It’s nearing the end of March and on Friday it will be exactly one month until we’re in the Blue Mountains and running 24 hours straight!
Two weekends ago, the four of us headed up to the Bluies for a training run to test our gear, bodies and minds. As Pat commented, “It’s not training if it’s not raining” and we had the pleasure of being rained on for part of the Saturday and most of the Sunday. Our chosen course was the first 15kms of the 6ft Track to an eco-lodge at which we stayed the night before heading out at the crack of dawn to do the return trip.
The track in was stunningly beautiful as we scrambled down a bazillion steps into a valley with sheer cliffs peering down upon us with little waterfalls and puddles that we jumped or balanced precariously on rocks or logs to cross. We treked down fire trails and through fields full of friendly bovines and wallabies to the sounds of gunshots, screaming chipmunks and whistling birds of prey (a novel bird deterrent for a vineyard). We managed a steady pace of about 5kms an hour while eating on the go. We forded a river that took us almost 40 minutes of hopping from rock to rock and back tracking to find safer and less slippery routes discovered by Nich. We missed the eco-lodge by 100 metres and continued down the 6ft Track another 2km or so before realising our mistake.
On the Sunday we were up at 6am and pretty keen to get moving with the motto, “the sooner we start, the sooner it’s over.” It rained. And rained. And rained some more. Little creeks that we’d leapt over with a single bound the day before required the removal of shoes and leeches the size of snakes had to be fought off with sticks! (Nich and I gave up pretty quickly worrying about wet feet as they couldn’t get much wetter but Pat was stubborn to the end.) It rained some more. My left knee began squeaking. After a little over three hours we reached the bottom of the stairs of epic pain and exhaustion to realise that the quaint little waterfalls had decided that the track was the easiest path down the mountain. Sloshing through water, we squelched our way very slowly up the steps, through roaring cascades and across rocking rocks to finally make it to the top.
Completely drenched we attempted to dry off the best we could and shivered our way through a late breakfast.
The 100km run should be easy!