Saturday mornings used to be for lazing in bed. That was before I became a triathlete. Now they are for running.
I usually run with the Brisbane Bayside Runners and Walkers on Saturday mornings but I’m in the middle of a stressful period in my life so decided to take a solo run through the bush instead. This allowed me three things: solitude, time in nature and a chance to visit Mum for breakfast. Mum lives just over 7km from my place if I travel through the bush trails.
I run down my street to an old paddock I need to cross to get to the bush proper. The old paddock is about 500m long with a muddy car track running through it. The grass is about six feet high with brushy seed heads on top of slender long green stems. There are a few trees poking their heads out of the grass throughout the paddock where birds often sit watching the world go by. This morning I can’t see any birds but I can hear them singing.
At the end of the paddock I run along a gravel road for about two hundred metres before I jump over the gate into the Bayview Bushland Reserve. I run along a gravel track to the start of a single-track trail that will take me along the side of a hill, running almost parallel to the ridge above. The trail is covered in dried gum tree leaves and Moreton Bay ash bark. I run past scribbly bark gums and through gullies that will run with water when the rains come later in the summer. It’s quiet and cool out here on the trail.
At the end of the single track I turn left and run up the steep trail to the top of the ridge. It’s tough work and my legs scream at me in protest. Turning right I find my way to the grass trees track, which is a narrow winding single-track through a hillside of grass trees. The stringy grass tree fronds brush against my legs as I try to avoid tripping on the black stumps of the grass trees that have been kicked over on the track.
Near the bottom of the hill I cross through some gullies and almost fall flat on my face when I trip on a fallen gum tree branch. Somehow I manage to stay upright and continue across Serpentine Creek and on up the hill towards the next ridge line. The hill is sharp and I realise that my form is not good today. I’m carrying too much tension in my back from worrying about my partner. I try to slow down a bit to focus on my form.
From the top of the ridge I run through the flowering banksias into the she-oak forest. The anxiety of the past week or so has taken it’s toll and I’m not paying attention to my run; letting my mind wander to a place of worry. I roll my ankle. It’s not a bad roll but it’s enough to make me scream at the trees in frustration and pain. Venting a few swear words makes me feel a bit better but I’m worried about my ankle so I walk up the trail to the next turn off. It’s only about 300m but just enough to ease the pain of the roll.
The walk does me good too. It reminds me how beautiful it is here in the bush. How timeless nature is and how when I’m here enjoying the bush nothing else matters. The birds sing with freedom and a light breeze whispers through the she-oak leaves.
I’m at the half-way point when I start running again at the next turn. I continue through the she-oak forest and down to cross Serpentine Creek again about 1.5km further along the trail. From here I climb out of the bushland and onto the road near Mum’s house. By now I’m running late for breakfast so I pick up the pace for the final 1.6km from the bush to Mum’s home. Wallabies nibble grass on the side of the road, horses stand in paddocks and a few dogs bark as I run past. It’s still early Saturday morning in Mum’s neighbourhood and the world is still asleep.
My ankle and soul feel good by the time I run up the paddock to Mum’s house.
Total distance run: 7.19km @ 6:55/km. A slow run but at least I got out there.