July 18, 2015.
Time: 8:59 (at 50.0, time was 8:45) Distance: 51.6km Elevation Gain: 1450m
The You Yangs are a small park just outside Geelong, with Flinders Peak at the centre.
I’d never heard of the place before, but I wanted a run in between TNF50 and SCC (100), and YY50 was bang in the middle! Also, being 3 laps past the central CP meant I could use this as a training run and test some new gear (shoes, nutrition and hydration options).
I had a new pair of Hokas – the RapaNui trail (waterproof), and had hopes of it being a good shoe for any icky races (rain, mud etc). They were quite a bit less spongy than the Stinson ATR’s, but seemed good on the uphills, and I had “run” almost 30km in them in training. They were also a little narrower in the toe box than my Stinsons and with my curly toe issues, might be a problem – but with the taping I had tried in training they seemed fine.
No idea of the course really – but I could tell from the maps it would be a spaghetti mess!
(my loops were the yellow one (15km), the green one (15km) (left map) and then the purple one (20km) (right map).
I also had thought it would be tough, but not as tough as it actually was. It was very hilly really. The climb up Flinders Peak at 15 and 30km marks was BRUTAL – as were the other climbs. For a small park, they sure packed in some loops of hills!
It was pretty cold to start, with ice everywhere, and I lost sight of everyone else by about 100m in. This was a much smaller event than I’m used to, with a tougher cut-off – needless to say I was out of my depth!
There was an unmanned water station meant to be at 7km, that I went past thinking I’d be right to the next one……. but when i saw it wasn’t quite where it was meant to be, and how slow I’d been on the first part of the course, I backtracked and filled up. Kinda glad I did – but I would have made it without (just would have played on my mind).
I was (almost) on my target time when I first got back to the checkpont at 15km, and my feet felt OK – so I didn’t change my shoes. BIG mistake. First time up Flinders Peak was an eye opener – but at least it was a great view! Down was just as bad, and I could see myself hemorrhaging time – but hey, I was doing my best.
After that, I was well off my planned pace, and pretty close to the pace I’d need just to make the cutoff. I had a few “moments” where I wanted a “mulligan”…. but the clock doesn’t stop for a sook, so neither did I. I kept moving, and just kept thinking how luck I was to be having a crack at this – even if I didn’t make the cut-off. So what? I had nothing riding on it.
By 20km, my feet were in trouble. My toes were really painful, and I was unconsciously altering my stride to make them hurt less. This mean that other muscles in my lower legs were starting to make themselves known….. and I was slowing down (yes, that was still possible).
Lap 2 had a long section of mountain bike trail. While being less steep (just a gradual incline) it was mind-bending, as it was a tonne of switchbacks which would have been great on a bike, but felt torturous by (sore) foot!
The 30km home-base checkpoint finally came, and I tried to quickly change shoes into my super-comfy Stinson ATR’s – but I was foiled by severe cramping in my lower legs and feet from such a long hard run in shoes that my feet didn’t like.
Once changed, I charged off up Flinders Peak, making better time than before. At the bottom, I took off down what i was sure was the track. But after a while of seeing no trail markers, I turned back to find a marshal for guidance. Turns out I was on the right track – but they didn’t mark it as it was a busy public area (WTF?). After losing time on the extra distance (and waiting for the marshal to get off the phone) I took off again.
A few more climbs, and then to another MTB section for some more torturous switchbacks. Although my shoes were more comfortable, the damage was done, and my toes, feet and legs were pretty sore.
One last climb up the back of Big Rock, and I didn’t think I’d make the time limit. I walked as fast as I could, and then when it started to level out I started running. I arrived at the last junction and a sign that said 850m to go – and looking at my watch 6min. Well, I figured I could make that. So I sprinted. Anyone can go hard for 6 minutes!
Looking at my Garmin, it’s the fastest I have ever run. I ran like the gingerbread man, and crossed the line with exactly 1 min to spare before the cut-off.
I was last in the 50kayers, and there were only 2 80kayers behind me (they started earlier, but I think still had the same cutoff). Needless to say, those shoes are now reserved for training. Everything else went great though! And the knee issued I’d had in my last couple of events didn’t rear it’s head at all. Woohoo! Thanks magic PhysioSteve!!
Fantastic day, fantastic volunteers and a good course (albeit slightly confusing and just a bit hilly!
Gear – success
Nutrition – success
Hydration – success
Shoes – FAIL. Lesson learnt.