So after many reminders, I am at last getting to a race report on the Stromlo 12 Hour Race.
Why has it taken so long…..No excuse other than I needed to re-find real enjoyment in running before writing this…..I guess that hints as to the toll my first road ultra had on me!
I knew going in to it that running for 12 hours through the night on a 1k loop road course would be tough mentally. One of the reasons I have loved ultras so far is that I really enjoy running on trail through amazing scenery, this is not what Stromlo offered 🙂
With about 30 runners starting the race it was a nice number of people and range of runners, with some great experience joining us newbies on the start line. I struggled for the first few hours to hold pace back to where I knew it needed to be to keep going. Feeling strong, you just want to get moving, and with a large storm drenching us early, it also helped stay warm.
From quite early I suffered stomach issues, something I have had in the past, but have worked out my nutrition to avoid it. Unfortunately obviously need to work on the different requirements for a night time start. So after numerous pit stops (I think 9 by end of race) I started to cramp really badly in my stomach (new running experience) and was really questioning at the 5hr mark if I could keep going. At this stage I also started to get some glute overload issues that stemmed from running longer on road in Hokas than I had before. Quick break to change shoes, force some fluid in & I got myself back out there and lapping at more regular intervals (helped that some friends had arrived to watch – felt I better stay out there at least until they went home).
Shifted focus to regular run/walk routine & got music (and later podcast) pumping. Hit another low around 8 hours as was really struggling to get anything into stomach, so stopped very briefly and had some drinks. With less than 2 hours to go cars started to arrive in to set up for and compete in the other races, this gave another pick me up as really showed it would be light soon. At this point I knuckled down & set myself goal to just run solidly to the end, managing to keep a good solid pace through the final 90mins.
Very happy to finish with a total of 105.6km, second female and 5th individual. Less kms that I wanted, but completed it, and according to Garmin, with my poor race line & all the side trips, had actually done 110km. Note to self get better at sticking to the racing line (a lot of drifting around on the track happening in the very dark parts of the course overnight).
A huge congratulations to all who ran and in particular to Oliver & Pam who both ran controlled consistent races to win.
Happy to have experienced it, not sure how long until I will do another road ultra!
As I mentioned earlier this run did play with my head, it also left me with a lot more leg soreness than I have had post 100k trail races, so it has taken me a while to get back into a happy running place. I am there again…..so a new blog coming in next few days on training & re-finding the fun 🙂