A Weekend of many firsts – Part 1


So it was to be my last event for the year, and I’d chosen to go on a 12 hour Rogaine with a world class ultra runner, and a world class rogainer.

What on earth had I gotten myself into!

I left home at 2:30pm and my teammate Bernadette and I arrived in Nannup around three hours later and I was presented with my first hurdle: Setting up camp!

This for me meant battling with having to erect a tent for the first time on my own. Now to most this would be a piece of cake, but keep in mind, I’m blonde, often ditsy and have terrible spatial awareness. Luckily the hubby had taken me through a dry run the weekend before so I could avoid looking like a complete ass in front of my very experienced teammates. At first my tent pegs bent, but I wasn’t prepared to let the rocky ground defeat me, so I got out the more heavy duty pegs and hammered them in with gusto. Take that, I thought determined to channel the same no-defeatist attitude for over the next 24 hours.

I took another look at my tent to see I hadn’t really pegged it in tight to the ground; instead the floor part was looking all puffy sitting loose on top of the grass. Oh well, surely that will be flattened by the time the mattress goes in. And with that I unrolled my mattress and set up my bed.

The rolling hills of NannupMy insane teammate Bernadette then decided to go for an 8km run. My other team mate Mark and I headed up to the top of our campsite hill to check out the landscape. We certainly weren’t disappointed, with beautiful rolling green hills I winced knowing that in less than 24 hours I would be climbing up and down them in a state of total fatigue. I shook my head to erase the thought knowing full well I couldn’t let the negative thoughts creep up this early.

Dinner time came by quickly. And each of us took to preparing our pre-event dinner. Mark and I both brought the standard pre event pasta meal, with Bernadette choosing a non-meat variety of soup and some other bits and pieces. We settled into camp, talking and joking around about past experiences and future hopes and it wasn’t long before the conversation inevitably turned to discussing our pacing for the event.

Mark and Bernadette hypothesized about the layout of the controls and they both agreed that the land on the left was more bushy, and that the land on our right was more hilly and so given the expected 36 degree heat we should probably tackle the bushy controls first. This meant we would be choosing to attack the controls that were hardest to find first in the bush during the daylight hours, while leaving the easier to spot controls in the grassland and hills last in the evening. This seemed to make sense to me so far.. except I had no idea what a control was?!

Next I was given the important ‘beginners team chat’ and by the way it went I suspected Bernadette and Mark had had this conversation many times on different occasions. Basically they let me know that it was important for me to constantly stay in communication with them. Given the nature of the event, if I am really struggling I needed to let them know for the safety of the team. There are benefits to being on a team and helping each other is one of them, and since they were both more experienced than me I should let them know immediately if a niggle arises. (blisters, water issues, food issues, clothes.. etc). More often than not something small can be prevented from turning into something worse by treating it immediately. In this case three heads are better than one and I didn’t want to compromise the safety or speed of the team as a whole. They said they are more than happy to help me and keep the team going.

This to me meant what I’d always known and was the exact reason I’d signed up for this.

To challenge myself harder than ever before to keep an ongoing pace… either walking, jogging, pack marching, anything I could to just keep moving. It also meant it should be my first priority to take the time when possible to care for my body, (food, water, blisters, adjusting clothes etc). Again, the most important was to listen to my team mates and additionally….to try not to whinge.

That last one was going to be the hardest, but considering the calibre of teammates I had, my pride had resigned to leaving the princess crown behind and instead packed my A-game never say die attitude just for this event. That’s right, hardcore to the max…. or so I wanted myself to believe.

I felt better after the chat knowing that we were all considerate and aware of each others intentions for throughout the rogaine. Bernadette wanted to be able to stop and take the time to learn more about the finer points of navigating the land when she needed it, Mark was happy to be along for an easy rogaine and to assist and teach Bernadette, and my job was just going to be concentrating on keeping up and looking after myself. Excellent! Nothing too complicated!

We all wanted to settle in early so we were tucked up in bed by about 9pm. Bernadette and I had armed ourselves with earplugs to counter act Marks sometimes loud snoring, but thatPart of the camping grounds didn’t stop us from both tossing and turning amongst the sounds of cars pulling up, and the hammering in of tent pegs late into the night, as well as the sound of a random baby crying in the early hours.

I kept waking up with paranoia about missing the start of the event and poked my head out numerous times at god knows what hour to see if Mark or B were up yet. By about the 6th time I finally saw Marks cheerful face sitting quietly at the table. I quickly got dressed and up out of my tent excited for what lay ahead. Standing and having a big stretch I looked around to see at least 5 more tents and cars surrounding us, with over 50 more tents and pop up campers in the distance. Woh.. what a site. Well, the big day has arrived.

To be continued…….

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