Sunday, 30 November 2014

Afterglow Trail Run - The Race Report

On Saturday night (29th Nov 2014), I participated in my first trail run event. I had signed up for this event back in September - Afterglow. My friend Sally signed up for this event and posted on Facebook if anyone wants to also sign up for a bit of run on the trails. This event was unique in the way that the run starts around 6:30pm and the cut off was around 10:30pm. As the run is at dusk and most will finish after sunset, it was compulsory that all participants run with a head torch.

With this in mind, I bought a head torch and some minimalist trail running shoes. I practiced running with the head torch soon after receiving them but I hadn't trained  in the minimalist trail shoes other than the odd walk with the dog. I decided that as I ran with my Mizuno shoes recently, even during the Challenge Shepparton (half) and the course description mentioned that the course was not too technical and suitable for road runners too, I decided to fore-go the trail shoes and just run with my Mizunos.

After Challenge Shepp, I hadn't done any running at zero! So like all events, I was hesitant about this as I had not done a trail event before and I was not familiar with the route at all.

The weekend came too soon. I planned on arriving at my parents house as it was around 15min from Torquay. I got down to Torquay around 2pm and picked up my race bib. I tried the course fuel which was called Tailwind and I really enjoyed it. I will look at purchasing some to use for training and to use during the events.

Sally arrived at my parents place around 5pm and we quickly got ready and left the house around 5:30pm. We got on the shuttle bus which took us to Point Addis around 6:40pm. The slow wave started first around 6:50pm (the faster wave around 7:15pm).

When the announcer called the start, most people sped off. I decided to just run at my pace as I know that I have 21km left for the day. The first part of the run was on bitumen and then into the beach trail. The single track path was good but the course was congested due to the single track and the amount of people in the wave.

The group started to spread out once the course started to get slightly technical and there was the first major climb along with rocks and roots to get over. At this point, I wasn't running too much but tried to not dwell on the rocks for too long.

After the climb, there was a false flat and then the descents was a really steep one. Soon after this was another climb, oh boy!...

I started to get into a good rhythm around the 5km mark. I thought to myself how fun this trail running is. I am running at a great pace, I felt great, I am enjoying the sights and sounds and I was not in too much pain.

The aid stations were simple but they provided everything you needed - water, tailwind fuel, lollies, nuts and chocolates. I ate some red lollies and filled up my bottle with some Tailwind. Around this point was when I had my first gel for the day - around 6km mark. I didn't swallow all my gel in one go so ran with it for a while until I realised that I sprayed about a teaspoon out of the packet into my hair, face and my hands.

The rest of the run was fantastic - the course changed throughout - from sand, dirt, path, road and more. The scenery was also fantastic. You had the ocean on your right and the noise of the waves splashing along the shore just made it memorable.

There were sections of the main path which was filled with soft sand, these sections I found to be the most difficult as your energy would just be drained out trying to push off the soft surface. Every step you took, your feet would sink about 10-20cm.

The route took you past the finish line then onto the beach. Before I reached this point, I decided to run with a head torch as someone ran past me with one and I noticed the difference when the light shone on the path. The run along the beach was around 2-3km. It was actually very surreal seeing a path of light along the beach. Then the run became interesting as we literally had to "climb" onto the sand dunes to get to the path. The climb was the worse - all hands and knees onto the sand dune which resulted in sand getting everywhere!

The rest of the run was in the direction of the finish line. I knew we had about 2km to go and wanted to finish strong. I ended up running past a few people at this point which was a great feeling as I had something left in the tank. The last 500m was at a great pace and I brought everything out and finished the event with nothing left in me.

My final results for this event:

Official Time: 2:35:35
Overall: 210/250
Gender: 88/115
Category (Female 21-35): 33/42

Pretty happy with the results considering I had finished a half iron-distance triathlon 2 weeks prior, had zero run training in between and this being my first trail run event. I will definitely sign up to this event again.

My toes cramped up once through the event but I increased my intake of my hydration (Shotz solution) and that seemed to help. I chaffed around my chest with my sports bra and there are several scabs now. I don't have any blisters as I wore my 1000mile socks along with my bright orange Ten Speed Hero socks.

Things to note before the next event:
- Might look into a backpack hydration system - I will see how my arms swing along the side.
- Will buy some Tailwind to use in training and in racing
- Training (trail) in my minimalist shoes as they are light and I have to throw my Mizuno shoes away soon as they are 18months old.

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