Challenges

Journey to the pinnacle

Taking on the mountain and succeeding was my goal.
One of my bucket list races.
It all started last year when I did it for the first time. In the pouring rain.  I was hooked, I knew I had going to do it again.
I would register each year until I conquered that 1252mt incline for 21.1kms.
Small problem: I don’t mix very well with hills or heat. Hill training has always been an issue for me. I struggle with activity when it’s too hot. Two of the tougher challenges I face.

My training and running throughout this year was hit and miss meaning I didn’t do as much as I’d liked to have. It wasn’t ideal, but sometimes that’s how life goes.
In the weeks leading up to race day I was conflicted on clothes and hydration, waiting until the last minute to make the final decision.
In 2016 it was all but snowing and we were soaked before we started.  This year, the threat of heat stroke was very real.
It was to be the second hottest day (30C) in the history of the race and this was another factor in my lack of running a good portion of the race.

One of the many things I have learnt a whole through this year’s running is pretty simple – Finish my race and have fun while doing it.
Finishing can mean limping across the line in tears of pain to sprinting the finishing chute with a grin spread wide across my face. But I digress slightly, this post is about the Point to Pinnacle.
Knowing that my training was off and the weather was likely to be pretty hot, my goal was easy – Get to the top and have fun along the way. It is also my last big race for the year and I wanted to make sure it went off with a bang!
I had my race kit set out with everything I’d need for what the day would throw at me.
Sunscreen for the morning before the start. Short arms and legs, calf sleeves to alleviate cramps, a light jacket in case the pinnacle was cool, cream for chaffing, tissue for loo emergencies (hopefully not), lollies and my double barrel hydration pack. This pack is the bomb, it looks a like a little rocket pack and I love it. It was perfect for the race.

Shortly after we started, around the third kilometre mark, I realised I wasn’t going to be running (or shuffling) much of the mountain. My body was heavy and ached, and the heat hit me, even at that early point.  But I was still going to have fun. At 6 kms in I thought I was out for the count. Feeling a little laggy I popped a lolly in and slowly chewed it. The feedback was instant, the sugar rush smacked me square in the head and made me feel nauseous. I had a sudden thought that this was it, I was going to be finishing the race right there. Like hell that was happening. I had come too far to pull out now.  More water and some of my tailwind and I pushed through. No more lollies for me.

The races here in Hobart are always really well organised, with plenty of volunteers, well stocked water stations and loads of support along the course – and this one didn’t disappoint. There was no pushing for drinks and I took drinks at each one along the way, trying out a Gatorade at the 14km mark, it was way too sweet for my liking so tossed it and grabbed another water.
Two places along the way had water hoses out and they were spraying participants as they passed – ahh bliss. Perfect refreshment for the body.
My hydration pack was set up so I had tailwind on one side and water on the other. That way I could douse myself with water to cool the body, refilling from stations as needed and still have my salty goodness to drink.

I had a fantastic time, smiling one way or another, at others or at the view for most of the run.
Two thirds of the way up I stopped to get a selfie and another runner offered to do it for me. I agreed and we had to laugh as the police on their bikes stopped so they weren’t photo bombing..
This was only the second time I stopped walking.
Power walking was my thing – woman on a mission was definitely what I was up to. The incline never let up. Sometimes it was seriously steep, other times just continuing ever upwards with no end in sight. Rising 1252 metres without any kind of plateaus is a relentless pain.
At 3kms to go I was so ready to stop, you could see the top, hear the voices from above and yet it seemed like it was so far away. The buses were already heading back down to the Casino start point with the early finishers, which made me more determined to get there.
Seeing the finishing line was one of the happiest moments of the race and I pushed forward. Finally I was crossing the line – not even bothering to attempt a jog or run, just grinning like a Cheshire. Tired but accomplished. Hot and sweaty and so so happy. I had made it.
The heat was extreme, the incline just kept on going I had never given up.
I had made it to the Pinnacle.
I may not have run it like I wanted, but by damn I was not going to take a leisurely stroll – I was going to work for it!
The catch phrase for the race is ‘how are you going to feel when you reach the top’ – bloody fantastic.
I’ve done it and I don’t need to do it again. I had a ball and my photos show it – both smiles and determination.
I was not injured or heat stroked.
I could do it again – and try to beat my time. A 3hr P2P run would be good. As would a sub 5hr marathon. And there is time for both of them to be achieved in the future.

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