My time in Australia so far has been full of heat, hills and family events. Originally, I wanted this trip to be about getting back into a training routine but it hasn’t been possible. However, for the first time in a long time I’m feeling like I’m properly relaxing and just taking each day as it comes, which is wonderful. This week was also the start of Advent Running which means 25 runs in 25 days up until Christmas. Should be fun!
Monday: Morning run + swim
Drove over to Avoca Beach to run but soon found that there wasn’t anywhere very inspiring to run at all. That coupled with some morning stiffness meant that I was struggling a lot. I found a park and thought I could turn it into an intervals session, but after throwing myself around the oval a few times and not even making it 400m before stopping, I decided it was fruitless.
Instead of going home though I joined the Avoca Lizards for a morning swim. This group meets every morning at 8am, jumps off the rocks at Avoca Beach and then you swim across the ocean back to the shore and have a coffee. I’ve been a few times before and it’s a great way to start the day. I looked very silly in my full wetsuit + flippers next to the other swimmers just in their swimsuits, but I was glad for the warmth once we were in. The flippers did get lost to the ocean though…
Did three rounds of a 5min conditioning set on the back porch, made even sweatier by the fact that I chose to do it at ~3pm when it was ridiculously hot. At one point Dad came out and started watering the tomato plant which was right next to my head while I was doing crunches, so that was funny 😂
Wednesday: Run + Swim
Copacabana beach connects to McMasters beach via a lagoon, and this morning I headed over to McMasters town via running over the beach and around the side of the lagoon. This was never previously possible, so it was my first time visiting McMasters by foot. Running across the sand was hard work!!
Later we drove up to The Entrance and discovered Toowoon Bay. It’s a sheltered bay with stunning clear blue water which begged to be swum in – so I dashed back to the car to change into my swimmers and dive in. I could see right to the bottom of the bay, to a school of fish swimming underneath and the sand in ripple patterns on the floor. Gorgeous!
Back in Wollongong with Sye and the first thing he made me do was a hills session (OK, fine, I asked for it). Started with a 1.3km uphill run, then back down the hill and over to another hill to do 6x hill sprints. The first part was awful especially without a warmup, but I didn’t actually mind the hill sprints. We ran them off one another which meant you got a nice break while the other person did their rep, and then finished the last two together. Success!
Friday: Trail run + hike
Sye had been talking about running the Wodi Wodi trail for the past two years, and it 100% lived up to everything that he had said about it. The first part was uphill, starting with a runnable/calf-screaming section and then up a set of steps which were not runnable. At the top we were treated with the most amazing views over the north of Wollongong. We followed the trail a little further before heading back and indulging in the views again. Stunning. The other great thing about this run was that for the first time ever, I ran it completely ‘naked’ – without a watch, without knowing how far we went (other than a rough 10km estimate) or how long it took. That was completely liberating and I definitely want to do it more in the future.
In the afternoon we went for another hike with Sye’s family up to Sublime Point, which is a vertical kilometre of steps and ladders. At the top is a look out which thoroughly deserves the name ‘sublime’. We had some fun jumping and taking photos there 😉
Saturday: Sandon Point parkrun + hill CR
With awful train connections to the other Wollongong parkrun, it was back to Sandon Point this week. Sye was volunteering as a marshall and the weather was a bit cooler, so I was hoping to run it fast and beat last week’s time. I started at the front of the pack and therefore set off like a rocket, before quickly getting swallowed up by the more sensible runners. It was a tough slog after that but I managed to keep my pace going and finished in 23:34, a significant improvement on 25:52 so very happy!
On the way back I revisited the hill from Thursday’s hills session because I’d discovered that I was currently in second place for the Strava CR and wanted to have a go at taking the crown. The time to beat was 56sec and I managed 48sec – BOOM 👑 👑 👑
Sunday: Post-party run
Aaaaaand then it was back up to Copacabana to celebrate my mother’s birthday. After stuffing our faces at lunch I took Sye on a veeery slow run around the town, showing him all the ‘sights’ aka a park, the lagoon, some shops. Although our stomachs prevented any speed we did both succeed in making it up the big hill without stopping!
Total kilometres: ~39.3km