Tag Archives: Queensland

Brisbane Koala Bushland Reserve and Buhot Creek Reserve

Pretty trees in Buhot Creek Reserve

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

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

Buhot Creek Reserve

Dam in Buhot 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

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

 

 

 

Advertisements

Loving life on the trails

Fog and trees

I lie back in the bathtub and close my eyes. The cold water has stopped stinging my skin so I relax my legs into it trusting that this routine after my longer runs will help keep me injury free. I let my mind wander back to this morning’s run.

About eight of us met at Bayview Conservation Park to tackle the trails. We followed a fun 5km loop along rocky single track and a short stretch of fire trail. The run started with a long slow uphill gradient to a saddle. N and I talked about our decision to enter next year’s Oxfam Trailwalker Brisbane while the rest of the group held their own conversations along the line. It felt good to pick our way over the rocky trail discussing exciting plans for the future.

From the saddle we scurried down a zig-zagging trail until we reached a fire trail. We crossed the main track and continued skipping down the single track. The track has been cut for mountain bikers so it twisted and turned smoothly to the bottom of the hill. We turned right along some more single track that undulated gently along the edge of a gully. I felt strong and rhythmic as we moved; my feet picking the way confidently and my body relaxing into the bush.

We came to another fire trail but turned hard left along the other side of the gully. The trail here was less twisting and allowed me to pick up a consistent cadence for a while. At the end of the trail we crossed a fire trail to another uphill section of single track. This track was cut into the side of the hill so it dropped away sharply; not that the drop was high because the hills here are only about 100m above sea level.

At the top of the hill we turned right onto fire trail for the first time. We had to drop down a steep hill of loose gravel, which caught some of our group by surprise. This was followed by a short sharp uphill climb before we were able to turn off the fire trail back onto single track.

At the end of our first lap a few of our group had to travel home so we farewelled them and continued down along fire trail to the You’re Kidding track. We ran this loop backwards, which meant we had to go slightly uphill all the way. You’re Kidding doesn’t flow as well in reverse as it does running it downhill but it was still glorious. A slight fog rose between the trees as we made our way along the trail. It’s likely to be the last fog we see before May or June next year because our summer has definitely started.

We ran a short distance down fire trail before our group had to split again; three of us wanted to keep running while three had to leave due to family and work commitments. We went our separate ways at a point where the fire trail led those leaving safely to their cars.

We continued our run by following the fire trail to where the single track we ran on our first lap took off. We followed the trail in reverse back to our cars; picking up the pace quite a bit now that we were a smaller group of just three. It felt good to power up the hills and cruise all the way back to our cars.

Total: 11.89km. Elevation gain: 251m. Average temperature: 11’C.

Scribbly Gum trail run

Scribbly Gum run

The late afternoon sun warmed my skin as my feet skipped smoothly over the gravel fire trail. I’d never run at Scribbly Gum before, despite it being so close to home. We turn down a gloriously soft and sandy single track. I enjoy the softness even though I’m wearing my Merrells. Soft grasses occasionally brush gently against my ankles.

Ahead of me M’s cadence is rhythmic as he leads the way. It’s S’s first time trail running and she seems to be enjoying it. The three of us chat as we run. It’s the first time we’ve actually run together so there’s a lot of ‘getting to know you’ to be done. It’s pleasant and comfortable.

We complete a slow 6km loop of the bush before M and I set off to do a second 4km loop. It’s the perfect way to spend an afternoon.

Total:

  • 6.18km @ 7:59 pace
  • 4.10km @ 5:57pace

Elevation gain: 91m. Average temperature: 21.1’C.

Monday

I started my day at the physiotherapist to have my legs looked at. I’ve decided to see Paul at Body Leadership. He comes highly recommended by my running friends and I was not disappointed. I felt that Paul listened to me when I told him about my niggles, my injury history and my goals. Paul assessed my stride, flexibility and specific areas of strength. He did some massage to start releasing my tightness and gave me some homework. What I liked about him was that he explained what he was doing, answered my questions and didn’t try to talk me out of my slightly crazy 12-in-12 Challenge.

After enjoying a day at home with my partner, parents and an aunt, I went out running with my friend A tonight. We had organised a nice easy 4km run through the suburbs; a repeat of last Thursday’s easy run. I wanted to run 6km so did an extra 2km at 5:40 pace before meeting up with A. We had a lovely run and chat for about 4km.

I love these easy chatty runs. They are a nice reminder that running isn’t about training or racing but about movement and friendship.

Total: 6.34km barefoot run at 6:49pace. Elevation gain 74m. Average temperature: 18.0’C.

Sunday lovely Sunday

A perfect Sunday morning

It’s 7am on Sunday morning. I see my running friend AJ waiting in his car at the end of Days Road. It was a pleasant surprise to have his company for the morning run.

The last cool wisps of winter lingered in the air as I took off my long pants and jumper. In a few weeks I’ll be grateful to strip down to shorts and singlet but this morning it was still slightly cool. But the sun was warm on my skin as I ran along the trail through dappled sunlight. Cool-warm-cool-warm; that’s how my skin felt as I moved from shade to sun and back again. it was a subtle but noticeable change that only happens in late autumn and early spring.

The single track wound it’s way through the grassy bushland. Gum trees rose all around us; the mature Moreton Bay ash and bloodwoods reaching up towards the bright blue sky. Smaller wattle and banksia shrubs grew as an understory amidst the native grasses.

