The Six Foot Track - The Slower Version



The date of the long awaited Six Foot Track - The Slower Version! had arrived, and an anticipatory group of excited Cool Runners descended on an unsuspecting Katoomba on Friday night for a pasta meal and recognisance of the next days activities.

Lucky Legs, Peter the PRB, Wombatface, Wildthing and the ‘worth-his-weight-in-chocolate’ Mr Wildthing and I met for dinner at The Hatters Cafe a few doors up from our quirky, but entirely adequate, accommodation at the Town Centre Motel. Late 50’s red brick motel rooms provided plenty of opportunity for Lucky Legs and I to giggle like schoolgirls sharing their first dorm room for most of our time together, whilst the Wildthings were in the penthouse garret in the adjoining 1930’s St Elmo Guesthouse.

A buffet breakfast was included, and with the ‘Heritage’ Dining room opening at 7:30am, we were first in to ensure that we could get to the Explorer’s Tree meeting place for the 8:00am start. I was resolute in sticking to FortiJuice for the day or two pre-run, however others tucked in to a ‘Big Breakfast’ of sausages, eggs, bacon and toast. I made the unfortunate error of drinking the very bad instant coffee, which was particularly foul – not recommended and not to be repeated!

We piled into the ideal transport of Mr Wildthings’ Pajero and drove to the Explorers Tree in steady drizzle. My main concern was getting too cold during the day if the rain continued, and I hadn’t finally decided what to wear. At the designated meeting point were Horrie and Belinda and Chonky. After introductions or re-introductions all around, we posed for a group photo next to the tree, huddled close together as the rain fell down from the trees overhead in huge globs.

Reluctant to carry too much, I settled on keeping on a Cool Running Tri Top over a singlet, with a R4YL cap to keep the worst of the rain off my face. At around 20 minutes past eight we started in the wet and slippery conditions, jointly surprised at how quickly the wider section of track gave way to a series of steps descending into Nellie's Glen. This was incredibly beautiful, although slow going. While Chonky ran off ahead to get to the river and back for a ‘quick’ run, our group of six stayed together for safety. This was an experience not a race!

The descent into Nellie's Glen was spectacular through the deep gorge with the rock walls rising vertically on either side. With the rain continuing it was sometimes difficult to tell where the creek ran, and what was run-off from the rain on our course. Good track markings of a Red Hiker and arrows led the way at intervals to ensure that we went along the correct water course!

The path widened, and Horrie and I were delighted to finally be able to stretch our legs, and jogged along comfortably, climbing through a gate on the first barrier, and then finding green metal stiles at all the others. In one stretch, the sound of birdsong was deafening, with Bell-birds and Whip birds dominating the raucous. It was good to move along, and the track moved through varying countryside, still wet from the deluge before emerging at the dark stripe of bitumen to mark the roadway at Megalong Valley where Rob Wildthing was waiting for us, camera in hand.

Here we shed rain-jackets (Yay!) and Wildthing (Sob) as the sky had cleared and we were eternally optimistic. Another group photo shivering together at the Megalong Valley sign as we gazed off to the mist rising from the mountains and we were off, through the fence and past the historic cemetery. A 4WD with car trailer came along and past us soon as we were moving, indicative of the grazing land that we were to encounter over the next few kilometres.

A wide firetrail style track was marked by PRIVATE PROPERTY - NO TRESPASSING signs on either side, easily ensuring that we wouldn't make a mistake diverting up the driveways to the farm-lets in the Valley. I began to feel cold with the light breeze on my sodden Tri Top, so unzipped this to my waist leaving only a relatively dry CR running singlet next to my skin. Cattle grazed all around, which meant that as we regrouped for a photo op at the cattle grid which marked the start of our trek along a single track surrounded by the vivid purple haze of Paterson's Curse we were all covered in a fine black film of flies. Supported by the cowpats which we were soon to become vigilant in avoiding, the number of flies was enormous and very annoying.

A track led up through the spring growth of still-green grass over a hillock and alongside a ridge-line. Eventually leading to a forested area of narrow single track through bushland. Mysteriously, a cow or cows had preceded us, and we were alerted to the occasional huge globs of dung along the narrow path, one with a large footprint (?Chonky's) in the middle. Nearing the river, as we had just traversed a gully, Chonky came bounding along in the other direction and we stopped and chatted briefly before he continued on his speedy way.

He had advised us that a small party of young hikers were ahead, and sure enough, as we rounded the bend to the dramatic sight of Bowtell's Suspension Bridge. Built in 1992 by an army outfit, it is named after the first soldier of the unit to have been killed in Vietnam. A couple of young guys in camouflage fatigues were snacking at it's base. Peter announced that he was going to cross, and as tempting as this was (the sign indicating that it was strictly for one person at a time), I decided that we didn't have time for too much play, with another 30kms+ ahead of us. When I told Belinda and Wombatface what Peter was doing though when I caught up to them on the track, each turned back to try it as well.

