Brutal is the best word to describe this race that took place on Sunday. The course itself wasn’t too bad but the extreme weather made this 10 times harder than it should have been. With the temperature hitting 37 degrees on the drive home it was definitely a stinker!
I set the alarm for 5.30am and had muesli and yogurt and a cuppa before driving up to Glenrbrook at 6am. Nice cruisy drive and already the temperature was beginning to rise. It was mid 20’s when I arrived just after 7am.
Short little warm up and I was a bit anxious that my legs were feeling really heavy and lethargic. I put this down to the fact that I had been in the pub from 4pm – 11pm the previous day without sitting down. Soft!
After a quick chat about what to do if you’re unlucky enough to get bitten by a snake we were off. It was mandatory to carry a 600ml water bottle for this race and I was glad I did given the rising temperature.
The pace from the off was pretty hot as we navigated the first mini loop before hitting the single track climb. Andy Lee (winner of many things) set off fast as usual. There was a group of about 7 or 8 of us in pursuit and I was a little concerned that maybe this was too fast for a day as hot as it was. Nevertheless the first kilometer went by in under 4 minutes which was mainly uphill. Yep – too fast! The next 6 km’s were all under 4.11 bar one.
I decided at this stage to back off as it was suicidal. The day was going to be about surviving and just getting the run done in one piece – I could sense there was going to be carnage out there.
I was running just behind Ewan (C2K champ and 24hr Aussie rep) for much of the first half until he took nearing what he probably thought was the finish line as he was racing the Half Marathon. In actual fact the half was an additional 2.5km or so which I think caught everyone by surprise.
From kilometers 12 – 16 there was a stretch of smooth firetrail which was a nice change from the techy stuff which im pretty average at running on. I cant say I opened up here but I was able to settle into a comfortable rhythm and just ticked over 4.20’s quite metronomically. At the time I thought to myself that this will be the section where i’ll let rip on the second lap. How wrong I was!
The next 6km’s are all downhill and so the km’s were all around 4 minutes or just under. Still running comfortably and my legs were actually feeling much better than they were at the start. It was along this section where I kicked a rock and went arse over tit but I’ve perfected my commando roll and I was up again in flash in one swift efficient movement. Just a couple of grazes to show for it. Not a problem.
The heat was beginning to be a bit of an issue at this stage and I was really getting through my water. Luckily the aid stations were every 8 km or so and I took every opportunity to fill up and spray myself with cold water.
After running the bonus kilometers on the first loop it was very tempting to call it a day. The heat was really starting to knock me around a bit. However, quitting isn’t really an option unless something dramatic has happened. Weather realistically isn’t a good enough reason for me to drop out. Besides, good training for Spartathlon in 2014….. 🙂
So into the 2nd loop I go and i’ve just about come to terms with the fact that i’ll now be running around 46.5km instead of 42.2km. I think as long as you know whats coming it’s easier to deal with.
I slip into walking mode as I scale the first incline – i ran most of this in the first loop. A couple of km’s in I pass Andy Lee who i’m guessing has paid the price for the fast start. He’s still moving though so I slipped in behind him with another runner I believe to be called Sweeney. The pace wasn’t too quick so I took a few moments to settle my heart rate and get comfortable. However, soon I was keen to get moving a little quicker and made a break along the single track. I certainly wasnt bombing along but I was moving ok and dousing myself in water every now and again in an effort to cool myself day. The day was turning into an absolute scorcher!
After what seemed like an eternity I was back at the start of the nice firetrail section. There was an aid station here supported by Brendan Davies ( winner of pretty much everything) and another chap. Quick chat and refill of the bottle and I was on my way. Now, this section wasnt too bad on the first loop. This second loop however was a whole different story. I was now being fried by the heat, really suffering like never before. I would have given my right arm to jump into the ocean at this stage. It was now all about rationing out my water and just moving. The km’s were ticked off in just over 5 minutes each which was alot slower than I had planned. Some walking on this section sadly as its very runnable. I was just in the pain cave though.
Finally the last aid station came into sight which signalled the end of that section and onto the downhill part. More water, a slice of watermelon and I was set to go. I lapped a couple of the half marathoners here who were taking it easy. When asked how much further they had to go the volunteers said about 4km, I didn’t have the heart to tell them it was more like 8. Poor buggers.
The next section is all downhill which sounds easy but it was just stifling. I couldn’t go more than a few hundred meters without having to pour more water over me. Also my toe was giving me some grief too and to be honest I had pretty much had enough of it all by then.
I was beginning to dream of the finish line and really hoping that the volunteers would have realised the course was long and then re-directed us instead of having to do a 3rd mini loop. Well, no such luck!
I hit the final loop and was reduced to walking up any slight incline for fear of overheating. At the same time I kept looking over my shoulder expecting to see another runner. Even in my state I still wasn’t willing to give up my position.
Finally the finishing area came into sight and I was done. Unofficially 3hrs 52 for 46.68 km and 3rd place. Not exactly sure of the other placings but the winner pulled it off I believe in 3hrs 27 which is outstanding in those conditions. The results haven’t been published but I suspect there would have been a large number of DNF’s. All in all great fun and I pulled up ok the next day – apart from the toe of course.
Thats 90km this week in 6hrs 51.
Training runs of note were my Monday run home. I ended up running this 3 seconds faster then I ever have which doesn’t sound like much but it really is a tough little run to nail. 13.70km in 54.31 (3.59’s)
On tuesday I decided to jog over to the park and do 8 x 400m reps with 400m recovery. I didn’t have a target time set in my head as I never do these and the garmin doesn’t let you see how quickly you are doing each rep (or does it???) so id find out at the end my pace.
Reps were: 70/73/72/72/73/72/74/69
Surprisingly consistent but I was written off at the end. Should do these more regularly and try to build up to 16 reps.