Camping? Who knew it could be fun. I didn’t get eaten by bears or hyenas and didn’t even have a tree fall on my tent (although it was a bit of a worry).

We got to Lorne on Thursday night and found a camping ground – I didn’t realise until we got there that we didn’t actually know where we were staying! We went to one camping ground that was just like a verge on the side of a bumpy gravel road – ick! The second camping ground was nice but you couldn’t drive in to it so that meant hauling all our gear down a long bush track. The third place was a fair way out of town and a bit overcrowded but we found a good spot and set up. The next morning, all the the other campers left (dunno what we did to them) so there was a whole empty campsite and just us huddled in the corner.

After we set up camp, we cooked dinner and had a few wines then crashed into bed.

Friday we went to find ice so headed to the nearest town – Deans Marsh – and found a fantastic cafe. Got coffees for us and ice for the esky then stopped at a pick your own berry farm on the way back. The berry farm rocked. They had all these berries I’d never even heard of – silvanberries and miriamberries and other amazing berries. We got a punnet full to have with pancakes for Sunday brunch then headed into Lorne to register for the race.

As part of our race pack, we got tee shirts with “Survived” written across the front (like the Survivor logo). A lot of people were wearing them around town which is wrong cos they hadn’t yet ran the race so were pre-empting the Survived bit.

We got into race mode by relaxing on the beach – not a good idea since we then panicked about sand and sunburn and other things that make running less fun. We had a nice picnic lunch of rolls and bananas then met a friend for coffee. A couple of guys at another table were drinking ice cold Coronas and I so wanted to snatch them out of their hands. I don’t drink that much but when I can’t, I seem to really want it – and 35 degree day, what’s nicer than an icy beer. I kept saying – after the race, I’ll have one.

We spent the arvo having a second lunch and hanging out on the beach. Before the race we had a shower – our campsite had toilets but no showers – and found out the coin operated hot water didn’t work. I got all antsy waiting in the shower queue, thinking I’d miss the run (how can anyone spend more than 5 minutes in a cold shower and water restrictions, people!) but got washed and desanded.

As I changed into my running gear, I learnt a valuable lesson. After a beach shower with a not too dry towel, a bit of sunburn and a racer back bra – bad move. I couldn’t my bra on! I squirmed and struggled and squished bits into places. I almost got desperate enough to ask the girl changing beside me to pull it down for me, but finally got it on.

We walked up to the start line and did some warming up then got ready. The run started and I took off nicely until about halfway up the first hill. OMG… steep! I walked then ran then walked. Since we started near the pack (and were in the seniors start… they really need to rethinking that cos you don’t call people 30+ yo seniors!) I had lots of walkers around me. I wanted to get passed them but didn’t want to … well I couldn’t, to be honest. Then we got to a steep downhill bit and lots of people started running but I figured loose gravel and a steep decline = a broken Kathryn. Another huge hill then we got to the drink station and a fairly flat bush track.

After my water, I revved up and flew along the bush track, passing everyone. Funnily enough, on the dirt track I had no fear of falling even with branches and holes and other hazards (oh, and a nice drop to the creek on one side).

I thought the 2nd drink station was at the 4k mark so after a while was thinking – must be there soon, must be there soon, omg this is the longest 4 ks ever, I’m going to die. In my brain, I kept thinking I had to stop running but my legs didn’t listen and they kept going and going. I had this stupid idea that since I was dehydrating, I should run faster to get water.

Finally got out of the bush and got water (found out later the water station was around 5-6 kms not 4) and got onto the sealed road. Another hill but not nearly as steep as the first ones. Everyone had dropped back to walk but I took off. One guy yelled ‘go for it’ as I ran passed him – not sure if he was being sarcastic or encouraging.

Lots of hills and bends for a while – reminding me of the City to Surf. I walked then I ran then walked some more. The next drink station was at the pier – I’d been told that was 1 km from the finish but thought the stations were 2 km apart so was very confused about how far I had to go.

I was about ready to crawl home when I saw a woman who’d really bugged me in the shower queue and I knew I had to beat her so I took off. The finish line looked so far away though.

I passed a guy sitting on a fold up chair with a slab beside him. He called out to tell me I was doing well so I told him he wasn’t doing bad himself. Kept going and got to my friends cheering on the sidelines so took off for the line.

I managed to run the 8ks in around 52 minutes, not that different for my time in the Spring into Shape runs. I figured I’d done well considering the hills and the heat and the dehydration.

We got back to camp and had dinner and beers! Woohoo!

Saturday my friends did the Pier to Pub swim. Fools. Swimming 1 km in the ocean isn’t my idea of fun. Apparently the conditions were awful too. We sat on the beach cheering and watching bags. The weather had turned nasty so we had a quick beer then back to camp for naps.

Last night we went back to the nice cafe for dinner and sat on the verandah listening to some great chill out music, drinking and talking and relaxing.

This morning was too wet for a pancake brunch so we had cereal then went to the cafe for coffees (and a very yummy carrot muffin… omg it was heaven) and drove back home. We cooked the pancakes here and had them with the berries and made many bad berry puns.

It’s so good to be home. You really don’t appreciate flush toilets and warm showers until you have to live without them.

ps. we camped next to a little pond and I didn’t fall in once even though everyone thought I would! Go me!

7 responses to “Survived!

  1. How can they build campsites with no showers? That’s just not right!
    Well done on the run – it must be hard doing them when you don’t know the course, how far to go, etc.

  2. Hallelujah! I knew you’d have fun 🙂 Mmm, the berry farm would have been awesome!

    I’m not much of a drinker either but I totally get that want when you can’t. There is nothing like a cold beer in 35 degree heat either. Yum!

    Sounds like an awesome race run too, well done! You crack me up because I can really imagine all the things that happen along the way as you describe it.

  3. Great work- none of the bad things: falling down, bears, falling trees, dips in the pond and all of the good things: great run, great time, good berries and beer. Sounds like a great weekend.

  4. Congrats Kathryn – that’s a great time for those conditions you described.

  5. Glad you survived, and that you have the shirt to prove it!

  6. Now I hate to disillusion you, Kathryn, but there really ARE no bears or hyenas in this country…unless they escaped from a circus or zoo maybe…

    Nice job on the run!

  7. You are truly an inspiration. Running in the bush now? Holy moly! And OMG the whole camping thing. It’s not my bag – with the dirt and the bugs and the copping a squat behind a tree!

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