Sunday, September 25, 2011

Yurrebilla 2011

After I'd finished.
So where does one start to talk about a day that held a challenge that has been so long awaited...

It was August last year when I first heard of Yurrebilla. For one reason or another I was unable to do it that year and it's haunted me ever since.
Last year, while the event was on, all I could do was think about the lucky people who were running it and experiencing it and sharing in each others pains and triumphs.
I wanted to be a part of it too and was so gutted I hadn't been.

This year was always going to be different. There was no way I was going to let it escape me this year.

I started by doing the training runs. The first two were done "two way" so I could get familiar with the trail and get the extra trail time in my legs.

Between a few of us, we organised a couple more training runs including one starting from Eagle on the Hill and finishing at Athelstone... the finish line.
Although this was a fantastic day, my performance up black hill left a LOT to be desired. This hill has broken many a runner during Yurrebilla and I was more than a little worried how I would handle it with 50kms in my legs...

So I started training on it. Going up and down, up and down.. and felt pretty confident with what I had done. I knew it would be different on the day with tired legs, but I wanted to have the confidence, or positive mental edge. By this morning, I was very familiar with the Black Hill portion of the trail and knew exactly what was coming up and where. I knew I could run up most of it on a good day...

As expected, I didn't sleep well last night but that's ok.
I got up just before 4am as I was just waiting for the alarm to go off anyway... quickly realised that I was ready in 20 minutes and was way early... the bus was leaving at 5.30 and even if I left the house at 5am, I'd be early...

I ended up getting to the bus at 5am.. was just so anxious to start!

We huddled at the start line. I was in the first group. (There were three start groups)
The countdown happened and off we went!! and all I could think was "I'm finally running Yurrebilla" I was just so happy!
I was surprised at how quickly the pack thinned out. There was a couple of guys ahead of me, then another girl and I ran together for a long time. At the halfway mark, one more guy passed us from our group and said something about  being on schedule for a 7 hour finish. The girl I was with and I just looked at each other and said "Does he know what the finish is like???" It may be 6kms, but you ain't going to be doing that in less than an hour... Not the regular people anyhow...

So we kept running... The girl I was with has had knee problems and has had limited running leading up to this event. She was worried how her knee would pull up.
She had her support crew come to meet her at just over the 30kms mark. Somewhere around there anyhow.. So I left them to it and went on as I was pretty confident of the route here on in.

Everyone kept telling me I was the first girl to come through. Made me feel pretty good even though I knew there were two groups starting after me.. so even though I was the first girl through, didn't mean I was placing first. But I was first in my group.

Finished strongly without too many dramas.
Runners from the 2nd and 3rd group starting passing me about the 44kms mark.

When I was 400 or so meters from the end I felt a lump in my throat and thought I was going to cry... but then my calf cramped up again as it had been doing off and on in the last 6kms and at that point a group B runner whizzed past me so the tears were put away and I forgot the cramp so I could just finish...

My time was 7.41.
If you had told me that I'd run this this morning, I wouldn't have believed it.
I was secretly hoping for 8 hours but thought I'd get 8 1/2...
Don't know if I could top it next year though!

Monday, September 5, 2011

When it's too perfect....

What an amazing morning I had.
After debating with myself about which trail to take, I decided to drive to Chambers Gully and run along Bartril track, then down longridge track till I got to the look out point.
 (You don't know how proud I am of myself that I'm starting to remember the names!)
This was the first morning I'd ever run it by myself.
I wasn't out to break any records. This morning was just about being out there and enjoying the experience.

It was chillier than I expected so I tried to get into a good pace to warm myself up. It was a gentle (and I use that term loosely) uphill. I found it hard going at the start but once I was about 5kms in I got that euphoric feeling that only other runners can really know about.

When my legs felt too heavy I stopped to take a photo or two.

I took this one to prove that yes, I really do have different running clothes although I will always be wearing a skirt of some kind...
Saw a koala or two. Too bad I couldn't get a good shot of this one.

So I got up to longridge feeling like I was having the best day of my life but it was only to get better... Kangaroos lined the path almost all the way to the longridge look out point.

They looked at me curiously (well I can't blame them really) and let me take a photo or two before hopping off to another location.

I took video of these two because they were cleaning each other or something but they stopped when I started filming...

The look out was beautiful as it always is.

I stopped to breathe it all in.

I had seen quite a few magpies along the longridge track on the way down, so on the way back through that part, I picked up a couple of branches... just in case... I felt invincible with those!!! But I was ready to toss them should I encounter another person.
Thankfully there were no magpie swoops to write about.

There was a pretty awesome thing that happened though.
I was back on the Bartrill track, not long turned from Longridge. I was watching my feet, making sure I stepped in the right spot and on the look out for potential snakes, when I almost ran into a kangaroo! I had just rounded the corner and it was right in the middle of the path!
I think we gave each other a fright!
He took off down the path in front of me. He was SO fast but he made it seem effortless!! Such graceful elegant creatures they are.

I kept running down the same track the kangaroo had gone on and about a km down, there he was again. This time he was stopped and just looking at me.
I'm sure he was thinking "You call that running???"
He watching me for about ten seconds this time and then pushed off again and unfortunately I didn't see him anymore

Kangaroos, Koalas, no Kookabarra's this morning though... but....

I got to the car, completely euphoric, wondering why the rest of the world doesn't know about this. I got in and started to drive when I got a message, so I pulled over.... while I was pulled over, a pretty little blue bird came and sat on my side view mirror! He alternated between the mirror and the window!
 He was dancing from point to point, showing off just for me!!

I watched and luckily caught a few photos even if they aren't that good.

Mother Nature loved me lots this morning

How will the rest of my day be able to compete with that??