29 September 2014

The Day After the Day That Was

Canberra 101 2014

I towed the line late September down in the ACT for the Sri Chinmoy Canberra 101 Trail Run. This event was my first 100km race 12 months before and I was keen to run well, off what was a solid build up. For some reason or another my pre-race thoughts on how the race would go began to unravel around 5hrs in. Then after a fall shortly after that point, my race fell apart. At 70km I decided reluctantly to withdraw, fearing an injury and not being able to weight bare on my right foot, I felt this was the most sensible decision.

Disappointment and dejection. Two words that come to mind the day after the day that was. I had been careful in my build-up, balancing my training for this event and the Edgell Jog, a 7.5km road race, three weeks earlier. My training had gone well and I felt faster, stronger and mentally better prepared than this time last year. I was ready to race the 100km and had been planning on a slightly more reserved start and building into the event a leg at a time.

Off Ainslie, a spot I didn't reach in 2014
I went through 50km in 4:49 and was on track for my 10:30 goal when the mid-race demons arrived. I was ready for this and backed up a notch walking and running until the moment passed. When I departed the Arboretum I was back holding my planned effort again pushing towards the shorter but tougher back half and hopefully a push towards the end. At this point I kicked my foot heavily on a tree root and fell, a fall that took the wind out of my sails. There was no return from here, my efforts to run became more and more difficult with the pain becoming quite strong.

I pushed on hoping it would settle but after climbing up and trying to run off Black Mountain my persistence was beginning to become stupidity and realising any more km would just further inflame the problem and lead to an injury. I really had my head on for this one and was pretty bummed I went out, it wasn't mental but physical and this is the hardest part to take. I felt I was running with discipline and believed that I would have finished well if my foot came good.

No excuses though, I dropped at 70km and it is unfortunately another DNF. Can I run ultras? Well the answer is yes, the optional comment box would probably read "still very inexperienced and learning how to transfer 2/3hr efforts into the long stuff. Hit and miss at the moment but will improve with further training and patience". The hardest thing is the time, dedication and sacrifice that I and also Kel had put into this event and its build up. Things like foregoing social events, getting up at 4.30am for runs and fronting the cash for accomodation, travel and so on all seem wasted when things good belly up. They arent but at the time you seem a touch lost in the disappointment.

I have only been running seriously for two years now, this I need to remember. I put a lot of pressure and high expectations on myself and the romance of an ultra is something I need to control better. I have made an effort to reduce my ultras next year and I feel I need another solid year of training before I can run the long ones hard. The next few months will be building, mindful of the year gone by and what my new goals for 2015 are. I aim to progress and by ringing things back a touch giving the body a rest from the long long runs I will be ready for 2015 and what it throws at me. I have a good year but a year not without it's low point so far, my main goal is to finish off well and have some fun again, because frankly speaking the last 1.5hrs was not fun at all and that goes against why I run in the first place.

So the next question, Canberra 102 in 2015Well I dont like leaving things open and I had planned on Surf Coast Century but nothing is finalised and I like the nations capital. Why is this race messing with me? what makes it tougher than the stats show? I dont know, maybe it is the heat that comes with late spring, while not overly hot Im not acclimatised as yet due to the cold winter, or just maybe it is the race itself. If I were to sum the Sri Chinmoy Canberra Trail Run, fast, open and exposed with short and sharp pinches thrown in along the way. All set in and around Canberra on its diverse, hard and rocky interconnecting trail system letting you see where you are going and where you have been.

So with that I leave that question unanswered, Canberra 2015who knows?


  1. Bad luck Wes - I came across you on a fire trail just off Black Mountain and I felt very disappointed for you. You had some kind words as I was coming through a bad patch of my own which were much appreciated. Better luck next year - off course you'll be back!


    1. Thanks Chris, glad to hear you pulled through. as for next year, well it's a long way away at the moment.

  2. Thanks Wes, always love your insights.