The wind rattling the windows in Katoomba on the Saturday night of the Mount Solitary Ultra it sounded ominous for full mandatory kit for Sunday morning. I had only tried running with a pack on the weekend before for the Bush Capital ultramarathon and this additional weight was going to be a completely new experience. Needless to say I was quite nervous before the Mount Solitary Ultra because that run on the previous Sunday was my longest run ever and Mt Solitary
Mt Solitary was an unknown.
Mount Solitary Ultra
I knew I’d have to start conservatively and walk early up the hills. Running down the first few kms of the Mount Solitary Ultra was great fun and I started to relax and enjoy the morning. I slowed a bit on the single track being cautious because I couldn’t see where I was putting my feet and I’m not great at technical running.
Just before the first river crossing I did go over on an ankle. I had to stop my leg shaking before I could walk across the tree trunk. Once we started climbing I just walked to conserve my legs and I was definitely noticing the extra weight on my back. It seemed to take forever to get to the top (and the next top and the next top..) and someone with a GPS announced that we’d done 15km in 2 hours. I thought I’d better revise my estimate for the Mount Solitary Ultra time! The good thing about walking is that I was making sure I drank lots of sports drink so I was feeling good and well hydrated. I lost a bit of time trying to get down of Mt Solitary. Three times I headed down what I thought was the right track, only to be looking down a vertical drop and had to head back up to the last pink marker to try again. I’ve never been great with Sydney sandstone – I lack both agility and the ability to pick the line through the rocks.
Once I got down onto the more runnable section I felt good and enjoyed running again. I walked up Furber steps and probably took it a bit too easy. I refilled my fluids at the aid station, relaced my shoes and headed off back down into the valley. Three other women had come up into the aid station by the time I got going so I figured I’d have to get moving! The second half of the race was so much more runnable and I was still feeling good and just enjoying the day. I ran out of water by Jamison creek and was worried I wouldn’t be able to finish the Mount Solitary Ultra because I was feeling super thirsty. I caught up with a runner who very generously gave me a swig and I made it back to the finish (thank you)! It was a fantastic day and I learnt lots of things to help me in the next race. I was going to back up and run the City to Surf on Sunday but it took me until Thursday to be able to walk down the stairs properly so I’ll give my legs a bit more of a rest and start a build up for another run.