Deep Space Marathon and Half Marathon
Former Honeysuckle Creek Deep Space Tracking Station
Namadgi National Park ACT
Sunday 13 November 2011
Marathon intermediate and finish times
Half Marathon halfway and finish times
|3||Mark||van der Ploeg||25||Male||46.32||1.43.26|
SOME RACE REPORTS
Deep Space Marathon 2011: Vince Craig
I’m not sure I’ve ever entered a race as ill prepared as I was for this one. I’d been injured all year and only decided to enter the event about 12 days before when Louise pointed out to me that it would be one of the last chances for me to do a qualifier for 6 foot track – which I REALLY want to do next year after I had survived 3 of the Bright 4 peaks – where I was VERY slow. My mileage this year is < 500km, and I am still carrying an Achilles injury.
So Velkro suggested that a week out we run half the course. Louise and Dave Singleton came along for the training run. During the training run my left achilles worried me for a while and I found myself walking only 2km into the run. The good news was that on the return leg I managed to run all the way up the hill. I was pretty stuffed by the end and we’d taken about 2:05 for the Half. The scouting operation was a good move but also pretty intimidating. I think the course is about as tough as 6 ft track and I’d forgotten about all the nasty hills in the kilometres near the start/finish.
When I went to enter I realised that I hadn’t done any races for two years so I didn’t have a qualifier for Deep Space…but John gave me special dispensation – thanks John.
The aim was to run between 4:15 and 4:30 hoping that this would give me a reasonable wave in the 6 ft track.
Cramming for the race was a daily lunchtime run and trying desperately to lose some weight after realising I was 83.5kg (10kg’s over my old race weight) – I did manage to lose about 1kg.
So race day I was up at 4 am, picked up Louise at 4:45am and Velkro at 5 am. We were one of the first to arrive so we had plenty of time to remember all the pre-race prep and chat to people (socks before shoes etc). It looked like there would be a good race between Tim Cochrane and John Winsbury.
Race start and John, Tim and Louise charged off. I felt pretty uncomfortable so I settled into the middle of the pack and had a chat to Bryony for the first 2km. I walked up the steep hill at about 2.5km as planned and made it to the turn drink station in about 6th. From here there is a long descent that seems to keep getting steeper and culminates in a section that is pretty difficult to run down and quite slippery. About half way down I saw Louise ahead and followed her all the way to the first turn at Orroral Valley. It was good to see the leaders coming back towards us. Whingeberry was charging along on 3hr pace (this was the first time I looked at my watch and at first I thought something was wrong) and Tim was quite a way back. Two others were some way ahead of us running together and then Lou in 5th and me in 6th with some distance to 7th.
I ran with Lou for a while but was worried that I was cooking my goose (I’d done 53:17 to the turn which was much faster than I planned) so I purposely backed off and ate some snakes, before catching her again when she faffed around at the drink station at ~13k. I needed a piss stop shortly afterwards (which seemed to take forever) and then I was back on the hill with 1/3rd of the race done.
I caught Lou on the steep stuff and gradually pulled away, walked the really steep section (about 15 metres) and then ground away for a couple more kilometres. About here I saw the guy ahead and he was walking quite a lot. It was great to see the Half runners coming down here. Both Baldylocks and Julielocks looked like they were cruising (they were in the wrong race!….but maybe next week is their goal).
I nearly caught the guy ahead by the top of the hill and (unexpectedly) went past him when he stopped at the drink station. Paul was here taking photos and telling me I had time in the bank – I knew this but was worried I’d gone too hard.
From here back to the start there are a number of leg punishing steep descents and some short steep rises, but I was feeling good along here….so I reminded myself to eat more snakes and tried to minimise the leg damage.
I reached the turn in 1:52:15, about 15 minutes quicker than planned in 4th place. Maybe I was headed for a brick wall?- but I felt pretty good at this stage and felt I had something in reserve. Would this turn ugly? Third place (Woolford) was about 2 minutes ahead and 5th (Roukchan) about 2 minutes behind but I wasn’t thinking about that, my plan was to get back down to the valley in good condition. This time down I was worried about leg damage and I think I was a bit slower this time around. Upon reaching the bottom it was strange because one moment I’d feel good and then shortly afterwards I’d feel pretty flat…solution eat more snakes!
It was about here I saw John coming back (about 7km’s ahead of me) and he was looking good still, with a healthy lead over Tim who was also looking strong. At the turn I was about 1.5 km behind 3rd (Woolford) and about 1.8km in front of 5th (Read)– which suited me fine – I didn’t feel like racing mano-o-mano.
I really enjoyed the designated “favourite bit” here – one of the flat sections of the course which was also smooth under foot as my feet were feeling a bit beaten up. The big hill was reached at ~35km and I was forced to walk up the really steep section and then alternated between running and walking from there depending on the gradient. At the top of the steep section Paul was offering encouragement and I grovelled/ran the rest of the way from there but in places I was very slow. With about 5km to go I thought it would be a struggle to break 4 hours so I used that as motivation to keep pushing- at this stage I really felt like the wheels had fallen off and was hoping to grovel my way to the finish.
It was good to reach the turn drink station for the last time and be able to go downhill for a while even if it was painfully steep. Here I began to push a bit harder but was also a bit cautious not to blow up. The downhill brought some life back to my legs and the km’s felt like miles but they ticked over and I soon realised I was a chance to break 3:50, but my Garmin wasn’t showing seconds just minutes so I wasn’t sure where I stood. In the end I was pretty glad to sneak in under 3:50 (3:49:24) and amazed how well the day had gone.
