Oxfam Trail Walker 2012 No Roads Expeditions Checkpoint

Oxfam Trailwalker Sydney 2012 – Forming a Winning Team.

by Shona Stephenson on August 27, 2012

Oxfam Trailwalker Sydney 2012 is a team event first and foremost. To win the event you need an amazing team that is willing to work together through everyones strengths and weaknesses……

This story started way back in December when I emailed Brendan Davies about the possibility of forming a strong female No Roads Team for Oxfam 2012. No Roads Expeditions already had a cracking male team, there was no way I’d be able to keep up with the likes of Andrew Lee, Ben Artup, Brendan Davies, Mike Donges. But if there was a female team with Beth Cardelli and Angela Bateup, I felt like I could maybe just hold my own.
No Roads Expeditions could only managed to obtain one team entry for Oxfam Trailwalker Sydney 2012. So I was not going to run in the No Roads Expeditions Team. I just was not fast enough. So I kept my options opened, and just stayed in contact with Brendan and waited for a spot as a reserve. The two major races for the Marathon Trail Running calendar in 2012 were cancelled the 6 Foot Track in March and Mt Solitary was cancelled in April. I had no way to prove myself as a runner until May. I then ran The North Face 100km in 12 Hours 29 seconds placed 3rd female. I then pulled up nicely two weeks later at the Glow Worm Tunnel Marathon and again managed a 3rd. I felt like I did enough to prove my ability. Brendan’s body feeling the effects of his amazing racing season thus far and I think Beth Cardelli wanted another “chick” on the team with her for Oxfam Trailwalker Sydney 2012. So after the Glow Worm Tunnel in April I was asked onto the team. Yes!

Far out man what have you done? You are running with Andrew Lee and Beth Cardelli. They are quick and strong. You are going to have to pull your finger out and actually train now. To be honest with you I can’t remember who the other team mate was meant to be…..Ben Artup or Ewan Horsbrough. However, six weeks before Oxfam Trailwalker Sydney 2012 that team member pulled out and Paul Robertson joined the team.
I am a control freak. Really organized with my training for an event like Oxfam. I write a program and follow it as much as my body will allow. However, it was impossible for us all to train together as a team. Andy and Paul lived in the Blue Mountains and they both have children with busy weekends and they both raced regularly. Beth lives in Berowra and I live in Camperdown. Beth and I decided that we would train together for Oxfam much like we both trained for The North Face 100km together. I needed to train with the best female climber in the country to improve my fitness so I could keep up withe Andy Lee and Paul Robertson on the climbs. All four of us were all racing regularly and we were all in great form so there was no need to train together as a full team, it would just risk injury. Our team decided that Mt Solitary Ultra Marathon would be the place to meet up 3 weeks before the event and sort out any team formalities.
Mt Solitary Ultra Marathon ended up being a total disaster for our team. I’d sprained my ankle for the 4th time in as many weeks just two days before the event and my ankle had tripled in size. Beth thought she may have an issue with her femur or hip. Andy’s ITB and did not enjoy the ruggered Mt Solitary slope so soon after competing and Winning the Kokoda Challenge in Brisbane and Paul sprained his ankle in the first 5ks of Mt Solitary and retired at the Furber Stairs. The injury list was as follows;
Andy ITB Band Knee
Beth Femur
Paul Ankle
Shona Ankle.
Bloody hell it was worse than a football team. Everyone was injured. All the other team members in the larger No Roads Expeditions team were injured or competing in Europe. We had to all pull up okay and compete otherwise we would not have a team at all. I rehabbed my ankle religiously. Massaged, theraband, single leg squats, hops and I kept it tapped up for the next 3 weeks to insure that I could not sprain it again. There was ligament damage in my ankle and I just could risk spraining it again. I ran the City2Surf and managed a PB of 57:08 with little to no running for the event and I now had my confidence in my body restored.
A week out from the Oxfam Trailwalker Sydney 2012 I receive an email from the 2010 and 2011 Trailwalker Walker Sydney Team Quality Meats. They too had an injury list to match ours and with athletes traveling to either the Kokoda Trail or Europe to run the UTMB. At the time I thought we were all on the mend with our injuries and I kindly refused the offer for our teams to join forces. However, on the Monday before the event, Beth let it be known that she did not feel confident that she was going to do long term damage if she ran 101.5 km on a possible stress fracture in her femur. Ouch. On the Tuesday after speaking with Beth again I contacted the Quality Meats team as asked them if their offer still stood and we were incredibly lucky to have Jonathan Worswick as a team mate.

