Saturday, April 25, 2015

Kosmos 3 in1

This last year seems to revolve around doing the races I have previously always said no ways / never to. Who on earth would want to do 3 races in 1 day?!!!? I thought that back to backs over a weekend were hard in the past so I needed lots of brain power to work my mind around how to face this race.

We went through a whole herd of people who were going to join us on our venture. Most pulled out but Liz's new running partner Shane did not. Doing Tuks 2 weeks before Jane decided that following her first 32 a week before she would like to do a marathon , I suggested she do the 42 to Kosmos, it ended up that her running partner Shanee also decided to do the marathon. 

We put in some effort to get accommodation but did not find anything.So we decided to camp, I wanted to take my bakkie as then I could take a gazebo for protection from the sun. We ended up needing to take the Polo so needed to take seats out to get everything in, but we did.

The week before we did a tough 21 at Deloites which left me pretty sore for a few days and made me train carefully for the  week. I tried to train at my intended pace for the weekend which was between 7:30 and 7:20 per km.  I hoped to do my first ever negative split on a marathon as well followed by going faster on the 21 and then on the 10. This whole accelerating theme is at the crux of my training philosophy. It helps me to be positive on races and to stay strong even when I am going a bit slow.

We left on time to get to Secunda to setup camp before the sun faded for the day. We went to get our race packs but as they only opened at 5, abandoned the queue to rather pitch the camp first. We found a nice spot where we could actually see the finish , only about 200m away. I did not worry too much about tent pegs etc as the weather forecast was NO rain .. When I did get my pack wow the shirt was amazing, all I could think was this is one race I will have to finish. 

We enjoyed  a relaxed snacky meal, drowned by some Milk Stout. I was only intending to have a single glass of wine, but the rain came down.. and did it come down. Liz noticed Shanes tent was possibly leaking, my heart sank , thinking this was really going to affect my race and the ability to wear my shirt..... Liz asked for more wine, but somehow the bottle was finished.. sorry. Under our Gazebo was very wet, under our tents was wet. Not a great start to the event. Off to bed, camp mattresses are not the greatest so I was not expecting the most relaxed sleep. I did not get much sleep. The announcer for the race got the music going at 4;30.. we surfaced just after 5 and started getting ready. Jane arrived and we gave them their numbers. and off to the start. My initial goal was to do 5:09 then 2:31 and 1:10 which would give me my accelerating times and a sub 9 for the day. 

I started off well and was going along at around 7:25 per k when at the 4k mark Jane and Shanee caught up with me. They had intended to average 7;30, gradually my pace increased and we got to around 7:21. My mind kept on wanting to slow down, but we just kept going. The route was very interesting as we wound around the suburbs of Secunda. I really enjoyed the route most short up and downs but nothing really significant and looking back afterwards it must be the least hilly route I have ever done , but because of all the winding in and out we never saw more than a few hundred meters ahead, it really felt like a fun training walk. Jane ran basically half a step in front of me and to my left. It became very comfortable as I felt she was pulling me and she thought I was pushing her. Occasionally she or Shanee would need to stop, but they were able to catch me even if it took a few kms  and we resumed our group. We went through halfway averaging 7:21 and feeling strong. This race is absolutely amazing in that there are so many well stocked water tables that one never feels thirsty or hungry. Creme Soda and Coke at every table and Energade at about every third table. Chocolate, bananas,potatoes, sweets at each table and a great atmosphere throughout. 

At 32ks Jane and Shanee had run further than ever before, there previous 32 was done in 4:04 and now they had done a 3:52.  We ended up trading places with a group of ladies from Nelsrpuit for the next 3 km,having got annoyed with their constant shouting and screaming  and them telling us if we did not like their "noise"  we should go faster, well we did.  Shanee was having knee/itb issues so she slowed down a bit, but Jane and I kept at it. A really comfortable pace around 7:15 per km.

There is an amazing finish where one wuns along the edge of the lake for nearly a km as one approaches the finish.. Weaving along on a paved path hoping not to fall in as the water was pretty green. We finished in an impressive 5:03.      Nice to be treated differently doing the 3in1 we were given ice cold face cloths which were great to cool down with. Jane waited for Shanee and I went off to find Liz and Shane.

Here you can see the routes

Here is the gentle Profile, the 42 was the most elevated but essentially flat.

They were at the car recovering, we made some hot water, had Ginger tea and Coffee with loads of snacks.-- too many in fact. Amazing how quickly the time between races go, suddenly we need to change and head off to the start. Its nearly a km from our car so off we went.

I had eaten too much and could just not get moving where was Jane to pull me through?? After  about 10 ks I decided I just had to accelerate  as 7:40 was just way too slow. At about 11 kms the heavens opened and wow did it rain. I had a long sleeve shirt on to protect me from the hottest sun of the day... It soaked up all the rain, as did my cap and shorts, I felt like I was carrying and extra 10kgs.. As the rain came so did the thunder and  lightning, a woman form Durban was scared in the storm, I just wanted to get finished. The stormwater drainage was poor, sorry probably did not exist. I ended up just walking my lines 150mm water or 250mm water did not matter. Boy did I feel for the volunteers at the water tables, at least I was moving to keep warm. As the rain was Cold front rain it was pretty chilly, at about the the 18km mark the rain stopped, just as Liz would be finishing. I ended up doing 2:37 which was a lot slower than  I wanted but not bad under the circumstances. At the end we were offered a wet or dry facecloth-- nice touch.

I got back to the car and make Liz some more coffee she was really struggling with the cold. I started packing up camp, should have taken the tents down earlier as they were now wet-- mental note .. The time between races disappeared, Liz was not keen on doing the 10k but did not want me to gain mileage on her.. Off we trudged , a nice feeling knowing only one more race.... I started off and saw a guy walking, interesting as I had not seen him previously. He had a Comrades shirt on, I asked how many Comrades he had done, 8, but as a runner. He got injured a year ago and learnt race walking so decided to walk the 10k, he ran a 3:40 marathon earlier.. He wanted to do a 7:15 , well we pushed and pulled and came in at 7:11 which was a great time.
We packed up and headed home. As I pulled on to the freeway, the GPS said 134km , the fuel said 125km so we were fine. We passed  garage almost immediately but I never thought of stopping. Suddenly the fuel estimate started dropping, Shane said she needed a loo..... I searched for a garage and goto the nearest one. ...Going along on the freeway , turn left in 800m , no offramp, but no choice off we went. A bad dirt road, someone else turned behind us, its pretty dark but we have no choice as the fuel estimate and distance to destination merge... In the dark I turned too soon. As I stopped Shane took the opportunity to solve one problem. Back on the "road"/"path", seems like we are driving through a rubbish dump, I can see where we are headed, its a small mining town hope we make  it as the fuel estimate hits 000 . . crawling along, we get on a tar road...with no speed control my calves decide they do not like all this clutch accelerator brake business and cramp. I can't stretch my legs, my quad decides  let join in.. Liz tries to massage it but its way tooo sore.. We make the garage, shoo.... Liz gets us some drinks and they ask how we got there as they do not get many visitors, the way we came was not the "recommended" route, we went home a more conventional way...

A really well organised event, after each race each of us thought how on earth will  we do the next one.. Will I be back? on that day - I doubt it .. now Yes I will do it again.

All three medals
Bronze for 42
Silver for 21
Gold for 10