Thursday, August 25, 2011

Siempre Adelante Compañeros

Ever onwards comrades.

I could have used Carlos Puebla singing that one in my ear this morning, as I embarked on the final long run before the Glasshouse 100 mile.

Only took a gel, a banana and two scoops of powerade for sustenance. The aim was to feel like crap by the end. Mission accomplished.

But before being squeezed into the hurt locker, I felt decent. The first 9 flat kms from home to Mount Cootha were completely effortless leg-wise. I was carrying a couple of handhelds to simulate race-day conditions, and they provided some pretty sweet bicep cramps - a great wake-up call. As I started uphill, it soon became aparent that the climbing machinery was somewhat overworked, so I took the least steep path up and over Cootha possible (Simpsons).

Descended Jacksonia at a decent clip, crawled up and over Boscombe Road, and then started running properly again at South Boundary (dirt) Road. Headed right down to the Enogerra Reservoir, being frustrated by the sponginess of the grass and the steepness of the hills. Ran through someone's backyard while they were chopping wood in it (luckily they didn't notice), then looped the reservoir using a combination of random backstreets and some sweet, previously undiscovered, singletrack. Back to Gap Creek Reservoir via the Highwood Road trail.

Then came the climb back over Cootha. It went better than expected, but was still friggin hard.
Look up at the slope ahead, sigh, look at garmin, sigh, repeat (x50).
Cruised the rollers over to the lookout side, and descended via the closed trail. Squeezed in an extra 50-80m of climb on some side trails, and pretty soon I was running on flat road again and had crossed the marathon mark.

The final 8kms were great in some ways: the legs felt almost completely fine and were running sub-6s comfortably.
Bad in others: deep mental low due to low blood sugar, flat road.

The last 4km after crossing the Go-Between Bridge were pretty struggletastic, but worth it for the meal at the end:

That isn't a joke, I love beans.

In all: 50.49km in 5:22:10, with 900-1000m of gain. I'm a little disappointed with the pace considering the low average gradient and the fact that I didn't walk at all, but that is the only infintesimally small amount of negativity that can be drawn from this run.
The positives:
1. I came through it unscathed,
2. It was great practice for feeling like dog at the tail-end of the 100 miler,
3. Holy crap, I ran an ultra without too much effort!

We'll see how it feels tomorrow - will have a crack at running flat(ish) for whatever distance seems comfortable.
Then Wildhorse on Saturday night.
And then nothing for two weeks.
All focus is on getting the miles in without getting hurt.

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