Monday, March 12, 2007

Post No. 395

There are so many different titles I could have used for this post, depending on the day, the time and how I was feeling...some that come to mind include:
"Saturday bloody Saturday"
"Run to Paradise" (when the end was within earshot)
"I'm still standing"...just
"DOA" or "No Way Back" (I had my moments)
Instead of "Black Fingernails, red wine" how about "Black toenails, flat coke"
But 2 days later I think I'll settle for "Once is Never Enough" *oh dear*

Saturday Total: 45k
Week Total: 66.8k
Month Total: 92k
Year Total: 696.2k

Time: 5hr 26.27min
Coxs river: 1hr 46.59min
Pluviometer: 3hr 17.05min (took 1hr 30.06min)
Pluviometer to finish: 2hr 09.22min (happy with that)
Started with: Intervention - Arcade Fire
Finished with (at the 3hr 17min mark): Ruby - Kaiser Chiefs

1 - Well deserved medal
2 - last
3 - SFT crowd at the finish
4 - Post race posing
5 - Blue Lake
6 - Great Arch - drive through to get to Caves House
7 - The path heading down the finish
8 - Caves House
9 - Trails Bistro

I have read everyone else's write-ups, looked at the Coolrunning thread, perused the its my turn.

We arrived at Caves House (our accommodation for the weekend) late Friday afternoon, after collecting my race pack from The Edge cinema in Katoomba, where I also happened to see Ewen, John and Anita. Was totally amazed by the entrance to Caves house ie driving through the Grand Arch...spectacular.

I didn't have a great night's sleep -apprehensive about the run the next day plus sleeping in a strange environment. Was up at 4.30am Saturday morning having my first coffee for the day before heading down for breakfast at 5am, and another coffee plus the obligatory toast with honey. Then it was mad dash to catch the bus that was taking us to the start - it was leaving at 5.30am. In my rush to get the bus I forgot Garmin Girl - by the time I realised this we were heading up the road. I would just have to rely on my trusty Ironman Timex watch. However I did have my ipod, though later this was to let me down.

Saw so many people at the start - Steve, Mick, Ewen, Plu, Jen, Owl, Ellie, Go Girl, Anita, John, Alice, Mario, Roger.....Tried some damper and had my 3rd coffee for the morning! Then before I knew it our wave (3rd) was away.

Nellies Glen scared the bejesus out of me - it was steep, wet and slippery and I had people breathing down my neck. Not CJ-friendly at all. Managed to chat briefly to the guy who was filming the guy doing 7 marathons in 7 days...or something like that. Thoughts at this stage were mainly of the "I'm never doing this again" sort.

After this, things did improve. It was very pleasant running along gravel roads/trails - I was taking it easy until Coxs River because as far as I was concerned the real work started after that. My goal at this stage was to do about 6hrs. My only worry was my hamstring/glute which had been tight and sore since the cross country race on Tuesday. Even my hip flexor was complaining at this stage. Not good, but then how many times have I gone into a marathon when things have never been 100%.

The single lane path down to the river was ok but would have been better if it hadn't been for some very aggressive impatient runners - in parts it is hard to get past slower runners so I settled in and figured that eventually I'll get past. Not so with some of the guys behind me who pushed and shoved their way through. Did my heart proud when I passed some of them later struggling up the hills...hehehehe! So maybe I could've gone a bit harder in this stretch but c'est la vie.

Cox's river wasn't as bad as I thought it would be - my biggest concern was not to slip on the rocks. Mission accomplished - I made it to the other side, upright. I ran for about 100-200m down the road then sat on the side and emptied out my shoes - lots of tiny stones had found their way in. I was really surprised to see people walking so up Mini Mini Saddle so soon - for me its a psychological thing, I try to keep running as along as I can before succumbing to walking. So I ran most of Mini Mini - slowly, mind you!

It really becomes a blur after this. There was lots of walking up the steep bits. My left calf decided to cramp after about 20km which made downhill running really hard for a while. There were times when everything hurt. However, the longer I ran the easier it seemed to get, especially all the small hills that came after Pluvio, except for that horrible horrible steep hill (Deviation?). Also hit a bad patch on a relatively flat section that seemed to go on and on (it was before the Deviation). Again everything hurt, I felt flat, and I had a really bad stitch. I stopped briefly and walked and then started running again...that seemed to help. I think at this stage I realised that I had a chance of finishing under 5hr 30min so that was my new revised goal!

The ipod died at the 3hr 17min mark (Pluvio). Oh well, tuck the earphones in my back pocket and continue on - not much Icould do about it.

