Australia Running 5 – The Towns and Cities

Brisbane running was fun. The Southbank was fun. The conference was rubbish but it didn’t matter. We just did our thing.

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The first Brisbane run was on a Friday morning and we plodded along the Southbank a little, crossed over a bridge and went back in the opposite directions along a footpath and eventually into the Botanic Gardens. The cyclists were a little annoying but it was nice to be out and about. Cyclists were a theme in Brisbane – fast, rude and not always competent – and I didn’t really get used to them.

Saturday we met our friend Jenny who lives in Brisbane for the Southbank parkrun and Kath set off running and Jenny and I chatted and walked round. We’d never met in real life but we got on well and had breakfast together afterwards. On Monday we ran a loop very similar to parkrun and then on Tuesday we thought we’d go a bit longer and I really wanted to run 10km without walking. Well, not quite. I was defeated by the slope up onto the bridge on the way back. Things had got hard at about 4.5 miles (it was actually quite hot) and the slope at 5.5 miles made my legs go to jelly and refuse to carry on. I walked a bit, grumpy and then ran the rest to take us to 6.21 miles.

All in all Brisbane was good for running.

Alice Springs is a funny place and even after having spent time in Sydney after and now IMG_1724being home for 2 weeks I am still not sure how I feel about it really. It’s the place where ‘the State’ meets aboriginal culture and can’t cope so throws some tourists in for good measures. It feels like a microcosm of something although exactly what I can’t quite put my finger on. After sitting on a minibus for most of the previous afternoon, getting up and heading out the door for a little run felt both alien and exhilarating. We plodded along next to the river bed – the sandy dry river. It hadn’t rained since February and there was no water to be seen. We had a little cheer squad of parrots in a couple of places and as the sun climbed so did the temperature from a pretty cold few degrees when we set off to a pleasant warmth in the sun by the time we got back an 40 minutes or so later. It was good to be moving again.

IMG_1757Sydney was great for running. Our hotel was in a perfect location, close to the opera house and then the botanical gardens. We kicked off our Sydney running with a 4.5 mile plod across the Harbour Bridge and back down to the opera house and into the gardens. A proper tourist IMG_1761run with photo stops and stops to look at things. I struggled to get going a bit but it was fun. Running across the bridge was a very tourist thing to do (and possibly a commuter thing to do, too) and the views were great but in terms of running, it’s not actually that nice – it’s noisy and polluted! The climb we did a few days later was fabulous (and a little terrifying) though.

 

 

The next day we got the ferry to Manly and then set off on a run round Manly North Head. I was struggling a bit, feeling a bit tired and we ended up walking quite a bit and stopping for photos of course. It was a stunning route that started at Manly Beach and went along the coast a little to Shelly Beach before climbing up the edge of the cliffs and then heading inland a little. Going through the North Fort parade ground was a little weird and at some point we got our loop a little wrong but it was all fine and it ended up being a gorgeous run which we finished  with scrambled eggs on toast and coffee from a lovely little cafe back at Manly Beach and a walk in sand thus ensuring my happy feet.

After that my Sydney running dipped. My feet and ankles felt sore, maybe from running on hard surfaces more than I was used to. So on the next day I sent Kath off on her run and I jogged to the opera house, did a loop round it and then went back to the hotel. It was nice to be out but that was enough. On the last day I wanted to have a nice run following the route Kath had told me about along the edge of the gardens. However I hard a cracking bruise on my left knee, not sure where from but I’m blaming the bridge climb and it hurt with every step. My ankles were still tired too. I made it to the opera house again before deciding that being miserable is not part of my running deal – I persuaded Kath to keep going and waited for her on the opera house steps. I did a few stair repeats while I waited but they were a bit half hearted and in the end I just sat and watched the world go by.

Australia wasn’t a high mileage month at all but we did run and we had some really nice runs that made me realise how much I can enjoy it and that is something worth hanging on to – I like tourist runs!

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