Manly Dam Trail Run - BRS Australia Chapter

Discussion in 'Front Page News' started by Spiderweb62, Mar 18, 2014.

  1. Spiderweb62 Barefooters
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    Team 2.jpg
    Manly Dam Trail Run
    BRS Australia Chapter
    By Spiderweb62


    Right, where do I start… This was an interesting experience for me, at different levels, and even though it was my second trail, I learned so much more than the Port Stephens run, which was great, don’t get me wrong, I absolutely enjoyed that run, but I think I had the luck of the beginner, finishing in a great time, and not having any issues.

    So I came home, confident of my trail running skills, where really, I should have been a bit more humble, I did not come to Manly with enough respect for trail running.

    So, back to Manly ! J…We met with Kali, Murls and George at the start, which was delayed by half an hour, so we would not have to run in the dark (well more like dawn darkness). About 500 people gathered along the dam for the race start
    We had a bit of a giggle about why they would make us start in waves, with so few people, but there was a good reason!

    The first 2-3km were all going uphill a very narrow trail, lots of rocks and tree roots, very difficult to overtake everyone, but I felt good and was happy to follow slowly.

    After that section came the first downhill (well, if we can call it that). But at some point we needed to cross a massive flat stone, which was still a bit wet from the morning dew (and the rain the night before). And whoops! I slipped a couple of meters and fell on my bum. I did not realize it straight away, but I also hurt my lower thigh (just above my kneecap), I have a nice bruise today!

    After that we continued uphill with much of the same terrain before arriving to the first station, just after going under a water pipe. Funny, during the brief, they told us ‘you can go either under or over the pipe’, I was imagining a pipe with a size of max 1m diameter, but this thing was massive, and I cannot see who would want to go over that !!

    The next section (Which was supposed to be only a few hundred meters along that pipe, then back under it, and on the trail. It was on a rocky road (quite sharp and about the size of a golf ball, but some sections were better than others, so I had some respite). Anyway, I decided to stick with another runner, she was having a good pace for me, we were alone, just another runner about a hundred meters in front of us…

    We talked a bit, and we continued on that horrible road (all uphill) and we realized we missed the marker when we joined a nice road, so we turned back and that’s when my nightmare started.

    Downhill on the same rocky road, trying to stay behind her, so as to not miss the marker again…anyway, the result is that we did an extra 1.3km on that stretch and that was a killer!!!

    Back on the trail was heaven for me, but that was short lived….During the downhill section that followed, I started getting really tired, and made some rookie mistake, like drinking while running on technically difficult sections, and the inevitable happened…I hit my big toe on a very sharp rock, and got a very nasty cut.

    That did not stop me, but it slowed me down, as I was getting too cautious now (after being reckless!)

    The last few km’s were torture, even though it was a really nice setting, the area is wonderful, and I’ll probably come back for training

    To finish off the race, we had to cross a metal bridge. While running on it was not that painful, you just could not run fast (metal grid plates) , and the 200m seemed like an eternity!

    Crossing the line I was cheered by George, murls and Kali, finishing the 10km in about 90’, but happy to finish, and a few lessons learnt:

    · Stop to drink, you cannot drink while running on a trail (unless you are very experienced, or know the trail very well)
    · Slow down when downhill, and getting tired (sounds obvious, but I did not seem to have learnt that lesson)
    · You cannot just stick behind someone and follow blindly. Just keep your eyes open, and check for the markers!

    So, overall, despite the time, and pain, it was very positive, and even though my feet are killing me today, I will want to do more of that, as it is a really fun way of running, you just need to get more prepared.

    A real eye opener for me!

    Team 1.jpg
    Team feet.jpg

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  2. murls Barefooters
    1. Australia

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    Great report mate! Definitely agree on respect for the trail. Passing is something I found I challenging. If you have to get over to let someone past its often hard to find a "foot friendly space" and if you are passing someone you lose that "look ahead for ouch" vision. Apart from that here are 5 things I learnt from the race.
    1. I hate steel grated bridges
    2. I still love trails
    3. My calf muscles still hurt
    4. My feet are in better condition than I thought
    5. I need to train more!
    I had some great chats with other runners and I was lucky enough to come away without any injuries. My favorite part of the race was running behind a couple for a few minutes listening to them discuss how good they had become at trail running that went something like this:
    "yea after a while you can really judge the terrain and pick your lines. You start to get a feel for the trail and can predict exactly what it is going to feel like when your foot hits the ground." !!!!!
    Many thanks Andreas, Kali and George for all your support. You made my Sunday.
    Reset, Lets Go Again!
  3. happysongbird Chapter Presidents
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    I enjoyed reading that. Yeah, I am learning more about how to do this barefoot running all the time.

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  4. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    Way to represent! Great to see four of you at the same event. Look forward to more trail reports.

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  5. Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    Sweet.

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  6. JosephTree Barefooters
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    I've read that you've some spectacularly poisonous snakes Down Under. Have you ever run by any of such creatures?

    I've also read that the "monkey brain" we inherited from our distant ancestors is extremely good at spotting and reacting to "SNAKE" long before our higher brain functions ever kick in. This reflex reaction allows one to nearly levitate over snakes underfoot. Maybe someone down there has tested that theory?

    Great report. I must just think too much before a trail race. I've never gotten up the nerve to actually do one BF. I fall back on my very comforting and well fitting Vibrams when I know there will be some of that nasty, nasty crushed stone. Maybe if I had some terrific BF mates like you seem to have found...

