Number 22 Marathon CP 50 km Race Report 2013
Martin Pluss @plu
On 15 September I entered the Australian 50 km Championships because it happens to also double as the Centennial Park Ultra. This is a race which started three years ago and I have been fortunate enough to do all three.
In 2011 I did 6:20 hours, 2013 5:36 hours and I managed 5:34:50 hours this time.
The details of the run can be seen in the Garmin Connect account:
I set the Garmin to 6 km intervals as this is the distance I know quite well and I know how to run 6 km. This proved useful in the final 8 km when I decided to try and increase my pace which I was able to do – enabling my PB time.
I was meant to be running the race with my friend Mark Mik who sadly been on crutches for 15 weeks after breaking his leg. It is just a race I want to do each year. The beauty about the CP Ultra is that the 50km is run in conjunction with the 100k race which essentially allows 11 hours to finish the 50 km race which is started one hour after the start of the 100km race. As long as this format exists I can see myself being able to complete the race for a number of years yet given the generous time to finish.
As for me there was no preparation for the race. I have been running less than 100km per month and have mixed up exercise with some cycling and swimming. I am starting to build now for some longer triathlons through spring and summer. In addition it has been pretty hectic on the home and work front. I have filling the role of Acting Director of ICT for Term 3 and 4, Jenny has been Acting principal at her school in Term . As well 17G is doing her HSC and the Principal’s daughter, from Jenny’s school, has been living with us for 8 weeks while her mother is on sabbatical. It is all good fun but not allowing time for much training. So I guess things are more about life and running rather than running and life at the moment. So I literally got to Wednesday last week and remembered I had a race on Sunday. Nothing like good mental preparation.
In the race itself I normally run with Mark for the first 20 km then we go our own way. I missed running with him year. I started at the back of the pack and mostly ran by myself with me passing some runners and others passing me. Within a couple of laps I was starting to be passed by runners lapping me. This was fun watching the pointy end of the two races start to unfold in front of me.
The 6 km splits show how I got to 18 km in around 6 minute pace and then it jumped to 7 minute pace. I was interested in noting the slowdown was not gradual. The heart and lungs were fine it was just the body not being used to more than 6 km runs. Strangely I found the climb out of the start finish area easier and in fact faster than the downhill run on the other side of the loop.
In relation to food I had a gel every 45 minutes, a salt tablet on the hour and alternated water and Gatorade on each lap. I ended up having 5 bottles of Gatorade. Now and then on the course I had some fruit and nice homemade fruit balls from the wonderful volunteers. You can see in the statistics I lost about 9 minutes of running time when you compare time elapsed with moving time. This would have included stopping each lap briefly for food and drink, two pit stops and three times where I had to stretch.
In relation to the stretching, as per usual around 30+ km the body started to play up. I was still running up the slight inclines comfortable and on the downhill I looked at the pace and I was dropping between 7 to 8 minutes per km. At one stage I broke into a walk and still slowed to 10 minutes per km so it made sense to keep running as it was faster. On the next lap I decided to take 40 seconds out of the running time to stretch when the pace slowed too much and once again it was on the downhill.
This was doing my head in – most people run faster downhill. This time I did 40 seconds of quad stretches on each leg and started running again. It seemed to work as I was back on 6:30 pace for sections of the run and the overall 6 km split came in from 44 minutes to 43 minutes including the stretching and lap stops for food.
I was about to start the final 8 km and I had passed through the marathon in 4:42 hours and I was not happy with that as I wanted to be closer to a 5:30 hour finish time which was not going to happen at the current pace. As I was near the end of the race I was not too worried about watching what I was eating so I increased the volume of drink and food on each lap but the body was still playing up, especially my lower back.
So on the next lap when I seemed it inevitably slow down again on the downhill I laid on my back and pulled my knees apart and pulled them back towards my chest as far as I could to stretch whatever it stretches – I have done this before. No idea what it stretches but I knew it would address the issue I was having. I did this much to the amusement and concern of runners who were passing me. I assured them I was alright. Runners do look after other runners.
I was now running freely and managed a 37 minute 6 km to 48 km. I had not moved that fast consistently since the 18 km mark. I guess I can put it down to stretching, increased food and Gatorade, knowing the end of the race, the support from the volunteers on the road intersections and the fact I know how to run 6 km. So I finished the race solidly with my Garmin virtual pacer seeing me move from 19 minutes up to almost 30 minutes up on my ahead of my set pace of 7:12 per km for a 6 hour finish.
This really is a good event and it is going to get bigger and better each year thanks to the race organizer, sponsors and of course the other runners and spectators. I finished at around 12:30 pm and spent the arvo in the sun talking to runners and watching, runners doing their laps of completing their races. Congrats to April and the team – this is a top shelf race.
Thank you to Stefica Key for the following photos.