Skip to content

COMRADES 2018 – START GUN TO DRUMMOND

For those that have experienced mass start events everyone knows that the further back you are, the longer it takes to cross the actual start time although 99% of the time you get told chip time is all that counts for you. This was the 1% that wasn’t, for taking several minutes to cross the start line is a given for those a fair way back in the pack. This year it was an agonising 9 minutes of walking in a pack, standing in a pack, and trying to avoid tripping over items that were intended to keep people warm prior to the start before the race began in earnest. Of course this was something that a runner cannot stress about even though it means trying to make up 10 minutes across the day.

The start for the down run is so much different to the start for the up run. Last year the first kilometre in the city streets lead to the motorway where despite a pause the field were able to fan out about 35 runners wide with high quality (for that part of the world) lighting leading to a relatively simple start. The down run through Pietermaritzburg had lower quality lighting in the first couple of kilometres before it basically became zero a few kilometres later, and the roads were so narrow plenty took to the grass in order to find some clear running room or like I did after about 5 minutes active time to have an unscheduled early pit stop.

Passing this means Polly Shortts has been successfully negotiated. It’s probably more satisfying on an up run so I can’t wait to actually find out.

Unlike the up run, and given I didn’t make it that far last year I am assuming the tales of the difficulty of the climb are true, going up Polly Shortts, the first of the major climbs was relatively straightforward. Knowing how long the day was and not wanting to spend all the energy before 7AM, I decided to walk much of the climb before trotting off over the top with the legs, body and mind all in good condition. The early pace was steady due to the compression of the field on narrower roads. Compared to last year by the time I reached the first cut off point at Lion Park (nearly 16km into the journey) I was still conscious of trying to find my own space without slowing dramatically to hold anyone up.

What may have helped was my nutrition strategy involving carrying a bottle of Energade (a sports drink) in one hand and a bottle of Lucozade (not in the original planning but once I was delighted to find some in the supermarket on Saturday) in the other. For those worried about the rule of not trying anything before race day, Lucozade is something I usually have in Melbourne where personal drinks stations for everyone are available. I was comfortable with drinking the product during a run, so I felt there wasn’t a problem with using it during a big race that Comrades is. The Energade lasted well over 20km before I reached for the Lucozade, with another runner happy to accept my empty bottle for his own use once I had no use for it. In fact in the first 35km the only thing I took from aid stations was food, with a portion of banana at one station and a number of bits of orange at a few others.

The first concern came when I discarded with my warm weather gear close to the 20km mark. I’m sure someone on the side of the road is finding a good use for my $7 K-Mart gloves and my 6 year old royal blue UniQlo jumper, for I’m sure without them I wouldn’t have had as comfortable of a time before it was warm enough to run in just the singlet with Australian flag patches sewn on. The issue came when removing the jumper and seeing the front bib, and more importantly my “ticket” to retrieve my bag in the international compound at Moses Mabhida becoming unattached. One pin was then used to secure the bag ticket, with another pin being repositioned to keep the bib intact without flapping around. Perhaps next year prior to the race I may use a little sticky tape to help prevent the bib from coming off the pin, for paper bibs seen easier to rip than the thin cardboard type bibs we use here.

Can’t believe kids are happy to be in photos with me, taken 2 days before the race at the Ethambeni School

Back to the run and the next section was very kind to me without being overly quick. I was comfortably running with one of the 11:30 pace buses and knowing plenty of buses were behind time wasn’t an issue. A mental demon of sorts was passed at the next station at Cato Ridge, not because my race last year ended there (it was well before Cato), but because that was where I realised how tough Comrades is when a fellow bailer on the back seat of the bus needed medical attention and an ambulance before the big bus even got moving. There was no time to dwell on it though as the bus ploughed on and I either ran with it, ran in front of it or kept it well in sight. Before I knew it we were running through Ethambemi School with all the kids who performed so fantastically on Friday lining the road. If I had the time to do so I may have given a “Hi-5” to the kids on both sides of the road, but I’m sure the kids on the left hand side of the road weren’t overly upset that I could only acknowledge those to my right. Unlike Friday there was no time to stop for photos, as Inchanga and where my race ended in 2017 approached.

