Trials and tribulations of the KSR trail running team.
Well it’s been a few weeks since I posted an update, and for good reason!
About 4 weeks ago (2 weeks before the Nerang 50k) I headed out into the Austinville range to do one of the harder hill sessions this year, on the final decent I thought…”What the heck” and decided to have some fun and see just how fast I could go….BAD IDEA. The proceeding 2 weeks resulted in an up and down battle with an ever worsening planter fascia issue from the violent decent, a DNF from the Nerang 50k and a further 2 weeks with no running.
During my time off after the Nerang race I decided to dust off the road bike and at least punish myself in some fashion instead of retreating to my usual injury protocol of Ice-cream , TV, beer and grumpiness….well I to be honest I didn’t drop the beer.
I cycled to and from work (60k round trip) and also headed out on the weekend with local triathlete Scott Wildman and sub 70min Half marathoner turned Ironman Scott Whimpy for what they said would be an easy 3 hours?! Well 100km down and much of it TT style at 38km/hr+ and I found myself well inside the HURT LOCKER.
All the cycling seemed to do some good as the foot improved and this week I tried an easy 5km with no issue on Wednesday. Knowing in the back of my mind that Up the Buff was on Sunday I discussed with my conscious (Tymeka (AKA WIFE)) the possibility / ability to race it. After some back and forth we decided that if I could run a medium paced park run with no foot pain on the Saturday then Sunday Buff race would be a go.
So we hopped down to the Kirra Park run, met some friends and before we knew it where off. I had planned to run at a tempo effort and not destroy myself as I wasn’t sure how the foot would react, after about 500m the plan was out the window. There were a couple of fast guys down at Kirra and in the end my thirst for competition got the better of me and I outsprinted them in the last 500m to notch a 16:13 for the 5km, a few seconds off my PB but not bad in my book for a few weeks off.
Post race the foot pulled up fine , so it was on. Up the Buff 25k here I come.
Up the Buff is a 16/25km event in the Currumbin valley. It has a road start with some decent climbing up to the aptly named “Buffer track”. The track is a fire break that follows the ridgeline of the valley, competitors go out 8km and back (16ks head home) with the 25ks continuing on for another few km’s over and past the brutal “Strawberry Hill”.
I turned up to race HQ, got my entry and started doing the rounds- I had a few people from my speed squad racing the 16km so I was keen to chat with them before the impending race. Not long afterwards we were on the start line and the gun went, we were off!!
At the start it was myself and local runner Anderson meandering up the road climbs towards the trail head with another local Sammy Weir not far behind. I welcomed the relaxed starting pace as my legs had taken a bit of hit from yesterday’s 5k and lacked their usual Zippiness. My plan for the race was to run conservative and look after my foot, not pushing any down hills and taking it easy on the ups – the two factors which could flair the foot.
Not long after we hit the trail I dropped Anderson on a longer downhill and began the long run by myself. The track was deceivably hard with constant rolling hills on the way out, I took advantage of these and cruised them at what I predicted to be about 50k pace, I hit the first turnaround grabbed some drink and took off. I noted Anderson was about 1-2min behind me.
After the turn and seeing how close Anderson was I didn’t want any last minute surprises, with my lack of long running I knew the end of this race was going to be a train wreak for me. I surged off back over the rollers and past the middle checkpoint at about 21k race pace in an effort to put some distance between Ando and me while still looking after my foot.
I hit the grassy back slopes of “Strawberry Hill” and tasted the humidity that was to be constant for the rest of race. Over “Strawberry hill” and down the ridiculously steep back side I continued on towards the final turn. It was about 2km out from the turn when my calves started to cramp, a typical and expected sign of my lack of running over the last few weeks.
I backed off the pace, hit the turn had a quick chat to the volunteers about the heat and hills then took off again. I noted the time and was eager to see how much “Buffer” I had on Ando, it was about 5min. I knew then that I was in a good spot for the win so I backed the pace off again to about long run pace as I was still feeling the calves cramp on every little climb and worried as that could be a day ender!
A massive hike up Strawberry hill and a run down the back side filled with troubled looks over my shoulder for Ando and I was back on the final road section to the finish. It’s here I passed friend and Park Run GM Tim Oberg who offered some much needed encouragement as well as a statement that one of my regular speed session crew was dominating in the 16k – WICKED.
In the end it was 25km in 2:08 with climb anywhere from 600-800m vert, many mixed results. It was a good day, crew from my speed session took out 1st,2nd and 3rd in the 16k and I was pleasantly surprised with my own race. I donned a BUFF MAN cape (requirement of winners) and spent the next 2 hours cheering people over the line and chatting with good mates.
Gear for the day
Where to from here…….A day off, a reassessment of the foot (which appears OK so far) and hopefully I am back!
May: TNF 50k
June: Kokoda Challenge Brisbane 30k
June: Oceania Championships (5000m, perhaps 10000m)
July: The Big Dance: Kokoda Challenge 96km Gold Coast.