Another beautiful venue.
This race was really tough and the fact that I ran 21km the day before didn’t help much either. I’m still busy with my buildup for some marathons and ultras later this year and decided to run the last two trail runs in the series “on tired legs”. So I ran 21km Saturday morning and will run 25.5km this coming Saturday.
The race was run on some 4 x 4 or off-road track. Although not as technical as most single track, this was still a very challenging route. We started on some down hills with a few little bumps here and there.
Shortly after the start.
I started very slow and almost right at the back of the field. I wanted to feel the effect of my run the day before first. I was happy that early on all was fine. We ran down some more and passed this waterhole.
Not long after the waterhole the trail started to show its true colors, with loose stones everywhere. This would be the nature of the route the rest of the way, getting much worse in certain areas.
Loose stones became the norm of the day.
We ran next to a fence and could see the runners ahead of us going up a steep climb in the distance.
The red line is where the runners are going up.
Not long and I reached this climb myself.
It was tough and I decided to just put my head down and get to the top. The scenery was absolutely fantastic and even though I was huffing and puffing and sweating like a pig, I was happy to be there. A friendly runner offered to take my picture!
Here I am, happy to be there, happy to be at the top!
Great view from here!
Then we went down again, right to the bottom where we started, about 20 feet from the trail that we ran up. We turned and climbed again. This became the norm of the race. Steep up, steep down, steep up, steep down… My legs definitely felt this and some of the steep downs were hurting. All of this with loose stones covering the ground.
The 2nd tough climb.
Somewhere between 8 and 9km we got to one of the longest climbs of the day. I think this took us to the highest point of the route. The climb was really tough, but once at the top the view was worth it.
View from the highest point.
I was feeling tired but good. My legs were tired on the climbs, but I was still enjoying the run. I loved being out there!
Not long after the highest point the trail became very rocky and going down was really tricky.
Runners going down slowly on the rocky path.
This was the first place where my legs actually hurt going down. Obviously all the up and down plus my 21k previous day run were taking its toll now. I adopted the motto of “head down and to the top” at this stage and just kept going.
I felt sorry for some people that weren’t carrying water or anything else. They must have struggled. I don’t understand how people can do this and I actually think the organizers should force people to carry some water. I had my hydration pack with 1 liter of water and 2 Gu gels with me. I used it all.
Another very steep hill/climb.
Looking back from the hill above. That is one of the climbs we did earlier.
Eventually we joined a “road” that was more friendly and this took us over the last climb to the finish.
The last hill.
The finish...a welcome sight.
I was really tired and my legs were protesting at the end. But I did what I wanted to do and that is good. I ran on tired legs and although it was tough, I did it without any problems.
You can see these and more photos here.
Have a wonderful week everyone!