Oxfam Training run on the Coastal Classic Course

Last Sunday our Oxfam crew (minus Roger who was doing a First Aid course, very handy) ran the Coastal Classic course from Otford to Bundeena. I opted for the one-way version, however our team mates Dom & Em decided to try Otford to Buneena to Otford, which sounds crazy right?! Well I would have joined them but as I had run the M7 road marathon the week before my body was still recovering from that and I knew it would be tough just pushing myself to go one way.

We were so lucky with the weather, it was very cold to start but the day cleared up and got warm while we were running. You should see my tan lines, hilarious!!

The first 5kms felt great and we ran into some wildlife before hitting the first big hill, below you can see a Joey and a Deer (they tried to tell me it was an Alpaca but it doesn’t have the long neck of an Alpaca so I didn’t believe them!)

1_Joey

2_Deer

We also had the wonderful Scott (who is training for GNW 100 miler!!) join us for the trip, he had already run 50km on the previous day so the picture below shows how he was feeling. Great guy and very knowledgeable!

3_Scotty Tired

As I stopped to get some photos, Em and Dom made their way up the hill towards the sunrise so I snapped the below shot, one of my fave pictures from the run now.

3_Sunrise

And of course because I was going super slow Dom decided to take a seat while he waited for me. My legs were feeling very heavy and I felt like I didn’t have much gas in the tank despite my constant food & drink.

6_Dom patiently waiting

And then there were more hills, some of the steps were huge even for 6 foot tall me, I’d hate to be any shorter and trying to climb that one below.

4_First Big Hill

And the view from the top was beautiful. This whole course is beautiful. The coastline we ran past the whole time was nothing short of spectacular and I’d have to say this is my favorite run in terms of the view.

5_Heading North

We stopped at Garie beach for the bathroom and then we kept heading north. I ran ahead to get a shot of the guys who had probably fallen behind talking about food. So here’s Dom and Scott running right beside the ocean.

4_Dom on coastline

4_DScott on coastline

And at the top of the next hill i turned around to see where we had come from, wow!

6_Beach crossing behind us

At about the halfway point we had run into my mate Nigel who had run from Bundeena to meet us and run back with us. So here he is below with Dom and Emma.

6_Group shot

And he Nigel is trying to motivate me up the next hill, I think I was walking a lot by this stage. It really wasn’t a pleasant days run for me, so thank goodness for the views!!

7_Heading north with Nigel

And what we like to call the White Cliffs of Dover…

7_White cliffs no people

My favorite spot.

7_White Cliffs looking south

Nigel and I ran together for most of the last 10kms as the rest of the gang had gone ahead. I had told them earlier to not stop for me as I knew they were going to be out for much longer as they were doing the return trip. Thankfully I had Nigel to keep me moving, as i honestly think I would have walked most of it if he had not been there.

After feeling the way i did during that run I knew that I had not recovered from the marathon yet, and that i needed to take it easy over the next couple of weeks as there was less than 3 weeks till Oxfam Trailwalker. I really need to be in my best shape for Oxfam so my eyes are on the prize and I won’t be letting my team down.

I got home and was wrecked. I ate everything I could fine and then tackled the couch for a snooze, but I was unable to sleep (not sure why). My knees were stiff and my hips were feeling worn out. Later that night I had a red wine and ended up sleeping like a baby.

Emma and Dom managed to finish the double journey in 10 hours and my hat goes off to them, they would have been exhausted by the end but very good preparation for our jorney that lies ahead.

If you would like to sponsor our Oxfam team, please use this link: https://trailwalker.oxfam.org.au/team/home/17564

Happy Running 😀

Glow Worm Tunnel Half Marathon

How slack am I, it’s taken me all week to write this blog. Sorry!

Last Friday I set off to Newnes for a camping / running weekend as part of the Glow Worm Tunnel Marathon & Half Marathon. After driving through Lithgow I was blown away by the size of the mountains and cliffs around me, it was breathtaking…….. my photos do not do it any justice so next year you’re all going to have to head out there and see it for yourselves.

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As I drove through the beautiful cliffs that towered around me I felt like I had escaped to another world, it was so calming and set me in good spirits for the weekend ahead. The plan was to race on Saturday in the half marathon & volunteer to help out on Sunday if they needed it. So that meant 2 nights of camping in my tent with 80% chance of rain predicted for the whole weekend. I thought at the time, this could get interesting.

