Starlight pricks through the black curtain across the sky. There’s not a sound on the air except my feet patting the bitumen as I run through our neighbourhood. It’s still dark when I hit the gravel road. So dark that I can see the orange glow of the street lights that are a whole kilometre away and over a small hill. I crunch along the gravel at a nice slow pace.
There’s almost no sign of life until after the turnaround point when the kookooburras start to laugh. Suddenly the world starts to come alive. Other birds start to sing. The horizon starts to grow lighter. I see first one, then two and more cars driving down the road.
By the time I am home the sun has climbed higher into the heavens and the day is bright. Despite having lived here all my life, I am always surprised that the transition from day-to-night and night-to-day is completed within 15 minutes.
Total: 11.5km road run
I’m such a sensible man … not
I have the day off today to spend time with my partner (she’s a shift / weekend worker). We started our day with a delightful 5km walk around our neighbourhood. It’s a fantastic chance for us to catch up on all we’ve missed in the week that we’ve been like ships passing through the night.
The wallaby that lives in our street
Thanks to my new digital camera, I managed to capture a photo of the wallaby that lives in our street. I think it’s the first wallaby / kangaroo photo I’ve managed to share here on this Australian blog.
A “poop tree”
It’s winter so the wattles are starting to bloom and the old wattles are starting to grow “poop”. I know there’s probably a scientific and botanical explanation for these ugly growths but to me they’ve always made me think of “poop” so I call these trees “poop trees”. I couldn’t resist taking a photo.
The scrub turkey’s nest
We have a scrub turkey who is building a nest. Last year he built a mammoth mound but didn’t have any success in breeding (though we do believe he might have found a mate). This year he’s trying again. Scrub turkeys build big mounds of leaf litter and bark. The turkeys themselves aren’t that big, last year, this bird’s mound was about 60cm (2′) high and 3m (10′) across.
The leaf litter the scrub turkey is stealing for his nest
To create his mound, the scrub turkey ‘steals’ leaf litter and mulch from far and wide. All the leaf litter on the path has been scratched there by our local turkey and will all find its way onto the mount. Last year, the turkey took mulch from the gardens across the road from here and scratched it all the way across to it’s nest too.
Total: 5km walk
Mum and I went bushwalking near home this morning. The birds were singing in the trees and the creeks were running clear.
But the bush was also alive with creepy crawlies like spiders, mosquitoes and this giant worm.
I upped the weight in my pack to 13kg this morning by throwing some of my motorbike gear into it. I found the weight quite manageable.
Total: 6.1km bushwalk with 13kg pack
During university orientation last week our lecturers said that we would have to decide what we’re going to give up to make space in our lives for study. It’s something that I’ve been told at the beginning of every course and still it takes me by surprise when I realise just how much work is involved in university study (and I’m not even a high-achieving student).
Yesterday I had the day off work. I had hoped to hit the road for a 2-3 hour bicycle ride. However, I also had 2-3 hours of readings to complete for one of my units (Literacy at Work), then I had classes from 4pm – 8pm. Normally, I would have completed the readings earlier but they weren’t available until the weekend and I’d been too busy doing additional readings.
So, my 2-3 hour bicycle ride became the first casualty of my new life as a full-time worker and part-time student. But I am committed to my health, so I made time during the day for a short 35km spin.
The air smelled damp and muddy as I rode through the Logan River flood plains. All around me the earth has become saturated so water is now sitting on the surface or expanding beyond the boundaries of creeks and dams.
Trees and clouds reflect on the surface of the dark brown water. There’s beauty in everything natural, even when the same natural phenomenon are annoying, frustrating and inconvenient.
I felt flat during the ride. Though that’s probably a feature of my running out of testosterone tablets and not being organised enough to buy a new packet on time. And the challenge of finding a new routine now that I’ve added both university study and Scout leadership to my schedule will have something to do with the fatigue too.
Total: 35.2km road cycle
Posted in Cycling
Tagged Cycling, nature
It’s tempting to complain about all the rain we’ve been having lately but that would be silly. The wet season usually runs from mid-January through to mid-March and this year it’s been a doozy. We’ve had about 150mm of rain fall in the past 48 hours on top of all the rain we’ve already had.
It meant that my trail run this morning was a slosh-fest. Fortunately for me (but unfortunately for the bush), the recent rains have already washed the mud away so the water along the trails flowed clear.
I felt tight for the first 3km of my run. Especially in my left ankle and calf. I suspect it’s fatigue from all the hill climbing on Saturday night. But once I got going and started to relax, I felt a lot better and enjoyed my run.
After running a loop I got back to my car at 7.2km but decided to practice some discipline and ran an extra 800m up and down the road to finish with an 8km (5mile) run.
Total: 8km trail run.
Team Whoops Witch Way are back to our usual Wednesday night running schedule after last week’s deviation on the pool ponies. We worked hard tonight, running a hilly 9.4km. While the moon is full, it was hidden behind the clouds so the bush was dark as we wound our way along technical single tracks. The exercise was made more challenging by the two huge gum trees that had crashed down across the trails during the weekend’s storms. The rain also had the toads out in force; their beady little eyes reflecting green under our head torches.
Total: 9.4km night trail run
Pretty trees in Buhot Creek Reserve
The forecast this morning predicted heavy rain and storms but I had no intention of staying indoors today. I am enjoying being back outdoors and walking is good for my recovery. So I wrote down some geocache coordinates in the Brisbane Koala Bushland Reserve and Buhot Creek Reserve. My route would require me to walk about 10km if I wanted to search for each of the caches I wrote down.