Perhaps it was there where everything started to go slightly pear shaped. Physically everything was still great, the legs were showing no signs of wear or fatigue and the mind was relaxed knowing the halfway point was coming up. I then made a slight error of looking behind me as the climb of Inchanga started noticing the car with the clock on top of it approaching. Expecting to see a time closer to about 5:15 or even 5:30, I was shocked to see that the clock had only just passed the 5 hour mark, and it was at that time where I had a feeling that even though I had conserved plenty of gas I had perhaps gone out too quickly and backing off before Drummond would be a sound strategy. After all there was plenty of time left in the bank, and I knew after the ceremonial half way mark Drummond indicated (the actual mid point was just under a kilometre up the road) there would be what I regarded as a difficult unnamed climb past the famed Arthur’s Seat and the Wall of Honour to negotiate.

Just a couple of the kids waiting on the side of the road for runners to pass through the Ethambeni School, picture taken the Friday prior to the run.

Still the form was good approaching the arch signifying cut off point number 3, where I tried to wow the crowd by singing (badly) Bon Jovi’s Livin on a Prayer up to the first chorus. Some in the crowd and a few of the volunteers liked by, as by that stage I was starting to stop at drink stations for sips of Coke. I crossed the marker in a tick over 5:45 which gave me ample time to steadily go through the second half of the event. Little did I know at that stage that my thoughts of going out a little too hard would come back to bite me.

 

TO BE CONCLUDED…..

Advertisements

COMRADES 2018: BUILDING UP TO THE START

Having successfully negotiated the expo and having set alarms to ensure an early wake up on Friday, it was time for another course tour to confirm final plans for the Sunday. It seemed a longer tour than the previous year, not the least because the tour started in Pietermaritzburg necessitating a 90 minute bus ride to Comrades House, but probably because I was on the later buses departing at 8:45 rather than the earlier time for last year. The highlights were the same, with the visit to the Ethambemi School proving popular as usual. It would have been nice to actually drive on the road to the finish upon returning to Durban but I suppose traffic control may have prevented this and being stuck in Durban traffic is about as inviting as dodging it as a pedestrian. At least the pizza on the beach still tasted like a pizza, even if I’ll never get used to crust less pizza.

Saturday was probably a little more stressful than it should have been. Waking up early enough for the North Beach Parkrun was a relief, but forgetting the timing barcode to officially record the time was a pain in the backside, although I probably should have gone somewhere on the Friday afternoon post tour to print some. Unofficially I was able to record a solid enough run to give a little confidence heading into the Sunday. From there it was straight to the supermarket afterwards to get some supplies for Sunday, even if the bananas were too green to eat. It was a thrill to discover some Lucozade in the store, for this was a product I had plenty of experience with during runs. I thought I had everything pegged in terms of what I needed and thought it was time to settle back to watch some Rugby.

The lingering thought of something being wrong with my chip purchased on Thursday however consumed me to the extent where I had to dash back to the expo just to make sure it was in working order. Relief came when that confirmation came, but then the stress returned when I discovered I forgot to purchase sunscreen that morning and I only had the zinc cream in the bag. So another supermarket trip came after I also thought I didn’t have any pins to attach the bibs (plural intended) to the race top, and the stress was amplified when I couldn’t find any safety pins in the establishment I went to. It was only when I returned and tipped the contents of the envelope with race bib onto the coffee table in my hotel room that I was able to breathe easy as 8 pins dropped out.

With the entire kit and the accessories laid out and pictorially immortalised, the remainder of the day went smoothly. At least the 2 plates of chicken pasta went down nicely and I was even able to do something I’m sure many runners were stressing over on Saturday Night, both get some sleep and respond to the second of 15 alarms I had set. It was a relief to spend a little time lying in bed before having to get organised about 12:30AM on the Sunday Morning, some 5 hours before go time. There was time for a pre race shower, a shaving of the sides of the face to help with the application and removal of zinc cream, get the kit on (and slip warm clothing over the top), wander downstairs for what’s probably the earliest breakfast known to man for 1AM is generally time for kebabs and cold pizza rather than yoghurt and rice bubbles, then after a quick toilet stop it was time to wander through the streets of Durban to catch the bus to destiny. It was then where it got a little confronting, for I hadn’t gone more than 200 metres when I saw a guy on the ground being restrained at gunpoint by a member of the constabulary. Not exactly what you want to see when you need to be as relaxed as possible given the stresses of what lay ahead. Yet for some reason I was a little shocked that it took that long for me to see this, so I guess staying in a secure location beach side rather than inner city or elsewhere has advantages.

