Last Sunday I took part in the Cook's Tour Ultramarathon, a 50 km trail race and my third Glasshouse Mountains race this year.
Training for this race was fantastic, well right up until the end of training when my wisdom tooth decided it was going to give me a bit of trouble resulting in me going to the dentist to get it pulled out. This incident meant not completing my final full week of training. Before the race I had not run at all for 10 day's so I wasn't sure what was going to happen!
The race started out great and just as I had planned, my pace was on par with how my training had been and I was with the front runner Jimmy Tee, a 27 year old from Malaysia who had been living in Brisbane for about four years now. He is an exceptional runner and I knew right from the start that he was the one to beat!
At about 15 km I checked out my pace and I was feeling great, my plan was to just keep up with Jimmy as his pace was spot on. It wasn't until we started to get onto our first lot of technical trails where Jimmy excelled on the down hill parts and he started getting away from me, I wasn't too concerned though as my main goal was to get in the top 5 and I knew we had a big lead from the rest.
Just after Jimmy was starting to get away from me I started noticing a bit of cramping in my calves which was extremely unusual for me, my nutrition was fine at that point so I wasn't too sure why that was happening. I soon noticed Bruce Thiele behind me, a 41 year old who does Ironman races, he soon caught up with me and we ran together for most of the run. At about the 25 km mark the cramps were getting worse and worse, it was stopping me from attempting to even try and run up the hilly parts as they were jolting all up my calves and into my quads and thighs! There were two loops that were part of the course, a small 4-5km loop and a longer loop about double the size of the smaller. At the checkpoint we were informed that we had done the smaller loop first when we were supposed to do the big one first. It didn't matter too much as we just had to go and do the big one however after getting back to the checkpoint (Bruce had gotten a lead on me by this point) they had told me there were about 5 runners in front of me. I was a bit shocked as I thought I was still running well under the circumstances but at the same time I didn't care too much either as the cramps were just getting too much.
From that checkpoint there was about 12.5 km to go, I would have to stop, try and stretch out the cramps and get going again. I eventually caught up with Bruce who was also having a hard time and we ran together again for a little bit.
In the last couple of kilometers I decided to push through the cramps and finally run at a decent pace to the end, although not particularly tired my legs were very sore. Personally it was a disappointing result (7th place) but it was still a good day. I love meeting and running with new people such as Jimmy and Bruce (Jimmy won the race) and I also got to see some familiar faces too. I was really happy with the course, it was challenging, harder and more technical than the previous two I have done in the GH mountains which makes me really eager to come back next year for it, I think I may have found my new training ground as well! ;)