Six Foot Track
Distance: 45 km
Time: 4hrs 50 mins 40 secs
Rate: 6' 27.6 " per km
Prov. place: 145th / 800 entrants
Weather: cool, temp 12 - 20 degrees, low cloud, rain overnight, humidity high, wind calm
Week: 92.55 km
March: 119.05 km
Year: 1004.5 km
Bike ride: 16 km home to Pine Is for cold water recovery
Six Foot Track continues to amaze as a run, very difficult, hilly, a test of mind and body yet attracts record numbers every year. This year over 800 entries. In 1998, my first run there were 449 entries when I took 4 hrs 40 minutes to cover what was then 46.5 km as we ran a section of Caves Road instead of the "deviation" we now run for safety reasons.
This year we travelled up on Friday night through a massive electrical thunderstorm, heaps of rain, wind and a beaut lightning show from Goulburn to Penrith. Closer to the Blue Mountains the weather eased off and the rain finally stopped just as we arrived at Mick's father's place.
The usual restless night with the alarm set for 5 o'clock, off up the hill towards Katoomba and a finding the new car parking area. We collected our numbers, chip and a chat to several regulars before boarding the bus to the start. The early wave had just left as we arrived, but the start area filled again quickly as bus after bus load of eager runners arrived.
This is always a chance to catch up for a chat before heading out on 45 kms of ups and downs. Decisions also need to be made, do I need the sunnies, what about sunscreen, will it rain, will it get colder, how high is the river? Too late now for " have I done enough training" ( I will let Ewen tell his story about the need for training).
I had just been outside the cut off times to maintain a wave 1 start and was happy to be in wave 2, starting just 5 minutes behind but in a much larger group with 220 plus in wave 2. The pace down Nellies Glen was the usual steady, wet underfoot but not too bad, everyone taking it easy, very dark and closed in in places, lost GPS signal down here for the 2 km until out in the open again.
Time to the bottom of 19 minutes was OK and then the open fire trails meant a good steady rhythm could be maintained to Cox's River. Arrived at the river in 1 hr 28 minutes, crossing at the rope as the feet had already been wet from a few small creeks. In the past I have always had a shoe get full of sand and this the same again. It is a decision then to stop and fix now or run on , suffer and hope for no blisters. An empty chair on the other side was empty and inviting, so I stopped, removed the sand, ate half a banana and continued. I lost about 2 minutes but probably gained that back in running time as I ran all the mini saddle to just short of the top, when a short walk of 100 metres helped lower the heart rate and gave the legs a chance to recover. I can't believe the number of people that walk as soon as they reach the first hill at this point, can only be they just have not done enough of the right type of training. Walking up the mini saddle, just 15 km into the run with 30 kms to go would mean a long day out there with plenty of the same to come. Just keep moving and you pass plenty as most have also started out too fast.
Weather conditions still good, cloud cover, no wind, temp still good so no real worries about dehydration or getting cramps. Down to the Alum creek where the real work starts up to the pluviometer, ran all of ups here now passing some of the wave 1 starters catching Maria W on the Black Range and then a bit later Diana S near the turn to the deviation. I found here that the best part of a wave 2 start is that you now start catching and passing early starters giving something to aim for in the distance. As well a couple of others around you either get in front or you go past them only to be caught again a little later on. A girl in a green top did this, I would get away on the hills, she would catch me on the flat and get a lead. It took me until 4 kms from the finish to finally get in front.
I walked a short section of the deviation where a rocky, yucky up hill part is rough, only a few 100 metres and a chance for a rest just short of crossing the Caves Road. After the crossing, it is all go with about 7 kms to the finish. I managed to see Mick C in front after passing the cabins, so with a 5 minute start ( wave 1) I knew I would able to be in front at the finish. The closer I got I could see him having a walk on a short rise, and I was going well and feeling good. Passed him with about 3 kms to go just before the final steep down hill and then you can hear the noise coming up from the finish line. The closer you get, the louder Belinda's voice is from the microphone and then a couple of sharp corners, down the steps and there it is. A great sight and a relief it is all over for the 10th time.
The male winner broke the race record by a minute. Some excellent performances by Canberra runners and another excellent race put on by race committee. Final results should be out soon on the web.
A bike ride today down to the river for 2 x 15 minutes in the cool waters have helped the recovery which I hope will allow a run early this week. A couple of easy weeks, then back into serious training ready for a trip to Qld in May to the Glasshouse Mtns 80 km run again.
I think I now have a suitable program to get through the year, what I have done so far this year has been good without injury and with good recovery. Those 500 plus kms months in Dec and Jan have been the kick start that was needed. Good advise from Martin in Oct who by the way, missed SFT to run 249 km on a treadmill in Melb in 24 hours just in front of David Waugh by 4 kms, well done to both.