September 02

A night at Lark Hill – Part 3


To be continued…….

Fiona’s already up beat demeanour and attitude towards finishing meant it was easy for me, I didn’t really have to pace her at all, so we just chit chatted away as the laps went by.

I’m not sure if it was my calorie or fluid intake, or the fact that it was much was cooler than what I was used to but my frequent need for toilet breaks every two or three laps suprised me. I’m not sure I’ve ever used a loo that much in my life and I hoped that this wasn’t a sign of what my future 50km runs would be like, or lord help me if there’s no portaloo close!

Soon enough I was instructed to try and find another runner called Rob who was going through a bit of a rough patch. So I momentarily bid farewell to the cheery Fiona and set off under Karens instructions to look for Rob on the trail. I took the opportunity to get in a few quick laps before commiting to pacing Rob, but once I had done a few laps, it took me a few more laps to find him anyway! The support crews instructed me to run the opposite way around the track to find him, but knowing there were a few runners with no headlamps, and being an intruder on the course as it was I didn’t want to confuse runners. Nevertheless I did eventually come across Rob shuffling along in the darkness (He wasn’t wearing a headlamp).

Rob was an interesting fellow who I learnt had only just flown in from Melbourne and thrown himself straight into this now gruelling 100km run. Showing no signs of jetlag he did mention that although his energy levels were good, his legs just felt a bit like lead and so we stopped at small intervals to walk and gain an active recovery before running again. There was after all still 30 km or so to go and Rob had the right idea in adding in short walks so his legs would survive the distance.

I was suprised to learn that Robs source of nutrition by this stage was baby food. To be honest it made my stomach turn to think of it (this could be down to my natural aversion to all things ‘baby’) as it would not be my first preference of fuel but having had limited time to prepare any real food, it seemed like a logical solution for him after having just stepped off an aeroplane to jump straight into this event.

We shuffled and ran a few more laps stopping for a toilet break along the way and a couple more walks slotted in too. Rob was quite open in telling me how he was feeling and I tried to encourage him the best to just keep moving. I also offered him a Hammer Gel with caffiene which he gladly accepted to try and perk himself up. Rob also told me how it was the 4th ultra race he had already run this year even though it was only the start of March. My mind just blew up at the thought, here I was preparing for my first ultra for the last almost two years and here he is having run his fourth in less than two and a half months. My gosh!

While I was waiting and Rob was taking a pee stop, another tall slimline runner passed by and asked if I could pace him in a few laps time because he was currently struggling to stay on target, and I agreed that in a few laps time I would come and find him. Meanwhile Rob came back and I explained the conversation with the passing runner. Given that Rob was now travelling well again, I aspired to catch up with him. It was hard work being a pacer but it did seem to make the km’s pass quickly when I was thinking more so about others than myself.