Heysen 105 2016 Part 2 – The race report…

Still looking fresh at this point!

Well! What a day!
I gave myself an hour to get ready which was ideal – I was ready in about 45 minutes so that gave me a bit of breathing space. Even if it did mean getting up at 3:30am!

Riesje picked me up (along with my 5 drop bags) at 4:30 and we drove to Louise and Jimmy’s place – Jimmy would drive us to the start. On the way I had my usual breakfast shake – it would have been way too early to have it at home!

There was a big crowd already when we arrived just before 6:15 – turned out the 6am start had been delayed and they set off not long after we arrived.

At the start line surrounded by Team Mekong. Mekong supplied my top and I found it fantastic to run in – thanks guys!

I realised that my hydration bladder was leaking – there was about 1 litre in it when I left home, and by now it was down to about 750mL. I decided that, given the cooler conditions, and the fact that I don’t tend to drink water during runs anyway, I would empty the bladder and carry it empty, just in case. (It was part of the mandatory gear anyway – capacity to carry 2 litres of water – so I had to carry it regardless.) Not only did it mean I wasn’t going to get unnecessarily saturated, it made my pack lighter and more comfortable to carry!
I collected my race bib and bought a new blue Yumigo buff (which matched my calf sleeves and shoes perfectly!) before depositing my drop bags in the appropriate places.

Happy days at the start line!

It was COLD! I was dressed to run, but while standing around waiting I think my lips matched my buff! Michelle’s husband Mark kindly lent me his big warm jacket! I soon gave it back and then Tina, on registration, took pity on me and lent me hers for a while!
I hesitate to write this but I think it’s an important part of the story. Before the race I decided that I couldn’t wait for Checkpoint 1 (around 18km, approx 2 hours) for a toilet stop. A few of the girls were venturing into the bushes and I thought bugger it, I want to be comfortable at the start! So off I went, first time successfully pulling off the ‘bush wee’ and was so glad I’d done it! It also gave me confidence that if I needed to, I could go anywhere and not have to rely on going at checkpoints!

That ‘TMI’ moment aside, it was soon time to make our way to the start line. Having been advised on Thursday that our waterproof jackets were NOT required (I didn’t 100% trust the weather so I’d packed a light spray jacket in my pack just in case), as if on cue, it started raining as Ben did the race briefing!

Because of the late start of the 6am wave, the other waves in turn started 15 minutes late. But given the rain, and after the crowd demanded it, Ben agreed to let us start at 7:10 instead of 7:15! This was greeted by rapturous cheering! This was the last of 3 waves, with all the 57k runners as well as roughly half the 105k runners setting off together.
At the start I saw Bronwyn who finished 3rd ahead of me last year, Kazu who finished 2nd at Yurrebilla last year, and Hoa, who is in awesome form. I had had thoughts of maybe going one better than last year and getting a podium finish, but after seeing those three I quickly put it out of my mind!

Photo courtesy of Shane – not quite sure what I’m thinking here!

And we were away! The rain wasn’t so bad once we got moving. Very early on there was an absolutely stunning full rainbow against a grey sky. I was so tempted to take a photo but I didn’t want to waste a nice downhill runnable section. I thought about the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. In my case, it was a chocolate donut! The presence of the rainbow was very appropriate also, given that the Pride march was taking place on the same day!
Early on I ran with Marc and an interstate runner by the name of George who I’d heard plenty about but had never met. Marc told me his reason for running was to try to better his UTA100 time from this year, because the last time he ran Heysen he was just aiming to finish. This time he was taking it seriously! I didn’t quite get a ‘why’ answer out of George but I think it was along the lines of ‘Because it’s there’. 

I also went back and forth with Uli and Justin – Justin would effortlessly power past me going up the hills, and sometimes I would pass him going downhill.

Very early I was passed by Hoa who told me she was volunteering at the finish line. I was gobsmacked until she told me she was ‘only’ doing the 57k! Ah, maybe there was a chance for me after all!

The first section is a relatively easy one, and I reached CP1 pretty much on target (I’d given Gary my CP splits from last year as a guide, and I’d also attached a laminated copy to my backpack). It was a quick stop – sunscreen on, a quick Coke and a handful of pretzels, and I was on my way – my watch showed 1 hour 50 which was 7 minutes slower than last year. 

Last year’s split times, I used this as a guide.

After CP1 came probably the hardest section elevation-wise. There was a lot of uphill in this section. It gave me the opportunity to take a few photos and really appreciate the scenery!

That’s Kelly up there in the distance!
They say ‘Never look back, you’re not going that way’. Sometimes it’s good to look back and see how far you’ve come. Wow, I’m deep!

Can’t see the woods for the trees! Lovely spot for a run!

It was around this point that I was reunited with George, and also met up with Kelly who had done the 6 hour with me earlier in the year. I quickly realised by looking at Kelly’s bib number that she was in the 57km event and therefore not competing with me! 

George had a lot to say and I really enjoyed chatting with him. He does an ultra about once a fortnight. He’s done quite a few events here in SA which is why I initially thought he was a local! We would end up running together for most of the first half of the race. He, like me, was having his buddy runner, Beck, meet him at CP3. He said that this was all he was focusing on – just get to CP3, that’s the end of one race, and then the race begins again! George hadn’t met Beck before. I hadn’t exactly met her but I’d heard her speak at a Trail Running SA social night about her experiences doing ultras around the world including iconic events like Western States 100 and Ultra-Trail Mont Blanc. I told George he’d be in excellent hands!

After the road climb there was a challenging trail climbing section including a lot of stairs before I reached CP2. This was also the finish of the 35k event. Tina had finished 2nd and Annie 3rd, apparently there was a race to the finish between Annie and Flic for 3rd place! I also saw Kate and James, who had both started at 6 and reported things were going well! I refilled my Gatorade, raided my drop bag for snacks, had a Coke and replaced my sunscreen – the next section was 22k and would take a good few hours. The time as I left CP2 was around 4:15 – about 20 minutes slower than last year (although I didn’t know that at the time!)

Fuelling up at CP2 and catching up with the 35k finishers.
Obligatory checkpoint watch shot!