I was only seconds behind Horrie when I got to the designated crossing point at the Cox's River, about 1.5km along from the bridge. A good opportunity for an excursion into the bushes, and I then sought to find which of the trails led to to the best way across. With the river level somewhat higher than is usual in March, this was not obvious. I did some scouting before starting to cross, then heard the call of the ChickyBabe as she made it down to the river. I backtracked, and we crossed together, hopeful that the Polar footpods would continue to work at the other side. (They did). Horrie settled on a log, squeezing out his socks and refueling, whilst LL sought the water tank adjacent to the camping site.

After a long delay, the group of 3 bridge walkers came through and crossed the river. Five Trail bike riders were having a break here as well, and after we studied the maps, topped up water and posed for the obligatory photograph with my low resolution phone (sorry for the quality!), we were on our way to start the traditionally hardest part of the track. Horrie and Belinda came along for a short distance to 'just see' what the hills were like before turning back. We were now a rag tag gang of four, bright is CR colours of Yellow, Blue and Green.

This point marked the climb up Mini Mini, and wound its way through the bush from the 15.5km mark (from the river crossing at the lowest elevation, right) to a saddle with a dramatic, large, overfed Red Bellied Black Snake on a wall adjacent to the track. I was alerted to the fact that we had mobile coverage here on receiving a text from Aki and attempted to call the Widthings to let them know where we were. Rob let us know that he was at Pluviometre, and with the hills continuing to rise, it seemed a long way away.

We had committed one of the first crimes of distance running 101, and underestimated our water needs for this leg. The verges of the tracks were dotted with the tall straight trunks of majestic eucalpyts, and the ground littered with a colourful carpet of native flowers in a spectrum of mauve, purple, violet and yolk-yellows. I started to collect these at one point, putting sprigs in the band of my now-empty fuel belt. Despite only picking one, invariably small bloom of each type, my waist was soon laden with dancing flowers.

Around this point, our favourite ChickyBabe was beginning to wane and kept entreating me to go on ahead as she rested a little. With the long lean legs of Peter and Wombatface striding off in the distance I insisted that the first law of bush-trekking was never to leave someone alone. When sitting on a pretty stone 'bench', fatigue and the big breakfast came to haunt her, and concerned about dehydration, I headed off to find the Wildthings, an estimated 3 kilometres away with Peter when he and Wombatface had returned to view. We walked, rather than jogged this section, and I was fascinated to note that we were doing a comfortable 13-14:00 minute pace walking easily, whereas my usual insistence on 'running' (a loose term) often had me at well over 15 and even 18 minute pace.

On a bend we came across a couple of hikers, weighed down with backpacks and camping gear, stopping to munch a apple. We bid them farewell, and continued, rounding yet another bend to see 'something' in front of us; I discounted it being the Pajero, rationalising that it was a rusted structure or Workman's donga instead. Wildthing's CR Tri Top drying on a log meant that we were in no doubt that we had come across our wonderful support crew. It turned out that we were only 1.9 km away, so before too long, Wombatface and Lucky Legs came striding up as well to rest, rehydrate and recuperate in our designated lunch stop.

I changed into blissfully clean dry socks, and left my Tri Top and singlet on a sign to dry out a little in the emerging sun. Although not especially hungry, I used the opportunity to have a FortiJuice, Fruit Squeezy and risked a Special K bar for something solid. I had had two Gu's along the trail before this. I drank plenty of water though, and ensured that my fuel belt bottles were full. Wombatface made himself a couple of tomato sandwiches, Lucky Legs was introduced to the low GI wonders of creamed rice, and Peter had a couple of bread rolls with cheese. I Stripped down to a crop top, we were off once again, this time with Wildthing jogging with us. My Forerunner indicated that I had stopped for over 56 minutes at Pluviometre.

There was another 220m climb to reach the highest point, but this was spread over the luxury of around 8 kilometres. We all jogged and walked in a companionable fashion, with Rob Wildthing leapfrogging ahead every few kilometres, allowing us to refill water bottles and for some to munch salty potato crisps. Wombatface, the resident expert having completed the last two six foot track runs kept reassuring us that the last significant hill was over, and once we turned the next left bend . . . .

We crossed a number of creeks and welcomed the cool water on our hot feet. After Alun Creek, we came across a gully full of ferns which was a vibrant luminous lime green in the late afternoon light. Tree Ferns stood sentinel overlooking the thick coverage of ferns covering the ground across the gully and up the banks of the trail. It was rather surreal . . . .

