I thought I better write my BVRT100miler recap before it all became a distant memory. Who chooses to run 100 miles and why do they do it? For me, it hadn’t been one of my running goals…not like my goal to run the NY Marathon…one day!!
I heard about the BVRT100miler through a friend a couple of months ago. I became interested because it was close to home, was the inaugural event and was being held in memory of a local couple who loved to run and tragically killed in a recent plane crash. I had previously run Blackall100 (100km trail run) in 2015 and also Kokoda 96km Challenge in 2016, so the distance didn’t seem insurmountable and I always like a different challenge. Once I have decided on an event, then there is no changing my mind, especially once I have told a few people, so now all I had to do was keeping running. I ran 6ft Track Marathon in March and then embarked on a relatively short training 11-week program. I was confident that my base fitness and running history would be sufficient, however I did need to increase my weekly kms from approx. 50km to 110km in a fairly short time. I don’t regularly use a coach but for the 2ndtime, I asked for a program just to ensure I was being sensible in increasing mileage and getting enough variety. My friend Breanna insisted early on that she would crew for me which I never would have asked her to give up most of her weekend to stand around waiting for my brief appearance at each checkpoint every 20kms or so. However, as it turns’ out, having her crew for me was one of the best things about the whole event.
My training was going well, getting many comments on my Strava activities as it became apparent I was logging lots of kms. Most people couldn’t believe that I was planning on a 100miler, but were encouraging of my efforts.
Unfortunately, 5 weeks out, an Achilles niggle, which I should have attended to earlier, became an inflamed Achilles that required some physio treatment, no running and a decision had to be made whether or not I could actually even get to the start line. Heavily strapped, the week before the run, I could manage some short runs relatively pain free. So…to the start line I went. I do want to try to be organised with my nutrition/mandatory gear/drop bags etc however as we all know, life/family/work always is so busy, so it was left to the last minute. Luckily my super organised Breanna who is a pro at crewing, did some last minute shopping for me and when I arrived on the Friday night for the race brief (with my hastily packed gear box), I was reassured that I would be well fed along the track. My race plan was fairly casual; I knew it would be a matter of good pacing, regular walk breaks, lots of nutrition in the first half of the race and to ensure my fluid intake was enough. With fairly casual instructions from me, Breanna had sourced bananas, strawberries, macadamia nuts, fruit loaf, date cake, rice cakes for my race nutrition, I believed real food and not gels etc would be more sustainable nutrition for endurance. With alarm set for 4am…. time for sleep. Usually I’m a rock solid sleeper, but a noisy air conditioner, meant we both only got a couple hours sleep in our motel room.
The next morning, it was a cool 4 degrees but a beautiful still morning. With the normal pre run briefing, trying to move and keep warm, we waited for the gun to go off at 6am. 41 runners set off at 6am. I quickly found my rhythm and ran the first 20kms with a small group and we chatted amicably about different runs we had done and what we were hoping to achieve. The kms ticked past quite quickly. I arrived at the first 20km checkpoint at Fernvale, feeling like I had run quicker than planned; I hoped that wouldn’t affect me later in the race. A quick stop to grab my nutrition for the next leg (and toilet), I was off again. My nutrition was based on 200mg of carbs per hour, so I had a little bit of everything, all packed in snack bags to eat on the run. I carried 500ml of water & 700ml of electrolytes and this was alternated at each checkpoint (mainly because I had left 2 of my bottles at home…whoops).
I arrived at the next checkpoint at Lowood (28km) and was greeted by Breanna and my coach (Jason) and another training buddy (Jason) who had travelled from Toowoomba for support. It really is uplifting seeing familiar faces and I’m always so appreciative that friends take the time to come along to what really has to be a very boring spectator sport…I can only hope they have a great time chatting while they are waiting..haha.
