I ran the Kedumba Half last year. It was my first “significant” vertical race. This year it was a race that was only lightly pencilled in to my plans subject to how things went at Hounslow. You can read my blog on how that went down here… Lets just say, I was left with a bit of finish line fever and within a few days post Hounslow I was back to my normal self and hungry for a proper run.
So I inked the Kedumba Half into my diary.
This meant that the race would be only my second race, after than the Woodford to Glenbrook, that I have attempted more than once and had a personal course record established. Typically this would mean setting myself a solid expectation to beat my previous time but after Hounslow my only objective was to enjoy the run and soak up finishing.
At least that was what I told the operational part of my brain.
The real truth was that the analytical part of my brain was expecting a sub 2hr time which would represent a solid PB over last years effort.
Running Wild events are always a buzz and this race was no exception. It is this buzz that makes helps make the event along with the slick organisation and enthusiastic volunteers. The start was well organised and everyone got away cleanly and on time.
For the majority of the descent I cruised along mostly focussed on not blowing up my quads or hurting/blistering my heels like last year. I still held a solid pace but probably got a bit soft in the last few k’s of the descent. I was successfully following my operational brain and had sufficiently disrupted my usual constant analytics.
After the turn on the other side of the Kedumba River, I emptied my water bottle and filled it with electrolyte for the big ascent at the 11k aid station. Now is when the race really starts as the course climbs fairly consistently for the next 10k back to the finish line. The first km clicked away OK and looking at my watch suddenly awakened analytical brain. A sub 2hr PB was on the cards and all of a sudden I was trying to remember last years splits and which parts of the climb were slow and which parts were fast.
For the most part I just got down to business and pressed on with a mix of walk, grinding jog and wherever possible run. It was a bit of snakes and ladders with the other runners around me as everyone tackled the climb on their own terms. I did notice I wasn’t at my strongest however I think my recent return to cycling more was helping things.
With 6k to go I was pretty comfortable I would achieve my secret goal. With 5k’s things seemed doubtful again. Before long however the majority of the climbing was done and I was pretty certain sub 2hrs was locked in.
In the end I managed 1:58:54 (35/184). The climb portion I was about 3mins faster and roughly the same for the descent giving me close to a 6min PB.
Looking at the compare efforts function on Strava I was consistently faster through most of the course. See the purple line below.
Gear for the day:
- Compressport Trail singlet – A great top although I always feel hot until I open the zip.
- Fusion Multisport PWR tights – Have gotten my though plenty of races now although I do get a slight amount of chaffing on the seams at times.
- Compressport calf guards – I stopped wearing them for a while but like the additional stability they offer, especially with the big descent.
- Compressport Trail socks – These days I rely them on the for avoiding blisters, which they generally do incredibly well.
- La Sportiva Helios shoes – now my #1 trail shoe of all time.
- UD Hand bottle, 4x Hammer Gels.
Its interesting rereading last years post. Since then I have knocked off plenty of trail races, found a sock that works for me!, and generally become a much stronger runner. Trail running is certainly one of those pursuits where experience counts for a lot both in mental approach and conditioning.
My goals for next year are slowly locking in with entries secured for the Buffalo Stampede Sky Marathon and the Ultratrail Australia 100… and maybe, if the draw goes my way, the Lavaredo Ultratrail. I think it’s about a 50:50 shot based on 1,300 spots and 2,500 registrants.
and of course I have unfinished business at the Hounslow 🙂