I was with George early in the next section and I announced to him that this was the 10k I’d marked so if there were any problems he knew who to blame! I must say Tina and I did a brilliant job – one or two of our red and white ribbons had come down overnight, and we possibly could have more clearly marked the direction where the tractor and the bed was, but other than that it was a flawless 10k. I told George, who is a devotee of the ‘runfie’ and also the ‘cowfie’, as we were doing one of the climbs in Yulti Conservation Park, to look back and see the view. He did, was suitably impressed, and then asked me to take a photo of him with the view in the background. I crouched down to get a good pic and immediately regretted my decision! Fortunately I managed to get up without too much trouble!

Our section was quite overgrown in places – I could have done with a scythe to get through, I did feel a bit Indiana Jones-ish at times!

A funny moment came just after the 40k mark. We had to go over or under a fence that appeared to be just a rope. I opted to go over – and in the process discovered that it was an electric fence! I’d never been zapped by an electric fence before! George didn’t want to take my word for it, he had to touch it himself! And then decided that this was a perfect opportunity to get some free ‘electrotherapy’ for his injuries! I warned the people behind that it was an electric fence and we kept moving.

By the time we hit 45k and the end of Tina’s and my section, Kelly was back with us again. “Only City-Bay to go” I told her. The next 12k had been very ably marked by 2 course marking newbies Kate and James. 

With George around 45k – great fun running with this guy!
With Kelly around 45k – she only had 12k (or ‘City-Bay’) to go at this point!

My top was starting to chafe under my arms a bit by now, but George came to the rescue with his trusty 3B cream! (I returned the favour by giving him one of my chocolate sandwiches when he was looking for something to eat!)
The sandy sections through here were made much easier by the recent wild weather – wet sand is much easier to negotiate than dry! There was a lot of mud and water throughout the 105km and once my feet were wet and muddy I didn’t really care about trying to avoid it! There was also a lot of debris on the course which may have contributed to me being a bit slower than last year – I was extra cautious to avoid falling like I had last year (and the day before!) in this section.

Somewhere along here we were met by 2 runners coming the other way. I immediately thought, we’ve taken a wrong turn! But not to worry, it was just Maurice and Hayley who were demarking and sweeping! Phew!

I had taken my caffeine supplement at CP2 and at around the 49k mark it kicked in and I took off from George and Kelly. Partly I think I just needed a short burst of ‘alone time’ knowing that I was going to be meeting Gary at the next checkpoint and would be with him for the rest of the race. Also I was conscious that I was behind time so wanted to try to make up a bit of time. 

I’m not sure why but somehow I’d got the idea in my head that I was about to reach 55km. When I saw the next 5km marker and it said 50km, not 55km, I was a bit deflated but kept pushing on. 

At this point I became aware that not only did I have a few rocks in my shoes, but I could feel some rubbing on both my pinky toes – I hadn’t done a very good job with my taping! I was thinking about stopping at CP3 to get the first aider to look at my feet and re-tape if needed, but I didn’t have any clean socks on me and did not fancy putting my wet, muddy socks back on! I had thoughts about telling Gary the goalposts had shifted and we were no longer looking at a PB, just a finish!

Eventually after a long road section I reached CP3 where Gary was waiting for me. 

Heading into CP3 – thanks to Sharlene for this photo!

I took my shoes off to get rid of the rocks, but left the socks on. Here, as well as refuelling with Gatorade and snacks, I went for a quick wardrobe change, a fresh singlet and arm warmers. 
And off we went! This was the section where everything had gone horribly wrong last year! It was great to have Gary with me here as he had run this section 2 years ago as a buddy and remembered it well. 

Heysen involves climbing over a lot of stiles to go through cow paddocks. One such stile, early on in this section, happened to be over another electric fence! I found this out the hard way, giving myself an electric shock – it was quite a powerful zap compared to the last one! Best not be doing that again!

We navigated ‘that’ field with no problems – there is a new marker in the middle of the field which is really hard to miss. Especially with the Yumigo arrow attached to it, helpfully captioned ‘This way Jane!’

I was pretty sure I knew who was responsible for this. My suspicions would later be confirmed!

After crossing that field without incident, I was again thankful for Gary’s navigational skills. After last year’s incident, I had finally found my way out of the field by following Brenton. Consequently I hadn’t really paid attention to what came next, so I did not recognise the next few kilometres. Thankfully Gary did!
Soon I was back on familiar ground, a nice, comfortable runnable section through ferns. I knew we were back on track – we had to have gained about half an hour right there.

Gary had updated me on what was happening in the race. In the men’s, Howard was leading and looking strong. He wasn’t sure exactly where I was in the women’s race – Bronwyn was a runaway leader followed by Kazu. There were 2 other women who he didn’t know, and then me. He wasn’t sure if one of the two other women was an early starter (this would not only mean they were an hour behind me, but also that they would be ineligible for a podium finish). He said the last woman was 25 minutes ahead of me.

Gary and me just before another climb (aka walk break/time to eat!)

CP3 – CP4 was a longer section than last year – about 18-19k. The checkpoint had been moved about 4km further along the route, and off the road. It meant it was a bit of a hard slog to get to CP4, but it meant that after CP4 we would be only 8km from CP5 and 26km from the finish!
We had been warned that there was a river crossing in this section. I’m talking, calf deep water. No getting around it! When we reached it Gary was looking for a way around but I knew there wasn’t one so through we went! It was actually quite refreshing! We held hands going through because the current was quite strong and we didn’t want to get swept down the Finniss River! (I initially went a little deeper than required before Gary found a safer path!)

I later found out that other people had taken off their shoes and socks to go through – but then again, I only had my wet, muddy socks to put back on so I think it was for the best not to take them off!

Approaching CP4 we were greeted by Paul running the other way. He was on his way to meet Simon, who he was buddy runner for. Simon had been at CP3 getting his feet attended to when Gary and I had left, but had presumably recovered well as he was on his way. Paul told us we were only about 3k from CP4.

Gary insisted that we run into each checkpoint. It was a good psychological boost – if any of my ‘rivals’ saw me, they would know I was still going strong! And so we finally reached CP4 and duly ran in! We were told here that the previous female, Rebecca, had only gone through 8 minutes ago. We were catching up! (Earlier in the section we had passed another female runner – Gary sussed out that she was a 6am starter so again not a likely threat to me.)

Quickly I did what I had to do. I grabbed my hi-viz vest and head torch which would be needed later, topped up my bottles and snacks (I was going to have HEAPS of food left – I had predictably over-catered!), sprayed myself with insect repellent and got my energy drink. Still drinking it, we headed off. I had an inkling that I knew who this Rebecca was, and if I guessed correctly, she was a 6am starter! But I didn’t say this to Gary.