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  7. kalipyjamas Barefooters
    1. Australia

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    awesome report Spidy!
    totally agree with all points made, especially how hard it is to quickly yield to a passing runner whilst still finding a safe spot for your foot!
    and as for not concentrating.....well.....still so pissed off with myself after my big stack!
    The irony of barefoot running ( and as my husband happily tells everyone this is me we are talking about, falling over had nothing to do with being barefoot it would have happened regardless) I have zero injury to the soles of my feet BUT impressive grazes on my knees shins hands and feet due to taking my mind off the task for one millisecond to admire a really cool singlet on another runner.....next thing I am sliding down gravel path on aforemtioned knees shins etc. AAAAARRGGHHHH! Idiot! lesson learnt!!!! :)
    But once again so fabulous to be out with barefoot friends....and I am loving the challenge of facing new unseen terrain and having to cope with it on the fly.
    Brilliant day THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  8. kalipyjamas Barefooters
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    Darn right!! It makes is soooo much more fun ;)
    But don't let that stop you running solo....this is what being barefoot was all about for me when I was contemplating throwing awy the shoes.....being barefoot in nature.....still struggling with man made surfaces :confused:

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  9. murls Barefooters
    1. Australia

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    That's awesome, and true. We do have a lot of things that can kill you down here. As for snakes I used to run through the bush a lot when I was kid and came across lots of brown and red belly black snakes. I can attest the fact that on occasion I did feel like I had broken the world record for a vertical leap off a few short steps. :) Best to just try and keep away from them. Sometimes if you chase them they turn and chase you back! Kali still lives out in the country so I reckon she would have a few stories to tell. What about it Kali???
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  10. peter.robinson Barefooters
    1. Australia

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    I've found the snakes hear me coming and tend to get out of the way before I get near them.

    One near miss happened when my wife almost stepped on a coastal taipan. Read the venom section here!
    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coastal_taipan

    She had sensed something and did a skip, looked back and the snake was there, now behind her, starting to rear up. I said it's just a snake, keep going.

    I was still coming along the trail, close behind her, so keeping everything as high as possible, leapt it, spun in the air and landed facing it, taking a step or two backward. No way I would let it between me and my girl.
    I slowly backed away watching carefully and it decided we weren't a threat so settled down and slithered into the undergrowth. It all happened in the blink of an eye.

    We survived but only just; and she won't go out on the trails any more :-(

    It seems we do have something like 9 of the 10 most deadly snakes in the world, but they're not much hassle mostly
  11. Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    I jumped a snake once on one of my runs. It was exhilarating. I doubt it was deadly, but I don't know for sure. Thanks for the memory.

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  12. stjohnthegambler Barefooters
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    I stub my toes all the time, especially during races when I'm caught up in the competition. Actually, I stub my toes just running around on pavement sometimes.

    Thanks for this. I too am curious about the snakes and such. Bill Bryson's book makes Australia seem filled with dangerous creatures just waiting to bite a bare foot.

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  13. kalipyjamas Barefooters
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    Hehehe. I have been lucky so far and haven't encountered a single snake on a trail run ( at least none that I have noticed!) However just last month a friend came across a big brown ( yup that's a nasty one) right in the path. They had a bit of a staring competition and the snake won so Jack just turned around and ran back the way she came :) Another friend also stepped on a brown whilst running at the dam but it didn't strike, but then a few weeks ago another girlfriend over in Dubbo, who is blind, stepped on one right outside the house on the garden path and it did strike but thankfully she had long riding boots on. We haven't had any near the house this summer thank goodness but I have chopped a 6ft brown into three pieces with a spade when it was between me and the kids a few years back!
    I was just thinking the other day, how its quite tiring mentally to run barefoot on account of having to watch that path in front of you like a hawk.....I always assumed the snakes would slither off as soon as they sensed me coming, but now I'm not so sure!! I've started carrying a compression bandage and my phone with me ( not that it always gets service!) If you are unlucky enough to get bitten by a brown, then the best thing to do is bandage the entire limb distral to proxiomal above and below the bite and stay as still as possible.....apparently when an aborigine got bitten they used to crawl under the nearest tree for shade and just lie down completely still for a day or two.....kept them alive!
    I guess they are just part of life out here and there's not really much you can do to avoid them, so just respect the fact they are there...and stay out of their way!

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  14. skedaddle Barefooters
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    Just tell those pesky snakes to hiss off!
    I think if i lived in Aus my average pace would increase significantly as i'd attempt to run from every critter that could eat you, bite you, sting you or in the case of the duck-billed platypus confuse you.

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  15. Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    You crack me up, Sked!

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  16. Sly Barefooters
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    lucky you you got barefoot friends !
    I look at mine, they all wear shoes, :banghead:

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  17. peter.robinson Barefooters
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    I have wondered about that, too. Don't our snakes tend to strike well above the ankle, more like mid shin height? Do shoes really help at all? Maybe we just need shin guards and could still go barefoot.
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  18. murls Barefooters
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    A mate of mine got bitten riding a mountain bike. Shoes, no shoes...when it's your time for a bite, it's your time for a bite!
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  19. JosephTree Barefooters
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    I wonder how much trial and error it took to get that treatment regimen solidified.

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  20. Sid Barefooters

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    Are Humans Hardwired to Detect Snakes?
    I started carrying my phone with me, too. It came in quite handy to take a photo of an Eastern diamondback!
    Hmm, that's interesting. I was loving the trails and hating man-made surfaces, until I addressed some form and functional issues. Anything in particular causing problems?

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