Running 3:34:02 42.19 km (5:04 / km) +672m4:42 / km ahr:163 max:186
Carcoar Cup Marathon Was having a look online yesterday for good long run routes and discovered that it was the Carcoar Cup trail marathon on the next day. They were still accepting entries up till 5pm so decided it would be fun and made it with 1 hour to spare.
Having never run over 30km, only 5 times run over 20km, no idea of what to eat or drink and no real idea of the course, I was somewhat unprepared. However, I’m as fit as I’ve ever been, not injured or ill and there’s no competitions coming up so it’s the right time to do something ambitious.
So I loaded up on snacks and 14 hours after entering I was on the start line. Plan was just to treat it as an easy run and hope it didn’t start to hurt for as long as possible. If I still had anything left in the tank then I’d go for it a bit more in the last 5km or so. I wasn’t going for a time or racing at all really but from my knowledge of my fitness and of the course (majority gravel road and roughly 500m climb) I had a rough figure of 4 hours in my head.
Plan was to eat either a mars bar or cereal bar every 45 mins and then drink at every water stop (every 3-4km).
Set off what felt like painfully slowly but I was determined not to blow up. Cruised along for the first 10km at roughly 5:00s on the flats and downs and then just took the hills easy. Went through 10km in 51:50 still feeling very fresh and in a nice rhythm. Continued along like this still feeling very comfy at half way which I hit in 1:49:25. At this point I was still feeling like I wasn’t really trying so was tempted to push on but, with little to no experience of distance running, I decided not to risk it and just stick to the plan of slow and steady. The first half was almost entirely on gravel road and undulated the whole way. Sometimes there were continuous climbs of up to 3km but they were all very gentle. However, I also knew there was a net climb of around 250m in the first half meaning a tidy net descent coming up in the second half.
I continued ticking along like this and made it to 30km (now into “further than I’ve ever run before” territory) somehow still feeling really good. Then the man I was running with pointed at the mountain in front of us and went “Are you excited to run up that?”. I asked him if he was joking but unfortunately he was not so around 32km we hit the climb which was a grim 200m over 3.5km. I didn’t race it, just kept turning the legs over. Bits of it probably would’ve just as fast to walk but ran it all for personal pride. Got to the top and my watch showed 36km done so only 6km to go and I knew there must be a lot of descent. This was the point at which I decided to start pushing on and I felt really strong through the last 6km (which had a delightful 300m net descent). Crossed the line in 3:34:02 absolutely buzzing with myself.
Overall, turns out my endurance is a lot better than I thought. If I were to race it properly again, or any other course, I would push myself harder from earlier in the course. I definitely still had energy left at the end and my legs didn’t feel bad at all.
I managed to finish 3rd female (definitely more a reflection on the strength of the field than my performance) but it meant I won $350 so I’m not complaining.