Thursday, 11 April 2013

Perth 100km

Let's Plan A Race

Organised, as ever, I decided on the train to Perth that I should develop a race plan. Essentially I needed to practice eating, walking breaks and how to ignore my crew for a few laps. With no pencil or paper to hand I unleashed my youth and used an app on Scott's phone to record the best laps for custard consumption. It's like a note pad but on the phone. Wild. You could use it to make a kit list, a to-do list or even a grocery list. I would love to make a grocery list and then carry it about on my phone, ready to plan a meal at any available moment. Plenty of time for that list-making tomorrow though as I've got 42 flat laps to run. I decide that I'll take food at the same time as liquids to prevent having to take something constantly. 'A third of a banana' was written typed often. Then we end up buying small bananas (after a HUGE argument with the self-scanning checkout at ASDA) and I ended up taking halves. Just in case you were worried about the size of my bananas. 

Because I just couldn't trust the phone battery...

Race briefing reminds me that I need to stop eating as there are skinny runners about everywhere. The purple race t-shirt is going to match my new purple racing shoes. Don't pretend you're not jealous. All the runners wearing their countries uniforms are intimidating. It's going to be a fast race and very good for me to learn to get lapped. Often. It's something that's going to happen frequently at the IAU World Championships in Holland. 

Let's Run A Race

Daylight savings was less than ideal but at least I get to mention that we lost an hours sleep and therefore it makes the race more epic. I arrive at the start huddling my plastic box of goodies with about a minute to spare before the starting hooter. Then we start running and pretty soon I find myself in the approximate position of last place. 

Apologies for the grizzle but it was bloody cold. I usually warm up pretty quickly but I was clenching and flexing my hands for hours trying to keep them warm. I'm really not sure why I decided to wear 3/4 length tights when I have been wearing full length tights since October. Nor why I neglected to wear my merino underpants sent over by a mother concerned that my bum was getting a tad cold in the Scottish winter. 

I think I got lapped before I had completed my third lap. The laps were 2.3km long so one could view that early lapping as slightly embarrassing. Those men were going so fast that they were pretty much just running in their bikinis. They must be well keen for the pub. The course is nice. It's around a park, tiny incline in the first half, long back straight, downhill turn and then the dodging of a few potholes on the stretch to the start/finish line. Scott goes back to the B&B for his cooked breakfast at some stage. He leaves my custard ready but doesn't take the foil all the way off the custard pottle. Afterwards we have a discussion with Debbie M-C about how it's my fault for not being more specific in my instructions. Scott was concerned about bits getting in my custard. I wasn't. If my custard dropped on the ground I would have bent down and eaten it with my hands. Maybe some wishful thinking there; as if I would be able to bend down. 

I don't want to throw away the one plastic spoon I've got with me so I try putting it down my crop top. Advice; put the spoon down functional way first, not handle way first. You'd think putting the skinnier bit down would be better but it's a bit spikey. The functional 'spoon' aspect of the spoon actually compliments the curves of the body better. Just in case one finds themselves in this situation in the future. 

SPOON! That's code for 'stop talking to Matt Moroz and catch my spoon Scott.' I know custard is not on the list a second time but I know there's an extra pottle in that plastic box of mine...   

Starting the first lap

Finishing the second lap (photo credit to Davey Johnson)

We're Running A Race

There are two laps in a row where I witness extraordinary toileting (this is for you Bob Allison). For the first I get lapped by a runner who I am pretty sure is not carrying a drink bottle. And yet, ahead of me I can now see errr, liquid, making a trail on the pavement. I am pretty sure that he has just been pissing as he's been running twice as fast as me. I'm not disgusted but instead incredibly impressed that; a) he can do that while running, and b) I am running in a race with people so speedy that they need to do that while running. Then the second toileting feat of the day was when I came round the corner to find two English guys (who had both lapped me several times together) taking their toilet break in unison too. That's incredible teamwork. Although shorter English guy did finish peeing before tall skinny English guy and I suspect that tall skinny guy had to cut his comfort break short so they could pound off together. 

I am counting my laps as I go (not looking at the lap/leaderboard) but I can't remember what happened on each lap so we're going to jump about a little during this blog writing. I chat to Cat Lawson who ran the 24 hour race in Tooting Bec last year. I had wanted to have a bit of banter with her then but was 'saving' her and unfortunately 'saved' my epic banter for too long and she left before the end of the 24 hours. Fair enough, it's a long race (something like 24 hours) and she had a hangover. Cat is in the Spartathalon this year. That is some serious tanning potential. 

