I had plans. Grand plans. The sort of plans that your brain runs away with when you are stuck in traffic or overstaying your welcome in the shower. The sort of plans that come with a soundtrack, slow motion and a slow clap.
2021 at Surf Coast Trail Marathon was a unicorn year. Even though it was tough and in sections it hurt, both physically and mentally, it was one of those days when I got to the end and everything just felt right. (you can read the full recap from 2021). I smashed my previous best time by 17 minutes.
I probably should have factored said unicorn into my 2022 plans, but who needs reality when you can imagine yourself as Beyoncé dominating at Coachella.
I felt good in my preparation leading up to the race. I’d done some long runs, some soft sand running and training runs on the sections of the course I don’t go out to often.
I hadn’t exactly followed a training plan but it felt solid and consistent even though there wasn’t a lot of speed work to be had.
But so much of your success on race day comes down to what you do the day before, and well that was a big time fail for me. I had grand resting and carb loading plans but unfortunately work had other ideas and I spent the day outside on my feet, eating only a protein bar and forgetting to drink water. I ended up eating dirty dominos at 8:30pm!
As usual I was at the start line early enough to drop my bags and have a quick nervous wee before we headed off.
As usual, the tidal warnings and navigation tips (beach to left, road to right, don’t cross either and you’ll be fine) came from RD Chris Ord and we headed off at around 8:30am.
I shuffled the first few k’s along the beach with Megan before she sped off around 5k in. Her long blonde pony tail bobbed up ahead in the distance for a while, like a lighthouse or bunny rabbit to follow, until she disappeared into the distance, not to be seen again until the finish.
I was probably 7 km in when I realised that heavy feeling in my legs wasn’t going to get any better.
Let the mind games begin.
The first half of the course I run all the time in training. I know it like the back of my hand, which is exactly what I saw flash before my eyes when I took a tumble at around 15k.
The course was pretty dry considering the rain leading up to the race but some patches were peanut butter slippery. Let’s just say if it wasn’t for the peak of my cap, I would have had peanut butter on my nose!
I ran with insta pal Vanessa for a few k’s heading into the half way point where I also ran into friendly faces waiting to start the half marathon.
It’s the blessing and the curse of this event. It’s fun (and slightly annoying as it can be congested) running through the half marathoners waiting to start but it’s when they all come bowling past you at speed, like packs of wild animals wearing headphones on the single track that is the worst part. It’s rude and terrifying having them bowl past without notice. Getting angry at them takes up too much mental energy but my grand plans had way past dissolved at this point.
The event then became about just getting to the end.
I tried to refocus but I had let the horse out the gate and there was no shoving it back in. It was nice to find a few people of a similar pace to shuffle in behind to keep the kilometres ticking over.
I didn’t hate the sand section though, usually I find it a massive mental challenge but I enjoying chasing people down, at least until the passed me on the climbs off the beach!
I ended up finishing in 5:02:32, not a Pb by any stretch but my fastest time outside of the unicorn year and chased down quite a few folks in the last k or so.
But by far the biggest fail of the day was showering (with icebergs in the beach) before taking finish line photos! and yes I’m small and yes my clothes are always too big!
Can’t wait for number 5 next year!