It’s been a long time since my last blog post. 2018 has been a year of change; after finishing my degree and completing GODZone it was time to enter the ‘real world’ and start a full time job. This has been exciting but challenging at times due to doing both day and night shift work. This has made it a bit trickier when planning races. The bonus is that I was already used to not having a consistent training program.
For a long time I have wanted to give racing a marathon a crack. I’m not much of a street runner so I wanted it to be a trail run. When I saw that Mission Mt Somers Marathon would fit into my schedule, I was keen to give it a crack. The main events I’m training for are Red Bull Defiance and Coast to Coast Longest Day so Mission Mt Somers became a training run/race rather than my main focus.
The lead into Mt Somers was never going to be great for preparation and that was just something I just had to accept. I was in the field camping for work the week beforehand and got home on Friday. I knew this would be the case when I planning the race but did not want work to prevent me racing or having adventures.
I was feeling nervous at the race start, it was great to see some Team CP members just before the start for some encouragement. Before I knew it we were off, the first 6km was a run along farm tracks and a few stream crossings. My aim was just to complete the race so I tried to work on not starting too fast and maintaining a steady pace. I was looking forward to the first big hill climb. Once there I pulled out my hiking poles and settled into a steady pace up the hill. I found it challenging finding my rhythm with so many other people around and guys powering up the hill. However, I just focused on sticking with my own pace.
I enjoyed hitting the downhill and flew down the technical terrain. I made some time up on the downhill sections which was exciting. I was feeling pretty good when I reached the halfway mark (21km) at the Woolshed creek car park. I quickly stopped to resupply and then headed out onto the next section.
Everything seemed to go downhill from here. I ate a banana heading out which is a usual food choice for me. Not long after that my stomach started to feel sick and that’s how it felt for most of the way from then on. Once that happened I struggled to eat food and just focused on keeping on moving forward. I tried having a gel but my stomach rejected it. Progress was slow up to the saddle. I was stoked to reach the saddle and was looking forward to getting to Pinnacles Hut and for some fun technical running through the bush.
I wanted to get some fuel in so tried eating a jam sandwich. This was no good, causing me to throw up. So I went back to focusing on going forward. I ran with someone for a while and it was good to chat to him and have a distraction. My stomach felt a lot better after throwing up so I focused on drinking. Luckily I had some Pure and Tailwind.
Eventually I made it to the Sharplin Falls carpark, so there was only 6km to go. It was a slow struggle and hard mentally to be running on farm/gravel road to the end compared to sweet technical single track. But in the end I made it. Tired and worn out I was stoked to have completed a marathon and somehow still really enjoyed it.
Mission Mt Somers wasn’t my best race but that’s okay. For me it was about getting out there, giving it my best shot, and completing it. It gave me the opportunity to really push myself and test my mental toughness, which I will need for future events. We think my upset stomach may have been due to dehydration; through not drinking enough water in the first half of the race. This is a learning point I can take away and make sure it does not happen again. Mission Mt Somers is an awesome event and I would definitely do it again.