Mt Mee Marathon 2017

by Shona Stephenson on October 16, 2017

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A Quick pic in between wreaks drift snorkel sessions

A Quick pic in between wreaks drift snorkel sessions

Mt Mee Marathon Off the Moreton Island Ferry after a much needed Island holiday with my girls, we dropped into Grill’d Burgers to load up for the Mt Mee Marathon the next day. The lead up was amazing a holiday with my beautiful girls, snorkelling, swimming and sun-baking. We still averaged 35000 steps a day together as we walked back and forth to The Wreaks for drift snorkelling sessions. It was just lovely pre-marathon taper and much needed rest and quality time spent with my girls over the Easter Holidays. The whole experience of racing the Mt Mee Marathon was fantastic. The drive down the from the foggy mountain house, through the Samford Valley, through Daybora, then climb up the scenic road, past Ocean View along the ridge line over looking the D’aguilar National Park, through the misty rolling hills of Mount Mee and then dropping into the national park where the race was to start. I had the Peking Duk song, “Take me Over,” playing on the stereo, drinking a double shot coco late’ and I was just loving life.

I did stop to take the photo

I did stop to take the photo

Man, I love trail running. I love that it gets you up in the morning at 4am to enjoy the sun rise over this stunning misty, lush green, rural country side, music playing and joining in the line with the other like minded trail runners on their way into the great unknown of racing. Yes, we can train all we want for an event but until you actually start you just don’t know what will unfold for you mentally and physically on the day. This is what the pre-race nerves are all about. The unknown, lack of control, this is where I find the excitement within the training, prep, recovery and race itself. I usually say to my clients, “I go into an event with one niggle and it usually leaves me while racing. This is the niggle I’m meant to have to make sure I have a proper taper.” What will go through my head when I’m racing? Will I have absolute control over my thoughts? Will I be able to hold those amazing positive thoughts for the entire 42.2km?  This is the biggest challenge. This is what keeps me pushing, meditating, following the process. I lined up on the start line and spotted Dahlia who wished me luck and gave me a few heads up on the other quick female. The course had changed so much from last year. It was 3 km shorter and to me the finish looked easier. I dislike racing an individual. I like just racing myself and see what I can do on the day. I just don’t get motivated by beating others as it feeds a negative thought process. Instead I love just to see what I can do on the day and wherever that takes me that is what I have to be content with. In the end I have to be bloody happy with the body I have and so thankful that it can achieve so much. The countdown went off and we all started running down the fire trail towards Mt Mee on the out and back course. I chose to wear the Inov8 Trail Talons after a test run on the trail via the pre-race toilet stop and decided that the Trail Talon was the shoe for the dry, well graded course today. This year it was up hill to Mt Mee and effectively down hill to the finish line with still a massive climb out at the end, but still I’d call a down hill finish, most of the climbing was done to the 1/2 way point and only one killer at the end. I ran along chatting away to Chris and a few other blokes and cruised along trying not to puff to much. Chris took off on the climb through the Pine Forest and I had to let him go. He’s always too strong on the climb compared to me. I just chilled and worked on my own rhythm, cadence and breathing. I felt good. The climb soon turned into a massive, rugged, descent and my legs took off ahead of me. I flew though the check point, turned left, passed through the gate and then started the climb up to Mt Mee.

Plant Base no inflammatory diet help e get back to my race weight and feeling racy.

Plant Base no inflammatory diet help e get back to my race weight and feeling racy.

