Surf Coast Century 50km
Yes fifty. I felt more than comfortable with my decision to run/race this distance; only months prior I had run (& won) Ultra Adelaide 100km so the effects of this race were still present in the body and fatigue in the mind.
Heading to the surf coast the day before the race, conversations were overheard about those running the 50km having FOMO (it’s a thing right?) about not running the 100km. Why had I thought to myself? What is it about ‘going large’ that gives people the fear of missing out?
I was 100% happy with my decision to run and race the 50km. I sat back and felt a sense of comfort, of ease and confidence in my decision that 50km is still 50km – it’s a bloody long way by foot.
I train to the race distance I have confidently planned; each run has a purpose and fits in with the yearly run calendar. I run for myself, for personal growth and to see where the body and mind is at on the day. I don’t run for kudos, recognition, or the stupidity of going large when I am not ready for it. I am a confident and controlled runner not a runner who is governed by her ego.
A race like no other
There is something very special about running the Surf Coast Century; the 100km distance back in 2015 was the second 100km distance I had ever run, 4 months after popping my ultra-cherry at UTA. This race comes with nothing but good memories; the pleasure and the pain, the highs and the lows and the warm beauty the region emulates throughout the senses.
The surf coast is a smorgasbord of nature’s offering; sand, surf, trails, and coastal bushland; it’s a sense explosion that is best experienced by foot. There are parts of this course that literally have you stopping in your tracks as the world around you opens to present a part of the world that show cases the best of what it is to call Australia home; it shows you freedom and opportunity and is there for the taking if you see it.
I was excited by the Surf Coast Century 50km. Not only did it give me an opportunity to return ‘home’ to Victoria, connect with very special friends and the coast line, it was a race where I could test some speed on the trails – this is a relatively fast course with the elevation gain of around 1300m it didn’t come without challenges but it also came with some sweeping fast single trails and a good section of sand to find a groove and literally run with it.
The lead up to this race had been solid. Training nice and consistent and unlike the lead up to Ultra Adelaide I had managed to complete all my long runs without any issues. My personal life was still a little unstable and unfortunately for me when I am off balance, I struggle to find the strength in running; I’m working on this.
This is Australia
You can’t help but be relaxed when you head to the surf coast; the lifestyle is something else and with weather absolutely turning it on you couldn’t help but be mistaken that you had just landed in paradise. As much as I love living in the Adelaide Hills, to find yourself on the edge of the world brings an unsolicited sense of peace. But it was maybe the weather and the peace that contributed to the unravelling of my race.
With a 0730am start, I felt like I was running pro hours; I didn’t need to get up until 5am and staying a short drive to the start line meant a morning of mindfulness, meditation, and crumpets.
Upon arrival on the start line, dynamic stretches and a warmup run were in order before shuffling my way to the front of the race eagerly awaiting the sound of the gun to go off. 3, 2, 1 BANG!
I wouldn’t say I was running with boundless of energy, it usually takes me a good 6-10km to find my stride and this would mean I would be nicely warmed up for the first of the climbs of the day. The climb came and went and as I ran into the first of the aid stations, I paid attention to the time and how I was feeling – I was on schedule but flat.
Moving through the course I just couldn’t seem to warmup in the run, the body was lacking the power I needed to move with confidence through the course; my straight-line speed was slow and my legs aching. By the time I found myself at the 36km mark I was hoping coke was going to do the trick and see me finish strong; we all need hope right?
I have an unsaid rule that when running on the 3km stretch of Urquhart towards Anglesea that I am to run not walk. I upheld this rule but only just. My legs were aching and to help soothe them I ran this beach section along the water’s edge; the water would provide some relief from not only the heat, but I was hoping the water would help settle the legs. I think it was more of mind over matter than anything else.
Let go to move on
As I moved through the distance, my planned timings and previous course PB were moving farther away from me. I had to be at peace with this. I had expectations for this run, as did others for me but here I was, slipping down the rankings, feeling somewhat cooked and must accept this is where I was at.
Letting go and acceptance meant I could find a pace and stay with it; I could move through the course being present and I could finish with a smile. After all, a beer was waiting for me.
State of mind is fundamental to everything you experience; it is what shapes you and the moment you are in. I could easily have let my emotions; my ego affect my state of mind, but I had a choice. I choose to stay with the peace, the calm, and the appreciation for the environment I was in; this day wasn’t my race day but it sure was a good day to remember.
Planted Life Run Coaching
Are you interested in learning how to navigate your way through a race when the day doesn’t go to plan? Contact me to discuss how Planted Life Run coaching can help you become a more mindful athlete.
The 2024 Surf Coast Century will be run on Saturday 21st September. Will you be on the start line?
[Photo credit: Photos4sale/Allan Ure]