There were so many steep hills. It was like running the length of Allendale Rd 10 times. Oh, and the stairs. We had to run up to the summit twice and I tell you it was very long the second time. Those stupid stairs to the top were only suitable for people who are 3m tall. Who put those there? The map was also quite confusing. Because the You Yangs is such a small area, we did about 50 different loops of various fire trails and single trails. I couldn’t be bothered looking at the map properly because I didn’t wear any clothes with pockets and I couldn’t be bothered getting it out of my pack. Fortunately I was running with others most of the way so I trusted their judgement when the course markers were unclear.
I spent the first 3rd just trying to get into a rhythm. My feet felt like they were landing really hard in my shoes (Nike Frees) and it took at least 10k to start to feel normal. There was a bit of tag going on between me and David, Michelle + Mark, who were running together. They were too cheerful and chatty for me on such a long run so I was always either a bit ahead or a bit behind them. The hills were draining and I was still tossing up between distances at that point so I wasn’t that chirpy about having to maintain a certain pace to make the cutoff time. After a while I knew I couldn’t keep up so just relaxed in my slow pace.
From somewhere around the 15-20k mark I started running with Kate. Somehow we just kind of ended up at the same pace and it was good having someone to chat to and someone to keep me going so I didn’t walk the few flat bits. Somewhere after 30k David decided he was not going to keep up with Michelle + Mark, and Kate + I caught up to him. Together we pulled each other up the hills, kept each other moving, complained about the stairs and took a wrong turn and ended up in some strange area with no course markers for a few km. I don’t know what happened exactly as I couldn’t be bothered with the confusing map of a million loops. We did end up doing 50k all up though so it worked out ok in the end.
The last couple of km were the hardest. We had to make our way around some technical trail up a hill then with the finish in sight we had to turn around and make the treacherous climb to the top of the hill up all those steps AGAIN. It was hard. Kate was good on the down hill and skipped ahead but waited for us just before the finish so we all finished 50km together in 7:22.
I popped a magnesium and Saltcap tab before the run. During the run I drank 1L of water, a couple of punnets of fresh strawberries, a mix of dried fruit (pineapple, papaya, mango & coconut) and some fruit juice. Food wise I did really well but I didn’t drink enough water because my left gastroc and right hamstrings started to cramp towards the end. As soon as I finished the run I had another magnesium and Saltcap tab downed with a bottle of dad’s homemade boysenberry cordial. Pizza was dinner.
Incidentally the female 50k winner did it barefoot! She looked so light and graceful on her feet like she was just skipping along. Hopefully one day my achillies will at least let me do such a race in the Five Fingers.
This is now the shortest ultra I’ve done, and because of the soft trails and the steep hills, my legs pulled up really well. My quads were a little sore the next day but I have managed a couple of runs since and my legs are now ready to get back into their regular training again. Fastest recovery ever!! Now looking for the next ultra to do but logistically I think that will have to be the Bruny Island Ultra in December.