The ups and downs of running

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This week was one of ups and downs – in more than one way. Last Saturday my wife and I hit the road with the ‘campervan of the year’, final destination Carcoar, outback NSW.

Thank god for GPS and roadmaps! That place is apparently one of the oldest townships in NSW west of the Blue Mountains, and it certainly did not loose its appeal of an old Western township.

Our campsite near Carcoar

We secured a lovely spot for camping and soon found out why they had a wind turbine farm on the other side of the lake. Man, was it windy, and one of the downs was certainly the temperature, which slowly but steadily dropped and dropped to a staggering 3 degrees in the middle of the night. The clear sky and view of the Milky Way made up for the less-than-cozy pre-race sleeping arrangements.

The start at the Carcoar 60km raceSunday morning, clear sky, 5 degrees and sunshine, ideal to almost perfect for a 60km ultramarathon. The Carcoar Running Festival is only a couple of years old, but has become increasingly popular in the running community, and for the first edition of the 60km ultra, over 20 runners lined up at the start. Looking around I soon realised that I wouldn’t be in the top finisher group this morning. I took the opportunity to test my new desert race bag and had decided to run the race as if in the desert – meaning no use of drink tables apart for refill of my bladder and bottles after 30km. This was a full success, and so were my shoes, the Hoka OneOne Trail runners; so the two most important pieces of gear for Ocean Floor Race next March are sorted and tested.

The race. Hmmm. As mentioned there were quite a few top runners at the start ready to give it a good go for the price money. After the start whip went off (a local used his whip to crack the ‘shot’), it took less than 500m for me to see the last of the other runners disappear around the corner and into the distance. I soon found myself alone along dusty country roads surrounded by lush, green hills, sheep and cattle. Since we had had no clue where Carcoar was in the first place, I certainly had no idea that it is actually possible to run for 60km in one big loop and end up where I started by going 55km uphill! Go figure, but that’s how it felt.

As I already knew about the other big ‘downer’ (will come to that later), I decided to approach the whole race just to test the gear and get to the finish line. The first 45km I made up the tail of the race, however, slowly but surely I started to catch up with slower runners ahead of me, and even though I walked a few of those steep hills, I was pleased with myself to finish strong and running across the finish line in 6hrs 52min. Two weeks ago, 30km in 3:15, last Sunday 60km in 6:52; my training for the 260km non-stop Ocean Floor Race looked certainly on track…

The other good news this week was that I got accepted to run the 82km Cradle Mountain Ultra next February – the perfect preparation race.

But now the bad news: I am off to hospital to have a hernia fixed, and that is going to put me back to square one since I am apparently not allowed to run for 6–8 weeks! Bummer. Anyone out there who knows of any alternative training to maintain my current fitness level without running, please let me know.

Happy feet and see you fCar_04or the next run around Christmas time…

 

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