It’s now been a little over two weeks since TNF100. There are still some thoughts I’d like to pen down, and I didn’t think adding them to my already verbose 12000 word race report was appropriate.
First up, there are heaps of people to be thankful to/for. Firstly, God, for the chance to have been there and done that in the first place. J, once again, for being so supportive and looking after the house and E while I spent those many hours trashing my legs in the lead up to the event. My dad, brother, sister in law, niece and J & E, for being there at the checkpoints, and for the moral and logistical support, and for making a very inconvenient trip just for my indulgence. My fellow competitors for being friendly, funny and generally awesome – they were by far my most important supporters as they were with me almost every step of the way. The volunteers, for giving their time and having lots of smiles ready when we needed them most. And lastly but not least, the the race organisers for putting together such a fabulous event. Except for leg 5 – man that stuff was just evil!
The race itself was possibly the most enjoyable event I have participated in to date. It was very well organised, and the course was meticulously marked out, and there were marshals at all the important points. This really allowed me to enjoy the surrounds and also just focus on the more fun aspects of the race. The maps, directions and compass that we were made to carry were almost just a formality – they went right to the bottom of my pack and stayed there throughout the event.
The course was also very scenic, technically challenging and mostly fun. My only complaint lies with leg 5 and the ridiculous amount of stairs it contains, be they ascents or descents. I didn’t mind the big stair climbs in legs 1, 4 and 6, but the stairs in leg 5 were just a rhythm killer. There was too much forced walking and too few running opportunities in that leg. There is a fine line between enjoyably tough and stupidly torturous, and for me, leg 5 was probably on the wrong side of that line.
I was pretty sore the day after, as was to be expected, but I noticed that my left knee was particularly in strife, probably as a combined result of all the stairs in leg 4 and the extended downhill run in leg 5. A visit to the physio revealed that I had in fact mildly irritated my MCL.
On the whole though, I was quite pleased with the physical outcome. Compared to the last ultra where I was using crutches for two weeks after, this is a win. In fact, other than the knee, the rest of my body was pretty much ok within 3 days, and as I type this, the knee seems to have settled down as well. I am back to walking normally, and got out for a 2km run with the family yesterday.
I’ve come out from this experience with and even better understanding of myself. This race has broadened my views on what is possible, and what this body God gave me can withstand. After coming out of the relatively easy Surf Coast Century back in 2013 on crutches with severe inflammation in my lower legs, I had mentally written off doing any distances above 100km. However, after seeing how well this last race went, despite all my well intentioned training plans going to the bin and only doing two runs above 50km in almost six months before the race, I’ve learned that my body is still adaptable, and it is still learning. 100 milers are now back on the cards.
That said, I’ve also learned over the past year and a bit that physically, I have a very, very long way to go before I am in any condition to start considering my dream events – UTMB and Western States. I will need a whole lot more strength and speed, and more importantly, experience. For now, I’m just going to focus on getting good at events in the 50 mile / 100km range.
All that said, I will be taking a few weeks off any serious running. Don’t get me wrong – I’m still going to get out there, but more just to keep the legs turning over. J & E have had some serious neglect in the lead up to this race, and it’s time to start making things up to them!