Oh dear, this couldn’t have been the best of races if that is the most positive thing that I can say about the race.
Maybe last week took more of a toll on me mentally or physically than I thought, because I did not feel anywhere as good at the 1:06 mark this week as I did last week (just before the “ankle turning incidence”). I looked at my watch, and it said 1:06 and all I could think was crap, I got at least another hour to go. An hour! piff I can scoff at an hour in a run, but not this time, it seemed interminable.
Back to the start
Anita had been kind enough to give me the bed for the weekend, so I traveled up late on Friday (arriving about 10pm) and in the morning mark drove us both over to the start. I went and registered (they were kind enough to give me a SBS Marathon entry form, really do I want to do that boring course again? I suppose it at least would be quicker). It was a chilly morning to start with, but the race didn’t start to 10:30, so after waiting around for a hour, it warmed up considerably.
Because I knew that there was only 4 aid stations on course, and I wasn’t going to carry any water, I made sure I drank a lot before hand (is it possible to over hydrate and give you the same problems as lack of water). I am sure something was wrong here, maybe I shouldn’t have worried so much about the water, after all its only 2hrs, I do 90min runs first thing in the morning on a 1 or 2 cups of water before hand and nothing during.
Anyway, there was a few people to catch up with before the start, Andy, Zarnia and Em who was concerned with her Orca top she had left on a fence post because she couldn’t find anyone. But before that conversation got very far the start had started (don’t worry Em’s top got recovered and all was well 🙂 ).
Theres a stupid little circle of the reserve and then you head up this hill.
I actually quite liked the hill to start with, it prevented me from running beyond my means, that I have a tendency to do at the start. I got into my low gear jog and just kept moving up the hill. For the first half I did feel like I was going backwards as hoards of people went past me, told myself take it easy, I know, I am no good at fast on the hills. But nearer the end I started to over take people, some of them were now walking, (a little snigger to myself, silly people). I started to get a headache, which I normally get if I am pushing too hard on a hot day with little water. I had thought I had hydrated plenty before hand, and I hadn’t pushed that hard up the hill… I was a little concerned at the moment.
Eventually, we turned off and started to descend, I was being rather over cautious on the descents, I trusted my ankle zip. Ella zoomed past me about half way down (well I assumed it was Ella, I only saw her from the back, after yelling “Go Ella”, I was a little concerned it might have been the competition, and thinking that wouldn’t have been a good look. But it was surely Ella, the competition was miles back)
Anyway, that piece of debate in my head kept me going for at least another 10mins. I was overtaking people on the descent even with my over cautious approach to the ankle. I was waiting for the 10K turn off, that was supposed to be the 6K mark and it seemed to take for ever. But eventually got there, Karen and Sharyn were standing on the corner so gave them a wave and for some reason that made me feel better.
The other hill
So about that 1hr mark there was another hill to climb, I got into a even lower gear and made my way up. I didn’t want to walk, because I do find it harder to get started again, but it was a bit of a debate when there was a guy walking beside me at the same pace as I was going. Eventually we got to the top of that hill.
After that it was mostly down hill, which to start with sounds great but the pounding on the legs takes the fun out of it.
The 16K mark (or I should say sign)
Just before I saw the 16K sign I was mentally over it, I had just walked up a little sharp incline, and wasn’t all that enthused to start running again, but I had. Then I came to a sign that said 16K. Wow, I only had 5K to go and looking at my watch, it said 1:30. I was doing much better than I possibly thought. I be in just over 2hrs if I kept that up. Nice, the motivation went right up, “5K no probs I can pull that off” and I actually picked the pace up.
I was going good too, we went past the last drink station (remember this) about 10 minutes later and then there was a open bit for a while before crossing some fords and another long stretch of road. We then turned of into the forest, looking at the watch, 1:55 “can’t be far away from the finish now”. The course winds it way through the forest, and at every turn I kept on thinking surely this is it! And then there was this very long straight road through the forest. At this point I realised that 16K mark had to have been lying and the wheels fell off.
Apparently, last year the 16K mark had been at the last drink station, that was probably 1.5-2K after where the 16K sign had been. There was also a 3K sign at the turn off to the last bit through the forest. But I missed that and I just wasn’t prepared for all of it.
Finally there was a 1K to go and then the finish line that I hadn’t seen last week. I timed myself at 2:23. I had planned 2:15 so wasn’t particularly happy with myself.
Apparently some people thought the course was 21.8K this year, because they had changed the course, still ain’t happy with it though.