The rain pounds on the roof. Do I or don’t I get up to go running? The temptation of a sleep in dances across my brain. And then I remember that I’m supposed to be training for the Tough Mudder. What kind of Tough Mudder would I be if I decided not to run just because I might get wet?
My decision made I spring out of bed and pull on my running gear. The club had organised to meet at Venman Bushland National Park at 5:15am but I know instinctively that Facebook is going to be full on messages from runners who decided the sleep in was too tempting. And I’m correct. At least it saves me from having to rush to the meeting point.
The bush is beautiful and peaceful as the birds and animals slowly wake. A whip bird calls out to find a mate – there is no response. A kookaburra heralds the breaking dawn with his laughter and is joined by a mate. Small birds sing their high pitched chirpy songs. Wallabies hop around eating the fresh moist shoots of grass. I’m glad I came.
The rain eases to a drizzle as I leave the carpark and make my way down the Venman Circuit. Last time I was here I ran clockwise so today I start with the track to the right and make the opposite circuit.
The rain has made the grass appear more green and the blood gums seem more red. It’s beautiful out here running along listening to the birds. I splash through the puddles, jumping in some for good measure. It’s not muddy, just wet. At the mid-point of the Venman Circuit I follow a trail to the Neville Lawrie Reserve where I find some single track to follow for a kilometre or so.
Grass brushes against my shins and branches occasionally slap against my shoulders, spraying rain drops against my skin. That’s nothing though compared with the annoying spider webs that stick to my body as I blindly plough into them. It’s not until I take a shower that I realise how many I’ve collected.
I continue to run until I reach the top of the quarry. On my return I run back to the Venman Circuit which I continue to follow anti-clockwise back to the car. Along the way I misplace my foot and roll my left ankle. I shout expletives in frustration before walking 100m to regain my composure. It’s not injured but I realise I need to be more careful with my footing on trail runs. Perhaps it is time to buy a pair of Vibrams after-all so that I can feel the ground like I do when I run barefoot on the road. I’ll think about it anyway (they are so expensive in Australia).
I wade knee-deep through a fast-flowing Tingalpa Creek before running the last few kilometres back to the carpark. On my return I meet a fellow runner who is just setting out. We have a brief yarn before I make my way to the car to get a towel and put on my shirt. I take my towel and shirt over to an information shelter where I stand to cool down and enjoy the calm of just standing in the bush. My fellow runner has just taken off down the trail when the heavens open and the drizzle turns to a torrential subtropical downpour. It’s lovely under the information shelter.