We noticed the stand of pine trees and a sign looking as though it indicated a forestry coop, and could hear the sound of what seemed like traffic in the distance. Not too far along the trail with the pine plantation on the right hand side, we saw a solo runner travelling light, carrying only a water bidon. Then, at crossroads was the welcome sight of the Pajero and and the wildthings chatting to a bearded guy called Alan. After introductions all around, we found that he was camping at the nearby campsite here at the Deviation, and was here hiking with a few mates from Canberra.

Checking the map for distances, our gang of four headed off again, meeting the Pajero at the roadway to Jenolan Caves, and agreeing to 'pick up' Wildthing further down the track where it veered off running parallel to the road and we had around 4 kilometres to go. The track in this intermediate section was a surprising mix of steps and tight single track, relatively slow going as we now neared our destination. Where the track widened to open, spindly forest, everybody was able to move along pretty well.

After around 3 or 4 kilometres the trail came to a clearing where it veered away from running parallel to the roadway. Here we met the Pajero, Wildthing joined us, and we were all exultant with the prospect of finishing soon. Close to the start of the diversion, a sign on the left hand side of the trail indicated that there were 4 kms to go. A wide undulating trail led to a clearing where there was a toilet block and an open field with the Jenolan Cabins backing on to it. Through a fence, and the quality and width of the track changed, followed later by the thickness of the vegetation. Cracks of dramatic thunder broke through the late afternoon silence, sometimes developing into an extended rumbling which never seemed to end. I wondered if Town Hall Station was nearby and the world's longest train was about to arrive.

It apparently became fairly fairly loose and shaley along here, with a few steep descents, however I was too busy chatting to the wonderful Wildthing to notice! At some point the track changed to a sealed tourist path which wound it's way down to Caves House. A mixture of sloping narrow track and occasional steps, the track afforded some spectacular views over the valley and to the lake. We had to stop at Carlotta's Arch for yet another group photo, where we could see the lake framed by the dramatic limestone.

Over the final few hundred metres we probably slowed down in reverence of the gravity of what we, the Lucky Legs six foot track assault, had achieved. Dusk was descending in the valley, and a few flashes of lightening lit the sky which was already a luminous azure. All our senses were overwhelmed, the creak of crickets no match for the wall of honeysuckle to our right. We (mostly!) joined hands as we walked the final steps down to the roadway at Caves House where Rob and his camera met us.

To 'do it properly', we jogged down to the correct finish point and celebrated. The odd couple came out of Caves House for a postprandial stroll, and we rejoiced in every strange look. Our group at the finish were wearing matching Blue and Yellow tops and caps, under-dressed for the cooling conditions, and smiles as wide as the Mammonth Cave ahead of us.

Off to the Explorer's Tree!


Cool Running Royalty and I are heading off this morning to Katoomba for the slow six foot track, as drizzle descends upon Canberra.

Let's hope that the weather forecast current at 7:45am on Friday holds up for tomorrow:

Late thunder 11°C - 21°

Tuesday's forecast is for a maximum of 13!

The weekend will give Bob a chance to update the computer without me lurking around, toe tapping, waiting to blog. Hopefully, some of the replacement equipment will start to arrive next week and we'll be able to be truly productive in repopulating them with data (and backing up!).

I feel as though I am well and truly out of the loop of the blogosphere these last few weeks and know that I can never catch up.

Roll on summer and the six foot track!!

Sri Chinmoy Triple Tri - Run 2


I met up with Bob preparing to do the 40km bike leg, Rad and the PRB awaiting their team swimmer at Acton Ferry Terminal where there was a huge congregation of supporters at the transition point. News came through that Ron had cramped in the swim and was receiving assistance in the water. With another bike leg for him to do, this was a concern and we looked at alternatives.

He swam up confidently though, in a very credible 1:21:57 for the 3.5km leg and Bob was off on to the trails and mountains of Canberra’s western fringe. Despite the changes to the swim legs and Milly’s illness, we were still 7 minutes ahead of our draft schedule.

There was around two hours before Bob would complete his cycle, and the waiting is always the hardest, especially when unsure of the time. The PRB and I went for an enjoyable coffee at The Deck at nearby Regatta Point, before popping by Rad’s place to check on how things were going. I was starting to get anxious about the time though so we didn’t stay for long.

The 5th transition area was a buzz with activity; bunting marked the changeover chute, and relay runners were nervously lining up for the port‑a‑loo and seeking to warm up whilst keeping a watchful eye on the mountain bikers coming through for the end of their leg.

I had changed into dry clothes as soon as I finished the first run, and although disappointed to have ‘ditched’ the Cool Running Crop Top, the clean clothes and socks were very welcome. My Garmin 301 had also not coped very well with the previous run leg; it was set on auto pause, and my ever-so-slow movement forward up the steepest sections had caused it to stop, no doubt exacerbated by the thick tree cover and poor GPS signal in some places. The footpod of the S625x coped better, underestimating a little (I had not recalibrated it for the Asics Foster shoes I was wearing during this leg), but very consistant and close. I turned auto pause off, and hoped for a better Garmin result.

