Sunday, March 27, 2011

Long Tom Ultra Marathon 56km

Well what a race!. We drove down 450ks the day before, and got to see the route in sunshine, juts to add a bit more fear to my mind. We camped near a river in Sabie which was great, had our usual humus , brocolli, cheese and biscuits/ rice cakes for Liz. We did not drink any wine as Bryan says we should take it easy the night before a race, he was most impressed when we sms'd him saying we were drinking coffee.

We had an early night, up at 4:45 am having heard some rumblings and seen some lightning during the night.
As I put my shoes on I felt a drop of rain, driving the 1km to the start the heavens opened. Carmenn was dropping us off and going to second us a bit on the race. Gerhard and Liz would run together with me keeping up the rear. The water was so deep on the main road that by the time we managed to get about 100m to under a shelter at the school, we were soaked. My shirt felt 2kg heavier. My cap was oaked, no hang on that is not a cap I had left my cap behind, I had my head torch on- I gave that to Gerhard in disgust.
It was Gerhard and I over a few glasses of wine who came up with this hair brained idea of doing this race as it was "good comrades training", fortunately Liz is always up to a challenge.

We met some members of our club one dear old soul mentioned that this race was tougher than comrades- remind me never to invite her to give me motivational talk - it was her husbands birthday and he was doing the race for the first time.
But as Carmenn had already left I suppose that bailing was not an option, we all three thought about it.
The rain eased a bit, buses coming from Lydenberg said it was only raining in Sabie, 2ks out of town was only mist.
When I put my shoes on I had put lots of vaseline on my feet in case they got wet. This had been a good call.

We went out in the rain to the start. I was struggling in my mind to work out a real race plan, just knowing that sub 8.30/km would give me medal. Standing in the rain waiting for the last buses to arrive from Lydenberg was not fun. I get irratated by being wet and waiting- not a good omen. I had put sun screen on but by now I suppose that was flowing down the river.

Eventually we started off, and by was the first km long, I just kept plodding( literally in my wet shoes) along. It was at 9km that I could at last feel that I was not going uphill for a few strides. We had gained about 400m by now. On my Garmin 2 of these k were above 75m gained. I managed to average to the end of 9km.
The next 17km was undulating, we only gained about 200m, but for km 18 we gained 89m, there was not much down. I had got my average to 7:59 at the end of 27km. We were still in very thick mist so not much of a view,
Having done the warm up , the climbing now started in the next 6km we climbed 440m. This was followed by few undulating kms at 36k my average had crept up to 8:09.
At the end of 42km I realised that as much as I was ahead of my goal, I could do 7h30 finish. Initially I had worked on 7k/hr making it in 8hrs. At 42km I was at 5:40 which made me 20 minutes ahead. I then knowing the rest (except for 2km of uphill) was nice and down, decided to stretch the legs a bit- knowing this would actually work out the lactic acid, and probably aid in lengthening my hamies. The last 10kms or so were done in some pretty hot sunshine, the mist cleared after we crested th escarpment at 37km
I really felt good as I ended strongly dropping my average pace back to 8:01, although I never went faster than 7:18/km
I did manage a negative split, considering that the steepest hardest climb started at the 28th I was pretty happy.

I drank 32gi energy drink the night before and 4 times during the race when I met Carmenn- she kept telling that I was catching the runners. I ate 2 jungle oats dark chocolate energy bars, a small milo bar and a bar one. Lots of chocolate I know but the dark chocolate was the best.

Today I am walking fine, suffering a bit from sunburn on my shoulders, hammies and right glute are a bit tender. Back is a bit tight. I think I may do this race again. I do not get blisters normally and yesterday was no exception. I will however need to get new shoes as these Hyperspeeds have "lost" their heels.

Liz finshed in 6:30, Gerhard in 7:00 and I came in 7:25, a great race