So I got the word from Pete at work that this race was happening at the weekend and given that I’d pretty much nailed all the long riding I wanted to do ahead Fitz’s Challenge a week later, I thought, why the hell not! So me Pete and Kat got an early start and headed on down to Kurnell for the the Sydney Trail Series – Kamay Botany Bay National Park.
What I Ate
This is going to blow your minds…
The week of:
- Normal… nothing different… didn’t have much notice on the race so didn’t experiment with anything… nothing to see here… move along.
During, (again, disappointing):
- 1 Serve of Hammer HEED with EAAs and Beta Alanine
Told you your mind would be blown.
I guess the Beta Alanine, (a naturally occurring non-essential amino acid) is new – there are some studies suggesting that it can positively affect muscular endurance as well and reduce time to fatigue for more intense efforts. I’ve only just started adding this into my fuel and can’t say I’ve noticed a marked difference… however, I did have a pretty good day!
Sand. Rocks. That about sums it up. It’s not a massively hilly course, (only 153m of elevation gain according my my Garmin) but when they occur they are sandy, short and sharp and can really tax the legs – so be prepared to get the heart rate up then recover fairly frequently. The 4k ish of beach running at the start is fine as the sand is pretty wet and compacted.
The coastal fringe is rocky and a little treacherous underfoot so be sure to keep picking up your feet on these sections as they can lull you into a false sense of security, (plus you can easily get distracted by the great views).
We’d had some pretty heavy rain the week before; not much mud at all, (thankfully) but some big pools of water you really can’t avoid – so blast through the middle and enjoy the coolness.
Oh yeah – and the course, especially the coastal sections, is stunning… go run it 🙂
No taper, no nothing – just ‘turn up and run’ was my attitude to this one. And with a tempo run in my legs from Friday and a 3 hour bike hill repeat session on Saturday I wasn’t at my freshest – but on the universal scale of importance I’d put this race at a ‘D’… possibly ‘E’… maybe a ‘Q’, so that wasn’t an issue.
I went a little harder that I was intending, because I’m an idiot and when there is a start and finish line and other people running, ‘going easy’ is never an option my mind gives me when the gun goes off. Having said that I did manage to negotiate it down from ‘balls to the wall’ intensity to er… ‘balls near the wall’?
Having said that I felt surprisingly solid out there, I think the additional strength training I’ve been doing really helped with the sandy hills and I’m getting more and more confident on technical terrain, (by that I mean I didn’t fall over). Not a massive field but was happy with an 8th overall!
Get some time in running on soft sand! 2 reasons to do this:
- To get those muscular adaptations. On the sand you’ll be using a bunch of smaller muscles you don’t normally recruit, so strengthening those will help a lot – especially in a longer race.
- Technique. There is a bit of a skill to running on sand and you can make some big gains on the competition by picking your lines well. If at all possible get out on the actual course.