Sunday, October 23, 2005

Bulls Head Challenge

Distance - 27.28km
Time - 2hr 16.51min
Av Pace - 5.01min/km
AHR - 170; MHR - 182
Calories - 1,502

This morning I ran in the Bulls Head Challenge, part of Australia's toughest downhill race (Brindabella Classic). It is 27.2km of mainly downhill, all on bush roads and tracks. It starts at an altitude of 1,280m and finishes at the Cotter reserve, at an altitude of 484m. Great weather - blue skies, no wind (to start with anyway), mild temperatures. Met up with Flashduck and PRB at the start and also met Bernie G.

We got under way just after 9am and immediately it was downhill. The downhill specialists, Flashduck and PRB, flew past me and it was only on the very few uphills not long after the start that I managed to pass them again. Also the front runners in the Brindabella Classic (54.4km run) were heading to the turnaround. After running this course I have a lot of respect for those runners - we mainly ran downhill; they ran the same route uphill to the turnaround before running downhill. Ouch! I loved running through the bush, surrounded by trees, hearing the birds, waterfalls, and other sounds of the bush. I half expected GG to drop out during this stage but it never failed me.

For most of the run I was by myself and I didn't have any idea how many were ahead of me; though I had a pretty good idea who was behind me! Stopped at all drink stations for water, cordial and jellybeans and also had 2 GU sachets in my back pockets. Note to self - if I do this again next year, wear something a bit lighter - the CR tri top was way too hot. Emma Murray, World Champion mountain runner, passed me at about the halfway mark - I think she was doing the longer race. Had a little chat as she went past - I think I was saying that I wanted some uphills for variety! She did warn me that there were hills to come. I regretted making that comment!!

Jackie Fairweather (Gallagher) passed me just before Vanitys Crossing and said that I was running well. I might add she was too - she was also doing the longer race! I waded through knee deep water of Vanitys Crossing, had something to drink and then set off again feeling distinctly blah at this point. My stride was out, I was running with sopping socks and shoes on, and I was feeling hot and oh boy, there were hills. My km times certainly showed the problems I was experiencing at this point (about 6km from the finish)- up until this point my pace had been mostly under 5min/km; for the next few kms it was as follows:
6.58/5.50/6.15/6.06/5.09 (this was the downhill bit to the finish).

Finally I could see the Cotter reserve and had one final downhill to run - by this stage my legs were complaining bitterly, my right foot was hurting, in fact, everything was aching.

That Finish banner never looked so good! After that, I headed to the river, took off my socks and shoes and lowered myself into the cold but very refreshing water. Not long after Carolyne finished, and Peter a little after that.

I couldn't hang around for the presentation but Roy, the race organizer, dropped off my trophy tonight - I was 2nd woman in the Bulls Head Challenge. I received a beautiful silver cup.

This afternoon, I was soooo tired - had a nana nap on the lounge. I felt like I had run a marathon. I'm also sunburnt!!!

(am) Recovery swim


Tesso said...

Congrats CJ! Sounds like one tough course.

What a buzz it must have been to get encouragement from the likes of Emma and Jackie.

TA and the Gnome said...

I've always liked downhill running but that course sounds scary. Well done on your placing. Enjoy tomorrow's swim - I think the body will be very grateful for it.


Friar said...

Congratulations on 2nd placing.

It's a great concept event with your start overlapping the full distance runners.

Pity about the uphill bits though.

There is supposed to be a special technique for downhill running though. :-))

Katie said...

Congratulations CJ!!!!
Great running! 2nd woman thats awesome :) The downs are harder on the legs than the ups! How are the quads today??

Jen said...

2nd female!!! *she claps loudly

Congratulations on a fantastic race on what sounds like a really tough course. How cool it must have been to get some encouragement from Jackie & Emma.

Well done, how have you pulled up today?


Lulu said...

Go CJ.. some sliverware for the trophy cabinet! Sounds like a tough course with all that downhill.. I bet your quads are a bit sore today.

go girl said...

Wow that sounds so hard! Congratulations CJ! I love the photo's in the water. Very refreshing..

Gronk said...

Very well done CJ !

miners said...

Congrats CJ! Great race by the sounds of it. Hope you recover OK for the big wine ride ;)

(oh, and congrats also on the correct guess in the minerblogquiz)

Hilda said...


Rae said...

Way to go!! That's an awesome finish!! Congratulations. The race sounds like a TON of fun! What are cordials? I'm not sure why but it reminds me of chocolate covered cherries - yum!! I bought our Halloween candy last weekend and have been testing it out (wouldn't want to give the kiddies anything bad!) all weekend!