FOCUS (photo credit to Davey Johnson)

As I am coming to the end of about my 14th lap (they clearly just flew by) I can see the 50km mob replicating the Harlem Shake on the start line. Someone's calling 30 seconds to go. Someone's calling 15 seconds until the start. Someone's flying along the side of the course with their backpack on hoping to make the start. It's Sarah Grigor. Yesterday she mentioned that the 50km started at 10.30am. I find out afterwards that the race actually started at 10am. Probably best to start with a sprint though. Gets one warmed up. Colin Knox has already done several laps to keep warm before his 50km. I think he's beating me. 

Due to a wedding that we attended on the Friday night, my hair is not it's usual Shakira party and instead is in a long straight pony tail. It's an accident that I forgot to braid it before the start. But it's now getting me compliments from the English runner Isobel Wykes as she laps me. She's now obviously my new favourite person. 

As I approach the midway point of 21 laps I feel that my legs are working hard and things are hurting. If I had looked at the clock I would have realised that I was going too fast and slowed down but thankfully I never looked at the clock. It's a long flat race. It's supposed to hurt. These speedy people probably hurt too but they are still running. Put your head down and plod on. Talk to Mr Cheltenham Purple Vest ahead of you. Mr Cheltenham Purple Vest and I discuss how I was nine years old when he traveled through New Zealand. Then we discuss where Cheltenham is because I am embarrassed to admit that I don't actually know. And then we get lapped by Robbie Britton and fight over who knows him better; I've never spoken to him outside of a race but he does follow me on twitter. And by following me on Twitter it's like he's telling the world that he thinks I'm cool...

George and Karen are also quite cool, zooming about on their bikes. I think that they've been hired as entertainment. George doing his wheelies and Karen's riding with no hands! Those kids are crazy. George has my drink bottle. And by drink bottle I mean some tiny water bottle I purchased in a pack of 16 yesterday during my punch-up in ASDA. But I am concerned that Scott is running out of bottles so I stress to George that the bottle gets returned to Scott. For someone with a statistics degree I sure can make some daft mathematical decisions sometimes. So the bottle gets returned to Scott with about a mouthful of Nuun remaining. It makes me look a bit desperate.  

Lap nine should have been my first walking break but I didn't fancy it. At lap 18 I genuinely forgot that I was meant to be walking so ran through that one too. My next walking break should be at lap 27 but I need the powder room so I run through that walking break and instead pop into a port-a-loo to powder my nose. Prior to this race, the longest I have run without walking is the D33 (53km) so I am pleased with myself for having beaten that. Although it's a bit naughty because that wasn't the plan. But at 26 years old, I think it's ok to be naughty sometimes.  

Don't look at my arms Dad (photo credit to Alan Young)

Emily Gelder laps me for a second time. I'm actually a wee bit worried that she's only lapped me twice. While she's passing me I am trying to get the chocolate pieces out of my scroggin. I express this to her and she supports this guilt-free eating. Unfortunately, I cannot respond because I am tipping the snap-lock bag of scroggin down my throat hoping that the chocolate bits make it into my mouth faster than the raisins. Way to play it cool Antonia.

So we're on some lap number that is above 30 and I'm still running. Well done for sticking with me. I concentrate on my form and just run at whatever speed that makes me run. I try to say a word of encouragement to EVERYONE. It keeps my mood positive. Once I hit lap 36 I don't take my walking break. If I start walking, I will not start running again. I cough flapjack everywhere. It's time to focus. It's gel time. Live on the edge people. The tunnel of support crews is awesome. When I approach the start/finish line there's a clock with the lap counters on my left and the leaderboard on my right. My eyes always focus on a cone in the middle and I try to give a wave or a smile to the lap counters who always give me an enermous cheer. Coming over that line each lap was a huge pick-me-up. I come round another lap, fetch the chocolate flapjack out of my bra and throw it in the direction of Scott and Lorna so that I can take my gel. I'm all class and hygiene. 

