Friday, December 20, 2013

Wild Wombat Fat Ass 30 - Run Recap

Date: 15th December 2013 (Sunday)
Time: 7.30am
Venue : Mackenzie's Flat Picnic Area, Lerderderg State Park
Distance: 16km x 2, 16km, 8km

With Two Bays Trail Run in mind, I made a tough choice of being a complete Fat Ass 30, i.e. doing 16KM x 2. It wasn't going to be easy, judging from killer climbs and river crossings, but argh, one's gotta do what one's gotta do. 

Do I regret it? Not really. It was a long run (part of the training plan) which had to be done and by completing it, I realised that I had a lot to learn and improve if I wanted to survive a crazy long run in the heat.

Tim and Isaac in matching Hoka One One shoes!

To join the event, you had to send an email to Willy Wombat (organisers for the event) and tell them which distance you were planning to do. Your confirmation receipt will come in a form of a route map and course notes.

As it was a 'no fees, no aid, no awards' event, it was easy to see that it was going to be a social gathering of trail runners to run and have the barbeque going right after. Good excuse to bring the family out too!

I love how everyone patiently waited for the picture to be taken. :)

The first 2KM was nice and flat, good warm up for the legs, and throw in 3 river crossings (the picture above is at the river crossing #3). It was all fun and laughs until we realised that the killer climb started ... then and there.

There was a surprise on-the-course photographer as well, sneakily hiding behind a bush.

Why, hello there! Whatcha doing there?

The killer climb took forever, and rightfully so, since it was about 1.2KM with about 439m elevation gain.

Only halfway up Link Track No 1!

I'm not really sure how many of them managed to clamber up the hill as gracefully as a gazelle, but I lumbered on as fast as a gorilla hippopotamus I could.

My model poses like he's showing you a Ferrari on display.

We were greeted by an amazing view, if you turn around to take a look once you're at the top.

Continue on Link Track No 1 and you'll soon find yourself on Blackwood Ranges Track, a 4WD track which seemed to go on forever and ever ... and ever ...

It was approximately 4.5KM, I think, but it felt like forever. Somehow, 4WD tracks always mentally drains me and I tend to wish for music to keep me going.

It was a relief to get off the track and onto the trails again at Long Point Track.

The course was properly marked.

Running along Long Point Track gives you a peek at Lerderderg River.

Shaun feeling on top of the world. :D

Halfway through the course, it was a relief to know that the 1st loop was coming to an end - soon.

First, we had to slide and shuffle down a sandy gravel trail (Spur Track), often kicking loose some stones and potentially hitting someone's head below (I almost hit someone, sorry).

Part of Spur Track.

There was one part where we had to cling on to a cable wire as we climbed our way down.

A glimpse of the weir in the background.

Pretty tricky, I must say. You need to be sure your foot is placed securely on the ground or you may just tumble off the cliff!

Hmm, I might be exaggerating that bit, but hey, anything can/could happen!

River crossing #4.

Getting both feet safely on flat ground was such a relief after 1KM± descent. My poor knees!

I was hobbling like a little ol' lady on the descent that I felt like I was 80 years old. 

A weir is a barrier across the river to alter its flow characteristics. Not really a dam.

By this time it was about 9.5KM into the run.  We found ourselves on a gravel road (Garmin identifies it as Hornell Lane) and it was one of those dirt tracks where you have to keep going otherwise, you'll never see the end of it soon quickly.

An interview with Jon was taking place. ;D

We ran and chatted with Jon for a while before we rudely abandoned left him to his sunbathing.

Photo credit: Wong Yi Bin.

That dirt road was about 2.5KM long and when we finally reached the gate, we were so relieved to squeeze out of it to head on to the next trail.

Follow the markers or you'll end up going the wrong way, like Mr Wu! ;D

Descending Spur Track meant another 3-4KM to the picnic area, it was good to know that we were almost there.

Mr Wu scrambled down so quickly as if he was being chased by a tiger.

