When a puppy keeps on barking a method of discouragement is to spray them with water. As I finished the Ross Half Marathon on Sunday I said to Janette that next time I even hint at running the full 42.2km at Ross to please make like I’m a yappy puppy and spray spray spray!
Making peace with the long straight
The Ross course for the half and full is a 10.55km lap, two times for the half and four times for the full. It features a long straight. On the way out it’s fine. The wind is at your back and you run along and it’s quite nice. But on the turn around that pleasant breeze that was pushing you along now turns into a head wind, cold and strong. Runners with caps and visors pull their headwear firming down over their ears, tighten the velcro fastening and lean into the force. AND – I swear – someone gets that road and magically elongates it so that the trip back is longer, harder, windier and perhaps a little steeper even.
But not so for me on Sunday. I broke that large straight down into three pieces. First third goes by sheep paddocks with interesting formations including the ruins of the old Female Factory, a relic from Tasmania’s convict history. There is the slightest of slightest bends and runners are into the second third; this third features the turn around point for the 10km event. The middle third is perhaps the toughest but it doesn’t last for long. The final third features an avenue of old pine trees that’s pretty and cool to run through, then on to the turnaround point and one of the drink stations before heading back to do it in reverse.
Cutting this long straight up into three pieces on the way out and then on the way back made it feel so much shorter. Doing this also helped me to remain mentally strong as I battled the headwind. I had a lot of fun out there on that straight. I cheered pretty much every marathon participant. Go marathoner! I would yell. I’d smile and clap too. I’d watch as the cheers turned their exhausted faces into smiles.
I had a ball out on the run on Sunday. I ran up the one little hill that so many were walking up and cheered and encouraged everyone to keep running. When I saw someone walking I’d say Come on, you can do it! It was fun. Running has to be fun or there’s no point in doing it! I was asked at the start of the race what my goal time was. I ummed a bit and said that as long as I finished I didn’t mind. I thought that perhaps I should try a little. Aim was to run at 6:00 minute/km and guess what? I did exactly that! I’d so love to run Melbourne at that pace, not sure if I can but I think I will try.
On the last lap with just 1km to go I caught up with a man who was wearing INKnBURN. My favourite running clothes! I’d never seen a man wearing this brand before! I recognised him from a group run I’d done in Hobart last year. He was walking due to a sore foot. After a little discussion it turned out that the foot wasn’t too bad and together we chatted and I got him running again. Off you go! I said. But he wouldn’t! Now I know what it feels like to have a pesky encourager who won’t let you go your own pace! He kept me running and together we picked up the pace and ran all the way to finish together. He was a gentleman and let me cross first. Thanks David!!! The running community is full of lovely people.
Ross Marathon one day?
Back to that yappy puppy. The trouble is I do want to do the Ross Marathon. I really do. I know those laps will be tough but I would like to try. This is a country event and a small field (60 runners finished the marathon on Sunday, 194 the half and 198 the 10km event). One young lady and first time marathoner took 5:45:00 to finish. I’m so impressed by her efforts. I saw her struggling out there but she didn’t stop she pressed on to finish and to become a Marathoner! There isn’t any pressure at Ross like there are in big events. No roads that need to be opened and lovely volunteers who don’t seem to mind waiting.
Even if that spray bottle comes out I’m pretty sure I’ll line up at the start line of the Ross Marathon in 2016. Then I’ll have run both road marathons in this beautiful state that I call home, Tasmania.
Happy running 🙂
PS a new course marathon record was set yesterday at Ross: 2:33:02 and it is such a tough course! Most photos pinched from facebook particularly from G, M and L, thank you!