The Test

Today was The Test. I wanted to do a 30+k run and see how I pulled up. If ok, I would let myself enter the Tan Ultra. If left limping and hobbling around like an invalid I would not enter the Tan Ultra.

I did 32k. It was a really nice route along the Plenty River Trail and then the Main Yarra Trail all the way into Fairfield, my former stomping ground, then along the streets back home. I wanted to wear the five fingers, but went with the Asics due to the amount of gravel sections I’d be dealing with. I took care to watch where I was going, like I would have in the five fingers, and knew I made the right decision. It will definitely take a lot more time before my feet are tough enough as some of the gravel was very rocky and uneven.

Because this was The Test, I was really hoping for it to go well. The start of the run was so nice along the Plenty River as all the wattle trees were in bloom. There are wattle trees just everywhere there! But you never notice until the yellow wattle comes out. It was so beautiful being surrounded by wattle. I felt like I was surrounded by gold, enclosed in wealth and richness. I knew it was a good omen for the rest of the run.

My pace felt pretty good. I was taking it easy in the hope of avoiding leg cramps. Incidentally I also ate 1/2 a bagel before the run and popped a magnesium tablet thinking the food would provide additional energy and the magnesium would also help with cramps (lately my calves have been cramping even just in aerobics classes). I also took water but didn’t even finish the bottle before I got home. I was pretty thirsty towards the end but found it difficult to drink as it’s really only easy to drink when you are cruising along and not out of breath. The mega hills towards the end (Rosanna horrible hill + Greensborough Hwy) really took it out of me. My body just wanted to stop and walk. I had to remind myself that this was The Test and to keep going and say to myself You can do it! because I knew I could do it, I just didn’t want to!

I overtook a few people during the run which was great. I rarely overtake people in training, especially during long runs when I am just taking it slow so it was great to know my pace has picked up over time. Mind you, they were all girls I overtook, no guys!

On the way home along the streets it was mostly uphill. It got really tough. The morning had started off cool and overcast, but on the way home the sun was out and I could feel the sweat dripping off my forehead. The sun was in my eyes and it felt as hot as summer. So glad I opted for shorts and singlet as I was considering tights and a tshirt. Some of the hills really slowed me down to what felt like a snail’s pace, although my Garmin told me I was going faster than I would have at the start of the year so I was OK with that. I started to get some wobbly leg action towards the end but I put that down to going slow and the hills towards the end. I don’t think I’ve been running that many hills lately for some reason. Although I live in Hill Central, I’ve been quite clever in avoiding the nasty ones in the past few weeks. I think getting lost in Eltham a few times made me rethink my long run routes!

Injury wise, I felt absolutely no plantar fascia pain and only some mild discomfort in my metatarsals (thanks to the cushy cushy Asics). A quick check on my form corrected that. My achillies/bursa thingy was irritated by the Asics but I expected that. It wasn’t actually as bad as I was expecting and I could mostly only feel it on the uphills.

I am actually thinking of getting some racing flats for rough ground. I think they wont irritate my achillies so much. I already have some Nike Waffles but find them too narrow. I’d love to try the Asics Pirhana’s and the Adizero PRs. I think they only make them for men, which might be a good thing if it means they might be a bit wider in the toe box. The only problem is finding somewhere that stocks them. Anyone in Melbourne know? I’ve already unsuccessfully checked out the Adidas factory outlet. I’ll have to check out their store in the city. I’d like to go to Runner’s World in Kew but would feel terribly guilty going there just to try on shoes, only to buy anything I like online. Depending on the cost, I may even just opt for Dunlop Volleys.

Back to the run… As soon as I got home I stretched, drank water and ate a couple of oranges. Then I felt fine! My quads are a little stiff, but just that usual muscular soreness from exerting myself, nothing that could be an injury. My right foot is still not 100% but not as bad as I thought it would be.

So… I come to the conclusion that I passed The Test! This means I can enter the Tan Ultra!

When I was running this morning, I was wondering if I could do 20k more. The would be no way I would be able to run the hills 20k on. If it was flat, possibly. And what about nutrition? I was craving fruit on my run today so having some cut up orange, some kiwi fruit and maybe some apple juice would probably be enough for me. I’d also have to make sure I drank a lot more, although that would be easier with a pit stop every 3.8k rather than relying on a 600ml bottle to get through the run.

Oddly enough, I have yet to get enthusiastic enough to fill out the entry form. Perhaps I need to get some energy back first!

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