There was no news about the location of the riders, as they trickled through as individuals or in small packs of 2 or 3. Bob’s distinctive red Swiss jersey and knicks with yellow helmet came into view just before 2:00pm (original estimate 2:15) and I left him to collect the car keys from a friend and dashed off to follow the PRB and David Baldwin who had already started their run.

I had become a bit stiff in the intervening 3½ hours, and knew that some light jogging would help to begin with. David and the PRB slowly increased their gap to me, and I was overtaken by a couple of young women with team numbers on them. Slow and Steady Carolyne. Big Picture.

Maybe a little unfortunately for me, this run leg only had one mountain climb, however it was right at the beginning and unrelenting. We were immediately required to climb up the northern face of this hill, and while I lost ground to those in front and to those who passed me, I keep moving my legs in a running motion (I’m sure walkers would have past me), and made it to the Trig Point at the top and a welcome drink station without too many ill effects, even though the pace was painfully slow.

Now the long steady downhill section began, blissfully steep at first on the SE slopes of Mt Taylor to begin with, and then over the rolling tracks at the base and onto a series of bike paths traversing the Tuggeranong suburbs. This was alien territory for me and I was reliant on following those in front and for the white arrows that marked the way. This was fairly boring and having passed one woman in front I found it hard to concentrate and focus on the run – it was flat to slightly downhill, but over concrete paths between houses and green belts with few people in sight. I was very annoyed when a couple of guys on mini-bikes the size of a clown’s bicycle came tearing past me, spewing noisome two stroke fuel and plenty of noise pollution into my face.

Eventually, the Lakeside path came into view and a number of wetsuited swimmers were visible on a sandy beach area around the other side. With the finish within reach I was inspired to pick up the pace and finished within my anticipated time of 1:15. Bob was wearing the Team’s Aqua Blue Cap and went bounding off into the water when I tagged him.
Post leg nutrition: 1 Special K bar; 2 Gu; Saxby's Diet Ginger Beer; 1 FortiJuice; 1 litre Mineral Water.

Sri Chinmoy Triple Tri - Run 1


The weather gods were smiling on us for the Sri Chinmoy Triple Tri; light cloud cover and mild conditions with a light breeze greeted the over 900 competitors (21 individuals and 131 teams of 3 to 9) for the 5:30am start at Lake Ginninderra on Canberra's northside.

This remarkable event is a crazy concept and logistical nightmare; swims in each of Canberra's man made lakes, linked by arduous and often technical mountain bike legs traversing the hills and nature parks and runs over the peaks of Mt Majura (824m), Mt Ainslie (814m), Mt Taylor (855m) and Red Hill. The amazing Sri Chinmoy Team here in Canberra organise this extremely well, with busloads of helpers, eight transition points and many intermediate aid stations. Amazingly, it works.

The tradition of previous years had established that "Rad's Ravers" had to be entered; a fun team of friends and supporters of the inimitable Rad Leovic, the inspirational 78 year old triathlete of all of us in Canberra. Last year was my introduction to this event as a participant, where I had elected to do the first run leg, the most stunning tour of northern Canberra over the summits of the the two peaks as the event of the same name. The point to point Sri Chinmoy course is more interesting however, with a portion through the single track of Majura Pines and final kilometres past the War Memorial and along Anzac Parade and around a portion of Lake Burley Griffin.

I did well last year, and thought that it was one of the best events I had ever been a part of. I longed to be more involved this year, and having seen Mister G take off on each of the run legs secretly held this to be my goal. With a running focus in Rad's contacts, we were able to stitch together two teams this year; an over 50 team of eight competitors (one swimmer doing the 2 shorter swim legs); and a 'family' team of four - Father Ron electing to do two bike legs, daughter Milly each of the swims, and Bob taking the other bike leg whilst I ran. The lead up and preparation hadn't been ideal, although I was keen to do it. Bob wasn't so optimistic and kept reminding me that he could/would do the final run leg. Having competed (and won) the run legs in a team of 3 during the first year he knew what was involved and expected me to crash and burn. Spouse of little faith.

Milly's wave started at 6:05am and she was not well from the outset. Tagging Ron for the bike leg, she was taken home to bed, hopefully to recover from a 24 hour lurgy. I was oblivious to this as I started my first run; very slowly and conservatively over the stiles and along the orange trails around the base of Mt Majura. I counted those who passed me in the early stages, and concentrated on 'pacing myself' and taking it very easy. I wanted to do all the legs and there was a long day ahead. I couldn't mind when Emma Murray came flashing past with a smile on her face!

