Running race 3:05:54  30.12 km (6:10 / km) +1075m 5:14 / km
Really happy with this race! Went much better than expected, almost 40mins faster than when I ran it on my own 1.5 months ago. I didn't get as sore or tired, and felt strong. 6th female!
I will write up my race in more detail later in the week if I'm feeling OK after my tonsillectomy on Monday :s
Got up at 5.45am and arrived at Otford at 7.45, just behind all of the Sydney people getting off the train. I still thought I had enough time to get ready, but the queues to get the race bibs were so long, I joined the A-C one but it just wasn't moving. The briefing was held and then the race started while I was still in my queue. I eventually grabbed my number, threw my bag onto the truck, jumped the fence into the start pen and plonked myself on the start line, breaking up an existing pair (two people started every 5 secs from 8.30, self-seeded). I therefore set off only 6-7mins after the first starters which wasn't too bad in the end, but it meant I didn't get time for a pre-race pee :s
Felt pretty good early on, and there were plenty of people around moving at a reasonable pace. I enjoyed climbing the initial hill, not worrying too much about being conservative, but also not being stupid and hammering too hard. Soon we descended into Palm Jungle at a fast clip. I could have gone a tiny bit faster, but there was a line of people ahead and we were still moving pretty quickly, I think I passed a couple of people anyway. I had worn my o-shoes (Inov8s) with the plan to splash through all the mud as I was sure the track would still be water-logged. But it was bone dry and dusty the whole way, incredible! So there was to be no sliding around in the mud in Palm Jungle, and we passed through it quickly. I grabbed the opportunity to duck behind some thick palms for a much needed pee, but I lost a bit over 1min I would say.
Then we came out onto the boardwalk which was super fast, we were all motoring along and I felt happy to be pushed along, as long as it felt comfortable. Before I knew it, we'd crossed a headland and Garie Beach was in sight (9.5km). I had a gel and unfolded my collapsible cup and drank two cups of water (you had to carry your own drinking vessel - though many had camelbaks for sipping the whole way). I had been about an hour, 18mins faster than when I had run it on my own (in the mud), and was feeling very positive. I tried to keep running on all the climbs, though I noticed most around me walked the ups. The next section to Wattamolla was also fast, made faster by much track work/improvements since I ran it 1.5 months ago. The boardwalk was very quick, though you had to watch your step at all times. I had another gel just before Wattamolla, and a couple more cups of water. Leaving the aid station, however, I thought I still might be thirsty which was worrying.
The next section to Marley Beach was only 5km and went quickly, and I was still feeling good and moving well with a few other runners around me. I got really thirsty though, and when I got to the beach and couldn't see an aid station, I got worried I'd mis-read the instructions and there wasn't one. I decided to drink from the next stream, but luckily within 1km up the hill the drink station appeared and I had some more water. The next few kms took forever last time, but this time it wasn't long at all before we were heading up the hill towards Bundeena. It helped a lot to know the course, but it also helped that I was feeling only mildly achey and sore this time around. I drank more at the next water point, then had a couple of sandy kms where a lady overtook me (we'd been leap-frogging a bit) and I couldn't hold on. Soon there was only the headland, beach, and road to go, and then it was over.
Due to the staggered start, results weren't finalised for a little while, but I ended up 6th female (3rd in my category) and 58th overall. Tiny shame that the pee stop put me behind two women 20secs ahead, but can't help that! I was expecting around 3hr 20, so was really happy to go well under that and feel strong throughout. The weather was sunny and still and the scenery spectacular. Was a really great experience.