Running 36:21  6.39 km (5:41 / km) +100m 5:17 / km
ahr:163 max:184 shoes: Saucony Peregrine 6
Dances with dirt leg 2.
Not a bad start. Got a feel for the awesome single track and ridiculous off trail terrain that are the central themes of this race.
Passed a big pile of people out of the start and a few more on course. Had to slow right down in the bushwhacky swampy bits, but as it turns out, that was nothing compared to what I was in for next.
Running 37:41  7.32 km (5:09 / km) +79m 4:53 / km
ahr:167 max:181 shoes: Saucony Peregrine 6
Dances with dirt leg 6. The swamp leg. ( note to future self, I understand 7 was bad too, swamp wise, so said Al)
This started out with 3 or 4 km of beautiful and runnable single track. A real pleasure to explore. And then it turned off trail and into the shit.
The swamp crossing areas are all based on one windy stream and the mushy low lying ground all around it. You have no idea if you’ll float right over or sink to your knees on any given stride. And you’re meant to be following coloured ribbons to stay on course, which you are motivated to do because the area is so nasty the worst thing you could do is get lost or spend an extra nanosecond in there.
It wasn’t too bad until I got to the first stream crossing. I couldn’t see the bottom or a better route to either side so I went in right where the flagging led me. Whoosh! Instantly up to my chest, I could feel my feet in muck and my brain went into panic mode. My breathing got short and shallow and I just started to pick my way out. Fucking terrified. Good start.
There were about 5 or 6 more stream crossings which were much tamer, none above the waist, but my mind was imprinted by the first one so it was like the Blair witch project out there. Bug eyed, panicked and waiting for disaster I plodded through them. I survived.
Once away from the stream I was into a thick gooey mud section and got through most of that ok. Fell a few times and once went in to my knees and really had to struggle to get free. Then it was a full on bushwhack though more crap and it got really difficult to follow the course. Absolutely shredded the fronts of my legs here.
Finally, released from swampy terror Hell, I had a couple km rail trail and field to the finish. Then I went to the ‘human wash station’. Very necessary. Got my shoes power washed.
Insane running experience. Fun, in a way, but I’m not doing that again.
I think I lost some data by inadvertently stopping my watch on this leg, but it’s close enough.