Pietermartizburg Town Hall, starting location for the Comrades Down Runs

Excuses are something that I now try to avoid, but if I felt as though I needed one what happened next may have given me an out should things have gone pear shaped. Figuring that getting to Pietermaritzburg early was a key to success and that getting on a later bus may have caused an overly rushed preparation, it was a relief to get on the 2nd bus to depart Durban at 1:50 AM. It was a case of “What The?” when the bus arrived at 3AM having had to negotiate minimal traffic on the route. Being early to things like this is something I aspire to, but having to wait for so long in cold if not freezing conditions (it felt colder than the 8 degrees forecast) actually could have been a hindrance rather than a calming influence. The zinc was applied at about 3:30 AM, and I waited until 4AM to hand my bag over for transportation and to find a seat in the G starting pen….and I waited…..and waited……and waited as I listened to some lass tell us it was her last crack at her elusive 10th finish which would give her a coveted Green Number (if you finish 10 of these, or finish in the top 10 on 5 occasions, or win the race 3 times or more, your number is given to you for eternity and you run with a green race bib. Internationals with less than 10 run with a blue bib).

Come 5AM and the runners had started to fill the pens with many more trying to get to the start as the roads to PMB started to become congested. The time had come to stand up to find a position not too close to the gutter and not too close to the head of the pen. With no Australians in sight (a miracle considering about 150 of us started) I managed to integrate with a few of the locals as the buzz grew and the start time approached. Before we knew it, the time had approached 5:20, which was enough time to play the National Anthem (one day I’ll nail the pronunciation of the Afrikaans section), the traditional tear jerking hymn Shoshaloza, the mind focusing Chariots of Fire, and the recording of a man imitating a cock crowing twice. A brief moment of silence came over close to 20000 runners, before BANG….

 

TO BE CONTINUED

COMRADES 2018 – THE EXPO

Day 2 in Durban is basically dedicated to heading to the expo to pick up race numbers and to make sure everything is in order for Sunday. It’s important to get all of this done as early as possible so that I can concentrate on relaxing the mind and body and knowing that Friday is taken up by course tours. It’s also the easiest time to pick up bibs as the crowds apparently are at their lowest on the Thursday with many either working or still in transit.

Standing in a queue is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s all part of the Comrades experience. Fortunately this year I didn’t have to wait around with 17 kilograms of luggage in tow just to make myself look ultra awkward, but the line was already large and growing by the time I got there 20 minutes before the 10AM opening. Once the expo opened though the line orderly and rapidly were able to get inside the Durban ICC building to begin the process.

First up for me was getting a brand new timing chip. For those unfamiliar with Comrades but used to entering other timed events around the world other than Parkrun (more on that later), the chip for this event has to be worn on the shoe rather than attached to a bib, or in the case of Comrades, either bib. I’m sure the chip I had from last year is still at home somewhere, for once you get a bib it’s yours to keep and to reuse for future events.

After parting with R150 (which is about $15 in Australia) and filling out a form to ensure that was mine for eternity, it was off to join the queue for international entrants. One of the good things about Comrades is that they look after the Internationals better than they do the locals in some respects, giving us our own registration area, our own space at the back of the expo and even a whole section of stadium when we finish. Even though the wifi in the building was struggling (and in Durban fast wifi is about as rare as a Comrades runner on Monday doing a recovery jog) I managed to collect my things so I could do the one thing I needed to do at the expo, buy a pair of sunglasses worth R180 to wear on Sunday. Then it was time to have a little peek at what was in the bag whilst consuming a coffee (still hate drinking the stuff but it sounded more appealing than some of the tea options available)

Having spent the money I probably needed for some lunch on the chip and the bus ticket to the start (most of the expo was cash only), the only other thing I did was to listen to a quick lecture on race strategy that I felt I needed to listen to, especially with a course tour on the Friday morning coming up to confirm the plans. I left just after 12:30, heading in the right direction this year after last year’s self inflicted confusion back to the motel, before returning to the Durban Hilton located across the road to have a lightish training run with about 40 of the internationals. The lesson learnt from that run was that Durban motorists have a concept of red lights but not much else when it comes to traffic lights.

We’re from around the world about to tackle Durban’s traffic.

COMRADES 2018 – DAY 1 IN DURBAN

I’ve arrived safely! Even found the time to record a couple of videos. The first was whilst I was having an early lunch at Durban’s Tambo Airport (hence the several delays as the pizza was going cold), the second was as sundown was approaching and I wanted to not only shake the legs out a little (and buy some drinks on the way back), but also to have a close look at the finish stadium, the Moses Mabhida stadium built for the 2010 World Cup, before the big crowds would make it impossible. Enjoy these 2 video entries!

