Unfortunately due to uni, this will be a very brief overview of what went down at the Queensland Mountain Running Championships.
Leading into this race I had no idea what to expect: what the competition would be like, what the hills would be like, what the actual trail surface itself would be like. I only knew that it was 8.3km in length and had about 300m of climbing (and descending). Also knowing how bad I am at short distances (I only have to look back at my disastrous Pinnacles Classic to find an example of this) I went into this race knowing that my heart rate would be sitting near it’s max for a lot of the race, and not knowing the competition, I figured a top 5 finish should be achievable along with going under 40 minutes.
So unfortunately with not owning a car my day started at 5.45 race morning, where I had to ride my bike for about an hour to be able to be picked up to make it out to the start line, but at least I made it out there, so thanks Dan! Once arrived I went through my usual warm up, but what was interesting to see was other people doing the same! For most trail races, there are hardly anyone who warms up beforehand (and I’ll admit I’m one of those people once the distance exceeds 30km) but for this race, there was at least 10! And during this period I figured out that there were two other serious opponents, which meant I revised my previous goal and aimed for a podium finish.
|Elevation profile of the race|
Anyways, I got to the start line warmed up and ready to go and as I expected, when the whistle blew, the two other guys shot off like a rocket. The first km was pretty much entirely uphill on a dirt, non-technical road. By the end of the first km I had lost sight of first, and wouldn’t see him again until I had crossed the finish line, but I never lost sight of second. He quickly gained about 50m on me in the first km, but I managed to get within 20m during the first downhill about 1.5km’s in. Then the race flattened out a bit and he managed to gain about a 100m on me (and I lost sight of him). Then the real climbing began.
By this point in time my heart rate was sky high (and I really wish I wore a HR monitor to reflect on how high my HR went) and I knew that if I didn’t slow down I would blow up, so as soon the hill started at around 3km I took to powerhiking. The 1km climb up Camp Mountain was brutal but to my surprise, halfway up it, I saw second. And then to my further surprise I managed to pass him and put myself into second place.
From the 4km point it was pretty much all downhill on 4WD track and I pushed myself downhill as hard as I could, with my S/Lab Sense 4 giving me great confidence. Unfortunately, I don’t do much downhill training at full speed (there’s no point as I’m training for an ultra, running downhill at full speed is a great way to kill your quads and ruin the rest of your race) and the constant jarring of each footfall really hurt my 11th and 12th ribs, so by the end of the 5th km my HR was back to manageable levels, but I had to back off the pace, the pain was just too great. By km 6.5 when it started to flatten out a little bit I was wrecked. My quads, hamstrings and calves had nothing left to give and when the course went uphill a bit at km 6.9, I got overtaken by the same person whom I overtook on the climb. I tried to keep with him but failed. By the time I crossed the finish line I was about 20 seconds behind second and a about 3.5 minutes behind first, and totally exhausted.
Once I finished the race I found out that the runner who came first, David, had ran at the National Mountain Running Champs numerous times and was only 10 seconds off making the Australian team this year to compete at the World Champs. And the guy who came second, Osman, has a 16 minute Parkrun (I still don’t think I’ve cracked 18 minutes yet for my 5km), so to say I was pretty happy with how I went is an understatement. And the best part is I found out all this stuff while on a cool down with these guys, two complete strangers before I started this race. How awesome is the trail community? (Hell, Osman even gave me a lift back to where my bike was after the medal presentation, thanks mate!)
After a great race, all eyes are now firmly focused on Blackall 50km. I’ve started a new block of training with a much greater emphasis on running rather than doing stuff in the gym (I’ve been doing a lot of strength since the Gold Coast Marathon), although as I’m writing this two days since the race, I haven’t been doing much running, I’m still really, really sore 😫
I’m excited for what Blackall will bring, it will be my second ultramarathon so I don’t want to be too ambitious with my goal but I’m quietly optimistic.
Until then thanks to TRAQ for organising another great race, the other competitors and of course, the volunteers (these events wouldn’t happen without you guys!)