Let's Finish This Race

Just keep moving. That's about the extent of the plan. Move your arms, keep it smooth. I catch up to two female runners. Shetland runner lapped me earlier on but I caught her back up previously, so I suspect that I am actually passing her now. I haven't seen the other lady (Helen James) since the start line so I assume that we are on the same lap too. I haven't looked at the clock or leaderboard for the entire race but I have an uneasy feeling that I might be creeping up the field. On the same lap I catch up to Isobel Wykes who lapped me earlier. She's still a lap in front of me which is good as it keeps me relaxed but I'm worried that I've been going too fast so slow a bit. I have to focus on my form for the next few laps as I run with her, not wanting to annoy her but also not having the legs to go faster. She's giving me some support and asks what position I'm in. But I don't know! Halfway through her last lap I push on as I still have another one to go. I was worried that she would sprint off on her last lap and I would have to run two on my own!

Following Isobel Wykes (photo credit to Alan Young)

At some point I see Paul Foster and that's the first I have seen of him throughout the entire race so again I assume that I am just catching him. He's been laying about having massages though so he's got a few more laps to do. That's what happens when you lay about during a race :) Great effort for Paul though as it was his longest run by about 40km.

My legs blast through the final lap. It's easier to fly when you are in a good mood. I get a wee bit emotional because I realise that I will have run the whole way (bar two bathroom stops, but hey even I'm human sometimes). I didn't think that I could run the whole way. Better not start greeting yet though. So I try really hard running to the finish, cross the line, pause, wobble, buckle. I ran well, did I crack 10 hours? Aye, 8 hours and 45 minutes. Get in. I gave Scott splits for a 10 hour finish just so he had an idea of how long it would take me to run a lap and therefore whether he could go to the bathroom or not. Turns out I ran too fast and he didn't get to go once!  

Finishing 100km, 8:45

We've Finished A Race

I get hauled onto a massage table. Ahhhhhhhhhhh. But then Scott tells me there's prizegiving happening and I might be third lady. So I hobble over and get a trophy and Easter egg. I don't realise that I don't get the bronze medal. Later I am told about the medals. As I am neither Anglo nor Celtic, I don't get a medal. 

Later in the pub Scott spots Daniel Doherty and his crew buddy John and invites them over for a drink. John comments that I looked mighty happy when I received my trophy. That will be because I was a bit of a surprise podium finisher. I wouldn't have betted on myself pre-race! But I certainly think that I'm pretty cool sharing a beer with these two now! Also, how does someone win a race even after they've stopped for a massage?! 

The other runners were fantastic. Andrew Murray and Marco Consani said words of encouragement every time they lapped me and numerous others make cheeky comments as I went past later on in the race. Big thumbs up to Andy Johns who toughed it out until the finish despite struggling through the second half. Some people would have just pulled out instead. 

Thank you to Adrian who organised the race. It was a fabby wee event. Thank you to the lap counters and support who cheered constantly. I am sorry that I never looked in your direction to see your faces! 

My too-proud father has informed me that I ran a negative split and that my last lap was my fastest. I still haven't worked out what my average pace would have been. That's just going to be way too scary.

Can athletes eat Easter eggs? 


  1. Your average pace was spot on 5:15 per km.
    I calculated that as soon as the finishing times were up.

    Congratulations on another great race and another entertaining report

    Too proud Dad

  2. The performance of the day!! If not, the year! You were amazing. Your final laps were freaking awesome. Very well done, Missy. You're going to have a stormer in Holland....we just need to turn you to the red/white/blue team :-) xx

  3. only negative split in entire field, you were bloody awesome. I was dead proud of running non stop for 50 and you go kick my ass outta the place :) top running Antonia, you can only get better. pace per mile is a cracking 8.27! hahah, brilliant. xx

  4. Ps: If you think I was mocking you for your custard pot should have heard the abuse your H2B got when he abandoned you in favour of a fry-up ;-)

  5. And your last lap wasn't only your fastest.
    It was the fastest lap off all the females.
    Pretty damn impressive.

  6. Brilliant performance Antonia, and great to see the way your performances are getting better and better in these races. All looking good for the World 24 xx

  7. Epic running Antonia and always smiling X

  8. Another great wee read - well done on having such a good race. And a big thumbs up back at you for having that amazing negative split - you were looking so strong as the day wore on.

  9. I'm trying to think of a different word to awesome. And failing miserably. The Worlds are definitely going to be interesting... xx

  10. Brilliant run Antonia and another great blog too, you looked so comfortable lap after lap, hopefully get to speak to you are a race some time-either need to speed up to catch you or you can slow for a minute or five as you overtake me.
    Great things ahead of you, now think carefully are you really sure you are not Scottish i am positive you would suit the vest.

    Davie Mooney


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