Night trail run

Geared up for this year's first night run on the trail

I have one of those days today at work where I just feel tired and lackluster. I feel run down, tired and a bit light headed. Probably both because my diet hasn’t been quite right the past week (too much sugar) and my partner’s working late shift (not enough sleep). So I ride my motorbike home the long way home over West Mount Cotton Road to get some inspiration. While I am out on the bike I decide I need a trail run.

After feeding the kittens I pull on my skins and a sweat wicking shirt (that definitely no longer protects against stink), fill my Camelback, grab my GPS, pull on my running shoes, put my headlight on and head out the door. I have to take Mum’s ute to the shop tomorrow for a repair so I decide to run the 7km trail run to her place to pick it up.

 

No way were my feet staying dry. Check out the reflections.

As I run through the grass field I try to keep my feet dry but it proves pointless – there is no way around some of the puddles so I just plough straight through. While my feet get wet, the reflections of the clouds in the puddles are beautiful. I must have started out on my run at just the right time to catch them.

Early in my run I had to climb a fire trail up a steep hill. It’s hard going and I have to walk a short part of the hill before sucking it up and continuing to run up it. I literally pat myself on the back – it’s a silly little habit I started when I was in primary school. Before my first cross country run at school the teacher told us something about patting ourselves on the back and I took it literally (I was only 5 years old). Ever since then I’ve given myself an over-the-shoulder pat on my back when I achieve something difficult while running. Don’t laugh – haha.

Time to turn on the headlight

Darkness descends as I drop down the Grass Trees track; I turn on my headlight. Within 5 minutes the last rays of sunlight fade as drops of rain start to fall on me. The rain drops look funny by the light of my headlamp.

The bush is peaceful now that it’s plunged in darkness. I can barely see beyond the edges of the trail so my whole being is focused on putting one foot in front of the other and on being present on the trail. The air is still thick with humidity and I stink from sweat but it doesn’t matter because there’s no one else out here to smell me. The only other living creatures I see are toads, frogs and those tiny ground-dwelling spiders with bright blue eyes. I’m glad I hit the trail tonight.

I’ve decided that I’ll do one of my run sessions on the trails every week to help prepare for the Adventure Race Australia, which is the week after Byron Bay Triathlon and also because the reality is that next season I’ll be focusing all my race efforts off-road. The trail running is also good preparation for Tough Mudder, particularly given the many almost unrunnable hills in Bayview, which challenge every muscle fibre in my legs.

Total: 7.0km @ 6:06 pace

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5 responses to “Night trail run

  1. Sounds like fun. What kind of off-road racing are you training for next year? We have a some type of Mud Run coming up here, but I’m not sure I’m up for it. Plus I really need to get training on the road again. Hills are tough, The last race i was in had several we had to run up. That’s a pretty common cyclocross thing, but these were beyond common. There were a few super-humans who rode up them, but almost everyone else had to push or carry their bike up.. They really took a lot out of me. I would practice on hills, but it’s really flat here by the coast.

    • I’m training for:
      1. Adventure Race Australia (up to 35km MTB and 15km trail running plus a mix of kayaking, rogaining, ropes activities, obstacles etc) on 20 May
      2. Dawn Attack (12 hour adventure race) on 15 September
      3. Tough Mudder Sydney (18km run with serious obstacles – it’s a big thing in the US and UK) on both 22 & 23 September (I’ve entered both days so will do the course twice)
      4. The Tre-X off-road triathlon series from October 2012 to April 2013 culminating in the Dirt Master competition (1000-30-10 off-road triathlon Saturday morning, 8km trial run Saturday afternoon, 50km MTB Sunday morning)

      I might also squeeze another adventure race in the season too if the right one comes along 🙂

      It’s tough to train hills when you live somewhere flat isn’t it … I’m lucky we have lots of hills but unlucky because I keep running out of flat road when I want to do speed work or time trials. Haha.

      • Oh and I forgot to mention the LunarC 8 hour MTB race in Feb or March 2013. The race starts at midnight so need to do some serious night MTB riding to get skilled up 🙂

      • Wow, that’s a pretty busy schedule, and those all sound like really tough events. I thought about doing the mud run, but I really need to save my money for race season, and plus I need to focus on riding right now.

      • I need events to motivate me and I like the thrill of being involved in group activities – there’s something about hundreds of people all getting together to do something crazy at the same time. 🙂 I always play within my limits though – so only go as hard as I am able to.

        I totally know what you mean about saving money for the race season. I’m taking June, July and August off racing this year because I need to save up to pay entries for next season too 😉 . I’m thinking that I might volunteer for some adventure races as an official because you get points that can go to free race entries. There are some events (like the XPD) where just volunteering for the one event earns you enough points to enter a 48 hour adventure race. And it’d be a good way to get involved in something like the XPD to see whether it’s for me in future (I have always dreamed of doing an XPD race).

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