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Ned Kelly 100 km Race report – Shannon-Leigh Litt

Shannon-Leigh Litt continued her winning ways over the 100km distance at the  Ned Kelly 100 km race in Victoria Australia on 27 October 2013. Below is Shannon’s race report.

I flew in the day before to Melbourne and was lucky enough to be picked up by one of the race volunteers from the airport. The start line was about two and a half hours away in a small town of 17,000 people called Whangatta.  70 km of the course was on the rail trail and 30 km was on the road.  It was a small event with only 44 100km entrants.  My goal was to run the event as a training run and test out nutrition. I wasn’t happy with my run at Naseby as I had felt ill though still kept going. I wanted to focus on race day nutrition with this race and getting it right. After the Naseby race I focused a lot on speed work and sharpening my running a bit better which helped.  It was a great opportunity as well to try out my new hand held Ultimate Direction bottle and pack. The hand held bottle was really easy to use and re-fill and I would recommend it as an essential race kit. I liked the fact the pack was light and fit all my food in. The pockets for the gels add to easy access.

I stayed close by to the start and relaxed the night before the race. I thought briefly about race strategy and made sure I had all of my equipment and food ready. I thought what I would do for pain management and so carried an extra pair of compression socks for that purpose. Focusing on the process and basic needs is really important in a race rather than focusing on the result. That is something I learnt when I used to work as a lawyer and was at the forefront of many jury trials talking to the jury. Focusing on the theory of my case rather than the result assisted greatly with nerves and preparation. It is about the process and enjoyment. I told myself the night before the run that I had nothing to worry about, what will be will be and that all I had to do was do my best and remember why I was running this 100 km, i.e. (to test out running nutrition, hydration, etc) and not to go fast or win. The 100 km is my all time favorite distance.

I got up about an hour before the race. There wasn’t time for a large breakfast and so it was one banana and coffee. Five minutes before the race I had a GU coffee gel. Usual pre-race ritual though I would like to try and get up a few hours earlier next time.

I started the run without a head lamp, after I took a head lamp to the start though was told it was about to get light!  I should have had a head lamp as it didn’t get light as quick as I thought. Fortunately it allowed me to run a bit faster at the start though as it was an incentive to keep up with one of the leaders. I slowly eased into the race running at a consistent pace.

Shannon pounding the pavement at the Ned Kelly

Shannon pounding the pavement at the Ned Kelly

The first 25 km went very well – I Felt great! 35 km I felt like crap and even stopped for a few second to drink, eat and get out my iPod. It was time for some One Republic and REM amongst a few other tunes. I remember watching “In the High Country” in Tauranga a couple of weeks before the race and applied what I learnt from that movie. I thought right I am going to push through when I feel like crap. I am not going to try and go faster when I feel good. So at 35 km I was really hurting though I told myself I could do it, keep going faster!

I did the first 50 km in 4 hours and felt good at that mark.  I remember passing a guy at about the 40 km mark and he said oh you must be doing the 4 person team. I think he was surprised when I said no I am doing the 100 km! My GPS stopped at 50 km (Dam!!) and so I then had no idea how fast I was going. I probably went out a bit too quick. I would like to eventually keep that pace up. How to do that! Maybe a stint in Kenya.  More 1500 meter time trials and 5 km runs!  More rest….Watch this space!

I made sure that I ate and drank throughout the whole race which is very important. I ate two servings of sports beans, 4 of my own made up chia shots in snap lock bags, and 3-4 Torq gels. I had 500 mls of water or Torq per hour around about. It was very hot. Fortunately the bikram hot yoga had helped me with this. I train in yoga and dance 4-5 times a week.

The first gel I had at the 50 km mark. It was orange and banana and refreshing. There were some supporters on mountain bikes who were able to help me out by passing me a gel.  I didn’t have any support throughout the run and so recruited some people to help me throughout the race. The aid stations were 15 km apart so it was necessary to carry drinks.

There was a kind man who I met who I thought was a marshal due to his bright clothing. He helped by filing up my drinks bottles throughout the latter stages of the race. I found out later he wasn’t a marshal he was in a team. I found it difficult to navigate my way all of the time around the course and so stopped to ask a few times. I also looked at the map the race organizers gave me which helped.

Shannon at the finish- in 1st!

Shannon at the finish- in 1st!

At around the 90 km mark my right Achilles was hurting and so I decided to take it easy even though I felt good I didn’t want to risk not finishing. I have learnt through running a number of long races that you cannot make any judgement call until you cross the finish line.

I enjoyed meeting new people including Jess Baker who is an experienced athlete and runs for Hoka. At the finish line I chatted to Nikki Wynd and we are now in contact with each other exchanging training tips. I really enjoy learning from others and sharing my own knowledge. Now that I have recovered from being hit by a car and my injuries I am looking forward to what 2014 will bring.

Female results: Shannon-Leigh Litt (first) 8 hours, 46 mins and 42 seconds,  Jessica Baker (second) 9 hours 29 mins and 32 seconds and Larissa Tichon (third) 10 hours 11 mins and 17 seconds.

For further information about the race or my future events please go to  https://facebook.com/shannonleighathlete


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