Do stunning views make it a stun run?
Cyborg Chooses the View
I completed the inaugural Bundy Run in 2015. And by that, I mean I completed the entire course, and took some crappy pictures along the way (in my defence, it was a very damp and misty day). But my time was pretty rubbish (again, in my defence, it is quite a technical course) and I walked a lot of it. Put simply, I felt like the Bundy Run and I still had unfinished business. And in some places I grew up, leaving an unfinished Bundy is sacrilege. Besides, this time I knew what I was in for...
So I made meticulous plans. I booked accommodation. In the week leading up, I figured out what time to travel, what to eat and drink based on the conditions, what to wear during the event. I even came up with a goal for the run – I wanted to shave at least 10 minutes off last year’s time to bring me in at a respectable 1:15.
And everything went according to plan. I checked in the hotel and got changed, then headed to Bundanoon for registration for the run and Fling –with time to check out all the stalls and be very tempted to buy more gear. As it was a warm day, I rocked up to the start with a bladder pack, and soaked my hat to keep me cool at the start of the run. Then I stood in the shade, cooling down while I watched the crowd gather.
It wasn’t long until we were off and running down the hill, and I was feeling pretty good about it all. Then I made good time, and even overtook some people in the first stretch of singletrack, before returning to a road climb. It was about then I realised that my meticulous planning did not include much training. The combination of a long flu, followed by a month of rain had severely impacted my training in Canberra, and I found I had entered the race half-baked. At least that explained the soft-doughy stuff in my centre...
And then I ran into trouble. Shortly after overtaking some people coming up the hill, we were heading down once more, on some of those rough-hewn bush track steps. You know, the really long ones. The eccentric motion gave me cramps. Bad cramps. I never get cramps. Yet, there I was, 2.5km into an 11km run, pulled off to the side, barely able to walk and desperately stretching my quads. I’m certainly glad none of the Wild Horizons team were there to witness my pain, they’d probably charge more for cramps!
With a bit of a stretch, I pushed on, hoping that a bit more action would sort my legs out. They still hurt, but I found I could run – at least on level ground (not that there was much of that!) Having a string quartet out there to encourage me on certainly helped, probably more than the flatter ground! By the time the teaser course split off my legs were feeling better and I ran into the deeper, darker woods.
Last year everything had been soaked, we ran through a fine mist the whole time. This year, it was clear, and quite hot. Nevertheless the trail was still very technical, and very picturesque, so naturally, I had to slow to a walk such that I could finally take in all the views, and attempt to get some better pictures of the scenery.
So after endless stairs, streams, rocks and waterfalls, we began to climb out via another stair case, back up onto the firetrail, where the feed station awaited. I took the chance to refill my bladder – yes, I had emptied my 2L drink bladder in 7kms! And headed out at a gentle jog. Gentle, of course, because I knew what was to come.
This final leg of the run is nice and relatively straightforward, with some mild ups and downs. Until, of course, you get back into town for the kick back up the hill. I tried to save something for that climb. I really, really wanted to do it. In fact, that final climb is probably my realistic challenge for the whole race (I’d love to run the technical stuff but I suspect even if I do get some fitness, it’ll take me a while before I get the required confidence). I did manage to run up some of the hill, I’d like to say most – and it certainly seemed like it –but I at least started, and finished running up the hill. And I managed to put on a “sprint” for the finish.
Ultimately, I wound up being slower than last year, and I still didn’t manage to complete that final climb. Which means I’ll have to come back. Come back and do it properly. I might even try to squeeze in some running beforehand...
As usual, many thanks go to Wild Horizons, the local community of Bundanoon and all the volunteers for putting on another fantastic weekend. The local atmosphere certainly makes all the pain worthwhile.