I wish I was a mountain goat, sure-footed most of the time but I was a slowpoke, always doubly sure I had my footing before scrambling downhill. The knees weren't too pleased with the work cut out for them.

1.63KM± of descent!

If I was still a young calf at the age of 20, I'm sure I'd have utmost confidence with my descent skills but nope, I was an 80 year old lady on the course that day. Sigh.

(How on EARTH will I qualify as a skyrunner? Never!) 

River crossing #5 was lovely, the cool water refreshing.  He wanted to sit and soak in the river instead of heading back!

Knee deep wading at river crossing #5.
Photo credit: Wong Yi Bin.

I think we took about 3:10 to complete the 1st loop, I really don't know as I left the watch running when we were taking a break.

Not too shabby, I suppose. *sniff*

The pictures don't do justice to illustrate the crazy run. Just to give you an idea, here's the elevation map:

I would rate the route 3-4 out of 5 for technicality.

For more photos of the run, please view my Facebook album. Easier that way. :)

We started off the second loop (Isaac wished us good luck, and rightly so) after a 10 - 15 minute break, refilling our water containers and trail mix bag with M&M's, eating a sandwich and I changed into a fresh pair of socks. I should have brought an extra pair of shoes but I honestly don't think I could trust my PureGrit and GOtrail for the descents.

The second loop proved to be horrible. The heat, the blisters and the hunger weren't helping. One of the crucial rules I failed to adhere to was sufficient refueling. Hunger pangs were gnawing me from the insides and it added to my frustration.

In a nutshell:
(Ooh, you should skip this bit, because I'm completely ashamed of myself.)

1. Sunburn - The sun was high up, so conditions were harsher in the afternoon. We didn't slather on sun block for the second loop, so we were sunburnt. Not too bad, actually but still, a silly mistake.
2. Refuel - We didn't bring enough food this time as our kitchen was off limits the day before. Peanut butter and banana sandwich was just a mere snack, not enough to spike up the energy levels. We forgot the muesli bars this time. (He didn't have hunger issues but I did.) I found myself squeezing my sides to curb the gnawing, whilst snacking on trail mix. It wasn't enough, but I just wasn't in the mood to stop to eat. (You know, I did mention that I can't eat and run at the same time). Bah. (And seriously, why can't my body burn up my stored fats instead of craving for more food? Hmmfh.)
3. Rehydrate - I don't think we were consuming enough water for the 2nd loop. I only had 600ml of water and 1L of electrolytes/Powerade to ration out, but I believe an additional 500ml was necessary. We were spent by the time we returned to the picnic area.
4. Blisters - Due to soggy socks, I had blisters between my toes. Changing into a fresh pair of socks did help for a while, but I should have rubbed some anti-chafe on my feet again. My sore feet were sensitive to the rocky sections of the trail that I couldn't move as fast as I did during the 1st loop. I was wincing most of the time and I whined and whined and whined that it was a relief I was on my own all the time (hubby ran far ahead), or anyone passing by would have just slapped me silly!
5. Sweat and Perspiration - This meant flies. Oh, super annoying flies! I was grumbling as I swatted them away. Get away, you annoying fekkers!

So, it was no surprise that I took about an hour longer to complete the 2nd loop in the whiny weakened state I was in. Phhhbt!

Nevertheless, a good lesson learnt - gotta work on the nutrition and hydration (and slap myself silly) for a run in the crazy heat.

I can't believe this was just last Sunday!
And tomorrow I'm off to be a little ol' lady on the trails again - the usual weekend long run beckons.


  1. Makes FRIM look like child's play la :D

  2. Beautiful trail....maybe one day i'll be here...til then keep on dreaming :)

    1. If you're in Melbourne, you can always rent a car and drive out to all these national parks. Tracks are well marked and maps are available on the website, so you can do your own hike/run. No worries la! :)

  3. I guess the next time you come back and do FRIM, you can laugh at all the wussies falling behind you. :P

    1. Just Nick, maybe. Hahaha! :P
      But leeches back home are bigger than the ones I've seen here ... so far!