Kowen Moonlighter 12 Hour Trail race

My friend Pam Muston race directs the Kowen Trail runs Moonlighter event, a 12 hour overnight trail race in Canberra. I thought this race would be excellent training for running overnight as part of my preparation for GSER.

I had booked my flights a month earlier with Tiger. I thought I would try to save money…BIG mistake!! I was on my way to the airport and got a text saying the flight was cancelled. I had to sit on the side of the road and book a new flight with Virgin that cost me considerably more than a return flight with Virgin would’ve cost if I had bought that a month ago…oh well, lesson learnt!!

I finally made it to Pam’s, had a nice supper then headed to bed. My body clock still woke me early, so I didn’t get the lovely sleep in I was hoping for…although 6.30am is still a heck of a lot better than my usual 3.50am!!!

I got up and lounged around all day whilst Pam worked her butt off getting everything ready. I felt really guilty but she wouldn’t let me do anything!!

My crew, Luke, turned up around lunchtime and we went through what I was anticipating for the night. I was adamant that this was to be only a training run as I didn’t want to wreck myself for any upcoming training. Famous last words.

We headed out to the course close to 5pm and set everything up, which was not much really as I don’t need much. I was planning on using chews, electrolyte drink and water during the loops, with a bit of solid food (sushi with avo and cucumber) and aid station food when I was in transition.

Even though it was a ‘training run’ and hadn’t tapered for the race, I was feeling nervous because ultimately I still wanted to do well. The race started and I headed out at an easy pace. I tend to be a slow starter because of my niggles. I had a bit of tight calves, but nothing really so after cruising up the road on a gradual incline, I started to push once we hit the single-track. This is where I started to overtake people, especially because I am quite confident on single track in the dark. And it was fun!! I ended up doing the first lap in 54 minutes, which was a bit faster than I expected. I was just feeling so good that I went with it and it became a race. I decided I wanted to do 12 loops, maybe 12 ½. The women’s record was 11. My first 6 loops were all sub-60 minutes. And I was running most of the hills (unusual for me as I tend to like steep hiking hills). As the night wore on I got a bit slower, but my slowest was only 1.04.57, which included a visit to the bathroom, so I’m pretty happy with that!

Speaking to visits to the bathroom, I had a few. Unfortunately my awesome nutrition plan that served me so well at the Canadian Death Race, the Black Spur Ultra and the Barkley Fall Classic was not so awesome here L I was feeling really sick in the stomach and most loops only had two chews. Luckily the pumpkin soup at transition was delicious and went down a treat! However, it’s hard to get much in between loops as I like to have fast times in and out of aid stations. Toast didn’t go down the best, and even my favourite, sushi, was blah. Isn’t it weird how this happens!! Very frustrating too. Luke was great and kept trying to keep me fed. By the last few loops, he was making sure the coke got in too!!

I came in at the end of the last loop a couple of minutes before the hour. I really wanted this 12th loop! So I grabbed a coke off Luke, and didn’t stop, I just kept moving. I figured I could do the last loop without food. In fact, I didn’t even drink anything (other than the coke). I knew I wouldn’t get 12 ½, but I had worked out if I got to the mid-way by around 11 ½ hours I should be able to make it back before the 12 hours was up. I really pushed it. I was in a bit of pain, but I was super keen to make it. 

And I did!! I did my last loop in 58 minutes!! And finished the 12 loops in 11 hours and 55 minutes to get the course record, come first female and second overall. I was so happy with this result!

I wore my La Sportiva Helios for this event. They are an awesome shoe as they are lightweight with only 4mm drop, which I love.

This is a brilliant race that you should definitely consider entering next year!

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