Running for women

My First 50km Ultra Trail Run – Belinda Mills

WOW!!!
I ran 50kms (well 52.28kms) after years of sticking to ½ marathons (21.1kms) and smaller running events. I thought I was quite happy/satisfied with that! I always said, ‘No way I’m ever running a marathon’ but…. Along came Megan with a crazy idea about Surf Coast Century 50km Ultra Trail and before I knew it I was signed up and into training.
Lots of early morning runs and cold/frosty/icy morning runs (bbrrrr). Hills are not really my friend either so after learning that of course there would be hills throughout the course, it was off to Wodonga we went to do some training up at Macfarlanes Hill.
Before I knew it the months had flown by and the week was here – EEEEEEEEEKKKKKKKKKKKK!!!!

On the Friday morning Megan and I road tripped it down to Anglesea, Vic. We got to our accommodation, dumped our stuff and off we walked down to the event expo to pick up our race packs.
The weather during the week had been less than ideal (even snow in areas nearby) so this meant mandatory gear was compulsory, so first aid kits and thermals were to be in our packs.
Back home we then went to pack all our goodies into our backpacks, then time for dinner. Of course, my go to meal the night before a big run being spag bol, and then a good night’s sleep.
Race day I think we woke about 7am and upstairs we went to hook into some brekky. Seemed like a long wait for 9.30am to roll around, but finally it did and time for us to walk down to the starting area which was right on Anglesea Beach. Although of course as soon as we got there I was off to the loo to do my nervous pre-race wee hahaha
The weather was absolutely perfect! 10am hit and we were off AAARRRRR…….

Starting on the beach we had to run a few hundred metres before we looped back around and in front of us was the inlet of Anglesea beach. Confused I was like ‘No way, we’ve got to run through it??’ Sure enough, yep! So, within 300m we all had water logged shoes, NOT IDEAL! All good though and off we ran to the first hill, “Heartbreak Hill’. I had it in my head that this was going to be nasty pasty but as it turned it, it wasn’t all that bad! (Yes, it was still tough though) This first leg of the run being 28kms was a mixture of 4wd tracks and single trails through the Ottways. The scenery was amazing from wild flowers to waterfalls. I was finding it hard to focus on where I was stepping as I wanted to take in as much of the scenery as possible. By around 8kms in I was feeling comfy and on a mission, and no pain which was ace as I had a few shin issues the week before.

The best part about trail running is that you are too busy concentrating on the scenery and where you are going, that you don’t always watch your time/pace on your watch so before you know it 28kms had gone.
So, into the next leg we went; 23kms of more single tracks through forest, but leading to the coast. As much as I found this leg the toughest I enjoyed it the most. The views were amazing and I seemed to do a lot of chatting in this leg. It’s a small world as I got chatting with 2 lots of people and they were all from Albury, so that was cool.
So, at this point I found chatting a great distraction especially getting up some of those hills.
Once I got to the 30km(ish) mark I could hear the ocean so I couldn’t wait to take in those amazing views and take snaps. It was beautiful. But off I went again, more 4wd tracks, more mud, more water-logged shoes, rocks and tree roots until I finally got to the Great Ocean Road where we had to scramble under the bridge, thank god, I didn’t slip.
Then along the foot path to our second race kitchen at Airlies Inlet skatepark – Thank God as I was totally out of water and busting for a wee lol. The atmosphere here was awesome, people encouraging the runners and cheering us on, and more importantly yummy food, fruit and slices – yummo. So, after a nice stop, once again I was off and heading towards Airlies Inlet lighthouse which looked sooo far away at the 30km mark.

Think it was around 39kms I had spoken to Meegz and knew the beach part was coming up soon which she nicely informed me ‘it was bloody tough’ Thanks Megan!
The first beach part was only short then up some stairs (hmmmm not easy after 40+kms) and the back inland we went. Then the beach was back and a lot of it. At least 3.5kms of sand running!!! TOUGH but amazing.
I knew Megan was done so I just soldiered on and ran when I could and walked when needed. By this time, I started to get a cramp in my quad so I just tried my best to push through it. I finally made it off the beach, I got my bearings then thought WoooHooo I’m nearly there! It was very hard not to look at my watch and think ‘come on I’ve done 50kms I must surely be done lol.
Then once again back on the beach we went, but this part was different, I was there, I’d made it, the finish line was just around the corner. I think I stopped once as the sand was pretty thick at this point and sinky, then a random lady yelled out “don’t stop now your nearly there”. Me – No shit lady (in my head hehehe) but thanks lady. So, I dug deep, pumped my arms and legs and BOOM there was the finish line!!! YIPEEE!!!!

I crossed the line and met up with Megan with a big hug. I then just lent over and thought holy crap I’VE DONE IT!
52.28kms 7:05hours
I was pumped and very emotional, although at the time I think my body was so exhausted no tears would come out. It wasn’t till the walk home and a message from my family came through that the tears hit me.
It was an absolutely incredible experience and could definitely say ‘yep I’d do it again’.