Yesterday I competed in my first ever trail running race, an event organised my Mountain Sports and held at the Manly Dam about a 30 minute drive north from the CBD.
I arrived super early as I had been slack and missed out on the online entry cut off date and had to register on the morning, but it meat I got a great parking spot which would come in handy if my legs were sore after the race.
One of my old work mates Sam spotted me and came up to say hello, he was running the half marathon (2 laps of the Manly Dam) which was more than I wanted to bite off and chew at the moment with my limited trail running experience. However I found out that he is also registered for some of the trail races i’m planning to do in 2014 and it sounds like it’s going to be a big year for both of us.
I wished Sam well and the half marathoners set off to start their journey. Apparently the gentleman who had won the Northface100 was also competing so there was some tough competition.
My mates Todd and Claire from Sydney Harbour Running club also turned up for a crack at the 10km trail run and we were in for a tough course.
They split us up into groups of about 30 to send us off in waves as apparently a lot of the course is single track. This made me a bit nervous as it can be hard to stay on your own pace with people breathing down your neck, or people in front who you catch up to and can’t get around…. I always get nervous before races, don’t we all.
And the count down began, we were off. Most of the first part of the race was single track and very uneven surfaces which would be good experience at dodging and weaving. Some of the time I was too busy looking down and got wacked with a low branch, so after that I kept reminding myself to also look up. You really have to be on your game and alert the whole time, it’s not like road running at all. I wore the Nike GPS watch but I don’t think I looked at my pace even once, whereas on the road you look at it all the time, the only time I looked at my watch was to check km’s.
A small part of the course on a fire trail and then it was back into the single track and then it opened to a lovely bridge crossing at the end of the Dam which was quite high but had some great views. Then it was hill time, the last one and by far the hardest part of the course. I walked it mostly as my legs were struggling, but I didn’t stop. I just kept moving, that’s my motto…… just keep moving. Then I tripped and fell. I landed on my wrist which softened the blow for my knees but it meant there was blood. I did a quick body check and it was only my hand that hurt so I got up straight away and kept moving. My concentration was lacking as I was getting tired, something I would need to work on. I ran very slowly on the down hill section and before I knew it the finish line was in sight. I dug deep and made a sprint for the line, it was done.
We were then spoilt with fruit, water, coffee and a bbq to replenish and I even went for a quick dip in the Dam to cool down.
Over all I loved the race, it was hard an it pushed me to test my limits but I kept going. And what a beautiful location, great track and having the dam to cool down was awesome.
I met up with the others to share our stories and we all had a fun time. As this race is the first of 4 races, we all decided that we had a blast and would be back next year!!
Happy running! 😀