The alarm went off at 4.00am last Sunday and I sleepily went for the snooze button until I remembered today’s alarm did not have a ‘snooze’ option and I had to get myself out of bed now! I felt very sluggish and sleepy but I wasn’t going to let that stop me. I got a banana and a coffee into me and got ready to hit the road. I left a little bit later than I wanted to as I was struggling to get going, but I knew I had a bit of time up my sleeve, as I kind of new this might happen.
It has become regular practice for me to get up earlier on the weekends than during my work week and i very much look forward to a sleep in for a least 1 day on the weekend over the next couple of weeks.
I had an hours drive to get to Hornsby and I always leave a bit early in case I get lost and also so that I can make a toilet stop before I get there, as most of our start locations don’t have amenities. I got to the park about 5.40am and was happy to see a lot of familiar faces from our 6 foot training group, plus a friend of mine Simon who had recently joined the Striders too and I’d seen him a few weeks back at their 10km race in Homebush.
Sunday’s run was organised by a lady called Dale from the Sydney Striders and her trail was named the Hornsby Hurricane. She had maps for us all to use and also had been out on the track the night before pinning arrows to the course so we knew where to go.
The first section of the run was about 5km of road running until we hit the national park and I must say I did not enjoy it one bit. They had set off super fast, much faster than I would run on the road normally plus I was already running on tired legs. I did my best to keep up with them until we hit the national park and then there was a huge concrete descent which slowed me down as my knees were doing it tough.
I got to the bottom of the hill and the group had gathered near a toilet block for some last minute pit stops. A few minutes later we headed over a grassed section towards the start of the trail section which was quite narrow and very technical in some spots. I let quite a few people go past me as I knew that I needed to take it slow and easy today, it was all about getting time on my feet and not pace today. So I settled in at the back of the group and took my time.
We tran along next to the creek for a while with glimpses of the water to our right. There were some beautiful little spots on the course and it was very pretty with the fog which also made it nice and cool for the run.
There were some very steep, technical sections on the course and because of all the rain it was very slippery. I ran a lot of the first half of this course by myself. I think it took me a while to warm up but even tually I caught up to the lovely Leonor who I have mentioned in my posts before. And I ran the second half of the course with her.
Some of these sections you could easily get lost or turn the wrong way but luckily I didn’t get lost this week. And I had a backup map if needed.
Here’s Leonor showing me how to climb this steep section, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Never seen anything like this before so we had to stop for photos. More like rock climbing than tail running, though i’m sure rock climbers have a lot less to hand onto than we did.
The rest of the course was tough, physically and mentally. I felt very sluggish and sleepy and the muscles were feeling it from the day before. I’m lucky I ended up running with 3 lovely ladies who helped keep me on track and focused on doing the full course. I honestly would have turned back a lot sooner than I did if they were not around.
We ran the last road section which was nasty. Very nasty. An extra loop that took us on the road again and was an out and back section. But we did it, we kept running in the pouring rain and we didn’t stop till we got back to see Dale’s smiling face and some snacks she had saved for us. Unfortunately there were no snags left as the crew before us had demolished them.
I might add that Dale told us we were the only group to do the extra lap at the end and so we decided to call ourselves the Dream Team. So here’s our Dream Team celebrating the finish.
A few moment after this shot I found a leech on my shoes, thank goodness it hadn’t found my skin yet, those creepies are disgusting!!
Stay strong, believe in yourself and happy running!!