The 8km section went quite quickly and before we reached CP5 we caught up with, and eventually passed, Rebecca. It was the Rebecca I thought it was – a 6am starter! She was stoked with how she was going – she said I’d passed her at CP3 last year so she was happy to have nearly got to CP5 before being overtaken! I knew she’d marked CP3-4 so I asked her if she’d put the message to me on the sign which she first denied but then admitted she had!

So what this meant was, it looked like I was in 3rd place! With no idea how far behind me 4th was, we had to keep going for it! (I knew 2nd was out of reach so 3rd was all I had to shoot for!)

Before we knew it, after another river crossing, we were at CP5 where we donned our hi-viz vests, got our head torches out and had a quick snack before starting the final stage. I didn’t need to top up any of my drinks or food as I hadn’t consumed much in the short last section. The volunteers at CP5 confirmed that I was indeed in 3rd place! 

Gary told me that he had had a conversation with 2015 Heysen winner Andrew, buddying for David, at CP3 while waiting for me. Andrew had asked him why he was buddying and not running the event himself. Gary’s reply? “To get Jane a podium finish”. 

All fuelled up and about to leave the last checkpoint! On the home stretch now!

We left CP5 in broad daylight, 11 hours in. Bec and another guy Ryan who we’d met in the last section, were just coming in as we left. Last year I left CP5 with 11:35 on the clock so we were 35 minutes ahead. After being 30 minutes behind at CP3, I’d really made up some ground thanks to Gary’s constant encouragement, pushing me to run when I may otherwise have walked, and of course the added bonus of not getting lost! Given that last year we did the last section in exactly 2.5 hours, sub 14 looked to be a no-brainer so we were now aiming for 13.5. I would have been happy with sub 14 (especially considering I didn’t think it was possible after my slower first half) and a podium finish, well that was just a bonus!

The last section was beautiful – much of it through forest, with not another human in sight! The roos were starting to become active – I didn’t see as many as last year, because we were in daylight for much of this section. In fact we nearly missed a turn-off because we were looking directly into the sun!

Gary was constantly calculating how fast we needed to be going. He had set 8 minute kilometres as the goal from here to the finish. Many kilometres were faster. It didn’t really matter what I said, Gary was determined to get me in under 13.5 hours!

Gary running into the sunset!

Complicating matters was the fact that this part of the course was the muddiest and wettest of all. It meant we had to be more cautious in sections where we otherwise might have been able to fang it (as much as ‘fanging’ is possible after 90km!). We were glad to be doing most of this section in daylight. One of the hardest bits was right near the end when it had just got dark and we struggled to find a path through the mud!
We made it to about 96km (of an estimated 102km) before we put the headlights on. By now, we would be only about 45-50 minutes from the end. So close!

Probably around the 100k mark, with 13.5 hours looking good, Gary (who had all along been looking behind to see if any potential rivals were gaining on us) informed me that there were 2 people rapidly approaching. I told him I had no capacity to increase the pace! As devastating as it would be to be passed so close to the finish, if someone passed me now, there was no way I was going to be able to chase them down. Whoever it was, was FLYING! 

They passed us… I was excited to see that it was my old mate George and his buddy Beck! They were both looking SO strong for this late in the race!

Gary got a bit dejected, thinking Beck was overtaking me into 3rd place, before I quickly told him no, it’s all good, she’s a buddy, she’s not in the race! All was good again! Beck estimated there was only a couple of kilometres to go!

As we approached the finish I made sure Gary was on my left as we were going to cross the line hand in hand and my right hand was my ‘snot hand’ – the one I had been using to wipe my nose all day! (That was because I wear my watch on my left hand and am always paranoid I’ll accidentally stop my watch while wiping my nose!)

Eventually Gary announced that we were nearly there! What a rush, crossing that finish line in 13:26:46 – almost 40 minutes better than last year! Ben put the finisher medal around my neck and handed me the prized 3rd place trophy! AMAZING!

We did it! Now where are those donuts…

Gary’s wife Christine was there to capture the moment and help me get my shoes and socks off (we gave up trying to get my calf sleeves off – they were there to stay) and get my drop bag to put some warmer clothes on. Gary and I enjoyed our donuts – I doubt I’ve ever had a better tasting donut in my life, despite it being a day old! 

Best. Donut. Ever.

We had a chat to other runners – Leon had done well, and Marc’s buddy Arwen had told me Marc had had a great run too. Then it was time to go before we got too cold! Gary’s car was also at the finish line – Maurice had asked him if he could borrow it earlier in the day so he didn’t have to get his wife to pick him up, which worked out really well as we didn’t have to go back to CP3, we could go straight home! I got a lift with Christine and was home by 10! Took me a while to get my calf sleeves and tape off, shower and eat everything in sight! Possibly the biggest miracle of the day though was the fact that I managed to get my compression tights on!

Once again, SUCH a great day. Incredibly challenging but so rewarding! An extremely well supported event and very achievable if you’re thinking about tackling 100k for the first time. And there’s always 57 and 35 if you don’t fancy ‘the big one’ (those two options are looking mighty appealing to me now!)

I’d like to finish by thanking some of the people who played a big part in my day. Apologies if I forgot anyone, there were just so many!

To Ben Hockings for putting on yet another brilliant event. So many hours of work went into this. I don’t think he sleeps. Ever! And his hard work has paid off with numbers growing steadily by the year!

To Gary, my amazing buddy runner. He was everything a buddy runner should be. Encouraging, competitive and entertaining! I could not have done this without him!

To Christine, for letting me borrow your husband, for helping me get my shoes and socks off at the finish line, and for driving me home!

To Riesje for picking me up so I could leave my car (and importantly car KEY) at home! And to Louise and Jimmy for driving us to the start.

To Kelly and George for the company in the first half of the race (and in George’s case, right near the end too!

To all the course markers – having marked part of the course myself I have a new appreciation for what an important (and at times challenging) job it is! Having run the course I think I got an easy section to mark and I can only imagine how challenging that last section would have been to mark!

And of course to all the wonderful, wonderful volunteers along the way. Always willing to help out with getting drop bags, filling up bottles and generally doing anything that was needed. Events like this just could not happen without them!

Reckon I might have a few quiet weeks now! I’ve already told my Tuesday running buddies to slap me if I turn up to run on Tuesday!


