Race Report

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After Canberra's sub-zero nights, it wasn't too cold in Nowra overnight, although there was a very cold wind vigorously whipping everything in sight. I felt good, although was quite unsure about what to wear during the run in these conditions. I reassessed my estimated time from driving over the course yesterday from four hours, to closer to four and a half. With this in mind, I broke some of my cardinal rules for racing ~ I took a small mp3 player, as I figured that I would be out there on my own for a long, long time. I also prepared my fuel belt to take drinks and gels with me. Never done this in a 'supported' run before.

After stopping at McCafe to pick up a pre-race coffee I saw half a dozen others also en route to the run. Arriving in good time for registration at the school, I did what many others were doing after collecting my race number and retreated to the sanctuary of the car out of the wind. The wind didn't abate, and I finally settled on wearing arm warmers with a Cool Running Tri Top, and a light fleece cycling jersey on top. No gloves, or hat (a cap would blow off instantly), I hoped that I would be OK. I looked for Tim and the others I knew I would be there, without success, although did run into a couple of Canberra Ultra stalwarts, and was able to pass on a couple of gels to some friends who came unprepared.

Seeding myself towards the back, the race started right on time. I kept reminding myself of my plan to start real slow, and just slog it out. The run started by winding its way around suburban streets, and whilst the odour of bacon and eggs was thick in the air, many households were out on their decks and on the footpath cheering the runners on their way. Gotta love country events.

The local support continued, and I remembered why I love these sort of runs. Unlike mass participation fun runs, there is a great sense of support and respect among all those who participate, and people invariably share friendly words, offer support and do not have the hard competitive streak against others. There is an acknowledgement that to enter, and run this sort of distance means that they are runners, not cowboys.

Each kilometre was marked, and I went through the 5km mark right on 25:00 minutes. Faster than I had planned, but this was flat, sealed and I was jogging comfortably so saw no need to slow down greatly as I knew that the hills were coming and were likely to slow my pace to a third of that. A drink station at 7km was before a descent which marked to start of the more hilly countryside. I opened up my style and ran past a few runners here, however I knew that I was still a reasonable downhill runner and that once the climb started and those who had slowed to walk through the water stop had started running again I would be passed by a procession.

I was feeling a lot more confident now that I might make it to the finish ~ I had two toilet stops by the 2km mark on Friday, and had no problems thus far today. It was also possible to start breaking down the run into having nearly completed a quarter of the total distance, instead of having 29kms to go! I chatted to a nice looking guy as the road undulated up and down, with him drawing well away on the climbs and then becoming reacquainted on the descent. He was a local and thought that the first 12km's were the hardest. I saw his point, but couldn't agree with him. The scenery became increasingly stunning and lush, and I hit 10k in around 52-53 minutes, and the halfway at 1:26. This surprised me, as last weeks 10 miler was done in 1:24 on a much easier course. Two and a half or 3 hours for the next half still seemed on the cards.

Just after the 19k mark was a flooded causeway which was hubcap deep yesterday when I drove through. The prospect of wet shoes and socks wasn't attractive, but unavoidable so I plowed through not anticipating the water to be cold as well! Running in wet socks was a little difficult, and I could tell that the rubbing was likely to be causing blisters but tried to ignore it. People were harder to see now, the field had stretched out, but I could still always see a couple of shirts ahead of me which was a good feeling. I had honestly thought that I would be all alone for most of the run.

The real climb started, and I was passed by one or two blokes, although the hill didn't seem nearly as bad as I had recalled from yesterday and thought that it must continue until hitting the sealed road nearing Kangaroo Valley township. I kept plugging away, happy to do a 20 mile training run, taking water at the drink stops and not drawing upon my fuel belt at all which was superfluous, although no hassle. Seduced by the joy of long trail runs, I started plotting how to ensure that I could go to the Mt Wilson to Bilpin run, the Fitzroy Falls marathon, and Six Foot Track. The mp3 stayed tucked in my top and earphones dangling. This was far too much fun to be distracted.

