2021 Prom 60ish

01 May 2021

No, I haven’t gone off course—this year we did a modified run due to Sealers Track being rebuilt because of the heavy rains earlier in the year.

Quick background to the week leading up to the Prom run.
For the first time, my left hip flexors were giving me a grief, so in the usual Babi fashion I did a Mt St Leonard (20.91 km, 1,170 m) on Tuesday to suss it out/fix it. This method works for me.
I signed up for a study at Monash BASE and thought I would be doing a one-hour run on the treadmill on Thursday. I must have blinked when I read the description, because I obviously haven’t retained these three little words “in random order” when I booked the trials with the lovely Stephanie.

My lower back was already crooked when I showed up (just like the letter box I had knocked out the other day) and the 6 x 30 minutes treadmill run totaling just under 29 kms didn’t help. I felt more tired and dizzy after it, than doing these 66 kms.

The Friday Maria and I have road tripped to the Prom was hectic, too with Otto and I taking care of our little grandson, him doing his work, the food shopping, me getting ready for the Prom… proper madhouse.
We left at around 4:30 and were stuck in the outbound Friday afternoon traffic all the way to Pakenham. Stopped at BP in Leongatha to get the Prom Rooftop map, then drove to the Foster Caravan park to check in before going down to do the registration and gear check in Tidal River.
Had to buy a snake bandage, have no idea how I could NOT pack that—it’s always the first thing I put in the pack when going for a run. Maria was in the same boat, too.
We drove back to the cabin, chatting away and trying to avoid hitting the wombats.
We had a beer, pasta with pesto and another beer, then packed, shower and straight to bed.
As usual, haven’t slept much. This time there was some motor switching on every few minutes, making a loud noise.
It was dark and surprisingly not that cold when we left the cabin and by the time we got started we didn’t need the head torches.

It was really nice to see some of the people I only get to see at these events. Those hugs are priceless!

We agreed that I will drop the car key off with Duncan at Telegraph Junction and Maria will pick it up so she can have a shower when she finishes.
I only carried enough food and water for the first 20 km loop, planning to use the car as a check point.
We took off at 7 am. This time there was no roll call, just a brief briefing.
I believe this was the best weather I have ever done the Prom race in—not too cold and not too hot. Just perfect.
Considering the kilometers this week and knowing that if I relax into it my back will come good, I decided to just take it easy and simply enjoy the day.

So glad I chose this strategy – it worked perfectly.

I was happy to be the last and just cruised along. There were some parts of the 20 km Lily Pily loop I haven’t done before and there were parts where I haven’t been for years, so it was a mix of new and going down memory lane.
When I got to the little board walk, I saw Maria and another lady. They were heading into the wrong direction, so I yelled out to warn them. Then I saw everyone running towards me… we were supposed to do this loop anti-clockwise. Wondered why is everyone running clockwise.
I caught up with two runners—Mark Falls and Michelle and started chatting. Then the fasties were flying down, so nice to say hello and telling them that they were doing great. Hi-fived Jacqui, Maria and Ray, then saw Velta on the big boulder near the summit. We took a selfie after she did the shots with that amazing background.
At the summit Michelle took a photo of me, then she disappeared (she’s fast). I wished Mark all the best an headed down. There was another runner I was bunny hopping to Tidal River, I think his name is Barry (?).

I waved at each car and people waved back. The road running (even though I am not a fan) wasn’t that bad. Loved Picnic Bay and the connecting trail to Squeaky Beach. The tide was low, the sand runnable and that salty mist with the sea breeze!! LOVED IT!! I also remembered all the family outings here, the barefoot runs along the beach on hot days when we got burnt… never thought I’d be officially running here one day. Ran and chatted with the other runner for a while.

The track out of Squeaky Beach was muddy and there were a few hikers on the way up. It seemed much easier to get up the mountain this time and the views—as always—were priceless.

Got back to Tidal River, as I was running towards the toilet block, a man with his son said hello and called me by my name, then told the child that “this is a lady who goes everywhere”. So sorry I have no idea who this man was, even though his face looked familiar.

