Sunday 28 April 52km trail run You Yangs Regional Park Saturday 11 May Salomon Trail Running Clinic, Studley Park Sunday 12 May 8km Mothers’ Day Classic (with 20kg sandbag) Sunday 30 June 15km trail run Salomon Trail Series – Race 1 Sunday 28 July 17km trail run Salomon Trail Series – Race 2 Sunday 25 August 21km trail run Salomon Trail Series – Race 3
- Saturday 14 September 20km Tough Mudder, Phillip Island (extra laps hopefully)
- Saturday 21 September 100km Surf Coast Century, Anglesea
- Saturday 6 October 14km Spartan Super, Melbourne (two laps, 1 with Gus)
- Saturday 2 November 42km Spartan Ultra Beast, Sydney
- Sunday 8 December 48km Lorne Adventure Race, Lorne
On arrival, the staging area and start/finish zone of the Salomon Trail Series – Race 3 at the Dandenong Ranges National Park tended to lull you into a false sense of security with the picturesque reservoir backdrop and sun beaming across the tree lines. However, Race 3 had been rightfully badged as the ‘toughest race of the series’. I was already at a slight disadvantage on the back of a return flight from South Korea and a mate’s engagement party the night before, with a total of about 10 hours sleep over three days up my sleeve. Shabby.
To make things a little more interesting, the hasty departure from my Seoul hotel gave my Asics GEL Fuji Sensor trail runners an extended holiday while they remained strategically placed next to the ceiling mounted air conditioner ducting in my room. This was a great little hideaway for my shoes to air/dry out after each run in the sweltering heat over there, but not so good when trying to pack everything in under 5 minutes so you can catch the airport shuttle. Result…..no trail shoes for this muddy, hilly course. My Asics GEL Sky Speed road shoes are indeed awesome, but it was going to be like running uphill on glass in roller-skates. To my rescue comes the attending Salomon rep….really kindly lending me a pair of their demo SpeedCross3 trail runners for the race. I explained to her that I was under the loving care of Asics but she didn’t mind….just happy to help out….equally happy that I had found a solution was my fleet-footed, externally rotated Asics Product Development buddy, Claire. It was just one less excuse I had for her whopping my ass….again. However, her husband did not possess such bragging rights having overdosed on oestrogen the night before, opting for the 7km short course 😉
As you can see from the elevation profile below, provided courtesy of my beloved Suunto Ambit2 Sapphire HR, it was straight down to business with a short uphill from the start line, followed up by a few undulations before we hit the bigger f^ckers. Again, the plan was to just settle into my own pace and try to pull back as many places as I could on the hills. I’m not a hill machine by any stretch, but will just put a target on the back of whoever is ahead of me and work on reeling them in. Anything to take my mind off the pain….usually, I’d just rely on some angry tunes for distraction but the Salomon Series has a “no headphones” policy. I get the logic….safe, polite overtaking and all that, but miss the music drowning out the noise of my own lungs desperately sucking in more air. It’s not a comforting sound. Shame they didn’t have race photographers on those hills….that would have made for some good pics…everyone had their war face on 🙂
There were 360 others (247 guys) running the 21km course, with an average time of 2:17, so overall I was pretty happy with the end result and feel confident enough to even consider making my brown pants one shade lighter in preparation for the impending Surf Coast Century….23 days to go, with a 20km Tough Mudder prep the week before for good measure (I’ll sneak in an extra lap if I can).
For now, it’s back into the running and keeping up with the strength work….keeping the serious events for 2014 in mind, it’s all about maintaining a good balance. After getting plenty of running done in Taiwan and Korea plus the weekend race, today was a quick fix of some simple body-weight resistance work….30 muscle-ups for time, followed by 6 rounds of 5x wall walks with a 30 second rest between rounds.
Don’t forget, if you’re looking for a massive solo challenge or have three buddies willing to run 25km each with you, then give the Surf Coast Century a serious look. The race will be very professionally run and….more importantly….there are 1 litre engraved beer steins up for grabs!! Give it a crack!….it’s a simple A-to-B concept….no need to go on about it….it’s not going to kill you….just as it couldn’t kill Chuck Norris. On one occasion, death itself experienced a near-Chuck Norris experience. In fact, Chuck Norris died over 22 years ago….Death is still working up the courage to tell him.