Two Bays Trail Run 56km - What Should've Been
I had big goals for this race, but due to plenty of reasons this post is a lament to those goals. First up the race organisers were well aware of my concerns there was no aerobics or Zumba warm up before the race. I mean it just isn't an event without it. Managing to push past the issue with true champion thinking I found myself lining up for the start.
Another issue cropped up. The race started on time, there was even a countdown clock from 10 minutes out to let everyone know. Clearly a problem, as how can a race start on time, we weren't held in position for over half an hour getting cold and listening to crappy speeches from people telling us all how inspiring we are. As result I lined up a little back from the front as it was now really hard to be mentally ready.
Then I realised we'd skipped straight to the run leg. I mean as a triathlete I can't really swim so that's fine. The real issue is I had spent the last week incorporating my GoPro camera into my aero helmet and skipping the bike leg meant all that work was a waste. Seriously guys, what kind of triathlon is this?
Still ready for a fast run, win the race maybe take the course record I moved out on the trail, but yet again the race organisers thwarted my plans. Where was the flat, smooth bitumen? The course twisted and turned, went up and down and none of the tree roots had even attempted to be removed! Stones and grass appeared all over the trail. Then there was the dirt. I'd specifically worn my bright green go fast shoelaces for this race and within the first few kilometres they were smothered in dirt and no one could see just how fast my laces were. Then if all that wasn't bad enough, the trail had us running through soft sand. Surely it isn't hard to cover all these areas with blue carpet? Not to mention the glaring oversight for the climb up Arthur's Seat... chairlift!
Of course with any race of this magnitude, due consideration has to be made to pacing. I kept my strategy fairly traditional. Key was to find the best butt and stick close behind. Conversations out on the course confirmed lycra was the best option and it was clear those wearing anything more baggy such as shorts were simply jealous. Also important in any good pacing strategy was to ensure that you run whenever in view of spectators.
Nutrition was paramount, and it was another area I had to triumph over adversity. My all natural fully refined extract of the manurevedic berries that only grow on the north side of one particular mountain had not yet been blessed by the appropriate Guru, so hadn't arrived in time for the race. As a result I was stuck with the usual carbohydrate gels, which was an issue as I'm trying to watch my figure. Good news is it was before 7pm so I was still allowed carbs. Next time I might have to develop my abilities as a breatharian and fuel myself with air and light.
It was hard to tell that I was really in a race. Everyone was so encouraging and friendly. How can you have a competitive event where people are nice to each other? Despite this I continued on, dodged a couple of kangaroos that hadn't been removed from the course and worked my way through the field. After the turnaround we were spaced out and my pacing strategy was having some difficulty. The organisers did at least get one thing right. Ducking under the magic tree I followed the sign directing me to make a wish. I was impressed that it came true as I was greeted by some hot cheer girls at the next aid station. Maybe I should have wished for more.
Speaking of aid stations, there was the clear lack of them appearing every 2km. But don't worry, I'll carry my own water. I'll manage, after all I have an ironman tattoo on my ankle. I continued with my thoughts of better wishes I could have made back at the magic tree when I spotted Matty's lost pet slithering off to the side of the boardwalk, just before the 40km mark. Despite calling "Tigey, Tigey, here Tigey, Tigey," it didn't come. Having serious race business to take care of I decided I'd just tell him where his pet was later.
A little over 2km later was the next disappointment. I crossed 42.195km and instead of a finish line at the arse end of the MCG and an over abudance of concrete, there was simply more race, bush and spectacular views. What kind of marathon was this?
It was harder to keep the speed up after this. Do races actually go further than a marathon? I found some more sand not covered with blue carpet and some steep and uneven stairs close to the finish. I managed to pick up the pace over the last of kilometres, but without spectators lining this area it was just a wasted effort. Eventually I crossed the finish line after 56km. No finish line dance, I'd used up my energy with those extra 13.805km.
In the end my time was very slow compared to my orginal goal. It was either because of all of the above or just a matter that I hadn't trained well for a tough but awesome trail ultra.