Krayzie Kapers – Race Report

…And so it continued lap after lap, loop after loop. I couldn’t believe how strong I felt and how well I was running. The day was going great and I was completing the laps well under my expected time…and I was taking it easy.

The temperature was rising but we were prepped. Every lap an ice-cold cooling wrap was tied around my neck, and I was watching my pacing aware that the heat would take its toll if I got too carried away. A high point of the afternoon was when my crew pulled out a popsicle for me to take out on the run. That was probably one of my happiest laps of the afternoon and I ran, slurping the ice-cold, sugaring goodness and pondering on the thought that popsicles might possibly be the happiest food on earth…and given the boost they gave to my running, something quite magical too!

Who doesn’t love a popsicle?!

The daylight hours seemed to go on forever and I enjoyed the sun setting as I ticked off the kilometers. There is something pretty special about that time of the day knowing that you will run through from sundown to sun up. My spirits were still high and the running still going strong. Coming through my 7th lap I decided I would have a nap, and I had the sneaking suspicion that the hot spot I had felt on my toe near the start of the race had developed into a full-blown blister.

The laughter of cleaning off my feet in our makeshift footbath was soon replaced by tears of excruciating pain as I attempted to deal to a pinky toe that had been almost entirely taken over by a raging big blister. I was so grateful that Ben had chosen that moment to get up for a toilet stop and he gently, and efficiently worked his way popping the blister and relieving the tension in that little toe while I clung to him, whimpering in pain. Toe fixed, I attempted to nap, but sleep was eluding me. So after 40 minutes spent fixing my toe and 15 minutes attempting to sleep, I stepped back out on the course.

Emergency foot care – ouch!

The night was tough in some respects and great in others. I spent time chatting with other runners as I shared the light of my ‘night sun’ waist light and we ran on. I love the night for the fact that the kilometres seem to just drift away. With only that small patch of light in front, you really are brought into the moment of just those few steps ahead. Though, in the night my stomach also decided it was going to play up and I spent way too much time ducking into the loos on each lap and desperately looking for places off track. Those moments are tough, there is nothing you can do but deal with what the body is throwing at you, hoping for it to pass, knowing that it will eventually but for now knowing you just have to sit with the discomfort.

I had been receiving amazing messages all throughout the race, and for those I was truly grateful. Coming through the aid station reading the messages on my board and having them read to me as I got what I needed for the next lap, the energy and the support really did transfer to energy for me as I took those steps back out onto the course. It was just as the sun was coming up though, that some very special messages were being kept for me to spur me on into the day. Even writing about them now brings tears to my eyes, as I watched a video of my Dad telling me how proud he was and willing me on. It’s hard to describe just how much these messages mean and how much they can truly spur you on. Sent on with all the love in the world behind me I set off into the new day.

Messages from family and friends

Day 2. The stomach issues had passed, though as I came into the new day there wasn’t much on my food table that was interesting me as I started to feel all sugared out. The running was going well though and as the day dawned there was some good cloud cover for the first hours of light. Having had no sleep into the night I found myself falling asleep on my feet – a first for me! and I spent some time considering if I could just lay down on the side of the track and nap there as I wasn’t sure if I could make it back up all those stairs to get back to my camper for a nap. I managed to keep my eyes open long enough, I grabbed a coffee, downed that and then went down for a blissful 20-minute nap!!

As the day wore on though the sun burnt off the cloud and the heat increased. I can’t say what lap it happened but I came through from lap 2 of that loop and burst into tears at the race aid station. I felt horrible, and for the first time in the race it felt really hard. I was promptly sponged down with some ice-cold water and feeling better headed up to my crew.

