The North Face 100 – Blue Mountains – 2015
This weekend will my first Blue Mountains North Face 100 ("that's 100km of running for those unaware of the existence of ultra-marathons" - Ty). Over the past year I have gone through nearly four pairs of running shoes and I've spent countless hours in the Mt. Coot-tha forest training for what will be my toughest physical event to-date. The training has been a huge test for my psyche – 6-8 hour runs along arduous terrain combined with regular sightings of hungry goannas and big snakes have provided me with the mental toughness to hopefully finish!
The race has constantly been in the back of my mind – there is so much to think of and so much that can wrong on the day. Most of my training has been in hot and humid Brisbane conditions. The Blue Mountains will be anything but hot and humid. All runners must carry a mandatory running kit that includes thermals, a beanie, gloves, headlamp, space blanket, snake bite kit, compass, map, whistle, phone, water proof jacket and adequate food and water. Failure to have these results in a time penalty, and in some cases, disqualification. Hopefully I won’t need most of this gear, but never-the-less it’s best to be prepared for the worst case scenario. The temperature this weekend is looking to be around 3-13 (so cold!). Some showers are expected but hopefully they stay away – running with wet shoes and socks on slippery surfaces is an added challenge that I don’t need!
Nutrition on the day is imperative for a successful outing. During training I have munched on energy gels (GU in particular), energy chew blocks, Cliff bars, pikelets with syrup, mini Snickers bars, snakes (the lolly kind), bananas and I’ve complemented these food sources with electrolytes in my two front water bottles (400ml each) and my 1L hydration bladder at the back (my bag is actually quite comfortable). I aim to eat something every 60-80 minutes (varying the food source constantly to avoid taste fatigue) and I regularly take sips of my electrolyte fluid. This coming weekend I’ll keep my nutrition the same and top up water and add electrolytes (via a tablet) at each checkpoint (five in total every 15-20km). I’ll try not to be tempted by the various foods on offer at these checkpoints (such as fruit buns and hot noodles). Gastrointestinal issues are more likely to occur consuming food that one hasn’t trained with!
I’m looking forward to accomplishing this challenge and getting back to some normality. It will be refreshing to not worry about scheduling the lengthy training around work and other commitments. My husband will hopefully have a normal wife again – one who is less obsessed about sleep and more fun to be around! I’m also looking forward to spending less on supplements and food. Whilst supplements never should replace food, they are a good top-up and my regular intake of sulforaphane, omega-3, an activated B-complex and a probiotic has helped to reduce inflammation and assist with my immunity and recovery (albeit expensive)! Much of my recovery can also be attributed to the strength training program I have completed regularly, along with muscle release work (thank you Ty). Touch wood my body holds up and immunity stays strong until at least Sunday!!
Hopefully this time next week I will report back with some positive news. My aim is to finish the 100km strongly, ideally under 20 hours so I can receive a much-sought after ‘belt buckle’, preferably around 15 hours so my poor husband isn’t waiting too long for me. I shall enjoy my last few days of taper, keep ‘rolling’ out my muscles and prepare my mindset for a long day at the office this Saturday. Wish me luck!
Camilla. (Soon to be conquerer of the North Face 100! - Ty)