Slow on the ascents, my fitness had deteriorated over the last few weeks, however nearing the end of my second course of antibiotics meant that my wheezing had ceased and I was breathing more easily. Slow and Steady. At Mt Majura we clambered over a sharp rise to circumnavigate the Trig Point, before descending again to begin the welcome roadway descent for a kilometre or two. I was concerned to see individual competitor, super volunteer and Bilby supremo, David Baldwin walk/jogging backwards on this stretch; he had been far behind his partner at the start of the run and had problems with both of his glutes. To need to walk backwards so early in the event did not auger well and was of great concern.

Despite dosing up on too much Imodium (as usual), a wombat stop was necessary in the thick bush between the Majura bushland and the lush needle carpet of the mountain bike tracks of Majura Pines. I adore this section of the course, it has a sense of a magic forest while one searches out the white arrows on the ground.

Through the open trails around the base and on the slopes up Mt Ainslie. It is a good route up the northern side, partly on narrow, shaded tracks. A steep clamber over to the roadway at Mt Ainslie, and another circuit to the Trig Point before beginning the long, steady descent down wide shallow steps, and a winding sealed path to the War Memorial, dodging many Sunday morning walkers looking on with surprise as they were passed by a succession of sweaty runners with race numbers barrelling down the track. Over a grassed section, and we were then on the homeward stretch. Supporters sat on the edge of some of the national monuments to nurses and seaman cheering as we went past, and the lake beckoned in front. Around "Blundell's Cottage" and on to the north shore of Central Basin. Not far to go now.

I had estimated around 2 hours 10 minutes for this leg, and knew that I had to be much slower than the 1:50 I flew through last year. Nearing the business end and knowing that it was flat, it looked as though two hours was in reach, a good measured and sensible result. I called out for Milly as I came to the transition chute, not knowing that Ron was doing the long swim (3.5km) leg. We tagged and changed over, and I went and drank dozens of cups of water in the little marquee.

One down!
Pre Leg Nutrition: Demi-tasse of espresso. Water.
Post Leg Nutrition: 1/2 Endura Energy Bar. 1 'Fruit Slurpy' (apple puree). 1 FortiJuice. 1.25l Mineral Water. 1 Long Black. 375ml Saxby's Diet Ginger Beer.



Firstly, How can one thank Peter, the PRB sufficiently? Thanks to him, I am now able to tap away (albeit briefly) update the blog, catch up on news, and type out the lists we so desperately need!

Thank you, thank you, thank you a thousand fold!


On Thursday last week (10 November), some person or persons unknown illegally entered the house through a window on which they broke the lock. Despite me only leaving for the pool (on foot) at 2:15pm, and Bob and I returning home together exactly 2 hours later, the place had been ransacked and thieves took off with all portable and attractive items of computer equipment (3 laptops), and small peripherals; camera equipment and lenses; items of jewellry; watches and a Polar HRM; and a number of digital tuning shortwave and other radios.

Whilst we were quite fortunate in many ways, our entire life is digital these days, and being unwired has been a challenge. Ironically, doing what is required for insurance, replacement equipment and research for increased security is far too time consuming and difficult without the computers.

As of yesterday (Friday 17 November), we have ordered new computer equipment from the insurance agent, however it may take a couple of weeks for delivery. Peter, the PRB brought over a highly spec'ed desktop last night for us to use in the interim. Have I said thank you?

Needless to say, the loss has had quite a significant effect on our available training. Luckily, there have been a few short events on which got us out of the house and focused on something else over the week, but that has been it.

In Summary:

Thursday, 10 Nov Cancelled going to Vets Track. Only a short walk. Bob cancelled his camping trip.

Friday, 11 Nov Turned up for Customs 5k. Trouble breathing and felt terrible after a hard run in 23:45 (4:45 pace). Great coffee and chat with Adrienne afterwards on The Deck at Regatta Point. Bob had to stay home for forensics, the insurance assessor, and we needed to replace the window lock before we could leave the house.

The PRB came around 'now' and fitted a new lock for us.

Saturday, 12 Nov I had pre-entered the Belconnen 6k Fun Run and we both went along. Huge turnout, although there were the usual suspects, the 'good' runners were focusing on the AIS track meet that night and the bulk of the 1,000+ field were walkers and also-joggers. Felt good to begin with, but my breathing became increasingly laboured and wheezy. Finished well behind fellow Cool Runner CJ in (approx.) 28:38. This infection is taking it's toll. Met up with Cool Runner Scott who had a great run in around 24 minutes.

Very pleasant afternoon with CJ and Mr CJ, Strewth and Mr B., Aki and the PRB. I ATE without ill effects, although the service and coffee at e musica was not up to standard. Feel gipped when I raved about it for so long. CJ and I received medals engraved with 2nd (and 1st) Veterran (sic) Females. In the afternoon, Bob and I cycled down to the Yacht Club to collect my registration for the Tour de Femme. Very pleasant.

