We got into Forrest by about 9:10am which gave me 20min to put on my socks, shoes, pack my hydration bag and run down to the start to pick up registration and go to the toilet. They said that registration was opened from 7:00 - 9:30am but the line to pick up the numbers went on and on. Not sure what happened, maybe they were understaffed but I think they had extra help when they realised that people were still waiting to pick up their race numbers by 9:45am. I still hadn't gone to the toilet yet at 9:50am and luckily people who were racing the 10km who started at 10:30am let us in the long line.
I didn't really pay attention to the race briefing as I was in the toilet line and just finished in time to run to the start and off I went. The start of the race was good. Everyone was in a good and comfortable pace. The first part of the event where I walked was when the route came back to race area and up the hill. I jogged as much as I could but the 1km climb so close to the start of the event got to me and about 30 other people.
We ran through some lush fern covered narrow paths where I felt the pressure of the pace. The path was too narrow for people to pass and due to the ferns, it was hard to step aside. Where I could, I stepped aside for the faster people to get around me as at this point (3km), the constant hill climbs caused my legs to be heavy. We then ran down a path and then onto the dam walls with amazing scenery. The volume of water in the dam was just unbelievable.
At about the 7km mark, the faster runners were actually running the other way, that was how strong some of these regular trail runners were. The constant hills were tricky especially when some of the paths were slippery and with some areas needed your hands for support.
Pretty much where there were climbs, I either walked or jogged/walked up ungracefully. I remember the 12km mark where I walked for the longest distance for the entire event, the climb was constant and felt like it went on forever.
The last 5km was tolerable as it was downhill but with some of the most trickiest paths to get through. There were many hands for support action happening and where I could feel a blister on the feet. The blister on the bottom of the foot felt like I was stepping on a piece of glass with every downward path. I stopped at this point to also check that there was nothing in the socks which was causing the pain apart from the blister. At this point, 3 guys ran passed me but luckily I caught up to and passed them soon after. The last part of the run was the hardest as I had to run past the finish line but in a different direction with a great monster of a climb 1km from the finish line. The last climb proved to be too much for my little legs that I had to run up the hill backwards.
The last 1km was a relief. It was downhill and I knew that I was close to finish. Unfortunately I didn't finish the 21km within the 3 hours as I had planned. I finished in 3:02 which wasn't too bad I suppose. 3 hours out running/walking/climbing was a long time out there, I don't even ride for that duration or climb that much in elevation!
|My Ultimate Direction vest - awesome!|
I downloaded my Garmin and here are some stats:
Total time: 3:02.05
Total moving time: 2:58.03
Average pace: 8:44min/km
Average moving pace: 8:33min/km
Elevation gain: 1,773m
Maximum elevation: 372m
Nutrition - I had 4 gels in total. One at the start, pretty much as soon as I exited the toilet stop and onto the start, then 3 during the race, one at every 45min or so.
- Although I ran 21km and it was the hardest event I had ever done (harder than Ironman), I am glad I did this distance rather than the 10km. Although 10km would have been manageable, driving all the way to Forrest for 10km was too much to ask.
- This event was out of my comfort zone by a huge mile but I am glad I did it.
- Need to work on more hill running, my legs felt weak - similar to riding along Beach Road month after month and finding any climb a real slog.
- Although the hydration vest was good, there was a bit of chaffing due to my elbows rubbing against the side of the bag. I found accessing the bottles from the front much easier than from the back.
- I think I could go half a size bigger in my trail shoes - I wore 2 pairs of socks (3 layers in total) and this was what caused the blister as my feet were squeezed together.
- I don't know if I will do this event next year...I will have to gain super strength in running to be able to take at least 15min off my time.