I’ll start by saying this was by far the least enjoyable rogaine I’ve done to date. This had absolutely nothing to do with the rogaine itself and everything to do with me. The weather was perfect – clear, sunny blue skies and very warm. The course was interesting and varied with plenty of options for route choice.
So what went wrong? I had a low grade cold for a few weeks leading up to the event culminating in two days of high fevers 5 days before. I only ran twice in these three weeks, so I was feeling pretty run down. This also kicked off my seasonal asthma, so everything was a bit of a struggle physically. But I woke up Sunday morning feeling good and ready to get going again. Then the babysitter didn’t show up. Luckily, we plan to arrive in plenty of time, so by the time we got hold of her and she made it over we still had enough time to drive to Cronulla (traffic worked in our favour!) and some planning time. This placed a bit of stress on us though and we ended up forgetting our pre race munchies of hot cross buns and bananas – BIG mistake.
The individual competitors started off at 10am with the teams trailing after from 10:15. This worked really well to split up the pack and meant the early controls weren’t overcrowded and we experienced zero queueing at controls the entire event – amazing! We jogged along as we made our way around Cronulla point – beautiful part of the world with some amazing water views and small, sandy beaches. The fast teams were all ahead of us, the walkers behind, we were collecting points as planned and keeping an easy pace. Then I hit the wall. Completely and utterly. Only 45 minutes in. This was not good.
I was exhausted, depleted and had no energy to walk anything more than a very gentle pace. Grabbed a Powerade at the first shops we passed as planned, carried it to the next control and then walked another 5 minutes before finding a spot in the shade to sit and drink it. My coordination was failing me and I hadn’t been able to walk and drink, my legs were too tired to even stand. We decided to continue on, even if it meant walking the whole rest of the way.
I continued to struggle through the next couple of controls. We grabbed some chips at the next shops we went through. The following half hour was awful. My mind sunk as my body refused to play. We shuffled along, there were many pauses. I doubted my ability to run, I was convinced I should just give up my ambitions to run any sort of distances. That I was stupid to think I could possibly run a half marathon at the end of the year, that maybe I should just give up running altogether, I obviously wasn’t cut out for it.
I very, very slowly started feeling a bit better, still only up for walking though. We had dropped off a couple of sections we had planned to get when we thought we would be able to run most of the way. 45 minutes to go, we stopped to reassess. I was still tired, my legs were aching so we sat down – and were promptly scolded by another pair of rogainers passing by, you don’t get points sitting down!
Plan made, we walked on, pushing a little more now. My legs were hurting, I had blisters forming on the inside of both heels and was till pretty unhappy but had pulled my self out of the doom and gloom of earlier. With just under twenty minutes to go, we realised we would probably have to pick up the pace a little to get done what we wanted, so I tested the legs out. It actually felt ok! So from there we did an easy jog on flats and downhills while walking on the uphills. With about one kilometre to go, we realised we were going to have to really push things to make it back in time. Uh oh…
Up the final hill and about 600 metres to go and less than 3 minutes to go. All downhill and we ran and ran. 6min/km pace, then 5min/km pace then faster still and we were in! 40 seconds over time so we would lose 10 points, but we were certainly not the last ones in.
An interesting postscript to the event – we failed to register at one of the checkpoints. It seems that only one of us was recorded as being there. I queried it, was told basically it was bad luck and move on. No big deal, we’re not competitive. Shortly after that, a follow up email said there had been more than one query on this particular control and we should challenge it. End result – it seems the control was tampered with and while it worked perfectly for most people, there were several that didn’t, so we got the points. Bumping us up a decent number of positions.
- Score: 1010 points
- Distance: 16km
- Overall team position: 25/95
- Mixed teams: 12/59
- Mixed veterans: 5/19
In the end it was a surprisingly good result for what felt like a completely rotten event.