Sunday, 13 Nov Despite feeling flat, Bob did decide at the last minute to go along to the Vets Cycling Criterium at the Sutton Rd Driver Training Centre (sounds like a lot of fun). He drove there, and I rode on the quiet Sunday morning roads to the start of the Tour de Femme. It was endearing to see the only cars on the road having old bikes hanging out of the boot, in trailers and on the back seat. A great community participation event! (Why did I finish so far back then?).

Caught up with the rest of the unofficial Team - CJ and Strewth in our great looking Cool Running Tri Tops. Was passed by CJ yet again near the finish. I was happy though to maintain (barely) 30kph over the course, and felt 'hungry ' on the bike. Breathing difficulties again as I went on.

Sunday Night Developed sudden, crippling headache. Went to bed and sought relief in sleep. Terrible pain during night and on waking.

Monday, 14 Nov More of the same. Nauseas, and very crook with headache. Not optimistic.

Tuesday, 15 Nov Remembered that Dr John had speculated that one of the medications I was prescribed may interact with another I am on long term. Couldn't recall the list of side effects (apart from ending in coma and death), but thought that it could be the cause of (?hypertension) causing the headaches. Stopped taking that medication. Began to feel better. Almost, but didn't quite, make it to Cross Country that night.

Wednesday, 16 Nov Felt great. Annoyed that I had wasted two days. More research etc, for computer replacements. Bob and I lobbed up for the Bonshaw Cup at HMAS Harman. I had left it too late to cycle, and an officious guard threatened to shoot and/or put the dogs on me. Reluctantly let me in to the compound. It was a good event, very well organised and very military. The lovely Adrienne was there and she ran vey well from the start, chasing down other runners and pushing up the hills. The 4 mile course was quite interesting, although my breathing was still laboured at the end. Adrienne managed to beat me by around a minute and pick up 2nd Masters Female and a fine trophy. I was third in the catagory. Lots of barrel draws, although we missed out again.

Thursday, 17 Nov The day was spent chasing up computers, and we didn't get to the Hartely LifeCare Fun Run. Decided what we needed however, brand model, rank and so on. Wrote it out labourisously by hand and tried to fax it off and play telephone tag again. Rad picked me up and we went to the Vets Track together. Entered the 3,000m (so slow), lots of solo laps, the 800m, and the '6 lap spiral', a neat little Tony Booth designed handicap event where one starts running in Lane 1 (the inside lane), move over to the next lane after about 300m, and then continue doing this until the laps are completed. I was warmed up now, and felt ready and rearing to go by the end. Felt enthusiastic and comfortable about the prospect of the Triple Tri on Sunday.

Friday, 18 Nov Morning spent on the phone organising the fax from last night. Found more serial numbers, instruction books and tossed lots of stuff out. Very productive. Rode the commuter bike into Customs - great weather and really enjoyed it. Four of us started from a 12:30 handicap - the lovely Adrienne, SpeedyGeoff, Mike S. and I. I felt good from the off, and ran easily and well, breathing normally and only spitting twice towards the end (unheard of by me - during the peak of the sinus problem it was every 10m!). Still lots in the tank, and able to go forever. 23:04, 40 seconds faster than last weeks harder effort, and infront of Adrienne this week. Whoo Hoo! I'm back! Cycled back after coffee and sunshine on The Deck via Scrivener Dam. Great to be alive. Can't wait for the six foot track next week! The PRB delivered his computer that night. Can it get any better than this?



Amidst the “barking like a sick dog” (my GP’s description), the umpteen hours of sleep, and the euphoria of improvement through medication (drugs=good); a few things have happened which effect life on planet duck over the next month or three.

Firstly, my super cool niece Claire (CJ) is having a 21st celebration on the night before the Canberra Half Ironman ~ in Sydney. I have been a notoriously bad friend / aunt over the last 21 years, not made easier by being in different cities, and my extended periods of illness where travel and even talking were not feasible. However, that is all in the past!!! So, Bob and I had no compunction in deciding to go and thus are somewhat reluctant scratchings from the Canberra Half Ironman.

Bob is going to head bush this weekend camping with his nephew namesake, Rob, so I am keen to recover quickly and have a good weekend book ended by the Belconnen Community Fun Run on Saturday morning, and the Tour de Femme on Sunday. I must check to see if CJ and Strewth are going to wear their Cool Running Tri Tops!

Bob is now giving very serious consideration to attending an intensive Teaching English as a Second Language Course in Sydney over January 2006. He knows someone who did this course and spends a few months each year in places such as China and Russia. As an inveterate traveller, and besotted by the places such as this that he has visited, the thought is that we may spend some months living overseas (in the Canberra winter??!). At 58 ½ years of age, this is not an insignificant undertaking, both in time, commitment and money. It is many decades since he has done any teaching, so that is also an unknown quantity.