The last couple of kms downhill to the finish are horrible - its steep, very rocky and my quads complained bitterly. I much preferred to run uphill at this point, not downhill. Even my right foot was cramping - it was awful. Plus a few runners passed me at this point, flying down the hill, so frustrating. It also looked like maybe 5hr 30min wasn't going to happen. Like hell! Somehow I made it down the hill, onto the concrete, down to the steps and ....a...cheer....squad! All the pain and tiredness just fell away - the CR cheer squad deserve medals - they are the best! Thanks guys for the cheer - it was simply awesome!

Amazing race - very challenging, not for the faint-hearted and for a while I thought it was not for CJ. But now that its over, I've sort of recovered (my quads and calves have gone on strike) and I've had a chance to reflect on it all, I'll probably do it again. After all, I have a PB now!

Well done to everyone else who ran SFT on Saturday - you did good!


Ellie80 said...

Amazing run CJ! It was a pleasure to meet you at the start and to put a face to the name and blog! Congratulations and I will look forward to seeing you back next year!

2P said...

Wow - well done CJ! Not on the race but in avoiding me ;-) You must have past me 3 minutes before before Pluvio.

Seriously though - fantastic debut CJ - you put in such a lot of work for this race and it is great to see you get your reward.

Well done indeed.

deege said...

Great report and fantastic run. Sounds like an absolute killer, but also a huge accomplishment.

Mat said...

Congratulations CJ! That's a fantastic result.

Two Fruits said...

Well done,couldn't find you at the finish. Good event isn't it? Hope you recover soon, not much rest before the next major event.

Anonymous said...


Fabulous time and well done. I heard about your time just after finishing the Weston Ck Half - good news travels fast.

Enjoyed reading your race report.
See you at the Canberra Marathon.


Lulu said...

Great to see you again and I was very excited to see you arrive at the bottom of the stairs. I kept saying to Steve, CJ should be here soon and there you were!

We're coming to Canberra this weekend now as Steve wants to do some running on the marathon course. I'll email you and see if we can catch up.

Vurt said...

Nice work and congratulations on the fantastic result.

I think i went past you a couple of time on mini mine. You were looking very strong running the hills.

Ewen said...

I think you're hooked CJ. Bugger 'Post #395', use 'Once is Never Enough'!

Great race and description. You've got a sub-5 in you for sure, but first there's the little matter of a marathon...

Felice lo avete goduto!

Jen_runs said...

Hehehe - she's hooked!

So lovely to see you CJ & congratulations on your sensational race. I had no doubt that you will blitz it. Hope the recovery goes well!

mpluss said...


That is a great run up pluvio. Well done.


IHateToast said...

so how are you rewarding yourself?

strewth said...

What can I say - it's all been said. You are my hero CJ - a total inspiration - one very determined and awe inspiring "pocket rocket" - well done! I loved the photos - the scenery looks absolutely amazing. What a day you must have had and today you looked so good - hard to believe what you have just achieved!

Tesso said...

Faaaaantastic run CJ. I am in awe!

Well, all that hard work and those early mornings sure paid off. Heck, even those tumbles did. It probably made you more cautious on the day which can only be a good thing seeing what happened to some of the others.

Hope you are sitting with your feet up while wearing that 6ft shirt with pride. What an accomplishment. Canberra will seem like a walk in the park after that. Maybe you should sign up for the 50k option ;-)

Take care. Happy recovery. See ya real soon.

Dori said...

Congratulations on your great race! That's pretty good to go 1/2 hour faster than you were aiming for.

Ewen said...

Forgot to say, a huge congratulations for the new 'running sans iPod PB' of 2 hours 9 minutes. Incredible!

Glad you didn't 'do a 2P' ;)

Tuggeranong Don said...

A really beautiful report on your run, CJ. Strewth told me on Sunday at the Western Creek Half of your result and I was stoked to hear you came in well under 'six for the six'.

It defies my comprehension how someone can run that far, that fast, under those conditions. Clearly, all your training came to the fore to do something like this.

As always, though, it is the mental thing - how you coped with your fears and doubts - that impresses me most about how you tackled this one, especially for a debut performance. And I think back to that nasty fall you had some weeks back...

TA and the Gnome said...

Sorry we missed you at the start and the after! but it was good th cheer you home in the last few metres. I'm glad your debut was so good. All those early mornings were worth it after all :-)


Black Knight said...

Great report and wonderful race. Congrats! You are very fast.

R2B said...

Well done CJ!
A shame we din't meet at the finish though as due to wave times it appears we finished only seconds apart.Oh well i will be running in Canberra sooner or later this year and will see you then?

Cheers R2B

iliketoast said...

what a sensational effort ... well done!

Canberra is next.

Rae said...

Awesome job!!!! All the training really paid off. Congrats!