Wednesday, 28 October 2009
Having been sick with a cold for the week following the Melbourne Marathon i'd pretty much been forced to rest and freshen up for this race.
At a distance of only 21.8K's each day it wasn't ever going to be a race i was going to excel at, so essentially i was going to make it a long training weekend running back to the start after racing each day.
Thing most in my favour was simply local knowledge, i'd probably run the total course a couple of dozen times over the years, even when i was in my 20's and spending a week or two on holidays up the Coast i'd inevitably spent one day there each trip, by now i pretty much knew the course backwards.
I arrived at Canungra at 8AM for day one from O'Reillys to Binna Burra but first of all it was the longer pre race event known as organising runners and lifts to the start line.
Firstly we were given our race numbers, mine was number 14 apparently our ranking as we had to start in groups of 10, rather surprisingly last years winner Peter Hall was ranked behind me so a little unsure how these actually worked !!!.
After a 50 minute drive (with 3 passengers as most people were running only one way and staying at Binna Burra) it was almost time for race start although at least i'd be waiting 3 minutes for the first 10 to head off.
I handed my camelbak in to get it taken to the other end (containing some food and clothes for the run back) and decided to just take my handheld and also wear a newish Headband (an orange "Foxtel" one that i'd been given by Brett Saxon with the warning "they are a little tight so put the logo around the back" i was to find soon just how correct that was !).
Took a while to get a rhythm going but seemed to soon cruising along, only then to be passed by Peter Hall (and another very strangely ranked runner Michael Page) from the group behind.
Soon i was running again against my own group and was passed by one runner and then repassed him on the steeper downhill sections, then Arnstein Prytz passed me i then thought i'd have someone to pace well against, but by then we hit the hard rocky section (as hard to run as i've ever experienced it due to lack of rain) and i fell behind rather frustratingly. With 5.8K's (by track signs) finally got going nicely and was content how i got home, even did 4 minutes faster than last year, probably helped by the warm conditions (as opposed to last years too cold conditions), although only in 19th place.
Tasty sandwiches and fruit (and a light beer) was enough to set me up for the run back (and having drank my whole 600ML of Sports Drink filled up with water), and also replaced a safety pin on the infamous Nike Free 4.0's .
Started slowly and wasn't really feeling that well, it then dawned upon me sure enough i had a headache, maybe that headband was too tight ???. Was happy just to make it back but around Mt Merino noticed it was getting very dark towards O'Reillys and soon thunderclaps proved the weather was deteriorating, ending up running hard the last 7.8K's just in time for lightning and heavy rain as i got back to the car.
Day 2 was much more relaxed as i could have a sleep in and then have the easy 45 Minute drive to Binna Burra for the 9AM start.
A few less starters so we split up into two groups (there had been earlier starts at 8:30) and i was happy to start in the first group and drop to the back of the pack. From then on it was the typical 5K's to get into a rhythm and then a struggle on the rocky section and then fly home passing many of the 8:30 starters and thankfully not being passed by the next group, personally i do find this as a much more runnable (and quicker) direction but was only 3 minutes slower than the previous day (with 44K's more in my legs !!) to finish in 11th place (and 11minutes faster than last year).
Pretty happy with that and curiously i finished 14th over all the same as my race ranking, so just under 4 Hours for a solid trail 44K's showed i was in good shape.
Still i had to make it back and again it was a casual 3 Hour run, if nothing else it'll be good training for this weekends Four Peaks in Bright (where finally i'll run my 10th, a task that's been 21 years in the making !!), assuming i have internet access i hope to update the blog after each day there.