 

COMRADES 2018 – THE LONG ROAD TO SOMEWHERE!

Training for an event such as Comrades is tougher than many would imagine, especially if you’re alone and are trying to do it with minimal group runs or help. Hence the long road often includes many race runs doubling as training efforts. Whilst Wangaratta proved to be a false start as mentioned in the previous post, there was still quality kilometres to be pounded in both Port Macquarie and also in Canberra. Both of these had left me with a good tale to tell (or so I think), so here is the race report in a kind of  conjoined contracted fashion.

 

PORT MACQUARIE TREBLE BREAKWALL BUSTER, 4 MARCH 2018

This would be a series of new experiences for me, namely the first time I had ever been to the Port and the first time I had run 3 races in the one day since high school athletics carnivals when I ran 400m/800m and the sprint relay (the house wanted to field 2 teams because everyone else did). With a calf injury hampering preparations, a visit to the local Chemist Warehouse for Voltaren and bandaging in addition to the pre packed K-Tape would certainly put the mind at ease over whether I was going to run. Hence the plan was to take it easy and try to time my finishing times so that when I finished one leg the second leg would be about to start or had just commenced.

It started out reasonably well, managing to get through the warm up without trying to overly extend myself (which had been an issue at both Sydney runs last year) and tagging along with the 2 hour pace runner for much of the trip during the half marathon. There were times where the nerves started to rise, particularly when running across a bridge that felt like it was swaying when runners flew across it, and along the narrow breakwall section where the rocks were decorated generally as a tribute to someone. I fell off the back of the pace on the 3rd lap and basically crossed the finish line, navigated my way through the crowd and ran straight over the start line to commence the 10km. By that stage I was feeling OK physically except I felt the need to do some business requiring a toilet. Any momentum I had gathered was lost to the extent where the calf started to feel a little sorer than normal and I was reduced to little more than walking pace.

By the time I came through to start the last leg, the kids were all lined up and about to start their race, and there were only a handful of adult runners that were completing the last 5km. Yet knowing I had Comrades to think about, I knew it was important to finish the last 5km well. The track was clear enough until I hit the breakwall for the 6th time (3 times for the half marathon, twice in the 10km) where I was dodging the general public who were looking for fishing/surfing/sightseeing spots and the kids with their parents heading in the other direction. Fortunately I plodded into the finish in a time that needed a sundial to measure as opposed to a stopwatch, and I ended up with 4 medals from the day (even if I now have 2 finishers medals for the 10km and none for the half). Most importantly though for me, it was 36km in the bank done for the big dance which was the most important aim of the day. I intend to be back for next year to try to get through the whole thing a lot quicker than I did this year.

 

CANBERRA ULTRA MARATHON (50km), APRIL 15

By contrast to the Port, this was the 3rd time I would be starting the Ultra Marathon in Canberra and the 5th time overall where I would be running there having done the marathon twice. In an attempt to prevent the boredom that the course became some sections were deleted and another loop in a suburban area added, plus instead of going anti-clockwise around Parliament House we ran clockwise. Yet one part of the course had everyone talking, for a volunteer marshall who was either asleep at the wheel on his briefing, or was guessing big time, directed everyone except the first 3 male competitors onto a section of the course 20km earlier than we need to be. By the time I had arrived (after an unscheduled pit stop less than 3km into the run) I half thought about going straight but trusting the corner worker I wandered on the turn up to the bridge. It turned out that just about the entire field were coming the other way with instructions to turn around, and the thought has since passed that if I trusted my instinct that the course was wrong before making the turn, I would have been in 4th place in a National Championship (this doubled as the Australian 50km championships) for about 2-3 kilometres.

After that it was a case of just taking it easy and if I did manage to get a time that would improve seeding for Comrades it would be a bonus. The simple walk/run strategy incorporating signage worked better than anticipated. Conversing with other past and present Comrades runners (some of whom were using this as a training run, others as a last chance qualifier for this was the last marathon prior to the qualifying date cut off) left me more relaxed than ever. In contrast to last year where I was the 7th last to clock in, this year there was still a reasonable throng waiting at the finish line some 5:39 after the commencement, although they were there to see someone from the Indigenous Marathon program become the first to finish the 50km since their inception rather than seeing me. It was probably the most content I had been crossing the finish line in the capital, and after that I thought that if I had crossed the 50km marker at Comrades in 6:39 then things were really going to plan. Whether that forms part of the whole plan remains to be seen.

