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Baw Baw Reports

Past the Rock Shelter and over North Cascade Creek where Ian the photographer was capturing the action and over to Mt St Gwinear. I caught up to a few people heading up to the summit where the turn around point is thanks to what someone said is "power hiking" (apparently not walking). Turn around points in runs have that interesting element of seeing how far ahead other runners are and you've then get some added incentive to catch up. I'm often told that I'm competitive, I can't deny it.

The best part about the St Gwinear turn around is that you're over halfway, the trails heading out of the resort from the start are longer and more winding than those on the return trip.
Check watch, 1:09. Hmmm, I'm about 8.4km into a 15km run. Is sub 2 hours a possibility? At this point my mindset shifted and some goals were adjusted as the body finally felt like it might just be up to the task.

OK brain, what's the plan? Well Hoody, use what you know of the trails and elevation changes to manage your efforts. Maximise the downhills. Save some tickets for the last gnarly downhill inside the resort, Mueller's MTB track. Don't push too hard if it's flat and definitely walk - whoops, power hike, most of the uphill sections from this point. But do it quickly. Plus save something for the final sneaky uphill pinch to the finish. I caught some people as we got to the Rock Shelter, passing one there and passing the next heading up to St Phillack. Easy does it up that climb. As it starts to flatten off towards the top I knew that roughly the next 2km were mostly downhill. The legs felt good on the downhills and it felt like sub 2 hours was a possibility. Keep hydrated, keep eating.

Back onto the resort trails and there are some steep pinches. Time to dream of how nice it will be on a few months with snow on the ground and heading out cross country skiing (distraction is good sometimes when tackling steep hills).
I pass another person on a wide, flat part of the trail before the single track of Mueller's MTB trail. As I start on the section Mueller's I'm inside time and on track to go sub 2 hours. The first downhill pinch is rather technical, I spot a photographer, nearly lose it and spend a few frantic strides regaining some sense of control. Footsteps behind, the bloke I passed before isn't far behind. The inner competitor voice says don't let them pass. Time to speed up.

The legs aren't feeling fresh, but I attempt to drop like a stone down the hill. I snagged something and took a sideways fall. It felt like I was attempting to sit down, but sideways and at speed. Thankfully I wasn't tangled, but sitting upright and able to get back up quickly and keep going.

The adrenaline levels kicked up a notch and I noticed that I was running little differently to before the fall. Not quite as freely, and with a little more caution. Any rhythm was gone completely. The bottom of the hill arrives, across a little creek and footbridge with myrtle beech trees for company. Now for the sting in the tail – uphill to the finish as the trail winds past some lodges within the resort. The legs say no. Like a cruel, unexpected rejection when you’re feeling confident. OK, we’ll just walk for a bit. Eventually as it gets flatter the legs agree to run and I get across the finish line in a time of 1:56:25.
Quite a lot can change in 2 hours. And, thankfully for me it did. 

Thanks to my fellow Harriers for answering my call and joining me for the run in the local mountains. Was great to have some company in a beautiful spot. I know a few others planned to come along and either run or volunteer but weren’t able to make it through no fault of their own.
So, mark it down in your diaries for next year. Take on the challenge of our local mountains that we can see from, or driving to, many of our summer series Thursday night runs.

Some runners this year brought their families. One parent ran on the Saturday, the other on the Sunday and chose who would run with their kids in the last event, the 1km dash. The Sunday has 7km, 4km and 1km events. Plenty of options to make a weekend of it – and the sunsets are stunning!

Looking forward to next year – maybe I’ll step up to the 21km, or maybe something longer. But that’s 12 months away, a lot can change before then.