Distance by GPS: 51.25 km
Time: 6 hrs 0 mins 33 secs
Rate: 7' 02" per km
Weather: very warm, 24- 32 degrees, humidity low, wind mostly calm with light breeze on ridge near top.
Calories used: 2575
Attitude: up 1425 metres, down 1450 metres
Week: 51.25 km, Feb: 275.85 km, Year: 762.55 km
A long, tough day in the bush of the Yarra Valley near Healesville in Victoria. The reminder of last year's bush fires was evident as we drove into town on Saturday afternoon. However, the gum tress are very resilient with green growth now covering black trunks.
A music festival at a local winery meant we stayed in outer Melbourne on Saturday night, but only 25 minutes drive from the finish/registration area at the picnic area at the base of Maroondah Dam. The start line is 20 minutes by bus at the Fernshore picnic area. A full bus load with a capacity field left to the short ride to the start. A few familiar faces from the ultra running scene, plenty of newcomers also attempting an event very special and very difficult.
My old GPS took it's time to locate enough satellites in the closed in area, but just before race director Brett had finished giving final instructions, I locked on.
The track narrows right from the start into single file, reasonably flat but technical due to undergrowth & lots of fallen trees. The count was around 15 trees that had to be climbed over or around. Too big for my short legs, I half climbed one and had to ask for a push to get up. Very slow as we all had the same problem along with dodging the bracken ferns, stinging nettle, plus not tripping over unseen branches on the ground.
That last about 5 kms before the real tough part starts, up hill, nor running this, Mick's gradient on his GPS said 35% up, very good it wasn't wet and slippery underfoot.
I had started slowly, and managed to get a few places back when the slope wasn't too steep, even getting a bit of running done at times. Mostly it was power walking at best. Finally leveled out at the top, a bit of down hill to a road where last time we ran. This time, another bugger of an up hill, walked again but somehow managed to make the Dom Dom saddle drink station 2 minutes quicker than in 2008 with and extra 500 metres of distance covered.
The loop around Mt Dom Dom was also longer, easy to run as it was almost flat except for getting around a few very large puddles of water. Another extra 800 metres covered over the 2008 event as we arrived back at the Dom Dom drink station.
That was the end of the flat running, then it was up hill on long grassy slopes on the Monda track towards Mt St Leonards. Just hard work here was the heat was taking it's toll. Compulsory to carry at least 600 mils of fluid, most including myself, drank that in the first 3 kms of the distance between each aid station. very warm, no breeze and little humidity, no sweat, too dry for that, plenty of salt stains on the shorts and shirt.
A long drag across the top of the ridge with plenty more up hill sections until we reached an aid station with plenty to eat and icey poles in a fridge. Wonderful stuff. Plenty to eat all day although I stuffed up the eating part of the day, got the drinking right. No problems with cramps.
Then the really hard part on the legs off Mt St Leonards. The course loses 800 metres in the last 12 kms, mostly in the first 9 kms of that. Although I ran it all down hill, plenty of scary moments on the loose bark, rocks and twigs. Would be dangerous in the wet. I had been running with Nick to this point, but I got away on this section to eventually finish about 9 minutes in front by the finish.
Can't complain about the run, I thoroughly enjoyed the day and the weekend. The proper training to get the down hill right, plus walking in the right places on the hill helped run a faster time than in 2008 by 23 seconds over an extra 1.5 kms with 15 logs to climb over and an extra hill to get up and down.
Finished about 10 minutes behind the fastest female, 15 minutes in front of 2nd female. Full results not yet published. The course markings were a little confusing at times, but it does follow a long fire trail for most of the way. Previous knowledge a big advantage.
Legs Ok today, aided a bit by the cold water in the stream at the finish line. But, it was too cold for real benefit as the authorities had the overflow gate open taking water from the bottom of the dam and releasing it down stream. Three times a couple of minutes was all I could stand. More like mid winter water temperature.
Should be on the bike tomorrow to work, a short run as well, then back into training ready for Six Foot Track in 3 weeks.