First up- thanks to Greg Finlay! You total legend, at the end of the run he came up to me with a cold beer and some Lindt Balls- possibly best race finish ever!
I had entered the 12 hour event knowing that I wasn’t fit enough, but hoping that fear would make me train. Apparently not, and I had to email the organisers the week before to downgrade to the 9:30pm marathon.
It’s 8 laps of an out and back course, roughly 5.2km each lap.
So, how did it go?
Well, I’m about 8kg heavier than I should be, and haven’t run more than 21km in the last 5 months, so I guess the word would be slow and painful. OK two words, but they both fit.
On lap 1, I could feel my calves were like rocks, so I just let everyone go and tried to get comfortable. I was dead last at the first turn around. Yes, last. In the next 2.5km back to the start line I managed to pick up one place, but I did get to speak to that lady a few times over the next few hours………
Lap 2 I started to feel better, and had some good easy running until about 15km into the race. It wasn’t fast, but I knew the last half would bite, so I was trying to go easy. By lap 4 I was sweating and wondering how I would get through another 4 laps. On lap 5 I had slowed significantly- the first 4 laps were done in 2.5 hours, meaning if I could keep the speed up I would have a 5 hour finish. I knew that wouldn’t be possible, so I figured I would try for sub 5:30.
Then things got really tough. Towards the end of 6 laps I re ran the numbers and got a shock- if I didn’t hustle I was going to go over 6 hours! There was a big part of me that didn’t care, and I came up with all sorts of excuses as to why I should slow down and just get it done. But really- riding it out would be boring- why not go out in a blaze of glory and drag some dignity out of this disaster?
Well, there was no glory to be had, but the numbers looked like this- I was doing apx 10min/km, and the round trip was 5.2km so each lap was going to take ~55 minutes. At the end of lap 6 I had an elapsed time of 4 hours 16 minutes- doing 2 more laps of 55 minutes each would put me over 6 hours! Shit.
This type of running is exactly what the Dr ordered- feeling shitty, trying to run and really concentrating on getting the job done. It teaches you how to suffer. It makes you realise that slowing down when you feel bad isn’t necessary- you CAN keep going if you MAKE your legs cooperate.
My knee wasn’t happy- actually both knees were complaining about the weight on them! My muscles were on fire but I knew if I could just beat that 55 minute estimate I’d be ok. I rattled off a few blazing fast 9 minute kms. I knew at the start of the race my first lap had been 37 minutes, so it was possible.
I came in at the end of lap 7 with 5:02 on the clock, a 46 minute lap, so I knew that as long as I didn’t fall over or cramp up I’d be ok. A bunch of people were standing in front of the food table and thought I had finished so they were cheering me on- so I had to rudely push them out of the way- don’t get between me and food!
The last lap was uneventful except for the voice in my head telling me to stop! Greg Finlay and Brett Sammut glided past me but I didn’t have much to say, then a bloke who I had been dicing with for hours came past and the tiny angry voice in my head told me to beat him. I had no idea if he was even on the same lap as me, and normally I’m totally non competitive, but it was a good thing to focus on. It made me run, and even if I didn’t beat the guy I finished in front of him- on that lap! (Yeah he was probably doing the 12 hour race, but hey, small victories)
I immediately sat down and was so shattered I could barely talk, but beer and chocolate made it better.
Congratulations to all involved- I’m hoping I’ll make a comeback to form one day, and I reckon that would be a good venue……… but I said that last time too.
Official time 5:48:42 position 19 out of 32 starters and 28 finishers
Full results here