Monday – Generation Run track session @ Croydon: 4 x 80m sprints 400m hard/soft/hard [and repeat]
Tuesday – Rest
Wednesday – Gym strength training & hills session in the evening
Thursday – Rest (filled a big skip with some serious amounts of green waste)
Friday – Gym strength & skip filling
Saturday – 20K cycle
Sunday – Two Bays!!
It has been a pretty exciting week on the running front. On Monday I went got a taste of Generation Run (Gen Run) training sessions. Gen Run lead sessions in Croydon, Ringwood and Lilydale six days a week.
Monday is track day and last Monday they did speed drills around the track. The last time I was on a running track was with the Doha Bay Running Club (DBRC), in Qatar, 18 months ago, so it was nice run around on the spongy red stuff once again.
the 80 metre sprints were extremely enjoyable and about 3/4 of the way around the first hard 400 metre lap I thought I was going to die and sectrely wished the session was made up of just 80 metre sprints but that was a passing thought and I really got a lot out of it, although my thighs were stiff until Wednesday.
I can definitely say I was instantly hooked and have already signed up for 10 session pass and I look forward to joinging Gen Run for one or two sessions a week. If you are in the North East suburbs, I strongly suggest you look them up and give them a go.
My Wednseday evening hill run was part of my Run Warrandyte Social Runs program which I have been heading up, this week – instead of just running the course, I did cotinuous hills looping through First, Second and Third Street, and eventually Hutchinsons Avenue to take on an increasingly longer climb.
I was a little stiff going into the session (recovering from the Monday track session) but felt pretty good after – looked like all I needed was a good run to stretch my legs.
I am desperately trying to establish some sort of gym routine before I heard off to South Korea. There is a lot of looooooong running on the books this year and I need the rest of me to be in a strong conditon to cope with the task of running – say – a 100K ultramarathon.
The fun bit!
Two Bays has arrived, 28K of trail from Dromana to Cape Schanck and it is going to be glorious – the weather has threatened to be perfect, my new trail runners are awesome and super comfortable. It’s going to be great.
Leaving the house at 5am, creeping past the snoring chickens, we began the one hour drive down to Dromana.
At dawn they headed out, the hoard of 900. Amongst them, James the beardless, me; who ran trails of Westerfolds, Christmas Hills, Olinda and Anglesea, who attempted Marysville – but sadly had to pull out – and who came second in the Shire’s (Warrandyte) long running River Run Series. 2018 is going to be his year, the year of the ultra and this foray across the Peninsular is his first assault on a mammoth task which should culminate in the Surf Coast Century 100K later in the year. But for now the focus is in Dromana, he has four hours to run the 28Ks across the peninsular to Cape Schanck.
It is safe to say the first five kilometres are by far the toughest on the short course, 300 metres of vertical ascent over three kilometres, winding our way up to Arthurs Seat. The elevation graph makes it look like a daunting task but my experience of running the hills around Warrandyte took much of the sting out of this. Although the hill is “nothing I have not seen before” it still took me 25 minutes to cover the first three kilometres, but my slower than desired pace meant I still had plenty of energy at the top to take advantage of the slightly wider flatter sections and make back some time.
For a mid-packer like me, this run is more about the views than placing and although I was compelled to push on as fast as I dared to go, the lookouts with views of Rye and Port Phillip Bay were spectacular in the early morning grey and I was equally compelled to stop and admire the view.
Regardless of dilemmas between running faster or slowing to admire the view and “smell the ferns”, when the 60-minute mark came and went, I had managed to claw back some distance and was well on my way to completing my tenth kilometre.
Heading along Hyslops road, I heard roars and cheers up ahead. Coming the other way and looking like they had just charged off the start line and not like they had covered a good 18K already were the front runners of the long course.
At 12K and 1:20, I had a little over half way to go. In the time I needed to cover the next 16K the long course leaders needed to cover 24K including a climb up to Arthurs Seat (twice) before getting back, at the very least, to this point. I was sure I was safe; I was sure I would not be beaten by a long course runner but the fact that they were now covering ground I had already run encouraged me to put some speed in my step.
