It’s Monday and I’m slightly more competent than I was yesterday, so I thought it would be about time to write a quick results post about my race on Saturday.
Going into the race I had some big concerns about my right IT band. It had flared up unexpectedly two weeks before the race when I did the Wellington Marathon. I’ve run four other ultras over the last year with no IT band issues, so I was a bit gutted that it chose now to become a problem.
We had perfect weather for racing on the day, so no complaints there. I was at the start feeling good, ready to hit it hard and finish in my target time of 9 hours.
That feeling lasted for 2 kilometres.
The slipped on a rock and my IT band flared with pain. Only 60kms of gruelling climbing and descent to go.
I pushed on, hitting the first aid station nearly 10 minutes ahead of my target time.
The second aid station saw me come through still 10 minutes ahead, but by now the pain was debilitating. My leg would alternate between completely cramping up so my knee and hip would not bend, or it would collapse unexpectedly underneath me.
I was determined to get halfway before pulling the pin, so I carried on, mostly walking.
By the third aid station I was 15 minutes behind on my target time.
The next section was mostly downhill but I could no longer run downhill. I got going once and thought I might be able to keep the pace up, but I smashed my big toe against a rock and face planted in the track. My big toe was not broken (I think) but it is still swollen today, so wearing shoes is not something I can do for a while.
I made it past the first cut-off point with 30 minutes to spare.
By the time I reached the fourth aid station I was 45 minutes behind time and starting to get concerned about making the final cut-off. I still had the infamous Tip Track to do.
I walked almost all of the uphill (3kms) in 50 minutes and somehow, I have no idea how, I ran down again in 27 minutes. That got me to the final cut-off nearly 1 hour slower than I wanted.
But most importantly, I made it through before the cut-off.
The next two hours (about 10km) was a mission of walking and running (and a lot of swearing) as I ground out the trail to the finish.
I pushed as hard as I could, trying to arrive in daylight. I missed that goal by about 10 minutes. Somehow, again I have no idea how, I managed to run the last uphill section to the finish.
I crossed the line in 11 hours and 7 minutes – 50 minutes faster than last year.
I was not last.
I got my finisher’s medal and a ride home (they took pity on me when I couldn’t walk any more hehe).
I’m happy with that. I wasn’t the dream race I had wanted, but up until halfway I was still in touch with my targeted time. To be that close to my target with a malfunctioning leg is very encouraging. Had my IT band not given me any problems I would have achieved my planned finish time for sure.
So that’s the goal for next year. I haven’t started training for it yet, because I can barely walk. But as soon as I can, you better believe I’ll be out there, pounding down a trail, looking for a hill to attack.
Next year will be my year. I have no doubt about that.
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