Again I decided late to enter the Woodford To Glenbrook Classic 2012. I have 3 clients running in the Blue Mountains for the first time and I really wanted to be there for them. I’d run 42km around Mt Solitary the Saturday before. I was without a car for Tuesday and Thursday, so I had to bike between Personal Training Sessions (PT) on those days and I am helping out the local hospital RPA with an exercise induced asthma trial. I had a huge week, and I was feeling knackered. The Woodford To Glenbrook Classic 2012 in the past use to just kill my feet and I would always end up with a few “Hot Spots” in my feet after the event. I was cautious about entering. I entered late, just to make sure I had recovered from the weekend.
On Friday before the run, I had an asthma trial. I had to blow into a tube for 6 minutes and keep the the line above 87. The week before I could do it easily. But on Friday I struggled. So I knew I was not going to have an easy run on Sunday. Guys skip to the next paragraph now warning girly talk. I later told the specialist I had my period. She said that it does effect your performance. I had it for 7 days. 7 days is a long time for me. I guess it was nice to know that with all my training and events that I am still healthy. I’m still fertile and I’m still able to bleed for 7 days. Man it can knock you around though.
On the day of the Woodford To Glenbrook Classic 2012 I felt good. Just normal. I ate as normal at 6am and I thought about having a snack before the race but decided against it. It’s only 25km I thought. My warm up was a bit distracted. I had to look after the kids while my husband Michael Leadbetter (Mikey) http://michaelleadbetter.com.au/index.php/gallery/ took photos of the mountain bike riders and the runners. I managed to find a great spot where the kids were happy playing in the bush and I could warm up running around them. I found my clients Lauren, Jayne and Gemma and I was relieved when I spotted Mikey, he could take over looking after the kids and I could finish my warm up. At 9:45 I ate my race gel and then headed to the start line. (I have a gel 45min before and 15 min before a race).
On the start line we were mad to wait for 23 minutes. A mountain bike rider in the Mountain Bike event had a stack and broke his collar bone. An ambulance was called and we all had to wait until he was safely off the track before we could start the race. Bugger I hope he is okay. It sounded awful. Then I realised that I did not have a spare gel. I was just going to fuel every 30 min. I only had 5 on me. This did not take into account late starts. I had not eaten since 6:45am. Bugger. This was too long to wait. I’m going to be a bit low on glucose. I ignored this and started to chat to all my friends up at the start line.
The ambulance siren went off and we counted down to the start and we were off. I ran down the hill along the road and just tried to stay cool. Not sprint too hard and take it easy. I was just going for time today. Looking at the race like a speed work session. At about the 3km mark I was passed by Michelle Mcadam, and then a kilometre later by Johanna Parsons. I felt good. I was about 5km in and this is where I am usually fast. I readied myself for the climbs to come.
About 7kms in I was passed by Georgie Moore. She is a great runner and I was expecting her to pass me. At 8km in I felt a bit lethargic. I realised that it had been almost an hour between gels since the start was delayed. The climbs were just sapping everything from my quads. I felt like Mt Solitary was still weighing my legs down. The stride length was all wrong for a fast climb. I was running up this hill like it was an ultra. I was passed by Brick. Who genuinely seem concerned for me. And asked me how I was going. I must have looked bad. I then started to worry that I had come down with the flu mid race. I felt really hot, lethargic and sweaty. (But I really think it was me being low on glucose. I was hot from running and the cold southerly head wind I was experiencing was making me feel like a had a fever).
Come on Shona. It is tough. The first 11km are killers. You use to have to walk this section when you first started running. That is why you are feeling like this. Pull yourself together and run.
I ran on fighting the head wind. Hating the head wind and just waited for myself to feel better. Before I knew it I was at the 13km mark and I was starting to fly past the guys who powered past me on the climbs. Come on only 12km to go and it is all down hill now. Just go.
I managed to pull out s few 3 min 40 kilometres, then a few sub 4mins in a row. I just let myself go. Cool. You may get a PB yet. At the 18km the track flattened out and I just tried to concentrate on technique. My obliques started to tighten up, and I was not able to get enough oxygen into the bottom of my lungs. I tried to just relax and push through it and switch off and just run with all my heart. At the 20km mark I tripped on a rock hidden in a sandy section and I took the biggest dive I have ever had in a race or run. I totally lost my footing. I smashed my left knee on a rock, and my right arm on hidden rocks in the sand. I landed flat on my stomach and instantly I felt the swelling begin to pool in my left knee. I immediately jumped back up, ran on and tried my best to brush myself off so I would not have a face full of dirt.
“Hey are you okay?”. The runner behind me asked.
“FUUUUUUCCCCCCK!” Was all I could yell.
I could feel my knee bulging and I felt like I was just covered in dirt. I ran on and I could only pull 4 min 19 second kilometres. Come on. Go, go, go. I was reduced to the sports drink provided and I tried my best to just hang on until the finish.
With a kilometre to go I was past by about 3 guys, and I tried my hardest to stay with them. I spotted Mikey and the kids and I was bummed when I realised that I was breathing so hard that my mouth will be open for the shots on his website. Bugger it is going to look bad I thought as I cruised down the grassy hill of Eureka Clearing and I was just relieved that it will be all over soon. I rolled down the clearing and avoided the mud and sprinted up the final little hill and across the line.
I was bummed with my performance. I was about 1-2 minutes faster last year when I was pigging out on brownies the week before the event. Maybe there is something in that……I just did not have enough fuel on board. I did not eat enough that day. Maybe having my little red friend did not help either. My cousin in law, if you can call him that always says to me after I have finished a race think of 5 things that you would change that would make your performance better.
My 5 Tips to Improve My Performance
1) Make sure I mess with my pill to make my red friend comes 2 weeks before hand. I don’t know if I should be saying that so don’t do it unless you doctor says you can. (It’s hard when you race as much as me).
2) Eat a snack 2 hours before the event. Like a banana or power bar/bites. I should have known better. I am use to the 7am starts, not 10:25 starts.
3) Pack extra Gels for unexpected late starts.
4) Treat an event like this like a sprint. Have a gel 15 min after the start. I found this works for me. But trial it first in training. Too much glucose will make you puke or give you the runs if you know what I mean.
5) Get more rest in the week before an event. Maybe doing Mt Solitary as a circuit was not that smart……Also having to ride my bike to the PT sessions Tuesday and Thursday as well as doing all the PT sessions.
I have to look at the big picture though……It was a great speed work session for me. I always learn so much every time I race. I’m still in good form. I am just over training a bit. I need to get more rest. Lesson learned. I also can’t get complacent. I was a good runner last year too. I have to give “myself ” the runner that I was last year more respect.
I really have to add, especially as it is a few days after finishing the event that this is the first time I did not smash my feet up on the Woodford To Glenbrook Classic 2012. No hotspots. I’ve had stress fractures in the past and I am always cautious about the foot wear I choose. I wore the Inov8 Roclite 285. They are just perfect for me. They are still going strong. I wore them in TNF 100, Footpoint Trail Series Race 2 too. Thank you Barefoot Inc. http://www.barefootinc.com.au/product.php?range=inov_8&id=197