Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Go south young man (that's if you want colder rainy conditions !!)

I'd had an interesting week training wise last week, Sunday's storms were repeated again on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday nights and the first few few days of the week were basically constant rain and also pretty humid. I've got no dramas about doing a race when it's wet and often find a good dowmpour refreshing during a long run but i'm stuffed if i'll actually head out for only a training run when it's already raining.
However with things a little quiet on the computer work front (think a combination of the economy and closeness to Christmas) decided i'd do a bit of shelf filling at the local Coles in readiness for it's grand opening on December 8. Probably the closest thing i ever would get to a gym is putting 3 Litre Juice bottles on shelves as well as other fairly heavy things, although having spent half of one day filling the confectionary aisle just don't offer me sweets anytime soon.
So ended up having a really good aerobic workout Monday to Thursday and not needing a run (reckon i worked out last year that if i do too little work i'm inclined to overtrain and basically wear myself out pre race - not ideal !!).
Come Friday and an afternoon off meant i would at least get one long run in for the week, however with barely 24 Hours till the Moe race later i was to question the logic of this. Ultimately did a solid 30K's but by Tugun (where i popped in and picked up my PO Box mail) was knackered, hopped under a cold beach shower and had some water but by the time i'd made it to Currumbin had had enough. Ultimately had a swim a Palmie before wandering home, but later found it had reached 33 degrees so have a feeling there was a bit of sun stroke involved as i felt crap the rest of the afternoon (and running topless was a tad sunburnt always a sure sign, usually don't find 3 odd hours in the sun an issue).
Was packing later that night and had a call from fellow runner Robert Boyce down in Melbourne, forecast for Moe was for heavy rain and severe storms so revised my packing list to put in more warm running gear (shame that was about all i could in my 7KG carry on luggage, spent the rest of my trip carting around my heavy paperback looking like a missionary or similar - although the book title "Boned" may have given lie to that thought !!).
6AM flight from Coolangatta so unfortunately no time for a casual stroll to the airport (just parked a couple of blocks away, seeing buses are hourly at that time of day couldn't risk public transport).
Flight ended up 20 minutes late as we were going directly into a headwind, although when told it was raining heavily and 8 degrees would have been quite happy to tell the pilot to turn around and head back !!!.
Thankfully i had Brett Saxon picking me up at the airport (and giving a lift to Moe), so didn't have too much time standing there freezing in my shorts (only long pants i'd brought were my track suit pants and my luggage was so tightly packed i really wasn't wanting to try to open the zip outside).
We popped into the local Coles and i bought 6 600ML bottles of Gatorade as well as getting a couple of Cheesymites and buns at the Bakers Delight reckon that was my nutrition covered for 6 Hours.
We picked up another competitor Malcolm Gamble on the way through and by 1 were at the track only to find that no one else would be there till 3. Now it comes to the interesting part, a 4PM start is awkward meal wise, just what should be had before and when. Having had my Vita Brits at 4:30 QLD time i was by then starving so we ended up at Moe Red Rooster (not much open in the town Saturday Arvo), whilst the other two had one chicken roll each i was feeling in need of more so had two as well as some roast potato (we all ordered roast potatoes however only 4 were available !!) and some of Mal's coleslaw. A muggacino with cake across the road (didn't see the place was open but looked very tasty) and we were all primed for the run, even the sky had cleared and there were glimpses of blue sky.
Back to the track and things were happening, including rain, so time to put my entry in and change into race gear.
Certainly not warm so thought the Lululemon Bike Top and ASICS Bike Shorts were the way to go and decided to keep on the warmer Drymax Trail Socks and to go with the Lunarlite Racers and the old faithful Buff Bandanna and running gloves, alongside the track i had basically two bags of clothing changes available with the Goretex jacket the most accessible as it seemed only a matter of time.
24 Starters, quite amazing on a day like this particularly when you consider most would have travelled at least 100K's, a number of GNW finishers and many other familiar finishers never quite sure whether it's a race or some sort of dysfunctional family reunion :-).
