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Leon's Run

Yass Golf Club.

No running yesterday, just the drive back to Copa from the mountains with a stop for nine holes of golf at Yass on a beautiful day on a very pleasant course.  I knew I needed time to recover from Thursday's longish trail run and have found that an easy walk of five kilometres or so (even if punctuated by some terrible golf shots) is a good way to work out some of the stiffness.

It's confronting, in my sixties, to compare how long it takes to get over a long hard run these days compared to thirty years ago.  There was always fatigue and some stiffness the next day, but these days I'm practically immobile when I first get up, walking extra carefully and slowly downstairs and limping to avoid undue stress on damaged joints.  I sometimes wonder if it's a portent of life in my eighties, if I make it that far.

Glimpses of Gosford from atop Kincumba Mountain.

On the other hand, it's gratifying and often surprising to find how much improvement comes with just a day's rest or easy walking.  The thought of running yesterday had no appeal whatsoever, while today I was keen to see whether the improved strength I felt running up hills on Thursday was real or imaginary.  Although still moving gingerly after my 4:30am rising, I had confidence based on experience that once I started running I would loosen up and feel fresher.

Part of the level fire-trail atop
Kincumba Mountain.

Today's Terrigal Trotters run was the popular 14.7km "Leon's Run" from the beach to the top of Kincumba Mountain and return on a mix of road and fire-trail.  I think it's popularity stems not only from the sense of accomplishment in running to the top of the mountain (and the ensuing exhilarating descent), but also from the contrasts it offers en route - starting from the surf-lapped beach, often in the dark, and traversing sleepy suburbia to reach the forests of the mountain in the early light.  It's a serious climb, but then you get to enjoy three kilometres of  relatively level running to the turnaround point and back along the mountain crest during which you get to say hello to your clubmates travelling in the opposite direction.  If you're having a bad day, you get to see how far they are in front and who's catching you, and if you're having a good day, you get to impress those following and see who in front might be caught.

I had a good day today, considering the past four months, despite wondering a couple of times whether I could sense undue pressure in my chest during the harder parts of the ascent.  Each time, I backed off just a little so my breathing didn't become too laboured, but suspect it was just my imagination.  I definitely ran my best since the heart and lung ailments of Christmas, though there remains plenty of room for improvement.  The tank was empty for the last few kilometres.