I felt pretty shocking for the next 15 minutes and my legs were aching all over in a way I haven’t experienced before so I was expecting severe DOMS today. But by mid afternoon I wasn’t feeling too bad and I’m walking much better today than I usually am after a race. I’m not sure if this is because I’m racing slower or a benefit of the posture and core strength work I’ve been doing. My Achilles was extremely sore when touched after the event but today it feels fine.
So really a special day out, massively quicker than I’d hoped for and the splits (1:52/1:57) were pretty even considering my lack of training and it’s nice to do something crazy and have it really working out. This is only my third Marathon after 6 ft and Canberra Marathon and it was a lot less painful than the other two. Thanks Lou for suggesting it and Paul for the idea of scoping out the course- and for driving back to Canberra after the race!
Congrats to Johnno on a very classy run. Congrats to Lou on a handsome win despite being sick all week – I still reckon you make it look easy. It was also good to see Bryony smile all the way only a few weeks after her 100km effort and Mr Wrong finish very strongly.
A BIG THANK YOU to John and his crew for putting on another great race, we are so lucky to have the perfect combination of race manager and race courses in Canberra.
Now to get really fit for March! If you are planning a long training run with plenty of hills let me know.
Ian Wright report
Like Vince, I had a better run than expected. My longest run since the North Face 100 km in May had been 20 km at the Majura Vineyard Two Peaks Race last month. However I have done about 21 days of bushwalking & a bit of snowshoeing in recent months and an 11 km double ascent of Mt Taylor most other days so I knew the terrain wouldn’t be a problem – just not sure if I would be able to keep up a decent pace for 42 km.
Six hours of scrub bashing through Namadgi’s formidable scrub and granite at a maximum speed of 1.8 km per hour wearing a pack and boots is an excellent slow motion training session and leaves me feeling about as fatigued as a 40 km training run in the Cotter catchment with Flyer!
I started out at the back of the pack and took a few km’s to get into a nice rhythm; the first hill to the 4 km drink station felt easy and I started to pass runners but was passed in turn on the long downhill. Steve’s drink station at Orroral came up quickly – weather conditions were still excellent as I had my gloves on. I managed to run most of the 4 km hill back up to the Orroral ridge, which I had never managed previously so was surprised not to catch up to anyone. Twenty km down, feeling very good and thinking how much better a run it was than the old course where there was an awful 6 km slog up the Honeysuckle Road.
Passed one runner at the bridge and kept at the same pace until the Orroral drink station, with the intention of a fast run for home from 10 km out, if the legs were OK. The long hill from the river went quickly, with a comfortable run / walk rhythm. I caught up to Louise at the drink station and with only 3 km to go and feeling as good as I have ever felt at this stage in a long race, I decided to do my yearly speed session and bolted for the finish. 4:03:16 — splits of 2h 2m / 2h 1m. (Would be interested in my time from Orroral to home ?)
Thanks to John, Carol, Steve and all the other helpers. It is an excellent course which I found ideal.
Julie Quinn report
I decided not to be too ambitious with the distance given my longest run in months has been about
20k. So I thought I’d do the half as a warm up to my run in the Triple Tri this weekend.
Baldylocks and I got out there just in time to see the marathon start so we had plenty of time to do
a good 3k warm up. This was great with me actually feeling truely warm when we started unlike
most other people shivering on the line.
I felt terrible as we started, huffing and puffing away with a high HR but going so slow. I think
most of the field passed me on the way up the first little hill before the 1 k mark. I tried to console
myself that it was me just doing my usual slow start then on the next hill I was passed by yet more
people including one guy who I thought didn’t look like he could run around the block let alone
finish a tough half (he did and did well). At which point I thought I needed to just ignore everyone
else and focus on the bush and sod everything if I came last.
The 3 km mark came up and I was surprised to see the fire trail head off down because I’d had a
very quick squiz at the map and thought we went uphill to the 4 km mark. I couldn’t remember
anything of the trail because I think it’s been at least 12 years since I’d been down there. I jogged
down here and saw lots of the marathoners coming back up looking pretty good. I nearly stepped
on the splendid blue tongue just after the 6 km mark too – I still can’t believe Baldylocks ran past it
twice without seeing it. On the steeper stuff I actually caught a couple of people including
the “couldn’t run around the block” guy by using the patented gramps downhill running technique.
Saw the 7 km mark and made the mental note that this is the point at which I needed to think
about the hill on the way back.
Saw Kerrie at the drinks station over the river and slogged slowly up the hill on the other side. I
realised then that actually I wasn’t doing too badly because I could still see the other girls,
particularly Belinda’s blue shirt only a few minutes in front. Lots of hellos to people as they started
coming back and I think I got to the turn around just under an hour.
I got chatting to some others about the north face on the way back which took us to the bottom of
the steep section where I decided to kick in the power walking/running combo because the lungs
and heart weren’t going to cope with running the steeper stuff. Seemed to work because I caught
and slowly passed Cathy and a couple of guys. Bit after the 4 km to go mark I spotted Belinda and
made an effort to catch her so I had someone to run the last bit with. But she was a bit blown and
I rapidly pulled away.
The top of the hill and 3 k to go in 1:44 or so. I decided that would make it easy to go under 2 hrs
if I ran ok down the hill so took off the best I could because the few uphill bits were going to be
slow. Finished in 1:58 and second place. Not bad at all given my current lack of form.
It’s an awesome course for a half – tough but really beautiful bush with a mix of bush, views, ups
and downs on a good fire trail. Well chosen John.