Canberra 50km Ultra and Anzac day 75km Ultra were both on the same weekend one on Saturday and one on Sunday so they were going to be training runs for the Keys 100 miler in May. It was five weeks out from the event so was a good time to test myself out on two back to back Ultras.
So I planned a weekend away for Col and I in Canberra in April
The weather would be nothing like Florida humidity in fact quite possible it would be very cold especially in the mornings but the two events would break up the training for me with spending so many lonely hours out each weekend on my own.
Saturday was the Anzac day Ultra so I started at 6am just as the darkness of the morning was going and I was looking forward to the sun rising. I had my maps in my backpack and food water and gear with me. I had caught a taxi to the start line and Col was going to hire a push bike and meet me somewhere around the 50km mark when I would pass through on one of the bike paths in Canberra.
After getting lost twice and referring to the map to get back on course the hours disappeared away and the beauty of the trail, the gorge and river below was my favourite part of the run.
Col and I eventually caught up and he brought me a cup of coffee and filled up my water bottles for me.
He rode along beside me for a while and chatted and of course shared what a great buffet breakfast he had this morning in the motel after I left….. geez…. I didn’t need to know that but I was pleased to have him with me and keep me running.
Then it was back on the trails up and down hills around a lake till finally I looked at my watch it said 75km so I knew I wasn’t far from the finish line but knowing I had got lost a few times and double backed figured I would be a few more kms yet….
Finally I saw the finish line and I was done 78km by my watch 8hrs and about 40minutes
but really didn’t matter as it was a training run and my goal was to get up in the morning recovered enough for another 50km.
I caught a taxi back to the motel, had a hot shower, some really food and did some foam rolling and I was ready for bed… another early start as the Canberra Ultra started at 6am but was only a 10 minute walk from the motel so that would get any early morning stiffness out of the legs well I hoped anyway.
The morning was very fresh so I was well rugged up until the starting gun…Met Dean at the start line was great to see him he had driven up from Melbourne with the family and I figured he would be out there smashing it up today…he was heading to comrades in June.
Today for me was all about just plodding along and doing the distance and that I did but not without first getting lost….now how does that happen in a road Ultra…. but it did… there was a group of about seven in front of me I was following as we came around the corner the marshal said that way watch for the bikes so that we did only instead of going over the bridge we went down under the bridge on the bike path….. oh dear took us a while to realise we then went up on the road and asked someone who got one of the race organisers to get us back on track…. I laughed thought it was a crack up the guy took all our race numbers and apologised he thought we had done about 4km-5km extra ..some of the competitors were not impressed as they were worried about their times me I couldn’t have cared less ….
Some week after the event I got an email from the event organisers offering me a free entry next year in the event….. oh I thought that was priceless as on trail Ultras its bad luck if you get lost you have a map you soon figure it out and then you just go back to the last pink flag….
I actually really enjoyed the event there was plenty of checkpoints and I chatted to different competitors along the way. The legs were not too bad from yesterday and there was lots of spectators cheering us all on as it was the Australian Running festival event with a marathon and half marathon of which at some point we joined into those events.
I saw Col just before the finish line he took a few pics
and then met me as I crossed over the finish line ….
medal around the neck I was done… Wooooh hoo…..4hrs 55mins I was happy…
Once I sat down it was an effort to get up but food and a hot shower await….
What a great weekend and was fun doing the events as training ….I think mentally it gave me a break from the loneliness of running for hours and hours on your own and now I felt ready to tackle the 100 miler in May…
I just have to keep on smiling…..Sandy