Speights Westcoaster Adventure Run
Completed - 7hours 24minutes.
Marathon number one is done. This was an amazing course to kick off this adventure. The scenery was spectacular. The course had 2000m of vertical gain, which I translated as "you get to walk a lot...". The winner finished in 5hours 9 minutes.
I went into this event a little under prepared. The theory being that 20 months is a long time, and I didn't want to run the risk of over-training for marathon one. The plan for this event was a) finish b) don't pick up any injuries and c) enjoy! I am pleased to say all three objectives were met.
Weather conditions were set to be perfect, if not a little hot. The race briefing complete, nervous energy in the air, runners milled around and ebbed towards the start line. I shuffled towards the back of the pack. A few words of encouragement and caution and we were off.
I had mentally broke the course into 4 sections
Section 1 (0 - 12km)
Most for the first 12km section was run on private land (thanks to the Bethells Family). This first section was very pleasant. I was cautious to watch my pace, careful not to let my pace creep up. A good time to chat to a few guys who have run this event before. Important information I gathered a) leave something in the tank for later, b) when you get tired just look at the scenery and c) you have to run the Disneyland Marathon! To summarize this first section - Take in the great views of Bethells Beach, run across a rather large sand dune, get your feet wet running in the stream and you're into the second section.
Section 2 (12 - 22km)
The second section (10km) was to run north on Te Henga track - amazing views of the rugged westcoast. I felt pretty good for most of this section. It must have been about 18km into the run, when I experienced a proverbial 'bad patch'. Legs felt good, but I just felt tired as if my body just realized that today was going to be a long day. There was a heart-breaking climb up some stairs before getting to the next aid station (at 22km). I was stepping, one, two, three - stop - breathe... one, two, three - stop - breathe * repeat * til the top. Glad to see a few friendly faces here, I took some electrolytes, refilled the back-pack and ate a banana. With a smile on my face and I was quick to move on.
Section 3 (22 - 32km)
This 10km was a loop of Goldie Bush, back to the aid station. With a spring in my step, I remember running quite strongly here, feeling good. The field had spread out a bit now and I was on my own heading into Goldie Bush. There were plenty river crossings here, taking the opportunity at each to splash water on my legs, neck and face. Climbing out of Goldie Bush, at what must have been about the 29km mark, my legs started cramping a bit. Nothing too serious, I could still move forward - which in my books is a win.
Section 4 (32 - 42.2km)
Ah, back to the aid station. Tired. Less chatty, still smiling. I grabbed some more electrolytes. Didn't feel like eating anything. I crouched down to refill the back-pack - bad move - my legs seized up. It wasn't game over, just an intense threat from the legs. I walked out of the aid station, 10kms to go. I pretty much walked most of this final section (not by choice). The scenery was amazing. The legs were hurting. The ipod was in the ears, I remember singing along to 'Johnny Clegg - Impi'. I walked (again not by choice) across the finish line - to receive the finishers medal and an ice cold Speights. One down, 19 to go.
This was my first marathon with my ASICS Fuji Racers. I was a little nervous, having not run more than 3hours in these before. I was very pleased with them, after 7+ hours on my feet, no niggles, no blisters (despite the many river crossings). I'll be wearing these again, for sure.
Thank you to the Speights Westcoaster team for your support, what an amazing event. There was also a relay option, a 6km, 13km, 21.1km, 30km and the marathon option - something for everyone, see you next year.
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