Friday, September 25, 2015

Crater to Coast Half Marathon

So I'm a little behind with blogging!!  We headed down the Highway a couple of weeks ago, towards Warrnambool on a Friday afternoon to spend the weekend with my sister, her man & my niece before running the Warrnambool Athletics's Crater to Coast Half Marathon on the Sunday. 

Friday night is Pizza night at my sisters & well, you can't have pizza without a glass of red!

The morning bought some beautiful sunshine & we met my niece's loan stable pony - Loco is actually a thoroughbred horse @ approximately 14.2 hands & just lovely!

Tess took him for a ride (above) & I had a walk inside the round yard - last time I went for a trail ride, I put my back out which aggravated my ITB &  created havoc with my running!!  So I was playing it safe with the event the following day :-)

When we arrived Friday night I jumped out of the car at the top of the drive way & had a quick visit with Woobs (my darling 16 year old cat who passed away earlier this year) returning during daylight to adorn her little grave with some flowers.

The rest of the day was spent hanging out on the farm, going for a walk in the sunshine, my sis & I tested out the new(ish) Thai massage place (lovely!) & heading into Koroit for dinner at the new(ish) Thai restaurant.  I forgot to take photo's but rest assured I was carb loading with a mound of Pad Thai.  No chilli though - not conducive to distance running! 

I was designated driver, but my running coach usually allows a glass of wine the night before a big event if it will help you relax & get a good nights sleep.  So this was my sister's & my desert LOL.  To be honest, I wasn't expecting much from the run as my legs were still feeling pretty fatigued from the Sandy Point Half.  I was just hoping to get it done within 2 hours.

Had a fairly decent sleep: as the event didn't start until 9am I dozed for a bit longer than usual as I didn't want to eat (or drink) too much to early creating an early pit stop requirement.  Ate my obligatory piece of toast with peanut butter & jam & half a cup of tea before it was time to drive over to Koroit (7 minute drive??).

This lovely lady found me straight away queuing for my race number & quickly captured a pic as we forgot last time!!!!

In no time we were off.  Down the street towards the rail trail, slight incline with cows in the paddocks on either side.  I had a bit of a laugh at the smell - cow's do have a distinct aroma.  I remember my Dad telling me about an interlude he'd had with a bank teller in town one day.  She told him she knew he was a farmer, but not a dairy farmer.  Dad asked her why, she replied she could always pick the dairy farmers by their smell!!!!  While he was showered & unidentified that day, Dad never ever went into town after that without showering first!!!    

Soon we were on the down hill section towards Illowa where my sis lives.  Once we hit her road, the hills struck.  I overtook a few people here including one of my niece's gymnastic friends - felt pretty chuffed about that LOL.  Conquered the last hill on that road; the top of which is pretty much at my sisters driveway.  The crew were there as was the sign I'd spent a little time Saturday afternoon working on for Carol (in the picture with me above)!  Carol - see how I added in Mascot?  Writing signs with the word cow in it can be fraught with danger - hence adding the word Mascot after I'd written it!!!  LOL.  Didn't want anyone taking it the wrong way!!!!!!

If you've followed her blog, you'll know Carol tries to take a picture with cows in it on her long runs - cows are kind of the mascot for a group she runs with.  I'd alerted her to the possibility of a sign & we had balloons tied to the fence as well.  The family cheered me on as well as a few of my sisters work mates & my niece's gymnastic friend.  At one point they heard someone yell out - hey, that signs for Carol!  And as Carol ran up & over the hill my sis spotted her & yelled out "are you Carol" ?  Yes was the reply & I think my sis yelled out well done, no more hills!!

My sis's place incidentally was pretty much the half way point.  I continued on, passed the horse trail ride place, across the marsh, parallel to the beach although the sand dunes are too high to manage any view!  Passed the knackery - the smell wasn't too bad that day but I did hold my hanky over my nose until I could no longer smell it!  Up the last steep hill, across the road & along the board walks through the park land.  With about 3 kms to go, gymnastic's girl regained her place in front of me!  I yelled out well done - almost there - smash it!!!!

