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Lawler Partners Winery Running Festival

22/07/2009

The Woodstock mates and I arrived at Cessnok Friday evening where we were picked up at Central Coast.  We arrived earlier compared to the road trip we had at Mcleay River.  So we had enough rest before the our respective races on Sunday.

Madison WInery- Settlers cottage, The Woodstock Shack

Madison WInery- Settler's cottage, The Woodstock Shack

The Lawler Partners Winery Running Festival running event is organized by H Events and is held at Australia’s famous Wineries in Hunter Valley.  This idea was derived from a similar event in France the organizers read and they thought it is a good idea to have one in Australia.

The group is well spread on the different events of the festival.  We were participating in the 6.25 walk/run event, Sissi, 10KM, Martin and Terry, Half Marathon, Bronwyn, Michelle, and Me and Marathon, Brendan and Anthony.

Event Expo at the Gardens

Event Expo at the Gardens

After a half a day wine tasting on some of the wineries, a cheese stop and a barbi lunch at the cottage we rented, we headed back to the Gardens to collect our race packs.  We saw Michelle, running the half marathon and  Anna, running the marathon and Tom at the event expo.

mm the Vineyards!

mm the Vineyards!

Everybody was happy except for a lil glitch in Bronwyn and my race packs.  Since we were running the 2-man Marathon team, we did not have any shirts in our pack so I did have to tell one of the desks about it.  We registered early and I even corrected the race organizer for lacking two fields for the team form online for shirt size for the 2nd memebr of the team.

He acknowledged the correction and phoned me and told me its all sorted out.  Yet when we inquired about it they said we registered late the reason we did not have shirt which is not the case.  It was not big a deal about the event shirt its just they should have been more organized, specially if the organizer has personally phoned me.  A bit irritated the lady at the desk says come back tomorrow as we might have free extra shirts after.  After doing the right instructions I think being treated that way is not fair, its a good thing the organizer Paul was there personally and heard the lil commottion and we explained and remembered the team Woodstock and he easily arranged it.

We had early night dinner of carbs for the race preparation.  Pasta, bread, salad, chips, cheese, wine, beer.  We were joined by Michelle who was staying on a different hotel and Phil and his family.  It was a wonderful dinner, then retired to bed early at 11.  Race starts at 8am for the marathon and we are just 10 minutes drive away from the start.  All were all discplined and made sure that there is no getting drunk on that night before.  And made sure we were all hydrated.

The marathon men, Brendan and Anthony went ahead as we, the shorter distance runners left the cottage later enough time to watch the marathon take off from the start.

Marathon Runners

Bronwyn drove the rest of the team at the start area, and we were already 1/4 away from the cottage i remembered that I forgot my Voltaren and my GUs!!! Of course I did not say this until we got into the race start, not the Voltaren at least.  I kept mum about the GU hoping I will pull through without it.  I did a warm up jog after hitting the portaloos to look for the first aid tent for voltaren, however there is none.  Sweeped the tents too for energy gels however there is none too! just my luck.  I never learn about preparation.

At 800 the Marathon participants started, and at 830 the half marathon started.  I kept reminding myself to run at my won pace and look after myself after that knee pains from last weekend’s race at Sri Chinmoy.  I knew this weekend I wasnt 100 percent in running form.  However I did not want to let my team and my team mate down.  I think I would be able to pull up and finish it, at least a sub 1 hour 50 mins was still ambitiuos.

I was doing well not until a few more meters after the “The Pepper” Winery, where the one big hill is found.  A long hill that makes you thank the marathon gods you are not running the full marathon.  At that last few meters of that hill I started to run, I can feel my calves burning and my knee niggle starting to act up (I drunk 3 tablets of pain reliever before we left the cottage too)! That was just about 5th Km marker of the race.  I felt upset but I know there is no turning back, I made sure my walk should not be longer than a minute.  A walk-run-walk-run routine was done.

Running through the vinyards, on the dirt, on the bitumen on grass, in between vinyards, was enjoyable with nice sunny weather despite my walking.  Not until I felt real pain on my right knees on the 11th KM approximately.  I knew that the pain relievers were wearing off.  I was really going slow, I saw the marathon runners on their way to finish their first lap.  I was waiting for Bronwyn to pass, no sign of Bronwyn.  I was looking and counting bibs that of the same color as mine, there’s not much.

The route

The route

At last the the turn around point going to the last 10++Kms.  It was loose dirt road.  And inclines till the end of the stretch.  The inclines are making me more suffer.  And strong cold head win coming towards the runners.  I did not like it, It is making me more cramp the cold winds, and my knees are now really killing me.  I started to walk longer. And I run when someone passes me trying to at least keep up, but it is too paindful I was grunting and moaning in pain! I know by tha time my team mate have already have finished her run.

My Team mate-Speed Bronbon

My Team mate-Speed Bronbon

I started to feel really bad that this is the slowest run I had when you see unfit participants going past me and I know I can do better than this!! I was passed by Rachel of Coolrunning who uses me as benchmark in some run.  At 7 Km I was thinking 1 more bay run that is not too long to finish.  I decided I will never make it sub 1:50 so I hope to make at least a sub 2 hours or run walk run walk.  At last 4th KM I was walking, then Sydney Strider Joyce Lam, cheered me “Go Woodstock Runner” which I think help me as she “picked me up” along the way.  So I told my self keep up running with them and jog till the finish, still I can not.  This is ridiculous.

And on our way back, we can hear the announcements, up the Broke road with one last bit of a hill to the finish, I was running yet the pain just worsens on climbing and going down hills.  Few more meters of the hill and I was on top, I can see the finish!

downhill really did not help the pain!

downhill really did not help the pain!

Last few hundered meters and take the pain, which I did, tried to speed on the last bit to the finish chute, unluckily I did not make my sub 2 hours, although I am still happy it was over a minute over of two hours and having been in pain and finished the race.

Painful finish! - 2:00:17

Painful finish! - 2:00:17

I was asked, did I ever thought of pulling out? The option was there but I never thought of doing it.  The only thing in my mind when I wanted to finish the race is not to disappoint my team mate Bronwyn.

After meeting with the gang and few warm-down stretches, we headed back to the chute, greeted Brendan who finished thrid and a PB on a tough course, and went to the 1st aid tent for ice.

Then we were happy to see too for Anna Pilinger, Tristan and Tami’s friend finish 1st on female category on the marathon with a time of 3:24:xx. (I wish I can do a fast time like her!!)

Anna from England

Anna from England

Half of us had a bad run so I am glad I wasn’t being a whimp.  So with my team mate, she did not like the run herself.

Okey, I will stop being hard on myself, not bad time for a knee pain and no GU on a tough course.

I’m such a stubborn runner.  I am committing myself to recovery, this is not ITB I know as it doesn’t hurt anywhere else.  I will recover, pass 2 races, as I wanted to do better times.  Do a faster c2s, 3 weekends to go.

Distance: 21.1 Km
Time: 2:00:17
Location: Cessnock, NSW
Team mate: Bronwyn Hager: 1:38.26
Place: 3:38.40; 1st, Women team, 2 man marathon

Results
42.125 KM
21.1 KM
10 KM

6.25 KM

The group is well spread on the different events of the festival.  We were participating in the 6.25 walk/run event, Sissi, 10KM, Martin and Terry, Half Marathon, Bronwyn, Michelle, and Me and Marathon, Brendan and Anthony.

After a half a day wine tasting on some of the wineries, a cheese stop and a barbi lunch at the cottage we rented, we headed back to the Gardens to collect our race packs.  We saw Michelle, running the half marathon and  Anna, running the marathon and Tom at the event expo.

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