Last weekend was the first official Two Bays race. It’s been run as a Fatass for many years but after getting caught and fined last year, it was made official this year and completely sold out with 500 entrants.
The Two Bays Trail is from Dromana to Cape Schanck…. and back for the tough ones. I just did the one way option, which was 28kms. I am really impressed with the 56km runners after slogging the hills to the lighthouse at Cape Schanck and then turning around to go back to Dromana. They are all amazingly strong people!
After just a few hours sleep, I got up many hours before dawn and drove down to the finish line at Cape Schanck, where comfortable buses were organised to take us to the start line. At Dromana I caught up with some running buddies I hadn’t seen in ages – Terrie, Bruce, a couple of Davids and Phil (sorry it took me so long to register who you were – it’s been a very long time!).
It was quite humid in the morning, and mist sat on top of the hills. It was a much tougher course than I expected. I knew the first 3kms to the top of Arthur’s Seat would be tough, but on fresh legs that wasn’t such a bother. It was the rest of the hills that really got me. Some of the hills were quite long. I really enjoyed going down them though! I’ve been practising my downhill technique and felt really solid. For the first time ever I was able to fly past people down the hills. This was on rough rocky gravel and also single trail. It was so good to be able to do that! I noticed there was a bunch of people I kept passing down the hills. Then they’d always pass me going up. It was kind of annoying! But good to know I can run faster downhill now.
The funny thing about this race is because there were so many people doing the 28km, they were not all ultra runners. So here was I taking it easy and walking up the hills, with this mindset of “It’s a trail race so it’s just like an ultra” but there were so many fast people who were obviously in the mindset of “It’s 28km – just a bit longer than a half”. This made it feel like there was a sense of urgency about the race. I found it less relaxing, but I guess that’s the point of a race. For me this was more of a training run, as I am not planning on doing anything fast for at least another month.
The course was so well marked. I didn’t look at the map at all, not even before the run, and there was absolutely no need to. There were marshals directing us at road intersections, and clear markings on all trail intersections. A lot people uploaded the course to their GPS watches, but I’m not a fan of that. Part of the experience, for me, does not include a gadget telling you if you’re going the right way or not. The possibility of getting lost is part of the adventure, but I do appreciate markings on course.
It was a really good course and I was surprised to see fields of ferns and gorgeous forests with blackboys on the peninsula. I have been visiting this area most of my life and never knew such varied bushland was here. Every now and then the trees would clear and you’d see the lovely rolling hills of the countryside, and as we got closer towards the end, sea views of Bushranger’s Bay. From here to the end was really tough with steep stairs that were quite demoralising. One guy passed me up here saying “I am dead”. I was too. My achilles was really feeling it from the hills and I was concentrating on my running form. My legs were fatigued but when I stopped to walk, my muscles hurt even more. I think going all out on the downhills did trash my legs a bit, but the fun of it was worth it.
The finish was so grand! It was set up so well and there were so many people. It was such a hive of activity. I collected my awesome medal, which doubles as a bottle opener, and sat down with an icey pole. My legs were really feeling it, and if I had time I would have taken advantage of the free massages on offer.
I contemplated wearing my Five Finger TrekSports for this, but due to the stairs and my dodgy achilles, went for my MT101 trail shoes. These aren’t a perfect fit and my feet felt tired in them. They also felt a bit clunky considering I’ve been wearing FFs for all my running lately. Two fast people passed me early on wearing FFs and the trail was easy going so I probably could’ve worn them. Next time!
It was a tough but great morning and it is such a nice part of Victoria and so accessible from Melbourne. Can’t wait to do it again next year!