Heysen 105 2016 Part 1 – the lead-up…

By the time you read this, Heysen 105 2016 will be done and dusted, however I am writing it days before! Spooky!
If you’re just joining the party now, I’ll try to summarise as briefly as possible  (brevity not being one of my strengths!)

Heysen 105 is an ultramarathon run annually in South Australia, taking in part of the 1200km long Heysen Trail, starting at Newland Head (near Victor Harbor) and finishing in a campground in Kuitpo Forest. It is a growing event, with numbers rising steadily each year. It is run by Yumigo, one of the big players in the SA running scene, particularly in trail and ultra races. Last year for the first time there was a 57km option which proved popular and returned again this year as well as a new 35km event for those who may not feel up to an ultra distance.

Why run 100+ km? I asked that very question to some of my fellow Heysen entrants (as well as asking what they hoped to get out of it) and these were a few of their answers:
Michelle: “…because last year’s attempt went pear shaped, with quite a few “obstacles” along the way … This year I am determined to do the whole kahuna. It’s my 3rd attempt at 100km, since March last year.”

Shane: “Best friend is getting married on the same weekend as my normal Endurance long course Triathlon. So needed a new challenge for the year. So signed up for the 57km straight away. After some encouragement by yourself , Anna and Simon. Decided to go the full hog and do THE big one. Utterly scared shitless. But equally excited.”

(What are you hoping to get out of the day?) 
“The achievement of knowing I completed it. No one can take that away. I have found the whole journey from Christmas time to now to be exciting, and the trail running community is very friendly and encouraging”

Sheena: “This is my 3rd Heysen & I will always enter events that I’ve loved & I prefer not to miss a year….bit of a compulsion. I am planning to have a fun day/night out with Tracey & Michelle. Looking forward to seeing all the other crazies & as a side goal would like to finish my year with a pb.”

I did the 105 last year and you can read about it here. I did it last year as a precursor to the Ultra-Trail Australia 100km event in May this year – I wanted to know I could manage a 100k before tackling the Blue Mountains. This year I was hoping for a PB, sub 14 hours, given that I had wasted a fair bit of time getting lost last year. Unfinished business, you might say. Plus, it’s a fantastic day/night out with awesome people!

So, a quick summary of my week. I ran as usual on Tuesday morning and caught up with the regular crew for coffee where I made final plans with my buddy runner Gary. Buddy runners are permitted from Checkpoint 3 (57km), the idea being to have someone fresh to keep you from getting lost in the dark! I had told Gary he could meet me at CP4 or even CP5 as I planned to be well past the last checkpoint before dark, but he wanted to do a longer run so was keen to meet me at CP3. I was very lucky to have Gary as a buddy, he is a fantastic runner, has done buddy running before, and he ran Boston this year so I’d be able to pick his brains! Also he lives very close to me so his wife Christine would be able to drop me home after. So no car fiasco this year! (Fellow Tuesday runner Riesje, doing the 57, had offered to pick me up from home which was so good!)

Wednesday I thought it would be a good idea to go out to Masters Athletics at the track and do a 1000m race. I also entered the 2000 but decided quickly that this would be tempting fate. I ran a pleasing 3:45 for the 1000m (my first time running a 1000m race) and hope to improve on that during the season. 

Thursday morning I did an abbreviated run, an easy 5k with fellow 105-er Marc, his buddy runner Arwen, and 57k runner Louise. I started getting my food prepping done after work that day – so glad I did, this stuff takes AGES! Plus I really should be sponsored by Glad given the number of Zip-Loc bags I used!

Friday I went for a leisurely coffee with my regular running buddies and then drove to Myponga to mark part of the course with Tina (who had marked the same section last year). Fellow 105-er Justin had somewhat unkindly told me to let Tina do the marking and me just carry the gear. Some things never leave you!

Marking was enjoyable and we got to see some beautiful views that we’d never see during the race. Other than a lovely patch of mud (Tina nearly lost a shoe in there while she stopped to take a photo!) the section was pretty OK – no major detours required. At one point I realised I was only carrying one of the two 5km marker signs I was meant to have so I had to quickly dash back  (fortunately only about 100m round trip) to get the other one. On the way back to Tina I managed to slip and fall on my arse – best not be doing that in the race!

Once we’d finished marking I went to the Bakery On O’Connell for two of their amazing vegan chocolate donuts – one each for Gary and me – to go in my finish line drop bag. I told the girl behind the counter what I was doing and I finished by saying “I am REALLY looking forward to eating this!”

Then it was home to finish packing, sort out my outfits and have dinner  (vegan mac and cheese, same as before Yurrebilla, I had frozen the leftovers!).

I decided to tempt fate and try a different skirt that I’d never done a big race in, and 2 tops that had never done more than a 12k run.  Time would tell if that was a bad move!

Alarm set for 3:30am (yikes!) in preparation for my 4:30am pick-up, naturally it was an early night, but not before taping my feet up so you could hardly even recognise them as feet. A very wet course meant either frequent changes of shoes and socks, or potential blisters from wet feet. I opted to tape and hope for the best!

Stay tuned for Part 2 – I think it will be a long one!

I have a warped sense of hummus…

Hummus is such an easy dip to make, I rarely buy it these days. It never tastes quite the same when I make it, and as you may know if you’ve read other recipes of mine, I like to experiment with flavours a bit.

Today I decided to get fancy and make two different types of hummus. ‘Hummus two ways’ if you want to get wanky about it.

First, 1 combined 2 cans of chickpeas (rinsed and drained) with 2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped) and – here’s the key – 6 tablespoons of natural peanut butter (crunchy. It always has to be crunchy. If you don’t like your PB crunchy, I’m certain we can’t be friends.) 

(NB these quantities make A Crapload. If you just want a regular amount, halve these quantities.)

Straight into the food processor with that lot and blended it for a bit. Every now and then I stopped the motor and drizzled in a little extra virgin olive oil. Maybe about a tablespoon in total? Enough to make it not a massive lump of dough. (You could always use ‘aquafaba’, aka chickpea brine, yes, the stuff you pour down the drain, in lieu of olive oil, if you want to cut down on fat. It actually works really well. And is not as icky as you might think! You can even make delicious meringues out of it!)

I divided this base mixture in half.

Into the first lot went 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 grilled capsicum/red pepper, and a bit of salt.

Version 2 was with 1 large avocado, 3 tablespoons lime juice, and some salt.

