Thursday, June 29, 2017

Marathon number 3...

What a wonderful event, I'm still on a high. There is such a lot swirling around in my head to process about this latest achievement.

My first trail marathon was a long affair. 7 hours and 5 minutes of running on beaches, trails, up and down steps and hills. It was completely different to any other running I have done and I loved it.

We ran from Torquay to Fairhaven winding through the scrubby coast and along the beach.

the beautiful surf coast
Fishermans beach was abuzz

chilly start to the day

Trail running is so different to road running and as I have found out time goals are not part of it. I had thought roughly it would take me 6 hours, I thought that was achievable but it was not to be. The course was tougher than I was prepared for and king tides and huge swells meant the 4 beach sections were very challenging. More experienced runners struggled with the conditions so I don't feel disappointed in this effort at all. It was tough but I enjoyed it. It was completely new and I embraced it. At each aid station I stopped and refilled my water bottle, fueled up with some food and chatted to the volunteers and found out what the next section had in store. In every other race stopping for a drink is a no no, you grab a cup on the run, slurp a few sips and then keep running, tossing your cup towards a bin and try not to shower a  fellow runner. I ate chips, muesli bar and lollies in addition to the gels I had in my vest.

Someone had told me the course was flat. Not even close, Sure the beach sections were flat but they were really tough. I couldn't run on the soft sand and spent a lot of the time dodging the waves lapping at the dunes.

the water was lapping at our feet

the swell at Bell's beach was huge

there was no hard sand to run on 

the soft sand was hard going
 The waves and swell were so good at Bell's beach a surfing comp was underway in this '50 year storm' conditions - perfect for surfing but not for running.

we had to scramble onto the dunes
 Normally there is a long sections of bare sand to enjoy.

a beautiful day for a run
Other parts of the course were also beautiful. It had started out cool but sunny, about 13 degrees by the afternoon. I had my arm warmers on and they were up and down the whole day. In the sun I would warm up but in the foresty bits I would get cold again.

A lot of the time I was on my own, looking out for the pink tape tags to guide me and reassure me I was on course. There were loads of wonderful volunteers at many spots along the way who directed and encouraged me. Everyone was so nice, they were out in the cold conditions for many hours.

This inlet crossing was not something I was expecting either. I picked my way across and ended up with water logged shoes and then squelched along for a few kms, wet feet just adding to the adventure.

After the long 3k section along Urquharts beach I came to the 34km aid station manned by my wonderful friends of MCR

The last 8kms were the best, I cruised along up to the light house at Aireys Inlet and onto the beach at Fairhaven and up the steps to the surf club and across the finish line. Melissa was there to cheer me over the line and help me when I needed it most. After a long run like that your brain doesn't work very well and she got my bag and ushered me into the change room to put on warm clothes. She then presented me with a hot coffee and we had a little debrief and shared stories of our run.

this is a cool trace of the route

another medal for my collection
 A truly wonderful experience and another event to tick off the list

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