Monday 10 April 2006

98km and I can still walk

Well, well, well... I logged my first 12-hr circuit race on Friday night. Yes, 12hrs of running around a 1km loop. This is what I learned...

  • The first 20km are easier than running a road race
  • Grass track, on which feet have been running for days and hours, is as hard as tar.
  • The most difficult kilometers are those that come after you've completed the minimum race distance (70km).
  • It really is not boring running around a 1km loop. You're entertained by the other runners and the spectators camped around the track (thanks to the young gents at the 500m mark for their cheers of "Go Tannie" - even at 3am!). It's also really neat passing through the counting tent every kilometer because with each run-through it's another kay completed and the time inbetween pass-throughs isn't long.
  • Friends and family are gems. It really was wonderful to see their encouraging faces everytime I ran past.

I'll tell you something... when I ran the 100km in Hawaii in Jan (off-road ultra, gnarly terrain) my knees and joints didn't feel a thing. By 30km here my knees had started to speak. This truely is the difference between on-road and off-road. Off-road your stride and cadence changes with nearly every step and the terrain is softer; more forgiving. But, because you have to watch each step, off-road is far more mentally demanding as you have to concentrate on each foot placement. On-road you run at a constant pace, on a hard (mostly even) surface and this takes its toll on the body. Needless to say I wasn't walking very well on Saturday (run finished at 07h00 on Sat morning) or on Sunday. I'm far more stable this morning.

Still, I was very happy with the run, which went smoothly with no problems and no blisters.

Result: 1st lady and 3rd overall.

My warmest thanks go to my mom, dad, Theresia and Neil, who spent the whole night sitting around the Randburg Sports Complex's track. Neil ran a good number of laps with me, getting up regularly from a warm sleeping bag to come out for a few kays. To Steve, from Suunto, for his visit 'til midnight (he should have been at a cycle race but was down with food poisoning) and for downloading my Suunto T6 at midnight. Pam and Lobby, thanks for your 2am visit. They woke up especially to come through and each ran a couple of laps with me. Michael & Heather, your sms' from Chile throughout the run warmed the cold night. Friends and family, thank you for messages, your support and encouragement on what was a long and chilly night out.

The next one... not for a while. The experience was a good one but I don't think I'll be doing these races regularly. I'd like to do one a year, just for kicks, and no, the 24hr category is not an option... for now.

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