 

There were a couple of other decent training runs and of course the local Rocky River Run that have been done since, although the quality of those runs probably weren’t as good as they could have been. But it’s now too late to worry about those sort of things for as I type this I’m in the Singapore Airlines Silver Kris Lounge preparing for departure!

COMRADES 2018: ONE WEEK OUT, LOOKING BACK ON THE SETBACKS

To say that preparations for this year’s odyssey across Kwa-Zulu Natal has been flawless is nothing short of a lie. I’m sure that most if not all participants that will be on the start line will have had some sort of issue in the 5 months leading up to the event (for training really shouldn’t even begin until January), so it will be reassuring to know I’m not alone in terms of being less than ideally prepared. This isn’t quite a substitute for the race reports that I should have prepared long before this, nor should it be used as an excuse for what will happen next Sunday, rather this is just a part of the journey many will take.

FEBRUARY: Calf Strain (and forgetting the race bib)

The intention in late February was to wander back to Wangaratta where I had run fairly well last year to do the half marathon again. Everything was all set to go until I started feeling a familiar soreness in the calf, familiar because I had some issues with that part of the leg over the years. What made it worse was that I arrived in Melbourne early Saturday morning (after a long flight delay) only to discover I had left my race bib for the weekend amongst my clean laundry at home. The tightness in the calf after standing watching a pre-season AFL match didn’t help, and I made the decision to pull the pin on the Saturday night. Instead of running on the Sunday, I ended up going bowling which to be truthful didn’t fare much better following a strike on the opening frame!

MARCH: Calf Pull (and a 10 minute pit stop)

It was exciting to head to Port Macquarie for the first time ever, let alone run the Treble Breakwall Buster (a half marathon, followed by a 10km, followed by a 5km). Once again fate tried to intervene at a football training session earlier in the week when my calf was pulling badly after trying to explode into a sprint. I was able to make the start line thanks to some heat rub treatment and some bandaging and was feeling reasonable through the half. During the 10km however the curse of the porta-loo struck again, having to stop for 10 minutes to do some business. The delay meant I was one of the last to finish the treble, the stoppage allowed me to resolve that I would never again indulge in Subway the night before a run….or was it undercooked microwaved Lasagne again?

APRIL: A change of address

By April the physical side of things was actually reasonably settled and I was able to complete the 50km in Canberra in just under 5:40 (more on that later this week). Yet the mental side of things was altered with a change of address. Sure it helped in terms of employment as it was much closer than my previous address, but everything associated with it meant training was sometimes put on the back burner. On the flip side it helped in some ways in the regard that I won’t have to “step on egg shells” before heading on the road for an early morning training session again, plus it was closer to the hills that I probably should have done more work on.

MAY: Quad strain

Bloody football! Sometimes I don’t know why I actually keep playing but some people can be persuasive enough to keep me playing. The quad basically went when I was kicking the ball during a game, and although the pain had largely subsided in a week thanks to Voltaren, Ice Packs and the odd self massage of the area, it meant that any final long run had to be canned. I was able to have enough in the leg to run the local half marathon last week (again more on that later), and unlike some of the elite runners it isn’t enough to prevent me from starting, but this little setback could easily have derailed everything I had hoped for. Fortunately a couple of short runs this week leading in to the big day shouldn’t be a problem, for I’m planning to do at least the North Beach parkrun on Saturday as I did last year as well as the International Ambassador’s run on Thursday which I was asleep for 12 months ago.

 

None of these will be excuses upon race day, heck based on Melbourne last year where I barely trained and still managed close to 4:30 perhaps the injuries will help to keep the legs slightly fresher. One day I’ll find a preparation schedule and injury prevention techniques that will ensure I’ll have a near perfect preparation, but that will have to wait until next year.

COMING UP THIS WEEK: Race reports from the runs this year, and planning for the GF that Comrades is!

COMRADES 2018: THE CHECKLIST

Oh my goodness I can’t believe I’ve rediscovered this blog! Seriously life has been so hectic between address changes, training, football and the odd event that it hasn’t been until now that I’ve been compelled or able to write something about the return to South Africa in just over 2 weeks time. I’m sure I’ll give an update on a couple of the race weekends soon enough as a lead in to the big day which is precisely 21 days from the time of writing.

At this time it’s time I played Santa Claus, no not to give presents to all the kids out there 6 months too early, but to make a list and check it twice of what I need to bring and do before it’s go time. Just about everyone of the 20000 projected starters will have some sort of list, but mine is as public as anything is going to get. This list may be handy if you’re planning to do an event overseas (not necessarily Comrades, but perhaps something like Boston or New York) or even if you’re travelling to a big event as many runners tend to do.

