Ok, so I run but I wouldn’t call myself a “runner” if you catch my drift. I rarely train but always compete. I started running at school in the cross country events, then used it to compliment my squash training and then moved onto parkrun and trail events. I love a challenge and as an athlete I covered all bases to ensure that I was at my best to compete against the best. As a “runner” I turn up and hope for the best. This is partly due to my busy lifestyle, mainly work where I’m either with clients, driving or sitting at the computer with admin. Running has become a path for me to relax, do something for me without worrying about work.
I used this “preparation” when I tackled an Ultra Marathon recently. For those that don’t know, an Ultra as they are known, is an event that requires runners to travel anything over marathon distance (42.2km). This event was a 58km event that took on some of the biggest hills in my hometown of Adelaide. I’d taken part the year before and thought there was a fair bit of room to improve, but of course with no training, what could I have possibly expected?
I hopped in a car with complete strangers who were also both nervous and excited about the challenge that lay ahead that day. Plenty of questions were coming my way on the drive in and I felt quietly confident that I’d be finishing the event in front of at least these guys (no disrespect of course) but how wrong was I!
The early morning start and much clearer conditions than the year before made for great day. All that I needed to do was get my nutrition right until I reached the 26km mark and run strong.
I started much more conservatively than the year before a mistake I’d learnt from the year before where I slipped from 16th to 102nd in the space of 15km! I held my spot near the front of the group for the first 10-15km, letting people go through rather than worrying about keeping up with them. At roughly the 10km mark there’s a huge hill! I’d go as far as calling it a mountain (slightly exaggerated) and something I didn’t want to encounter so early in the day. I made it to the top, but my energy sources were taking a hit and I was looking forward to the 4-6km of downhill. The downhill sections aren’t as fun as they sound! You’re knees and quads take a hammering as they try to take the load of slowing you down on the steep descents! By the time you get to the bottom you know you’re in fight!