Monday, March 10, 2008

An inadvertent Six Foot PB

I feel a little like the freckle-faced child who has raided the neighbours' peach tree and got away with it. On Saturday morning I stepped, ran, walked, shuffled, and plodded, 45 kilometres through the sublime Blue Mountains from Katoomba to Jenolan Caves. I was just one of 762 finishers in Australia's greatest trail race – the Six Foot Track Marathon. In deference to my mate Scott, I'll refrain from Tolstoyising the day. Let's just say it was a long one, and a long weekend.

It was the fifth time I'd completed this race. Something keeps drawing me back. I can't help myself. This year I didn't do any specific preparation. I was so keen to run well around the 400 metre track, that I didn't want the long, slow, hilly runs diverting attention from my speedy track goal. I restricted my long runs to around 16k, usually out and back to Rose Cottage Inn.

On Saturday I felt good; relaxed. Before the Cox's River, I ran easily, having a ball on the single-track until I came upon a very long Woolies-style queue of runners, impossible to overtake. Luckily the coasting only lasted for 2km or so. The river was cool and refreshing, as were the stream crossings of Alum creek. On the hike up to the Pluviometer, a multitude of delightful bellbirds were in full tinkly voice. The distant sounds of Kookaburras added to the Aussie bush atmosphere.

It wasn't until after the Pluviometer that I contemplated a PB, and possibly going under six hours. One never knows how one will go until the Black Range. It was good! I was able to run – albeit with a shuffling stride. Walks were confined to the uphill sections. I waited for the cramps, which never came. I repeatedly thanked Blair for the cool day. By the Binda Cabins, I knew a wheel would have to seriously fall off, to keep me from running well under six hours. The landscape finally tilted down and I picked my way, with 'talking quads' gingerly to Caves House. 5 hours 41 minutes and 7 seconds! This was a 37-minute PB and placed me 469th. Very happy with the run, and very happy to be amongst friends.

Splits: Nellies (1.7k) 19:25, Megalong Valley Rd (8.1k) 52:14, Pinnacle Hill (10k) 1:03:07, Cox's River (15.5k) 1:39:40, Mini-Mini summit (20k) 2:25:24, Pluviometer (26k) 3:22:28, Caves Rd (37.9k) 4:49:42.


Blogger Two Fruits said...

Well done, now what is the secret. I am going to try the no train, no pain theory next time. It worked with Jim W as well.

5:05 pm  
Blogger Gronk said...

That's a great result Ewen. Well done mate !

5:42 pm  
Blogger Lulu said...

You make it sound so easy, it's almost tempting! Maybe it was all that Hadd stuff you'd had enough of that gave you the base? Well done a nice shiny PB

6:19 pm  
Blogger Scott said...

Stealing fruit from neighbours is one thing but your recent PBs don't lie. You must be in pretty good nick thesedays Ewen.

You got me thinking now if fitness alone can get me through 6ft I might give it a go. It sounds like one race that ought not to be missed.

7:09 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Crikey! That's one heck of a PB! I had no idea.

You'll find that you can link to my new blog through this comment or on coolrunning.

7:44 pm  
Blogger Jen_runs said...

One day, someone will mention the Jen_runs training program for Six Foot in the same sentence as the Lydiard method ;-)

Congrats on a AWESOME result. Hope the recovery goes well

8:37 pm  
Blogger PortRunr said...

That's just amazing Ewen...congratulations. Who would have thought from your distinctly understated remarks before the start, but your experience certainly shone through! Might try some 3000m training myself next year! Missed you afterwards at the caves though.

8:44 pm  
Blogger Rob said...

You sure are pulling the rabbits out of the hat Ewen. You must certainly be happy with such a terrific result. You may not have trained specifically for the 6 Foot but you have been putting solid consistent training.

8:50 pm  
Blogger speedygeoff said...

Ewen, there's no doubt about it, you didn't just achieve your life's ambition of beating six hours, you beat it to death.

Scott, 6 ft track is definitely a race not to be missed. I have never run it and never will and I have not missed it at all.

But I admire those who have run it.

8:57 pm  
Blogger strewth said...

Ewen - my hero - that certainly was an awesome result. You must be just so over the moon about that PB - absolutely amazing.Obviously all that track training and the medium distance runs kept your fitness to the right level! Fantastic!!

