Well, racing on trails is damn hard, and damn nice. The Challenge starts with 2km of uphill bitumen running. I started out at a slow warm up pace and soon dropped a reasonable distance behind Sunny1 and Kaybee. Halfway up the road I started to push on a bit harder passing people here and there and almost catching Sunny1 and Kaybee at the top. I was stuffed and my calves were burning – I dropped back 20m again.
Starting up Ghost Tree Gully I began walking earlier than all the training runs, which didn’t fill me with too much confidence about coming in under 1hr30mins. I pushed on, remembering the advice on CR about hill climbing…high knees! It wasn’t too bad, that is until the gradient increased. After letting out a little scream I pushed on and in what seemed like no time we were switching back for the last little bit to the top.
I had a nice little conversation with another runner going up that last bit, but left him at the drink station as I tore off down the hill. I caught most of the people who had run past me up the hill and by halfway down the Amber’s Gully track, after pounding my trail shoes into the dirt, my legs felt like jelly. I had two advantages on the downhill…long legs and momentum…but that didn’t stop some suicidal speed demons from passing me.
Out of the Amber’s Gully carpark and I was walking up hill again. This part is the most frustrating part of the run. On a normal day it would be a piece of cake but after slogging it out up hill and pounding downhill it was a struggle, shuffling here, walking there. Just like Ghost Tree Gully the end came more quickly than expected and I was trying to increase the pace down Addisson Rd passing a few people that had run past me while I was walking.
Looking at the Garmin as I plowed down the road I saw that I was way under my expected time and I eventually stopped the clock at 1hr23min22sec.
My legs felt great after the run, so much so that I took the dogs for a 4km run when I got home. A good warm down I think.