Back again. On the weekend of the 14-15 May 2011, I competed in my 3rd TNF100 in the Blue Mountains.
With a mixed lead up of spraining my (warning link contains photo of injury related photo) ankle on a night Mt Coot-tha Training run a month out. It provided a longer taper – A little longer than I had hoped, but fortunately I received some excellent physio treatment from Odilia at Paddington Physiotherapy (5 session in 4 weeks), with a week out, managed to go for my first run (10k) since the sprain and all was good.
Coming into the event, it was a weird feeling. No real pre-race nerves. I figured having this twice before, I knew what I was in for. I was targeting between 20 and 24 hours. Given the first time, I did it in 24 hours, and then last year was 20 hours. But with my lead up (not as much training as previously done and my ankle), I would be happy with a 20-24 hour finish.
Changing things around this year, I’d thought I would go a Supplement option as opposed to the Carmens Bar strategy that I have done previously. So I tried out the Hammer Nutrition Kokoda Challenge Pack, basically consisting of Powder Stuff (also marketed as Perpetuem), Energy Bars, Gels and Endurolytes Capsules. See diet analysis overview below.
No leg by leg details this year – if you want that – look at the previous year… Highlights below;
With the first year of the the split starting time based on expected finishing time, I figured starting in the 3rd wave was appropriate. The split start gave a much less “big bang” start, but was much better overall. Getting into the first 5-10 kms with the sections of single trails, most runners I was with – were all going a similar pace. So full credit to AROC for this initiative – as it’s better than the 5-10 minute wait at the start of the single tracks…
Seeing Lisa and Rupert at the half way checkpoint (54km) provided time to have a good chat, and get some good encouragement for the 2nd half of the race. Managed to change into some warmer gear and swap some of my pack around. A bit of a fatality here, but that will come later.
Leaving Checkpoint 3 was a refreshing run along some tracks and roads leading up another hill. It was also getting dark and I was about 4 kms into the leg it was time to pull out the headlight. hmm I won’t say what happened, but had to use my backup light. Going for a small light weight pack, I only packed a backup light being one of those manual wind on, self generating power lights. Winding up my light every 10 steps was a good way to keep me amused going up the 800 or so stair case. I often had to stop and wait for other runners to catchup and borrow some of their lighting for the downhill sections. Fortunately, like any boy scout, I had a proper backup backup light waiting for me at CheckPoint 4, only 9kms of running in the dark / or using this hand held wind on light…This probably lost me a good hour of pace here.
Heading through to Check Point 4 was the renoun 800m over 9kms incline. Note for future runners, the hill starts at the “creek crossing” – which involved getting your feet wet (again), but that’s a good countdown when your starting the incline. Certainly helped this year with the Garmin to countdown the slog. I also pulled out the ipod for this section for a bit of a distraction and fire up music!
Finally at CheckPoint 5, I was worried about my time, now figured I was heading towards getting the buckle, but also knew the last 10kms is the worst (mainly mentally), so I popped into get some Glucose lollies and hot milo and continue the race. Seeing alot of other runners wrapped up in blankets near the fire, I figured if I try to get warmer it would cost me a good 30mins of time. So I just kept on going…
The last leg was familiar, so I managed to keep up a reasonable pace and with the knowledge of the end not too far away, it gave me the ability to push on through.
Finally hitting the Fairmont Resort and with a surprisingly large crowd (least 30 people) it was great to finish in 19.17.59. Shame my Garmin died at the 98.5km mark, but I managed to get 98% of the event – so that is fine by me.
- Timing – Average moving pace 10 mins to a kilometer with maximum speed at 6km an hour.
- Elevation – This looks pretty accurate. Not many times did I loose satellite reception, so I’d say this is fairly spot on.
- Heart Rate – Interesting at a peak to start with, then gradually having lower maximums. This makes me want to stick to long distance events.
- Cadence – Interestingly around 80 steps per minute maximum and far less on the hills. Probably due to my longer / slower strides up.
- Calories – 10,103 C – Equal to approx 12 whoppers Cass!
- Elevation – 5,279 m – running up Mount Kosciuszko twice
With the Hammer Products, over the 20 hours, it provided a good baseline to know;
- Each Checkpoint refill 2 bottles and put powder stuff in.
- Every Hour have a Energy Bar
- Every Hour have a Endurolytes Capsule
- Gels – 15 mins pre to all big hills (8)
In my opinion;
- Powder (Perpetuem) – Worked well but tasted worse as the race went on. But noticed the improvement of sustained energy levels.
- Every Hour have a Energy Bar – Worked well. Even though they were dense and tough to eat, a good drink alongside assisted the consumption.
- Every Hour have a Endurolytes Capsule – Started with 1 each hour, then went to 2 an hour. I don’t think they did much for me. I had one fizz tablet near the end, and that was a much preferred
- Gels – 15 mins pre to all big hills (8)
I’d certainly use the Hammer products again. Removing the Electrolyte capsules and replace them with the Fizz tablets.
Additionally I had some fruit at each checkpoints and some hot milo at Checkpoints 4 and 5. I was also craving some glucose lollies and salt at checkpoints 3,4,5 which I should have included in my diet in the earlier parts of the race.
Finally, when asked if I will do this race again. I’ll leave that answer to the sponsors of this event, The North Face – as their tag line is “Never Stop Exploring”, and I have done this event 3 times now (in the Blue Mountains), it’s time for me to explore some other similar races outside of the lovely Blue Mountains.
Any Suggestions 😉