On Saturday I ran the Speight's West Coaster 13km adventure run. Ooops, I tell a lie - I ran some of it and walked an awful lot of it too! The first three kilometres were an uphill climb, but that was just the beginning...
|Nearing the top of the first climb, but still a long way to go!|
The race has a total elevation gain of 649m - most of this is in two 230m hill climbs as you can see by the pace/elevation chart below:
You can also see by this chart that I do not excel at uphill running, but I make up for it on the downhills. This results in a continuous game of leapfrog with the more consistently paced runners out there. I am sure they got sick of my yo-yo race tactics!
After the first major climb, we passed the drink station at 4km and then out onto Razorback Ridge - an exposed ridgeline track that winded it's way towards the Tasman Sea:
|The view from Razorback Ridge down to event base|
|Look carefully and you can see the 6km runners/walkers|
|Random snap during a much needed breather|
See that grassy meadow in the very first photo? I took the opportunity to up my pace here and overtook about 5 runners. I passed a few others in the forest where I somehow reacquired the ability to run uphill (albeit in small doses!)
After passing the course photographer, I suddenly found myself on my own and wondered if I had gone off trail, but the track was fairly obvious so I decided I couldn't have. I really enjoyed this part which was several downhill switchbacks on a sandy track - it was so soft and you could bound downhill without worrying about falling and hurting yourself - that would have been like landing on a pillow. Eventually I saw some runners ahead which made me happy because I had gained ground, and it also confirmed I wasn't off course!
We entered the forest for the final kilometre - this is where the 6km event joins our course and I remember this bit from last year, however this year it felt shorter and easier. It is a sandy track with little traction bar a few pine needles, not really what you want at the end of a race. But finally it turns into a winding downhill gravel road which you can speed down - as long as you watch that you don't skid on the loose gravel, or trip on the odd rock. Although I felt like I was sprinting as fast as I could down here, my son managed to capture this shot which looks like I am jogging:
|The camera never lies...|
I really am the perfect example of a mid-pack runner ;)
I think this was one of the toughest runs I've done, but I never once thought 'why the heck am I doing this' during the race. There was a great camaraderie amongst the runners, and in some ways the periods of walking helped here as we could chat and laugh a bit together. I will no doubt do it again next year, and hopefully by then I will have incorporated more hills into my training!
Did you race this weekend? Tell me about it!