Tuesday, May 26, 2015

NorthFace100 2015 Race Report Part 1

The North Face 100



The Bronze Belt Buckle
"Ultimately,ultra running is still a confrontation with self, a battle of you versus you and that spirit is still alive and will always thrive by virtue of the sport being so physically and mentally demanding."
Dean Karnazes

" If you start to feel good during an ultra, don’t worry, you’ll get over it."
Gene Thibeault

Like the race , Like any endurance race , the NorthFace had its ups and downs , literally and figuratively .It was my first ultra marathon. The two quotes pretty much sum up my feelings of the race and probably what most runners would have experienced in any ultra run . It was emotionally up and down , it was a battle within and eventually any feel good factor evaporated in the cold night air as the run progressed. Like the race this is going to be a long race report. It is what I call a mindless excruciating race and so is the report.I was in wave 6 , the last wave off at 6.53 am and I crossed the line 19hrs and 35minutes later at about 2.30 am . I can safely say , I had left everything out there at the end.

But like all races there is the start and getting there . After the mega planning that went into the training and the preparation I think I had covered all bases. I did find it a little harder preparing for such a race never having run an ultra. I had my gear for the back pack and nutrition and then 3 bags for 3 of the 5 checkpoints .All of which I had to organized fortunately with help from JD and those who had done the race before. In addition I had extra batteries for my headlight and chargers for my Iphone and even wireless headphones (which I never used) .

I left with the group from Boris fit (we trained together for the run) on Wednesday 13 May 2015 . It was the Jetstar red eye to Sydney and my luggage weighed in at an impressive 21kgs just in clothes , and the running gear and nutrition for the run.

Joining the advance party .Perth Airport 13 May 2015

The flight was uneventful and I did not manage much sleep .We all arrived at 6 am and were on our way out of Sydney by 7.20 am , heading for the town of Katoomba and the Blue Mountains . We had breakfast on the way up and got there by about 9 30am. It was then getting to the rental house where we hooked up with everyone who had arrived the day before and then to rental House 2 where I was staying. I had a wander around the Town and the fabulous lookout over theBlue Mountains with everyone else and we went to Scenic World , the start line of Northface 100. It was cool and the views were breathtaking to say the least and equally daunting when facing them for the first time . After a good walk round Scenic World , lunch and some Food shopping it was back to the house and sorting out all the gear.
 
Picture of the Blue Mountains from the lookout in the Town

The 3 Sisters (Meehni', 'Wimlah' and Gunnedoo')

The massive Jamison Valley below

Another view with Ironpot ridge on the other side of the valley

One of many Falls in the area
In the evening the whole group met for drinks and dinner at the RSL Club and adjoining Golden Dragon Chinese Restaurant. I was dead tired and had an early night . The next day , just a casual slow day of relaxing , we drove out to check point 3 to have a look and then had lunch in town before I went home and got the check point bags ready and my nutrition in 2 x 600ml bottles for each check point bag. At 4pm we all headed down to the registration for Northface at the Katoomba Christian Conference Centre. I had all my Check point bags with my nutrition and clothes and anything else I wanted in the bags. Got registered fairly quickly and no one really looked at the gear certificate and so I just got my T shirt and handed the bags in and then browsed around the expo. I didn't stay for the race briefing or the elite runners press conference.

The Expo and Registration

Borisfit Crew

The Expo and Pop-up NorthFace shop

Queue's everywhere at the registration
For dinner the night before the race , I stayed at the house and had eggs and bacon and then watched TV till late and headed to bed. I found it difficult to sleep but had a few hours of sleep and before you knew it it was 5 am and I was up getting ready for my first Ultra marathon .

The months of preparation or possibly the lack of were about to be tested like never before.