28 Jul 2013


You Yangs 50km Ultra Marathon

So I think I covered my lack of preparation in the post preceding my race effort at the You Yangs... If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook you are probably well aware of the result too! In summary, I haven't been getting as much training in of late, mainly due to work commitments and partly getting the mechanics of my body under control.
Going into the race I have missed my usual rituals of pre race sleep, drinking lots and loading up on Berocca! Combine that with the lack of decent training lately and I felt very worried about this race!
This is Race number 7 in my #13in2013 races for the year, not only that, it's my 4th Ultra for the year!

The weather was a bit of a concern, a week out from the race they were predicting perfect conditions then as it came closer we had rain and thunderstorms on the way! Suffice to say, as it turned out the conditions were ideal. It was chilly up on the mountain (is it just a 'hill' really..?) at the start of the race but after that it was cool and clear for most of the day, a few light rain drops was about all we copped.

The course at You Yangs designed by the evil Brett Saxon, is very cleverly mapped out to include multiple legs (loops) of the park to cater for each race distance. The map, although complex in appearance, was rather simple to follow on race day as things were marked out superbly and there were well informed marshals at any point where confusion could sneak in. As long as you knew how far you had been, it was simple!
on your way up to Flinders Peak
The feature of this course is the 'Flinders Peak' trail which climbs straight up to the highest point for a gorgeous 360 panorama of the whole park area. I believe we gain about 200m elevation in 2km on this Flinders Peak trail!! The best part is for the suckers who signup for the 80km (50 mile) event, they get to run this peak three times! I'll have to admit though, coming back down that particular trail was the absolute highlight of my time at this event :)
One side of the fantastic maps provided by Trails+

The course covers a range of terrain, from gravel walking tracks, to rocky narrow paths around the mountain to the gently rolling smooth trails set up for cyclists. The aid stations are gloriously well stocked with all sorts of lollies, chips, cakes, gels, water and electrolytes. Granted there aren't that many aid stations compared to your typical bigger events, it was still regular enough to allow most participants to travel fairly lightly.

My Race
So onto my race, to be honest, 3km into the race, I knew it was going to be a super tough day out! The first little incline felt like it was straight up into the sky (it really wasn't that bad).
I had some friends from Melbourne ParkRun that were running in the same event, I decided to let them go off into the distance, I could tell I wasn't going to be able to talk my way through this event!
As far as a race plan went, I pretty much went at a cruise pace and set out to simply fuel regularly and keep my fluids up, I had no idea what was going to happen at 30km. By about 10km everything felt like hard work and in my head I was already considering the option of pulling out at 30km.
'its a tough race, nobody would blame you for cutting it short' I told myself.
'you've had very little training, you body is sore, you have no need to kill yourself and finish this race' said that negative little voice in my head.
'just walk from here, the marshal will force you to stop because you're too slow, then it wouldn't be giving up' he persisted...
So I pushed on, and running through the start/finish area at about 12km, I looked up to the top of the mountain as I skirted the next few kilometres around the base of the mountain on the 'east-west walk'. I seriously predicted my legs to turn to jelly before I made it to the top!
enjoying the views at the top
I've ran here before on a training run, I knew what that Flinders Peak did to my legs last time. I recalled how stuffed I was after 32km when we ran here for training... Yeah my negative voice was starting to sound like the sensible one!!
'you've got a bit ambitious with this one Jarrod!' said that voice, so I literally yelled at myself at this time, pretty sure I was out running along the boring mountain bike trails. I told myself to suck it up and push through, comrades training was tougher than this!!
first time at the top, not dead...
So with the aches and pains and evil negative voices all pulling at me, I pushed on and on. When you're running by yourself out alone on these trails, coming up to an aid station or crossing paths with a fellow runner was so exciting - to the point I almost wanted to hug every human I encountered!!
We weren't allowed to wear headphones so I had no music and even my mobile reception was sketchy enough to stop me making phone calls! (I still managed a few cheeky texts though haha)

As I approached the 30km mark, coming through the start/finish area, there was a small crowd of people cheering me on, people I actually knew were there! So all those thoughts of pulling out at 30km went completely out the window! I was too proud to bail! Off I go back up the peak into the last leg of the race!
this sums up how I felt the second time around...

It was hell, I've openly admitted that for the bulk of this race, I was hating it, I even told Brett the RD that I was cursing his name frequently for designing such an evil race and allowing me to enter!