I pulled into Newnes and it seems the organisers were running a little late and I could not register straight away so i set off to put up my tent and met my fellow neighbors Pete & Maddy (his daughter) who was running the half, and Deb who was sleeping in her ute and also running the half. They were both great and gave me an extra pair of hands when putting up and pulling down the tent. Aside from helping with the tent they were very nice people.

Eventually I was able to register and pick up my race T-shirt, so headed back to the tent to get everything organised for tomorrow’s race. I was starting to feel nervous and also very tired. I got everything out ready for the run & headed out to have some dinner at the pre-organised buffet at camp HQ. It was a bit cold, but not too bad. Thankfully I had ran into Andy from Striders on the way to dinner so we sat and chatted with some other runners about race day tactics and shared other running stories.

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After dinner I headed back to the tent and Deb and I decided to go for a walk along the first section of the course to check it out. It was dark by now so we took our torches and made sure we were rugged up warm. We were also thankful that there hadn’t been any rain yet – fingers were crossed!!

There was a short fire trail road section which met the first river crossing, however we managed to get across and stay dry using the stepping stones on the right hand side. Mental note for the morning, stay to the right and use the stepping stones so we can keep our feet dry for as long as possible.

We walked and chatted and it was great to get to know Deb, she’s had a pretty horrific 5 weeks leading up the race and I admired her for being there and being so brave. I really do hope she adds me on bookface as i’d like to keep in contact with her and wasn’t able to find her so far. So we walked for a couple of kms then headed back to camp. I chatted to Deb for a little outside our tents but it started to rain so i retreated inside for an early night. It was 7.30pm.

And I slept like a baby… that is, until I woke up to a soggy sleeping bag and water dripping in several locations throughout. Not a great thing, but at least it hadn’t made me too cold and luckily missed my running gear and clothes so at least they were all dry.

I got up and had brekkie at 6.00am, race start was 8.00am so I had a few hours to digest the meal and I kept it light. Toast with honey, a banana and thankfully a ‘real’ coffee from the baristas who were there for the whole weekend (thank you). After that I headed back to the tent to get ready and made my way to the start line for the race briefing, where I saw Tanya & Andy eager and ready to run.

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It poured, I mean bucketed down during the race briefing and it was cold. Not as cold as the previous year (so i’m told). But the clouds parted and as we set off the rain became a drizzle and for most of the run it did not rain at all, only spots.

Here’s a shot of us heading towards the start line, that’s the old Newnes Hotel in the background on the left, they do a mean plunger coffee for only $3 and the place is a museum, a must visit if you’re ever in the area.

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We were off and racing and as planned I stuck to the right and managed to keep my feet dry crossing the river, which had not gotten any bigger since the night before so the stepping stones were clearly visible.

The first half of this run was mostly incline all the way up to the Glow Worm Tunnel, so i knew it would be tough. However it was all very ‘runnable’ and there was not a lot of walking done at all for the entire course. I was breathing a little heavier than usual but this was to be expected as it was all incline, so I just told myself to get into a rhythm and stick with it.

I passed a few people in the first 7km leading up to the checkpoint and saw one lady wearing no shoes, plus two others in just sandles. It was muddy, slippery and lots of branches and debris around so i hoped we would all stay safe.

I ran through the checkpoint thanking the volunteers and waving as i went. I was carrying all the water and food that i would need so there was no point wasting time here. I chatted with some lovely runners, a guy named Ian who is working a an engineer on the Barangaroo Project in Sydney, funnily enough our company will be moving there in a couple of years. Then I chatted to another Deb and as we got towards the Glow Worm tunnel we all slowed down to get out our torches.

It was pitch black in the cave and thankfully the guy behind me had a stronger beam than mine, as mine was not helping at all. Unfortunately I did not see any Glow Worms 😦 Maybe with all the runners coming through we had been too loud and scared them, it;s a shame but I know i’ll be back. There were cameras set up at this point too so hopefully I’ve got some good shots coming as I didn’t take my phone out to get an pictures.

After the tunnel was a few small hills and then it meant the rest was all decline. My strength is going downhill so my plan was to gun it from here to the end. There were some large downhill sections and I just let myself go, I was flying down some of these hills and i think some people thought I was crazy as I really was going fast. My Garmin told me that I was doing 4’06” pace at the steepest section (almost as fast as Shaun & Mike on the flat, ha ha).

