Monday, October 17, 2011

Yurrebilla Ultra Marathon.


I had unfinished business with this race this year. The Yurrebilla Ultra is a grueling 56 km. through the Mount Lofty Ranges in Adelaide following the Yurrebilla Trail. This was the 3rd year that I have taken part in this race. Two years ago I successfully completed the run but last year withdrew at 21 km as I  was really unwell on the day.
I was very nervous about this year's race as last year was such a disaster for me and was very disappointing. Apart from being unwell last year I also made some very poor choices on the day. I went out far too fast, over heated, dehydrated and had a bad reaction to my pre race nutrition which for some stupid reason I changed on the day. One thing I've learned about doing ultra marathon events is that pre race preparation is more than just simply putting in the miles on the trails.
Dear friend Susi no Bum really got stuck into me this year about my poor hydration and nutrition during a long event . I've always had issues with drinking and eating during a long run as I completely loose my appetite and consequently have had issues with dehydration and loss of energy. I must stress this is about the only time I loose my appetite but during a race is not the time to diet !!


So this year I completely revamped my approach to preparation and race time nutrition. The day before I increased my carb. load moderately and also hydrated on electrolyte replacement fluids. I was quite anxious about the pre race carb load as I have always been a carb addict. Over the last 2 months I have been on a lower carb eating plan, have lost 5 kg. and so was concerned a high carb meal would undo all the hard work I have done.
On the morning of the run I had my usual high protein oats and 600mls. of Endure drink before the start. 5 km. into the run I ate a high protein muesli bar. I had to really force this down but Susi's idea was that if I ate before I lost my appetite I may just be able to take in enough calories to prevent energy loss.


At the 35 km. mark and feeling great.

The Yurrebilla is well known for being the only ultra where you can actually gain weight. This is because there is a check point every 5 km. and all provide buckets of food. Now whilst I just couldn't do the pastries, sandwiches, pizzas etc which were available I did make myself have a slice of watermelon at each stop and a pear at 21 km. The sustained me really well for the whole run and I had plenty of energy throughout. There was also coca cola at each stop and the caffeine hit that gave was brilliant. It was also a nice change from the Endure drink.

The Chubby Hubby at 35 km.

 I also approached the start of the run differently this year. Instead of going out too fast as I did last year, I went out slowly and paced myself with the Chubby Hubby. I allowed myself to warm up gradually over the first 6 km.and once the legs and I had settled in,  I took off and felt great for the rest of the run. I had a support team following me but they just let me go as they could see I was on fire.
What interested me was that I reached the 21 km. point this year faster than I did last year when I went out too fast.

That's me coming up in the background. This is nearing the top of Black Hill, 52 km. into the event and everyone has nightmares about this climb.


These signs were all along the course and always bought a smile to my face.


Whoo hoo, made it to the top of Black Hill and now only 3 km. to go.


 This is one speeding fine I would love to get.

The Chubby Hubby gets to the top of Black Hill.

Four of our running team entered this race this year; Moi, Susi no Bum, my Chubby Daryl and Susi's Chubby Mike. This year it was Susi's turn not to finish. Unfortunately she had a severe gastric upset on the day and withdrew at Morialta. So I was the first of our team to finish in 8:55, a massive 2:30 hours faster than my first year. I was absolutely stunned with my result. Mike came in next about 90 minutes after me and Daryl finished about 2 hours after me. They both finished well in the qualifying time.
Somewhere along the trail Mike lost the concept that it was a race and he crossed the finish line with 4 young ladies he had collected on Black Hill. Unfortunately that photo didn't work out but here he is with one of his girl's !!


 Happy running to all,
May the trails be with you.
Cheers Karen.


  1. Well done! A great entry to remember a fantastic day...

    Looks like we all got stuck into the watermelon! i know I did and everyone I asked seemed to say they kept to the watermelon!

  2. you crazy fitness girl.........glad your run went well........

  3. You got it perfect this year. I'm so impressed with how much you learnt from last year's run and the strategies you put in place to stop them happening again. Congrats.

  4. You are amazing and 5 kilos down. Hope to see you soon.