9:44 pm  
Blogger Hamburglar said...

Ewen, congrats. Can we thank Mr Hadd? That is an awesome PB - just amazing.

I still didn't get to meet you though? Kicking myself that I didn't come looking for you.

Caberra in 5 weeks?

9:46 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

why do i picture you walking around cranberra dressed like Tony Manero strutting about NYC in his finest saturday night disco duds?

congrats. i can tell by the way you wrote this post, you're a 6 Foot man. no time to boast.

10:04 pm  
Blogger TA and the Gnome said...

You just keep stealing those peaches! It's nice to get surprises like that, isn't it :-)

Top run on a top day.


10:23 pm  
Blogger plu said...


10:28 pm  
Blogger Runner Susan said...

Congrats on the PB Ewen, 37 minutes off your time is really great. I guess all that time on the track has helped you with your trails as well. Very clever.

10:52 pm  
Blogger Grellan said...

...........and you said you never ran marathons and then you go and do an ultra. Fantastic result and a whopping PB - I'd say last years training HADD something to do with it. Well done.

8:44 am  
Blogger Superflake said...

Congratulations on the PB Ewen. I would say all your track speed this summer has helped you run fast between the six foot hills. Who needs hill training indeed when you can walk up fast.

9:25 am  
Blogger speedygeoff said...

Hey Ewen, you run a brilliant six foot track and will end up with 51 comments, and I run a brilliant 1500m and end up with 3 comments.
Well, it's like they say, no one understands real running any more.
Anyway, thanks Allrounder, Tesso and Ewen. I appreciate you and you're definitely among my favourites.
Keep up the training Ewen, it works for you. Unless you've hadd enough six footers.

10:19 am  
Blogger Rachel said...

Amazing result! Must be so nice to just go out and run such a big race cause you enjoy it and do so well.

10:53 am  
Blogger allrounder said...

well result on an alternative long distance training program...

12:47 pm  
Blogger Robert Song said...

Well done Ewen. All that base building certainly got you to a good fitness level for a race like that.

And you have been able to envoke a bit of comment envy as well from the speedygoose.

1:09 pm  
Blogger Tesso said...

Hugest congrats Ewen!!! Bloody hell, I just figured out that was close to a 1 minute per km PB. Amazing!

Now I am scared as to what you are going to do next. Whatever it is I am going to be taking notes.

Recover well. See you next month.

9:37 pm  
Blogger Mike said...

Holy macaroni that looks like a tough one. Congrats Ewen, it's nice to read about this.

11:14 pm  
Blogger Spud said...

Nice PB Ewen. That something that draws you back every year is almost spiritual hey? :)
Good to catch up with you at the end too.

7:43 am  
Blogger Phil said...

The "talking quads" get me ever time I try a long race. Great PB.

12:51 pm  
Blogger Stephen Lacey said...

Congratulations Ewen. I don't think you stole that fruit. You got it purely through hard work. Well done!

2:31 pm  
Anonymous Steve said...

Well done Ewen, 37 mins is a big chunk from your previous pb. Even more amazing that you didn't properly prepare for it - maybe that's the trick.

See you at Canberra.

5:31 pm  
Blogger Eric said...

Wow...very impressive, Ewen! I can't imagine trying to do a course like Six Foot--I don't think I'd have the balls to try! Much respect to you, and congrats on a huge PB.

11:01 pm  
Blogger trailblazer777 said...

Congratulations Ewen on absolutely shattering/destroying your PB! Way to go! Awesome. Well Done! Plus completing the 6 foot mission for the 5th time is a totally legendary outstanding! achievement! Inspiring stuff.

My running mate Dave here from Perth was pretty happy with his 4.25, which was well under his 4.30 target and was the 2nd fastest time by a west australian as far as we know behind one Ray Lampard who also did it this year in 4.12!...Probably have to be in Daves best 5 runs of all time I reckon...

Hopefully I will be there next year or the year after for my first attempt.

Keep picking off those peaches!!!

11:18 pm  
Blogger Stu said...

A friend from Western Aths ran his 11th and was hoping to run his 2nd or 3rd fastest, but much to his surprise, no cramping for the first time and a 6 min PB, finishing 69th.

Well done on your PB.

4:19 pm  

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