What the year ahead has in store for a vegan athlete
As we near the end of summer, my Tarian husband begrudgingly looks at me and says ‘what summer, it’s almost over and I can’t recall even having one’. Oh that’s the harsh reality of living in Melbourne, we see more grey skies than blue and wear more jumpers than singlet’s.
The cooler temperatures have certainly been welcomed when it comes to trail running or any other endurance event for that matter. I always say I don’t do the heat but sometimes you just need to suck it up and deal with it and this was no more so than on the 17th January when I participated in my first Two Bays 56km trail running event.
From the start line at Cape Schanck it wasn’t obvious it was going to be a warm (read HOT) day but sometimes it never does when you are on the coastline at 7am in your short shorts and t-shirt. This was an out and back course; 28km to Dromana and 28km back to Cape Schanck with a bit of bell ringing in-between. The race was much tougher than I anticipated and having not planned the race, I went in a little under prepared which could have lead to a DNF but thankfully I managed to cross the finish line in 112 place out of 206 finishers – not bad for a vegan athlete.
From the turnaround point at Dromana it was obvious I wasn’t the only one having a bit of a bad day. I overhead more than 1 person say they were pulling out at Dromana due to not feeling well, unable to take in fluids or vomiting up what ever they tried to consume, it was soon becoming a war zone and I was thankful I was able to run straight through it and back up the hill to home.
The race was very well supported with friendly faces along the way and an exceptional crew at each fuel station. The volunteers made it easy to restock, rehydrate and get on your way without too much of a delay. On the day, I filled up my 2L hydration pack 4 times and on crossing over the finish line discovered I had drunk 7L of waters in the duration of the race – 7L and I still didn’t need to pee for a total of 14hrs!
This race also saw me consume zooper dopers (still frozen mind you), the black doctor (coke) and VFuel endurance gels. What was very unlike me was I was unable to take in any solids. I didn’t go to consume a raw wholefood bar until around 90mins into the race and by that time it was too late, my digestive system was unable to take in anything but liquids. This race was one of those where I fuelled on liquid alone with some much needed carbohydrates in there too.
A hard but rewarding race what I remember the most was coming around a bend 5km from the finish to be greeted with the most amazing view of the ocean and cliffs, the organisers weren’t wrong when they said the views at Cape Schanck were more spectacular than that of the Great Ocean Road. This outlook almost took my breath away and with the finishing lighthouse now in view, all I had to do was run the 5km and I was home.
Upon finishing I immediately broke down in tears, although I didn’t feel I could give anymore the mental anguish of this race had caught up with me – I was spent and happy to have finished. I learnt a lot this race, the two main lessons were:
- Never be complacent about a race whatever the distance
- Always have a race nutrition plan and stick to it
On reflection, I loved this race despite it being a tad difficult and the timing could not have been more perfect. I love racing after Christmas and New Year – it keeps me honest during the festive period and motivated into the New Year. Its like it’s the step you need to kick start the endurance year ahead.
What’s next? This race was a warm up for the Rollercoaster, 43km run in the Dandenongs on the 27th February, which is too, a warm up race for maybe the Buffalo Stampede in April followed by my ‘A’ race on the 14th May, Ultra Australia 100km event.
I always say ‘I don’t do easy’, it’s the challenging and unsuspecting races that give me the greatest lessons and keep the fire burning in my belly. 2016 is yet another massive year for me and I plan to keep hold of the opportunities with both hands and see where they take me.
My mantra is to believe more, race harder and recover faster. Does this resonate with you?
To keep up to date with my training schedule, food plans and what I am wearing follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – @tarianpantry