Mark J. Keenan
The Scotsman and the Goat
There’s a well known, but rather rude, joke that springs to mind. It involves a Scottish man and his indiscretion involving a goat. However, I think I’ll save that for another day.
A couple of weeks ago, I announced that I would be undertaking the Bloated Goat trail run in March next year. This is a 31 kilometre trail run in the Wungong Regional Park with an elevation gain of 1600 metres.
Doesn’t sound so bad. At least on paper. I’ve run Eagle and Child, that was 22k and 500m. Surely the goat can’t be too much harder that that?
The last time the race was run, in November 2015, there were 99 runners participating. Nearly thirty percent of the field received the dreaded DNF. In total, 28 runners did not finish (DNF), pulling out for various reasons on a day that was, by all accounts, an absolute stinker. Perhaps more concerning is that, in the list of people who didn’t make it, there are quite a few names that I recognise as much more seasoned and capable runners than me.
So, what to do?
Delete the post and pretend that I never said I was doing it?
Or take a deep breath and start training?
Seriously, there really is only one option here, right?
So, I signed up for the 18 week plan offered by the organisers of the run, Perth Trail Series. A plan that should get me ready for this challenge and give me the best chance to get over the finish line in the cutoff time of 5 1/2 hours. But like all plans it’s just that, a plan. And so this week I put that plan into action.
Week one of the plan was pretty easy - or at least it would have been, if I’d followed it. I didn’t end up doing things in the same order. I also sort of skipped the rest day prescribed for today, as I already had planned a 10k trail run with my son for his training. I may pay for that decision tomorrow.
Thanks to a good mate, who is an ultra runner, I also managed to do a run this week that really told me where I am at right now. It’s not pretty. With his support I managed just over two hours to hit 13.5k and 586m elevation in the mid-morning heat at Gooseberry Hill. Honestly, it nearly killed me. Since the goat is nearly three times that run in length and climb, I guess you could say I have some work to do. Alternatively, you could say that I should take up knitting.
Melina Mellino (Perth Trail Series) says that it’s easy to underestimate the goat. I don’t think I am in danger of that. Not finishing, yes. Underestimating, no.