I was pretty happy with both, although the capsicum one was a bit thicker than I would have liked. The avocado one was just right, probably due to the creaminess of avocado.

I toasted some pine nuts to serve with the capsicum one, and chopped some coriander to serve with the avocado one.

And wouldn’t you know it, I managed to find 2 round containers, perfect size and shape for dips!

Really, there is no limit to what you can do with a basic hummus recipe – have you got any awesome flavour combinations?



  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped finely
  • Extra virgin olive oil 
  • 3 tablespoons peanut butter
  • Salt

For capsicum version:

  • 1 red capsicum, grilled, skin removed, cut into 4 pieces 
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Toasted pinenuts, to serve (optional)

For avocado version:

  • 1 large avocado, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • Chopped coriander, to serve (optional)


1) Blend chickpeas, garlic and peanut butter in a food processor, stopping the motor regularly to scrape down the sides and add a bit of olive oil until mixture is less dough-like.

2) Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth.

3) Serve with garnish, if desired, and raw vegetable sticks/crackers.

Ten things I love about parkrun!

It’s a quiet week this week – ultramarathon taper week – so I thought it was time to revisit something very close to my heart, something that was instrumental in getting me into the running routine. A little global phenomenon known as parkrun (ALWAYS one word and with a lower case ‘p’ – accept no imitations!)

Here is a post I wrote about parkrun last year.

For the uninitiated, parkrun (link to global website here) is a free, weekly, timed, 5km run/walk in many places throughout the world. All you have to do is register ONCE via the website, print your personal barcode, and remember to take it with you when you visit any parkrun in the world! How easy is that? Matter of fact, if you haven’t registered yet, go and do it now. Go on! I’ll wait…

1) perfect way to start the weekend

8am on a Saturday (and in some parts of the world, 7am) might seem a stretch to some, but hear me out. Once you get into the routine, you don’t even think about NOT going. You know how you wake up on a Monday (or another day, if you don’t work Mondays) and you get up and go to work? You might not want to get up but you don’t seriously consider not going in? Well, that’s how parkrun is for many thousands of people around the world. It’s just what we do. Hungover, tired, cold… we still go (well, mostly) and we can always have a nap later in the day if we really need to! (PS moscato is not always on the menu!)

2) awesome company

Even if you don’t know a single person, that shouldn’t stop you! When I did my very first parkrun nearly 4 years ago (also the first ever parkrun in South Australia) I didn’t know a single person. Now, I know pretty much everyone at Torrens parkrun – and many other parkruns too! (If you’re not game to turn up alone, drag a friend or family member along! Trust me, they’ll thank you for it!)

3) running is not necessary
So you’re not a runner? Not a problem! parkrun is for EVERYONE, walkers, joggers, pram pushers… parkrun is not over until the last person crosses the line. So even if you feel that you’re too slow – you’re not! And many people start out as back-of-the-pack walkers and then decide to try a little jog – and then a little more – and all of a sudden, BOOM! Runner! 

4) keeping track of progress

One of the best things about parkrun is that your results are recorded each week so you can monitor how you are tracking! This is great for those at the ‘pointy end’ as well as beginners. A PB is a huge buzz! I know I got pretty excited in the early days when I was PBing regularly. Not so much now but that elusive PB is still in my sights!

5) really, it’s all about the coffee…

To me, from very early on, parkrun has been all about catching up with friends for a coffee. With a 5k run beforehand. If you’re in a new town, whether as a visitor or a new resident, or even if you just want to expand your social circle, it’s just a great way to meet people! Volunteering (something that is expected of regular parkrunners, as a way to keep parkrun going) is an especially good way to make new connections. I could not even begin to count the number of awesome friends I’ve met through running, and through parkrun in particular!

6) universal 

In Australia and the UK in particular, it seems like there’s a parkrun EVERYWHERE! It’s a great way to get to see new places  (many plan their holidays around ‘what parkrun can I do?’) – for example, this year I went to the launch of parkrun in Renmark, a town to which I’d never been before! In the parkrun universe it’s known as ‘parkrun tourism’. When I go to the USA next year (an emerging parkrun market) I hope to be able to fit in a few parkruns along the way!

7) not a race!

While those at the ‘pointy end’ are taking it VERY seriously, parkrun is whatever you want it to be. Speed training? Taking the dog for a walk? Exploring a new city? Just having a little fun? parkrun can be all those things and more! Many people who would not even consider entering a 5k fun run will happily come along to parkrun every week! 

8) never need to run alone

In the beginning I ‘discovered’ Torrens parkrun while Googling ‘5km run route in Adelaide’. I had literally JUST started running and was looking for a route to run on the weekend. Torrens happened to be launching that Saturday so I went along to see what it was all about. The rest, as they say, is history. At the time I really didn’t enjoy running alone and I’m not sure if I would have stuck at it in the early days had I not had parkrun (which very quickly became a fixture in my weekends). 

9) every saturday, same time, same place

With few exceptions (recent unprecedented storms in Adelaide forcing the cancellation of Torrens parkrun for the first time ever, as well as 2 other metropolitan parkruns, a few weeks back) parkrun on a Saturday morning is a given. You can set your watch by it! Note that the start time varies from state to state and country to country, but any given parkrun starts at the same time and the same place every week.

10) registration could not be easier 

All you really need is an email address, Internet access and access to a printer. Go onto the parkrun website and do it – NOW!

In all seriousness though, I am a huge advocate for parkrun as a way to encourage people to get out and be active (I am also part of the Run Director team at Torrens) and want to encourage anyone who has thought of giving it a go, to do it! If you happen to join me at Torrens, be sure to come and say hi! And if there’s not a parkrun near you, why not think about starting one?

Race report – McLaren Vale Half Marathon

I’ll start by saying, I am prone to exaggeration, but that would have to be right up there with the hardest races I’ve ever done!

 McLaren Vale was my third time as a pacer. I’d locked in the gig quite early in the year, knowing that all my marathons would be done by now, and therefore I wouldn’t need to ‘race’. Pacing is a great way to be involved in an event and
volunteer at the same time! I first fell into the role at Adelaide last year when I had put my hand up to volunteer, and then saw an email asking for pacers. I thought, “So I get to run AND volunteer? Sign me up now!”

