Heat and hills

After almost 3 weeks of no running on physio’s orders due to a niggling pain around my right hip/quad, I’ve managed a few outings over the past week.  Things are definitely improving, but still not 100%, so it’s gentle runs and, in theory, no hills.  That kind of went astray on Sunday, but I did make sure I walked most of it – partly due to my leg, but mostly just because it was just so damn hot!

I told Nick I would be up to an hour, I was heading off to explore another track in our local area.  To date, this hasn’t been overly successful, leading mostly to narrow, overgrown trails that were walkable at best in places and in some cases completely impassable.  But if we don’t try, we won’t know, so I headed off to check out one more.  I had high hopes for this one and it could eventually lead to a good long run route with minimal road time.  Let’s just say I was optimistic with my timing!

Nice easy start on the road, then to the top of the unexplored fire trail

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Looking good so far!  Then it was endless, easy downhill on beautiful wide open fire trail.

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Looking back up the fire trail

In the back of my mind though, I know this is an out and back run, so I’m going to have to head back up this at the end.  I reached the bottom of the fire trail at the pipeline with single track heading off along the creek in both directions.

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Only 250m to the creek crossing, didn’t sound too bad.  It felt like it took me ten minutes to make that 250m though!  Firstly, I had my spider web stick up and sweeping back and forth – it was morning and I didn’t trust that anyone else had been along here yet.  It was a tricky bit of track in places and I had to slow down and pay attention to where I was putting my feet as well as looking up to make sure I didn’t hit any spiderwebs.  Still managed to collect a few on my arms, legs, face… It wasn’t pretty.  Then I found the creek, passed a family playing in the water and came across the stairs that make their way up to the fire trail on the side.

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It was starting to get hot.  Really hot.  It was nearly 30 degrees when I set out and was forecast to reach 40, it was dead calm down in the gully and humidity was high.  At this point I was debating whether to make a call and get picked up where the trail meets the road.  Stubbornness kicked in and instead I decided to add some extra distance/hill and go up to the nearby oval for a toilet and water stop.  This was my turnaround point, I was 4.5km in to what was originally planned as a 6km return trip in under an hour and I’d already been 45 minutes.  I felt refreshed after my break and headed back down the hill and managed to keep up a steady jog along the fire trail before heading down the steps back to the creek crossing.

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I stopped in the middle and splashed water over my face, head and legs (I think I saw tadpoles!).  Bugger it, my feet were cooking, so I sloshed around in there with shoes on as well.  Stepped out to keep going, dammit – I had forgotten I was wearing my cotton socks, not my usual compression socks and they were now waterlogged.  I made my way along the trail a little before sitting down, shoes and socks off, wrung out my socks as best I could before continuing on my way.  It was at this point of course that another runner came past – first one I’d seen – catching me sitting in the middle of the trail with shoes off!  He did check I was ok before continuing on at least.  With my feet more comfortable, I crossed fingers for no blisters and continued back along the single track.  A lot more fun this time knowing there would be no spider webs!

Looks pretty smooth at this point!

Looks pretty smooth at this point!

Then back up, up, up the endless fire trail – walking of course, physio’s orders.  Not because I was hot. And tired. And in desperate need of a drink.  I reached the top, just over one kilometre of road left before I would make it home.  It just kept getting hotter.  I picked up the pace to a jog when I could on the flat, but I mostly just walked.  What had started out as a sub-hour 6km jaunt had turned into a 9km slog that took over an hour and a half.  The sight of the shops at the end of the street was like a mirage – this was my start/end point and an easy 200m downhill in shade to get home, get my hands on an icy cold powerade and jump in the pool to cool off.

The mirage!

The mirage!

I won’t be heading out to do that again in a hurry, at least not until the weather cools down a little and my leg sorts itself out so I can run it a bit more.  Was very pleased to find a good, well defined trail that will let me connect up with other trails for much longer runs.  It will easily extend to about 12km without touching any more roads.  And if you add in crossing a bridge, then it can extend almost indefinitely on more trails, another 20km+ isn’t out of the question – certainly more than I will be able to do for quite a while, anyway!

To top things off, my garmin record of the run had “issues” – all my graphs and stats were a mess.  I opened the file in notepad to see if there was anything obvious or simple that I could do to fix it.  My run apparently started at the right time, but at some point in the middle of things it jumped forward more than a month!  So my run took a looooooong time.  Luckily, the timing of the minutes was still spot on, so a quick find/replace and it uploaded correctly – woohoo!  Because, you know, if it’s not on Garmin/Strava, it didn’t happen…

  • Distance: 9km
  • Elevation: 200m
  • Time: 1hr 40min (1hr 22 min moving time)
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