Tuesday, 11 March 2008

None out of six !!!!

I think the title of this post pretty much sums up my year racewise so far, have yet to run a race that i have been happy with anywhere near 100 Percent (actually i'll indulge myself with my thoughts below and you'll see that i've yet to do anything that i've been 2/3 happy with), unfortunately Saturdays Six Foot Track has now joined that category.
Race Year so far:
13 January, Hares and Hounds 55.5 KM, 5:34 and over an hour behind the winner, admittedly not great running by headlight early on and dodging puddles but really never seemed to get into this run: Self Rated 5.5 out of 10 (Regarding rating DNF would be below 5, 5 would be stone motherless last but at least finishing)
27 January, Mansfield to Buller 50 KM, 4:56 and 50 minutes behind winner and 5th slowest time in 14 starts, shot myself in the foot by sleeping through alarm and only making start with a minute to spare, was easily passed by group of three 25K's in and only picked up a couple of stragglers towards the end:
Self Rated 6.25 out of 10
3rd February, Mt Glorious 32KM, 3:44 and 42 minutes behind winner (who also did extra distance), again slept through alarm (actually there was no alarm as we all expected to be awake in time) meaning i was putting number on as race started.
Struggled through mud and slush and pretty much only raced the first 8K's on the return trip, couldn't keep up with one runner in last downhill section:
Self rated 6 out of 10
9th and 10th February, Caboolture 12 Hours, 108 K's, 18K's behind winner and over 7K's worse than previous year, ran well first two hours and pretty much lost the plot for much of the rest of it, good last 45 minutes saved me from total ignominy and did finally find some of that competitive spirit that had been lacking:
Self rated 6.25 out of 10
17th February, Maroondah Dam, 50K's, 5:37 and 5th slowest time in 14 starts (those other 4 i was probably lost) and 80 minutes behind the winner.
Couldn't handle the cold early on (no feeling in fingers first 5K's), and then felt like i was going comfortably, evidently way too comfortably (it isn't meant to be a stroll through the bush !) as i was shocked by the final time, beaten by a few runners that i'd normally expect to beat: Self Rated 5.75 out of 10
8th of March, Six Foot Track, 45K's, 4:34 and second slowest time in 17 starts as well as over 70 minutes behind winner (Stats here : http://www.mountainrunning.coolrunning.com.au/index.php?module=Results&action=history&PersonID=475).
Good start, not caught up in the lemming like antics of the first half of the first wave, ran well (although within myself) to Coxes River, starting feeling cold as i got towards the Pluviometer (around 25K's) and from then on struggled to retain heat across the Black Range cramping at times (through cold rather than lack of salt), finally extracted the digit after crossing Caves House Road and ultimately passed 6 runners (and was passed by one - possibly a first here) on the run to the finish line. Once warmed up was fine after, but worst ever finish by position, only positive being that i had no sciatic nerve problems or other niggles.
Self rated somewhere between 6.25 and 6.5 out of ten
So there's the year so far, pretty damned ordinary !!!, still now for the non condensed version of Six Foot Track.
Drove most of the way down to the race on Thursday night with a late carbo load of very good Spag Bol at the Coolonglook Servo, once within 200K's of Sydney thought i may as well have a sleep and do the remaining drive in the morning.
Surprisingly good 6 Hour sleep in the rest area and was off by 7AM, not having remembered to bring my Sydney Street Directory meant i was stuck with having to go blindly along Pennant Hills Road (The Old M7) all the way to the Great Western Freeway, what a joke absolute crawl through peak hour traffic all the way finally heading off to the freeway and breakfast and coffee at McDonalds.
Get to the Edge Cinema in Katoomba to pick up the race pack and find there is construction work and no parking so a quick u-turn and park in the street.
Great to catch up with a number of familiar faces and ultimately spend a couple of hours there, not wishing to get to Jenolan Caves to early (and being tempted to do a pre race hike i know me too well), went for a walk around Katoomba and a very tasty stir fry.
Arrive at Jenolan Caves just after 2 and after a bit of a lie down can't resist a walk (and paddle) around the River Walk (http://www.jenolancaves.org.au/index.asp?pageID=54&menuItemID=100) a nice easy 90 minutes or so.
Soon after the rest of our room arrive (from Melbourne) and then off to dinner.
Definitely the best buffet dinner i've had there on a Friday night, lovely lasagna and pasta and very nice desserts, although i never got around to the soup.
By 7 it was time to head back and get an early start with our bus leaving at 5:30.
Best laid plans often go astray and that was the case, caught up with Sheryl Macrow-Cain who i hadn't seen since being in a team with her in the 1998 JLW Challenge so there was plenty to catch up with, still on my way back caught up with some other runners and was surprised to hear heavy rain and thunder definitely not a good omen.
Eventually back to the room at 9 (my slowest 100 metres ever about 2 hours ???), and a good nights sleep.
As usual (well not usual this year going by 2 races), woke up just before the 4:30 alarm so a quick shower before my Vita Brits, was surprised to find only one bus for the 100 odd runners and then the shocking news the second bus had broken down, meaning that there was no way out for the buses (the road going the other way is too narrow for them) meaning we would have to take our own vehicles.
