Monday, May 16, 2016

Great Ocean Road half marathon...

Wow what a fantastic weekend.

It was a hard race and it threw all sorts of challenges at us...hills that went on and on for kilometres, head winds and a rainy finish but I am pleased with my effort and my result and I have another medal to add to my collection and we are another step closer to the big event.

and an impressive medal it is too
First of all we set off with Running Buddy's car packed to the hilt with camping and running gear.

you need as much stuff for one night as for a week 
Excitedly we set off on out camping/running road trip. We stopped at Anglesea for our first toilet break and then onto Lorne to have a break and to collect the clothing drop bags (as it happened they had run out of said bags only to have to collect in the morning)
1st pitstop

2nd pitstop...refreshed & ready to hit the winding road

the sun was shining on us at Lorne
We drove along to Kennett River stopping with the other tourists to stop at the iconic sign to snap a pic.

Once we checked into the Kennett River Holiday Park onto our powered site we set up our camp and introduced Mel to camping. We set up our swags figuring it out as we went along.

pretty good job I think
the locals got a little too close
the koalas were quiet overnight

We wanted to get set up before dark so there was time to head over the road to check out the beach before we headed out for dinner.

this shot was reflective of our mood, upbeat and happy

We got to Apollo Bay by 6 and thought we would pop into the Hotel to have dinner. Apollo Bay was abuzz with runners intent on the same thing so we were turned away and wandered along the street looking for an alternative. We found a little wine bar that serves tapas that turned out to be perfect. We had a little wine, lots of water and shared some plates that were delicious. We were pretty hungry so didn't take a pic until dessert was served. It has become a tradition to have a doughnut the day before a race but couldn't find one and settled for some churros instead.

Back to the campground we found a few more runners had set up their camps, there was some in tents and some sleeping in their vehicles. Running Buddy had found at the last minute that her son had left the poles for his swag ...somewhere, he's not sure where so she also ended up sleeping in her car but it was quite a good set up. After a cup of tea sitting around the lantern we were in bed by 930.

I had a fitful sleep, I never sleep well the first night in a strange bed and I listened to the noises of the campground with the surf crashing in the background. Chris had smartly said I would be lucky if someone didn't toss something at me to stop me snoring but nothing landed on me and I woke at 5am to the sound of the garbage truck and the crew setting up the start line. The beauty of staying at Kennett River was that we didn't have to catch an early shuttle bus and could get up at 630 to be ready to cross the road to start at 8am. Thousands turned up in a steady stream of buses before the road closures and turned the little caravan park into a hive of activity. Pity the poor people who were actually camping. We had a key to the park toilets so didn't have to queue in ridiculously long lines for our toilet routine. We quickly packed out swags and gear and got ready for the actual race, the whole reason we were there.

The morning was perfect, sunny & mild. We had studied the course, even driven along it, & knew what we were in for, now we just had to do it. I ran the whole way, up all the hills and enjoyed the downhill respites. I felt pretty good and plodded along sometimes listening to my music but often lost in my thoughts, taking in the views and battling the strong head wind.

At one point I looked up and there was a beautiful rainbow framing my view. I didn't at that point think about the rain that was creating this rainbow but we copped it shortly after that. A little drizzle turned into steady rain that soaked me through.  As we got closer to Apollo Bay supporters started to appear to cheer us on, it is always nice to have complete strangers willing you along, even if they say 'nearly there' when you aren't. As I came into the finish chute I heard the announcer announce my name and it made me smile. I was glad to finish and wonder how I am going to run another 20k on top of that. At that pace it will be a 5 hour marathon. That's a lot of running.

a soggy but happy finish

I don't mind running in the rain but was wet through at the finish and got cold quickly when I stopped. As always after a long run I felt unwell and even though we did a quick change in front of strangers in the laudromat into our dry clothes AND ate a banana AND replaced fluids it took me a while to come good. Apollo Bay was even more crowded and we battled to find somewhere out of the rain to have a coffee. The girls were interested in some shopping but I couldn't think straight to make a purchase. I think it is the levels of lactic acid that make me feel unwell and being cold makes it worse. I just have to keep moving and keep drinking.

On our way back to shuttle bus we paused at the sidelines to watch others finish and to see our MCR team mate Frank blitz the inuagural 60k Ultra in 4:05 taking out the $1000 prize. Colin was pleased with his sub 4 result but Eddy struggled after doing Wings for Life last weekend.

the MCR crew, I'll have my top soon
I wasn't looking forward to the bus trip back to Kennett River but made it back without incident where we showered and headed home. We decided we were hungry by then so stopped at Wye River for this delicious burger. It really hit the spot.

It was an excellent weekend, the race was achievable, the family survived without me and again it has proved to me that I can do hard things

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