If he decides to go ahead, the course runs throughout January from the 3rd to the 27th. It would preclude him doing any serious training for the Long Course Triathlon Champs at Jervis Bay in February (which is significant), especially as the World Champs will be held in Canberra on 19 November 2006. The application needs to be submitted (with funds) soon, so a decision will be imminent. He will need to find somewhere to stay, fit in morning runs and hopefully some swimming and return to being a student after many years. I would probably go up every second weekend, and maybe get Bob to travel done in the middle. It is a work in progress anyhow.

So – for now, gradually increase suitable exercise (staying out of the water), and be fit and fighting to go for the next big thing – the slow assault on the six foot track.

Late Breaking News: Just spoke to my sister, and we are going to spend Christmas together at her place in Sydney. Whoo Hoo!! Time for me to think about the exciting food to make!

Wednesday Morning.


Homer Simpson once said
"There is a time for many words, and there is also a time for sleep".

Horecek has it about right too.

I'm much better already. Drugs. Good.

Trip to the GP for 'the Usual, Thanks'


Spent pretty much all day Monday in bed and asleep. Boy do I have an enormous capacity to sleep whenever I get the slightest bit crook!

It is pretty tricky to get an appointment with our GP; if you know you need an advance or future appointment, make it now and you might get in within the next two or three weeks. The alternative is to ring at the dot of 8:30 am; too early and you get a pre-recorded message, too late, they’re all booked up, on time, you’re likely to hear the engaged signal but keep trying.

Managed to get in at high noon – enough time to do a couple of loads of sheets from the night before (dragsville). To keep it simple, I stated that the heavy cold seemed to leave a legacy of a painful ear, and I was getting it checked out to see if there was an infection. To my great surprise, the ears were normal, but the ol’ faithful sinus’ had a massive infection which was referring pain to the ear. Of course. They’ve been cleaned out twice, and there is not enough bone to remove anymore. Constant infections, resulting in chronic post nasal drip (spit, snort, spit) and sore head, eyes, nose, throat . . .sound familiar?

A two week course of y old friend, antibiotics, a steroid nasal spray and psuedoepherdriene tablets should help. In the meantime, I’ll probably stay out of the pool, and only do some gentle stuff when the stuffed nose goes.


The Cotter


After 12 hours sleep, I was very unrefreshed and had had night sweats once more. Thankfully, my new whiz bang summer haircut (Thankyou Angelo!) had cut off the hair around the nape of my neck where the sweating was worst, ensuring that I was a bit more comfortable. I confirmed with Bob that I was required to attend the family picnic at the Cotter. Warren, Bob’s eldest nephew was visiting from Nowra for the weekend, and it was the first time we had a chance to see Bri, the very pregnant partner of cycling nephew Rob since her birthday during the week. Bob reproduced his picnic fare from earlier in the week (and very good it was too!) of a long of hot-from-the-oven Turkish Bread from the Pide House in Jamison and tub’s of houmous and tabouli.

I was very hungry again, and ate a bit of the bread, although my throat was very sore and complaining loudly. I stayed with the gear while others went for a walk up to the dam and then downstream. Despite putting on a heavy jacket, I started to get very cold once more, and was keen for the others to return so I could at least huddle up in the car (I didn’t even know the cricket score – surely it could end any moment). While it was good to catch up,.I felt pretty shocking, and the pain in my right ear had returned with a vengeance and the sense of blockage was making hearing very difficult.

Once home, I crawled into bed and slept heavily for another four hours or so. Up briefly, I returned to bed for an early, sweaty night and slept for another 16 hour stint. One thing that is certain when I am not too flash is my capacity to sleep for unimaginable periods, even days at a time. Methinks that my plans were a little too ambitious. Maybe a quiet week and a trip to the long suffering Dr John to make sure that I don’t have a treatable ear infection is in order.

After Mt Majura


I drove home, slowly, through Gunghalin and prepared to pull over in case the nausea decided to need freedom. On returning home, I took my Blood Glucose and found it to be low, although not significantly so. Had some yoghurt and broth when I felt able to eat, and felt much better. I would have loved to have crawled into bed then and there, but I had volunteered to marshal at the Triathlon ACT’s first race of the season, the all-too-short Spring Fling. I didn’t feel too bad, and Bob decided to cycle down to the race venue at the Yacht Club, giving me a good reason not to ride as I had intended; he needed to have his wetsuit and race gear carried in the car.

Despite arriving well before 2:15pm as required, there was the usual waiting around. Eventually allocated our positions, I walked quickly the 25 minutes to the corner of Commonwealth Ave and Parkes Way in my high visibility vest with red flag in hand, concerned that the first wave of cyclists might come through before I got there. With only a 400m swim, this was quite possible.