Paul and the lovely volunteers were at the start/finish line; they told me I was doing well and recorded my number. I headed to the car to ditch the hot pink vest and stock up with some food and hydration for the rest of the run. I had the smoked salmon, philly and capers toasted sandwich and a mini can of ginger beer and was stuffing my pack with food when Darren (Jacqui’s husband) came over and said what a good check point I have.

I turned around at the first chalet, and went back to the car because I forgot my sunnies, then headed towards Mt Oberon (again). The hike up to the car park didn’t seem as bad as other times. I guess it was because I wasn’t pushing it.

There were many hikers on Telegraph Tk. All kind. I said hello and airplaned along on the steeper parts, walking the ups.

At the Oberon Tk intersection there was another hiking group; said hello, then the boss lady asked if this is Telegraph Junction. I pointed the bench out and told her that Telegraph Junction is where that bench is.

Duncan’s partner (so sorry can’t remember her name) asked me for the key and read out my number to the lovely young lady, who recorded it. I asked for water and an electrolyte tablet, then I headed towards Waterloo Bay.

That track was just lovely! Other times I wasn’t fond of it, but now I didn’t mind the sand and steps. At that boulder, just below the Christmas Island rocks I thought how nice it would be just to sit on it a little… after passing it and going for about 20 m, I turned around, walked back and sat on it for while. Have no idea how long, I enjoyed the calm, the sound of the birds, the soothing breeze against my face… then it was time to move.

I was really looking forward to Waterloo Bay and it didn’t disappoint. The water was crystal clear and calm, just the way I like it. I so wished I could just take my clothes off and go for a swim as I usually do on my training runs… I ran/walked along the beach, then started the hike out. I was also looking forward to the ginger beer I planned to have at the beginning of this hike. It was lukewarm, but still a great source of energy.

I know it’s hard to believe that this hike can be enjoyable, but this time I actually did enjoy it; probably because it wasn’t as hot as it usually is when I get here. I kept looking back and catching a glance at the stunning view of the bay. Didn’t take as many pictures as I normally would.

I bumped into some hikers, they were nice, then when running through the forest, on the wet autumn leaves (it smelled like autumn, too), I got really emotional—even teared up for a moment. It didn’t last long—soon I could hear music… someone isn’t into peace and quiet. It was a hiker. I said hello and exchanged a few words as I passed him, but in spite of the music being good, I wanted to get away as fast as possible.

I was just thinking how good it is that I haven’t tripped (only once) or fallen so far, when I looked up, saw Mark [Falls] getting up from a fall and promptly fell. No big damage, popped up and asked Mark if he was OK. He said he did a head butt and some scratches. Asked him if he wanted me to stay with him. He said he’ll be fine.

Bit closer to the Lighthouse I saw a lady with a 60 bib running towards me. It was a lady called Liz—told her she is going the wrong way, she turned right instead of left after the Lighthouse return. I think others did this, too.

At the junction to the Lighthouse there were two groups of hikers, they were really nice and cheered us on. On the way up I bumped into Michelle and a few 100 kayers. Told Michelle Mark was hurt, but OK and exchanged a few nice words with the other runners, then kept going. It’s usually so hot on this section (the steep concrete), but this time it was just perfect.

There were a few people when I got there: Remy, the new ranger (found out Renata and Colin have moved to QLD 🙁 ), Ian, a few other runners and Claire Hart. Toilet, touched the Lighthouse door (Ian took a few shots), then got some water from the tap, chatted to Ian and Claire and headed down, eating my little square of butter and vegemite toast.

I usually dread the hike out, but now I was fine with it. Bit worried about the food and drinks—I should’ve put some cordial in the soft flask I carried in the pack and a bit more savoury food (I always end up throwing sandwiches out, so I decided on this occasion not to take too many with me).

At some point I felt, I should sit down on one of those rocks, so I did. Perfect view, as well with the Lighthouse appearing/disappearing in clouds. Sat there for a few minutes in some state of meditation, then hopped up and continued. I ran whatever I could and walked/hiked the rest.

Saw some hikers on the way to Roaring Meg, they asked me if we always use this track or is it by choice (road or track). Told them it’s always the track.

