About the running I do, wherever I go. It's the greatest thing in the world to seek out fresh places to run. With a map, a river or lake or even city streets, I can plot my own adventures and be an explorer. And now I’m hiking too so there’s a whole new world of exploration.
This morning at Lysterfield
I went for a nice run at Lysterfield. Instead of following the road down to the lake I took the Eastern Boundary Track, for the first time. There were lots of kangaroos but very shy and they hopped away from me. Twice I saw a Joey scramble into its mother's pouch.
And then I saw this fella by the trail as I was almost done for the day.
Where to begin? The lovely name, maybe, Never Summer 100 kilometres. I'm a 'never summer' person, always chasing a winter somewhere, so the race had my name all over it. I knew it was going to be hard and I suspected it was going to be awe inspiringly beautiful. I love a loop course. Even though I read the info on the website carefully I was caught unawares by just how difficult and just how beautiful it was. But I had come here for beauty and I had done the training; I kept reminding myself that I had done the training. Not that I was able to train for the specific demands of this high altitude, midsummer Colorado race in the Australian winter, living at sea level, with a distinct shortage of talus, snow and mountains near my house. Downed trees are unusual at home. Bog dries out. Shade is plentiful. But you prepare as best you can. In running well over six hundred kilometres in a six week period before I left for the US I had already outdone any previous burst of training …
It was wet and windy for my marathon today, quite a change from the hot weather I’ve had almost all summer in Europe. The Marathon Touraine Loire Valley (yes, English spelling) sounded like a pretty race going through little villages and along the Loire river, starting in the centre of Tours. I found it quite humid at first and I worried about that, and also the road seemed slippery in the wet. The route took us along small roads and bike tracks (Loire à vélo) through farmland (that means cornfields and other vegetables) - I recall a huge field of bright green spinach leaves - and some light forest. We ran alongside a small river for a while. The highlight at 19 km was running through the grounds of Chateau Villandry, a pretty castle in pretty grounds, although the path was very slippery. Next door to the castle was a nice looking Romanesque church. A lot of the route wasn’t all that exciting, a bit like running the Traralgon Marathon with a castle thrown in and the supporters calling …
To be honest I did not expect to enjoy this race, 100 kilometres on a 400 metre track starting at 7pm. Why would anyone do this? I saw some benefits in terms of gaining mental toughness so I signed up. It didn’t go any better than I had anticipated but I learnt some lessons. The best thing I did before the race was to download eight episodes of a podcast called “The Teachers Pet” about an unresolved murder investigation; I would have downloaded all 15 eps but I used up my motel internet allowance. Anyway, I had about 10 hours of audio and I listened to every last minute, credits, ads and all. I have never listened to a podcast while running before and while loading the episodes I was not too sure I would use them but I am so glad I took them with me. Music was not going to do it for me this time. The podcast was repetitive and easy listening, while harrowing, and I will be on the lookout for similar, but possibly happier, material next time I have a boring task to complete. My other mai…