Last Saturday I took part in the annual Surfcoast Century, a 100km trail run in beautiful Anglesea along with three other crazy mums.
We did a leg each and I have to rate it as one of my favourite runs in the calendar year. Big call hey?
The atmosphere at the briefing on Friday night was electric. Over 750 runners crammed into the Anglesea town hall, all listening intently to an overview of the big race.
I had been very apprehensive leading up to the day. More so than any other run I’d done before. With a diagnosis of plantar fasciitis dictating whether I would run or not, three other team members relying on me and a husband on the other side of the country for work, the pressure was on.
The unknown can be a good or a bad thing when it comes to doing trail runs. If you haven’t trained on the course before, you’re never really sure just how difficult it is going to be. All I knew was that I had to run a half marathon on sand! Eeek.
My sleep the night before was very unsettled. I set two alarms on my phone, two on mums phone and two on my mum’s partners phone, just in case.
I dreamt about missing the start line and letting the team down and my four month old baby woke twice in the night for a feed. Not the shut eye I had hoped for.
I was wide awake at 4.30am and with the race starting at 6am, there was no point in going back to sleep. One of my gorgeous team mates, Nic drove me to the start line.
Weather conditions were perfect. Many had discussed the chilliness of the morning but my adrenalin took over and I didn’t seem to feel it. All I was thinking about was whether my injury would take me the distance.
As I took off into the darkness with hundreds of other trail enthusiasts, I found myself gazing out into the ocean, lost in the sheer beauty of this spectacular place.
The first 4kms flew by and I was well on my way as I finally found my stride.
This place is pure magic and if you had any stresses of day to day life lingering around in your head, this scenery is guaranteed to delete them.
I was mindful not to over exert myself. My goal was to finish the run. At around the 6km mark, my lower back started to ache. Like really ache. I had taken some anti-inflammatories before I set off which seemed to help my foot but they did nothing to ease the incessant back pain. It was too late to back down now.
Hitting the 11km mark, I found myself chatting to a kiwi mum who had flown over for the run. She was doing the full 100km’s with her husband. I was truly inspired and started getting all these weird and wonderful thoughts about having a crack at the 100 next year.
My back pain wasn’t easing but the absolutely breathtaking views seemed to counteract the pain.
The terrain was flat for the majority of the way with a few stair climbs and hills thrown in for good measure. I’ve never run on sand for such a long distance. It was challenging but challenging is good. That’s why I was here in the first place, to challenge myself.
One of the highlights for me was watching the surfers at Jan Juc take on some pretty awesome waves. I thought that I was insane running at 6am on a Saturday morning along a coastal Victorian beach until I saw these guys.
As I ran into the transition area, I learned that our fourth runner, Anni, the amazing woman that made this event happen for us was too ill to run.
This same inspiring woman introduced me to trail running and it was absolutely devastating to see her not be able to compete.
Having seen how unwell she looked earlier that day, I knew that she had made a wise decision. Thankfully we had a standby who did an absolutely stirling job given that he had not done any training for the event.
It took just over 12 hours for the Coastbusters to cross the line. What an unforgettable experience.
The experience is what trail running is all about. If you want a break from road running, I highly recommend giving the Salomon Series a go.
The support crew rock!
Now I’m going to share a pic with you that is very confronting for me. The picture on the left was taken two weeks after giving birth in May this year. The second was last Saturday at 19 weeks post partum.
Anything is possible if you put your mind to it.
We all challenge ourselves in different ways. What do you do to challenge yourself?