Monday, April 10, 2006

Two out of Three Aint Bad!!

Canberra Ultra Marathon

Goal 1: To finish the ultra 50km marathon with a smile on my face - achieved
Goal 2: To complete marathon in under 4 hours - not quite!
Goal 3: To complete Ultra marathon in under 5 hours - achieved

Distance: 50km
Time taken: 4hours 56minutes

Comments: It was a stunning day in Canberra, ideal conditions to run a marathon. I set the alarm for 4.30am, ate my toast, honey and banana, showered, dressed and organised myself for a chilly start. I chose not to wear gloves as I knew I would heat up quickly. I ran a very short warm-up and at the start saw lots of CRs including CJ, Griffin, Speedygeoff and Ewen and managed to see Lucky Legs for a quick hug. She looked amazing. Speedygeoff was the pacer for the 4 hour group but I kept a bit behind him as I didn't want to start out too fast. My ultimate goal was to achieve the 50km. I ran with JS and we all chatted happily and nervously to those beside us before the start was called.

It was about 2deg at the start of the run but reached 20deg by mid-day. There was not a breath of wind and it was a clear crisp day with a blue sky. There were hot air balloons floating above us and the lake looked stunning. In fact it made me feel very lucky to live in such a beautiful city and know that all those interstate people were sharing its beauty on such a stunning day. We took off to a fairly slow start as it was quite congested with a great turn-out of about 1000 entrants. We reached the 5km point in 27mins which was pretty much on schedule and 10km at 53mins which was probably a tad too fast. We had obviously speeded up quite a bit as we got into our stride and in fact Gandalf records that our 8th km was run in 4:59. We were still on schedule at 21km at 1hr 56mins but at the 32km mark I felt really queasy. My tummy was feeling decidedly dodgy and I felt like throwing up. Somehow the thought of guu or even sports drinks just made me feel worse and I appreciated the water on the way. There were heaps of drinks stations and the volunteers were fantastic. In fact the supporters on the way were just amazing. There were CR cheer squads loudly cheering us on and people calling our names along the way. It was a great atmosphere. Our pace slowed down from about this point. Up to then we had managed to keep Speedygeoff in sight but at that stage I think we made a decision that the important goal was to achieve the ultra in under 5 hours and unfortunately not make the 4 hour goal for the marathon. Certainly my average pace dropped considerably at that point and we ran through the marathon finish point at 4hrs 5mins. The tricky bit was running right through that finish point without stopping and focussing on keeping on going up that little incline and round the bend and out of sight of the cheering people. After we had rounded that corner we slowed down even more but determination then set in. We were going to do this no matter what!

It was actually quite exciting crossing the road past the marathon finishers coming in and going on to the cycle track and out again under the bridge and on. There we saw our friend Jon cheering us on from under the bridge. He joined us on the cycle track and ran beside us urging us on. We also saw Mr B cycling on the grass calling out encouragement and a work colleague on roller blades calling our names too. It was so good having such support and it kept us pushing on to that turnaround point where there were jellybeans on the table (oh so appreciated) and then that last gruelling 4km. I could feel the sense of achievement inside me, the feeling that I was going to make this under 5 hours. Yes WE were going to do it. The excitement was building and as I rounded that last bend I saw two runners ahead of me and I took off on my own on a last effort sprint passing the two runners and sprinting home at 4hours 56mins with a SMILE on my face. I was just so happy that I had done it under 5 hours. The medal was placed round my neck and I felt fantastic!

There were so many people out there cheering me on and I was one very happy person. My family all came out to see me and it felt wonderful being surrounded by family and friends - that warm fuzzy feeling just made me want to cry. CJ was there looking fresh and amazing. She had achieved her goal and then some - 3hours 26mins - wow, what a woman! She's a legend. We were both very happy. Then Roy came out of the hall with another medal for each of us, CJ was 2nd in her age group and I was 2nd in mine - yippee!!

Later we went to the after party at Rydges and met up with lots of CRs. I had a long chat with Robert Song and met up with Lucky Legs again. What an achievement for her setting the W75 record for the 50km. She is one amazing and inspirational lady. Everyone looked so happy. I also spent time getting to know Lorna (The Owl) who turns out to be a fellow kiwi. She's just delightful. It was lovely to meet so many CRs who we read about - the lovely Tesso, Courtleylove and her daughter, Plu, Wobbly, Cato, Ta and The Gnome and I saw Clairie and many other CRs there too.

That evening CJ, Mr CJ, JS, Mr B and I went out for dinner with our other friends and had a lovely night. Every one at that table who had run in the marathon or ultra had achieved a PB of some sort! It was a fantastic day altogether. Thank you JS for running with me and to everyone out there for being part of this wonderful community of runners. Will post some photos later.


  1. 'onya strewth.
    (That's an Australianism meaning "very well done indeed lassie".)
    JS too.

  2. Lovely report, so emotive!
    You are such amazing an strong women!!
    Congratulations!! On your personal best at an ultra, woow! I want to be just like you!!!
    What a fantastic way to celebrate getting to know members of the blogsphere!


  3. Fantastic Race and an equally fantastic report.

    Or should I say races, the Marathon and the Ultra.

    And a second medal. WOW.

  4. That's great Strewth! I was there with CJ at the finish line when you crossed and we were cheering madly. We had to head back to Sydney so I'm sorry we didn't get a chance to meet.

    Well done on a great race and hope to meet you properly sometime soon.

  5. Bloody Hell! What a run!

    Are you saying Lorna was delightful because you could understand her accent?

    By the way, I thought you were pedantic. CJ's pace was 'only' 4:53.8 per kilometre.

  6. New blogger checking out those before me. Great race, and brilliant report. Envy you guys in your part of teh world, I have a running cousin on teh Gold Coast, so keep in touch with Aus races and now blogs - Keep it all going.

  7. Great job Strewth!! Way to go.

  8. great effort girl, I was with you from afar. Pics look great

  9. It was nice talking to you after the race. And now I have found your Blog, so will be watching more closely now.

    Congratulations again on a great run.

  10. WOOHOO :-)

    My belated congratulations to you Strewth on a fantastic run at Canberra. I'm sorry I couldn't be there to meet you or cheer you on. Nice work. So tell us - how much did you enjoy your post-race chocolate?