So this is it, a week from today, 50 runners each with a support crew tagging along by car will pound out 240km on foot from the south-eastern shoreline of New South Wales to the top of Australia.
We have all subjected ourselves to different methods and levels of training. Some of us have raced a lot, some of us hardly at all. Some runners have made it down to do course-specific training, many of us have instead just tried to find the longest hilliest roads we can near our home locations.
Now it’s taper time. Even as the legs itch to go for a run, some of us worry that if we take even 6 days off running we’ll forget how to do it. Ironically, the other favourite activity now left to us is eating but with our favourite calorie-burning activity on hold, we’re on reduced rations for this kind of fun too.
Early morning training brings its own rewards
When training goes well, it reinforces a positive belief in the outcome of the race itself. We know who the top runners are, but many of us simply hope to reach an eventual placing somewhere in the midpack without any bones breaking or tissues tearing or organs collapsing. And if they do, well, we hope that training will still give us the strength we need to drag ourselves across the line before we get timed out.
Nutrition strategies are in place, timing plans set to dream, pragmatic, and parachute finishes have been worked out, I’m still thinking about which socks are going to get the thumbs up, and have obviously already made my shoe choices. Super crews are champing at the bit, ready to enforce hydration needs and keep runners on course at night when the sleepy zigzags set in anytime between 9pm and 5am.
The great thing about running 150 miles is that it’s always going to be a new experience. Even running 100km on the same course has a particular freshness to it each time you race, but with a race as long as Coast2Kosci anything can happen. It might be scorching heat, headwinds, dehydration, rain, extreme cold, poor visibility, injuries, blisters, nuclear chafing, nausea, fatigue, mental weakness, or any other factor that can slip beyond the runner’s control, but whatever it is, you know that your only choice will be to deal with it as efficiently as possible and bust on through, regardless. Running 240km is a massive challenge, no doubt, but the real challenge lies in how you deal with whatever happens during that 240km.
Seaman’s Hut at the 228km mark. Still some real work to do here, but you know you’re going to get there now.
To paraphrase half of the Race Director team, Paul Every, ‘ours is a sport where you don’t have the luxury of thinking about anything beyond your next step’.
Racing starts 5:30am, Friday December 5 Australian Eastern Standard Time – follow here. Messages of support welcome!
If I’m looking this happy on December 5th, my crew probably need to kick my ass a lot harder.