How desperate would your situation have to be for you to suck on one of these toes?
The third person to greet me upon arrival in Tasmania en route to the Tassie Trail Fest was the owner of the above feet. No need to ask Tom if he was a runner after seeing those. No need. Tom wasa
volunteer for the event; full of good advice on running marathons, resting and recovery, and what kind of milk to put in my coffee. I had to think of a way to repay him for his good deeds…
The Tassie Trail Fest is a three day celebration of all things trail running. Masochists came from as far as Wales, Antarctica, and Karori to experience the bush and the Blue Derby trails. Organised by Chris Ord from Tour de Trails and Trail Run Magazine, this year was the inaugural event and one that I have already permanently marked in my calendar. The festival begins with a marathon on the first day, a touch over 42.2km through the mountain bike trails in Derby.
I began my Tassie Trail Fest adventure armed with some sage advice from my friends, all of which would prove to be vital in getting me across that finishing line for the marathon, and it all served it’s purpose in different stages of the run
Your mind will give up 1000 times over before your body does! So when your mind starts to give up just remember your body can keep going!!
Some of the best advice I got for my first marathon is to make a pact with yourself to enjoy it! Go for it Amanda.
Go and kick Tasmania in the Lady Balls. You are impossibly strong and fast. Go well. Remember. Foot to the lady balls. It will suck, but you’re better than you think you are, so go fuck shit up…
It will be hard and you will want to give up. Think of all the things that motivate you like flying down the Polhill trail or making cool route art. It’ll be worth it in the end
Just remember you have an awesome tan.
I’ve never run a marathon before. I have run an Ultra, but now with two years more experience with running under my Spi belt I knew that running a shorter (long) distance is an entirely different beast.
The start line was buzzing, anyone wearing a green bib had signed up for not only the marathon but a 14km, another half marathon, a further 14km night run AND a 2km Dash for Cash. Combined these runs had the title of Multi Day Madness and covered just under 100km in total. It blew me away that people were doing this by choice, (I had been gently nudged in to doing the Multi Day event by Chris).
The plan was to run this race at long run effort, take it easy, take no risks, make pact with myself to enjoy it, and have enough energy left to run the other 56km the following day. Gulp.
The first part of the race was a relaxed run through speedy single track that gave way to old unused forestry roads. I cruised along noticing the funny sounds of Aussie birds, the smell of eucalyptus, and the gum trees. There were large flat rocks to try and run across that I decided to walk over after a few near misses.
The first piece of advice I utilised was Your mind will give up 1000 times over before your body does! I started to count the number of times that I wanted to quit, wanted to walk, or uttered a string of expletives (it only f#%!n counted if there were more than two). By the 17km mark I had only counted to three, so far so good!
Things got a bit more challenging after that. Around the 27km mark I started noticing these trees with wide holes in them that looked like big woody vaginas. They looked comfortable, if I could just get in there, if I could get back in to the womb, I could end this marathon and have a nap. Snap out of it Amanda it’s just a marathon, pull yourself together, stick yourself together like a cold cheese toastie and just keep running.
Between 30-31km the trail looks like the moon. Grey green moss covers the floor, trees stripped of bark stretch up high on either side, the moonscape is a welcome boost as there is about 10km between aid stations in this section. Through the trees, standing on a rock were the most beautiful people I had ever seen. Peri and Simon were happy to see me at their aid station. I basked in their loveliness and filled up my bottles, ate some chups, got a fistful of gummy worms then jogged off.
What starts out as being a low point at 38km down the trails, can end up being a triumph once you work through the hard stuff and come out on top. Picture this; you’re going up yet another switchback, the climbing is slow and your focus doesn’t lift more than a few metres in front of your feet. The legs and the mind have given up (we’re counting) 16 times, three of those have been in the past 500 metres. Espresso love Gu? Yes please. It fights back as you try to squeeze it out, you shove the whole packet in your mouth then drag it out against your teeth to get every last sticky morsel.
Thanks for the gels new friend Tom, you’re a lifesaver! You found them at the last minute inside one of your trail shoes. Oh my god. His feet. His morbid looking toes touched that Gu packet. Do I have toe stuck in my teeth? I’ve run out of water again too how do I wash the Tom toe out of my mouth? *silent prayer*
People talk about hitting a wall at the 30km mark in a marathon, for this race that didn’t come for me until 40km. It was rough. I thought back to the advice from my friends that would carry me through, you have an awesome tan! No, that wasn’t it, try again. You are impossibly strong and fast. That’s it. Start believing it, if someone else thinks you can do it then put your head down and get it done.
It hurt a lot, it stopped being easy, I was tired and starting to stumble a little and there were no tree vaginas nearby to rest in. I just wanted it to be over. I thought about my running buddies Nick and Ayesha and our recent Sunday run, where I hit the wall, and how I got through those last few kilometres. Nick is making waffles! He has waffles ready for you at the finish line! Run to the waffles Amanda!!
I caught up with another runner at the final aid station, John Schruinga, and we pulled each other through the final few kilometres. With the finish line in sight someone yells at us to turn left as there is another 500m loop to go. The ‘I want to give up/ string of expletives’ count quickly increases from 16 to 24.
I finished 4th female home in 4.34.15, check out my run on Strava, and the full results here.
Marathon* has an asterisk because it was not a standard measurement of Marathon, it was 44km. Plus almost an extra km because- Chris Ord.
March 23, 2016 at 6:45 am
Awesome job! Way to push through your brain trying to give up. And resisting the allure of those tree vaginas. The weirdest things start looking completely lovely when you’re exhausted.
March 25, 2016 at 8:42 am
Thank you 🙂 It’s amazing what you can do with the right mind-set and some positive self talk.
March 23, 2016 at 6:57 pm
Very entertaining read, Amanda! And nice work on the third place!
March 24, 2016 at 9:53 am
Holy crap I just realised the typo! I came fourth. But thank you 🙂
March 24, 2016 at 11:12 am
Haha. Still awesome going anyway 😉 so has it converted you to more long distance racing??
March 24, 2016 at 11:24 am
It’s convinced me that the best way to spend a weekend is to run for ten hours in a strange place with complete strangers, so yes is has converted me! Any suggestions for my next event?
March 24, 2016 at 11:53 am
T42? Wellington Urban Ultra perhaps?? Taupo ultra in October will be awesome too. And there’s the Taniwha / Tarawera 50 in November… So many options! Now I’m basically just spouting my race calendar at you 😉
March 28, 2016 at 4:05 pm
well done on the run Amanda. and the read was very entertaining……..though I had to do a slight cringe at the energy gels in the shoes……did you end up finding any tom toe? 😛 good effort
March 31, 2016 at 2:00 pm
Thanks Gareth! Yeah I’m not sure i would keep energy gels in my shoes. Slightly better than keeping them in your undies though right? When is your next race? Will you do Shaw Baton?
April 9, 2016 at 2:30 pm
I always thought the body gave up first, the mind was the bastion of suck-it-cupcake. But who knows what actually goes on/in out there. How’d the rest of it go?
April 9, 2016 at 5:23 pm
I’m almost finished writing the next blog post so you will find out soon!