For those who aren’t familiar with the term, in a marathon or a half marathon (and sometimes other events too), usually there are a few pacers who run at a particular pace, aiming to cross the line just under a particular time. My preferred
pacing time is 2 hours, as my PB is close to
1:45 so for me to be able to pace that time would be too much of a struggle. 2:15 would be just that little bit too slow for me to do comfortably. It sounds weird but running much slower than your comfortable pace
is actually really hard! A pacer needs to try and run at a consistent pace which can be hard – if you’re running significantly slower than your PB pace, it’s easy enough to go out too fast and then maybe slow down at the end to get close to the right time,
but by doing that, you will lose a lot of passengers on your ‘bus’ early. You also want to make sure you finish under (or marginally over) the set time, but not by too much. It is a delicate balance!

At McLaren Vale we had pacers for 1:30, 1:45, 2:00 and 2:15. All of us had different coloured balloons. I’d requested red because I wanted them to match my outfit (of course!). I had initially planned to wear my Luigi (as in Mario and Luigi)
costume that I’d worn when I volunteered at Mount Misery earlier in the year. But the forecast was for a warm morning, so I canned that idea, because I thought it would be too hot to run in. Especially with the hat and gloves! Plus, I had never run in that
particular outfit. Most of my other crazy outfits have at least passed the parkrun test!

So, I’d opted for the devil costume that I’d bought a few Halloweens back. It came complete with horns and a pitchfork. There was a slight problem on Saturday when I realised it was still sitting at the bottom of the laundry hamper since
last Halloween. A quick sniff test established that I could probably get away with it but I thought no, best do the right thing and wash it. Having never been washed before I had to handwash it (I didn’t really want to dye all the rest of my washing pink!)
and fortunately it was a warmish day on Saturday so I hung it out on the line for a few hours to dry. The devil dress was a bit short so I went with an extra red tutu underneath for a bit more modesty, and I also wore Skins shorts for comfort and more respectability!

I went down to McLaren Vale on Sunday with regular running buddy Jim who was also running the half, hoping to be under the 1:30 mark. Therefore it was unlikely I’d be seeing him during the race, other than those out and back sections!

The first thing that hit me when we arrived at the Hardy’s Tintara winery (the location for the start/finish – only appropriate given that we were in a famous wine region!) was how windy it was – I wasn’t expecting that! Stuff was blowing
everywhere – bollards had blown over and  marquees looked in danger of becoming airborne. This was not going to be easy!

I went into the toilets to get my outfit ready – I like to keep it a bit of a surprise so I had arrived with my tracksuit on over the top of my devil dress. I put sunscreen on because it was already getting quite warm, and although there
was no sun at that stage, I was going to be out there for, well, 2 hours! I’d forgotten to bring my toggles with which I normally attach my race bib to my Spibelt, but in the end I decided that my Spibelt (with phone inside) would be best UNDER the skirt,
and I ended up pinning the bib to the top of the skirt. I thought it would be a good idea to pin it through the dress to my Skins shorts. And it probably would have been a good idea. But I had decided to get everything organised BEFORE my loo stop. Bad move!

Eventually I emerged in my devil costume and went to collect my balloons. David had brought the balloons and all 8 of them were still there (2 for each pacer), all tied to a weight but they had become tangled in the walk from David’s car
to the SARRC tent. After a while we managed to free the 2 red balloons and I tied them to the shoulder straps of my dress – from previous experience that seems to be the best place to tie them. I did wonder how they would behave in this wind – they can be
annoying at the best of times! Probably more annoying for those running behind me though – I’ve only run WITH a pacer once before, at this year’s Gold Coast Marathon, and I remember needing to give him a fairly wide berth if I didn’t want to be eating rubber!

Then I started thinking about how I was going to pace this thing. I had my Garmin pace alerts set between 5:30 and 5:45. I wanted to run around 5:36/5:37 pace. I would start my watch on gun time, so my official time could be well under
2 hours but I was aiming to get just under 2 hours from the gun time. That way, if anyone was ahead of me at the start, and I ran JUST under 2 hours, and they were ahead of me at the finish, they would still get under 2 hours. The issue was going to be, how
on earth would I be able to maintain a consistent pace when some of it was going to be into a very stiff (40+ km/hour) headwind (and probably also uphill)?

I wasn’t even sure if I could run under 2 hours in these conditions!

Shortly before 8:00 I found my place among the 700+ crowd and waited for the gun before starting my watch. I was walking at the start – it was a bit like parkrun! It didn’t matter that my watch was telling me I was going too slow – I knew it would
take a few kilometres to get up to goal pace. I did also have to factor in the extra distance I was going to cover – normally if I’m racing I would start my watch as I cross the start line, because that will give me (close to) my official time. As a pacer
I was going off gun time but that did mean that I would be covering more than 21.1km. The pace I had set for myself was based on running exactly 21.1km which of course we know never happens! Factor in the extra distance at the start, going around people, and
the general inaccuracy of GPS devices, and I would be having to do some mental maths as well to make sure I didn’t miss the mark.

OK so as it turns out, the devil costume was not all that comfortable to run in! Firstly I was constantly trying to adjust my skirt early on, trying to preserve some modesty for the benefit of those behind me. For some reason I’d put my
Spibelt in between the dress and my tutu so it wasn’t sitting all that comfortably. The Spibelt was a bit loose so I could feel my phone jumping up and down. I kept changing hands with my pitchfork (which was already falling apart – never buy a cheap pitchfork
people!) – mostly I carried it in my right hand because I wear my watch on my left and I wanted to be able to keep a close eye on pace, but every now and then I’d swap for a while. Oh and there was also the issue of the balloon ribbons getting tangled up in
my devil horns – possibly not a problem I’ve ever had in a race before!

I think it took me about 5km to get up to goal pace, what with the crowds and also intermittently running into the wind. I was pretty happy with how I managed to maintain that pace after that.

As happens in every race but particularly those with out and back sections, I saw a lot of familiar faces. The good thing about out and backs is you get to see EVERYONE – from the front runners to the back of the pack. There were a few
people expecting to be on or around my pace (my ‘bus’ if you will) – Chantal (who had just got back from Europe), Annie (who was a last minute entrant) and David (who was confident of a sub 2 hour finish) among them. Early on I saw Sheena who had done so well
at Yurrebilla 2 weeks ago, looking comfortable on my bus (sometimes ahead of it and sometimes behind it) despite a dodgy knee. There were plenty of people who wanted to be ahead of me – Bec among them (she said she would cry if I passed her!) – when I saw
her on one of the out and back sections, well ahead of me, I threatened to stab her with my pitchfork if I got too close! I think that was a good motivator!

