Back on (single) track

Easy Run – Lake Lysterfield Park

Dist: 16.11km, Elevation: 326m, Time: 1:45:03, Pace: 6:31 min/km

It’s been a quiet three weeks for me running wise. The achy foot hasn’t really shown any signs of subsiding until recently, and it’s still a bit touch and go. Quite frustrating really! Physio reckons it’s the Tib-post tendon. Massage therapist reckons plantar fascia. Personally I think it’s the hallucis longus flexor tendon.

Whatever it is, it seems to be getting better, and that’s what really matters, and I managed to sneak in a nice and easy 16km jog at Lysterfield Lake Park yesterday. After a month away from the trails, it was like Disneyland all over again! This was also my first training run with Trieu, whom I had met three weeks earlier at the GOR Marathon. I do like running alone, but every now and then I guess it’s nice to have some company, and it could certainly help when I start to get into the serious distances in a few months time.

The sky was overcast and grey, and a heavy mist hung about the treetops as we set off down the first 100 metres or so of Lake Circuit, before peeling off to Lamberts Track. It was relatively early in the morning – the weather was cool and the forest was dead silent. It was beautiful, almost eerie, and it would have been had it not been for my rather chatty running companion!

We trotted through the forest, along some of my favourite parts of the park – Thompsons track, Farm Boy track, Across and up east-west break to the Donellan homestead, and back down Donellan track. The highlight of the day, as usual, was the climb up to Trig Point starting from the Glen Track / Wallaby Track junction. The climb begins with 1.5km of gentle rise, followed by a lung busting climb that rises 60m in elevation over just 500m of trail. At the top, I am usually rewarded with a stunning nearly 360 degree view of the surrounds. But today was different. For the first time (well my first time anyway), the top of the hill was shrouded in cloud, the ground disappearing into the mist barely 50 metres way in all directions. It was strange, but every bit as charming.

A brief pause at Trig Point to catch our breath, and we were off back down the enjoyable descent down Grassy Spur track, then Tramline track all the way back to the dam. As we neared the finish line, a welcome light drizzle arrived to cool us down, and it would have been the perfect finish, except that just minutes after we hit the rock hard concrete/tarmac path from the dam to the carpark, my achy foot, which had behaved itself so well throughout the entire trip, decided to have its little protest. The last 400m or so of a beautiful run was made sour as I was nearly reduced to a limp.

We packed our sweaty gear back into the cars. Trieu was planning to head to the lake for a bit of an “ice bath” to cool his legs down, and I figured I’d tag along and do a stretchdown on the lake shore. I certainly wasn’t getting in there – I wasn’t going to have my car smell of river all the way home. As the weather would have it, neither of us got in our post run plans as it started bucketing down with torrential rain. We hurried back to the cars and after a rushed goodbye, headed our separate ways back home, looking forward to the next one!

As I drove back through the pelting rain, I realised that I wasn’t all that upset about the foot. That day had rekindled in me that love I have for the trails – rain or shine, hot or cold. Sure, any running is better than no running at all, but give me trails any day. No disrespect at all to track athletes or roadrunners out there – to each his/her own!

To me, running on the road is like playing a piano piece on an electronic keyboard. It looks like the real thing, kinda sounds like the real thing, but feels nowhere as natural and lacks soul. But what about treadmills? Well, that’s like playing the piano on an iPad. Something is better than nothing, but just ‘coz there’s an app for it doesn’t mean that’s the way to go! I do my speed sessions and mid week runs on the road because that’s the only way I’ll get any running in during my hectic weekday schedule. But come the weekends, I get to escape the concrete jungle and its busy, frantic existence I get to fill my lungs with fresh air, surrounded by trees, the raw dirt beneath my feet. The songs of magpies my soundtrack, with not a car or building in sight. For me, that’s when running comes to life, and I can step into a whole other world of freedom and fun!




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