Six Foot Track 45k Marathon – March 2016

Pre-Race Prep

My training for Six Foot has been consistent but not specific which was a slight concern but on the flip side it resulted in my expectations not being very high and feeling quite relaxed about the race. The last time I did Six Foot in 2014 I definitely felt more prepared, I had done more hills and a bit more weekly distance but I was inexperienced and it was my first proper trail race. This time I had swapped hills for Wednesday morning coffee run which is much less painful & swapped a Monday run for a swim instead cause I really enjoy the swim. I have the benefit of a very big base from a few years of long distance racing so I knew I had that to fall back on. My time in 2014 was 4hrs 56mins & I expected to be somewhere close to 4hrs 30 – 4hrs 40 this time. I noted down the times that I should be reaching the checkpoints at based off the 4hr 30 pace calculator but again I was going to play this by ear and base it on how I was feeling. There wasn’t much of a taper cause my training never really got to a massive high but I was ok with that, I have in the past got good results when I don’t taper.

Robyn & I left Sydney at 6.20 which turned out to be a bit late cause when we arrived at the Carrington at 8.40 registration was finished – we thought it was open until 9pm (oops).

Race Day:

Selfie Stick Fun!

Robyn & I were up at 4.30am cause we had to pick up our bibs at the KCC at 5.15 which meant having brekkie (muesli & yogurt) at 5am which is much earlier than I usually would before a race. We picked up our bibs and then decided to drive back to the YHA & catch the bus from there so that we didn’t have to collect the car after the race. We caught the bus from the YHA & headed to the start line. There was so many NRGers which was amazing & I was feeling full of energy! I was in Start Group 1 so it was a start time of 7am. Started with 5 Salted Caramel Gu’s & this time I didn’t carry a handheld bottle of water which is way out of my comfort zone. My plan for nutrition was a gel approx every hour and water from the CP’s, I remember feeling hungry on the start line.

Start to Cox’s River (0 – 15.5k)

Before I knew it I was lined up beside the big guns and we were off! I love the downhills and the race starts on a down so I was loving it.

Photo Credit: Garth McInerney

Going down Nellie’s Glen was a bit slower than I’d anticipated but I was ok with that. I had the 5 gels in the pockets on the sides of my shorts but they were weighing them down so I took two of them out and put them in my bra instead. Getting to the bottom of Nellie’s Glen I seen the sign that Ann & I had gotten our picture taken on a training run with Bruce & that was the start of some emotional times and I spent much of the next few hours thinking about Ann but I also could feel her there with me on the trails. There was a lovely trail section on the way down to the river. Dani & Suzi both passed me in quick succession before we got to Megalong Road and we zig-zagged for a while before I we hit some downhills and I passed them. I love the downhills and took advantage of every one cause I know uphills are not my strongest so I need to make up as much time as possible on the downs. I really enjoyed the first 15.5k but was also having to remind myself not to go too hard cause I’d need some strength in the legs for later. I knew that I based off the 4hr30 calculator I should be hitting the river at 1hr 23 but I actually got there in 1hr 18. I waded through the river and headed off towards the climbs…

Cox’s River to Top of Pluviometer (15.5k – 26k)

Coming out of Cox’s I could feel gravel in my shoes but decided not to stop to clean them out. The climb up Mini-Mini was ok, I mostly walked with a few shuffles. Getting to the top of Mini-Mini I had a quick chat to another lady who told me this was her 7th Six Foot and this was the first time she had run the whole thing. I drank a cup of water at the water stop & poured another cup over my head, bliss! I knew Dani wouldn’t be far behind cause she is so strong on the hills so I just kept moving forward and doing my best. I was very surprised that she didn’t pass me until after pluvi. The climb up the Pluviometer wasn’t too bad, it is long and relentless but I’ve become used to just powering up hills and I reminded myself of previous training runs and races (Big Jack & Motatapu) where there was big climbs & I was still able to finish strong. Based on 4h30 I should have been here at 2hr 39 (1hr 16mins from Cox’s), I got there in 2hr 37.

Top of Pluviometer to Deviation (26k – 37.4k)

This was the section I was least looking forward to cause I knew my legs would be heavy and I’d taken a funny turn here in 2014 so I wasn’t sure how I’d feel. It wasn’t long before I could hear the patter of Dani’s steps and she passed me out & was looking comfortable. I just did my best on this section and ran most of it. Before Pluvi I hadn’t looked at my watch much at all but along this section I started looking at it and the km’s were ticking over as quick as I liked! I think I was really looking forward to seeing the NRGer’s so much that I was on the countdown to seeing them. I loved seeing be NRGers and was on a high for a while after that 🙂 Based on 4h30 I should have been here at 3hr 30 (51mins from Pluvi), I got there in 3hr 26 so I was happy that I was still going well.

Deviation to Finish (37.4k – 45k)

I knew I only had about an hours running left to go so that was a great feeling, I wasn’t feeling smashed and knew I would be able to go hard on the final 3k of downhill. I could see that Sam running with Dani just in front & when he stopped he gave me a good cheer 🙂 Just around the corner there was the big hill I had remember from 2014, I plodded up that and when my calves couldn’t take anymore I turned around and started to walk backwards to give them a little break. It was at this point that I realised that Robyn was right there. It wasn’t long before she cruised on passed and joined Dani up ahead and I could see them running up the hills. I decided that I was best to just keep doing my own thing and continue walking the hills and going hard on the downs. We got a great cheer at Cave Rd crossing. There are little signs periodically along the trail that have distance the distance to the finish, I couldn’t believe it when I seen the one that said 5k, I almost couldn’t believe there was only 5k left. I was starting to feel hungry and I mentioned to Dani that I must have lost my gels (I had forgotten that I’d put them in my bra – d’oh!). At the next aid station I decided to have some coke and hope that might stave off the hunger. More water over my head & a big hello to Matt the Medic from C2K that was volunteering at the aid station. The trails along here are awesome and then you hit the very technical downhill trails. I threw myself down the trails and could see Dani & Robyn not far in front, I ended up passing Dani and running behind Robyn & another runner.

On the final stretch… Photo Credit: Garth McInerney.

I could hear the bells so I knew we were getting close. We both powered down the hills and as we were coming close to the end Robyn asked if I wanted to finish together, I was happy with that & we flew down the concrete path that leads to the finish line. We went down the steps, held hands and raced for the finish line. What an awesome feeling & special moment followed by a massive hug 🙂 My calves didn’t know what was going on and decided this was a great time to cramp up, thankfully it didn’t last long. I was then greeted by Adam Connor who gave me my goodie bag & informed my that given my time I should be able to do a 3hr marathon, ha ha.. it was great to recognise so many volunteers at the finish line (Hailey, Keith & Adam). It was only about an hour after I finished that I realised the gels were in my bra!!

I loved this race, I’m very happy with how I ran it and I’m over the moon with the time – 4hr 22mins – I couldn’t have dreamed that I would do that time.

Notes:

Drank water at every aid station – 1 cup to drink, 1 cup over my head

First gel at ~14k (in preparation for the climb) then 2 more after that (3 in total)

Gators might be a good idea

Wore my iPod and didn’t use it

Don’t put gels in your bra if you’re going to forget about them!

SFT Finish – Me & Robyn