A long winding descent was lovely, and I kicked myself for missing out on the Woodford run - downhill, trails, 25k - arguably the perfect run for me. Next year. Out on the sealed road I could see maybe half a dozen runners drifting into the distance. This was a pleasant surprise. I had altered my 'not last' plan at the start of the run to 'ideally in the top 75%' when I found myself going well and not much worse than real looking runners. We were advised that there were 'around 140' entrants this year. With the brain death that comes from running, I struggled with the maths of what placing I would find acceptable. It's amazing how long simple calculations can take at times like this! I was somewhat sceptical about the 140 figure too - there look like a lot at the start, however had to assume that there would be no shows from pre entries and DNF's, so the 140 would probably be whittled away significantly.

From the drink station at the Country Club, it seemed to go on forever! I didn't know where the Showground was, and had to check whether to turn east or west. A sign indicating 30km was about 120m short of the 31km mark at the highway. Crossing onto a bike path, a procession of people told me 'not far to go now' and 'nearly there'. Yeah right. This was not so much fun. Dodging the vehicular and pedestrian traffic around orange cones stretching into the distance was psychologically difficult. The kilometre markers were pretty good until about 26k when it seemed to jump. Now, with the 30k and 31k signs in sight of each other, I had no confidence about the '1km to finish' distance. Eventually the showground appeared and it was a short run across grass to the finish chute. Under three hours. Wow. It was easier than I anticipated, and I ran smart and easily.
As soon as I had finished lovely CR Tim came over and congratulated me, and I think that the ultra-guys from Canberra may have taken a photo of me at the finish. I quickly sought out my gear bag, and moved to one of the bench seats to change into clean and dry socks and put on some dry gear. That done, I had one of the FortiJuice drinks I had in my bag, and wandered off to see who I could find. I then remembered that I should contact Boy Harlow to let him know that I was still alive and see how he fared at the Sri Chimnoy Half Marathon. I downloaded my HRM (Polar S625x) to my new replacement phone (Nokia 5140) and sent the resultant graph and report to him as an SMS. Within a minute he rang back, and knew that I had finished and completed the distance (32k), duration (2:53:15), Average and max heart rate (153/165), Ascent (740m). Really nifty.
Later a woman came over to me and recognised me as Flash Duck from my blog! Another cool runner, it was her fourth or fifth King of the Mountain event. I collected my scones and found some friendly faces to donate them to. My certificate recorded a time of 2:53:59 which confuses me somewhat, as I would not have been more than a second out at either end. At first I thought that '15' must have sounded like '59', but that doesn't work either. I just can't see where the extra 45 seconds could come from. My position was recorded as 67th - which makes me very eager to see how many finishers there were. I might have just snuck into the top 50%, but am more likely to have just missed out. It was a great day and a fun event.

10 Responses to “Race Report”

  1. Blogger Aki 

    Don't leave me like this! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! LOL!

  2. Blogger Friar 

    A good recovery from Friday, what a difference two days can make.

  3. Blogger miners 

    Sounds like things went pretty well - BUT WE NEED TO KNOW THE REST!!! ;)

  4. Blogger CJ 

    The run sounds amazing FD but to keep us in suspense with these instalments....! Glad to hear you had a great run though. :-)

  5. Blogger Gronk 

    Sounds like a great track FD. That climb at 20km was a doozie ! Looking forward to the next instalment.

  6. Blogger Sarah 

    Way to go Carolyne!! What a run, I honestly don't know if I could ever do that sort of time for that distance on flat ground!

    I'm glad the scenery was great too - always makes a long run more pleasamt!

  7. Blogger allrounder 

    great run after the disappointment of friday...but where's the rest of the story??!

  8. Blogger miners 

    Ah, that's better - love the pics too. and congrats!! I heard there were about 140 entrants, so that is a position you should be more than justly proud of :)

  9. Blogger Bennyr 

    Well done, Carolyne. Great effort.

  10. Blogger Friar 

    "I had finished and completed the distance (32k), duration (1:53:15)"

    Sorry to spoil the party, but should that read 2:53:15?

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  • Aki Runs!
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  • Distance Swum
    February 17,400m
    October 3,800m
    November 4,150m
    December .
    Distance Cycled
    November 120km
    December 297 km