Centennial Park Ultra 50 km Race Report
After the Ironman in May I had two months off with just running 6 km runs when I felt like it. Then I started some weekend rides and to date I have not done any swimming. The Centennial Park Ultra was started a few years ago and only a few of us have done all the events. So I have built a rod for my back having the desire to keep the streak up. Fortunately it is an event which I want to do and can keep doing in the current structure. The 50 km race is also during the 100km race which means I can in reality have 11 hours to complete the 50 km.
Just a thought how about a 50 mile race – I might be able to fit that in the cut off.
In the past the race has been organized by April and now it is being set up by Sean and Mel of Mountain Sports. In both cases the organisation was excellent though different due to personal touches. The first race was in February which I liked- nice and warm and the last two have been in September. This year the race was in August and I did not fully appreciate the difference with sunrise and the cold. So for someone like me who likes to go to bed late and get up late that was the mental challenge.
I arrived and it was dark and people were wandering around with headlights; a new experience for me. I could hear Colin’s voice at the timing area and then when the sun rose I could not find him anywhere. He had set up and left to time another race. I finally got to say hi to him several hours later. I went to the registration area with one person and a torch handing out the bibs. While there, I had a chance to chat to the eventual 50km winner Alex Matthews about his recent work in Dubbo.
After watching the start of the 100km I went back to the car to get another jacket to wear. I am a wimp and I was cold. With the Ironman training I have been out of the running loop for a while and I enjoyed catching up with many long term running friends, met a few new runners and put faces to names of several Facebook running friends. While walking to the start I was talking to Glenn about his Ironman aspirations.
Once at the start I felt comfortably warm with beany, cycling undershirt, long sleeve thermal, tri top, long sleeve cycling top and a wool based V neck jumper. On the first lap the jumper went, on the second the cycling top and the third the beany. I think I made a mistake with the cycling under shirt as it was soon wet and I was getting cold. After a while I took that off, leaving for the rest of the race for the long sleeve thermal and tri top.
During the first 25 km of the race I was completely unsettled. The sun did not warm me up and in the shadows I was cold. There was some relief as I passed the time chatting to Helen Helen Pretty , Sonia Sonia Graham and Heather Dwyer at different stages during the race, cheering on the faster runners as they lapped me and stopping for a chat to Paul Every at his aid station – each lap a different topic of discussion.
My Garmin was set to 6 km intervals (no surprise there) as I viewed the race as 8 by 6 km runs and a 2 km top up, rather than laps of the park. I was hoping to keep the average under 45 minutes per 6km. The splits for the first 25 km between 37 -40 for 18 km then a 53 minute last 6 km. This half of the race included taking off the layers of clothes and removing my orthotics as my feet were cramped.
In the second half of the race I decided to do my 12 minutes running and 3 minutes walking for the rest of the race. I thought if I got myself into mental routine the second half of the race would go faster than the first half which I felt was dragging on and on.
(NB: I am sensing the tone of what I am writing – not that positive. I did enjoy many aspects of the race. Anyway – to continue the story.)
Instead of me calculating 12 minute intervals I start my 3 minutes of walking at 12, 27 , 42 and 57 minutes past the hour and if an aid station comes up I stop there as well even if I am running. I started to enjoy myself more as I got into the routine. My times for the 6 km slowed to between 49-53 minutes and my pace was very even – the time variation was more due to stopping. I managed to get to walk at the end of the hill for 3 minutes at around the public café strip and on the other side near the horse riding on a regular and consistent basis.
Well that is probably it. I trotted into to finish about 10 minutes after Brendan did his 100 km in over 7 hours compared to my 6:35 hours for my 50 km – yes the leaders tended to lap me every two laps. I promptly went to my gear, put on several layers of clothes, placed the rest of my gear in the car and had the best part of the day watching other runners come in while to speaking to Sean, Colin , Brendan , Will from FootPoint, Russell, Trent Morrow (MarathonMan) and Marcus of @ultra168 and thanking the volunteers and other supporters.
After seeing the top five places of the 100km race finished it was time to head home. I enjoyed the race and the company but I am feeling older. I have pulled up fine just some normal DOMs and quite looking forward to no planned races except for the mandatory Nepean triathlon in November.
So for me the future holds six km runs and some traffic free safe riding and swimming on sunny days. No early morning sessions normal late nights with Penno Road runs, social media catch up, Foxtel and reading.
I think I’m just going through the motions at the moment. My headspace is somewhat directionless, though I am suitability content despite being pretty much goal less at the moment.