THE LIST

– Running Shoes

The clogs I’m trusting on race day

Purchased after the Canberra Ultra, my new clogs have been worn in and even used at the Wings for Life run in Melbourne at the start of May. As is my custom I’m not planning to wear them in the last week before Comrades, the fear of a blow out or other failure is too high.

– Timing Chip
Unlike most events these days the chip for Comrades is attached to the shoe, and I cannot obtain my race numbers in Durban without it (or I’ll need to waste time and money obtaining a new chip, for each chip is designed to be attached to one person and one person only). This will likely be the first thing to be packed in the big suitcase as for me behind the passport it will be the most important item for me to remember to take. I’ll probably attach the chip to the laces before going to sleep the night before in the motel room.

– Running Clothing
I have purchased new running shorts which I would like to test out before departure, as well as wearing the same singlet I wore last year with the addition this year of Australian badges being sewn on the front and back. The sewing is on the to do list for this week, getting them straight though is harder than anticipated. I also have 3 fresh pairs of socks given I like wearing a new pair of socks where possible for big runs (even if it goes against some advice not to try anything new on race day). Hopefully I’ll be able to buy a cheap pair of sunglasses either in Melbourne. Singapore or Durban to run in, and like last year the cap included in the race pack will probably go on backwards over a visor on top. I’ll probably also wear an older jumper for the start in Pietermaritzburg with will likely be discarded either at the start or shortly after, hopefully someone less fortunate will get as much use out of it as I did.

One of the badges to be attached is now on, the other on the back is still to come.

– Travel Documents
My Passport is on top of the bag I intend to use, the itinerary will probably be the last thing I print out before departing my home base. I’ll probably also print out copies of my accommodation bookings which I don’t often do these days for domestic travel.

– A new Phone
Given that I’ve had my current phone for 13 months I feel I need to buy a replacement, and Tuesday I should be able to get a phone. The reason for this purchase is so I can get an “Unlocked” (meaning not belonging exclusively to a network provider) phone to get a South African sim for data purposes, meaning I can upload some content from my phone whether it is a Facebook post, a tweet, an Instagram picture or even a YouTube video immediately rather than having to wait to return to the motel room to post everything.

– Travel Kit
Given the whole trip is a 2 week event I’ll be packing more clothing than normal. Perhaps some fresh casual socks and underwear will be required, and I already have purchased another towel. Toiletries and other items I feel necessary will go in as required.

– Alarms
It may seem strange to a few that this may go on a list, but setting an alarm is critical given the need to commute from Durban to Pietermaritzburg on race morning at an earlier than normal time, I’ll need to remember to set multiple alarms at an early hour to enable that I have enough time to be mentally ready, to have consumed some food (it is going to be a long day after all) and to have enough time to get on a shuttle as early as possible. Many I know are still trying to get rooms in PMB but if I was going to choose that option I would have needed to book 12 months in advance much like I do for the Gold Coast Marathon.

– Finances
The last thing I’ll need prior to departing Australia is to get enough cash in order to pay for taxis and for other food post race given that they’ll likely be cash only affairs. Fortunately I have enough loaded thus far to pay for anything on a card should I need that in South Africa, and at this stage I’m looking to load enough Singaporean dollars to secure the transit motel room booked for the long layover on the return trip.

– Race Plans
In the next fortnight I’ll be formulating how I’ll be looking to tackle the race piece by piece. The final plan however won’t be finalised until the bus tour on Friday Morning, as I will be trying to pick up any type of pointer I can if it helps. Of course it may also help if I actually read my notes, as last year I scribbled some notes on the course but didn’t really end up referring to them prior to race day as was the intention

– Race Eve shopping
Usually many try to have everything organised well in advance, but as part of my routine I like to purchase some things I feel I need to succeed the morning prior to the big run. Much like last year I’ll be likely purchasing Bananas (again hoping to remember to take them on the run), Energade (the sports drink of choice on course, this will enable I won’t have to spend time in the early stages battling through a crowd to get fluid), Vaseline, Bandages and perhaps even scissors as I’m loathe to take them from Australia for security purposes.

Of course there will be more specific lists of what I need to take and what I have to do, however these key items will be what I will be focusing on this time around. There will be a few more blog posts in the next couple of weeks detailing race plans and what’s happening on the trip. I’m actually feeling pretty excited about this now that the day is within sight.