Landed with more of an Ooof than a grunt.

I ran Wallygrunta short course race today. Well, I ran about 500 metres, tripped, skidded on my stomach, right mid forearm to elbow, left knee, inside left elbow, right quadricep and gently on my left hand for about 1 metre downhill and then ran for a further nine kilometres. And I still enjoyed it more than Stay Puft.

By Dennis Tan at Paparazzi on the Run

By Dennis Tan at Paparazzi on the Run

The course is just one dirty great hill, really. You go up for about 4 kilometres or so, and then back down again. There is a neat loop made, and the long course runners head off and do a bit more, but it’s just one sodding great hill. The path is quite wide and wide open most of the time, but at the start we were all packed so tight it was difficult to navigate. I know precisely why I tripped – I was following the person in front too close and wasn’t able to clearly see the trail ahead.

The long march of run/walk upwards was occasionally punctuated by pauses when I checked out the scenery – I wasn’t prepared to run uphill and not look where I was going, I’d learnt my lesson and the later terrain was a lot more gravel than Stay Puft (hooray!). It was those rough gravel chips that if you’d stacked it on it you were going to be more torn up than I already was, because where I’d tripped early on it was a nice soft mulch-y bit that gave me a gentler landing.

If I only crash once during the Perth Trail Series I chose the best day to stack it. We’ve had a cold change this weekend, so it was only about 22.C-23.C when the race was on, which meant no flies buzzing around my bloodied bits. When I got to the first aid station at the top of the hill I stopped and rinsed my hands and elbow. I was pleased to see that whilst both hands had hit the dirt, I’d really only injured my left palm and quite minimally too; I just had to coax a bit of gravel out and it was fine.

With that ridiculous uphill the downhill payoff was awesome, wonderful, delightful and all the synonyms you can think of. Kilometres 6 and 7 I managed 6:08 and 6:05 pace, slowing down to 6:43 and 6:47 for the following two kilometres with a few inclines in amongst the big decline. I flew down the last bit and underneath the finish arch in 1 hour 16 minutes 57 seconds, for 9.4km. Much faster than at Stay Puft, at 12.1km in 1 hour 53 minutes 52 seconds.

The lack of heat helped, so the high humidity didn’t affect me like it did at Stay Puft. I finished with so much more fluid in my pack this time round; where at Stay Puft I finished it off completely.

At the finish there were Chobani yoghurt representatives handing out the pouch packets of yoghurt. I’d packed a peanut butter sandwich and a Vegemite sandwich for afterwards; my plan was if I pulled up as bad as at Stay Puft I’d need food. As it was, I felt excellent (excepting the bloodied parts of me) and I scoffed the yoghurt instead.

Went via Yahava Koffeeworks where I had an excellent cafe latte, and drove home in equally excellent spirits.

Puft out.

I think I’d mentioned previously that I’d signed up to the short course option of all five of the Perth Trail Series Summer Series races – Stay Puft, Wallygrunta, Snakes n’ Ladders, Qi Gong and Swissmurdie. Of all of them I’d only done Swissmurdie short course before – about 10+ km around the Lesmurdie Falls area.

Sunday was Stay Puft; 12 km in the Yanchep National Park, on the Ghost House Trail. The race description talked about a bit of sand and some technical sections, and I’d suggest it was predominantly sand with only a few short technical sections. It has the smallest elevation change of all the races, only 80 metres.

Stay Puft

Close to the end of Stay Puft.

I was terribly slow, but it was a useful learning experience. I’ve learnt:

  • The day prior, don’t get your husband to inadvertently pace you to your first sub 30 minute parkrun at Pioneer since August. I’d done a sub 30 at Claisebrook Cove in November, but CCp is flat as a tack while Pioneer is not.
  • Also the day before the race, don’t help your friends move house when it’s 37.C with no breeze to be felt. It’s too late to work out what the temperature was Saturday evening, but I’d bet it didn’t go below about 22.C overnight.
  • If your friends do move house, have them move to Yanchep and let you stay overnight so your drive to the race start is 13 minutes instead of over an hour.
  • Two litres of electrolytes in a hydration system is *just* enough to get me through 12km with no aid station (the aid station was on the long course only).
  • Humidity is my running kryptonite. According to Smashrun it was about 58% humidity. I am usually crap in humidity.
  • I am not a friend of sandy surfaces. Give me pea gravel and rocks any day. It got to the point where I would run all the rocky technical stuff because I knew how to. Running on soft sand is not my bag.
  • Clearly, if running on soft sand is not your bag, then stop thinking about the next Sandstorm race in Busselton on the beach. You now know that race would suck. Embrace that fact.
  • If something is held in the Yanchep National Park, remember that a few million years ago the national park was sea floor, so it’s going to be sandy as heck. But, bonus being, at the 4.2-4.3km mark on the course there is a spiral fossil the size of a small dinner plate smack in the middle of the trail.
  • I knew I’d make the finish no problem, but I found myself predominantly walking the course rather than running it. I had absolutely nothing in the tank, but closer to the end I was concerned I was going to run out of fluids before I got to the finish line. I don’t know how a few of the short course competitors made it through with just a handheld bottle. The race rules required you to carry at least 500ml, but I don’t see the point in not carrying all the fluids I could considering I knew there would be no where to fill up on course – the only tank I saw on course was at a picnic area around halfway and it was untreated, and marked as not potable. As it was I drained the last few sips out of my pack when I sat down at the finish line.
  • I miss my pre-injury May 2015 race fitness and stamina.
  • There is a cafe in Yanchep called Bib’s Tuck Shop, at 99 Lindsay Beach Boulevard, Yanchep, just opposite Yanchep Beach Primary School. It is well worth your patronage, pre-race, post-race or any day.

Stay Puft bib and medal