So Robert Boyce gets his car and me, Garry Wise and another runner head off to join him using his "Tom Tom" GPS thing to find the way, inevitably the car is a little faster than the bus but with me in the earlier first wave decide it's safest to let me off at the Explorers Tree (The Start) while they head off to the bus area.
Big queues at the portaloos but thankfully there are many of them so with 20 minutes to start time i'm relaxed and having multiple conversations.
After last years seemingly suicidal dash to the steps i decided i'd try to stay down the back half and thankfully that worked well, we all had a similar pace and reached Nellies Glen fresh and well. Was quite happy to just run my own race and was running comfortably following ACT runner Mick Corlis, was passed by Blue Dog (at that stage appearing to be in very good shape, ultimately proven by his 4:17 finishing time) who i couldn't resist a jibe at (something along the lines of "enjoy being in front while you can" - that sure came back to bite me !!).
From then on it was a group of 5 to 6 along Coxes River including my Trailwalker 2007 team mate Brian Ackerley (ultimately leaving me for dead to finish in 4:09 - won't mention all the names of people i need to get revenge on in races this year it'd be a damned long list so far !!!). Waist deep river crossing at Coxes (second deepest i can recall), certainly made my muscles stiffen up as the water was really cold, but was still moving along nicely.
I'm never really sure what the points are i start walking rather than running but i always feel that each year they are that little earlier, strangely this year wasn't one of those years and seemed to be going well. Then somewhere up the Pluviometer i simply began to lose warmth, i'd just passed Kevin O'Kane (Sweeper for the 7AM start) and out of the blue felt really cold, now i think of it i should have removed my sweaty headband (which was beginning to feel like an iceblock around my forehead) but at the time was more worried by the fact i wasn't really sure what to do.
Certainly ate fruit and had coke and sports drink at the aid stations but really felt i needed something hot (if anything the cold drinks were more harm than good but knew hydration was important). Essentially this was the story of my Black Range, occasionally i'd cramp up but this appeared to be from the cold rather than lack of salt etc, and my fingers were getting number and number (at one point i tried to open a seal lock bag with "Karls Kaps" and needed eventually to get another runner to open it my hands simply didn't work).
Again i cramped running down !! the deviation but seemed to sort that out on the way back, by that time the runners in front of me were having problems too, so no matter how bad i was going i still had someone to chase. Was actually offered a blanket by the Ambulance officer at the next checkpoint (obviously i looked as crook as i felt, i think the race pictures do show me looking pretty miserable in the later stages:
http://www.marathon-photos.com/marathon.html?job=Sports/2008 Sports/Six Foot Track Marathon;match=19 and certainly had bluish tinged hands).
Made it to Caves House Road and was asked whether i'd be able to make the last 7K's (i think that fired me up as i responded "Piece of Piss" and headed off with a renewed vigour).
From then on had some ordinary spots but ultimately the worst was over as i continued to chase runners down, running all the way from the last checkpoint and passing 6 (and being passed by one - a new unwelcome experience on this part of the course).
Finally to the finish line and looked at the clock tick over to 4:34, hope i didn't offend too many people as i uttered, typically loudly, a word similar to Phuket, it was pretty obvious i wasn't happy with the run at all (well actually those 14 odd K's the rest was not too bad).
Typically by the time i'd got my medal and talked to some of the earlier finishers (79 of them !!) the sun finally came out, definitely could have done with that earlier (remembering fondly the old days of a 10 o'clock start).
I'm sure that for most people these had been ideal conditions for a PB, but for me it was an ideal day for hypothermia or similar not sure if it was the fact i'd spent too many days running in 34 degree heat and humidity in the couple of weeks leading up to it or the fact that we don't really get cold days on the Coast (we do get enough wet ones though) but obviously i don't handle the cold as well as i used to (not as though i ever handled it that well !!).
A hot shower and an hour lying in a warm bed and then it was off for the social side of the race.
Hard to believe after all those problems with the cold that only a couple of hours later an icy cold beer went down so well (and so did the next etc !!!), and it was great to catch up with so many people (many who i only see yearly at this race).
As usual great organisation (bus problems are just something that happen) and certainly i'll be back for number 18 next year (if it's as cold as this year maybe they can me my 18 Finish jacket about halfway through :-) could've done with it this year), interesting drive back on the Sunday morning as we tried to spot where Roberts car actually was but from then on i just followed my road atlas out via Windsor (okay i drove around Windsor for 30 minutes as i tried to locate the road to Hornsby and Galston Gorge !!!).

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