We spend the week in Melbourne for work so blasted back home late on the Thursday afternoon. Fortunately we had the foresight to pack pre-Melbourne so it was a quick shuffle of bags in the car and we were ready for our early start on Friday morning.
We hit the road at 7:30am and lasted until Corryong before we were in desperate need for coffee. The bugger with the Snowy Mountains is it's technically only 100-odd kms away however you have to drive the long way round, clocking upwards of 300kms. Whilst much of this is beautiful, it is quite windy which not only makes it slow going but also makes me extremely car sick, especially after smashing down a large almond latte. Almond milk was a bad idea! So the total journey around 4.5 hours from Bright to Crackenback. But these are all first world problems right?
The plan was for us to both do a reccie on the tracks before heading to our accomodation. Tommy was off on the 15km mountain bike loop while I resorted to having herbal tea in the cafe as I couldn't bear the thought of running. Thankfully I had fully recovered by the time we got to Jindabyne to check into our accomodation.
I did an easy shakeout run along the banks of the River and we popped to Woolies to grab supplies for the weekend. I demonstrated my versatility by whipping up some pesto gnocchi without a single hot plate or saucepan in sight (queue electric fryer) and sufficiently loaded up Tommy with carbs.
For those not familiar with a duathlon, it's essentially a triathlon but minus the swimming. Tommy's race consisted of 30km of mountain bike riding followed by 10km of trail running.
The race actually started with a 100m sprint from the beach into the transition area where competitors grabbed their bikes to head out onto the single track (to "string out" the field). Tommy was off like a rocket and was first onto the course.
Unfortunately a small wrong turn, causing a 20m detour, on the first lap meant he dropped back into 3rd place. I waited for him patiently, with bottle in hand at the feed station. He came flying through - I took an awkward photo before seamlessly passing him the fresh bottle. Nailed it.
He came off the bike still in 3rd and started the run. It was now midday and HOT. The run was 3 x 3.3km loops, which was great because you got to see everyone a couple of times. Let's be honest - everyone love the first lap, the second lap sucks and then the end is in sight on the final lap. This was exactly how it unfolded for Tommy. With 1.5kms to go, he overtook 3rd place and powered his way to 2nd. What a legend!
Trail Run Australia half marathon
Last year I popped my ultra cherry by taking on the 50km event (and earned myself a free entry for this year). However as I ran Two Bays in Jan, I opted to run the half instead
The first thing to note is we started 10:45am. That is late. Much later than I was used to, which meant knowing how much and when to eat was hard. I had a bagel and coffee at 7:30am and then 3/4 of a Clif bar around 8:30am. We arrived around 10am where I did a quick 7 min warm up with some strides. From the get go, the legs didn't have much pop to them but I just put that down to nerves.
In true Snowy Mountain tradition, the start of the race was actually the crack of a whip. Awesome way to start. The race ran straight up a hill before popping onto single track. I started pretty quick as I wanted to make sure I was towards the front so I didn't get stuck in a bottleneck.
I sat in 2nd for the next couple of kms with 1st and 3rd right next to me. However once we hit the more undulating terrain I dropped back to 3rd. My legs just didn't have much power up the hill. I tried to focus on my form and not worry about anyone else.
To be honest, it was a hard slog until the 10km mark when I finally got into a groove! I took a gel around the 7km mark which may be partially why. I had renewed energy and felt like I could push up the hills. It was just before the halfway mark I passed the female who was previously the leading - she had come down with an injury.
Being back in 2nd spurred me and it was technically all downhill from here, so I pushed the pace a bit. As the course was an out/back, we were also passing the rest of the field. I made a point of cheering every person on - not only was this fun but it also distracted me from any tired feelings.
Then disaster hit. Around the 15 or 16km mark, a pesky little root leaped up and entangled itself on the front of my right toe. Queue a massive superman style stack. I jumped up and immediately kept running, with my heart beating out of the chest and rasping breathe. I was pretty badly winded and knew I was cut up on my knees and elbows but refused to look down.
Unfortunately after that I just couldn't seem to get myself going again. I heard the next female breathing down my neck with 3kms to go and when she passed me, I tried to stick with her but the legs just wouldn't go. I crossed the line in 1:53 and 3rd placed female.
Not the race I had planned for (I was hoping to get closer to 1:43) but not every race can go smoothly. Plus the most important thing is what you learn.
So what did I learn?
Focus on your own race. It's the only thing you can control. Don't waste energy worrying about your competitors.
Don't give up. If you are finding it tough, others are probably also finding it tough. Even if someone is miles ahead of your, they might bonk or get injured.
Don't stack it. It sucks.
In2Adventure host great events. Get to one if you can.