It was then that I realized a guy in front of me was running in leather sandals.  He looked to be somewhat older than me.  I was really starting to feel fatigued by now & really hadn't been paying attention to my time, but one thing was for sure: I wasn't going to be beaten by an old bloke running in sandals!!!!  (no disrespect intended Mr Sandal Man & well done to you for your effort - but you use what ever you can towards the end of a long run to keep you going!!!)

I reeled him in with 2kms left to go & powered on.  Up a little hill (maybe 4 steps worth but it was bloody hard work) & out of nowhere I could see where the finishing area was.  Belted into the carpark & could see gymnastic's girl ahead of another girl, both in front of me.  There was my niece & sis yelling out Go Cat Go!!!  I could see the finish line, lifted & blazed past the girl in front of me & onto the oval about to head left to the finish line when a marshal yelled out - right, go right, you have to go around the oval first!!!

Bloody hell.  Wish I'd known that as I'd kind of used up the last of my energy & the girl I'd just over taken shot passed me & was leaving me for dead!!!  I gathered my wits & just plugged on reminding myself I was almost there.  With 200 metres to go I could actually read the finishing post which had the time on it.  I realized that I was actually in line to PB again & with the girl in front of me in my sights, lifted for my second Lazy Big Finish for the run & not only pipped the girl in front of me at the finish line by half a metre, but also managed to take 1 second per km off my pace with a new PB time of 1 hour 53 mins 20 seconds (previous was 1 hour 53 35).

Wandered around a bit to cool down, got my medal, an apple & the best thing of all - a lemonade icy pole!!! OMG I do believe that was the best post race anything ever (although the juice they handed out after the Sandy Point half was pretty damn good too!).  I suspect everything & anything you eat post run is just the best ever.  I swear the coffee I get after a run in Williamstown is only that good after a run.  At any other time it's only ho hum!!!!

Hung about for a while with the family & was looking out for Carol to cheer her over the finishing line.  PB was getting a bit angsty as we had a stop to do on our way back to Melbourne, so reluctantly we bid the family goodbye & headed off.  Carol had actually had to stop & assist a runner that had collapsed about 1km after my sister's place & waited until they were safely in the ambulance.  Carol - you are a saint!!!!!!  And I'm very sorry we weren't there to see you afterwards!!!!

The drive home was uneventful.  I'd stiffened up somewhat so a lovely long hot epsom salts bath was well appreciated.  I really enjoyed the event & will be adding it to my annual must do event calender - even if it's just for the icypole!!!!!


Char said...

Sounds like a great event. And next year you won't be fooled into thinking the end is nigh when you've still got a couple of 100m to go - too cruel! Congratulations on the PB!

AlleyCat said...

Indeed it was cruel Char LOL! Thank you :-)

Blue Grumpster said...

The Warrnambool Athletics's Crater to Coast Half Marathon... That's quite a mouthful... Good thing you had a hanky. Woobs... poor little cat. I've got two cats myself. And another medal! Excellent!

Now, tell me about that lemonade icy pole.

Blue Grumpster said...

Well? I could still do with a lemonade icy pole :)

Carol said...

Oh Lordy Lord, you're behind with blogging, I'm behind with reading, have only just read this. And what a read. Best part was I could picture every single part while I was reading this, and yes the worst of all the WAC races is that round the oval at the end. Waaah!!!! Loved the sign, it was so funny I was getting up that hill and the ladies yelled out "Are you Carol" and I saw the balloons and said "You must be Cat's relatives" and then I saw the sign. What a lift. You crazy crazy Cat. Talk again soon. Loved that you came down for this one, it was a great day.

AlleyCat said...

Well Blue. That lemonade icy pole was deliciously cold & sweet & wet & well..................the best thing ever after a loooooooong hot run!!!!!

AlleyCat said...

LOL lucky for me you are behind in reading!!! Glad my post bought back mostly good memories of the run LOL (excluding the lap of the bloody oval!!!). It was heaps of fun & I'm definitely doing it again next year!!!!