Monday, November 17, 2014

Mt Lofty 2 Murray Bridge 'Just Coz' Ultra

Once again, the wonderful, crazy cat Karen and I had drummed up another 'little adventure', as we continue to prepare for the big run from Melbourne to Adelaide.  The final 60-70km stretch into Adelaide was always going to one to navigate as we cannot head in along the freeway.  As such, we decide a few weeks ago to do a reccy run through there to check it out.  Don't want any surprises at day 9 of a 7km+ run.......

Initially thinking it would be just us, with maybe a couple of others coming along since we know some other crazy nutbags around, we put it out there on Facebook that anyone is welcome.  Well......... message after message, pouring in from all over the place, we end up with 19 people kicking off (including 2 running slightly late, intending to make up ground)

Having only punched in a very loose 'google map' route with 'walking' option clicked, the starting comment of "alright, let's go.  Which way do we start" really set the day in motion for what was to come..............  I know it's east and I know of 2 marked trails along the way, including the Pioneer Womens Trail, which runs past this starting point only 1-2kms down the hill.  That's good enough for me.......... lol

Taking our first step about 15 minutes after we'd planned was quite good considering the social, unofficial aspect.  It's been raining through the night, but outlook promised a cool, but dry day ahead.  For once, the weather reports were correct.  Cool, dry, and 50/50 sun/cloud.  Perfect!!!

The Pioneer Womens Trail offers some nice single track for most of this portion, with lush greenery, conversing through some nice parks and skirting through some well known and loved country towns.  Perfect for Karen to stop in for a coffee......

Once we leave Harndorf it's onto the navigation component until we pick up the Lavender trail near the end of the run.  Which way will offer the most gravel roads, over the bitumen?  Thankfully, we have a local on board, Lee, who sticks his hand up and offers some backroad options to head through.  Done! 

The next 30-35km is loosely 40% bitumen, 60% gravel.  A few rolling hills but nothing worth noting for the big day.  Somehow through this section, the distance left to go, seems to continue stretching to the point where the initial 63km estimate is blowing out to somewhere in the low 70's.  Of course Karen and I are finding this quite amusing, while some others may have kept a few expletives to themselves...... LOL

Eventually we stroll into Monarto, where we pick up the Lavender Trail, knowing it'll be a welcomed change getting back onto some single track.  No-one warned us it was 3-4 km of soft sand to begin with.  Grrrrr.  Navigation through here is a bit of hit and miss with the trail signs mostly missing.  Unsure if we're actually still on the trail, we stumble across some mountain bikers who confirm we are, but advise of an unmarked turn.  Lucky because we surely would've gone straight ahead.

Taking the turn, we head 2km up another dirt road, but didn't care because it was surely better than the bloody sand.  Hitting the end of this dirt road we finally turn right into Rocky Gully; a technical single track with some great looking rock faces.  We also know it's down to single figures to get into town.  Great relief!

After some very enjoyable km's through the rocky trails, we come out to the perimeter of Murray Bridge, and 1km after that, we get our first glimpse of the river.  Of course, the camera phones come out...........

Another 3kms, we're done!  But of course, runners OCD kicks in, and have another 400m to go until the rounding off of the full KM..... OK, now we're done!

What a day........... 

What was amazing; the support we received from my good friend Greg, Jon, and Darryl who met us at every 5-10km along the route, to top us up with food and fluids. In addition, we had a few others popping in and out to offer additional help. Thankyou so much as there is no way we could've done this without you all.

I can not believe the amount of amazing people I know in the running community here.  On a whim, say 'yeah I'll come along' for a 60km+ social run for no other reason than 'Just Coz'

Monday, October 13, 2014

Post race: The Danger Zone......

Thought for tonight:

How many times have you been part way through an event saying to yourself "Why am I doing this?". "Never doing this again", just to find yourself in the same event the next year, getting to the same point thinking, 'hang on, I said I wasn't doing this again!" lol

If you're like me, and most others, this is like groundhog day with runners on.  Don't get me wrong, I friggin love running and the buzz from events just make things more electric.  But there's something about those moments during the low times that can have you questioning your mentality.....  Have you thinking all those 'well meaning' friends maybe right to have you committed to the local support group because "you're crazy".

However.......... no matter how low those lows may be, and no matter how you struggled through, there is always the age old Newtons' saying "for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction".  I believe this is true with distance running.  The lowest of lows in my past events have often had me coming out within 48hrs post race with the highest of highs.  I'm not going to bore everyone with nerdy talks on endorphins and blah blah.  All I'm going to say is we've all been there.......  The night of and up to the following 2 days is 'glory time' to reflect back on the day.  Even if you've had a shocker outcome, there's still something going on inside that makes you tick.

This is what I'm dubbing as "The Danger Zone"
By %, how many events do you think people sign up for whilst within the 48hr post event period?  If it's anything like me, it'd have to be somewhere in the 80% region.  I can't help myself.  My wife gets nervous when I go near a computer or smart phone within 2 days of an event.  She knows I'll be signing up all over the place.  I'm thinking it's not too long until my credit card is confiscated during this costly timeframe.  (note to self, write down my credit card details in advance)

But true to my nutbag character, my advice is, EMBRACE THE DANGER ZONE!!!! It's because of this that I've signed up for events that normally I should be thinking no way, just to find I had a blast, then hit the Danger Zone again.  And so the vicious cycle continues......

I don't know how to get off this rollercoaster, but hey, why would I want to?