Monday, 9 May 2016

Wings For Life Melbourne

I can't believe I'm doing two race reports in as many weeks, and boy-o-boy is my body feeling it. I'm so sore right now, curse you DOMS!
Unfortunately the run I did yesterday; the Wings for Life race, didn't quite go to plan. I'm not about to delve into what the race is, although it's certainly unique, here's a link if you're curious; .

Pre Run

© Mark Dadswell/Red Bull Content Pool
For me the evening started at 6:30pm when I sat down to eat dinner with my friend Riley; who I was running with, and his family for Mothers Day in Melbourne. This was 2.5 hours before race start and not the most ideal time to be ordering dinner; however, I was hungry and ate anyway against better judgement. Unfortunately the food didn't come out until after 7 and I didn't finish eating until 7:30, 1.5 hours before race start. Then due to the distance between where we ate dinner and the starting line, we didn't actually arrive at the race start until 8:30, only half an hour before race start. Usually I need about an hour to warm up so I practically started the run cold, and with 3.5k runners I was towards the back of the pack so when the siren sounded it took me a bit over two minutes to get across the start line.

The Run

My goal for this race was to try and run a half marathon in 1hr 30min and then once I'd done that, slow down to a walk until the car over took me. That didn't happen. For the first 5km I was feeling pretty good surprisingly and was on track to get my goal, by the 6km point things took a turn for the worst. I got a stomach cramp which pretty much reduced me to a crawl, however it abated and was able to speed back up again. At the 8km point, as you can see by the pace graph, I 'died'. I was very, very close to throwing up and felt terrible. I was already starting to get a blister on my foot and starting to get muscle cramps, but I persevered and kept going. I think the worst bit was that I wasn't able to get into a rhythm, and when I did at about the 12km point it was already too late. Those last spikes towards the ends of the graph are at an aid station when I retied one of my shoes and at the 24km point where I stopped to walk.
The cars that eventually caught me.
© Jaimi Chisholm/Red Bull Content Pool
Officially I ran 24.79km in 2 hours 3 minutes and 23 seconds, meaning I placed 7477th out of a field of 130,752 runners, which isn't too bad.

Post Race

I don't think I'd do this race again in a hurry, a great concept but unfortunately what happened after I stopped running spoilt it a bit for me. So the idea in theory is that once you stop running you hop on a bus to take you back to the start line, and since you are running away from where you started you wouldn't have any jumpers or anything with you to put on afterwards to keep warm. What happened was I finished running at 11pm and wasn't able to get on a bus until midnight, a full of hour of waiting and shivering. I could understand if it was 15 minutes, but when you're feeling like shit (like I was) the last thing I wanted to do was wait around. I guess another criticism was the randomness of the water stations, they started at 7km and kind-of appeared every 5km, some were more than 5km away and others were less. I guess it's a mental thing but I like to tell myself, 'OK only ... until the next drink of water, you can do this' but I couldn't do that. 
One thing that the race does have going for it was the goody bag, it was unreal the amount of stuff you got for signing up, my favourites were the high-vis shirt and the head torch. The head torch is one of the best ones I've seen, ever. I'm signed up to do a night-time trail race towards the end of the year and now I don't have to go and buy a torch specifically for it, it's great!

The Take-Away

What I've learned is this;
  • Make sure I don't eat anything large close to two hours before race start
  • Make sure I do a proper warm-up
I did both of these things at Puffing Billy the week prior and ran great but I can chalk this up as a learning experience. And hey, apart from almost being sick, I had a fun time during the run and that's all you can ask for.

 The TRN

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