On Sunday I thankfully managed to complete the Centennial Park 100 race.
It’s 28 laps of Centennial Park plus a little extra. The trail is hard packed dirt and very runnable and the park is beautiful.
I started the day at 4.15am and immediately set about necking 500ml’s of beetroot juice for the extra 16% of endurance its meant to provide – if you have no idea what i’m talking about then look it up.
Breakfast was porridge with blueberries and 2 bananas. On the way to the venue I drank 350ml’s of water and that was it before kick off.
I had very loft ambitions of aiming for 7hrs 30 which equated to an average pace of 4.30 per kilometre. I knew this would feel easy to start with so I had to make a conscious effort to not get too carried away. I’d run my own race and just see what happens.
My nutrition plan was Gu’s. I taped 12 Gu’s to 12 bottles of water/sports drink (350ml) and I planned to grab a bottle every other lap after the 3rd lap. This worked really well as the tape sticking down the Gu was pretty strong so when tore the Gu off it opened it up for me. Easy.
The first couple of laps I was tucked in about 20 seconds behind Jo Blake and Kevin Muller and then suddenly Jo disappeared. I presumed he had gone for a toilet stop but I never saw him again for the entire race.
I had the urge to pee the moment I started the race but I kept telling myself to hold it until the 30km point. I was looking for a good spot to go as I didn’t want to waste time heading to the loos. I managed to find a large tree just off the course and at a quiet time I nipped over and I was in and out ticking that kilometre off in 4.45. That was the last one I had – I dont tend to go much when im running but I know of other runners who are always going. Anyway I digress.
There isnt a huge amount to say abut this race. It’s just round and round like a hamster.
My nutrition plan was working well and I comfortably ticked off the first marathon in 3.06 and 50km in 3.40 – I felt good when I saw that but then the negative thoughts hit me. How can I keep this up for another 50km’s!?!? pull out now!
At the 60km mark I desperately wanted to just sack it off and have a beer and I thought I could feel a twinge in my legs. Of course, by this stage everything hurts but there is a difference between muscle soreness and an injury. Yes I had soreness, but I didn’t really have an injury – although my brain was searching for one somewhere. I stopped after crossing for another loop and asked at the aid stations if anyone had panadol. This was more of an excuse to stop (although my ankles were more sore than they have ever been). No one had anything so I trudged off again.
On the next lap I stopped again and someone had drugs for me – advil. I wasnt sure about taking them but actually my ankles were hurting and they still are today. So I popped them and waddled back out.
Phill rocked up at 75km’s and it was good to see her. However it just gave me yet another excuse to stop and stop I did. I said that I was pulling out and luckily she got me questioning myself if I really wanted to do that. Only 25km’s to go. I’d come that far. She also said that Jo was looking really strong. great!
I walked back out and grabbed a load of sweets and walked a bit more whilst I got those down. I think this perked me up slightly as I didn’t stop to speak with Phill again after that, only pausing to grab sweets from the aid station.
I passed the 50 mile mark in 6hrs 9 minutes and the double marathon in 6hrs 29. So the second marathon was 17 minutes slower than the first. That’s quite a slow down but it was unknown territory to me. I’ve never run this pace over this distance before – i think I had underestimated the pain and effort levels involved.
Buzz and Milov were giving me updates as to how behind Jo was. At one stage it was 11 minutes, then 8 minutes then it got down to 3 minutes as I was struggling.
Robert Woolley, who came in 3rd, caught up with me and had a chat for a lap or 2. It was great to take the mind of the pain. He was only a lap behind me but full of beans and really chirpy and moving along well. Meanwhile I felt like death.
Slowly but surely the end was in sight and for the penultimate and last lap I cranked out 17.24 and 16.11 compared to my first two 3.54km laps of 15.40 and 15.33. I really couldn’t go any faster as I was beginning to seize up each time I tried to push it.
I had the course record in my sights which I thought was 7.54 going into the race so on the last lap I was confident of achieving this. It was only when I finished that I was told the record was 7.51 so I only had a minute spare.
Chris Truscott, last years winner and previous record holder, was there to give me my medal which was a nice touch. No doubt he’ll be there again to smash that time apart.
I have so much respect for any runner who completes these kind of lap courses, in particular those who do so on a 400m athletics track. I cant fathom that and I know I wouldn’t have the mental strength to complete one.
This race really really pushed me and I had to dig deeper than ever before which only made it much more enjoyable (after I had finished of course!).
Would I do this again? Not sure. I said yesterday that no way would I do it again, although I feel there is much better performance in me somewhere.
This race is to be used as a qualifier for Spartathlon next year which is at the end of September. If for whatever reason I don’t enter or get in then I may give this one another shot – but only on the premise that I am properly trained for it.
Long slow running (which is all i’ve been doing) really doesn’t cut it. I’ll need to train like I’m gunning for a marathon pb plus put in the extra long runs. If I do that and do it properly then I think I’d have a better day out.
Next stop, Coast to Kosci!