We had about 36km on the Trailwalker trail planned for this morning, taking in some of the toughest sections over the Dandenongs and down to Mt Evelyn where the trail flattens out. I was going to say mercifully flattens out but the long flat stretch of the Warby Trail is as equally as challenging as the hilly sections, recollections of my auditory hallucinations in the small hours and the overwhelming desire to sing AC/DC songs are still fresh in my mind.
I slept well last night but maybe stayed up a bit late reading the paper and watching TV so I did feel a bit ordinary when my alarm went off, no point having a sook, there was a job to be done. Also my throat was really sore owing to my coughing fit after the 1500 yesterday, in fact I had a bit of a cough all though out the day today, pretty sad that a 6 minute 1500 knocked me about so much :roll:
I met Michelle on the side of the road near the trail about 8.5km from the Mt Evelyn checkpoint, I left my car (and nearly my mobile) parked under a tree and Michelle and I headed back to the start at Kallista, stopping quickly at Mt Evelyn to pick Jay up.
Jo turned up while Michelle and Jay where availing themselves of the facilities, poor thing has had a full on week with her beloved in hospital having an Op on his back and was coming down with a cold :-( she’s a trooper though our Jo (as you will learn later) and would not be bowed.
The trail takes us uphill immediately, taking us up the rather quaintly named Clematis Track, sounds lovely, goes straight uphill. Though having said that after trekking up it more than a few times in the last year it somehow seems to have become shorter and less steep, or I have become fitter :-)
Before we knew it we had reached the gorgeous Ferny Creek and we settled into an easy pace though the bush, until disaster struck, Jo and I were chatting away when she came down on a stick and rolled over on her ankle :shock: she cried out and hit the dirt in a rather alarming way and curse it none of us had any strapping tape with us. I had frozen the bladder in my hydration pack so we whipped that out and fortunately it was still cool enough to act as a half decent ice pack. Jo is a tough duck though and we were soon on our feet and running slowly again, I think it was mainly the motivation to NOT get caught up by the group of walkers we had passed earlier that got her going ;-)
We cruised along comfortably, running and walking until we reached the dreaded can you Hackett road when we went into walk mode again, OK, 3 of us did and Michelle the little hill runner extrodinaire managed to run more than 3/4s of the way. We were all well impressed!! Again this road, although long and steep (47% grade at one point) did not seem as bad as I had remembered.
Hitting Olinda we had a mostly downhill stretch to Silvan, though it was a bit uneven under foot so Jo opted to walk down the hill and not risk hurting her ankle further. It was not long after here that we got an easy run going again when Jo collected a rock and went over. I blame myself, both her falls were when we were chatting away, I distracted her with my prattling! We picked her up and dusted her off but decided that was it for the day, time to just take it easy and walk out the hilly section. Although we would end up spending alot more time on our feet than we had planned today it really was for the best, we have not done any long sessions yet, any time spent on the trails, either walking or running is going to help us.
We reached Mt Evelyn having covered 24km and here we left Jay and Jo. Jo had really pulled out the stops to soldier on, the girls got guts, but her ankle had swollen and was turning a rather alarming shade of purple so this was quit while you are ahead time.
Michelle and I opted to push on, no question of a lift back to my car! I estimated that we probably had about another 10km to go as we were about 1.5km from the Mt Evelyn checkpoint, fortunately it was mostly downhill and flat with just a little uphill into Wandin. We set out at a very comfortable 6 minute Km pace and just got into our rhythm and kept pushing forward, though I did beg a quick stop at Silvan to wash my hands at the tap, they were still sticky from Gels, ick.
Finally, the long straight towards the end and I couldn’t help myself, I could see my car and just picked up into a “sprint” over the last 100 metres, I just wanted to finish! Though to be honest because we were running slow I could have kept shuffling forward for longer, though I would have needed a lemonade first.
Just on 35km in the end, a bit short of the 36km I thought it would be but we didn’t run into the Olinda checkpoint, rather we cut the corner and headed straight on towards Silvan. I have put 18km worth of running in the diary and the rest is walking, the whole journey took us 4 hours 51 minutes today. This was longer than we had planned but what needs to be understood about an event like Trailwalker is you never know what is going to happen and sometimes, like today, you roll with the punches and change the plan as you go.
So a tough day out there but by all means not a wasted one, we worked as a team, adapted our plans and got everyone though the day. Jo also learned the crucial Trailwalker rule, no one, under any circumstances apologises for a bad day, ever, we are all going to have our “moments” with this event, that’s why we work as a team and you did bloody well out there today my friend.
I am now doing very little, the house work can wait for another time, unless someone wants to come over an vacuum my floor for me and maybe cook my dinner too :-)
PS – a lack of sun sense seems to be catching this weekend, yesterday before I raced I diligently applied sunscreen to my arms, while I was wearing a T-Shirt. Of course I then change into a singlet and stand around waiting for my heat and ended up with sunburned shoulders where I didn’t put the sunblock, clearly I am an idiot.