It’s becoming a habit that I make excuses before writing race reports. It starts by pointing out that I’m pretty bloody far from race weight and my training has been less than ideal… So I’m not going to do that, or have I already… fuck it, on with the report!
What I Ate
As a lover of nutritional experimentation, (well… eating in general) I thought I would lead with race nutrition this time.
The week of:
- Standard beet juice loading: 200ml a day for 5 days
- 2 x Beet it Shots the day before
- 1 Beet it Shot on waking
- 1 Beet it Shot 1hr before the race
- Caffeine Abstinence: No caffeine the week of
- Coffee on the morning before the race
- Breakfast: Sprouted amaranth, (yes I am that much of a hippy) with Avocado and salt
During, (Not that much really)….
- 1 Hammer Bar about 2 hours before the race
- 1 Hammer Peanut butter gel (during)
- 1 Pocket Fuel Mocha gel (during)
- 1 GU Espresso gel (during)
So if you check out the course profile you might not think it’s that much of a beast… A decent amount of climbing and descent for sure, but nothing compared to say the North Face 50.
The real devil here… The detail being slippy ass mud, (after a week of rain before the event) and lots of sand running! The former being predominantly in the first half of the course, and even wearing trail shoes it was like running on an ice rink; the sand comes more towards the end, (most notably the final 4k all being on the soft stuff). There is also a fair amount of rocks and roots throughout so some technical skills are definitely a plus. Being able to recover quickly from bigger efforts, (read, climbing) is a bonus as although there are no monster climbs they do seem to come thick and fast with some being pretty steep.
Taking advantage of the flatter, less technical, sections to get your nutrition in is, as always, a good idea, (there are a fair few stretches of metal grates over portions of the course which are ideal for this… although they may be a bit iffy in the wet), But there are plenty of aid stations, (4) so there isn’t a huge need to carry much, (except a bottle, as they don’t provide cups… which is a good thing).
And keep in mind that although this is “only” 30k, (they say 29.1 but everyone i’ve spoken to has it on the GPS at 30+) the terrain makes it feel something closer to marathon distance. Don’t worry too much about the sand – aside from the last few KM’s the other beach sections are very short are pass quickly.
I think the phrase that sums the day up would be ‘better than expected!’.
The course is spectacular, (this was expected) with windswept coastline, beaches, awesome views, etc. But given the crappy weather we’d been having for the 2 weeks prior, I was expecting a wet and miserable day. But aside from the pretty slippery first part of the course the day turned out awesome – the sun was out and I even felt a bit overdressed in my long sleeve Icebreaker merino top!
The next thing that was better than expected was my performance. I’d been consistent enough with my run training, but hadn’t done what I perceived to be enough intensity or specificity; this coupled with being a good few KGs overweight sufficiently lowered my expectations. So with this in mind I was really happy with a) how I felt through the run and b) my overall position, (28th out of 500+ athletes).
All in all I’d say this is one to put on your bucket list – it’s extremely popular for a good reason, (selling out very quickly) and you won’t be disappointed with this tough, honest, spectacular run!
Also – last run with the Ultra Beard 🙁