Tuesday, September 2, 2008

It's all downhill from here...

Yesterday I did my last long run prior to the Sydney marathon. It was meant to be 32km, but a dose of some flu-like virus a few days earlier had left me feeling sluggish and lethargic so I only managed 30km, most of which I ran like a lethargic slug.

I don't want to talk about it...

Sutherland Half Marathon

This was a much happier run, a week earlier, in the beautiful surroundings of Royal National Park. It was organized by the Sutherland District Athletics Club, yet another bunch of runners who seem intent on giving everyone the most enjoyable day possible.

The course took in a little tour of the historic Audley picnic area before heading out along Lady Carrington Drive for 9km or so, and then back along the same trail to the finish. Decent rains the night before had left the trail damp and slightly soft underfoot with the occasional muddy puddle to add interest. It was an absolutely lovely run, with the sunshine breaking out from behind the clouds every so often and streaming down through the tree canopy. Bush smells and birdsong...

Being much more organized than the previous weekend I got there in time for the start of this race, complete with a brand new pair of sandals made out of Vibram 6mm neoprene soling material (see below). The only problem was that I was still trying to get them on when the race started. After fumbling my way through tying the laces, I once more found myself starting several minutes after everybody else. Moreover, I'd done such a poor job with the laces that it took another couple of stops to get them adjusted properly, followed by a long wee stop made necessary by having too much coffee before I left home. So much for my competitive edge ! Happily, I caught up to some of the other runners eventually and enjoyed a bit of on-the-hoof conversation. I finished the race feeling strong and full of that particular kind of pleasure that the best runs provide.

Many thanks to the folks from the Sutherland Club for a really wonderful day and for the photo that appears here.

Trail running huaraches

I was fairly sure that my feet were not yet ready to tackle the gravel and rocks of Lady Carrington Drive with only the thin Cherry sandals for protection. So, with a sheet of more substantial (6mm) Vibram neoprene material, which I purchased from Barefoot Ted, I made a pair of trail running huaraches. The neoprene is very slightly spongy with a much more basic and shallow tread pattern than the high-tech Cherry material.

These new sandals turned out to be fantastic for the Sutherland half-marathon. Though I was insulated from the ground much more than with my thinner sandals I still had a definite sense of barefoot-ish running, and not having to monitor the terrain ahead quite so intently made the run much more relaxing.

There's a huarache for all conditions !

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