Cronulla Rogaine 2017

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.

End results:

  • 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.

Wahroonga Rogaine – The Numbers

We moved house last week and had so many things go wrong or cause delays that it almost seemed we would never get there.  But we’re in and life is somewhat back to normal.

The timing wasn’t great for a rogaine, but being only a 15 minute drive from our new home, I knew we had to do it.  A 6 hour “Socialgaine”, we decided to limit ourselves to a 3-4 hour stint and just enjoy the day without trying to push things too hard after a long week.  Since this post is just going to stick to the numbers (next one will give a full run down of the day), I’ll get on with it.

Summary stats:

  • Distance: 19.6km
  • Time: 4:05:38
  • Elevation: 518m

We were the third team back in, with the vast majority of teams returning within 15 minutes of the 6 hour time limit.  As you can see by the elevation, there were some BIG climbs in there as we made our way from North Wahroonga down to Bobbin Head, up to North Turramurra and then back across to the starting point.

View from the second checkpoint

View from the second checkpoint

So given we used about two thirds of the time everyone else did, how did we go? Overall we came 72 out of a total 123 teams.  In the Mixed Open category we came 35 out of 70 – not too shabby!  If we take a look at those who came home early – we came 1st out of only 10 teams returning in under 5 hours; and we came 4th out of 24 teams returning in under 5hr 45min.

Pretty happy with those results, now to learn from what we did right and wrong on the day to put in some good efforts for next year when we enter the Veteran category!

Wolli Metrogaine

We nearly didn’t make it – a sick kid, non-responsive babysitter and at ten minutes to 10am we still weren’t sure if we were going or not!  To say our prep wasn’t ideal is possibly an understatement.  I had been up half the night with a toddler with croup, had hydrated well, but other than my usual breakfast before 6am, hadn’t eaten anything else.  At just five minutes to 10, the babysitter confirmed and chaos ensued as we finished getting ready and ran though things with the carer.  A good run to the starting point and a lucky car spot (even in the shade!) had us checking in as planned.

We picked up our wrist bands and maps, a quick toilet stop and then set to studying the map and eyeing up potential routes.  Our aim was an incredibly optimistic 20km in the three hour event, so had to include a number of decision points where we could cut things short.  We reviewed the “suggested” 6km, 8km and 11.5km routes for novices and used them as a starting point for our plan.  The aim (as always!) was to maximise points, while minimising hills to try and protect my still not 100% legs.  Then with a rough anti-clockwise plan in place (chosen for the convenient placement of a toilet stop around 6km in!), we listened to the pre-race briefing and, three minutes early, we were off!2016-04-11 08.34.23

Everyone hurried on out the school gates and quickly dispersed in all directions following their own plans.  Quite a few were heading the same way as us, but a steady jog had us behind the speedy runners and in front of the walkers.  A short down and up and we were at the first control, turn around and back down past a steady stream of people with maps in hand and then we were heading along some pretty single track to our next checkpoint.  Our third control was a little trickier to find, Nick thought we had gone past it already, I was convinced we hadn’t reached it yet.  We kept on a little further only to come across someone just ahead of us searching for the same place.  A careful walk across slime covered rocks near mangroves and we were back off again.

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Back up into the streets of Earlwood for the next section and a duck and weave out to the lookout and first photo of the day.  Lots of people around this one and the next few before things thinned out and we were on our own again.  About an hour in and I was desperate for a loo stop which showed up right on time.  Five minute break for toilet, muesli bar and a powerade.  While it was a fairly mild day, the humidity was a killer and it was a relief to get my hands on a cold drink.  Took a little while to get going again after putting all that in my belly, but we saw plenty of people at the next checkpoint before crossing Cooks River and on to a couple of long slogs between controls and some more short but steep hills.

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The next hour saw fewer controls but some good points in them.  We realised our original full route had been optimistic, so picked which route to cut it back to.  Some route changes on the fly – an extra 20 points here and a bonus 90 points we hadn’t counted on.  While my mind kept flagging, Nick is fantastic at reminding me to eat another jellybean.  It basically goes in a cycle… Running happily.  I get cranky.  I get told to eat a jellybean.  Eat jellybean.  Running happily.  Repeat.  My legs felt great – we were keeping up a slow but steady pace, walked up any hills and just kept on going.

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Into the third hour and just street work left, mostly flat and some long, gentle inclines.  Then I felt the first twinge in my achilles.  Ten metres on the second twinge – time to stop running and start walking.  I tell Nick, that’s it, we grab the last two controls and head in.  He responded with, I was thinking we could grab this one as well in the time easily.  No, it’s time to head in before I hurt myself.  Walking was a breeze, so I tried a jog again – nope.  Ah well, checked the time, bugger it, let’s grab that extra one.  Hmmmm, can we nab one more??  No, definitely time to head in now.

We returned to the start about 15 minutes before cut off time, handed in our trackers and joined the queue for food.  No soft drinks (I was looking forward to a Coke), so we headed back to the car.  A few stretches, then in for the drive home.

The numbers

  • Distance: 16.7km
  • Time: 2:46:48
  • Elevation: 200m

Results

  • Controls: 21
  • Score: 1170
  • Position:
    • 63/149 overall
    • 10/58 mixed teams

This is the first rogaine we’ve been in where they permitted single entries rather than teams.  Which goes a fair way to our overall result nearly half way down the list.  It did give us a great result in the mixed teams though which we were really pleased with, especially given our slow finish.  There was only 100 point between us and 5th spot.

The best part of the whole thing.  While I was unsurprisingly tired, I felt generally fantastic.  I had no leg pain while running, and no post run aches either.  A beautiful day and a great run, can’t wait for the next one!