A while back (aka, the last time I blogged), I mentioned that I needed a season to just run for fun. After some serious training cycles in the previous 12 months, getting married, and moving Down Under, I just haven’t felt much motivation to pick a goal race and train my heart out. Granted, there are plenty of days I simply feel a bit “lost” without a training plan. But I am trying to ignore that feeling and continue with what I know is truly best for my mind and body right now.
I have really been enjoying getting to know Canberra on foot. It is small enough of a city, that I’ve plotted out several “run tours” in the past weeks that have taken me around to some iconic locations: Parliament House, the Embassies, Royal Australian Mint, National Museum of Australia, National War Memorial, as well as summiting Red Hill and Mount Ainslie multiple times.
Most recently, I have been running with a group who has taken me off the beaten path and onto some true Canberra trails/tracks for what feels often like authentic Cross Country running. We’re talking dirt, hills, through paddocks and herds of cows, half dozen fence crossings, through brambles and drainage pipes, with heaps of kangaroo sightings and views for miles. These are the runs I live for. And while it’s all for this group’s training for an upcoming 101k relay race, that seems to double as orienteering, I am happy to join in on these somewhat random point-to-point runs.
And then I was asked to join one of the teams.
Always up for an adventure, I naturally said yes. I think almost immediately. It will fit in nicely with the other 2 races I’ve signed up for in September…
The Sydney Half, 21 September, was the original “fun run” race that I registered Nick and I for nearly a month ago. As Nick’s 3rd half marathon, and scenic views (including, running over the Sydney Harbour Bridge), as well as running with the FiveMore team (Oiselle reseller in Sydney), we want to just enjoy this 13.1 miler for all that it will be. No racing.
Then, on 7 September, I registered Nick and I for the Canberra Times Fun Run 10k. And with “fun run” in the name, we can’t really take it too seriously, right? This 10k was intended to be a little tune-up before the Sydney Half. No racing.
So, along comes the invitation to run a trail relay on 28 September, 23k (14ish miles?) and how can I possibly say no? I wouldn’t dare. And this will be a race to remember, as it doubles as orienteering! Whether intentional or not. My leg of the race, Leg 4, has nearly TWO pages of typed out directions for the route. Here is an example of the said directions:
At the track split near Madigan St (0.62) take the left hand fork closest to Phillip Ave, and continue straight ahead up past a yellow pole (0.82), across a path (0.92; at Kellaway St) and 30m later turn left at the green Nature Park gate (0.95) to join a track heading past the Kellaway St Car Park.
From the Trig, retrace your steps back down through the gate (6.63) to head back the way you came but this time continue straight ahead down the ridgeline past (7.48) the point where you originally joined it. It quickly narrows to ST and then descends through a series of zigzags: zig left (7.92), zag right (8.04), zig left (8.33), zag right (8.49), through metal stile (8.51), becomes sealed with some steps (8.82).
Yeah. I’m pretty sure those are kilometer markings, and NOT mile markings. So, I’m naturally going to mess this up, just based on that. Not to mention all of the zigging, zagging, retracing of steps, and yellow poles that I could miss. I best run this prior to the actual race. I’d hate to be the American girl who can’t hold her own on the Aussie tracks.
But overall the lack of pressure I am putting on myself for these “races” is so delicious, I can nearly taste it. At least, I think. I hope. I suppose this is how you fun run and still make race plans. Because how can you move internationally and NOT run in the local races?!