Oxfam Trailwalker Sydney 2012 No Roads Expeditions Checkpoint 1
Okay people, this is where you must learn that not matter what, you must be kind to everyone to meet on the trail no matter what. The trail running community is just too small.3 weeks earlier at Mt Solitary Ultra Marathon I was volunteering as “Bag Bitch” or “Super Nice and Efficient” mandatory gear checker for the Mt Solitary Ultra Marathon. Jonathan Worswick and I meet as he was trying to get through the mandatory gear check with about half the gear he was meant to have. We had a heated discussion about what gear he should have, I even offered the compression bandage from my own sprained ankle so he could race and I made him get a bigger back pack so he could fit and carry all his mandatory gear whilst racing Mt Solitary Ultra Marathon. I then found it hilarious that I would be calling this same guy up on the Tuesday before Oxfam Trailwalker Sydney 2012 and we were then to be on the same team only 3 days later. Too funny. It just pays to be nice to everyone.
The day before Oxfam Trailwalker Sydney 2012 I had an easy day of just two Personal Training Sessions. I then packed my gear and headed up to my Mum’s house at Turramurra with my two kids to stay the night and relax. I then found out that I was going to be locked out of the house with my two children while my mother was shopping in the city. I swear I told her I was running 100km the next day………It’s not something that you’d forget. My mother planned a shopping trip and was not going to be home until 4pm. I was to be stranded with out a car and two kids aged 5 and 7 on her back balcony. Lucky they had a outside fridge and I rank mineral water until I water for her to arrive. She cut her shopping trip short and when she did arrive after 1.5 hours of waiting she then turned up with out keys……Mummmmm! I then had to wait another 1.5 hours until my sister arrived with the keys and let us all in at 3pm. Just in time because my eldest was needing to do a poo! I surprised myself that I was able to stay calm through this whole situation. Usually I would have lost it at my Mum. I knew I did not need the added stress of an argument. Finally after 3 hours of waiting I was let inside I had a nice nap. Ahhhhhh.

 

I ate my usual pasta the night before the Oxfam Trailwalker Sydney 2012 and went to bed early. I woke up the next day at 4:30am after having a bad dream about Oxfam Trailwalker Sydney 2012. (Long story but it involved all my team members to passing a quiz before they were let through each check point in my dream we did not make it through the first check point until 7am the next day a full 24 hours after starting the event). I went through my routine, had my coffee, took my serotide and ventolin, ate my oats, yogurt and milo and got dressed. I knew I was full of nervous energy because my feet were trembling when I was trying to tape my ankles. I almost cut my foot with the scissors a few times to was shaking so much.
I then met Garry for the first time at Turramurra Train Station and organized my gear while we waited for the Boys to turn up. Jono arrived by train at 5:52am only just over an hour before the start. I was having kittens inside, the control freak inside of me always likes getting to the start of the event an hour before it starts just so I’m nice and calm and organized at the start line. Man I felt sorry for all the guys trapped in that car with me. Poor Andy Lee had know idea what a nervous, stress bag, hyperactive female he was sitting next two. My legs were still twitching, and every now and then I would let out a nervous “Fu3k!!!!” as my brain and body were getting geed up to race. What chatted a bit about race strategy. Jono warned that he was going to be slow at the start. I explained that the start is usually my strength and I love the tough technical track. I get so nervous and I jump out of the start and I just run out my nerves. Shi1 Jono and I sound like we are polar opposites of runners. Andy explained that we just need to get everyone over the finish line in one piece. Paul stayed out of it. Remember none of us have trained together at all for the Oxfam Trailwalker Sydney 2012. This was the first time we actually spoke about our racing strategy.
We arrived at the start line and organized ourselves went to registration, toilet, warmed up, walked to the start line and bloody Jono did not have his race number on. He ran back to the car and got it. With only 5 minutes to the start we’d lost Jono. We then lost Andy in the crowd after he went to the toilet. Far out , Paul and I were just standing around stressing trying to find our team mates. We then decided that we should just got to the start line and hopefully we’d find Andy and Jono.
On the start line after saying hello to heaps of mates Paul and I found Jono and soon Andy appeared and within minutes the we counted down 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 and were off and running in the Oxfam Trailwalker Sydney 2012.