Having said that, this little park and the associated trails bore some amazing views, and really did tickle all the senses. I took as many opportunities to stop and enjoy the views, smells and atmosphere as often as I could to reset my brain, it was important to try and enjoy what I could. The second time I climbed the peak, I actually stopped and had a seat on a rock, closed my eyes and just breathed in for a few minutes. In race time that felt like half an hour but I'm sure if I check the Garmin, I was stationary for a few minutes tops! There was a father and his young son playing on top of one of the rocks swapping around taking photos of each other, it was nice to see someone else enjoying the park and it made me think of my little girl back home. No doubt she was telling everyone "daddy doesn't win the race" as usual!

So I know this would shock my regular readers and friends, but I didn't make any new running friends this time! I didn't have anyone running alongside me for hours and found almost nobody to brag to about comrades being the worlds most amazing race!
There was one guy, Terry, who I knew as 'bandanna man' for most of the race until he took it off and tricked me into thinking it was a completely different person. We exchanged places regularly, I would fly past him on the downhill, then he'd wander by me on the way up the hills. We briefly exchanged our mutual opinions of the race director and aid stations but otherwise we had little energy left for any more substantial conversation!
source: Oliver Mestdagh via Facebook

The only part of this race that I hated without any relief was the sections that went out around the bike trails, we were constantly weaving back and forth passing within meters of the next or previous sections of trail. I think in the 30-50k section i had slowed to 8min/km pace and the confinement became too much for me. I busted my phone out and turned google play music on with my loudspeaker! Tunes! I picked up my pace and felt like I was flying, yep, 7min/k wow, land-speed record NOT!
Amazingly as I approached 42km I realized that no matter what, I was going to finish this race. Nothing had gone right today. I mean, I almost started the race in the wrong shoes! I forgot my gloves at the start so had to use my beanie to keep my hands warm. I almost forgot to put my Vaseline in 'the usual places', and I hadn't really warmed up properly. So it made sense that now after everything else, I could tell my digestive system was trying to give up on me. I felt drained, but all the food and water I'd put in my body in the last half hour was just sloshing around in my belly... I had the dreaded urge to use the toilet. I felt like I'd just eaten three serves of hot curry or something. It wasn't pleasant.
I stopped and checked my (awesome) map and according to this I still had a few kilometres before the 47km aid station which had a toilet!
It took some real controlled efforts to settle into a nice gentle canter and I safely made it to the aid station, after taking a decent break I wandered over to the table of food and beverages for a chat and to thank the volunteers for their work before I meandered off for the last section of trail.
last of the hills between me and the finish...
The last few kilometres took forever, but as I approached the finish area, there was one last hill, as I looked up it, there was a young girl and her grandmother standing at the top cheering for me. "you can do it" yelled the young girl who could be no more than 4 years old. I was immediately reminded of my gorgeous Little Miss J back home and a wave of emotion swept through me. I jogged up the hill and as I trotted past them and over the peak the most I could manage was a choked up "thanks" to the pair as I came over the crest and could finally see the finish tent.
look at this sook coming into the finish!
I don't know why but I was so relieved to see the finish, tears were streaming down my face as I crossed the line, I was a blubbering mess, how embarrassing! But I had finished! I had a medal, I was completely spent!
I actually had to ask if I was in last place, I felt like I had run so poorly.

I sat at the finish area for the next hour with my good friend Jenine who had ran the 30km event, she was kind enough to point out that she had a great race whilst I was feeling like death :D - but okay she fed me and fished out my warm clothes so thanks for that too :)
I was just lazing around trying to stretch out and recover, cheering on any of the people left to still finish,which to my surprise, there were still quite a few out there!
me and my medal, smile is forced

I did manage to spot Mr RunLikeCrazy (Tristan Miller) as he crossed the line for his 80km race, we had a brief chat about the insane race he was planning - The Bull Run - before I had to awkwardly point out to him that I was one of 'those guys' he talks to on twitter!

Jenine and I with our medals (once I finally managed to stand up again)

FYI - My Garmin died at about 45km and I didn't track it properly on my phone so GPS data is incomplete. I am just happy to have finished this one. Alive.

Anyways, all this has done now is spread absolute fear through me about the mad month of August that lays ahead of me! So I plan to hit my training well in the next two weeks to get ready for Brisbane!

Lastly, there is this YouTube video uploaded from this years race, don't think my head made it into it, but gives you a brief look into some aspects of the race.

Race Details
Website: https://sites.google.com/site/trailsplus/home/you-yangs
Location: You Yangs (Lara), Victoria, Australia
Date: 21st July 2013
Distances: 80km, 50km, 30km, 15km

General Race Stats
Total Runners in Field: 71
Winning time: 4h 27m 11s

My Race Stats
Overall Place: 56
Gun Time: 7h 06m 20s
Net Time: n/a
GPS Details: 40km in 5h 31m 06s (link Endomondo Stats)