With a change of date from September to August, it now fell only one week after the M7 Westlink Blacktown Cities Marathon which I had also planned to do...I couldn't choose between the two so the dilemma was solved when I decided to just race both...maybe a little silly...not for an ultra-runner!
I had been training well whilst living in Dubbo for the past 3 months, running with a local who was also past Commonwealth Games Marathon representative...very helpful to show me some good routes for long training runs...and get me out of bed on the cold Dubbo winter mornings!
Despite at times stretches of 7 night shifts of 10 hours in the hospital, I still managed to complete consistent training runs with an average of 140km-150km a week. This was built around regular tempo runs of no more than 90 mins and short sharp 40 minute fartlek sessions, usually on the very flat terrain of Dubbo. I had confidence in my fitness but attempting a 50km race on the back 7 shifts and a long drive home to Sydney the previous day, I was feeling exhausted and wary that fatigue may kick in!
On arriving at 5:45am, I was able to see the start (in the dark) of the 100km and Brendan Davies leading the runners on the start of their 28 lap journey - crazy but inspiring at the same time!
After a quick jog, I met up with Barry Keem on the start line, deciding to keep the gloves on in the cold and after the race briefing by Sean Greenhill and Melanie Parry, we were off and running to start the 14 laps (50km).
Apart from admiring the beautiful sights of Centennial Park, being motivated by words of encouragement by local distance runners (SWEAT runners), and looking forward to reaching the aid stations where I could refuel with gels/electrolytes/coke, the monotony of the circular laps was broken by the challenge of avoiding horses, ducks, cars and bikes, in my delirious and fatigued state.
I decided to attempt to just run 'how I feel' rather than to a structured time or splits. This seemed to work well, and I only remember looking at my TomTom Cardio GPS watch at 53 minutes, 1 hour 52 minutes and at 3:05 for the finish, measuring the distance at 50.15km (not bad!). I battled to stay upright for lap 14, feeling slightly unsteady on my feet but determined to push through the pain and finish looking respectable and strong (for the camera)!
I was extremely excited to come away with a win for the Australian National 50km Championships in 3:05, despite running 1 minute slower than last year. On reflection, my lap splits were relatively consistent between 12:20 early on in the race blowing out to 14 minutes for the final lap...not unexpected. Certainly a satisfying experience but will have to come back in 2015 to run sub<3 hours!
Inov-8 F-lite 195 (red)
Inov-8 branded singlet (designed by Kelly Gibson)
Zensah calf compressors
Zensah compression shorts
Injinji run 2.0 performance socks (purple/mid-weight)
Inov-8 race gloves
TomTom Cardio GPS watch