We didn’t run quickly but it was a relaxed and natural experience. We picked our way over exposed tree roots and through sections of loose rocks. And then we cruised the comfortable sections in between.

My GPS is playing up so I couldn’t measure our run but I think we ran between 4-5km at about 6:30-7:00 pace.

After the run I returned home and thought my partner had already left home on her daily walk so I ran an extra 2.05km along he route to try to catch up with her. I was about 200m from home when I saw my partner walking down the road. She hadn’t heard me calling out to her when I returned home from my trail run so hadn’t responded. She was only just heading out so I joined her for her walk.

Total: 6-7km run at unknown pace.

First run in Merrell Trail Gloves

My new Merrells after my run

I must be becoming a proper runner because I now have two pairs of running shoes and a perfectly good set of bare feet for shorter road and grass events. While I love my Vibram FiveFingers, they have limitations for me at the moment. I do a lot of running on gravel fire trails that are covered in small sharp rocks. While my feet are tough enough to wear the FiveFingers for about 10-15km of this punishment, anything more and I start to focus on my feet rather than on running. Though I do have to say that my feet recover quickly afterwards so they are not being unduly bruised.

Anyway, I bought myself a pair of Merrell Trail Gloves yesterday afternoon. After phoning almost every distributor in Brisbane, I finally found a shop that had my size in stock. They also had a fantastic sale ($129 down from $169). The shoes fit in the store and felt comfortable so I bought them.

This morning I pulled them on for a trial run. I started by running about 2.5km on the road and concrete footpaths through my estate. The shoes felt okay on these surfaces but not as good as bare feet or the Vibram FiveFingers.

I then ran about 1km on a gravel road. The shoes handled well on the gravel though for the fine gravel that we have on roads here, the Vibram FiveFingers would have handled just as well.

It was out on the fire trails in the bush that the Merrells really came into their own. While I had excellent ground feel, I didn’t have to worry about hurting the webbing between my toes on the sharp rocks that covered the trail. I also found that the grip on the bottom of the shoes was perfectly placed to give me traction and support while running uphill. I didn’t have to waste energy gripping the ground.

I ran a total of 7.31km in my new Merrell Trail Gloves this morning. I think they will be an excellent option for me when running on rocky fire trails. I certainly prefer the Vibram FiveFingers as a barefoot-style running shoe but that’s probably because I started out last year as a full barefoot runner and I am only using shoes to protect the soles of my feet so that I can run further sooner. In time, I hope to be able to run road marathons and all but the rockiest fire trails fully barefoot. But for now, I am very happy with my choice of Vibram FiveFingers and Merrell Trail Gloves as protection for the soles of my feet on long or rocky runs.

Total: 7.31km @ 6:17 pace. Average temperature: 12.2’C. Elevation gain: 180m.

Lake Manchester Trail Run

The start

There are four of us from Brisbane Bayside Runners and Walkers (or is that Talkers?) who have come to the 22km Lake Manchester Trail Run. For C, it’s his third half marathon in as many weeks. For R, who is an experienced road runner, it’s her first trail running event. And for L, this will be her first run at a distance further than 14km. My goal for this race is to enjoy the experience by running with R and L.

The hills were plentiful, steep and long

Yep, another hill

The race material said that there were seven hills that the race director called ‘seven dwarfs’ at the start of the trail and that the middle section was flat around the lake. Well, that will teach me for believing event material; the course was a string of hills all tacked after each other for 22km. There were almost no flat sections and the downhills were covered in loose scree-like gravel that made it feel like we were skiing on ball bearings. So, for us, it was not a fast course. But we did get a hard core glute workout.

There were creek crossings galore

The course crossed a number of very pretty creeks. Some were ankle-deep and wide, while others could be crossed by walking on rocks. We walked through some creeks, enjoying the cool water on our feet. However, where possible, we crossed over the rocks to try to keep our feet moderately dry. The water was clear and the vegetation around the creeks was lush.

The course was lovely

Despite the challenging hills, the course was lovely. It took us through tall gum trees that reached high into the sky and through rain forested areas. At the top of the ridges we could see the mountain ranges of Brisbane Forest Park and D’Aigular National Park stretching out into the distance. The bell birds’ song rang through the bush and the crack of the whip bird call punctuated the tune. There was a light breeze that kept the temperature mild but not cold. It was a perfect day for running.

Heading for home around the lake

As we ran around the course, we talked about running and events we might like to enter. I thoroughly enjoyed R and L’s company. M didn’t run with us because he was flying the flag for our club out in the front of the field. But I enjoyed his company during the pre- and post-race periods. R and I decided to enter the 2013 Oxfam Trailwalker in Brisbane. We decided to do it in the same style as the Lake Manchester Trail Run: a relaxed style.

Mmmm … soft grass with 500m to go

We had a glorious run out on the course. While my time was a lot slower than I had intended when I first entered the event, it doesn’t matter because R, L and I all were able to finish together. We ran as a team, ensuring that L completed her first half-marathon distance event. It was a huge achievement on such a tough course for a runner who had previously never run more than 14km. For me, personally, the event was a huge confidence boost because I learned that I can just cruise around a 22km course without experiencing any distress.

Total: 22km in 3hrs 14 minutes