At around the halfway mark Sheena was with me and running well. I actually thought for a brief moment about handing over the pitchfork and balloons (if I could have figured out out to get them off) to Sheena and saying “Right, you can take
it from here!”

The worst bits were when we were running uphill into the wind. That is hard enough, but when you’ve got 2 balloons dragging behind you, you actually feel like you’re going backwards! I wonder if, in conditions like this, there is some kind
of alternative to balloons that pacers can use, because not only are they annoying for those behind and around, at times they actually slow you down! (I had to be extra careful when overtaking people to make sure they didn’t get tangled up in my balloons.)
When I was running into the wind I ended up pulling my balloons down and holding onto them which made things a bit easier but as a result I wasn’t able to swing my arms to give me a bit of a boost.

Normally as a pacer you want to try to stop your balloons from popping. On this occasion I was seriously considering taking one of the pins from my bib and popping them myself! I did try running close to the trees in the hope that they
might ‘accidentally’ pop, but no such luck – one of them did develop a slow leak though.

My preference, towards the end of a race, as I have said before, is to ‘count down’ by time rather than distance. And as a 2 hour pacer, when I’ve been running for 1½ hours, I can safely say I’ve got 30 minutes to go! I can’t say “5km,
I can do that in 25 minutes”! That would make me a bad pacer!

I slowed down a bit towards the end as I realised I was well under the 2 hour mark. The last few kilometres were a bit easier as we were running mostly downhill and not into the wind. For the last 500m or so I held my pitchfork aloft and
started yelling at people to encourage them as I knew they were all on track for sub 2 hours. When I crossed the line my Garmin time was
1:59:17. I was pretty happy with that, and I actually don’t think I could have run much faster if I’d been racing – I was
glad in that sense that I had opted to pace! (Last year I did it in
1:59 flat, so I’m getting better!)

I got some pretty sweet bling. This event was the final event in the Triple Crown series (whenever I hear that term I think of that Simpsons episode – “the 5th and penultimate event in racing’s Triple Crown”) so all those who
had completed the 3 half marathons in the series (Clare and Greenbelt being the other two) got a special Triple Crown medal as well as the also very cool McLaren Vale finisher medal. I think the Triple Crown has been very successful, so successful that SARRC
were overwhelmed with the number of entries for McLaren Vale, to the point where they thought there might be a chance of running out of medals! As a result us regulars were asked not to take a finisher medal (and we would get one later, when they ordered more)
which was not a problem for me, as long as I got it eventually! In the end I think maybe the weather put a few people off so by the time we left the start/finish area they let us have our medals. (The main thing they were worried about was that some of the
later finishers might miss out on medals and they are probably the people that appreciate them the most!)

It was great afterwards to catch up with people – most of whom had found it tough and very few of whom had run the time that they’d hoped! The wind had died down a bit at that stage so it was nice to sit in the square and hope to win one
of the random prizes (I didn’t!) and have a coffee and chat with friends.

I want to give a MASSIVE thankyou to all the volunteers and SARRC staff who made this event happen. As I’m sure I’ve said before, no matter how hard the conditions are for the runners, it is twice as hard for the volunteers – trying to
stop marquees from blowing away while constantly answering queries such as where the bag drop area was, and trying to keep the cups from blowing away on the water stations (to name just a few tasks!). It takes a lot of volunteers to make these events happen
and I am always grateful that people are willing to give up their time (and in some cases travel a fair way – McLaren Vale is about 45 minutes from the city) to allow the rest of us to enjoy what is always a fantastic event. You guys all ROCK!

If you get the opportunity, I highly recommend pacing as a great way to give back and to test yourself in a different way! It is so rewarding to hear from people you’ve helped, even those that you didn’t even realise were on your ‘bus’!

Oh and Bec did get her sub 2 hours, a massive PB and she did credit my pitchfork threat as a motivator! And Sheena just scraped in too!

Well done to EVERYONE who ran in one of the 3 events – the 5k, 10k and the half. It was a brilliant event and a fantastic day despite the tough conditions! And massive kudos to anyone who somehow managed to pull out a PB!


The road to McLaren Vale!

This blog post was MEANT to be a review of McLaren Vale Half Marathon. And I’ll get to it, I promise, but a lot has happened this week so rather than cram it all into one post, I thought I’d write about my week, and save the race review for a separate post!

Last week I talked about running for fun. Well on Monday, after I’d written that post, I went for a trail run that was just that. It was 22km along the Heysen Trail (a section of the 105k course), in pretty gnarly weather. We got hailed on at least 3 times, maybe 4. It rained pretty much constantly. We got blown sideways by the wind. We had to cross a whole lot of rivers and lakes that weren’t there the last time I ran it. And the mud, so much mud! The run finished with a lake crossing and a waterfall where there used to be a road. It was a walk/run, at a comfortable pace, with a small group of like-minded individuals. It might not sound like much fun to a lot of people, and there were times where I thought I should have stayed in bed (did I mention that I had to get up at 4:45am for said run?) but looking back I have nothing but happy memories of that run!

On Wednesday, one of my normal ‘rest’ days, I went out to run at the first SA Masters track meet of
the summer season. (Summer. Yeah, right!)  The season started early this year because the World Championships are on in Perth at the end of the month, many of the local Masters athletes are
going over, and most of them probably haven’t run on a track since the Nationals in April! I opted not to go to Perth, not least of all because it clashes with the Heysen 105, but also because while I was lucky enough to win a few medals at the Nationals, I could not envisage being competitive at a World Championships!

I ran the 1500m and 3000m, about 30 minutes apart. I was happy with my 1500, just over 6 minutes,
and significantly faster than the last time I ran that distance, at the Nationals. I’ve never broken the 6 minute barrier but I think it’s on the cards at some time this summer! After the 1500, like many others, I experienced a bit of ‘track hack’, an affliction peculiar to track running which is a dry cough that can last up to a few hours. It’s partly the exertion and partly something to do with the track surface, so I’m told. Anyway, my 3000m was nowhere near as good as my 1500 as a result, but still I was happy to get under 13 minutes (my PB being closer to 12 minutes).