Passing a Two Bays Trail Walk sign a good hour fifteen into the run stating ‘Cape Schanck 18KM’ was a little disheartening and I was beginning to feel like maybe 28K was a bit ambitious. But there are aid stations are every six or so kilometres and I have a water bottle, so I am not going to get caught out like AT Marysville 2017.
By far the demon of 2017, for me, was elevation – as much as I ran them, I just couldn’t get my head in the right place for hills. However, a change occurred over Christmas – hills no problem, my biggest hurdle on January 14 was distance. The longest I had run since Marysville was a smidge under 20K. I knew I could do it, I was sure of it. I would not have entered if I doubted myself but as I pushed towards the big two-zero mark I found that I was beginning to fatigue a lot earlier than I had anticipated and my reaction to the chilly 4am alarm (in which I had to turn on the heating) to wear two layers on the run was a decision I was beginning to regret.
On the plus side, the minor fatigue allowed me to walk a little, take in the scenery – this trail is beautiful, the problem with running trails at 80% is you spend most of your time staring at the floor. In those moments when I could look up, it reminded me why I like trail running and why I was going to complete this.
Running down a fernie track I stumble but caught myself, the grip on my new Salomon’s does not fail and I manage to keep mu balance and not end up head first in a spikey bush. Some three Ks later I stumble again. The pattern is set, I have seen this before, at Anglesea. A fall is coming. Against my better judgement, instead of easing up I push forward, push harder. On a slither of track, tracking along the higher edge of a small valley a hidden root underneath a fern leaf snags my foot and I go sprawling into a pile of sand and ferns on the lower side of the track. My pride is injured more than myself.
‘Take it easy mate’ a fellow runner offers. Sage advice. I walk the next 600 metres.
You know how trams always turn up in threes, well same applies to trail runners when one is feeling self-conscious and has decided to remove a layer. True, picking a really thin piece of track to do this was a bad idea but it had to be done. Three scores of runners passed me in the 30 seconds it took me to remove both tops and put the one with the number on it, back on. Of course, nobody gave a shit but I did curse the demon of timing at that moment.
8Ks to go and I am tired, so tired – and weirdly hungry. I have some food in my bag but I don’t really fancy the protein bar or the remaining gel at the moment. What I really want is a cheese sandwich – this is also a pattern – I think I may need to experiment with running with sandwiches on my longer runs – although I’ve just started to turn Vegan so normal cheese is off the menu. Vegemite may work…?
The crowd on the approach to Boneo Road begins about 400 metres out – not many at first, just a few friendly well-wishers, then some more. The trail crossing at Boneo Road is a nightmare for motorists – a mini event village has sprung up on either side of the road and with six kilometres to go, tired runners’ spirits are seriously uplifted by overwhelming support.
We track along a sandy and undulating path surrounded by tress for nearly 3Ks before the low tree stop and the sea opens out before us. After starting a little under 3 hours ago with the sea at our back, it is quite a sight to find oneself running towards it, me and the runners on this part of the trail have less than a Park Run to go. We’ve made it.
I cross the line 3.21 after starting (officially). The gel I tried took longer to kick in and now at the end I feel the glucose rushing through my veins, lifting my mentality, I look and feel a lot fresher than I expect – where was this before my stumble and fall, that’s when I needed it!
On the aptly named Strava segment “stairs of spontaneous poetry” I meet a runner who has bandgaes on her knees and arms and who, where not bandaged is covered in the same black sand which paints my arms and legs. She explains she took a tumble in the first 5Ks, but kept going. The event village at the finish is littered with walking wounded, runners with dirt scuffed limbs and bandaged knees. Trail running often includes some spectacular falls and I myself and quite accustomed to finishing a run with a bloody knee and half the forest in my leg but from the conversations I had on Two Bays – taking a tumble is almost a rite of passage at this event – it is a shame that often these falls happen on tracks with steep banks. Still I proudly hobbled off with my medal and my scuffed knee and I hope others have quick recoveries.