I loved the second half of this course and felt great. It had started to sprinkle which cooled me down nicely and I stayed at a constant pace for most of the rest of the course. The first and last 7km were the same section, so once I got to the checkpoint I knew what was coming.

Then I rolled my ankle and fell to the floor. I think it was actually a good thing that I fell as it took a bit of the pressure off my ankle, but my knees were pretty cut up and the ankle was not feeling good at all. I stayed on the ground for a minute and then slowly got back up to my feet and tried to run. I will admit that it hurt to run but I kept going and eventually the pain subsided.

As i was approaching the final river crossing I’d decided that I would not take the stepping stones this time, instead I would plunge into the water and finish strong. And that’s exactly what I did, I even managed to pick up about 8 places as I overtook a whole group of ladies who were (being girl) using the stepping stones. How cool is that!!

I crossed the line on 2hr 35 minutes which is much quicker than I had expected, especially as it was my first long run since TNF 4 weeks earlier. I was so happy to have finished the race and had no issues with my hip/tendons which was the reason i had to pull out of TNF.

This was an awesome day – I was back and there’s no stopping me now!!

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Below is the view back towards the road leading into Newnes.

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I ended up only staying for a couple of hours after the race, enough time to see Tanya head off and finish the 6km race. Can you believe she actually was entered into all 4 runs that weekend..!?!? She did the half marathon, 6km, mountain dash & finished with the full marathon on the Sunday – she’s a machine! Great work Tanya!

So i packed up my soggy tent and belongings as there was more rain predicted and I did not fancy another night of getting wet and the possibility of it making me ill. It was pretty cold out there but the weather had cleared up a little so thankfully some of the water had evaporated.

I said my farewells and hit the road back home, i was looking forward to seeing my man and sleeping in a warm, dry, comfy bed.

The road leading out of Newnes was beautiful again I even had a small river crossing that was no challenge for my Yaris!

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The final view (above) was taken at the last point where the mountains finish and the not-so-picturesque driving starts. How gorgeous is that view……

And my dinner that night, well…….

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Happy Running 😀

Buffalo Creek Reserve

A group of us organised an unofficial Striders 6Ft training run at the Buffalo Creek Reserve in North Ryde last Saturday, as there was no official run set for this weekend aside from a 14km race with the Striders on Sunday (which wasn’t quite long enough for some of us). So we rocked up to the park ready to run at sunrise which was 6.30am.

Buffalo Creek Reserve sign

Today we had 8 victims running through the trails in the area and we were lucky to have Alex along as he knew the area well. It was such an enjoyable run and we really had a lot of fun.

group rock shot

The morning was quite cloudy and cool which was a nice change from some of the hot and humid runs that we have had in the past couple of months. We ran through some swamps and single tracks and boardwalks. We had a bit of everything on this run.

river shot with sky

We even cut across a construction site that was block our path.

construction site

There were a couple of road sections that took us to the next trail, so I was very thankful that Alex led us because I never would have found this course without him.

downhill road shot

There were a few small bridges to cross and the water was very calm in all places we stopped to look. It was a beautiful area.

creek shot

We even had to rock climb around one section of the track and use some metal prongs haning out of the rock to hold ourselves up. Here’s a shot of the group about to climb across the wall. You also had to duck quite low while climbing across and unfortunately I whacked my head quite hard when I was too busy trying not to slip and fall into the water below.

group rock shot 2

We ran across part of a golf course, for about a kilometer and I think we surprised the golfers who stopped to let us pass.

golfing shot

There was a beautiful little running waterfall that we ran past, nothing like Wentworth falls but pretty nonetheless.

waterfall shot

We did an extra loop section at one point and the trail was covered with a few fallen trees, but we didn’t let that stop us.

fallen trees

After a few final boardwalks we hit the road and ran down the last section back to our starting point. I was very thankful to be back but I had a very enjoyable run.

I had worn my new Salomon vest today which fit like a glove right from the first step, so I was very pleased with that as I planned to use it for the Northface100.

I was also trialing Tailwind Nutrition for the first time, a mixture you add to your water which replaces all other fuels. I must say my energy levels felt very consistent throughout the run and I will be testing it again on some longer runs after the 6Ft track marathon. Only 2 weeks to go!!

Happy Running 🙂