Thursday, 1 August 2013

Trails, Trails and more trails a running and photo update

So it looks as though it is time to update my charity running blog. It’s been a month and there has been plenty of water under the bridge (or just plain cold water without a bridge – read on to figure out what that means) and I haven’t given you all an update on how I’m tracking or what I am actually doing.

It may appear as though I’m lazy, well in fact I am when it comes to updating this blog, when in fact I do actually train and run these different events. All of them in the name of charity of some description, the event itself may not be charity based but the long term aim is to run a ridiculous event that will push me to the extreme edge of my limits and that event will be for charity.

Last blog entry was the Salomon Trail Series Race One at Studley Park, since then I’ve participated in two more trail events as well as putting in a number of parkruns and a heap of training. Short term I am running the Marysville Marathon (full 42k) on trails in mid November, shorter term I will be putting in heaps of miles and events to be ready for that specific event and long term I have a big challenge ahead. That one I am not going to reveal until such time as I’ve finished Marysville and know that I can actually physically push myself well beyond a single trail marathon.

Blah, blah, blah. Onto what I’ve been up to. I’m pretty sure the events, commentary and amazing photos that go with the trail season (in Winter) is more to your fancy than me pushing out 17.5k at 7 mins per k around the local streets and parks. So that’s what I’ll cover off.

The You Yangs are a granite outcrop situated between Melbourne and Geelong (about 50kms from the City of Melbourne). They sit as a strange lump on an otherwise flat landscape. Personally I’d never been to this Regional Park even though it holds over 50kms of trails that are regularly used for running and mountain biking. So what sort of surprise awaited me?

Our race (15kms) started at 10am with a 9am registration but my co-runner (and driver) for the day, thought we’d get there quite a bit earlier to see of the crazy people who were tackling the 50k and 30k events (you know who you are!!!). We saw off the 50k guys and then Tony realised he had not brought his asthma inhaler, and you know what that means? It means the one day you’ll need it is the one day you don’t have it and being a bloke who always brings up the tail this is not a wise thing to run without. So my magnificent “driver” took me 15k back to the nearest chemist so I could grab one – what that meant was we missed the 30k start, ended up being parked miles from the event and pushed the limits when it came to our own registration. We made the start though and headed into unknown territory.

This event has some serious hills, sections where you needed to scramble over rocks (on all fours), walk a steep climb and watch out for the markers (there was no way I was getting list this time!!). What a stunning park this was with breathtaking views of the bay, the park, waterholes, gum trees, cliff faces and more. With 335m of elevation gain (and it felt like that was all in a 2k stretch) this was a challenging event. I beat five people home but had an absolute ball, taking photos, struggling to breathe, cheering on mates and enjoying the outdoors of regional Victoria.

The following Sunday I thought it was time to put in another trail event and this time it was Race Two of the Salomon Series, Plenty Gorge. Another Regional Park in Victoria this one being 30k North East of the City. Now forget 335m elevation gain this one had 424m but over the longer course of 17.6k. And I can tell you, these were SERIOUS hills – a number of people have told me that this was the toughest course they’d run – I can’t contribute to that debate as I walked a heap of it, sometimes down on all fours.

We had four river crossings, and it was no creek jump, the first you were thigh deep in icy cold water and then scrambling up the opposite bank that was a mud pile from the earlier (much faster) runners and then heading away on your journey in socking cold clothing. You had enough time to dry out before you hit the river again. Again the views were stunning, a completely different view to the granite, with high tessellated cliffs, scrub, colourful trees and grasslands. For consistency purposes I finished fifth last again but had just as much fun as the previous week, albeit under different conditions.

For the time being I’m going back to what people would consider “normal” running with the Tan Ultra Half Marathon event booked in for 11/8 – where I’ll run 6 laps of “The Tan” in Melbourne (an outer track around the Botanical Gardens) which includes a large hill climb (so six of them), known in Melbourne to all runners simply as “Anderson Street”. I hope to finish 5th last to keep up the consistency, but I’m not there to run a time, it is just part of my Marysville training and what better way to book in a long run than make it an event where you will turn up and do it no matter what the conditions. I’ll take comfort in the fact that there will be other runners there doing 100k, 50k, 30k and more so may even pass one or two of the Ultra journeymen along my own journey.

I’ll do my best to report back after that event with the plans for the next few weekends which may well include a Half Marathon event at Sylvan Dam (yep another trail with stupid hills in it)!!!

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