Next checkpoint, Coominya (40kms), just another quick stop, pick up food, quick chat to my support crew X 3 and off again. I was checking off the kms in my mind while I ran. By this time, the runners were all fairly spaced out, I ran most of the race by myself. When I arrived at Esk (64kms), I was not feeling the greatest. My hips and glutes were aching, and I was a little worried that there was still 120kms to go. I’m a bit vague on the details already but even my coach said he was a little worried. More food, some pototates and quiche, some leg stretches and a leg massage, off I set again, and just focused on one section at a time.
I was still on my predicted race schedule and only half an hour behind the 1stfemale when I arrived at the next checkpoint, Toogoolawah (83kms). At this checkpoint, I was feeling really thirsty, I guzzled coke, red bull and a few pills (No Doze, Nurofen & Salt Tabs) and I remember a yummy cookie as well. The next section was the longest at 30kms and called the deviation as it was on roads instead of the incomplete rail trail. We had been warned that it would be probably the worst section as there was some elevation in comparison to the relative flat terrain we had run over so far. I had changed my shoes to my road shoes instead of trail shoes and I am glad I did. I said goodbye to Jason & Jason who had spent enough of their day following me along and off I set. It was now 3.30pm and would be dark before the next checkpoint, head torch and hi-vis vest was now on. I came across a couple of other runners on this section and I was feeling good, whatever I had feasted on back at Toogoolawah was helping and I was running a good pace, walking whenever I needed to and still keeping up my nutrition and fluids. However, I was really pleased to reach Moore (112km) as it was now dark and getting cold. Breanna had the gas fire burning…ohh it was going to be hard to leave. Breanna said I finished off a cup of 2 minute noodles in about 5 seconds. I never eat noodles but they were fantastic.
I put on an extra layer (thermal top), gloves back on and off I set again, it was comforting to know the next checkpoint was only 7kms away. I have never run along the rail trail before, but I have ridden my bike along it once. I’m really glad I did have some route knowledge because everything looks different in the dark and while the route is signposted, it doesn’t take much to be a little disorientated. In rural arrears, no street lighting and very little moon, it was dark. The stars were shining brightly and it was clear, still night, it was very peaceful and beautiful out running. I was by myself but I felt comfortable and warm and strong. Linville checkpoint at 120kms was the best…roaring fire, milo, peanut brittle, rum balls and friendly cheery Brisbane Trail Runners, all out there in the freezing cold….many thanks to the volunteers who make these events possible! The next 22km section was a gradual accent the whole way, I was still feeling strong so was able to run the majority of it, walking just when needed. My motto…the quicker I run, the sooner I finish and then I tripped. Of all the million of rocks I had already run over that day, one little rock was all it took. I was straight back up, quick glance at my knee, a bit of blood but no major damage……I think it was the rum balls!!!lol.
Arrived at Blackbutt (142km), thank goodness, the uphill section of the race all done. Gave Breanna a huge fright when she saw my knee but it wasn’t giving me any dramas so off I set again and there was only 19kms to go. Not even half a marathon now. And it was down hill, I was running still at a good pace and still feeling relatively good and that was until the last 10km (I should have remembered that the last 10km was uphill), that part of the race felt like it was 40km, I fast walked most of the last bit, my legs feeling a little fatigued by now and then suddenly out of the trail and I was at Yarraman and only 600m left to run to the Yarraman Museum and the finish line. And there she was, Breanna, still waiting for me, it was now 2.40 on Sunday morning, I had been running for 20.5 hours and I crossed the line after 163.5kms, 2ndfemale and 5thoverall. Recovery has been kind, I was back at work on the Monday and now enjoying some rest time. I thought I had ticked off the 100miler box and no need to do another…..but I hear whispers there is going to be a 200mile option next year…..could I be tempted???
What worked for me in this race despite the incomplete training was good base fitness, strong mind, consistent intake of adequate nutrition & fluids from the start and I couldn’t have it done it as easily without my great friend Breanna being the best support crew ever.