The Glenbrook Marathon 2010 was very much where long distance trail running all started for me! Nabbing 3rd place and a guaranteed entry into 6 foot that year really sparked that deeper connection.
Last year I returned to the event but it was a different course and I opted to do the halfmarathon. I felt terribly nervous and was really starting to dislike running at this time. Having well and truly overcome this now, I was simply busting to get out there on the original marathon course this year! I had no expectation but was simply curious to see how much I had improved in the past 3 years.
It was an early start at Brischetto HQ, with Joe and the kids travelling to the start with me as they were working an aid station. Tessa slept in, so she rocked the car ride in her PJ's eating a Vegemite sandwich for breakfast. As I got out of the car I bumped into the amazing Jane Trumper as I was licking Vegemite off the side of my dishevelled daughters face! Man I love our community!
As we cut through Euroka and headed up the Goat track I realised I had hit the single track in 3rd place...whoops! There was a congo line of runners behind me many doing the 2 shorter races and now I better get cracking up this hill! I had never ran all of this little climb before, yet in this moment I was feeling great! I powered up the hill and continued feeling good on the climb all the way to Portal look out. This is the spot where my family were marshalling and the kids bounced and flapped with excitement when they saw me running towards them. There is no gel in the world that could give me as much energy as seeing my family on-course does!
I headed back down Mt Portal and loved seeing all the other runners on the out and back. Being a Blue Mountains local, I knew a lot of the field on the day and it felt like I was going out for a run with all my friends. We smiled and encouraged each other as we ran...perfect!
I headed to the end of the fire road and was pleased to hook back onto the beautiful single track, I loved knowing the course, nothing to do but run. (Brendan's not the only navigationally challenged Woodfordian) I moved swiftly down the stairs to the road and couldn't wait to get onto the Red Hands trail...this is a beautiful technical little section that gently climbs up to the historical Red Hands Cave. This is my favourite section of the race. Again, I have run this many times, but for some reason at that moment I just felt stronger on that section than I ever had before. hmmm...
After the caves the trail again opens up to fire road, and it's a slight uphill climb for a fair while. Completely runnable, but at times hard to keep your focus. I was really focusing on my breath, making sure I was always 'huffing and puffing' as I do tend to day dream and slow down when by myself, which I now was for this whole section. A few km's before the turn off for Pisgah Ridge I overtook a few guys. I then saw a ute driving towards me, It was Marcus, a friend of mine and one of the race organisers. He slowed down and hung out the window and said "You're a freak! You're in second place overall you know!" 'Far out!' I thought...that is just ridiculous! I slipped back to 3rd on the Pisgah Ridge trail, and kept waiting for a barrage of men to overtake me!
I headed back onto the fire-trail with nothing to be done but get to the finish, which after a few km's of slight climbing was all down hill for 6km's. I was feeling great until 4km to go when a niggling hip I've been nursing for a few weeks became an angry ITB and subsequently a very sore knee. I pulled back a bit and ran the last few km's with a bit more control. As I came out of Bennets ridge into the camping area I could hear Joe's voice yelling encouragement. It was then I looked at my watch (metal analogue) I didn't look at the exact start time, but I know the race started at about 7.30 and I could see I was on track for a 3.5 hour run! I know the female record for this race was 3.31 and held by Angela Bateup, who is a hero of mine. I abandoned my concern for my knee and let the screams of my family help me fly down the hill to the finish.
I crossed the line with such a feeling of contentment and joy...and I was truly pooped. I hugged the family then fell on a chair. Joe headed to the car to get me a blanket so I could lay down. Whilst he was gone I found myself tearing up...not something that's happened post race to me before and I had no idea why? I wasn't at all sad? I recovered in just a few minutes and by the time Joe had returned I no longer wanted to lie down. Poor Man Joe ;-)
I completed this event in a time of 3.28, a new course record. I was the first female and 3rd overall. I don't often talk numbers in my race tales as it's not why I run, but I really think in this race my emotions on the day stem from these numbers. I truly didn't believe I was capable of doing this. I was proud of myself in a way I haven't been before. it was a 45 min PB...GO ME :-)
Bring on Kedumba!