Monday, 11 February 2008

Twelve Hours of fun ?

After hard runs on Wednesday and Thursday in the heat of the day found i was a little sunburnt (hate suntan lotion when running always feels like i'm boiling in my own juices), so was happy to run along the beach in the cool of Friday morning and similar on Saturday. Finally by then i had decided to run the 12 Hour "Caboolture Dusk to Dawn", i'll never claim to be that fond of (or good at) lap races but it's close proximity was a point in its favour as well as giving me a chance to see how i went against quite a few notable Ultra runners (many from the Western States "Aussie Assault" so a good chance to catch up).
With one downpour at lunchtime (hard to time a carbo load with a 6PM start, so had my spag bol at 2), still wasn't convinced the weather would be decent 130 odd K's north, but still one of the delights of Ultra running is you have to be prepared for anything.
My less than brilliant navigation got me there by 4:15 (stopped off a Coles to get some ice coffee flavoured milk and then spotted a non white head band at K Mart - only a bright blue but best i'd seen anywhere for a long time and really needed a new one), and i carted out my 52 litre esky containing clothes and shoes (easy to keep stuff dry) as well as the smaller one with some sports drink, cordial and an "emergency beer".
Bit like a homecoming with RB (Robert) & wife, Horrie (Glenn), Sportsman (Ron) (all from interstate) running as well as locals PreWannaBee (Nic), MRX (Martin) & 99 (Di) all from the "Aussie Assault" as well as a large number of other familiar locals and 2007 Melbourne Trailwalker Team Mate (Milov) Michael also up from Sydney so lots of friendly pre race banter. Didn't realise we had another Western States starter till i saw Tim turn up a little later to do the 6 Hours, still recovering from Bogong to Hotham, with Vegie-Girl (Lis).
Clear skies and a warm day made it look as though weather was not going to be an issue the first few hours and it seemed the best conditions humiditywise i had experienced there.
A few words from race organiser Geoff and local councillor (and true Aussie Ultra legend who i was glad to catch up with) Gary Parsons and we were off.
A little worryingly i started out well, usually finding i'm better off having a shaky begin as i get into rhythm and had done 12.5K's in the first hour, another 12K's in the second and i was either going to have a seriously good run or the wheels were going to fall off spectacularly, not wishing to sound negative but know that a track race isn't a track race till you have experienced ups and downs and endured a "mini lifetime" during that time .
Next hour brought up another 10K's, but heavy sweating meant my shorts were sticking very uncomfortably to me and inner groin chafing is not a welcome experience that early on. Decided i'd duck off and put on my speedos underneath and a dry pair of shorts (and heaps of vaseline), but the tighter speedos didn't do my sometimes delicate gut any good and soon found my drink was simply sitting on my stomach and making squelching sounds as i made my way around the track so was now down to 9 K's for the hour and getting slower and more uncomfortable. By then Nic had taken a very handy lead and was being chased hard by another local "FatBloke" (John) but really i was just moving around the track waiting for a second wind (or something similar) to come. I'd pretty much given up on drinking till the gut felt better as i felt the liquid just sat there, but had a donut and some bun just for energy, but 7K's for the next hour showed it wasn't working. Had a chat with Tim (his aim was for 50K's as a comeback) as we walked a lap (interested to see him pop into the on course pub during the race at one point !!) but really just needed to focus on getting my thoughts off my pain (shame we only had one Stones song over the radio "Paint it Black" only 45 minutes in !!) and actually racing.
Decided to run without the speedos as two waistlines seemed to be half the problem but 8.5K's (to make 59.5 for the first 6 Hours), meant i was going to struggle for the rest of the race and i had images of 2006's shocking 98.5K's all over again.
Another 8.5K's with plenty of walking, and then 8 i was going downhill rapidly, drinking now as i knew that whether my gut liked it or not i had too.
At least the chafing was now manageable (thanks for the use of some Sportshield Adrian) and i'd decided that just moving around the course was better than stopping (though i'd been so tempted at 6 Hours) and trying to wait till i felt better.
At least 50 Miles fired me up as i wanted to get under 8.5 Hours (did 8:27:55) and mentally i seemed a little more with it as i chased down the 100K's.
Nine K's that hour and by then was up to 84.5 K's (Nic had already done 100 by then !) and 8.5 the next meant i had my sights on sub 11 (definitely not to be excited about !!!) which i made in 10:56:47.
Certainly not a great run but i'd found i was now favouring my left ankle, which was the inside one on this direction so was looking forward to the final hour and change of direction.
Ate and drank sports drink and washed down a voltaren but i think i'd used my last bits of adrenalin to get running again on some of those bad laps when i simply had nothing and was happy to just keep walking till finally 11:40 in i found an extra gear and started to get back to sub 3 minute laps (out of the blue !), ultimately hitting 108K's in 11:59:12, not sure if that is given as my official distance as surely i would have run another 200 metres going by my time for the last few laps, far from great (or last years PB of 115.65K's) but still enough to be my second best over that time.
Great run by Nic to win with 126.075, followed by John with 122.371 and Ron with 111.5, ultimately Michael caught me just before the end and pushed me back into
6th and Robert came back from nowhere to get his hundred up just before time meaning that 9 of the 18 starters had done 100K's or more a very good result.
Finally had that "emergency beer" and strangely was feeling better now (only wish that second wind had have come a bit earlier than 20 minutes to go) and spent the next hour having a chat and trading "war stories" about the previous 12 hours.
In conclusion, not happy with a lot of my run but if i'm honest i finally felt like i was back racing rather just in a run which is bloody good sign for the rest of the year.
A massive thanks to Mallani for the lap scoring, i couldn't have done this race without you, i'm sure that counting for both Nic and me was really an exercise in heaven and hell (Nic's smooth style and speed, me looking like i was trying to just not die).
A rest this week (and i doubt i need physio seem pretty good at the moment) and then hopefully all fired up and ready to race at Maroondah Dam

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