Jabulani Challenge Race Report

Last Sunday I ran the Jabulani Challenge. 45 kilometers on the trails around Bobbin Head. I only decided to run this the week before so it was always going to be interesting, particularly off 10 kilometers a week!

I went into this one with absolutely no expectation but with the full knowledge that it was going to hurt hard in the 2nd half! 

It didnt disappoint. 

I felt good at at the start and lead the pack on the first portion of single track. Slow going, rooty, rocky but good fun. I wasn’t pushing particularly hard but it was hard enough. I was lucky enough to run with Damian Smith for a large part of the race with eventual race winner Blyth Vautier close by too looking strong and focused.

The 3 of us were probably running together for the first half marathon until Blyth made a strong break and I broke away from Damian. 

The race has a great format with 3 long out n backs so you can gauge where everyone else is on the course. 

I was feeling reasonable until about 30 kilometers in when cramps smacked me right in the face. boom! This was a major inconvenience and it reminded me of The North Face 100 when I was plagued with cramps for most of the race – my own fault for not training. The simple explanation is the cramps are a sign that my body hadn’t trained hard enough, nothing to do with electrolytes. My muscles were just fatigued which was no real surprise. After a slight panic that I was going to have to DNF the severity of the cramps faded, my pace slowed but fortunately i was still moving forward.

Blyth was still in sight on the final out an back on the course, I estimated 5 minutes ahead which was surprisingly good going for me and Damian probably another 5 minutes behind me. However things soon fell apart. A combination of fatigue and not paying attention meant that I strayed off course and found myself in the middle of deep bush scrambling up and down rocks looking for signs of a trail. A bit disheartening but that is trail running. In the end I decided to go back to where I had come from and in the distance I saw Damian. He mentioned that he was happy just cruising it in behind me until the finish but it was soon obvious that he was moving better than i so I told to get in front and i’ll see him at the finish.

The final 7 km’s or so seems like it goes on forever. I was rapidly slowing to a half. Unfortunately the water station was empty when I ran past a few km’s prior so I was out of fluid for the last 10 – 12 km’s, but everyone else was in the same position. 

In the end the finish was in sight and I was thankful to cross the line in 4.41. Damian was 2nd in 4.38 with Blyth winning in 4.27. 

It took a good half an hour before I could drive home as my legs kept cramping. I even had to pull over 3 or 4 times to stretch them out. All in all a great day out and a good little event. About 1300 meters of elevation gain too.

As has been the case over the last few months I hit the gym during the week and did 5km’s on the treadmill on Wednesday with my legs still a little sore from the race.

My 2nd run of the week was this morning. A run from home to Centennial Park before breakfast. This felt comfortably hard and all I could think about was breakfast. I ended up calling it a day after 1 lap of the park after notching up a half marathon in just under 1 hr 27 (4.07’s). Not too bad straight out the box – plenty to work on though. 

In other news Phill entered me into the Sri Chinmoy Centennial Half Marathon on the 21st April. This was the site of my first ever race way back in February 2010 in 1hr 34.  Because of the awesome pancakes after I went back again for more the next year and completed the cross country course in 1hr 21 (3.51’s). If I can get close to that time again I’ll be really pleased given my lack of consistent training since December. 

I’m keen now to start spending more time running and less time lifting weights however there’ll still be a focus on the gym as I also signed up for Tough Mudder in November. No idea why but it looks like it could be fun!