Running in Manly, (NSW, Australia)

Me at the topToday’s run was a 9.5km from Queenscliff to North Head. I had hoped to go a little further, but was running out of daylight. The views were breathtaking. The run started along the Esplanade that follows Manly Beach. Beautiful weather meant that many were out enjoying the sun and the sea and the sand.

From there, the run went along the side of the headland, lined with sculptures, to Shelley Beach. From there, I climbed up the headland to amazing views. At the top of the headland, the only way forward was through a hole in the wall. Through the stone wallLovingly decorated with a heart, the hole in the wall leads into North Head National Park, that used tooperate as the army defence point should any attacks from the sea threaten Sydney.

Within the National Park, I came across plenty of sandstone, banksia bushes in flower and mysterious paths through the scrub. My favourite was the lake right on top of the headland formed by the natural dips in the stone.

Lake on the headland

From there, I continued into the military areas, where there are a number of gun pits and the main military base. You are able to go into a lot of these areas, and it was frightening and exciting all at once. To see these monuments of history was fantastic.Gun area

This was a great run, and I strongly recommend anyone visiting the area takes some time out to explore this amazing landscape, history and culture.

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Running on the Yorke Peninsula (South Australia)

One of my favourite places to run is next to the ocean.

While holidaying on the eastern coast of the Yorke Peninsula recently, I ran a 10km return section of the Walk The York trail.DDF3EFED-9D6E-442C-92E8-0FD81DC5BF68

I started south of Edithburgh and ran north.  It was a very pleasant out and back run along the coast with spectacular views of wind farms. Somehow I find wind turbines such as these extremely peaceful.

Being along the coast, this run was very flat, and perfect for an easy long run. I would have like to go further, but wanted to make it back to have breakfast with my kids.

Edithburgh Track

I definitely intend to return to run more of this track in the future.

Rating: 9/10 for an easy run

Running in Northern Rivers (NSW, Australia)

My family are holidaying in Northern NSW at the moment, and while my husband took the kids fishing, I decided to try a trail. I did a fair bit of research, and found the Northern Rivers Bushwalking Club site was useful in finding local trails. After some consideration, decided to head to Rocky Creek Dam. My husband and I had picnic-ed up there about 10 years ago, and I had fond memories so thought it would be a good option to try.

When I arrived, I checked out the information board and decided to head off on the Swamp Turkey Walk which was 6km return. I’m still building my distance slowly after a minor knee injury and was looking for 5km, so that was perfect.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/f1d/58695303/files/2014/12/img_1548.jpgIt was raining when I got up this morning, but wasn’t going to be deterred, so packed some salt for the leeches, and a hat to keep the drips off my face. Not wanting to get my phone drenched, I didn’t take many photos, but there’s some excellent pictures on this blog, Travelling Type. I did manage to take this photo on the left, though.

Here’s the map, I didn’t do the full 6km, just a 5km return instead.

Rocky Creek Dam Run

The run starts by crossing the dam wall, which is always fun and heads into some rainforest. Shortly after, the run heads across the spillway of the dam (which you are only allowed to cross when the dam is not full and no water is overflowing). The run then heads into the Nightcap National Park which is a dense rainforest of fig trees, black butt eucalypts and vines.

As the rain was steady, I didn’t see much wildlife but the bird calls were incredible. I’m pretty sure I heard some Lyrebirds too, as something sounded a lot like a sheep and I wasn’t anywhere near a sheep paddock.

All up it was a great run, and I didn’t need the salt after all (although a saw a leech on my shoe as I was taking it off). There’s something very special about running in a rainforest in the rain.

Running in Brisbane (Queensland, Australia)

On our way to our summer holiday destination, we spent a night in Red Hill, Brisbane. My sister-in-law who we were staying with put me onto a bike track that follows the Enoggara Creek in Red Hill. Here’s my route, just under 6km return. Red Hill Run Usually when I’m in Brisbane, I’m closer to the CBD so usually do runs along the Brisbane River, so it was a nice change to run through the suburbs and see some different sights.

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There were turtles in the creek and plenty of blue quandong trees (something we don’t see in my home town of Adelaide). The humidity was intense, I think I broke into an immediate sweat as soon as I stepped outside (at 6am). Although I sweated a swimming pool full, I still felt great on the run. I’d like to run a longer length of the track when I’m next in Brisbane.

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Running in Canberra (ACT, Australia) Part 3

I had one more chance to go for a run while working in Canberra. I needed to work a 14 hour day on my feet, so I figured an easy run was in order.

I headed back to Lake Burley Griffin to see where my feet would take me. My run ended up looking like this:Canberra Run Part 3

7BC2F4D1-B663-41F2-A7E6-D079683FBED2I headed along the edge of the lake, stopping to have a look at a statue of Australia’s longest serving Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies on the way.

