For all my races I take a few days to eat and sleep and then try to sit down and reflect on the good, bad and the ugly. Normally I have set some goals and I can see if I achieved them and what splits I met and if I managed to eat and drink as I had planned. For Buffalo Stampede that all went out the window when I sat in the car on the drive up deciding to run the 77km ultra instead of the 42km marathon, why? I still don’t know but it felt right.
After spending 6 weeks running around the South Island of New Zealand I came home and found myself with very little motivation to run around Melbourne and so my tapering started super early for Buffalo out of pure laziness with the occasional park run to realise how slow I had become from spending hours in the New Zealand mountains.
It was in the car ride up to Bright with Vajin Armstrong, Caine Warburton and Majell Backhausen that my first idea to run the ultra came about. Vajin had dropped down to the marathon due to having some bigger races lined up, Caine was a second place finisher in the ultra and was wishing he was able to swap his moonboot for a Salomon shoe and Maj was in for the ultra. It sounded like a lot of fun but I decided to sleep on it and make a decision the next morning (the final moment)
Friday was spent up at 4:30am for some filming on Mount Buffalo and then a second filming session in the afternoon. 7 hours filming; My feet hurt, I was tired, I didn’t eat so much and I hadn’t organised a thing I needed to do in order to a) get to the start line b) make it to the finish line. But as usual I decided that it was exciting to be so not in control and got a new bib, some mandatory gear I was missing and a great big bag of nervous and doubt.
Race day felt like anything but a championship race day. I was running in a dress that I had never worn before, I was carrying other people’s mandatory gear, I had nutrition for 42km and didn’t really have a plan for the remaining kilometres of the race and I had no time goal… but deep down I knew that I could do it and I so wanted to have a good day because of the support I had received from everyone.
On the way out to Mt Buffalo I ran similar to how I would have run in the marathon. I just wanted to get to the marathon distance in a good time and then work out the extra bit of distance I had tagged on to this run. I felt awesome as I returned to the Chalet after the loop on top, only at the last minute I was sucked in by the loud bell ringing and cheering I thought I would run up the stairs into the aid station to look really strong… only the next minute I found myself flat on my face, with very sore shins and complete silence as everyone looked on to see if I was going to get up (I felt like I stayed down for a while…I really enjoyed lying down briefly after 5hours running). I was totally embarrassed. Descending down Buffalo I felt the bruises appearing on my shins, had some epic blood down my leg and looked pretty hard core but I was given so much energy from other runners on their way up, the pain left my legs, I felt light and I danced the rocky section down to the base of the mountain.
From here I decided my next race began and I started to put some time goals for sections of course into my head as I knew exactly what was coming. I ran the sections where we had filmed the day before with such confidence and laughed at how many times I’d done those sections of trail in the past 24hours. Meeting the Salomon crew at the base of Warners wall (??km) I can’t describe the feeling of going up warners wall so slowly I was embarrassed as I looked back at the checkpoint below and could see them watching me not disappear very fast into the distance; however, I kept telling myself it wasn’t about moving fast it was about moving. The final climb up Mystic was a bear crawl…today my arms hurt more than my legs as I pulled myself up and listened to Caroline (who gave me the dress and the missing gear, thank you!) yell at me. I got to the top feeling like I’d just about ran out of energy but still convinced the next girl was just behind me. I was so nervous, I ran down the mountain bike track as hard as I could with my quads shaking and everything ready to finish. Coming through the finish line was an amazing feeling and the support and energy I received from people in the last kilometres was amazing, it got me there with the biggest smile.
I couldn’t have done it without the help of everyone out there. I went in with no expectations except to have a good day and feel strong. I did that for most of it, however, what started as an internal goal became an external goal as I wanted to do everyone who supports me proud. I have never felt so much love on the trails with everyone sharing a moment with me wherever they were. I don’t quite know why I decided to change distance but I do know it was the best decision I have ever made.
What I wore/ used:
-Salomon Anna Frost dress (thanks Caroline)
-Salomon Ultra softground 5
– Salomon socks
– Shock absorber active shaped sports bra (thank you She Science)
-Suunto Sapphire peak3 (thank you Hayley)
What I ate:
- 3 chocolate CLIF gels (thank you Maj)
- 1 pack CLIF cherry shotbloks
- As much watermelon and oranges I could fit in my mouth and hands at one time
- 1 cup of coke however not sure how much stayed down
- 3 sachets of PURE sports nutrition electrolyte drink lemon flavour
NOTE: what I did for this race is not recommended and I did the opposite of what I should have done in just about every department. Lesson learnt for you… be prepared!