Anglesea – beach running and beautiful trails…

I wouldn’t say that I chose to rest in the week after Lara Pinta. More that my body made me….all the cool downs in the world would not have made me ready to get back into recovery training straight away. So I drank wine instead.

I actually managed a couple of short runs, but gave in to mainly doing strength work and letting my legs and feet be mad at me for just a little longer.

First run back a week later – a 16km up to Coburg Reserve then down to Fitzroy along the Merri Creek. Beautiful, and fast…mostly because I was heading to brunch. Food is always good motivation for me.

Second run – not so good. The return of the meniscus / ITB / sharp unidentified pain in my right knee 8km into 13km. I should’ve listened to my body and jumped on a train home. But I had no wallet or phone so I stumbled on home and tried to stretch it off. Then spent the remainder of the day avoiding stairs….or walking.

My next run was a week Sunday and it was supposed to be a cracker. I could not be injured.

As torture, I spent an entire evening googling and planning a worldwide Trail running bucket list – planning holidays around them. I could not be injured.

Tuesday before the race….an 11km run without pain. I did the robot dance and many self high fives more than once that day.

Anyway, the race.

Oh, let me tell you about Friday night first. I learned a lot about dehydration…

Step 1. Sit next to a roaring indoor fire, literally almost in it.

Step 2. Ignore your body’s need for water

Step 3. Drink wine

Step 4. Drink more wine

A beautiful evening. Not so much a beautiful morning.

The answer? Day drinking of course. And making profiteroles. A very good pre race combination whilst watching the Surf Coast Century runners smash out some amazing distances.

On the plus side I drank so much water to combat the day drinking that when I woke up on Sunday for the race, my body was probably the most hydrated it’s ever been. Plus all that resveratrol. Winning.

I knew from the rec. run that the race started with 5km on the beach then up into the cliffs for some single tracks and rolling hills. I figured the faster (ahem, younger) runners would probably go ahead during the beach race but I could hopefully make up ground in the elevation. Hopefully.

I had a plan. 4.40 min/km on the beach then whatever pace I felt comfortable with on the trails.

We started, and I thought I could jump the 8-10 metre river running to the sea at the start to avoid wet feet. I was surprisingly confused when I made it about 1 metre in. Wet feet it was.

The beach opened out. 4.20 min/km. What plan? The sand was hard enough to run comfortably without completely messing up my calves, so I continued.

About 1km in I went out in front of the other females. I felt good. I did a few stupid jumps over rocks. I still felt good, just stupid.

We came off the beach and the pack I was with went the wrong way, the long course way. I watched in horror as the other females passed me. That hard work. That hard beach work with wet feet and silly jumps over rocks.

I shook myself. Just run you fool. Bloody run and catch up.

So I did. Uphill, I kept going until I was back to where I was before.

Sorry legs.

The trails were….have I mentioned I love single track? Without even noticing I was at 8.5km and going ok, feeling good. I’d had two full rest days which helped. I allowed my legs to explore the ground beneath me and went with it. Almost romantic.

Gel time.

Having lost my last gel bottle in Lara Pinta I had new bottles to contend with. Because why not try out new bottles in the middle of a race? At first nothing came out, I was on an uphill and nothing came out. I stopped, I looked into the bottle and squeezed in disbelief. It worked, and suddenly I had gel in my eye. I laughed at myself but mostly because I was grateful they worked. I wiped my eye, drank the bloody gel and carried on. Wet feet and a sticky face.

Knee pain struck around 10km on an uphill and I made a deal with it to go easy on the uphills, so I did my aggressive lunging and the pain lessened, then sped up on the flats and downhills.

I saw glimpses of views of the sea – stunning, then got distracted by the downhills. One part so aggressive and steep-stepped that my brain shook a little and my shades almost fell off. I definitely squealed, then put the breaks on. That’s how face plants happen.

The trail opened out onto dirt track then suddenly I was back on the beach heading towards the finish line….soft sand. Suddenly my calves were calling me an idiot and stiffening up. I willed them on, running a little like a penguin. Needs must.

Back through the river we started at. My almost dry feet were wet again but I welcomed the cold water on my calves, and almost thought about washing my face in case I had any remnants of gel on me. Nah.

Sprint finish. Yep, against myself.

First female. Grateful.

Thank you knee.

Straight back into the sea for the cold water therapy that worked so well in Lara Pinta.

Sorry legs.

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