Monday, March 23, 2015

Roller Coaster Run 21.5k - Race Report

Well, there I was - lining up for my first race since my DNF at Surf Coast Century last September. I'd run Roller Coaster last year, and done the two loop event, finishing a very pleasing 4th in 4:07, but this year couldn't have been more different. With only 12 days training under my belt, and having missed 9 of the previous 11 weeks through injury, I'd contemplated dropping out of the race altogether, but with a week to go I dropped back to the one lap and decided to have a crack at my shortest race in forever. I love this event, and as long as I could get around in one piece, there was no reason not to start.

I still had some soreness in my left glute from my most recent mishap, and the groin injury is just something that isn't going to go away without surgery, but I figured I'd lope around at three quarter pace, blow the cobwebs out, and hopefully take a step towards getting fit enough for TNF100 in May. There was no way I was going to go head to head with these speedsters, and the safest course of action was a nice easy start, pick it up in the middle, then work home solidly up the hill. Sorted.

So as soon as they let us go, obviously I took off like a scalded cat, hurling myself down the tricky first descent with the leading group, and was gasping for oxygen before I'd even gone a kilometre. Not being content with that, I decided to reel off a few sub 4 minute k's, despite not having been anywhere near that pace for 3 months.Honestly, I deserve every single one of those injuries. Gradually I began to reign myself in, and continue at a less hysterical pace, and the quicker runners filtered past me as we made our way down the mountain.

Of course this new found sense didn't last for long. As soon as we hit the first decent climb at Dodd's Track, I was determined to display my ascending prowess, and ran/hiked like I meant it, barely concealing my disdain for these city roadies, as I marched past a few with what may or may not have looked like consummate ease. After all, I thought, as we crossed Basin-Olinda Rd, this was where I had gapped some decent runners last year, before cresting the hill with plenty in the tank, bombing the next downhill, and disappearing out of sight.

This year, I lurched to the top of the rise with the only thing in the tank being my breakfast, which now seemed to be planning its exit from my stomach, and proceeded to fight the nausea, as all the runners I had passed streamed back past me down the hill, as well as a few others besides. At this point, I finally decided discretion was the better part of valour, and attempted to lock in a semi-sustainable effort, while I focused on drinking and getting in some calories. I was caught by a couple more at the bottom of the mountain at the half way point, and I knew I was well out of the top ten, but was starting to feel a little better, and with it being basically all uphill the rest of the way, figured I still had a chance for decent result.

And that was pretty much how it turned out. I held my own on the flats, and when the track hit the climbs I would make ground and pick off one here and one there. By the time we got to Trig Track I was in 9th, with a couple of k to go and a couple of nasty climbs, and I was able to ease past another couple and jog into the finish, just sneaking under 2 hours and placing 7th. I was about 4 mins slower than my half way split from last year, but considering the limited prep, I was pretty happy.

The biggest upside though, was how I pulled up. The glute didn't get any worse, and while I expected the groin to be VERY sore the next day, it actually doesn't feel too bad. The hard hit out should bring me along in fitness, and if I don't do anything too stupid (big call, I know), I may even be able to get to Katoomba in some sort of shape.

Race Results