I was soon regretting lunch, not sure whether i should have stuck to one roll but whatever it was my gut just wouldn't work and spent the first 28 minutes feeling very ordinary eventually heading off the track to the toilets. A few minutes later i was back and marginally better but by then the skies had decided to open and i kept thinking this is going to be a damned long 6 hours.
Goretex jacket and waterproof (well they were back in 1979 now only marginally but better than none) overgloves and i was back off around the track, no thoughts of a drink yet after all there was all this rain in the air !. Rain and strong gusts of wind meant this track with no shelter wasn't really the place to be but let's face it i'd come all this way to run not to just moan about the weather so hust plodded on, feeling very slow when local speedster John MacKenzie whizzed past frequently.
After an hour thought it was probably time for a swig of Gatorade and thankfully it didn't upset my stomach further, consistent but that's about it.
Can't really say much about the next few hours, rain decreased to drizzle at times or increased to downpour at others, wind grew stronger and sometimes ebbed and we all just kept going in circles. Finally a change of direction (to clockwise) at 3 hours and whilst i'd only done 81 Laps (32.4K's), leader John already had a marathon under his belt and ultimately finished the 50K in 3:39:47 whilst i got to that same mark in 4:35:03 (only 2004 being slower on this course). A couple of walked laps and i realised i had to run faster as i was getting really cold (and couldn't be bothered getting my thermal top out and redressing !).
Finished my second bottle of Gatorade (no real call for major rehydration in these conditions) and had a bun and from then on just put the foot down and ran faster than for the previous 4 odd hours. Was thoroughly enjoying passing people continuously (after all this was a race not a Saturday night stroll) and was aiming to pick up a few places although i doubted i'd make up enough ground for a placing.
Finally at 10PM it was all over and i'd finally made it up to 4th place and 64.408K's (have to admit i'm waiting to see the lap count sheet to clarify this as was sure that when i read it on that night i was further and also found it strange i did exactly 80 laps the second half and 81 the first, frankly there was no comparision between them and other than a 10 minute walk break was knocking off just over 2 minute laps throughout that last 2 hours).
Finally a hot shower and warm clothes really couldn't have asked for more, and to top it off a burgers and snags on the barbie (washed down with a beer supplied by birthday boy Robert).
Some really good performances out there: GNW 100 Miler finisher Lachlan Fraser winning with a distance of 68.548K's a really good debut track ultra in what is virtually his first year of serious Ultra running.
GNW 100K finisher Malcolm Gamble just over half a K behind another very consistent run with trail runner Peter Bignell (first track ultra also ?) a similar distance behind.
In the end i'd just beaten Townsville runner John Nuttall, seemed pretty much the usual he'll lead me for 50 to 60K's and i'll have a fair chance of catching him.
Robert Boyce on the comeback trail ran consistently and whilst looking for 60K's was happy enough with 1 short as was Brett who had kept up a very consistent pace throughout.
Tend to agree with Paul Monks at the presentation that walking is harder than running (two reasons for mine, totally different footfall to running and secondly the fact that as a runner you can slow down to walk but as a walker have no other option rather than stopping), and was impressed to see him get just over 50K as well as Brian Glover (the most consistent marathon walker i've seen) just over a lap short.
Have to give alot of thanks to the organisers as i'm sure sitting there in the cold, wet, miserable conditions we experienced was probably just as hard as going around in them.
A late night, not leaving the track till 11 or so and very thankful for a lift with Robert and his family as well as a cold beer and a bed (even slept in till 10, very unlike me !).
So there it is my last Victorian race for the year.
Took it easy on Monday, but couldn't resist a good hard, hilly run on Tuesday (as above) and looks as though i picked the right day to do it as last night rain came and 170mm's later it's still drizzling (that explains the above pictures taken this morning, not only is my lake nice and full so are the roads through the park - bottom two pictures).
Maybe one or two runs before i head off to NZ next Tuesday for Kepler, but on the hand will the rain ever stop ???

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