Sunday, July 19, 2015

Gold Coast 100 - Australia

To continue my goal of completing ultras in different parts of the world I decided to do one in Australia.  This one wasn't my first choice because it's a multiple out and back.  While I have done this type of race before, I don't like the format, I call it multiple chances to quit.  But the first race I tried to get in was a lottery and I wasn't chosen.  As it turns out this was for the best because at the last minute the other race did not get the proper permits.  While the race ran anyway, it did so without insurance.
The Gold Coast of Australia is south of Brisbane.  I flew into Brisbane, about a 12 hour flight from Los Angeles, the Friday before the Sunday start.  I arrived with no real problems.  I took a shuttle to my room at  Tallebudgerra Recreation Centre.  While inexpensive, this was not a good choice.  The room was like a dorm room, no wi-fi, no heat, no radio television etc.  A bare bones room.  It was however only a short distance from the ocean.
I arrived in the morning, but Brisbane is 15 hours ahead of CDT and so it was late evening/night at home.  I did my best to stay up, but by 4 pm I was asleep.  I woke up in the middle of the night, but stayed in bed.  The next morning there was a knock at my door at 7, it was the race director inviting me to breakfast.  I went and talked to her about the race.
There was a dinner before the race and I met the owner of the race who used to direct it, but moved to Bali and hired the young lady I'd met that morning.  He talked with me some and told me that he gives an award to the first finisher over 60, and I had a 50/50 chance of winning it.  I wish he hadn't told me that, and also introduced me my competition.  As it turned out, I was no competition for him.  
I was not feeling well while there, had some stomach and equilibrium issues, so I decided to drop from my planned 100k to 50 miles.  I was told that was not a problem. 
For 50 miles it is a 3 time 25k out and back, and then a 5k to finish.  At the start I didn't feel bad, but didn't feel great either.  I started the race trying to hold 10 minute miles.  In retrospect I should have dropped that to 12 and then if I felt better, try to pick it up.  Oh well, hindsight and all that.  Still I passed the marathon in under 5 hours, but was feeling bad and almost no energy.  There's no need to drag this out, from about 50k on, it was simply survival mode.  One problem is I didn't take my own fuel, it's a white power, and I didn't want to explain what it was to customs.  Again, in retrospect, I should have bought small packets and that shouldn't have been a problem.  The energy drink they had did not agree with me, it tasted like a heavily sugared water but with an odd after taste.  I just quit drinking it after a while.  I did survive, finished in about 10:30, rested at the finish line before I made the one mile walk back to my room.
I rested the next morning, then headed back to Brisbane where I spent the night in an airport hotel.  Ah, back to internet access and civilization.
This is a well run race, although it runs on both city streets and some along the ocean.  
I made it back to Oklahoma with no problems.