2018 Coastal High 50km Trail Run
Back for another Wild Earth Coastal High 50. After having completing this in the last 2 years, I knew the course with all it's elevation and scenery that goes with it, and certainly excited to be doing it again with the Mountain Goat Trail Runners...
Leading up to the race, I had a fairly consistent set of runs and was relatively confident of the distance. Also over the last 4 months I have significantly changed my diet to eliminate carbs and processed sugars aka keto style of eating. Something that has been working well for me - although only recently have done just one longer distance run (21km at Yarrabilba), I knew my nutrition intake post 21km was a bit unknown as well.
Also, in the 2 weeks leading up to the run, I decided to revisit Luka my remedial massage, to ensure the leg muscles were still behaving. 2 weeks out was the first session, and realised my legs were excessively tight and knotted, I also had a followup session on the Thursday before the run. He did advise that they still needed some further releasing, but it was better than they were 2 weeks prior.
This year, in the week of the event, preparation was better than previous ones. No long haul flights the week of the run, and some decent nights beforehand.
The night before, staying at the Finish Line (Camp Site) provided a 3.30am wake up, 4am Bus departure and then a relatively small wait at the Start Line at Binna Burra for a 6.30am start. I had a half a peanut butter sandwich on the bus as a start.
One of the main draw cards to The Wild Earth Coastal High, are the organisers "Those Guys", with the well organised logistics and professional but casual attitude - especially at the pre race briefing. Always a good laugh. Anyway, next thing we knew we were off. I was in Wave 2 (5 minutes after Wave 1), and started off with Pete. We made bit of an effort to get near the front of Wave 2, due the long single trails that lay ahead at the 3-4 km mark - at the start of the Lamington Trails entrance.
The first 20kms were magical trails, flowing, scenic and a few slight ups and downs to loop around the Binna Burra area. I was going quite strong and fast with Pete and had a good group of other runners we were having a chat to along the way. I lost Pete (he was going to fast at about 22km, and I had my 2nd 1/2 peanut butter sandwich. Through the last 22km, I was having macadamia nuts every 20 mins or so and relatively well hydrated. From memory the CP1 was at 22km, and I thought I would catch Pete - but the CP didn't come around to about 25km on my watch....
After CP1, it was a steep downhill to the valley, another chance to have a bite to eat, another 1/2 sandwich and taking it easy on the steep terrain. Once at the bottom - we started along the road section and the first of the creek crossings. Going down to the creek and jumping a log, I started to jump the log and whola - a massive cramp under my thigh. Taking a minute or 2 to recover and try to stretch it out, I crossed the creek and walked for a bit, to try to stop it happening again. Having a little shuffle/walk along the road section and unlike previous years, we turned up earlier into an ECO lodge for CP2. A blessing with less road but still not having fun with the leg twinges.
After CP2, we cut off the road and into the first of the climbs, in a new section of trails - a much better alternative route to the previous courses, which was further along the dreaded road. Trekking up the first of four main hills, the cramps got worse. Having to stop a few times on the incline and stretch it out, I was passed by a lot of runners (all offering assistance one way or another). One think I was certainly missing was some Crampfix. As this has happened previously (see here) and I would bring some as a safety precaution - I accidentally left the bottle in the glove-box of my car at the finish line). Pushing to the top of the first hill, the downhill was even worse. There was a moment where another runner was with me helping stretch it out, where you could see my calf muscles provide some entertainment of what looked like a baby in a mothers stomach trying to get out!
The same on the next up hill and downhill, by then I had lost alot of time and Deb and Trav (the mid course sweepers came though) offering some assistance. Probably the best bit was the pep talk from them. Nutritionally I felt fine, I wasn't thirsty and had plenty of salts and didn't feel like I needed more.
Finally reaching Apple Tree stairs (900 or so) - this section wasn't so bad, as I was limited to fast walking, as this was not triggering the cramps and I could start to pick up a bit of a pace again, albeit still a shuffle. With the last CP3 at the top, I wasn't hungry and took another 600ml of water to do the last long decent, feeling better with the fast walk pace, reaching the bottom of the waterfall and then the final hill back to the top. My legs were fine with the fast walk back to the top of the last hill. I wasn't hungry or overly thirsty just really frustrated with the cramping.
Cool view via relive:
Finally reaching the finish line, well after I had planned for, I was happy to be done. With a massive cheer from the crowd and the MGTR crew and with the traditional hug from Matt and Chris, I got my finishers medal and finally had a chance to catch-up with everyone to see how they went!
My legs, where the cramping was, felt massively bruised and sore, but was ok to walk and take it easy. Fortunately staying at the finish line mean than I could keep moving and have a good stretch while all the other runners came though. I was such a fun positive experience seeing all the other runners come through the finish line and the different states of joy and completion. Staying for the final runner, a 77 year old runner, who looked like he had taken a couple of falls with bandages and falling injuries was definitely a highlight! Gives me hope that I have quite a few years of running to go in me!
Time to revisit a proper training plan and regular stretching and releasing of the knots in the legs, to ensure the cramping doesn't happen again.