After that came acceptance – this is what I started with and I just needed to work with it. The most damaging emotion in sport is self-pity and the thought that you’re the only one who has struggles. Let’s face it – most of us running around out there have some serious issues.
It has made me realise I need to put my body first and start attending to some of the niggles before they become more serious. Some physiotherapy and strengthening work will be taking priority over endurance training. And it’s not like I only JUST realised that I’m overcommitted in life (I don’t over-train, I over-live according to my sports doc) it’s that I haven’t come to the point where I’m willing to give up any of the things I have on my plate. My job is amazing, I love the study although it has added to the stress, and I haven’t many years left to really compete at the top level in mountain biking and adventure racing. I’m just waiting until we colonise Mars where the days are 25 hours long. That would be perfect.
(Oh yeah, results. We were leading by 30 minutes after the monster bike leg but had a lot of trouble with CP 48 on the trek and the foray to the wrong island on the kayak bumped us down to 3rd place.)
|Fellow Tiger Adventure members and Hobart hitter Emma Weitnauer. Both in the hurt box.|
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