Shona Stephenson Trail Running Ultra Runner 002

Goodbye 2012

by Shona Stephenson on January 1, 2013

I finished up work for 2012, and decided that I was going to start up http://ultratrainingaustralia.com Ultra Training Australia with my good mate Brendan Davies. To help Ultra Runners properly prepare for their next up coming event. There is so much I’d love to share, so many mistakes that I’ve made and I’ve learnt from I’d love to help out other runners. I love trail running and I get so much enjoyment watching other runners find pleasure in Trail Running. There nothing like a new challenge to add to my already hectic life.

I was off and driving to South West Rocks for a much needed holiday. I was planing on doing the exact training program that Brendan and I have written for our Ultra Training Australia Clients. If not the same eating plan….tough over Christmas. I always like to know what they my clients are going through. (The eating plan is happening NOW though!!!!)

Sunday Long Run 24km…..

My goal to run from our rented beach house, up past the Goal at Trial Bay then into Arakoon National Park, past Little bay and then out past the Lighthouse at Smokey Cap and then back via the roads to the Beach House. I thought it would be about 24km on the nose.
I ran along the road, out to the Goal, past Little Bay, up over little Smokey through the numerous spider webs, then I headed left down a very over grown track to what I think was North Gap Beach. I made it to the bottom of the gully, having to bush bash most of the way. At the bottom I lost the track. I could hear the surf. But after much fluffing around I could not find a route through to the beach. Then my instincts kicked in. I decided that this was probably not a safe place to be……I started to freak out a bit. The thought of snake bites and possible weird freaky hermits seeped their way into my head and I wanted to get back up the climb as fast as possible. I was stupid, I did not have a compression bandage on me. I’ve done a few first aid courses and I know that I’d need 3x10cm to protect me from a brown snake bite. 4x10cm if I was bitten on my quad. I did not even have one in my pack. I was also dressed in my summer outfit, so barely nothing. You idiot. I thought.
I bushed bashed my way up and out and I was relieved when I rejoined the fire trail. I kicked it on a bit and then turned left and headed down to South Gap Beach, down the steep fire trail and onto the beach. I stopped and took photos. I was then greeted by a lovely, well feed Staffy Bull Terrier. I patted and hugged her for a little while then decided to get moving again.
I ran back up the steep fire trail, back up to gap road and turned left towards Smokey Cap. I spotted another climb up a mountain. I headed up towards the top but after a few hundred meters again I was freaked out by the possibility of a snake bite. The trail disappeared, and I was running on dried leaf litter and sticks. My legs felt vulnerable. I hooned back down the steep climb and turned right towards Smokey Cape. Here on the trail between Gap Beach and Smokey Cape I found the most amazing trails. 3km of just beautiful single man track, through a sub tropical rainforest and woodlands, with little grassy tuffs framing the trail. I was in trail heaven.
I then continued on along this peace of paradise, on a slight descent and headed out towards Smokey Cape. I excited the track and looked up at the Lighthouse, and decided not to run up to the top. I was going to run over my goal by numerous kilometers. But my own drive took the better of me up to the top of the Lighthouse. I have Bogong2Hotham and Northburn coming up. I need to get in all the climbs that I can manage.
After the steep climb to the Lighthouse I turned back around and hooned back down the hill, and out onto the road back towards South West Rocks. Here I followed the road, trying to run under 6, 5, 4 minute pace or less for the rest of the run depending on the terrain. My Suunto Ambit gauged me at 24km, before the left hand turn to South West Rocks, and after 3 more ks of running I’d completed 27 or more ks on a good cross section of different terrains, road, fire trails, and single man tracks with some nice climbs. It was a nice little circuit.

Day 2 Easy 10km.
I ran from my house to the Goal and back again, not feeling the best…..feeling a bit sick and lethargic.

Day 3 Christmas Day 1 hour (It was suppose to be a rest day…)
I decided that for Christmas I needed to day a hill session.
I ran around on the beach with Mikey and the kids for 30 minutes while Mikey too photos. I then decided that I was going to run to the Smokey Cape Lighthouse and back again 3-5 sets depending on time…..knowing that it was Christmas and it was 34 degrees and Mikey and the kids may get hot on the beach.
I made 3 reps before I checked on Mikey and he wanted me to stop and spend some time with him and the kids. Fair enough, it’s Chrissy.
we then all had a ball hanging in our own private beach rock pool until 2 nudest turned up to ruin the view.

Day 4
I felt lethargic, and with their being a shortage of great coffee at South West Rocks I decided to have a much needed rest day. Bogong2Hotham is 12 days away. I have to be smart.

Day 5 16km Hilly Technical Trail
I was dropped off at the Smokey Cape Lighthouse with heaps of energy, by Mikey and the kids. They headed down to the beach and I headed out for a nice 16km run along the Ridge of Smokey and Little Smokey to Little Bay. I was blessed with having the chance to run for 3km on the nicest trail in the area again. I also resisted the temptation to run down to all the beaches, but could not help myself from trying to make it to the top of Big Smokey before I again stopped due to the fear of being bitten by a snake in the after running 200m off the track into leafy, sticky light woodland under growth trying to get to the top. Again I did not have a compression bandage. You idiot. I thought.
I kicked on feeling great. I was flying along the trails feeling the best I’d felt in a long time. I passed a massive Goanna, who freaked me out while I was descending a tight and technical single man track of Little Smokey. I flew into Little Bay and took some pics and chatted to a family there for a little while telling them about my adventures.
After a few minutes I ran back up Little Smokey and I caught up and followed the goanna for some time. I hit the top of Little Smokey and hooned down the other side and I was startled by a hikers and his girlfriend. I only saw 2 other walkers the entire time on the trails that day and one other mountain bike rider.
I kicked on along the fire trail and I had the pleasure of returning along the same 3ks of heaven trail back to Smokey Cape Lighthouse and back down to the beach where my family was waiting for me. I have a lovely swim and built cubby houses with driftwood before everyone got hungry and we headed back home.

Afternoon Session With the Kids Trail 8km my own session while Mikey Slept
I loved the 3km of trail running from Smokey Cape Lighthouse so much that I just had to show my kids it. I know Keisha can run 8ks on the flat in 1 hour, Milla……I’m not so sure about…. I was just going to run/walk at their pace.
We headed out at 3pm Keisha leading the way. Milla then took the lead. After 3ks of slight climbing my kids still had enough energy to want to go on. We headed out to the east, down a steep gravel fire trail descent to Green Island Lookout. It was so steep Keisha 7, was worried she was going to fall over on the descent. She soon chilled out after watching my 5 year old Milla flew down the track.
We headed out to the Green Island Point, took a few photos and decided that we better head back. There looked like there was a thunder storm on it’s way and the ridge was really hot. I carried heaps of water for everyone in my little UltrAspire Spry pack.
Keisha powered back up the climb like a mountain goat, and I pulled Milla up. She held onto my arm and I dragged her up, taking her weight for her. She was happy enough.
We re-joined the trail and scooted back long the magic single man track. I had to keep Milla focused….she has a habit of falling off things, the trail was narrow and the drop off on the ledge could be dangerous if she fell, she was pretty tired at that stage.
The track soon widened and we were back at the Smokey Cape Lighthouse, and back in the car heading back to the beach house for ice cream that I’d promised them while we were out walking.

Day 6 Easy 10km Jog.
I ran for 10km while Mikey and the kids rode their bikes next to me or in front of me. A nice family exercise session.

Day 7 Rest Day driving home………