The slogan on the vehicle plates in Victoria is "On the Move." Somehow, that seems fitting as the title for this blog post, having just returned from the Victorian 6 Hour & 50 km Track Championships in Moe, Vic. The goal in any running race - but especially so in ultra distances - is to keep moving forward.
The quick and dirty results: I was on the move for 4 hr 12 min 9 sec to earn 1st female in the 50k (and 1st W40) - two trophies for the price of one.
I continued moving, albeit slower, to hit 70.406 kms at the 6 hour cutoff. 1st place outright (and 1st W40). Two more trophies for that (it was seriously hot enough to warrant four trophies, I figure). Here, the trophy girls demonstrate track running:
I added nearly 2 kms to the former Canadian W40 record of 68.591. Not quite as much as I'd like for comfort, but all I could do in that heat and humidity.
Now, for the rest of the story ... for those who care to read on...
Moe, Victoria is in a pretty little part of Australia. There are lovely big green hills and creeks there that just beg to be run. But I'd picked a track race this time around - with my sights on a Canadian 6 Hr W40 record and bringing that Victorian trophy back to WA (having a little fun with the state rivalry after a Victorian came to WA back in June and walked away with the 75k Kep Ultra win).
To break the 70k race down into "do-able" chunks, I ran it in 5k sections with a different person/cause for each one. I ran one for each of my sponsors, for example. And I ran one for beer. I haven't run for beer in a few years now :) Even though my beer of choice is typically non-alcoholic these days, when I do indulge in the calories.
An interesting, unexpected thing happened while running "for" many of these people I'd chosen. Rather than running "for" them - in their honour, in some sense - it turned out that they were really running with me. When I ran for one friend, who's been working overseas for months in a diesel- and sewage-air filled compound with a 2 k dirt track, I found myself basically asking him for help (don't worry, I wasn't hallucinating!). I remembered how good his running form is and thinking of him reminded me to really focus on my chi running techniques. Make it easy, have fun.
When I ran the 5k for a friend's wife undergoing chemo, every time I thought, "This is so hard" I heard myself reply, "You think this is hard? How about having your body melted from the inside out by chemo?"
And my mum... "win or die trying." (Well, that was her approach to raquetball, anyway, so I thought I'd try it for track running!)
Anyway, you get the idea. It turns out that all those people were there in spirit, keeping me going. And they all had some influence in my even getting to the start line in the first place. Amazing.
And I haven't even mentioned my Crew yet. I'm not one to put generic nouns in capital letters (really, people, it shouldn't be done, so don't do it). But I'm making an exception right now because Rolf is so much crew for one person he needs a capital. For 6 hours straight, he read all my sign language/hand signals, gave me fuel and water every 15 minutes (yup, Perpetuem and electrolytes again), ice cubes, wet shirts and hats to change into on the move, updated me with my splits regularly, and kept it all tracked on a sheet to reference later. He accepted all my grumbles and curt responses, understanding that we just had to work through the "business" end of the race....which for this one was about the 4 hours in the middle! The first hour was great and the last was okay, but it was hot at the 2 PM start and got hotter.
Which leads me to the pros and cons of a 2 PM race start:
Sleep in - yay!
More time to get nervous all morning - boo!
Being awake all night due to extreme chemical imbalances - boo! (I didn't feel tired, so didn't mind being awake all night, but am paying the price two days later as I have a jetlag feeling).
This last photo was taken before the start (there's no way I'd look that good after a race and I'm not sure I want to show anyone the pictures of me in the late stages!). A racer's daughter drew it for me. She even drew my orange hair. I might start hiring her to draw some more pre-race pictures. I like her style!