Thursday, November 4, 2010
Woodford Dam Trail Race: Race Report
The 2nd race of the RW Trail Running World Series
What a great course this race featured. I had been to Woodford Dam only twice before for swims in summer, but had never actually run around this area. And, if you are the Sydney Catchment Authority I totally deny this first sentence.
What was presented to participants was a good mix of single trails, a few stairs, fire trails, a dam and lake, a conventional tar road, 2 good hills to climb and a field of like minded ‘trail people’ to run with.
The Race Director (Mr G) started the event and we took off down the first hill. The Welsh exchange student was my early pacer. Brendan D and Prince Donga set a solid early pace and were soon out of sight. However we could still see them running up ahead as they missed the first turnoff into the bush. Someone (who will not be mentioned in this report) suggested we all be very quiet and duck off down the track the 2 leaders had missed.
After a pleasant run past some waterfalls, and a few nice swamp bridges, we were back on a main track and then a road on our way down to Woodford Lake and Dam.
By this stage the missing leaders had reassembled with our group, including a runner who when I looked at I thought: “gees that bloke has really long arms and would probably make a good swimmer”. It was Long Arms himself.
We ran down to the Dam chatting about war stories and future running agendas. Prince Donga mentioned his plans to defend his recent sizzling outright victory in the Fitzroy Falls Marathon come next year. Brendan discussed his plans to relocate his household to the trail running capital of Australia, the Blue Mtns in efforts to properly prepare for 6 Foot Track.
The talking abruptly stopped as we started up the big hill. Slowly as the grind continued I felt a small gap emerge between my two followers. This hill was a baby pluviometre.
While I am no way fit enough, or light enough to run fast at the moment (I’m 78.9kgs), I attribute the good climb up the hill to 2 things. Firstly, a lot of regular short runs and swims lately that have kept my legs and breathing systems in reasonable condition. Secondly, the fact that all runs recently have involved mini climbs of some sort (Sun Valley, Old Bathurst, Portal, Grose etc etc).
But now I had a big dilemma. I was where I didn’t want to be, or think I would be - in the lead. The plan to have a pleasant swim in the Lake when I got back down the hill was now over.
Something happens when I see a starter’s gun, or sense competition. The hairs grow on the back of the neck, and my palms get sweaty combined with a dry pasty feeling under the tongue. Suffice to say when I find myself near, or at the front I have absolutely no chance what so ever of running easy, or to a pace commensurate with my fitness. Its time to suffer.....
Also, Scams recent comments about me, and I quote: “not having a race winner’s singlet to wear around” could now be force fed back to him as little pieces of Humble Pie – just as soon as I could get back to Woodford. Funnily enough, he has been very quiet about the race all week.
So I sucked in a caffeine Gel at the top of the climb, and started drinking and refilling the water bottle as if I really meant it. Thank you Scam for the motivation
Coming back down the hill, the left ham string snapped (again), joining the right Achilles insertion point that had passed away some 12 months ago. If they were kept warm and comfortable, and were spoken to nicely - we would all get back to the finish line together.
Doctor Phil joined me at the bottom of the mini pluvio on his Mtn bike, shooting some marvellous footage against the back drop of the Lake for the ‘Best of RW Trail Series 2010’ that is coming out soon on DVD and Blue Ray.
It was a rather enjoyable and hard-paced run back to the finish. A second refill of my water bottle with energy drink at the last aid station boosted the energy required to keep the legs going.
If I got caught, the plan was going to be: use the last hill before the finish to hold them off. Luckily they didn’t come, and it was all over soon enough.
Thanks to the RW race organisers. To Scam - gees the singlet is comfy.