Day 3 began at 2.30am! The previous night after finishing in quite a fatigued and emotional state, Jeff had arranged with Guy for some midnight snacking! So at 2.30am I had a GU Recovery drink in my hand with a couple of pieces of pizza and some V8 Juice. As crazy as this sounds….looking back I honestly feel this small action was a lifesaver. It gave me the additional calories I needed to start the tough run with out such a deficit from the previous 2 days efforts.
I had no problems getting back to sleep for another few hours as I was so exhausted. At 5am….I was up again…in the recovery boots for 30mins to get the legs ready for action. I wasn’t feeling the love for my normal breakfast…but the 400 calorie apple pie sitting in the fridge was exciting me! At this stage….anything goes and it was gone very quickly! By that stage Guy was awake and I had to tell him about the dream I had the night before! A friend of ours Rachel Corey from Boise was in my dream. Rachel was tragically hit by a car last year while training for the Hawaii Ironman. http://www.idahostatesman.com/2014/09/25/3394882/boise-triathlete-hit-by-car-in.html She was in a bad way and is still under going extensive rehab. Rachel is an extremely talented hard working athlete and one of the most positive people I have met. Even though she is going through so much Ultraman is something she would love to do! In my dream we were with a group of friends at a BBQ but it ended with her telling me how ready I was for the double marathon, I had trained hard and prepared for what was to come. “do it for me!” she said!
That really shook me up and brought me back to reality. I was excited again! It had been a tough 2 months, emotionally and physically, yes….I had prepared myself for this day. I had the best support crew anyone could ask for and I was ready! It was up to me now to get my head in the game and enjoy but focus on the task ahead!
We left the hotel for a quick ice stop at the gas station and headed to the run start. Just like any Triathlon or competition, there was plenty of nervous energy in the air, but excitement at the same time. I continued to drink my GU Electrolyte and had a Gel just before the start.
7am – Here we go!!!
The first 5km of the run was FUN! Again we all started together. I held back, ran along side some of the other athletes, had a chat. Found out more about them. Looked around and took in the incredible scenery and just kept smiling! It was cool, there was cloud cover, after the last couple of really hots days we were in for some perfect running conditions! My support crew were there on the side of the road every 2km and I was grabbing water and GU at each of my aid stations.
Juan and Ross had gone out off the front and with the nature of the course with rolling hills and lots of turns they were quickly out of sight. I didn’t care….it was a long day, I had to focus on me and nothing else! Keep my pacing consistent, stay on top of my nutrition and take it 2km at a time.
It was not long after that the elastic band began to stretch within the group I was running with. I was able to maintain the pace we had started with, but they were beginning to slow down a bit. I kept going. I was now on my own. Just me and the thoughts in my head and seeing my support crew every 10.30 – 11mins. My plan of attack was to try and run the first marathon (42.2km) on my own. You were allowed support and a pacer running along side you right from the start….but I wanted to hold that off. Save it as a treat for the second half. I would just have to see how it went.
I was having a gel every 30mins and continuing to take in my GU Roctane electrolyte drink. Every 10km it was a brief walk through my “aid station” then I was on my way again. I then began to hear the voice of Steve on the microphone…I was coming up to the half marathon mark. I could hear him giving splits and letting us know where others were in the field especially if it was going to affect the overall outcome. But I was switched off at the time. I gave a wave and a smile to those spectators around and then refocused 2km at a time……2km at at time.
Up and over the hill and I saw a support vehicle on the side of the road and it wasn’t mine! Unfortunately Ross had been sick over the course of the weekend and again he was unable to keep everything down! He was there with his support crew trying to find something that would give him the energy to continue on. I gave him words of encouragement as I went by…..but I had to keep on moving! That was the only way!
The run course was rolling hills, the second half they were long and steeper than the first. The beginning was 35km on road, the next 35km was on trail/fire road. The last 14km was back on the road but with some steep descents.
After passing Ross…my small goal focus was always 2km……the big goal was getting to the trail/fire road. My crew was there waiting for me…..there was a little “yippee” and celebration inside, but then it was back to the job and the next goal of completing the first marathon.
It is always a welcome sign when you can hear Steve’s voice, as it meant I was getting close to he half way point. Steve was talking away on the microphone and informing everyone listening to the live feed what was going on. The roads were otherwise very quite and lonely except for me and my crew! I ran past and gave him a wave and a smile. 42.2km done!! Marathon number 1 done!! Now it was time for marathon number 2! Okay Kate….this is where it starts….take a deep breath, refresh, regroup and stick to the plan. I had run a few 50km in training so I was confident about getting to that point. I was excited now about having members of my crew come for a little jog! Mostly Guy and Ruth were my pacers. Jeff was in charge of driving the mini van and Mazzy of nutrition. They rotated 2km’s in and out. Each time carrying with them some very cold, electrolyte drinks, gels and sponges or ice to put down my top. It was also time for the RedBull!! At 50km it was time for my “walk through the aid station” and they had everything ready for me to choose from.
