I love challenges and setting goals. I am doing the Mountain Challenge Series this month and next weekend is the first one, JMC Lite which is 24km of about 1100m elevation and I thought I would try the 25km at the Dirtopia Trail Run Challenge to see how I would handle the longer distance on the trail. I could have opted for the shorter distances to recover better for next week, but me being me, it’s just not me.
This turned out to be harder than I would have thought. For some reason nature decided to throw in a hot day of over 30 degrees in April! Really now? Let’s not forget the fact that there was almost close to 1000m elevation and the hills would just not stop. When you think you have reached the highest point, you get to climb higher! I know I will be expecting it next weekend but not today! The first 10km was ok but after that, it goes a bit harder. I ran out of water at about the 15km and managed to fuel up at the next water point at 19km. At the 21km, that’s when my body and mind just gave me a big NOPE. There was a little stream which I got water from, I must say the water was divine and cold! HEAVEN! At that stream, I was looking up this hill, mountain, vertical wall, whatever you want to call it. Surely not this? I had to go up that. Mentally I was drained by the heat and my calves were 3/4 cramping up. I felt like I wanted to turn around and go back. If it were not for people around me, I would have literally crawled up. The last couple of kms felt like forever!
There was a lady that kept me company for the last 3 or 4 kms and we were chatting about our previous trails and races and one thing that was insane was we both managed to do the Two Oceans half in just over 2 hours and then we come to this torture of a challenge and we could barely get under 3 hours 30 min! I am sure this won’t be my most hardest challenge to date, I can foresee the Mountain Challenge Series being that! I keep pushing my limits.
This region had major fires back in February which destroyed vineyards and forests. Seeing the damage and destruction the fire caused was crazy and heart breaking. I can’t imagine what the brave firefighters had to do to save farms and vineyards day in and day out. The way I felt the last 5km I tried to picture myself in their shoes. When you are exhausted, tired, hot, thirsty you need to push through because giving up is too easy. Giving up means failure. This Trail Run was called “The Fire Run” for that reason. Those firefighters are heroes who dedicate their lives everyday to fight the fires. Seeing how the vegetation is growing back is breathtaking. Nature always wins after times like these!