On Thursday, after having done my usual morning run (cut slightly short as I was a bit tired from
my track outing), I went out to the inaugural Kathmandu Salomon Trail Running Club, which is a new venture starting and finishing at the Kathmandu store in Rundle Mall, every second Thursday. I didn’t know much about it but it popped up on my Facebook News Feed, and it being a rare free Thursday night for me,
thought I’d give it a go! I knew Laura was going but I didn’t know anyone else. I was surprised when I got there and Barry McBride was there, actually he was leading the group! (Barry is the Race Director for Yurrebilla, and an experienced and accomplished trail runner.)

The group was all female (just a coincidence – guys are more than welcome!), some of whom (like myself and a few others) had done some ultramarathons, and many of whom were cyclists (and all seemed to know each other!). We went for a short, easy run along the River Torrens and Barry gave us a few tips on downhill running in particular, and trying to run with more of a midfoot strike (I have a definite tendency to run more on my heels, as evidenced by the wear on my shoes, and I know that I could improve my technique and my times if I could change to a midfoot strike, but up to now I’ve found my times have improved anyway so I haven’t bothered to try to change).

Which brings me to something else that happened earlier in the week – I attended a lecture at the
Physiotherapy Association from running coach Chris Taylor, who talked a lot about running technique in relation to injuries, and a lot of the stuff he said was echoed by Barry on Thursday night. I had had one one-on-one (try saying that quickly!) with Chris a few years back as I prepared for my first marathon, and he did pick up that I was more of a heel striker, but he said that it was probably not a good idea to mess with my technique too much, only a matter of weeks before the marathon. So while I had all good intentions to tweak my technique (techtweak, if you will) after the marathon was over, of course I didn’t. 

Barry recommended barefoot running as a way to try to move towards a midfoot strike (something else mentioned by Chris) and I decided I was definitely going to give that a go.

I highly recommend the trail running club to anyone interested (I think they’re being run in a few other cities too), whether they be complete noobs or relatively experienced. There’s always something new to learn, and I’m sure the newbies appreciate getting advice from more experienced trail runners too!

On Friday I went to speed training for the first time in 3 weeks – the session was 1600m, 2 x 1000m and 2
x 400m. I tend to do better on the longer intervals but my second 400 was my fastest in a while, probably because I had Tina breathing down my neck yelling at me that she was going to catch me! (I thanked her for not doing that on one of the earlier intervals – I was happy to go all out on the last one, knowing I didn’t have any more to do after that!)

On Saturday, instead of my usual routine of parkrun, I went for a trail run with Kate, to try to get ready for Heysen which was now less than 2 weeks away. We went up Ansteys Hill, following the course of the trail race that we both ran last December. I must admit my legs were pretty heavy and I was amazed that I had run up some of those hills during the race. There was a lot of walking (I described it on Strava as a ‘plod’ – I think that was pretty apt) but it was nice to get out on the trails and it was quite a lovely morning.

Around lunchtime I decided to give this barefoot running thing a crack. After agonising over which shoes to wear given that I would be running on grass – road or trail (I’m not joking!) I put on my thongs (flip-flops or jandals for my international readers – NOT what you’re thinking!) and walked across to my local park. I think
cricket season has started but fortunately there were no games on at that particular oval that day.

I started slowly, not really thinking about technique but mainly just trying to avoid the yellow flowers on the ground which were of interest to the local bees. I started running laps around one oval but then quickly got bored so started doing figure 8s between the 2 adjacent ovals. It was amazing how quickly I got into a
rhythm, each kilometre being faster than the one before. Barry had recommended about half an hour being the optimum length of time of a barefoot run (at least initially) so I went with that. And managed to avoid stepping on anything sharp (or any bees!). So my first barefoot outing was a success!

  So, that was my week leading up to Sunday’s McLaren Vale Half – stay tuned for the race report!

Running – just for fun!

Don’t get me wrong, I love to run. Training runs, races, parkruns – I mostly enjoy them. I train because I love to race events, and I want to do my best in every event I do. The training is  (mostly) enjoyable because I can see where it is leading.

‘Fun Run’ is a weird term for me. City-Bay Fun Run, which I’ve now run 4 times (most recently 2 weeks ago), to me is a serious affair, and although I have had some great runs in that event, I would never describe it as ‘Fun’. For many people, it is ALL about fun. I presume those people in gorilla costumes were enjoying themselves! 

I know plenty of people who don’t do many events, so they run purely for enjoyment and fitness. Sometimes I’d like to be like them…

Sometimes, I do run purely for fun. I might get some kind of bonus training benefit out of it, but there’s no particular goal. I’m not trying to run a specific pace, get a certain amount of ‘vert’ or test out any new gear.

This weekend was just one of those runs. Originally I had planned to hit up the Heysen Trail with Heysen training buddy Kate to run a section of the 105km course, but then Kate arranged to go away for the long weekend so I had the rare luxury of being able to choose from a few different group runs, or even not run at all (as if that was even an option, although I was 1 week post ultramarathon, so I could have been forgiven for having a sleep-in, especially considering that Daylight Saving started on Sunday so we lost an hour of sleep!)

As it turned out, I would also end up doing a 22km section of Heysen, on the holiday Monday, with a group, but this was more of a reccy than a training run – the idea being to see whether the course was still safe after the extraordinary weather events of recent weeks, and if any deviations would need to be made from the Heysen Trail for the actual race in 3 weeks time.

Sunday’s options were a 12km trail run through Cleland, part of which we had run just last week as part of Yurrebilla, or a road run, I’m not sure of the distance. Given that for the rest of this year my only road races are 5k races, I felt that a long road run was not necessary, so I opted to hit the trails. It would be interesting to see how much damage had been done by last week’s storms.

Beck was keen on the trail run too, although like me was not so keen on the 7:15am meeting time (effectively 6:15!) However, we both made it in plenty of time and given the short distance, we both just opted for a handheld bottle rather than a hydration pack.

It was just a really nice, enjoyable, FUN, 12k. There had definitely been a lot of damage, with many trees down (which we had to decide whether to go over or under!), a lot of new creeks, and some very slippery mud in sections. I was so grateful that it wasn’t like this for Yurrebilla!

We walked up many of the hills, chatting all the way, and even stopped for a few photos. The weather was kind to us too, with both of us quite comfortable in singlets and shorts, and with no hint of rain (which was a nice bonus because we had been anticipating rain!). 

Another bonus was running into some of the girls from our Tuesday and Friday running groups, at one of our favourite post-run coffee haunts, who had done a different run that morning but in a similar area. And for the first time since winter started, we were able to sit outside and enjoy the glorious sunshine!
I must remember, once in a while, to get back to nature and just run for fun!