Place (overall) 137/340
Place (category, male/old) 11/54
What an epic day out…in the space of 24 hours I was nervous, worried, pumped, deflated and elated. I can’t say my prep was the best but I just did whatever I could with any time I had to maintain any kind of volume…unorthodox but apparently effective. For this race, on this day at least….so I guess I’ll take that, thanks. The months leading into this race carried the usual pressure to accumulate as much running mileage as possible. In theory, yeah sure….reality however is different. The various demands of life at work and home will lay waste to the best of intentions sometimes, forcing you to get creative. Provided you have a decent fitness base and a reasonable state of conditioning in your legs you can tackle the animal in other ways. My “other ways” relied on CrossFitting with mates at work, smashing out mountain biking miles with my unicorn 😉 or pretty much anything that generates a physical demand above sitting on the couch.
“Unicorn” explained. Click here if you’re having trouble viewing this clip.
A very different race compared to last year…on my Pat Malone with no support crew, but thinking of my poor unicorn all day…stuck at home with two broken arms. She was with me in spirit all the way x … like a cattle prod …”if you don’t cross that line inside 12hrs, don’t bother coming home” 😉 Although the solitude of running that distance on my own put me inside my own head-space way longer than what would be determined as ‘healthy’, I found it kept me more on-task and less inclined to walk sections unless it was absolutely necessary. Very different to last year where there was a ‘democracy-of-four’ driving decisions such like these.
Another key difference to last year is the gear I was using. While the Salomon S-Lab Advanced Skin Hydro 12-Set hydration pack was again totally faultless, I was using different footwear, compression clothing and preventative maintenance Rock Tape (ITB…click for video). I’ll start with the compression gear….well, at least what I can talk about 🙂 I found the calf sleeves far better than compression socks over that distance because I could just leave them on for the full distance while still switching socks to freshen my feet up a bit….making for much faster transitions. The latest calf sleeves from 2XU are easy to spot with a much ‘louder’ logo across the back and cool colours.
The performance/recovery enhancing features of this kit comes from a seamless design and higher compression around the shins/calves to reduce muscle fatigue/damage and promote much better circulation for recovery. With this high-tech clothing holding me together (literally!) through the race, my recovery plan was comprised of a 10min leg soak in the cold river water, good application of RapiGel anti-inflammatory gel and sleeping in a pair of 2XU Recovery Tights. Was all this worth it?….f*^k yeah! The fact that I was back into CrossFit sessions by the following Thursday is evidence enough.
What I can’t talk about are the shorts. You won’t see these puppies on the shelves until March/April 2015, but I can tell you a few things….they’re wholly intended for trail running, they’re comfortable enough to run serious distance with minimal need for the intervention of anti-chafe balms and the compression around the quads/hammies is bang on.
My feet were much happier this year too. While your footwear really can’t go wrong with the terrain of Stages 1 & 2, I knew I needed something much more effective to carry me through the mind-f^ck that is Stage 3 and the general fatigue and soreness of Stage 4. The answer?….don’t judge me because they’re ugly…..my beloved, fugly Hoka One One Stinson Trails. These things are phenomenal….the protection, the energy return (!!) and overall quality of manufacture have them permanently etched onto my “must have” list. I LOVE them….from the minute I put them on at the 49km mark my feet audibly sighed in relief….I’m serious….you could hear them! I did not have one single niggle or issue all the way through to the finish line, and…no matter how pretty they may not be….you just can’t argue with that.
Massive thanks to Simon @ FootPro for hooking me up with a great deal on these monster trucks. Give the shoes a click to go through to their website or check out the endless praise I’ve scribed on my page, The Equipment (Footwear & Stuff).
The race finish was made even better by a surprise appearance of two totally awesome friends at the 93km mark…when I needed it most. Massive thanks to my Mountain Raid team-mates, Jimmy & Claire….some company along the beach at the end and desperately trying to feed and water me at the finish line. Was great to see you guys.
The end result? Everything I hoped for…a sub-12hr finish and a 1-litre beer stein are finally mine! Mwahahaha. The only real hiccup I encountered was a result of my nutrition over the last third of the race. I was SO sick of sucking down that Perpetuem that I just needed a break. I was a little bloated (very unusual for me) so I had to give this time to subside….in the meantime, I was forced to suck down more gels than I normally would…probably totalling around 8 for the whole day. Now while this may not sound like much, these gels are the TorQ brand…specifically chosen for their higher caffeine content. I prefer it this way as don’t (usually) have that many….however this day was different. For a guy that is quite caffeine sensitive, you can imagine the aftermath of coming down off the equivalent of 8 cups.
For about an hour after I finished my respiratory rate was WAY up, it was hard to get my heart rate down and I had the shakes….big time. All pretty foreign symptoms so I was a bit freaked out for a while, but things slowly started to settle down. GOOD. My chances of getting to sleep were almost zero. BAD. So I resigned myself to this and just cosied up in the back of our van watching episodes of Breaking Bad until about 4am….finally managing around 2-3 hours of broken sleep. Whatever. If I wanted sleep I would have stayed home. Sub-12 hours, bitch!!!
Massive thanks to everyone who supported and encouraged me before, during and after including the brands who are cool, quality and generous enough to back me. Also a huge kudos to mates who did so well. Nice work, lads….was great to be on the course with you.
Finally, the video above really captures the spirit of this event (check out the happy bloke at 4:32) . The optimism and good nature of competitors, organisers and volunteers is contagious. If you’ve ever been tempted to take on an event like this, don’t feel obstructed by the numbers….just train within your limits, kit yourself up with the right gear and take it head on. I was truly honoured to be a Surf Coast Century Race Ambassador for the second year running (sorry…not indended). To those who contacted me for advice and support, I hope the guidance was helpful and that I’ve encouraged more people to get involved with the ever-cool trail running community.