My friend Liz said it would be fun………… well, I suppose she was right, it was fun, but it was also epically hard. It was 4 hours of pain, they certainly got the race title right, or perhaps they should change it to “Seasons of Torture = 9km run/7km MTB/6k run/10k MTB/1.4k Sting.”
I headed up to Mt Baw Baw on Friday night with 3 rad chicks and upon arrival it was wintery cold, oh dear this is not ideal. All good though, woke up to sunny blue sky perfect condition day!! As the race didn’t start until 2.30 and we were all not really into sitting around waiting, we headed off on an explore of Baw Baw, 1.5 hours later we returned to the village and my legs were a touch sore from the walk! Did notice altitude also which was something I hadn’t even thought of!
Fast forward to the gun going off and I found myself with 25 or so competitors charging straight up a hill, that just kept going up and up and up, when we did get to go down it was not pretty!! I was trying with all my might not to break my ankles on the harsh unforgiving loose, damp, uneven ground. This was pure trail running at its best. I have done 2 x 30min runs each week for the past 4 weeks. I soon discovered this probably wasn’t enough… The first run of 9km, took me about 1hr 05 and it hurt, alot. So hilly, so rough, felt dizzy and it was hard to breath. All I wanted was to be on my bike, where I felt safe and comfortable!!! On the bike, yes that felt much better, although I did find it hard to concentrate and my legs felt somewhat dead from the running but the singletrack was awesome!! Back into transition with a cheering crowd egging us on I was back trying to get the pins moving, until I heard Chris shouting at me that I was going the wrong way! I was following the bike route obviously self consciously I was wishing I was still on my bike and not running!
The next run was 6km and I was in even more pain, I would tell myself “don’t walk, RUN up this hill!” but then suddenly I would be walking without my brain telling me to walk. The 4 hours it took me to finish was as hard as the final 4 hours of a 24 hour solo…… Back onto the bike was a relief however my legs were so smashed from the running that they felt so heavy, when I was trying to ride up a beast of a climb that the race director had offered a prize to whoever could ride up it twice and I’d somehow managed to ride up it the first time and had spent the previous 45mins revving myself up before I reached it that I would indeed ride up it, well I was hit simultaneously with a cramp in my left foot and left hip flexor that had me scream some profanities out loud. Oh well no prize, walked abit, then remounted the steed and pushed hard only to be hit with another violent cramp, this time on the inside of my quad! Got through the ride and rode straight past the crew who were taking our bikes, thinking they were mad downhillers they too had to chase me and explain to very dehydrated and confused me that they would be taking my bike and I had to haul my ass up the famous STING. This was a 1.4k ascent up a downhill track. It took me 22mins to cover that distance and involved some strange walking/crawling/lunging movements to get up.
The final few metres were awesome, Chris was on the mic shouting out, a cow bell was going off and people were yelling encouragement from the pub deck. I was greeted by Belinda who was sitting on the finishers couch where I took a seat and we waited for the next competitors – the lovely Sarah and then Liz!! We sat on the couch watching the sunset and reflecting on what was a brutal race, epically fun and proud of our achievements. It’s been along time since I have thought I would have to pull out of a race due to it being too hard but this race did that and with that comes a real sense of pride and accomplishment when you cross that line. I know I’ve made this race sound really hard, it is, but it is awesome awesome fun. The course is spectacular, the bush is amazing, the trails are epic and the organisers are amazing. I finished in 3:53 and could barely walk the next 2 days, it was about 2.5 hours of running/walking and 1.5 hours of MTB for me. A big thanks to Liv/Giant and to Mt Baw Baw Seasons of Pain for a rad weekend! Check out Trail Mag write up and results here: http://www.trailrunmag.com/2013/12/01/spring-shines-on-seasons-of-pain/ and check out the next Season of Pain race here: http://seasonsofpain.com.au I’m looking forward to the next race in Feb!