Sunday, 13 January 2013

2013 Two Bays Trail - 28km

Disclaimer – Hopefully I get all the facts right! The Two Bays Trail is Epic, also, if there are any runners or walkers who have completed the trail and could email me/post some photos it would be greatly appreciated. It’s the only way to show people what it was really like – aside from pinching them off the net. Cheers and enjoy the reading

What a run! Crazy hill climbs, insane descents on gravel fire roads, boardwalks, the Aussie Bush, almost subtropical rainforests, sand and stairs. This run promised it all. I had entered and was about to tackle the Two Bays Trail Run 28km. Luckily I had my Trailroc 235s – their first real trail run and a true test of their make (and mine!) I’d loaded the Camelpak with the Hydralite mix and was ready to roc.

At 6:20 B and I were dropped off and we picked up our numbers, made last minute pit stops and headed to the line for the 2013 Two Bays Trail run – 28km from Dromana to Cape Shank on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula. The starting area was well organised and there was a great buzz in the air – everyone was pumped. 

B and I made our way to the line and we were off. The run began along Latrobe Parade and the pace was set. I managed to tag along with B for the first km @ 4:33 pace before I settled into my rhythm and found my place. Soon we turned off the beaten path and onto the trail. We headed onto the Two Bays Trail and began a slow but steady ascent of the famous Arthurs Seat – 100ft or 300m in just over 1km. I was enjoying the chance to run on a true trail and found the grip provided by the shoes to be excellent. As the gradient began to rise so did the effort and everyone was huffing and puffing – it was damn hard work! At one point I noticed that people around me were beginning to walk, and even by running I was unable to pass them. Baaa, baaa, I became another sheep who realised it was just as quick to hike up the remaining 300m or so to get to the top. 

Like magic, we went through one of the pass/control gates and everyone picked up their feet and the run commenced again. The trail continued to climb but at a manageable rate and things were looking up. I had found my place in the field and tried to enjoy the view of Mornington’s beaches to my right as I simultaneously watched exactly where I was placing my feet.  
Brakes and brain off or can I do it safely? Kerri
Finally the climb finished and the descent and respite I was after! The track was narrow and pocked with rocks, some sand and roots – not easy when you are trying to control your speed. It continued on for a couple of kms before we hit the fire road and things got a little hairy. Although the track was wide, it was dust and gravel which do not equal grip. I zig zagged my way down, preferring to run in the grass as I felt more confident with what nature would allow me to do. After a sweeping left hand turn the descent became even steeper still – brakes off brain off or try for some control? I think I found a balance between the two and made it safely to the bottom.

From here the track went bush again and it was just serene. I was pacing nicely and really enjoying things at the stage and got talking to Emmit who was running strongly. He had done the run before and was looking to improve on his previous time, a time I was also hoping to run.
At this point we had our first road crossing and picked up the trail through some great reserves and ran along the first of the boardwalks through what would be more wetland type terrain before passing through the town (heads up to all the volunteers and supports) and onto a gravel road that seemed to go up and down and on and on. I was still feeling good and running sub 5 minute kms – only just though and could take a little more time to see what the surrounding farmlands and bush was like. After turning off into the bush for a little while we picked up the road again and went through the 13km marker – I missed the timing but still felt strong as we hit a long section of bush. The track was quite varied from here on in. Most of it was flatter, although the many sandy sections and tree roots made you very conscious of how you were running. At times it was wide then it narrowed and you were running through the bracken. There were stairs to negotiate and boardwalks to cross and it was a great mix of massive old gum trees and smaller ferns and rainforest type plants.
Pics by Kerri

Another road crossing and the water/aid station and we hit a gravel road for a while. At this stage I was starting to feel my feet rubbing at the forefoot and the calves were tightening up. I pushed on and managed to hold my pace as we hit the next trail section – this part was really scenic (well, what I could see of it as I watched my feet) but the ups began to get longer and tougher was we climbed a little higher. At the 14km I checked my timing and was stoked to be running at 1:13:30 – I was really happy with that. By now I was really aware of my feet and starting to feel a little sloppy so I had to really dig deep and focus on my form and control. I was staring to lose a little of my spring but powered up the climbs, just managing to hang on to the runners in front of me. At 18km I felt a sense of relief. With 10km to go and got my second wind as I picked up behind another runner as we managed to chat a little as we picked our way down the path avoiding the many small obstacles in our way.  At about the 20km I had to walk a few hundred meters for a breather and then picked up the feet for another solid km. 21km and the half marathon distance – 1:54:30ish. I was still really happy with that but then I found the going tough.

At this point I made two new friends – Mr Lactic Acid and his close friend “The Wall” – two very tough competitors. From here it was a battle of wills – theirs and mine. The trail opened up to expose a valley to our left and it looked incredible. To the right was open grassland and we seemed to be splitting the middle. My two friends were very persuasive and Mr and Mrs Quad and Mr and Mrs Calves were getting along with them like a house on fire!
From here I normally ‘push on and finish strongly’ not today. It really hurt. I wanted to go but any incline and I had had it. I’d run for 500-800 m and then had to walk it out. The top 100 finish was rapidly fading away as groups of runners continued to run on past me. At the last road crossing I had the best cup of water ever and tried to eat the green snake that was thrust upon me, but literally I could not stomach the thought. I’d been sipping the hydralite all the way through – and at this stage to be honest I think I’ll stick to water next time.

I hit the Bushrangers Bay track to the lighthouse and got but a few hundred meters – the sand just took its toll. A bit of a walk, then a few hundred meters of running. I had had it. I tried to push on and could run the flats and the descents but any rise and the quads just failed me. The track was a nice run and I got the rush of blood as I peeled down towards the ‘stairs’ at the 25km mark but very quickly decided that walking up was the best approach (as did many other runners). The last challenge done, I ran and walked my way towards the lighthouse, hearing the cheering crowds at the finish. Somehow I got up the last of the hills and hit the road to the finish.

The clock ticked over with 2:38:04 minutes of hard running completed. Not quite the fairy-tale top 100 that I was hoping for but a very respectable 180th.  I do feel a little let down after my last three runs where I finished in the top 20, top 5 and then the top 8% of a 1600+ field but I am a very proud finisher, now pondering my next challenge. Perhaps I’m not destined for the longer trails, and I am more suited to the 10 – 15km middle distance. These I can run with pace, endurance and confidence. Perhaps more training would have helped me get over the line as strongly as I started.  

I found B who had finished in an amazing 2:10 as I was ready to collapse. Her words of commendation and encouragement have gone a long way, thanks B! The fruit and drinks provided at the end were an absolute god send and an apple, some grapes and one of my bananas later I was starting to feel a little replenished.

The run that promised it all truly delivered. The terrain was a challenge and a half and the shoes did not let me down. They gripped with every step and even saved me from a couple of spills. 

I'd love to know your thoughts on the run. Was it what you thought, did anyone else hit the wall and want to take a brave pill and talk about it. Even better, who hit the wall it and scaled it, I want tips! 

Thanks to Kerri from Moving Forward Fitness for some of the pics. 

Finally massive Kudos to the organizers of today's runs. The course was extremely well marked, and I love all the little signs of wisdom along the way. 
The aid stations were all buzzing and the bits and pieces at the end were just what we all needed. Maybe the Rollercoaster run is the next challenge...

Use the fish followers code fish10 to get 10% discount on Inov-8 shoes and the rest of the range at barefootinc!

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