Brisbane Koala Bushland Reserve
I started in the Brisbane Koala Bushland Reserve. The 2.5.km return walk to the geocache was mostly along bitumen trails that have been installed to make this beautiful park accessible to a wider range of people, including the elderly and people who use wheelchairs. The hum of cicadas was deafening, exascerbating the oppressive humidity with the way their sound almost felt like a physical presence. Not that I’m complaining: I quite like our humid summers because sweating makes me feel like I’ve exercised. Frogs added their song to that of the cicadas, especially as I walked through the low-lying areas and across the boardwalks. It felt like home.
Buhot Creek Reserve
Dam in Buhot Reserve
After successfully finding the geocache in the Brisbane Koala Bushland Reserve, I rode my motorbike the 2km to Buhot Creek Reserve where I set off in search of another 13 geocaches. I came here earlier in the week and explored a few of the trails but today I had more time so I could travel further into the reserve. Buhot Creek Reserve is incredibly varied. It has narrow reed-filled creeks, lilly-covered ponds and dams, and black water swamps. It also has acres of thick lantana weeds, open bushland and thick scrub. I spent three sweaty hours exploring the trails and managed to find ten of the thirteen caches I searched for; the other three eluded me.
Geocaching scratches on my calf
Other than the risk of seeing a snake, the most dangerous thing about geocaching is getting scratched up by prickled weeds and plants, and sharp blades of grass. This makes it quite a safe passtime for the whole family. Some caches are hidden near roads and trails, while others are located hundreds of metres off trails through untracked bushland. I found my share of such bush-bash caches today. I also took some nice shortcuts.
Fortunately, the rain stayed away for the most part. There were a few heavy showers but the area I walked in didn’t get any of the strong storms that the city expierenced. Not that I would have minded: summer rain is warm anyway.
Total: 10km walk and 11 geocaches found
Posted in Brisbane, Bushwalking, Geocaching, Hiking, Redlands, Walking
Tagged Brisbane, Brisbane Koala Bushlands Reserve, Buhot Creek Reserve, Bushwalking, Geocaching, Hiking, nature, outdoors, Queensland, Redlands, Walking
JC Trotter Memorial Park
I met with K from running club this morning for a walk at JC Trotter Memorial Park. K has injured her achilles so is also unable to run.
I played tour guide to K, who hadn’t explored these trails before. We had a lovely time getting to know each other (it was our first time meeting). The 4.5km walk was probably a bit too fast for my SIJ because I felt it afterwards but I don’t think I did too much harm (or at least nothing the physio wasn’t able to fix this morning).
Walking trails in White’s Hill Reserve
I had an hour to kill between my walk and physio appointment so I rode my motorbike down to White’s Hill Reserve where I went for an easy 1.5km walk. I’ve never been to White’s Hill Reserve despite it being only about 30km from my home. I’m glad I went there this morning because it’s lovely. The reserve is hillier than JC Trotter Park so it will be a good place to add to my trail running regime once I’m back into it.
I found a geocache while there and still have about half a dozen left to find so will be back. I focused on technique while I was walking at White’s Hill. That might sound strange, given I was ‘only’ walking but I think that my walking technique will feed my running technique. My focus today was on short gentle steps, rather than on extending my stride (which is what I unintentionally did while walking with K).
Total: 6km walk and 2 geocaches found.
Posted in Brisbane, Bushwalking, Geocaching, Hiking, Redlands, Walking
Tagged Brisbane, Bushwalking, Geocaching, healthy-living, Hiking, JC Trotter Memorial Park, nature, outdoors, Redlands, Walking, White's Hill Reserve
After yesterday morning’s return to training, I was excited to jump out bed to hit the trails again today (though I my exit from bed was more a slow roll because my back won’t yet allow me to jump). Instead of returning to Buhot Creek, I went instead to JC Trotter Memorial Park. This little patch of bush is near Buhot Creek where I was yesterday. I was drawn there by three geocaches that promised easy finding and plenty of walking between each cache. And the fact that I’d never been here before.
Ancient grass tree family
Mmmm … soft
JC Trotter Memorial Park is delightful! It will be an excellent addition to my trail running when I am able to run again. But for now, it made for lovely walking. I think there’s plenty to see along the trails. There’s sculptural ancient grass trees that stand over a metre tall and look like little families. Mother Nature has written her stories on the bark of scribbly gum trees. And multiple varieties of grasses grow along the track, including some whispy long soft grasses that look like they would make a comfortable mattress.
The view through the ‘window’
The geocaches I found were all large and easy to locate, unlike the challenging little micros I searched for yesterday. One was hilarious because it was a bucket with a toilet seat on top of it placed in a hollowed out tree. The tree had a ‘window’ in it, which made the cache look a bit like the small room we all have in our homes. The view through the ‘window’ was pretty and really encapsulated the atmosphere of JC Trotter Memorial Park.
I ended up walking 5.25km and felt good afterwards. I didn’t experience any pain during my walk, though I think perhaps it was slightly too far because I had some slight pain after I rode my motorbike to work (nothing like the pain I have been experiencing though). The really promising thing is that my calves and shins are still feeling great after my walks: no shin splints.
My physio is going to try to hook me up with a local guy who does chi running. I think it will be good to learn some new techniques in my quest to return to running and enjoy the sport injury-free. During my walk I tried to focus a little bit on keeping my body aligned and using gravity to my advantage. I tried taking small steps and having my feet land under me, rather than in front. It’s not a scientific approach but I’m just trying new things to see what might work.
Total: 5.25km walk and 3 geocaches found
Posted in Brisbane, Bushwalking, Geocaching, Hiking, Injury, Redlands, Walking
Tagged Brisbane, Bushwalking, Geocaching, Hiking, JC Trotter Memorial Park, nature, outdoors, Redlands, Sacroiliac Joint injury, SIJ injury, Walking