Slip, Sliding

It’s over two weeks since my last post which usually means I haven’t been running. As I haven’t a plan as yet, I’m indifferent to running.

Excluding yesterday’s Salomon Silvan Trail run, I’ve had three runs totaling about 24K, but I just couldn’t be bothered posting.

Yesterday was my second trail run and I’m officially hooked. The first one at Yellow Gum just over a month ago was hard but enjoyable and I thought that maybe it was just the newness of something different. I pulled up great after that run, no soreness, joint pain or discomfort. I contemplated buying a pair of trail shoes but thought I’d hold off until I was sure I’d continue with this form of running.

I invited Michelle’s uncle Paul to join me on the run -he’s run a few “Run Melbourne” 10k’s and “Run for the Kids” (14.3K) and by his own admission, road running was playing havoc with his knees.

Silvan is about 60k away from home on the east side of the Dandenongs, we leave my place at 7:15am for a 9:15am start. We arrived with plenty of time to spare but managed to get a park quite close to the start line.

We’d entered the 7.3K event and placed ourselves midfield in the medium/slower runners. In hindsight we should have started at the back end of the faster runners but I’m still struggling to gauge where I fit in on these trail runs.

The first couple of K’s are uphill on a track about 3 to 6 feet wide and interspersed with puddles and mud. After the 2nd K I started to see some daylight and some running room where I could really get some rhythm going. Another K goes by and I’m feeling great but I look back to see if Paul is on my tail and he’s 50m behind – do I wait for him? slow up to allow him to catch me? or just plough on?

We hadn’t discussed any running strategy beforehand, so I ploughed on – a few hills and declines through bushland with cover from the sun and an eerie silence from the environment – very different from road races – there’s a certain calmness that transcends the effort in this environment, it doesn’t seem as hard as road running.

Four and a half K under my belt and the course required me to do a sharp right hand turn:

Oh shit!

The biggest hill I’ve ever seen – this picture doesn’t do it justice. The people you see at the top are only about two thirds up. Everyone walked this, it was about 300m high, 500m long and on a 60 degree incline. This is where I realised that trail shoes would be handy or a necessity. The incline was so steep and wet that you took 3 steps forward and two steps back.

Absolutely spent at the top, I still had to walk before I hit about a K of downhill slalom – how I never face planted or ended up on my backside is still a mystery to me. Running downhill in mud is just as hard as running uphill although you’re using a different set of muscles. I used a combination of slide and anchor to traverse the slope and luckily stayed upright.

Final K is on a slight incline and I hit the line in 48 minutes¬† and convinced that this form of running is for me. Sweating and covered in mud, shoes and socks belying their true colors and a couple of knees that thanked me for the softness underfoot. This is about as good as it gets for me – no aches or pains, courses bereft of concrete and a terrain that changes every meter, it’s not easy but it’s enjoyable.

Paul followed me in a few minutes later and lamented that this was the hardest run he’d ever done and hated it! A day later he wants to do another.

Next one is Anglesea -bring it on

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About offthelongrun

Born in the UK in 1961 - I migrated to Australia in 1991. I've never been overweight, but I drink and eat too much and probably run too much nowadays!
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