Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Surf Coast Hell Run 2015 - Relay Team Challenge

When: Saturday, 5th September 2015.
Where: Lorne, Victoria
Time: 7.00am
Distance: 21.1km (half marathon)

So, Bin and I kinda retired right now. That's right. 

Then Jon invited Bin and I to be part of his 21km relay team less than 3 weeks ago. 

Best team name ever!!!!!
We spent Friday night at Lorne Foreshore Caravan Park and spent the of race day at Sheoak picnic area.

Due to too many events taking place in August and September, the crowd at the inaugural Surf Coast Hell Run was a small one. It felt so much more cosier this way, which I rather enjoyed, although I'm sure any race director/organiser would prefer it the other way round.

The 21km runners were flagged off at 9am.

There were 4 categories: 7km, 21km, 42km and 63km. Except for the 7km, the rest of the runners had to run a 21km loop which consisted of a U-turn point at the 11km mark. The 63km runners needed to do 3 loops and the 42km runners would do 2.

The route was described as, 'up, up, up, and then down all the way.' Despite the undulations and 'gentle' slopes, the route was mainly made up of 4WD tracks with no trail technicality involved.

"WHERE'S MY TEAMMATE??" Jon panicked.
"Hello????" I furiously waved my arms in the air to catch his attention.

SCTR Laksa Lovers was the 1st team to sign up, with SCTR Catch Me If You Can signing up at the last moment. There was friendly ribbing between the 2 team captains Gavin and Jon a few days leading up to race day.

Clueless me went into the race thinking our team was just in it for a relaxing weekend run. Haha!

Gavin and Jon were the 1st runners for the teams, with Gavin coming in at 2:11:xx and Jon at 2:18:xx, giving the other team an 8-9 minute head start. I was pretty impressed with these 2 chaps!

"I'll just keep ... running ... until ... that tree ... over there ..." I huffed.

The weather was nice and cool that day, with occasional showers. 

The first 4km of the run was filled with teasing undulation, which made me think, "OK, this isn't too bad!" until 4km. The next 4km involved trudging up (with the help of 2 sticks) and a few seconds of flat after every 1.5km.

It probably doesn't make any sense to you, so don't bother doing the maths!

"Let there be a view!"
 7km in, the slopes were a bit kinder to the legs... kinda.

No view.
I was looking forward to the aid station!

The one and only aid station at the 8km/14km mark.
John Yoon and George Mihalakellis were there to greet me, with George telling me hurry up as Ken was 14 minutes ahead!

I was like, "Whatever..." :P

Runners had to run towards the u-turn point and head back towards the aid station, and it would be downhill all the way.

It was rather lonely during the first 8km so starting the 6km loop was so much better as I was meeting runners who were making their way back.

The leading runner for the 63km category, Mark Swinkels, happy as can be!
 I hurried a little, cheered some runners and took a few pictures.

That moment when I should have tripped Ken and tie him to a tree ...

Loved this section!!! So pretty!!
 This section was so much more prettier.

Heh. I couldn't yell out his name in a cheer as his bib read, "Stupid Old Guy."
His name is Kev. :)
I enjoyed chatting with everyone as much as I could.

I know I shouldn't have but ... COME ON!!! 
We're on the trails!!! 
It's so nice and lovely and everyone's so friendly!!!! 

Most of the runners took a selfie right here.
Bin was at the halfway point taking photos of the runners. He made me pose as well, which I think he shouldn't as it cost us 1 minute. :P

I chatted with the few 21km runners I caught up with, mentally kicking myself in the head for not being on race mode. (Sorry, Jon! My bad.)

Coming up to the aid station again, George was eager to shoo me off but I wanted a cup of Coke.

Another mistake I had to pay for, as that cost us another minute and a belly full of gas. It made running downhill faster a tad bit uncomfortable. :)

Wasn't sure if I was on the right track ... why is there an obstacle in the path??
Running downhill was pretty fun, I suppose. Sue (O'Brien) had already told me that it was the best part of the run. Hehe.

I did my very best to be a bit more cautious, just in case I'd roll my ankles. (I rolled and sprained both my ankles during our Hipster Coffee Run recce the week before, and to be honest, they weren't fully recovered.)

I was raring to go until 17.5km in, my left calf started twitching. I had to stop to stretch it for a while and at this stage, I felt like a total noob for not packing some salts for this race run!

Nearing the finish, woohoo!!
20km in and with 1km to go, I was getting excited!

No, this wasn't the finish line.
I still couldn't hear the crowd from here ... 

I managed to pass through the gantry at 5:07, 25 - 30 minutes after Ken had come through. 

Brett made Tash shove the winner's cup into Bin's face as he came through.
So it was up to Bin to catch up with Tash now, but 30 minutes was a lot of time. George was updating Brett every now and then when they came through the aid station.

Tash crossed the line at 7:09 with Bin 10 minutes later, hot on her heels.

The relay runners - 2 teams from Surf Coast Trail Runners. :)
All in all, everyone had fun; from the runners to the organisers and volunteers, and to the spectators. Trust the SCTR relay teams to provide you with comic relief! :)

Huge thanks to the organisers and volunteers for being terrific help, and to everyone on the trails who spared me a moment of their time chatting to me. You guys are the best!

Thanks to Jon for arranging the team, he's da best! Having said that, he was one of the first few friends I made since I started running in Melbourne. :)

Sooooo, of course I felt bummed out for being the weakest link in the team (it was painful) but if it's any consolation (to me), I'm sure I wouldn't be on the team if it was meant to be in the race for the win. Heh. All in good fun.

And for #traillove, of course!

Bin was impressive for doing his best to give Tash a chase, and narrowing the gap to 10 minutes, and we all know they both had fun running the last leg!

What we would have done with the trophy ... haha!
Photoshop credit: Bin.

Me and my thoughts:
1. Never ever ever be a grumpy runner. 
I'd remember you if you were the happiest person, as well as the grumpiest. Hah!
2. Never run when you're recovering from injuries. 
Well, I am stubborn but I know myself. I can only say that only you know yourself better than anyone else. IF you think you can do it, do it but carefully!
3. Keep on fighting.
I know, I know. I should have been more competitive and ran faster during my leg. But this is not the point I'm trying to make for this point here. While huffing and puffing uphill, I was thinking about the fighters we all know. My mother was one of them and I'm glad that she's OK now. To my friend who's fighting cancer right now, keep on fighting because your friends and family are behind you all the way.
4. I love trail running!!!!
I really really really really do enjoy the trails. I can't emphasize this as much as I would love to. :)  

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