Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Day After the Painathon

It always seems less painful the day after . The day ended for me at challenge 8 aptly named the quadcruncher which it was .It was 4.10pm and I knew with my quads totally gone I wasn't going to make it back.The Quadcruncher killed me physically.

The race started off well and I had ridden out from subiaco to the start at City beach with Tony.I was wheezing a bit from the aftermath of the flu and the cold air , not a good start to the event.

Before you know it we were off 3 laps on the beach approximately 380m per lap on the sand .I tried to find the firm bits of sand but is was mostly soft.That done it was off to Reabold hill just 2km away and 2 repeats up Reabold hill for challenge 2.The Hill is an icon for the Perth running community but again I hadn't run it till the Painathon and the familiarization. It was hard and what worried me was my heart rate was very high between 165 and 187.I have never been able to sustain such a high heart rate for a prolonged period.It probably was high because of the flu I was recovering from .

From Reabold Hill I cycled to the next challenge again alone .It was drizzling and wet.My haversack with my cycling shoes were already wet.I was cycling with my runners as it was quicker then changing after every short cycle leg. Chalenge 3 was the run to the DNA Tower in kings Park from the western power Park a distance of approximately 3km mostly flat and back to the bikes for the short sprint to mount Street a steep street at the edge of Kings Park where we had to do 3 laps of the hill , a very steep hill. Challenge 5 was down at the causeway a 10km Bridges run ...a run to the Narrows bridge and then back through the causeway bridge.

From there it was a 35 km ride out to Campesic Road and the Truth .Nothing prepared me for the run and I was starting to get ningling twitches ...a constant concern for me as I seem to cramp up so easily .I had loaded my energy drink with lots of salt but it did not seem to have any effect .It was dry but the traffic along Great Eastern Hwy was heavy . At the start of the run there was some refreshments and lots of bikes already there.I quickly started out after changing into my runners ,so very difficult when my quads were hurting.

The truth seemed to go up and up forever .I adopted a 1 min run 1 min walk for most of the challenge as I was struggling . It then began to rain as I began the second hill climb on the Truth and the rain was coming down hard and the road was turning into a stream of water which made running on the side difficult but running in the middle wasn't really a good idea either.

I reached the top and had a drink of Gatorade from the container that was at the Gate of the house where we would have to punch our card and then struggled back. I eventually caught up with two guys who were walking back and passed them but they eventually started to run down and got back to the start ahead of me .So did Lucy Bowman one of the few women competing after some unfortunate puntures .She was running strong as was kerrie Smith who I saw coming down as I was heading up.

The next challenge was the Zig-Zag Hill run some 20 km away .The Truth had just taken so much time ...over an hour and increasingly the chance of finishing was looking more difficult.I was cramping on the bike alot more now and had to ease up alot and stop a few times.I got lost on the way to Zig Zag but eventually got there and slowly jogged up and then we were all able to take a short cut back to the start point .I then headed for Challenge 8 at Bickley Reservoir .Had no difficulties getting to the challenge .It was 3pm when I arrived and it took over an hour to walk the 1.65km up the Quadcruncher and over to the valley run ...actually getting over two hill of steep climbs, there and back .I couldn't run and the hills were so muddy and slippery even going down was a problem for me.There were a few runners who seemed to be able to run down fairly well.I wasn't one of them .

By the time I got back to the start point at the reservoir my quads were just hurting and I did not think I would make it back in time to Kings Park the end.I caught a lift to the finish line .A bit dissapointed but the week of flu made it alot harder .I did learn how weak my quads were from this whole experience. It really requires lots of speific hill running to build up that capacity to attack these runs .The biking wasn't critical but being able to run the challenges from 5 to 9 were crucial.

Well while I lick my wounds ... I atleast know what Iam tackling next year and hopefully will finish the challenges.