It's been a hard 6 weeks, but a very fun, exciting and fulfilling 6 weeks. I had great runs at 3 peaks and Melbourne Trailwalker and thought maybe i could eek one more strong performance out of my legs before taking a little break. The signs were there to say that i needed the rest after Trailwalker (slight tendonitis in my ankle, tightness in my glute), but there was also some training runs that gave me the sense that there was still enough left in the tank for one more go.
The North Face 100 wasn't initially in my plans this year after I had committed to another go at 3 Peaks and Trailwalker with the desire to run sub 10 hours at the latter. But a strong block of structured training leading into 3 Peaks and Trailwalker and good recovery following them had my thinking it might be possible and I wanted desperately to test myself against the strongest runners in Australia, an opportunity that unfortunately doesn't come often enough.
Coming into the weekend, the talk over the usual forums was that it was going to take close to a course record (9:19) to win it. I figured I wouldn't have the legs for that but truly believed that I was capable of running Sub 10 and figured that would have me in the podium ballpark.
Unfortunately, I never got to find out what I was capable of, as some punk kids stole a bunch of course markers, which resulted in a half of the first dozen runners going off course for 4-8km just before the second checkpoint, 36kms into the race. By the time I reached the checkpoint I was 45 minutes behind the leaders and mentally shattered. I decided there and then that i'd jog through to the next checkpoint and drop out. I had come to the Blue Mountains a little beat up, but with the intent of having a good performance. Once that wasn't going to happen it was an easy decision to save the legs, though by the time I'd made it to checkpoint 3 and run near 60kms, it was pretty obvious that even had I not gone off course that i wouldn't have been capable of a sub 10 hour time, however I think I still would have been happy (and capable) to finish around 10:30.
The organisers couldn't have been more apologetic about us getting lost and the reality is that stuff like this is out of their control. They put on a great race and i'll be back in the future with fresh legs to give it a real crack. Congrats to all runners that finished, I was particularly impressed with Brendan Davies backing up 4 weeks after his stellar run at the 100km road world champs to place 4th, Andrew Tuckey for running sub 10 hours and snaring 3rd place on his debut 100km and Beth Cardelli for her massive womens course record.
Now, the plan is to take a few weeks off, not totally from running, i'll probably still run near every day, but it'll all be easy and fun. I'm also going to pass on the Gold Coast Marathon, so the marathon PB will have to stay at 3:06 for a while longer. Once i feel the itch to train hard again i'll start building up to Glasshouse 100 Mile in September.