45km Mt Dandenong

I’ve clearly been hanging around the wrong crowd lately. Yesterday I went for a 45km training run with Kate at Mt Dandenong. I have never done any long runs there before because it is all hills. For some reason I forgot about the hills when I thought it would be a good idea to do it. I also forgot that even if the weather’s good, it is always muddy in some sections and it would have been smart to wear trail shoes instead of racing flats.

We met near Sky High and had a loop in mind, taken from the Moonwalk charity race. Our run started off really nice and it felt so easy like we could go forever. We were taking it easy but I think it felt so good because at this stage we were mostly heading downhill.

At around 7km we came across this funny looking wombat who looked like he’d been in a few fights. Wombats are so rare and this is the first time I’ve seen one in Victoria. He didn’t mind that we went up close and I stuck my phone in his face for photographs.

Our loop was mostly pleasant. We went through an arboretum which had lovely deciduous trees in all their autumn glory. We also passed through another public garden that had stunning trees and I think I’ll have to go back there soon.

From about half way I really got fatigued. I was so proud of myself for actually remembering to pack food and even having breakfast before setting off (I never eat before a run) that I forgot my salt caps. I was drinking plenty but the hills were taking their toll. We climbed up Heartbreak Hill, which was just a taste of what was to come next.

There was the Mofo-Hill-Of-Death that climbed nearly 200m in about 2km. I am pretty good at getting hills done but that one was so bad that Kate passed me, and I was counting 50 steps at a time before letting myself take a 2 second breather.

There were more terrible hills, even worse than that. At one point I thought I needed an ice pick to climb it. My Garmin died early on so I don’t have data of the other steep hills.

I don’t usually drink much water and I was glad I took my Nathan pack so I could fill my water bladder without it feeling too heavy. I drank all my water and at about 4km to the end I had to fill up from “not safe to drink” water. Normally I wouldn’t fuss about 4km without water but those last 4km were all up up up and were going to take a long time. So I took the risk and I haven’t died yet.

My tibialis anterior were cramping from a combination of hills and no salt caps. I’m surprised that my achilles didn’t give much grief so I guess my method of low frequency and low mileage is at least doing some good.

It was such a relief after all that climbing to make it to the top where our cars were. We made it in a bit over 8 hours.

I think this run wasn’t so much physically challenging as it was mentally challenging. If I was doing this by myself, I would have looked at the map to find a shortcut back to the car. But I couldn’t do that here. We were going slow, but running more than I would if I was by myself. It was not that it was hard or painful to run, but mentally I was fatigued and the thought of running seemed harder than the action of running. Having someone else there with me really helped push me through and I must remember that feeling of pushing on in my next ultra.

As soon as we stopped my legs felt all crampy. The drive home consisted of a lot of swearing and wondering why I drive a manual. As soon as I got home I downed some Gastrolyte and felt much better. My legs are a bit fatigued today but not bad. It was a great run and it’s good to know I can run an ultra without doing any running training. Long runs would be beneficial but are not a necessity. I really enjoy running out on the trails so I think from now if I do any long runs they will have to be trails.


3 thoughts on “45km Mt Dandenong

  1. Les

    Hi Anna,I'm pleased to find an Aussie blog, especially from someone who enjoys running trails. In running terms, I'm very much a veteran, but love those early morning sojourns along bush tracks (Goomalling WA).If you're interested in minimalist running shoes, check http://altrarunning.com/. Altra's shoes are creating a lot of interest in the States.Regards,Les K

  2. Leah

    I know this is an old post but I thought I’d let you know the wombat was sick and probably had sarcoptic mange, a skin condition which is threatening wombat populations. I came across one last year and didn’t understand what it was, where I was, had no phone reception and chose not to try harder to call a wildlife number and really regret it now because the poor things suffer. If you ever see another one I would call someone to help it.


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