I had been planning for the Buster Bunny since January. In fact, I registered twice: once in late January and once in late April, because I was so excited to do my first stage race. 2016 has been rough with work and getting my MSc, and I was looking forward to a relaxing weekend of trail running, and drinking with trail running friends. I was wary of that nasty knee/ITB thing that cropped up during Forest Run and my training had fallen off a cliff due to sitting in classes, and exams, and being under a landslide of work, but I was looking forward to the challenge of two days of running and generally just being outdoors.
So on a Friday I drove 3 hours to Waterval Boven, Mpumalanga to stay at the Protea Hotel Malaga (no I’m not linking to it, it sucked- see below). Upon arrival I rolled out my yoga mat and had a wonderful practice, working out the kinks from the long drive. Needing dinner, I phoned room service and was told that there was only buffet. I told them that they should then put some vegetarian pasta from that buffet on a plate and bring it to my room, and within 20 minutes I had what I wanted.
It was so nice to wake up at a reasonable hour on race morning and the weather looked fantastic! I prepared my instant flavored oatmeal (my race-day standard) in a teacup in my room along with a cup of coffee. I put on my race outfit and headed down to the start. The first stage was 12km and we were reminded to be very careful of our footing out on the trail. And then we were off. About 1.5km later my knee started hurting, but it was fine- we were on a nice gravel road headed into the hills around Waterval Boven. And then at about 4km we started climbing, but it was fine, my knee doesn’t hurt that much when I’m climbing. This is the terrain we were moving through during the first half. Don’t worry if you can’t see any discernible trail- there wasn’t one, just orange tape.
Somewhere during the shaded kilometer (below) I made a video (which I shared with my family on What’sApp) that showed me laughing maniacally about how far I had to go yet. I have another video later telling my phone that I had finally reached the top (6.63km in) and 2:09 into the race. And then I started heading down, in agony because my ITB had had enough of bushwhacking through tussock grass and cobble-rock. The second half of the race (5km), which should have been pretty easy as it was downhill, took almost three hours.
I’ve indicated a few memories on the profile for reference:
- It’s getting a bit warm, I should get down of this mountain, it’s only 5km- so about an hour.
- That’s where I puked oatmeal and rush bar. And bile. And I had a sit down.
- Maybe a helicopter could land here. Yay, immediate evac!
- It’s only 3 more kms- so about an hour.
- Is there was a shorter way off this thrice blasted mountain?
- I need to get off this fucking mountain.
- Ah, the ignominy of sliding down the side of a mountain on my ass grabbing at thorn bush to slow my descent.
For comparison, here are two pictures, my feet after Adventure Lisa on the left (16km, 3:37:00) and my feet after Busted Bunny on the right (12km, 4:53:01), which one would you rather see after a race?
With my busy schedule I haven’t been able to train. And honestly, I’m a new 8-15km runner who’s really just looking for a weekend getaway and some fun trail running and drinking with friends. I am woefully out of shape for the My Road Less Traveled/Bunny Events. So I’m opting out of future Rabbit Runs. I didn’t finish the staged race (8km of easy running on the 2nd day) and I didn’t collect my trophy. And unfortunately, I also had to pull out of Num-Num due to it being in the the middle of Biostatistics III and an ITB issue that I can’t really afford to get therapy for. So that’s my sad, sad story of my last Rabbit Run for this year.
But I’m still signed up for Run the Berg (and I finally found accomodation), so I’ll be blogging that race in October!
Addendum: Just to add re: Protea Malaga, because it’s unfair to say something sucked and not justify it. Here’s why I think so (and it has nothing to do with the event itself):
- I authorized R1100 to be charged to my credit card to reserve the room. When I checked out they had charged R2700 to my card with no justification for the expenses or who did it. That reeks of fraud. They were able to revers the charge at check out.
- I think if you’re going to pull people to a fairly remote location, you need to have food available during reasonable times. Shutting down room service because there is a buffet isn’t fair to those who aren’t part of whatever is being hosted that weekend. And telling me to go to reception to get a bag of chips for R35 to tide me over until dinner is just rude (remember I had puked up my breakfast and slept through lunch).
- It took 30 minutes (and 2-3 reminders) for the waiter to get a glass of wine for me at the bar, saying “there was a queue”. There shouldn’t be a queue for a waiter.
- The massage therapist told me they never get tips that are added onto the bill at the time of check out. Admittedly, it could be because they’re not fabulous massage therapists, or perhaps someone else pockets that tip.