I sat through a lot of presentations today at work… It was a long day of highs and lows, and I was cutting it fine to make it to the run. I expected the pack would have set off before I got my shoes on, but the hare was being sabaisabai, and only KO had set off ahead of the pack. Unfortunately for KO she got the first check wrong and lost her sneaky advantage.
Somehow I got ready and out on trail with the first check right. I got the 2nd check wrong, but it was so deliciously discrete that I had a 2nd and a 3rd try at it. 1st try the obvious way, 2nd try across the weir and to the right, 3rd try I teamed up with Cumlord and we found paper. He stepped aside and let me go. Knowing the pack would struggle with the weir crossing, I pressed on, and got a check or so ahead by the sound of the calls behind. I was nailing them until a circle just off the road by a new concrete canal. Here I got it wrong, and could have kept going to get back on trail, but did the right thing and went back and followed the pack.
It is probably worth pointing out that the hares paper budget should probably be increased… They had chosen larger squares of paper, but less of them and finding our way wasn’t easy at the best of times. After going through the runsite of the 1234-555 run, there was much confusion as most of us ran out of paper and were milling around calling ARE YOU, while a smaller group had found paper and weren’t calling.
I followed Anyone and KO without too much incentive to overtake as we past the other side of the temple hill. By now we had to be turning right, while until then I figured we would turn left. Turning right here though meant a limited number of choices – the run was already headed to be much longer than their 6km harebrief. There is a great trail that heads up to the cliff overlooking the lake – a great trail, but Cumlord was already coming back. Graven seemed to be co-ordinating the troops. There is another option that cuts along the barbed wire fence up to the dam, but surely not? That would be too far… I set off down the road – there is a way through – last time I was there it was a filthy trash dump, but I couldn’t rule it out…
When KO called I was very surprised. We were going up to the reservoir afterall! This wasn’t going to be a short run, and we had a bit of a climb. I had to gradually pick people off on the narrow trail and rejoined a decent pack as we got to the great view over the lake. There was a circle check and while some hashers went looking for paper, Graven tied his laces and Poo and I hunted for Alice – surely there would be a beer stop here? There had to be a good reason he wasn’t there for the harebrief… where was he? I think Snowballs called onon, and we thirstily carried on. Another circle – a small circle inside the large circle of the helipad, and here Emmaroyde took off across the lower spillway. It took a moment to consider an alternative parallel with Graven, Snowballs and the Angry Grinch (December name). I stuck to the road – there is only one way back from here…
Sure enough we hit paper heading across the dam… It really is a shame there isn’t a decent way back down from there – I’ve searched and I’m sure others have too, but the only way is to get to the other end of the dam. I was starting to feel it, but persuaded my legs to just keep turning over – it doesn’t have to be fast, just keep going.
I was leading the way, GI caught up. I asked if he was back to full fitness, and it felt like I was asking the robot Marvin as he pointed out he would never be as fit as he used to be! Strangely Anal caught up and the pair got into conversation as they pulled a few meters ahead of me. Fortunately I wasn’t far behind them at the end of the dam, and we could all see the circle check down the stairs… And it seemed like they were reluctant to do it – it could be down the road afterall!
I went down the stairs while they waited around at the top. I called back to say if I was wrong I wasn’t going back – I had gone “ALL IN”. When I saw the paper I got a hit of adrenaline – but no chance of running on those slippery stairs at this point. Trail out to the road. A circle check…. I had no doubts – back over the bridge and down the trail the other side. Bingo, I was off. Wait? Why isn’t the trail going down to the side of the waterway? Phew the false trail wasn’t too far and I was back to the junction while Graven was still at the road – again checking his shoes.
I was back on and there wasn’t far to go. We all knew it and the pack was right behind me – I could hear them breathing down my neck. As trail went off to the right over a little bridge, I saw the circle the other side and carried on, slowing down to a walk. It was enough to buy myself another 50m or so. When I spotted the paper ahead I started running again, and once again GI caught me up. Once again he is capable of conversation! I gasped it wasn’t far, but far enough that I couldn’t hold him off. Mental fortitude, a slight downhill and I put in a burst, I was ALL IN again. A strange circle where there should probably have been an ONIN, but whatever, it was enough and at 7.7km that was a great work out! It was more than I expected, but any less would have been disappointing!