Distance: 34.8 km
Time: 3 hrs 41 mins 41 secs
Rate: 6' 22" per km
Weather: cloudy, very cool, temp 9-11 degrees, humidity 60%, calm in trees, light SE in the valley
Altitude gain/loss: 880 metres
Week: 103.2 km with 1690 metres of altitude gain/loss
Feb: 193.05 km
Year: 626.4 km
Seven very brave runners arrived before sunrise at the old Honeysuckle Tracking Station for a new training run for us over the range to the Orroral Valley. The tracks are part of two mountain running events held in the ACT, notably the 2nd part of the Deep Space marathon held in Late Nov, and the Orroral Valley Classic, held in October. A beautiful area of Namadgi National Park with a small portion also being part of the Australian Alpine Walking Track heading off to Victoria.
This is another event not for the faint hearted or the untrained. Although we reckon it's not in the top three of our training runs, it's easy with a major climb of 4 kms near the end. In fact nearly all of walked some or most of it with around 500 metres of up hill in 4 the 4 kms.
February was been unusually changeable this year in this part of the world. The first week was very hot, 40 degrees temps, this week, low teens. Today at a higher altitude than Canberra city, it was decidedly cold, temp around 10 degrees and it didn't warm up much at all. Maybe a degrees or two in the valley, but a light cool SE breeze against soon knocked that down. Fortunately, no wind to hit the socks off us, it can get really cold on the range at any time as we found out in Nov when the Deep Space marathon and other events were run in the snow.
Today no snow, dry track, we desperately need rain. A couple of camping tents are the start area, many use this as a start point for walking treks. The first part of the run is, of course, all up hill to a collimation tower. What's that? Don't know. Difficult start, but then a long down hill to the valley where a non flowing Orroral River has a wooden bridge over it. Left my day pack with a couple of drink bottles inside, hidden in the reeds. Then a circuit of the Orroral Valley following the Classic event course held in Oct. Fairly easy, with only a short, sharp climb up to where the drink station is normally located. A nice fire trail leads to the intersection with Smoker's Trail. Here the leaders had written a sign " Robbie - and an arrow" . No doubts about where to go.
Smoker's Trail leads toward Corin Forest reserve, but we turn off a couple of kms down the track to follow a grassy trail back along the valley floor. Open space, grass looked as if it had been mowed not long ago.
The leaders, Mick, Nick & Robbie were well out of sight, only the occasional kangaroo lingering. CJ kicking the rest of our backsides, doesn't like the grassy surface, but it didn't matter, she was having a very good day.
Finally back to the wooden bridge and the end of the easy part, around 26 kms done, but the hard part to come. About 8.5 kms to go to get back but the first 4.5 kms are tough. Steep, plenty of walking as running gets you no where. Several times the GPS told me I was not moving forward, the auto pause went off while I was still moving, well I the feet were moving, but the rest of me was marking time.
Carol ran all this section, CJ walked and ran and I couldn't keep up with her until we hit the down hill with 4 kms to go. Michael not that far behind either.
The boys in front ran well, SFT looking good for them, I had no go in the legs. The colder weather didn't help at all, a long sleeve top and singlet stayed on all run. Must say I will need to improve on today's effort for CJ not to finish in front of me at SFT as well. I hope I have a good run and she does finish in front. She has been really good over the past few weeks. We all need to stay fit and healthy with 4 weeks to go.