Many of you may know that yesterday was the favourite race of the year for Shaun and I. Mainly because it is in our backyard and our regular training grounds. Unfortunately, Shaun had to go on an interstate family holiday (not sure if he is actually unlucky or not!) so he had to miss out. So I decided I would just see how fast I could do the 28k event.
It was a lovely morning just on the cool side of things but still warm enough so it was comfortable. My Brewsters Running singlet from Sub 4 Apparel was just the thing for the job. That and my favourite trail running shoes of all time, the VIVOBAREFOOT Breathos, the weight, grip and feel have to be felt to fully understand how good these things are.
After getting to the start line, my first port of call was to catch up with Tara from the Runners Kitchen for a last minute supply of Amazeballs. So armed with a bottle of water, the Amazeballs, some gels, a couple of amino acid tablets, I was ready to hit the hills.
I knew it would be hard going up the single trail on the hill from about 2k in, so worked my way up to the front of the start line. At precisely 7am the gun went off and we were off and running straight up a hill for nearly 4km’s. The views over Port Phillip Bay from there are amazing. You can see all the way to the Port Philip heads and even to the other side of the bay on a clear day. But no time to enjoy the views, I still had about 24k to run!
Halfway up this hill I started hearing one of the runners shouting out instructions, “tree root to the left”, “three steps coming up”, “trail heading left” and I initially thought to myself why don’t you save your breath for running? A minute later I realized he was guiding a vision impaired runner along the trail! What an amazing thing to be doing! Firstly someone who can barely see a trail is running it when even fully sighted people are falling over tree roots all over the place and for someone to donate their time to guide someone through such a tough terrain. I was left inspired.
With a steep down hill section, some more tight trails, a few road sections, some boarded sections and even a sandy section near the end, this course just about has it all. Finishing at the very picturesque Cape Schanck lighthouse overlooking Bass Strait, you couldn’t ask for a better place for a run like this. The event coordinators are amazing, putting on an almost party like atmosphere, the support crew are more like a cheer squad calling out your name and cheering you on as you go past. Do you get the feeling I may like this event?
Anyway, I finished the 28k in a time of 2hr 38 minutes and thanks to the Amazeballs, which were topped up with a couple of gels, my energy levels were great all the way. The only times I really stopped running was to fuel up mainly due to the fact I was trying out a new belt system called a Spi Belt. They are a great idea, very small and compact so can hold your gels, amazeballs and phone with no problem. Only problem was, I had a handheld water bottle, so trying to get your gel or balls out of the belt, eat them and get your rubbish back in the belt with one hand while running is a big task. My system may need refining in the future! The belt is great, I just didn’t think it through properly. You never stop learning.
So with the fuelling, I had a gel at 1hr and 2hrs, with a couple of amazeballs at 1hr 15 and 2hrs 15. I drank roughly 1.2 liters, threw about half a liter over my head and face at various times through the run. I completely forgot about the aminos, but my wife had brought them to the finish line for me, so I popped a few straight after to start my recovery. You really need good protein at this time to start the repair process in your muscles. I also finished off with a banana, the rest of my amazeballs and a fruit and nut oat slice. I normally wouldn’t eat so much carbs in one go, but straight after a hard run, you really do need them.
So I finished in 195th out of 853 entrants in 2hrs 38:54 a whole 1 minute and 6 seconds ahead of my goal time! Problem with that is, now I live near the trail (moved in early December), I know I will be able to train more specifically for it next year. So what do I do? Do I enter the 56k again like last year, or do I try and break 2:30 in the 28k? Decisions, decisions!