The Oh-So-Late Upside Down Rogaine

Oh, that elusive 2000 points…

E and I went out to Williams on Saturday afternoon to challenge ourselves to hit the 2000 mark in a 12 hour upside down rogaine.

Upside down? You query…

Yes, it’s all night – 8pm to 8am.

So, it’s doubly challenging, not only is it still 12 hours of navigating and walking, but it’s nighttime, dark, and your body clock keeps suggesting sleep…

We received a few tips from some champion rogainers, and decided to implement their ideas.

So, we planned our best course ever.
We set targets for times for achievement to make sure we were on track.
We packed and repacked.
We planned when we would eat and change our socks.
I strapped and braced my right knee prior to going out.
E had management plans in place for her own knee.
We were so very ready.

The course was mostly open farmland with some surprisingly big hills. The night was warm and the going was pretty easy, except up at the tops of the hills where we found more than our fair share of concealed rocks to twist our ankles on and seriously slow us down. We also came across more fences – and live electric ones at that – than we would have liked, too! We were sweating profusely and working hard most of the night.

And we were on-target for our first and second check ins and only 15-20 minutes behind on our third at 6 hours in, with easier terrain to come so we knew we’d be able to make it up if we could keep the pace up in the open areas.

But then…
I broke.


This time, it was my left knee.

My right didn’t flinch. Not a niggle.

But by 6 hours in, every single step downhill was a cruel joke on the left side.

I strapped the knee, popped more anti-inflammatories, and it provided some relief, but not enough. I was not going to be able to do the hills and maintain the pace we needed to do the full 45km course to collect the 2000 points.

Resigned to another ‘learning experience’, we bailed and headed back in to the hash house and our tent for a 2 hour sleep.

The plan, at 4am, was to sleep till 6am, reassess the knee and decide how many more of the close controls we could get.

At 6am I woke up to the alarm, woke up E, we had a brief little chat about how cold it was out, and promptly fell back to sleep.

We woke up again about an hour later, and that was our event done.

I had the Rogaine Shuffle (the stiff and sore walk that so many people sport the morning after a rogaine) but E was fresh as the proverbial daisy.

It turns out I have the knees of an old lady.

Anyway, surprise of surprises: we placed third womens even doing only half our planned course.

We laughed when they announced it!

In the end we walked 27km of a planned 45ish.

Selection_032 Selection_033 Selection_034 Selection_037

And after looking at the results, we weren’t far off second, but would never have made 1st, even with 2000 points, so I guess we didn’t actually do too bad in the grand scheme of things.

My war wounds include scratched shins from canola stubble (that stuff is MEAN), two bruises on my quads from getting stabbed by errant sticks, two small blisters on one foot, and completely shattered second toes on both feet.
I don’t know what to do about those poor toes, but the bruising is ridiculous! I am likely going to lose the nail on the left foot again (it is in such bad shape that I figure it should just stop growing back).

My toes hurt so bad I couldn’t put shoes on for work the next day. I had to tape the nails so they didn’t catch and pull on the sheets and keep me up all night.

Of all the rogaines I’ve done with a competitive bent, this is the one I’ve come out healthiest at the end of: no debilitating blisters, the left knee didn’t end up too damaged (my right knee looked like a football for two weeks after the last one), so I’m happy with those results. But these two toes are an ongoing source of frustration. What do I do?

I need a new management plan, to strengthen my knees, improve my feet and toes tolerance for abuse (is that even possible?), and improve my pace over uneven ground.

I think the next rogaine is a 24 hour and the plan of attack is 10 hours of navigation, 4 hours sleep, and another 10 hours out. So, I have a bit of work to do.

(This post was also published on 100ks From Here)


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