Yesterday was my 6th year of running The Great Pyramid Race here in Cairns, Australia.
I had a great race day, everything seemed to go well and despite feeling like I really haven't trained for the race this year I finished in my best ever time of 2 hours 9 mins and finished 2nd placed veteran female!
It was such a great feeling and amazing to see how far I've come since my first Pyramid Race in 2009 when it took me 3 hours and 15 mins and I finished last place in the Open Female category.
In my 6 years of doing this race I've learnt a lot. I've trained hard and gone in knowing I had a chance to do really well, but stuffed up my hydration completely and cramped badly halfway through the race. I've let my mind get the better of me and given up mentally halfway through the race. But this year I really feel like I've learnt how I should run the Pyramid Race.
I went into the race this year with no expectations having done very little training.
The run to the mountain
I knew from experience that the 3km flat run to the base can be my undoing, so I consciously took it easy and felt good at the base - warmed up and ready to go in just under 17 minutes.
The climb up
The climb itself (922m) takes me about an hour. I knew my steady pace and stuck to it. If I needed to pass people to stick to this pace I did, but I also didn't worry about people passing me. I made it to the top at the 1 hour and 21 mins mark, so a little more than an hour of uphill, but I was pretty pleased with that and still felt good.
The run down
I now really enjoy this part of the race. The turn around at the top is a great mental feeling and once the uphill is over, my breathing becomes easier. The downhill is about speed with control and enjoying it. I loved the downhill this year and came down in my fastest ever time of 31 minutes.
The run back
The 3km run back after climbing the mountain is quite simply a mental challenge. My legs were so tired, but I knew my time was very good and I knew I could run all the way back - albeit slowly.
With a jelly snake from my watching daughters to set me on my way, I slowly jogged back. Pretty soon into this final run I felt my legs wanting to cramp, but wasn't going to let that happen and the last 12 mins of the race was spent chanting in my head,
"you will not cramp, you will not cramp"!
With the finish line in sight, I was really hurting and just wanted to finish, but when I heard my girls shouting for me I managed to put on a bit of a sprint for the line. Although judging by the photos, my feet were barely making it off the ground, so I don't think it was much of a sprint!
So this year I feel like I finally learned how to run The Pyramid Race and I feel really positive and encouraged about my coming years of trail running. To see how far I've come in 6 years of persistence, training (which I've got better at over time in terms of consistency) and learning about race hydration and nutrition; gives me real hope and an excitement about what I could achieve in years to come!
I'm fired up to start training properly again and also to lose some weight. This is something I talk about lots, start dong and lose 2 or 3 kilos and feel really good, then stop. I think I'm mentally ready now to stick to it beyond the initial couple of kilos, with the incentive of some really great times in my running.
I'm just about to start a 12 week training plan for a half marathon race I'm entered in in November, and there are a couple of trail runs in those 12 weeks too which will be fun.
I'm feeling focused, motivated and ready to take action to become a better and faster runner!