Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Great Pyramid Race 2014 - Race Report

For the past 6 years now, my husband and I have entered The Great Pyramid Race here in Cairns. The race is 12 km long and the mountain 922 m high (the worlds highest natural free standing pyramid).
 The race is described as:

“A never-ending uphill scramble and a ‘controlled’ downhill free fall”

 My report from last year's race, when I got my hydration all wrong and cramped badly, is here.

This year, my training was going well, I'd got my hydration sorted and was feeling positive...until I got sick.  It was a nasty winter cold that went to my chest and blocked my sinuses and I could not kick it!  So when the race came round (back in August), I was still coughing and blocked up, but decided to do the race anyway, just for fun and not worry about my time.

It was nice to run the race in a relaxed mode and I was surprised at my overall time when I was 'taking it easy'!  

So here's a few photos and comments on the race in general. I've used some photos from races and others from a walk we did up the mountain with our girls a few years ago, to give an idea of what the trail looks like!

Here's the start in the small town of Gordonvale:

To start the race you run all the way around the town square, with people cheering you all the way. I always go too fast on this part in the excitement of the start of the race. Once I'm past the square, round the corner and out of sight, I slow to my real pace!

First you have a 3km run to the base of the mountain, then the climb begins. It's basically non-stop uphill on a dusty, rocky track, which is sometimes a bit of a climb!

(the following pictures are from walking up the Pyramid with our kids - not race day!)

For the race, you have to reach the halfway up the mountain point under 1 hour to be allowed to continue the race. The first year we did the race, we made the cut off with just seconds to spare.  This year when I was 'taking it easy' I made it with 10 minutes to spare, which made me proud of how far I've come!

Going up, your legs and lungs burn. I can now go up the Pyramid in an hour. Coming down you use completely different muscles as you leap and bound on the rocks trying not to lose your balance! But I love that it's not hard on your breathing coming down! I can come down in 30 mins. 
(Incidentally, the race record is around 1 hour 15 mins - that's including the 3km run to and from the base, and up and down the mountain! Crazy!!)

Here's the view from the top 
(not that you stop to appreciate it on the race!)

Once you're back down the mountain, it's a relief to be running on the flat, but it's tough on your legs to keep them going for that last 3km back to the finish line!

Crossing the finish line is an awesome feeling. Especially the first year we did the race - not very prepared at all. We finished, but were basically in last place!

If you notice our time there from the first year we ran this race. It's nice to see our improvement. 
This year my husband finished in 2 hrs 12 mins; more than an hour quicker for a 12km race! Not bad.  This is a time I've matched in training but am yet to do on race day!!

It's always nice to get our finishers medals and certificates.

But what I really want is a top 3 female finish next year. I know I'm capable of it, on a good day, no illnesses etc.

Next year! I'll get there!
I love this race. It's tough and never seems to get any easier, but such a challenge and the best feeling when you've completed it!

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