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Maitland Bay

Strom's Track this morning.

After an easy day yesterday (recovery days are as important as quality days), I decided to treat myself on a beautiful sunny and warm morning with a 17km trail run over to Maitland Bay in Bouddi National Park, just about my favourite place to run locally.

Maitland Bay this morning.

I wasn't sure how I would go with the distance and hills involved, but know that if I can manage to get some longer runs in, taking care not to stress my heart, I will gradually improve my fitness.  It's not that I want to start racing again, but I feel out-of-shape, especially in the legs, and will enjoy my running more if a little fitter.

As I skirted Cockrone Lagoon, I realised it was a lot warmer than I had anticipated, but I wasn't planning to push it.  The legs were heavy and it was a long slow, and at times steep, ascent to the McMasters Fire Trail, and then the same again up to the Scenic Highway, the highest point of the run.  I kept running, making sure I didn't get to the point of breathing too heavily, and made it without stopping.  This was a confidence booster, knowing that hills I literally couldn't have walked up six weeks ago without seriously risking my health could now be run up.

Maitland Bay this morning.

From there I ran the 2km length of Strom's Track, one of the most beautiful sections of trail on the coast for running or mountain-biking.  One of my friends, Greg, told me that in his younger days, he and a few friends would run 2km repeats along this section of track for training.  It would have been fun.

Maitland Bay this morning.

At the other end of the track, I descended the steep many-stepped trail to Maitland Bay, an absolute gem of a golden arc-shaped beach bordered by thick green forest and lapped by crystal clear aquamarine water.  I hoped to have the place to myself, but a couple reached the beach the same time as me and a white yacht rode at anchor at the eastern end.

Bouddi Coastal Track this morning.

After jogging the length of the beach, I walked up the steep exit path and then used a mix of walking and running, depending on the track steepness, along the Bouddi Coastal Track.  By this time, my lack of fitness and the heat was beginning to taking more of a toll than expected and my running pace was even slower.  I told myself that there was no reason why I shouldn't walk more - I wasn't training for any races and there was no time-pressure to get fit - so that's what I did for some of the remaining hills.  It is mentally hard for me not to force myself to run up hills, even when exhausted, but I know I have to come to terms with it.

After the long descent to McMasters Beach, and feeling very tired, I decided to walk the remaining 2km home along the beach.  I was hot and debated whether to jump in for a swim in the very inviting surf, but decided it was too much hassle without a towel and still some distance to walk.

I will have another easy day tomorrow and then try another longer run on Wednesday if I feel OK.