I knew in my head mentally 50 – 70km was the toughest in terms of terrain. The hills were bigger, I was exposed to the elements….but I just had to continue to break it down 2km at a time. It was at this stage I was starting to get a little demanding and letting Ruth and Guy know that they could run side by side with me but not in front or behind me…..and they could talk about anything else but running!! Crazy…but those were the things that were annoying me most at the time! I didn’t want to know how great I looked or that I was nearly there (because I wasn’t!) I didn’t want to know about keeping a high cadence, staying relaxed and strong. I was in my own little world and it didn’t involve any of that! Ruth and I chatted about bears, the absolutely stunning scenery and what was going on in the mini van during stops. Guy and I talked about my Birthday (which was the next day) and what I wouldn’t be getting 🙂
60km into the run and Steve drove by in his car…he was on his way to the finish line. He rolled down the window to pass on words of encouragement, then proceeded to let me know the time gaps between myself and Jaun in front and Dustin behind (who had the overall lead after day 2). He then told me if I continued at the pace I would create history. It would be the first time a female had won an Ultraman event outright in the 32year history of the events. (no pressure right?!?)
I turned to Guy who I was running with at the time and was “Wow”. Then a few seconds later…”I can’t think about that right now babe!” I still had 24km of running to go. Anything could happen. I just had to focus on 2km at a time, eating, drinking and staying mentally strong. The rest would take care of itself. I never had any concept of time while I was running. I didn’t realise how long I had been running for. As I mentioned it was always about 2km, or a 10km block so I could work the aid station, or land marks. There was always a short term goal then a medium goal to think about that would get me to the end goal.
It was exciting to finally make it back to the road at about the 70km mark. I was talking to myself “Come on Kate!”. There was still 14km to go but I had run 70km already!! In my mind this as supposed to be the fun part, mostly downhill. But it wasn’t!! Ouch it hurt!! When I saw a sign indicating a 14% downhill I was feeling the pain before I even began the descent! I think I was running slower going down than I was going up! The quads were pounding. Ruth and Guy were still swapping in but I was not saying anything anymore. Cold sprite with ice blocks was giving me a pick up along with GU Chomps I was still consuming every km. At this stage the battery in my watch was done! So who ever was running next to me had to try and maintain the same pace for me. I was also asking Guy to let me know every time we had run 500m. I was preferring the much smaller goals.
Then finally….there is was! Not the finish line, but the sign that said “3km to go!” and this was when the crew had to call the finish line to let them know I was coming! Ruth came and joined me for the final section and by then I was asking to know every time we had run 400m. With 2km to go I was thinking to myself 5 laps of the track….that is all that is left…..5 laps of the track. I was still drinking and eating. I was getting SO excited!!!
I made the last left hand turn and there was the rest of my crew, all waiting to join me so we could cross the finish line together. It gives me goose bumps now just thinking about it and no words will ever be able to describe the emotions I was feeling. I saw the time on the clock and could not believe what I had done. I was able to immediately hug Ruth, Mazzy, Jeff and Guy in my sweaty, smelly and disgusting state but I don’t think they cared. We had done it!!!
Race director Steve was there to give me my finishers medal and I could not wipe the smile off my face. That day 3 was what dreams were made of. That day you know you have in you…but just never think it is possible…..until it happens!!
At that stage I was just so happy and estatic to have finished the event and achieved my goals. I had no idea of my overall placing. I had to wait an additional 13mins to see if Dustin crossed the finish line within that time. If he didn’t I won!
As the clock slowly clicked over, Steve made the announcement that I had officially won and made history! WOW WOW WOW!! I didn’t know what to say or do!! Everyone around was clapping and congratulating me. I was smiling, hugging, shaking hands and thanking them. Then I was on the phone and calling mum back in Perth so I could wake her up and give her the great news!
Like any journey there are so many people to thank for being a part of this and supporting me towards something I have always wanted to do!
Steve, Alexis and all the Ultra520k Canada crew…..what an incredible adventure in such a beautiful part of the world. You put on such a fun, professional event. The entire experience is life changing. I look forward to returning!
My support crew…..I can’t say enough about them all! Ruth and Mazzy….what is said on tour stays on tour! You have seen me at my worst and my best….plus everything in-between. Your organisational skills and attention to detail made my job so much easier. You are never allowed to crew for anyone else!
Coach Jeff Shilt, he knew I wanted to do this for a long time, then it was here. We only had 2 months but we sat down and developed a plan that would get me to the start line in the best possible condition with the time we had. It worked! It was a learning experience for both of us and I can’t wait to move onwards and upwards with the next adventure.
Guy…well you can read how much fun he had leading into Ultra520k Canada and dealing with all my training and mood swings here: http://www.guycrawford.us/news.php But his continued emotional support, belief in me, joining in on long rides when it was the last thing he felt like, and cooking his own dinner 🙂 (if you call Toast dinner?) This event took a toll on him and his regular training/schedule, I love you and will always be grateful!
Last but not least my incredible sponsors, they were all on board and supportive with the change to my schedule this year and I appreciate that so much!! Rolf Prima Wheels, Ceepo, Coeur Sports, , Profile Design, BlueSeventy, ISM, Ryders Eyewear, Mizuno, Challenge Tyres, and SwimSmooth. Churchill Cycles, and Tri Town Boise and Computrainer. Keeping me fuelled GU and Upbeat Beetroot Juices and recovery by Ruth Chang Physio and Matt Booth at Boise Therapeutic Associates.