So how was it?
Yea it was tough.
Warm sapping tough.
Warm sapping tough + long climbs!
Warm sapping tough + long climbs + semi-technical trails + trails littered with gum tree barks & broken branches (very easy to sprain your ankle if you're not careful!)
In fact, we heard one of the runners broke his/her ankle.. really horrible news. Tired legs going fast with such trails its almost dangerous (and if you're wearing sunnies - you'll certainly get caught). But then this is trail running.. runners should be cautioned or be mindful themselves. Especially once you get caught the first time, you'd want to be sensible & adjust your pace (I only took heed after multiple trips!) - I suppose for the more serious runners this will be even more difficult given they'll want to go fast..
|Scenes at the start|
While it wasn't windy or rainy, the warm weather was indeed another challenge we didn't anticipate too well. Running at 10am through mid-day & early afternoon, we ran through the max temp for the day.. and while we were constantly hydrating - we certainly seem to be sweating & losing salt faster than what we were putting in. Can't imagine what running the Outback Marathon would be like! Running with the wife we had tried to move fast but eventually the toughness of the sun + terrain caught up with us & we resorted to just a sustainable pace.
The setting was certainly one we've never experienced before - the entire course was strewn in dried up trees! (Black saturday fires 2009). Picturesque in its own way. Friendly & supportive crew made our run easier too.. of course there's only so much dead branches one could be impressed with I suppose - eventually we were just pre-occupied with just heat & sore-legs :)
|The friendly aid station staff offering their services.. (this was the first aid station at 17k mark)|
Less impressive bits? Just the one.. :P
Pushing hard to complete - esp the last 10k - it was kinda disheartening the entire place was packed up (except the banner) when we finished... not because we were disappointed in our timing or effort or anything like that - it was more the feeling that we were left with when we crossed the finishing... no time-keeper, no clock, nobody from the organising team - only our friends (thanks Dion & Jon!) who came out to greet us etc. (And I heard Dion say they were gonna take down the banner as well until he told them there were runners still out there.....hmm)
Having said that the time-keeper & RD did come out to greet us shortly after but once again it was kinda sad that the time-keeper had to ask us what our finishing time was (and was about to write down a ridiculous time after mishearing us)... I'm sure the organisers have no intention to make us feel like that - but it did leave us feeling kinda small. Granted we're no elites - but a sense of completion is important to the slow(est) runners too. If the event was time-sensitive or if the event had expectations of standard of run - a cut-off time will help runners have realistic check on their timing.. I think telling a runner they didn't make the cut-off is much better than leaving a runner feeling they've been a drag...!
How's that for perspective from the slower end of the running world for a change? :)
Still absolutely proud of our efforts - pushing once again through sore ITBs, mental ruts, the sun, hydration challenges, tricky technical trails... it was a decent challenge for sure if that's what you're after. I suppose I would recommend doing the 34k (that's the actual distance btw) too because eventhough the last 10k is partially repeated route - running it the 2nd time at different time of day & in more fatigue disposition it does become a different experience. Be careful of the gum tree barks hiding broken branches for sure.. people with weak ankles need to take extra caution in these stretches.
|Should be renamed as Gum Tree Barks Run!|
|wifey vs unrelenting sun..|
Watch out for hydration if its going to be warm day.. this run is largely self-supported, having 2 aid stations - make sure you plan well, fill up all your bottles & bladders & store necessary amounts of jelly beans, m&ms etc. (& bring your own powergel & electrolytes coz there's none supplied)
That's all I have for you folks on Lake Mountain Skyrun 2013.. hope it gave you some insight to the run!
LOVE TRAILS & KEEP RUNNING!