My power the weight ratio was the best it had been for a long time. I was eating really well, mainly a low inflammation plant based diet, feeling really good and enjoying life. This then paid off in the climbing up to Mt Mee. I just turned my legs over along the fire trail, looked to the top of all the pretty eucalyptus forest climbs and knew that I had the climb covered, before focusing on the manageable patch of ground in front of my feet. This I knew I had control over. This was my focus. Nothing else mattered. I ran to the end of the national park, crossed through the gate and turned out onto the Road. This section is so pretty. I’d been running a fair amount of road with my marathon training clients and I found this section a great place to make up some time that I’d lost on the climb. My legs just took off and I was flying long through the cottage, spotted country side, with cows happily feeding on the rims of their fertile, knobbly paddocks. This 5km out and back along the Mt Mee Plateau was just stunning. I’d normally dislike such a big road section but today it was like taking a holiday in the country. I ran along with a massive smile on my face just enjoying the pretty view. I ran up the hill passing church goers to their Sunday Morning services and crossed the road and turned right and headed into the Tennis Courts. Here I quickly filled up with a Litre of water in my Inov8 HydroPak Bladder, caught up with Chris and asked him to run the last 21.1km in with me to the finish line. He needed a bit more time at the Check Point. Mt Mee Stunning Countryside I headed off on the descent. Yippee! This is what I love doing, descending fast on a beautiful gradient for 5 km that felt like it was made for my legs. A Perfect place to make good time and to stretch my legs. I enjoyed waving to all the other runners on the way to the Turn Around and was able to see the gap between myself and the ladies behind me. I worked out I was in about 4th or 5th place overall. I cruised along the road, turned right then a left onto the gravel section then hit the really fun part of the course. The massive descent where the song that I was singing in my head was by Thexx “I Dare You”. It takes a fair amount of balls to run down the descents like this one, rocky tire width, 4WD tracks with high grass on each side at such a steep gradient. The descent was so steep imagined I was on the Man from Snowy River Horse. I opened up my hips at the front and leant back, keeping my ears over my hips, chest up and open, kicking up legs out behind me, split leaping with every step as I controlled my fall down the mountain. This was so much fun. “Go on,  I dare you”. Playing in my head. I was daring to see what I could do down this descent. One dares to start, dares to dream, dares to push themselves and release control over every step and see where it takes them. You also have to Dare to Win. Even dare to love. Take the good with the bad and just dare to really live life and see where every dare can take you. With “I dare you” with that amazing heart beat drumming and Peking Duk “Take Me Over”, playing through my head telling me to “Chase the Moment”, I was having an absolute ball and going for this descent. I hit the bottom of the gully, ran along the flat section, crossed the creek, passed through the gates, swung around to the right, checked in and out of the check point whilst grabbing some 500ml of water and headed up the gruelling climb. Now the Marathon Relay runners were starting to catch me. I used them to try and pace off, stick with on slowly dying legs. My achilles were screaming at me. I’d been running barefoot on Moreton Island and I think they were telling me to “F-off,” as I gritted out the ascent to the finish line. Time to count. Find a happy place. I counted and counted over and over and over again. Focus on only the patch of ground in front of your feet. That’s all that matters, this hill is massive, focus. Every flying descent I’d made in the first section of the event which now turned into a killer climb. At the 40km mark I found the 3rd place male ahead of me looking dizzy and walking. I gave him my water, electrolytes and all the rest of my food. He was bonking hard. I was really worried about him. I told him to have an endurolyte and a gel then and there in front of me and I just hoped he wasn’t going to injury himself as he made his way back to the finish line. I ran onto the finish line now with more urgency as I was now out of food and water. My achilles were screaming, will you bloody stop? Just give me a few more ks and it will be all over, we can have a hot bath and a smokey black label whiskey, I promised myself as I ran along ahead of one of my UTA marathon relay clients John at 4:30 min pace, let’s just end this. John caught and soon passed me, I tried to stay with him but I just couldn’t my legs were trashed. One more climb, find a happy place, I then turned right and cruised into the finish line.

Shona Stephenson 1st Female Mt Mee Finish Line

 

The minute I crossed the line I kicked off my shoes my achilles were killing me! Back to taping my ankles again and no more beach running for a little while.

Another reason to race....a perfect way to catch up with mates

Another reason to race….a perfect way to catch up with mates

The course was new, the distance was shorter by 3k, my time is not comparable with the year before. I ran it in 3 Hours 51 Minutes with 1250m vert gain and loss. I was first female and 3rd place overall. I was stoked with my time, effort and my race to the end.

A massive Thank You to Barefoot Inc and inov8 Australia for my race Gear Set Up,  Hammer Nutrition for my Nutrition Plan and recovery for the event. Another special Thank You to the team at Body Leadership Physiotherapy for keeping me up and running through all my niggles and Karen at TailRunner for keeping my fury training partner Bubble kitted up beautifully.

Winning Female Race Kit from the Mt Mee Marathon

Inov8 Trail Talon 250

Inov8 Race Ultra Vest

Injini Socks Hammer Singlet

Hammer Visor

Running Bare Shorts

Hammer Nutrition

Hammer Endurolyte 1 every 30 min to 1 hour

Hammer Race Caps 3 before the race

Hammer Banana Gel every 30- 45 minutes watered down 50%

Hammer Vegan Recovery Bar

Hammer Tissue Rejuvenator

Mt Mee Race Kit Shona Stephenson

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