Irish Setters Rogaine – or ‘when the bush tried to eat us’

Parrot Bush is evil.

So is Prickly Moses, for that matter.

Parrot Bush

Parrot Bush. It bites!

This was one of the toughest Rogaines I’ve been on, at least as far as terrain and bush conditions are concerned. And when you add that we set out hard and fast and with a gargantuan task of trying to get 2000 points in a 12 hour rogaine, it was pretty freakin’ tough!

Now, I think we were both a little shocked by how far and hard we were going to have to travel in only 12 hours to make those points up. But, undeterred, we did set out to make it happen.

Julimar Bush

The lovely views in the Julimar bush

We did some things really well this time around. Lots of our additional preparation and planning made us go further and faster than we had before.

Unfortunately, I had to pull the pin on our goal around the 7 hour mark. We had stopped at a water drop, I was crouched down to refill my water bladder, and then I stood up to head off to a control. On the way up, my legs made me really grunt and cry out, feeling a terrible pain and cramping, but I shook it off, thinking I’d stretch it out and warm it up once I got moving again.

I was wrong.

My left leg, particularly my hip flexor, just screamed at me every time I tried to lift my leg over any obstacle. I was going SLOW and falling off Ella’s trail. I continued to navigate to the control, but she was there well and truly ahead of me, and it was apparent I was in trouble and we wouldn’t be able to hit our goal of 2000 points if I was slowing us down that much.

We changed tact and did trail-based controls and shortened our course, because I was comfortable enough walking on track, and we still made good time.

Truly, at that moment, I felt old. It was pretty depressing.

Now, maybe it wasn’t age. Maybe it was that we went out too hard and too fast and I was too unfit and too unprepared and my body simply said “7 hours of this is too much, so you are going to stop now.”


A few ibuprofen for the pain and swelling, and I woke up, not with sore hips, but with incredibly sore and swollen knees. Perhaps it was just referred pain from a sore knee?

Anyway, it became apparent that the area most lacking in my preparation was suitable walking fitness and ability to walk quickly through bush. E is getting better and faster at walking through the bush, but I was really struggling. The parrot bush was taking skin off, I was getting tangled in the underbrush, and I actually tripped and fell hard on all fours. I also got speared in the leg by a branch.

Yep, I got me some war wounds!

Anyway, in the end, despite the bush, the injury, the rain, the snakes, the climbs, the water, we came in 3rd Women’s and 26th overall (125 teams), and walked a total of 41.8km (that’s a MARATHON), with 1430 points.

Not too shabby!!

I think we can be proud of the achievement.

Over the next few days I’ll share a few more posts about what we did right and what we’re going to change for next time to be even better prepared 🙂

(This was also posted on 100ks From Here)


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