Barb Frost is this months ‘Client of the Month’. Last weekend Barb attempted the 100km Great Naseby Water Race. Although she didn’t complete the full 100km of running, on the journey to the start line she has overcome so much, and on the journey to the finish line she has learnt a whole lot more about herself and her limits and continues to take a positive frame on everything. This is her story.
The Great Naseby Water Race – 27th August 2016
My journey for this event started shortly after I completed the Motatapu Off-trail Marathon back on the 5 March 2016. Looking for a new challenge I asked Coach Ray for a few suggestions. He came up with this one. I did a bit of research on it and asked him if he thought I could do it and you all know his answer was absolutely! (At this point it was about 5.5 months away – plenty of time for training). So less than a fortnight after the Motatapu I had registered for the 100km event which was one of five events possible to enter. The others being 50km, 60km (a team event), 80km, 100km and 160km.
Unfortunately during my first long training run after the Motatapu my left knee started to hurt to the point that I could no longer run without pain. I visited a local physio for some treatment and advice. I followed this carefully, however my knee did not get any better. In fact it probably got worse.
Luckily for me I had the advice of a couple of my tramping friends who suggested I see a physio at Sports Med in Christchurch. This I duly did for the following 6 weeks, once a week and then once a fortnight and I haven’t looked back since.
Training continued, albeit on a scaled back basis until my knee was sufficiently healed and I was given clearance by the physio to run longer times and distances.
I travelled down to Naseby from my hometown of Ashburton on the Thursday afternoon before the race, with one of my good friends as support crew and the other two coming down early on Saturday morning to join us. Neither of us had visited Naseby before and we found the locals to be most friendly and welcoming. We enjoyed a good hot coffee and chat with the publican at the Ancient Briton Hotel on Friday morning before heading out to take a look at the course.
We met up with one of the organisers of the event Jamie Sinclair who immediately treated us like old friends. He explained the outline of the course and a few other important bits of information like where to get a really great waffle! Yes a waffle! We both enjoyed a freshly made waffle on-site before leaving to go and have a late lunch and returning again later to the site to leave some of our gear in one of the other support crew’s tent. This saved us having to carry it all in really early on Saturday morning.
Initially the course was in perfect condition – that is until the rain started around 2.30-2.45pm on Friday afternoon by which time those entered in the 160km event had already been on the run since their 10.00am start. Track/course conditions deteriorated steadily with heavy rain falling through the night making for a LOT OF MUD and very slippery conditions. Each time I awoke during the very “short” night it was, you guessed it – still raining! I could only hope it would stop by my 5.00am start.
I turned my alarm off at 2.59am, before it was due to go off at 3.00am and made myself eat a reasonable breakfast. Last minute application of Gurney Goo to my feet and inner thighs (just in case of continuing rain) and we were all set and out the door from our home away from home by 4.10am. Pre-event briefing commenced at 4.40am and all those entered in the 50km, 80km and 100km events started on their own individual journeys at 5.00am.
It was a little bit drizzly and sleety initially and still very dark so the first 20km was very challenging with only our head torches to light the way and show us the MUD! As dawn broke the weather improved and most of the morning was overcast, and very cold for the support crews. It was great to shed the head torch and a layer after the first two laps as by then I was toasty warm.
The course was around a 10.1km circuit and then we basically crossed the start/finish line approximately every 5km. Very heartening to know that you could stop, albeit briefly for a bite of something and to rehydrate. I carried my hydration pack though as I like to know that I can drink when I feel the need and I also carried a Snap-Lock® resealable bag in my spibelt around my hips with a mix of goo chu’s, dried apricots, sports beans and Em’s bars that I had previously cut into small cubes replenishing along the way. My fantastic support crew kept hot soup, honey and jam sandwiches, electrolyte replacement, previously cooked gourmet potatoes, banana and even potato chips available for me. I only had to ask for what I felt I could cope with as I came through.
The first 40km seemed to fly by. I was feeling really great right through the 50km mark and then when I reached the 55km mark I suddenly hit a wall. My legs were feeling quite weary and I was feeling nauseated. My support crew told me later they were worried I wouldn’t continue (they didn’t let on to me at the time). The usual question – “what do you need?” My reply – “I don’t know, I’m feeling sick”. They offered me a leg rub – I gratefully accepted, bliss! Electrolyte replacement and sandwich to go and I was off again this time two of my support crew joined me for some motivation and encouragement.
The hill climbs that had seemed not too bad to run up during the first 50km became like mountains for me in my subsequent laps. As the course was in a sort of figure eight there was definitely a harder section and that happened to be from the start/finish line before it crossed over at the junction. During my final 3 laps I was joined by one of my support crew on this harder section and this was where I was able to dig deep and keep going. Just knowing they were there, even if I was a bit ahead or they were beside me and we didn’t have to say anything – was really motivating. The previous knee injury had begun just a bit of a niggle so I decided rather than really aggravate it by continuing to push it continuously running I was going to be almost as fast walking. Unfortunately because of this I was not going to make the 6.00pm cut-off for the final 10km lap which I had realised at the 75km mark. I didn’t have enough energy left to make the 15km to get to 90km so I crossed the start/finish line about 5.05pm having completed 81.5km according to my Garmin Watch.
Rather than feeling disappointed that I didn’t complete the full distance of 100km I was feeling elated to have reached 81.5km. I had pushed my body to new limits and learnt a lot about myself along the journey. This distance is almost twice the distance I have covered before. The whole experience has been a memorable one for me and my support crew are already talking about what we will do differently next year! I can’t believe I have completed 81.5km – it all feels a bit surreal today (Sunday 28th August 2016 – only the day after). I have made some new friends on this journey and it’s highly likely that I will be back next year to complete unfinished business. A huge thank you to my fantastic support crew on the day and to Coach Ray Boardman for his training and encouragement through some really difficult, stressful and emotional personal stuff. Without them I wouldn’t have made it to where I did.
by Barb Frost
As client of the month Barb received a bouquet of flowers delivered to her today.