Didn’t fly down on this portion as the last time, when I’ve raced it. When I got to Roaring Meg, I saw Mark. I think he stopped only for a short time at the Lighthouse and got here before me. He asked me if he’s going in the right direction. Told him yes, he is, then pulled out the can of ginger beer I’ve been carrying for this portion of the course and got a good hit of sugar.

I soon caught up with Mark, asked him if he was OK, whether he wanted me to stick with him. He said he’s tired, but OK, so I went ahead, trying to avoid the puddles on the track.

It was strange… Otto usually calls me by this time. Called him and he said he didn’t get the link to track me. It turned out it was because my domain name expired (it’s a nightmare finding the registrar) and my email wasn’t working. Anyway, I assured him I was going well, I can eat, drink and I still have about 16 km to go. Well, the eat and drink was a white lie; I ran out of savoury things and the sweets didn’t appeal anymore. I was really hoping there is something at the checkpoint that could fix that.

Once on the fire track I found it hard to get into a good rhythm. I stopped to take some photos of the stunning sunset, then somehow picked up a manageable pace. There were children playing in the Halfway Hut camp ground when I passed—it was really good to hear.

There were quite a few 100 kayers at the Telegraph Junction checkpoint, refueling, re-shuffling their packs. I asked Noreen if there was anything savoury. She said there should be some chips there, but the box was empty. Then the lovely young lady, who did the registration yesterday offered me some of her corn chips. She said “take as many as you want”. I only needed a few to reset my taste buds and gain some energy. Forever grateful for this!! Checked with the runners if they were OK, then headed off.

Not a fan of this track and especially in that direction, but I somehow didn’t miss the sandy 4WD track to Oberon Bay and the hike out Little Oberon Bay.

Caught up with the last 44 km runner and the sweep (I last saw them when I was heading up to the Lighthouse), then two 100 kayers ran past me. They said they are tired, but they will make it. I told them to have a ginger beer and organised with Maria to wait for them at the car.

I then passed another 100 km runner, I think his name was Brian. Exchanged a few words, then I saw another 44 km runner who called me by my name. It took me a few moments to recognise him—he was David whom I’ve swept Red Wood Forest with in March. He could only walk because of his knee. Wished him all the best and kept going.

I soon caught up with the two 100 km runners—Alex and Stewart. We chatted all the way down to the finish.

I was surprised I could step on it pretty much for the last few hundred meters and do sub 6 minute pace.

Maria was waiting at the finish. Got the Caramello, shook hands with the boys, big hug to Velta and we said good bye. Maria and I went to have the first beer, then we shared the beef from the Thermos with a slice of bread. I had a shower, we had another beer, then headed back.

We stopped in Meenyan to get some more light beer (for re-hydration) and chatted all the way home, where Otto waited for us with a nice big slice of steak and a beautiful Riddoch Reserve Cab Sav.

This was an event I really enjoyed. Not only because the Prom is my favourite place, but somehow everything worked out.

Gear

  • Salomon S/LAB NSO Mid Tight—light and very comfy
  • iOMerino Zodiac crop
  • iOMerino Altitude Racerback Tank
  • iOMerino Altitude Zip
  • iOMerino Multi-sport socks
  • Saucony Excursion TR14—maiden run
  • Salomon Advanced Skin 12 Set pack

Hydration and Food

  • 2 x 500 ml water with Dextrose Monohydrate and a bit of cordial
  • 1 x 250 ml + 4 x 200 ml of ginger beer
  • 2 x Farmers Union Greek Yogurt pouches (Peach and Mango)
  • Spring Energy gels—1 Canaberry, 1 Long Haul and 1 SpeedNut
  • Coco Pops Rice Bar—from Maria
  • Piece of toast with Philly, smoked salmon and capers
  • 2 x squares of butter and Vegemite toast
  • Dark chocolate and crystallised ginger
  • 4 cubes of Black Cherry Shot Bloks
  • 2 pieces of banana

Map

Total distance: 68.11 km
Max elevation: 321 m
Min elevation: -20 m
Total climbing: 3011 m
Total descent: -3001 m
Total time: 11:00:16
Download file: Wilsons_Prom_2021_66_km.gpx