"The goal is to become the unique, awesome, never to be repeated human being that we were called to be." -Patricia Deegan

Monday, February 20, 2012

Lucky 7: 77k in 7 days with 77 ticks?

On Sunday, I had the great good fortune to go running with four others, on a planned 25km point-to-point route. We set up the cars at the finish point, where I left all kinds of yummy protein recovery supplies in an esky (chocolate Hammer Recoverite and single serve low fat yoghurts).

We piled into R2 (Rhonda the Second), my lovely little 1988 Corolla hatchback. Then we drove the worst corrugated gravel road in all of Australia. There may be more rutted or washed out roads, roads with more crocodiles or road kill, narrower roads or steeper roads, but there can be no more corrugated one than this.

Tash, in the front with me, joked that at least the windscreen was still in place.... Later that day on the drive home, though, the sound of whistling air confirmed for me that the entire windscreen was flapping in the breeze! And then I lost idle - stuck EGR valve?

Anyway, back to the run. Some thoughtful fellows had dropped a lounge suite off for us, knowing that ultrarunners need to put their feet up sometimes. Sadly, it was only about a km into the run, so we hardly had an excuse to stay long!

Back on the trail, for lots of lovely rolling ups and downs. Somewhere around the 17k mark, we zigged when we should have zagged.
We found ourselves at a fork with no marker (we were on the Munda Biddi trail system). Hmmm. Mark took one fork and I took the other for a recce. Nothing. Liza ran back down the trail to look for a junction we'd missed. Nothing. Using our map, we decided to head south.

It got more fun, as Mark and I started applying all the usual navigation tactics to the run. Force the map to match the terrain, decide where you want to be and then make the map 'fit' that. Don't go back and retrace your steps, no matter what ;) We figured we were happy enough as long as we went west or south, just not north.

Not everyone seemed quite as excited about exploring as we were. But it wasn't even close to getting dark, we hadn't run out of food yet, and I have a 20 hour Garmin!

Two km from the finish (now with 5 bonus km in hand), I stopped to wait for the others to regroup. Good chance to do a tick check. I looked down. Who sprinkled pepper on my calves?!? There must have been 70 tick nymphs chowing down on my calves. I ran my fingers up my calves and filled underneath my fingernails. The other runners had them, too, but not nearly so many. I must have grazed against just the right bush.

I took this photo today - 30 hours after the run. I have 27 bites on my left leg and 2 on my right. They are now blistering. I've dusted off the bottle of Pinetarsol from my 2010 attack. I know what I'm in for. Two nights of no sleep, then two weeks of irritating itch. Then an on-and-off itch for two more weeks.

Will I ever run again in summer without my Compressport guards? I don't think so!

At least I have a distraction now from my medical issue (no progress on getting in to the specialist).

So, the week's total was 77k and my foot and calf seem to be coping. I still have calcaneocuboid pain, stiffness in the ankle, and lack of control of my 4th metatarsal, but those are just details ;)

Bib number for TNF100 is 707.


  1. Clearly I am a little behind with reading your blog because I just finished telling Joanna that I thought you were still suffering from compartment syndrome. Congrats on a 77k week with just a few issues!

  2. Shes back! Impressive tick effort. Have to give you a tick for that (hahahaha), but then again a cross might be better, sounds like you are getting a bit sick of the ticks. I think my record is about 3 or 4 ticks in one g...77!!! wow! All the best with getting those neurological pathway trails newly marked out like a PTS or 6 inch course. PTS; paradise trails sensational surreal and satisfying. Hopefully AP will be back into it soon. Hope you and R got lots of red berries on the weekend. The bonus K's count is going well! Massive thanks to you and Rolf for PTS!