Meredith Quinlan just can’t stop kicking butt this year – and a lot of it is male butt! After a cracking performance in the Commonwealth Games in Wales where she picked up a bronze medal in the 24 hour track race, Meredith not only won the females race this year but smashed the course record to bits with a time of 25 hours 3 minutes. But it didn’t come easy. Jess Baker is the new kid on the block in women’s trail running, and not only was this her first 100 miler, but she pushed Meredith all the way to Patonga Beach, herself coming in under the old course record. Here Meredith let’s us into a few of her thoughts on the race and also what she’s got planned for 2012.
Great win MQ – did you think you’d run 25 hours after your commonwealth’s superb bronze?
No chance. I thought that I was being ambitious to aim for anything in the 27+ hours range, as its difficult to get back into any good training patterns with only 7 weeks between races. I lived in hope that the previous block of training for the Commonwealths would bridge over to this race, and it appears that it did!
What was your prep like after the Commonwealth’s? What kind of training did you get back into?
I had two weeks off after the race, which included running each day for an hour for the first week and then a bit more the second week.
Week 3 – 120km,
Week 4 – 168km
Week 5 – 100km
I then did very little in the last two weeks before the big dance but noticed that some speed had returned in a 10 minute PB on the Quarry track a week before the race. So it seems that six weeks are needed to get your speed back.
Having run with you on section two, you said you weren’t wearing a watch – do your crew keep you updated on how you were going or did you just run to feel?
I had a watch that told me the time, but had shed the garmin at CP1 – figured I didn’t need to know how slow I was going pace wise, but since I had fairly firm grip on what time of day I needed to be at certain points the simple stop watch sufficed. My crew had the times from last year to guide them but I was actually trying to keep it a little slower than last year as I think the last 74km race indicated I may have done the first 103km too fast. I was trying to run as conservatively as possible but keep within 15 minutes of last years 100km time
What was it like having Dr. Jess try to chase you down? Do you think it helped you both run the great times that you did?
Having the Terminator behind me (Dr. Jess) was a good form of discipline. I wasn’t too phased if she passed me, as I know she is a much better runner than I am. However having trained many of the sections with her, I knew what hills she runs up and what sections she is fast on, just as she knew pretty much what I’d be doing. We are fairly well matched in our strengths as training seemed to indicate, although I think long-term she is going to surpass anything I have achieved given that this was her first go, and it was my fourth go at this race. It was hard work being the bunny though, at the out and backs it was evident there was not much more than 5 minutes in it. Every decision you make to run or walk a hill is coloured when you know there is a place at stake.
What gear/nutrition did you use along the way for this run?
I had a Nathan Backpack with a 2 litre source bladder. The front pockets meant I never had to get it off to eat, although those pockets do chop your arms up when you walk. I ate mostly cliff and honey stinger shots, mince pies, cherry ripes, boiled potatoes and then in the last two sections as many bee power honey and honey stinger gels that I had in my possession. It’s just too hard to chew at the end and gels are a nice change, plus get into your system quickly.
How are you feeling about C2K?
C2K, love that race. Am keen not to make any mistakes in it to start with, and to run as much of it as possible. If I manage to place as well, then that would be a nice end to the year, but have very low expectations given how many keen girls now turn up to these races.
What are your plans for 2012?
2012 will be kicked off with cycling to Melbourne, then the Cradle Mountain Ultra in February. A GNW250 attempt sometime after that, 24 hour National championships in Poland which is September. After that, will not be able to resist GNW and then C2K if I am still alive and my crew is still keen! I am tired just writing all that out…
A big well done to Meredith and we wish her all the best for 2012 and beyond!