Friday, 1 May 2009
Obviously the previous weeks beach race had taken more out of me than i realised. Certainly the camber of those beaches had meant my hips and back were badly out of whack so i had booked in to the chiropractor on Wednesday, essentially my only training until visiting him was walking as running wasn't an option.
Fixed up i did a relatively easy 30K's on the Thursday as well as a short run on the Friday, so effectively was tapering for Mount Mee.
Whilst i was far from excited that this race was now effectively a marathon (being that distance) and seemingly a shoo in for a new Marathon PW, i could fully understand the organisers reasonings as i'd done this race three times previously on three different 50K courses (for two wins) with field sizes of 6, 10 and 5, so for it to continue bigger numbers really were needed and being a really beautiful place to run it would have been sad to see another race bite the dust.
With a 6AM start i was in bit of a quandary, really no accommodation close by everything seemed at least a 30 minute drive away, so i was probably better having a short sleep at home at setting the alarm for 3 and after having my usual breakfast driving the 100 minutes or so straight there.
Didn't even need the alarm, went to bed after the AFL telecast and with a nice cool night had a really good deep sleep waking at 2:40 quite refreshed, for mine it's the quality of the sleep rather than the quantity that makes the differences (probably explains my occasionally less than great state of mind after night upon night of humidity, sleep long enough then but quality wise is rubbish).
Made it to Dayboro at 5, just in time to see the organisers vehicles starting to unload, so checked in and had a lie down in the car for a bit.
Ultimately 25 starters, a big improvement, lot's of the usual suspects Bruce, Tamyka, Adrian, Rod, Alun amongst them. A few i recognised by sight but couldn't put names to and also suspected were fast at that distance.
A few words from the organiser and we were off, took the lead early, after all it was a road and i always like to run off a few nerves first. Lead for the first 2.5K's but could here footsteps and definitely not interested in taking people on at the non business end of the race, so happily let them take the lead, a man and a woman (Jeff Rudd and Glenda Banaghan i was to find out later), ran comfortably behind them and was overtaken by another bloke, at this point was in a quandary as whether to give fight as the course so far was nowhere near as hard as i'd imagined (and still a bitumen road), ultimately decided i'd run my own race and save myself for the harder parts supposedly ahead.
At the 12.5K checkpoint i was joined by another runner and also saw this wasn't just another marathon we were looking at a dirt road seemingly going up and up infinitely, this was a time to get back into ultra tactics and forget this was a marathon. Walked and ran this, with the other fellow just a little in front doing exactly the same, knew it wasn't helping my time but was confident this strategy would pay dividends. Was passed easily by Adrian Pearce (winner here the year i didn't win), a very good runner on his day, so wasn't going to give chase at this point, just had thoughts of revenge in the back half.
Hit the half way point in a little under two hours, refilled my handheld (my 600 mls of fruit cup cordial, endura mix had lasted that far quite easily with two drink stops in between) and took off, soon a turn, for a little while wasn't dead sure i'd taken the correct turn as i just couldn't remember whether i'd seen an arrow or not (typical me in race mode, will follow an arrow and then question whether i saw it till i see another indicator), thankfully was soon to see a K Marker, thankfully after the 500 odd metre climb from 13 to 21K's it looked like we were having a 500 metre drop, at this point i dropped the other runner and every time i turned a corner expected to see Adrian but not such sighting.
28K's and a checkpoint, thought it was time for a couple of Succeed Capsules, whilst fiddling around there was passed by Tressa Lindenberg, as well as being told my time, my mind definitely wasn't in a good spot, 4 Hours looked about as good as i could achieve and as for being passed (and by a woman at that - excuse the sexism but all is fair in wars such as any race that i contest !!).
Another uphill climb and both Tressa and the fellow i'd passed on the downhill had got away, not sure if i was just mentally down but the last drink didn't seem to be sitting "quite right" on the stomach either, interesting.
From then on ran reasonably but definitely not at my peak, finally made it to the next checkpoint and found it to be a 700 Metre out and back, didn't actually dawn on me at first as i saw two of the marathon runners coming towards me and i said great run thinking they were running back to the start (nevertheless it was still a worthy comment as they were well in front of me).
By now i knew where i was as this was part of last years course, not sure whether that made me happy or not as i knew alot of this was still a tough bugger.
At least now i had 10K runners to chase and pass and did find a new lease of life, towards the 41K mark i was reduced to walking up a hill but noticed the fellow in the front was doing the same, strange but true it looked as though i'd be trying to outwalk a competitor to the finish line, didn't actually pan out that way though.
Got one last effort out of my weary legs and passed him and then essentially ran like hell all the way to the finish line just in case i'd spurred him in.
Less said about the time the better 4:00:50 a Marathon PW by 9 minutes, although i finished in 7th place only 18 minutes behind the winner, definitely mixed emotions.
Confident i'd made the right shoe decision the ancient safety pinned Nike 4.0's (had been a toss up with the Lunarlites, just didn't fancy their lack of achilles protection if the trails got rough), and confident i'd done the right thing using trail Ultra tactics as opposed to my usual road marathon tactics (which are to run as fast as possible the first 20 miles and just see how well i hold on, reckon i'd have been lying on the side of the dirt road somewhere past half way if i'd have tried that), but not impressed with having a 4 against a marathon time.
Still sometimes a need a kick, good training so far this week and maybe i can put together a decent run at Coffs to Grafton on May 10 at least i'll be back to my pet distance.