The day after my 15-km road race in Ballarat I woke early for the drive to the top of Mt Macedon for a 30-km trail race. It would be my first back-to-back race weekend since 2013. My legs felt strong after the first race so I decided that I would still run a firm (but not fast) race at Macedon.
Wet weather and a low single-digit temperature (Celsius) greeted me for the race start, which is at almost the highest point on the course. Obviously that meant that the race would finish with an uphill.
My watch refused to start and after playing around with it for a few hundred metres of running on technical trail I decided to give up on it before my lack of focus caused a fall, which some people consider worse than a run not showing up on Strava. After traversing around the mountain for the first few kilometres with just a slight drop in elevation we climbed to the top of Camel’s Hump, the highest point on the course. I ran the entire way up and then gazed out from the platform at the top to see nothing but mist in the miserable conditions.
Running around the pretty Sanatorium Lake I recalled how much prettier it had been the last time I ran passed it under blue skies on a run at the end of last year. We had been warned about muddy conditions on some of the steep descents so I decided to run those aggressively as I fall much less frequently when leaning forward and maintaining a rapid leg turnover. But it was the steep climbs that proved the most challenging, trying to push off with little grip.
After a loop at the furthest section of the course I started the journey back to the start, and soon enough the climb back to the top. I had taken off my gloves earlier in the race, but came to the realisation that I had absolutely no feeling in my hands, so ended up putting them back on. I zig-zagged my way up a gravel road before rounding the lake once more, and then climbed to the base of Camel’s Hump. It wasn’t necessary to climb it a second time, so I traversed around the mountain, ran past my car in the car park, and crossed the finish line.
As soon as I stopped I felt frozen. I returned to my car, cranked up the heating and tried to defrost while changing out of my wet clothes. The thought of heading back to the finish line to watch other runners trudge in did not appeal at all in the conditions, so I gladly drove back down the mountain.