One of THE most unexpected but truly delightful things about this blog is that I have met some truly lovely people through it. A few times over the last two years I’ve been at running events when someone has said ‘Are you Annie? I follow your blog.’ I cry. I’m always so stunned that anyone would read my ramblings and stunned by the lovely things people say AND even more stunned that they would take the time to make themselves known to me.
Sam is one of those someones and she has come to mean a lot to me. She always has such lovely things to say in her comments. I started the blog so I could have an out to talk about my new-found love – running. I hoped that I might encourage others to have a go or to keep going. What has happened is that I have been so encouraged and Sam is one of my chief encouragers. Thanks Sam.
In two weeks today Sam and I along with 2398 others will be at the start line for the 20th Anniversary of the Point to Pinnacle, The World’s Toughest Half Marathon. Sam has had some niggles over the last couple of years but has determinedly kept going with her fitness and running. Go Sam! You are amazing and truly inspiring! She has a few questions about P2P. The very same ones I had last year. I’m going to answer them as best I can 🙂
1. Did you carry any drinks or just use the stations; I believe there will be 7 this year? Food, what did you carry with you?
Hydration: This was something that took me ages to figure out. All last year I wasn’t good with drink stations so for P2P I carried a Nathan hydration belt with two bottles. I was so pleased that I did. There are seven drink stations and they are nicely spaced apart. Of my running buddies last year most only used the drink stations. I’m very much undecided at this stage about using my hydration belt for 2014 – I’ve learnt this year to confidently approach the stations and to walk through them. But for P2P I’m thinking I will use the belt again. Sorry not much help here, Sam! I guess if you usually use the drink stations and haven’t trained with a hydration belt maybe use the drink stations! But if you are a hydration belt user then take it. I’m so helpful!
Some of the belts I tried
The Lazy Runner talks about Double Up Drinks Day the day before a big race. I do this with every long run including training runs and find it to really work for me. I also take magnesium. Last year I was astounded by how many runners and walkers were visibly suffering from cramps; I strongly recommend some extra magnesium. But I’m no doctor, so I’m just saying what works for me.
Food: Usually on long runs I would have a couple of jelly beans ever 5kms or so. With P2P because it takes so much longer to go 5kms I ate something every 25 to 30 minutes. Last year Paul and I did a lot of research and tried many different products in the lead up to P2P. Everything we found out suggested that even if we are feeling good to still eat something regularly, because if we wait until we feel terrible it will take too long for the energy to kick in before we fell better again. We had a mix of glucose jelly beans and Gu Chomps. Other friends used goos but I just don’t get on well with them. I also had a couple of Enervitene cheer packs. But I stress that we trialled all this for a few long runs and this is what worked for us.
Best suggestion to consider…take a few more of what you decide than what you need and don’t be afraid to eat them! There are lollies given out by spectators on the way and at a couple of drink stations. Popping a jelly bean a few times when I was just starting to get a bit weary really helped (I ate more than I needed!).
Also I was very careful about what I ate for the week before P2P. My mate Bernie writes a great post on his in his blog Get Going, Get Running!
2. Extra clothes, did you plan different outfits depending on the weather, I don’t want to carry extra on me but equally don’t want to get out halfway up!
This was tricky!
I am a long compression tights sort of runner so was always going to wear these regardless of the weather. I went for a tee shirt because I felt it would be more flexible for different weather conditions. I wore a cap and had a thermal head band in case the wind got up and it became cold.
I had a thermal top with me at the start line that I was going to have around my waist for just in case. I trained with it and it felt comfortable. Literally with two minutes to go I popped it on the gear bus before it left (talk about last minute). I’m fortunate to be married to a farmer who is very in tune with the weather who convinced me I wouldn’t need it. It was the right decision on the day. Find us at the start and see what Pauly says about extra layers is my best suggestion here! Last weekend when I ran Mt Barrow I realised how dangerous running without appropriate gear could be. I don’t want to be pulled for looking too cold! At this stage I’ll be planning to have my thermal top around my waist again and perhaps having my showerproof vest as well. It’s one thing that we can’t decide until the day I feel.
Other runners had gloves with them which they wouldn’t be without. PB Down Under (found when I was researching P2P mid-2013) wrote a great post about his experience complete with lots of photos. I studied the photos to see what participants were wearing and if they had hydration belts or not.
I suggest having a complete change of clothes that goes up on the gear bus, complete with thermal layers, waterproof coat, beanie and gloves and perhaps even a change of runners (we didn’t need any of it last year but I sure did after Mt Barrow last weekend). Also some powerade or similar and a couple of bananas – I burnt 1676 calories running P2P last year. Food never tasted so good after P2P!
3. Were you scared about the cutoff times?
I was terrified of the cutoffs! This is an understatement! I was obsessed with the cutoffs! This was the thing that really made me feel like I wouldn’t make it. But let’s be realistic. Last year one of our party walked in 3:20:00. We have 3:40:00. If all else fails we can walk it in the time. And if you look at those who finished back of pack some of those times were more than 3:40:00 – the very last 2013 P2P running finisher took 3:58:07. It’s not about the time, it’s about finishing. So impressed with this runner – they are a winner in my book!
We have to get around Pilinger Drive (10Km mark) by 9:40am, we can do that! Last year I took 1:12:00 to get to the 10km mark. This would appear to be the most crucial time limit to get passed. There is a great article about Libby’s P2P Story. Libby sounds like one amazing lady! I really get the impression that the organisers want us to finish!
My run plan last year was to go out nice and slowly. With each third the gradient goes up slightly so it’s important to conserve energy for the hardest parts at the end. Eat the race food and keep the hydration up so when the going gets tougher we can grit our teeth and make it through. The rule of thumb is to add 40 minutes to your half marathon time and I’ve found that to be quite realistic from those I know who’ve completed the event.
I hope I have helped calm your concerns, Sam. Please remember that if I can do this anyone can. Trust your training and believe that you can. I haven’t lined up at a marathon yet, but P2P is definitely a race that is won more in the head and heart than in the physical running – more so than anything I’ve ever attempted. In the wise words of my friend Bruce, with two weeks to go there isn’t much more we can do to improve fitness but there’s a lot we can do to undo it by over training.
I said mantras in my head most of the way up last year, stayed positive and truly enjoyed the journey. I smiled a lot too because I was there doing something I had only thought possible in dreams. I ran my Holy Running Grail. Point to Pinnacle is an event like no other, you will love it! The atmosphere for this event is just so electric. People cheer and encourage like no other event I’ve experienced. Runners and walkers cheer and encourage each other. There is a feeling that all of us are in a team together no matter what pace we go, running or walking we are all doing this epic mountain climb.
I’m not one for giving advice, only suggestions… my best suggestion is to go to see the people at The Running Edge. Pauly and I have found them to be so helpful; they will be able to give you the best advice ever and answer questions better than I can. Also last year there was an information session one night in the last week before P2P – if I was in Hobart and the schedule allowed, I’d get to that. P2P Facebook has started to give some suggestions too especially after the big snow dump last night. It’s spring and it’s snowing like winter – good old Tasmania!
Can’t wait to wait at the start line with you Sam – together with Janette, Louise and all our running and walking friends we can generate enough nervous energy to fly to the top 🙂
Happy running 🙂
PS I love this photo below – I still have to pinch myself that I actually did it!