Run to Paradise

Twenty weeks of training, with 980km of running, Run to Paradise is now complete.

To think that Run to Paradise was a fleeting thought. A whim. Well, I took a chance on that whim and decided why not?

While it’s nice to have a physical event to mark the celebration of a goal, in these COVID times, I think it’s important to create your own goals and celebrate in your own way.

And what a way to celebrate 10 years of running!

You only ever did it just for fun

But you run to paradise

The ChoirBoys

It’s strange, I don’t remember my first run (post-kids). There are no “official” records. Garmin and Strava tell me that my first entry into their database was “around” June 2011.

In the ten years, I have experienced it all.

Uniting Church, Paradise, Vic

From running my first Half Marathon to forgetting my shoes and committing a faux pas. It’s safe to say that I have had quite a running adventure.

One thing for sure is that while the actual race is the cream on top, it’s the journey that gets you there.

Coach Zoey said the other day:

The race is about 1% of that training cycle

Zoey D – Operation Move Coach

The journey to Paradise was just as much as an experience and adventure as the run itself was.

Investing in a custom plan was properly one of the best things I ever did.

Zoey took into account my stand-up job, and while I ran an average of 50km a week, which some would consider on the low side marathon/ultra training, it suited my lifestyle.

Training consistently. As the weeks went by improvements were being made.

Training took me to Landsborough, Halls Gap, and also the outer Stawell District.

I tested my nutrition, my gear, listened to audiobooks, podcasts and music. I was ready.

So when race day arrived, it really just felt like any other long run training day.

Going into any event, I like to have a game plan.

Checking the weather forecast in advance I knew it was going to frosty, and it meant I had to rethink what I wanted to wear.

There was only one training run where I regretted not wearing a long sleeve top. On this day, however, I knew I was going to need all the layers. I wore merino gloves (which I ended up wearing for 90% of the run), two buffs (one on my head and one around my neck), and tucked my long sleeve top into my leggings.

Knowing that this run was going to take me about 5 hours, I knew I needed to start early. I did not however want to start in the dark.

Starting just after sunrise would mean that I would finish around lunch time, and would allow me to have a chill afternoon.

Double checking all my gear, and organising my post run food and clothing, it was time.

Opening the front gate, I loaded my GPS, entered in my fuel info, took a deep breath and just began.

The birds were awakening, singing their morning songs.

The air was crisp, the dew was a plenty.

I knew that I had to take it easy at the start. Luckily I live at the bottom of a hill, so an uphill start allowed me to fall into a steady rhythm.

My check points were Reynolds Rd (approx. 13km). The half way point 23km, then Navarre at 37km.

Did I have a time goal? Of course. My A goal was to run an average 6:08 pace. However, time was irrelevant. I just wanted to finish. Bonus if I got it done in under 5 hours.

Arriving At the 13km mark I tried to turn on my phone (I turned it off at the start to conserve battery), but discovered that because it was so cold, the battery had already depleted.

Alas because of this I couldn’t take any photo’s. I did have a portable charger with me, but wanted to save that until at least the 28km mark, so I would have enough charge to call Tom when I got to Navarre.

In a race like this you really do need to be comfortable in your own head, with your stories and your thoughts.

I sang to myself, I wrote (potential) blog posts, I counted. I told stories to myself, listened to the birds, said hi to the sheep, and waved to those that waved to me.

Half Marathon ticked at 2h08m. Nearly at half way. This is where the run really began. I felt comfortable at this pace, and knew that I could it steady.

By 28km I need music for a distraction. I still had at least another hour before getting to Navarre, my last checkpoint.

Navarre felt like it never came. It was like an oasis. You knew it was there, but it just never got any closer.

37km, Navarre, Vic

The body was now starting to feel it, and I was very much looking forward to that post run souvlaki.

Emotions were starting to kick in. I could feel tears coming. After a pep talk to myself, and some food, I concentrated to the lyrics of my songs.

When I finally saw the Navarre sign, I could not have been more happier.

Navarre was a buzz! I’ve never seen so many people out and about in what’s normally a sleepy little town.

Taking the phone out I ran Tom.

Me: “Navarre is so bloody far away!”
Tom: “Yeah, I know! I’ll see you soon!”

Passing through the general store, a local asked me where I was going. I yelled out “Paradise”, and went on my way.

It was then I saw the footy game at the local reserve.

This explains why the town was hustling.

“Ok Matilda, you only have 1 and a bit parkruns to go, you got this”.

Keeping an eye on my watch, I clocked the marathon distance in 4h16m27.

There were still 4 more kilometres to cover.

I was tired, physically & mentally.

My phone decided to shat itself again with a battery.

So I counted, I looked at the landscape, anything to distract me to get me Paradise.

Then there it was, the Paradise Hall, and just 100 more meters away from that was the Church. My end point.

Paradise Hall, Paradise, Vic

Run to Paradise complete in 4h41m52s, with sparkling bubbles and a lamb souvlaki to celebrate.

Totally smashed my goal, not only running under 5 hours, but averaging at 6:07 pace.

An epic running adventure.


Top: Elle & Voo Grey long sleeve
Bottoms: Nike 3/4 leggings
Bra: Panache Sports
Undies: Boody
Socks: Stiegen
Shoes: New Balance Beacon
Fuel: Water, Tailwind, Goulburn Valley & Golden Circle fruit pouches, Spring Energy Gels, TNCC snakes

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