The lake is very beautiful, and cannot be captured in pictures. I did stop to take one picture however, as I could see Black Mountain in the background (I had run up this earlier in the week, see Running in Canberra Part 2). I would have loved to have more time to explore the lake so will have to do so on another visit.

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I then turned up Anzac Parade, where various memorials line the path up to the Australian War Memorial. On Anzac Parade, my run got a little emotional. Passing the Air Force memorial, and the Navy memorial, then the Royal Nurses memorial, I got to thinking about my grandparents who served in, or after World War II. I only briefly spoke to each of them about it before they died, and for the rest of my run, I felt like they were running alongside me, pushing me onwards. 9F5BDC61-52D1-40E0-B925-EAB9E960B7AE

This was a very timely reminder for me. To be thinking about their struggles, and the suffering they would have witnessed, while I was running made me realise that the challenges I have in my life, and the suffering I feel when running a long run are minimal compared to that created by war. As my husband would say, it’s all relative. And sometimes remembering that can help push through the struggles and suffering onto things you never imagined possible.

Running in Canberra (ACT, Australia) Part 2

One of the prominent features of Canberra is the few mountains that surround the centre of the city. From the window of my accommodation, I had been longingly looking at Black Mountain as a potential running spot, so when I got my first chance, that’s where I headed.

Black Mountain aerial

Black Mountain sticks out like a sore thumb, mostly because a fairly ugly phone tower has been built on top of it. Personally, I feel it is a bit of a pity to spoil the top of a mountain with something that is so aesthetically unappealing, but thankfully that doesn’t affect how much one can enjoy running up it.

Being so visible from anywhere in Canberra, I decided not to check a map, and just run towards the mountain until I found a trail. Doing so meant that I had a little detour until I found a track but there was success at last.

Black mountain run

It was a great run. I came across the most spectacular wattle trees in full bloom.

Wattle

The first trail I found looked promising, until I realised that the Botanic Gardens were closed, and I would have to run around the fence until I found another way up the mountain.

Eventually I came across the Canberra Centenary Trail which led up the mountain. While on this trail, I came across a summit walk which I then followed to the top. I was under time restrictions because I had to go to work not long after this run. I was about 1km from the top, when I really should have turned around so I’d have enough time for a shower when I got back to my hotel room. But that close to the top, there was no way I was turning around.

I got to the top and quickly took a happy snap to prove I was there, then had to speed to the bottom of the mountain to get back in time.Me at Black Mountain Summit

I had to stop halfway down, to get a picture of the beautiful evening sun coming through the trees, then I was in a major rush to get to work. This was a really fantastic run that I would recommend to anyone who likes a hill or a trail. Try it out next time you are in Canberra.

Sunset on Black Mountain

Running in Canberra (ACT, Australia) Part 1

So one of the best things about running for me, is that I get to explore new places.

This week I’m in Canberra (Australia’s Capital City) for work, and there’s no better way to see the city than running. I knew I’d have time constraints with my work commitments and running is a great way to see the sights in a brief space of time.

Canberra is a runner’s paradise. There are a lot of flat areas, but if you feel like tackling a trail, there’s plenty of nature parks within a few kms of the city centre.

I’m planning 3 runs here in Canberra (or 4 if I can get up early enough before my plane leaves!), so for my first run, I thought I should see some sights. This was my favourite type of run. One where you set out in a general direction of something you want to see, but one where you allow yourself to get completely off course and end up seeing something else amazing.

Canberra part 1 run map

I had decided to head in the direction of Parliament house and Lake Burley Griffin. Many friends had told me they enjoyed great runs around the lake, so I thought it might be a good place to start. Lake Burley Griffin is made up of three basins and apparently it is quite popular to choose one of the basins for a circuit run. The central basin (between the two bridges) is the most popular, being around 5km. I knew I didn’t have time to do a whole basin run, so instead I just headed along the lake.

Soon I came to the National Museum of Australia which is an amazing piece of architecture that has to be seen to be believed. Designed by Howard Raggatt, it is so multi-faceted that running around it was incredible. Every time you turned a corner, something new and interesting was revealed. Most interesting to me was the braille that adorns the exterior walls. I had to look it up when I came home to find out what it says. According to Wikipedia, the braille translates to some common Australian sayings, such as ‘She’ll Be Right’, but also includes more controversial sayings relating to the white occupation of Australia. The controversial phrases have since been obscured by metal discs placed on top, making them illegible.

Here’s an aerial view.

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By the time I had marvelled at the museum, I realised I was 2km further than I really had time for, so had to high-tail it back to my room to get ready for work. It still wasn’t all business, I managed to stop and watch some lignets on the way back.

LignetsAll up, a nice 7km run to start my week in Canberra. Stay tuned for my next Canberra run, which I’m hoping will be a trail run in one of the nature parks.