It is completely crazy to run this race. I am not in good physical condition, and I'm not trained to do it. But I'm going anyway :) I'm stubborn and sometimes a bit foolhardy.
We flew up to the Gold Coast and stayed with my parents for a couple of days, hanging out, sleeping, eating and generally being lazy. On the Saturday I set out in the very stormy weather to register for the marathon at the expo. I know, last minute...
It was pouring, and the whole area was a wash out! But the organisation of the event was second to none, and in no time I had a bib and a timing chip, not to mention a big dent in the credit card. A few Westies chatted to us, and I lined up for an autograph or 2 from Lee Troop.
Before going to the expo, I realised how seriously underprepared I was. I had no velcro to attach the chip to my ankle....trip to my aunty who saved me with her trusty sewing box. No lollies, though I had a couple of gels. I bought some poptop kids drinks and taped some gels and lollies in a bag to the bottle, leaving 3 at the personal drinks area. I hate carrying gels in a race.
That night saw me get no sleep, mum and I sat up talking for hours. 1am and I crawled into bed. The alarm went off at 4.30... who on earth set that??? It took me a few minutes to realise I did, and I had to get up and run 42km!
Dave (UndercoverBrother from CR) picked me up at 5.30 and drove me to the start line. Arriving in perfect time to drop a bag off, and head to the start.
I changed my mind about 30 times when it came to shoes/no shoes. I'm kicking myself now, but I wore vibram five fingers for the first couple of km. The ground was so wet, and rain was still threatening and I thought I wouldn't make it barefoot. Stupid really, of course I would have.
After about 2km, the shoes came off and I carried them a further 24k before dropping them off to friend.
The large number of competitors meant I was never alone in this race. What a great feeling. I chatted to so many people as I plodded along. My hip started to hurt, as did my knee (fall from last weekend) after about 1km, so I was in for a long day.
I met and chatted to a Japanese tv star, complete with film crew and entourage. A fellow who was doing a walk/run technique hoping to break 6 hours... I reckon he would have broken 5! A man who had just completed Ironman Japan and was walking, having a coffee and cake.... he said he was tired, and besides he liked coffee and cake. We talked about 100mile races, I hope to see him at one soon.
I had what I call an 'Anton' moment while running. At about 32km, my body suddenly stopped hurting and I felt my stride was perfect. The motion of my feet and arms was smooth and effortless. I sped up, though my breathing was not laboured. I passed about 40 runners in the next couple of km and felt invincible. It was like running on clouds.
I came crashing down at 35k when I slowed to collect my drink/gel/lollies. They were nowhere to be seen. Damn and bugger! My last gel was at 25k, and still another 7k to go. Oh well, nothing like a bit of a challenge to toughen up the soul.
My favourite 'meeting' of the day was an older gentleman who wore a shirt with 'Port Moresby Road Runners' on it. I speak the local New Guinean lingo, having grown up there, and he was trotting along with a young PNG guy at his side. I came up beside them and said hello, asking how he was, all in pidgin. The shock on the PNG mans face was priceless. We spoke a few sentences and I trotted off up a small rise. It occured to me later that it would have been very strange for him to see me, a very blonde non-indigenous girl, running in bare feet, greet him in his native language.
This was quite near the end of the run, and at this point, the struggle to compete with the 7.5km walkers became the focus. Though we had a separate lane to run it, we were mostly running off the course on the footpath to avoid having to duck and weave, as groups of people 4-5 abreast took up the road.
Rounding the corner for home was wonderful, I really was tired, but still very happy. I wondered to myself if I could keep on going.... perhaps even for another 120k? I reckon I could have done at least a few more km today.
Today I was slow. 5.29.26. But I had fun. Lots of fun. I did 40k barefoot, my longest barefoot run to date. Next time I'll ignore the voice that tells me I need shoes to start off with. Next time I'll put an extra gel in my pocket.
But next time, I'll enjoy it as least as much as I did this one.