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A long but good day

Setting out from Congewai.

Yesterday's Terrigal Trotters run along a section of The Great North Walk explains a lot about why I enjoy trail running.  It was a day that highlighted all of the positive aspects.

Firstly, there were the ominous weather forecasts for cold wet and windy conditions for the 33km run from Congewai to Cedar Brush.  None of the thirty-five booked runners cancelled because of the adverse forecast and there was keen anticipation of battling the elements on the bus as we drove the ninety minutes to the Congewai trackhead.  However, the bad weather was clearing by the time we started running and we ended up enjoyed the best running conditions imaginable - cool, breezy on the higher ridges, low humidity, and sun-dappled tranquil rainforest glens.  It was a pleasure to be alive as we made our way southwards.

Running the forest trails.

The runners each ran their own run, with some choosing to see how fast they could go, others just cruising along with friends, and some taking it easy and stopping for photographs and views.  Trail-running, better than most sports, offers the chance to do your own thing, sharing the joys with others, but not having to do it the same way.

Adventures are almost guaranteed, whether it's missing a turn, taking a tumble, or encountering a snake, and we had all of those yesterday, some more dramatic than others, but all when least expected.  The adventure was compounded by the remoteness, and the lack of mobile phone coverage at the Cedar Brush trackhead meant we were left guessing about the fate of runners who failed to arrive as expected.  Anxiety was replaced with relief and mirth when the runners were found and their misadventures recounted.  The range of emotions experienced during trail running explains much of its appeal.

Traversing Watagan Creek

Finally, we all enjoyed the post-run camaraderie, lounging in the sun in a beautiful little valley, eating and drinking, analysing and discussing our respective adventures, and cheering each runner as they finished.  It may have been a long day, but it was a good day.

Post-run relaxation.

My own run went fine, not that much slower than last year's time on the same course, and very comfortable. My only real problems were the chronic right knee and Achilles tendon injuries that were giving me quite a lot of pain by the end.  I think trail running exacerbates these injuries, but I'm more than willing to accept the trade-off.

For today, I walked an easy 5km around Copa, and didn't feel too tired or stiff, apart from the tendon still being a little painful.  I'm already looking forward to our next Club trail run in three weeks time.

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