The Trail Running Series Race 2 Review
“At the top of the hill-climb track is a wall of tyres, it is there so that when a car is unable to stop in time it can just crash into the wall. Well, you have to climb over that wall – don’t worry it’s only about 3 feet high,” said the race director at the pre-race briefing.
After listening to “Macca” on the radio on our way to Smiths Gully, reading a letter about a listener whose first job was to crash cars into safety barriers, I found it amusing that I would have to tackle this small obstacle.
Trail Running Series Race 2 had us at another new venue, the Rob Roy hillclimb track in the Christmas Hills and what a delightful present of a place to run it was.
Walking up to the event village I spied a small mob of kangaroos trying to make their escape from the fields that were fast becoming full carparks.
And we’re off
After the initial 600 meter long hill climb – short but steep covering around 80 metres of vertical ascent – and tackling our tyre-wall obstacle we proceeded to to tackle a lovely 7K loop which took us gradually down 150 metres over 4K before a slightly steep 3K climb back up to the top ridge that Rob Roy has been built on.
I spied fellow blogger Praticia Bowmer in the stating funnel but did not get a chance to say hello, she steamed off up the hill and I never saw her again – maybe next race!
The winding ups and downs
After the climb, it was very pleasant to gradually wind our way down the side of the hill on a mixture of single track and gravel road, I had managed to place myself a bit better – plus living in Warrandyte, the initial climb was tough but not soul-destroying – so I didn’t have to contend with much runner traffic – a welcome change from race two in previous years where the narrow creek crossings would often cause a bit of a traffic jam.
As I cruised along the course, running a little faster than I wanted to but enjoying the speedy pace, I often found myself distracted the brilliant blue sky, the chilly morning air, the crisp fields in the shadow of the hill which I knew would have to be climbed again soon, but I didn’t care, if the up is anything like the down it is going to be awesome.
In Happy Valley
Following a long and flowing down and up through farm and horse country, we slipped passed Rob Roy and descended down into One Tree Reserve along a very steep and switchbackie goat track.
For the second loop on this course, apart from the wide service road of Happy Valley Track along the bottom of One Tree Hill this was all single track and a mixture of some very steep descents and some narrow, rooted single track gradually winding its way up the ridge.
Just missing the 60 minute mark on 10K, but given the hills, I was making great time – well on target and although my legs were getting tired from the climbing I had managed to bound my way up quite a few of the small ascents on the single track section.
“Now, the course is about 12.5K but given the terrain there’s 500 metres in it so if your… actually we don’t know how long the course actually is. Yeah, I’m sure it’s not 17K, you’ll be alright.”
Not that I would be complaining, such a dream place to run but the race directors words resonated as I ran along the wide management track in One Tree Reserve, just imagine you are running 15K and you’ll be fine I kept telling myself.
The final couple of Ks
At 1:15 I hit the 12K mark, great I am on track but I am a long way from the top of this hill, just have to keep on plugging away, taking one root laden corner at a time.
At 13.5K I reach the top of the hill and that tyre wall again, a short climb over the wall and then it is downhill all the way to the finish, 500 metre of pure downhill running.
A truly enjoyable run with some amazing climbs and descents, you have to run up to run down right? and both were very enjoyable – I was a little sad to say goodbye to Plenty Gorge as a venue but Rob Roy filled its shoes – and then some.
I have been playing with this new tool which animates your runs, check out this one!
Bring on race three!
Road to Marysville Weeks 1 and 2
Monday – rest
Tuesday 1 hour core and strength / run
Wednesday 45 mins Tennis /
Thursday 45 min run
Friday – rest
Saturday – easy 30min run
Sunday – 14K LSR
Monday – Gym
Tuesday – easy run
Wednesday – Gym
Thursday – rest
Friday – rest
Saturday – easy run 30 mins
Sunday – 14K trail race
Not so much running the second week due to work commitments but made up for it at the trail run.
Two weeks in and I am feeling quite happy about my progress, for week 3 I will look at adding 2-3 miles to my long run.