A few things came together this week that made it the perfect time to go for my first multi-day test hike. Firstly, there was a rowing regatta in Bunbury on Saturday that one of the girls was keen to enter a crew for. Secondly, there was a 10km trail run ‘fun run’ in Greenbushes on Sunday which my masseuse had been telling me I should enter for ages. The next obvious thing was to stay down in Bridgetown and do a four day hike Monday to Thursday. Clearly racing a pair then running 10km is perfect ‘recovery’ prior to a long hike!! I think it will just help condition me doing weeks of walking.
Unfortunately I’ve got so used to doing things whenever I want that I’d completely forgotten that I said I’d be available (in the office) for the next few weeks so organised the trip without thinking about it. Luckily for me this fitted in OK with work as they wouldn’t have the data I needed until Friday!
The rowing regatta went pretty well. It was a bit cold, raining and a little windy, but much better than most Bunbury regattas I’ve been to. I was racing a pair. The pair is a crazy boat which has two people rowing it, and only two oars. So that’s one oar each. That means that if you don’t pull at exactly the same time or the same power as the other rower, the boat starts turning in a circle (or does little S-bends all the way up the river). It also means that you have very little control, individually, over balance, or anything else for that matter. It is the ultimate in teamwork.
My pair partner had never rowed a pair before. I haven’t rowed one in about 5 years, and very infrequently even back then. We did three training sessions during the week, which we were very happy with, but even then were pretty intimidated to be up against some big girls with a lot of experience in pairs (e.g. National Champs, albeit in U19s). We came second in our heat (wow!) and were fast enough to get into the final. We then managed to come third in the final (out of four crews – it’s a narrow course), out of a total of nine crews entered. Very happy with our result and also with the racing and rowing in general.
On the way to Bridgetown we stopped off at Barrecas winery to get some wine and have a lovely chat with Kelly. Merlin had a wonderful time running around the olive trees and rolling in the long grass.
The trail run was very hard. I don’t think I’ve worked that hard in ages. For a start, the 10km turned out to be 11.4km. The tracks were pretty good – mainly dirt car tracks and some sections of Bibbulmun track (see next post) on generally gentle hills . . . although a couple of quite steep sections! People keep telling me that I should be able to run 5min kilometres, so I decided to give it a go. Luckily I reminded myself that I wasn’t a “Runner” so didn’t get disheartened when a few girls tore away from me at the start. Instead I just kept running my hardest to try to get my 5min/km pace. It was really hard! It turns out that trying to run 5min/km for 11.4km on gravel hilly tracks with no training (I’ve run twice since March, and they were both with the dog so had heaps of stops in them!) is not such a great idea!
Anyway, I ran it in 47:40 (5:03min/km – so close!!!), 5th girl and 13th overall. Not too bad, and I definitely couldn’t have done much more! On the plus side, I was using my new Scarpa Enduro shoes (for my hike) and they felt good. Also, while I was puffing the whole way and pretty exhausted at the end, I didn’t feel the “flat” tired, fatigued feeling I was getting before Nationals.
One of my friends won the 5km run in a very quick time. I’m classifying him as a “Runner” (capital R) as he’s not really into sport and managed to do that without even training for it!! Good work Russ!
While I was at the trail run Merlin went to the Million Paws Walk, then dog training, with Mum and her dog, Captain. No photos from that unfortunately but from all reports it was a lot of fun. Merlin then proceeded to run around the farm like an idiot all afternoon, including several “swims” in the mud-pool that has substituted for our dam these days.