I had a couple of months down time after TNF, which I needed. When I felt well enough to really train again, I decided to enter myself into a number of shorter races, growing in distance and intensity each week. I felt this might fast track my fitness in the lead up to CC.
I started with a Mountain Sports STS 10km race, followed the next week by Running Wild's Mt Portal 16km trail race. Mt Portal was tough, I could really feel the fitness I had lost, but was excited to be moving on the trails, and I felt like I was running free again surrounded by trail friends and the amazing bush!
The following week I ran the Mountain Sports 22km Night run at Garigal. This was the week before Coastal Classic and I felt would be a great gauge for where I was going to be at. 3 x 7.5km laps of a technical single track in the dark with a busted head torch proved interesting and had me laughing out loud. I fell down a huge hole at one point, up to my armpits in boulder and had a bush rat run right in front of my face. I smiled then scrambled up before my head became a stepping stone for the next runner! I was lucky enough to win this race which was lovely but the real highlight was having a number of my Summit Sisters with me doing the short option. For all of them it was their first ever running event and just seeing the joy they had found on the trail...it's a special thing seeing someone find that connection for the first time.
(The sneaky wine and cheese plate we shared post run was a bit of a highlight too :-))
So Coastal Classic...
Jumping in the car with Brendan early that morning to road trip down I was feeling really relaxed and excited about getting out on this new trail. I felt like a kid going to play at their favourite playground! The only stress I was feeling was all the talk of elections as it was voting day!
As always, we arrived at the start with only minutes to spare, which I actually think works well for me. Before I knew it I was off and running!
As the terrain became a bit trickier underfoot after a few km's I found I had caught up to Reegan. I have run with Reegan in a few events now, she is so lovely in nature and very strong! I moved past her as we headed into 'the jungle' but knowing how she runs I was sure I would be seeing her again very soon!
As I came out of the 'Jungle' it really started to heat up and I soon realised that the 600ml of water I was carrying was not going to do me the whole race as I had expected. In fact, I ended up refilling at EVERY aid station! No biggy though, the people there were lovely to chat to and really obliging.
Running on beaches was a first for me, it was tough and my shoes were full of sand...exfoliation anyone??
In the blink of an eye I was kissing the ground and of course of all the places to fall...I was right in front of a photographer. I rarely buy race photos but when I saw they had one of my stack I had to buy them as it cracked me up!
As I ran the last few km's I really noticed that I was dehydrated and I was for the first time thinking about being finished. I asked someone with a fancy watch how far we had to go, for me once this head space kicks in...my running gets a bit pathetic. I had a little 'self-talk' then started soaking up the reasons that had lead me to the trail...all good. As I turned onto the last beach I picked up my stride, getting that last little burst of energy from the thoughts of crossing the line.
I was first female home in 'the race' in 3.52xx...and no one was more surprised than me! What a breath-taking course and a well organised event. I had a lovely day hanging out in Bundeena with my family and trail friends afterwards. This is certainly one on my to do list again!
Thanks To all who helped get me running again after my break, in particular Man Joe, Matt Cooper, Brendan Davies & all my beloved Leura Icebergs xx :-)