I had asked Kunal to run with me and I was excited to take him out on this next lap. Buoyed by having Kunal with me, I grabbed some food and we headed off. Still struggling a little with the heat, but so excited to share the course with Kunal I enjoyed a strong first lap. Still struggling with getting food down as we went into the second lap I grabbed some pineapple and watermelon from the aid station as I thought some real food might be just what I needed. As I ate the pineapple I remember thinking that it seemed quite acidic, but I didn’t think too much of it. 20 minutes later though I found myself dry retching on the side of the trail. I was really struggling. The nausea passed and we finished the lap, but it was hard going. We got back to the aid station and the heat exhaustion and lack of food hit. For the first time in this series, I had a thought that I might not be able to finish. That my body might make the decision for me. I don’t know how long I sat there but I wasn’t quitting! I got up and another of those sponges filled with ice-cold water appeared. I thought I was going to just get small squeeze but Ben emptied that thing over my head and it felt amazing! I was back in the game – and off out for the final laps.

Heat Stroke

By now we were getting into the early evening. The weather had cooled, I knew that I would finish before the sun went down but I was tired. I had been having issues with blisters on my big toes and I came through the aid station for my final lap with real pain in my big toe. We took off my shoes to see another very angry looking toe. Not knowing what to do with it we did our best and chucked a compeed and some strapping tape on it. It hurt but I knew there was only one loop to go and I could deal with the pain.

My final loop. I was exhausted. My body had been through so much in the preceding 34 hours. The sun was getting lower in the sky and I was happy to be setting out for the last time. I was ready to say goodbye to the tracks and finish this thing off. I hadn’t run with music at all, but felt like I could do with my girl power tracks to take me through to the end. So off I set. It was a beautiful evening and I was so grateful to be ticking off another miler. I was feeling content that I had run my best race. I climbed the gum trees for the last time, glancing down at my watch I saw that it had taken me 6 minutes longer than my average for that section. Making peace with this last lap taking longer I decided to accept that it would be a slow one. I stopped, changed my playlist and decided I would just take it all in! I had been so busy looking where my feet had been going for the last 34 hours I hadn’t taken in much of the views!

I was standing atop a stile near the tablelands taking it all when my phone rang. Grabbing it out of my pocket, it stopped but I saw I had a text message so thought I’d check it. It was from Ben, and it said: “you are only 30 to 45 mins behind Jess”. The conversation went back and forth and 15 minutes later I was racing my last lap. I’m not sure what happened. I really didn’t think I had anymore run in my legs, and I’m not sure what I was thinking, actually thinking I could make up what was likely a 5km lead that she had on me. But, at that moment, I thought if she was taking that lap like I was, walking it super slow, if I gave it all I had with running I just might be able to catch her up! As the conversation went back on forth my final message was “I will give it my all”, I remember clearly that I had been going to write “I will try my best”, but at that moment I decided that there was no try, I was going to go all in.

The Convo that brought me home

So I ran, after 34.5 hours and over 7000 meters of vert, I ran. Coming through the aid station I grabbed a bottle of tailwind and the V shot that I had been carrying around my last few races waiting for that moment when I really needed it. I threw back my phone and legged it out the gate. I saw George on the way and said that I was after catching up with Jess which he seemed surprised about. They all knew what I knew deep down, that I would be lucky to catch her, but I still wanted to give it a go. I don’t know where it came from but that last lap was glorious. I ran and pushed my body as fast as I could and I finished my last lap in just over an hour. I knew when I got to the final field that I had missed Jess but I had a feeling that it wasn’t by much and I wanted to finish strong. I ran with all my might and came through the finish line only minutes after Jess gaining an hour on that lap. I was great to close the gap, but more than that, I discovered a whole new level of ability that I didn’t know I had. I had given up on that final lap, thinking I had nothing left, only to discover that there was so much more in me.

It was an amazing race and an amazing finish. My crew were all there waiting, for hugs and celebrations. While I may not have got the placing I was after I finished strong and had an outstanding race and with the push I got on that last lap I also finished under my goal time of 36 hours.

Krayzie Kapers is an amazing course. Technical, fun, gruelling and demanding. It will test your limits, and if you let it, it will teach you a lot too!

We had 12 starters and 10 finishers this year. Gutted to lose two that were working their way through the Miler challenge as well, but this challenge isn’t easy, and finishing isn’t a given.

George and I at the finish

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