Of course, I needn’t have worried. The race started late, and the front markers whizzed through miles ahead of the others, seasoned locals (such as Gareth Halverson) who knew the course backwards and had exemplary road skills. I called out support where I could, especially to the ever smiling Pete who was backing up from a fine finish in the 26km Mountain Run that morning. Ten minutes or so after the last rider came through, the sweep van advised that I could go, and I wandered back the slightly longer and more peaceful route via the lakeside and Lennox Gardens.

Bob and I got away fairly quickly, although it was still late for us to shower and ready ourselves for the next social activity of the day, a housewarming for a friend in one of the new north western suburbs of Dunlop. A 6:00pm start to avoid too late a night for the all-runners in attendance was good, although I just wanted to go to bed. Bob promised that I wouldn’t have to stay too long ~ having missed out on social activities after 5:00pm for nearly a decade when I was too sick, getting along to social engagements had a special significance these days. It was a very pleasant evening, but unfortunately not an early night. I was very hungry by the stage that food came out (8:00pm), and opted to eat the ‘most acceptable’ for my gut option of boiled white rice, an allegedly Thai chicken curry, and a good mix of salad leaves. Mmmm. Food, Good.

A barking cough developed and I started to feel very ordinary. We got home at 11:00pm and I fell asleep immediately, not waking until 12 hours later. So much for my plans to go to the Jogalong!

Too much, Too soon


Bob was planning to sleep in, horrified at the prospect of my waking at 4:20am to prepare for the Mt Majura Vineyard Two Peaks Classic, a 26km trail run up the summits of Mt Ainslie and Mt Majura. I did both of these summits fairly regularly, so it was neither novel nor daunting. Just another day at the office, with drink stops provided, in a beautiful part of the city. I slept in my study (new bed still to be delivered), with Lucy the cat, and the kettle set up on my desk with coffee at the ready to be made. I needed to start taking large quantities of Imodium no later than 2 hours before the start of the event. With a slated 6:30am start, 4:30 was a bit late to be roused. However, I woke up to go to the bathroom around 1:30am . . . my mind started to whirr, and sleep did not return.

Felt pretty good when I got up, around a quarter past four, and fiddled around updating my blog entry. A cup or two of (yuck) instant coffee, and a steady stream of tablets until I left home about 5:30am. I drove via Dickson, in the vain hope that there would be somewhere that sold decent espresso open, and then continued up the Federal Highway to Mount Majura Vineyard. It was a beautiful setting, and there were quite a few cars already parked on the paddock near the road. Many of the cars were familiar belonging to the usual suspects from Customs, BBQ Stakes and Cross Country Club runners. I wasn’t very sociable at first, racing up to the “Cellar door” to pick up my registration number (207), seeing the PRB on his way back and loads of people registering late. There was a good buzz of excitement in the still early morning fresh air.

The start of the measured 26km course was closer to the roadway, and I stripped off to shorts and a crop top. I was shivering during the briefing, but knew that I would quickly warm up. With both the One Peak (Mt Majura 15km) and Two Peaks (Mt Ainslie and Mt Majura) runners starting at the same time, there seemed to be a huge field, with many excellent runners amongst them.

We started conservatively enough, the PRB staying with my slow legs, and I was content to start slowly and warm up knowing that there was a long way and some big hills ahead. The familiar trails of the Mountain Running Championships were at the start, and I was surprised at my pace of 6 minute k’s on the flat, although less so at the number of walkers passing me on the climbs as I kept chugging away in a running motion. Mrs Mountain Running, Carol was manning the first drink stop and here I could tell that I wasn’t right at the back but close to it. No worries. I always improve, don’t I?

Well, suffice to say, I didn’t really improve. A bit better on downhill sweeps, I just couldn’t get going, and the PRB who insisted on staying with me the whole way, suffered silently as I spluttered an endless stream of gunk ~ spitting on a metre by metre basis, and using the melodic “bushies blow” in an attempt to stop the constant post nasal drip that was making me feel pretty crook. We had travelled over 10kms before the climb up Mt Ainslie started. There were quite a few Saturday morning walkers coming down from the summit, and as we made our way up the sealed track there were many ‘G’Days’ exchanged, including a short conversation with Emilio, the brother of my hairdresser, Angelo who is also a runner and member of Team Moore.

I was drenched through, my sweating mechanism was working overtime, and my socks were holding a surprising amount of water, especially the left which made an audible squelch with every foot fall. Despite the brief reprieve at the summit of Mt Ainslie (814m), I wasn’t feeling so good. I was really struggling, the drip down my throat was making me feel very nauseous, and I was not travelling very well. Only Mt Majura to go! My stomach suddenly made a loud, long rumbling reminiscent of thunder for a prolonged period that did not sound organic. There was some pain associated with it over the left lower quartile. This was disturbing, but there was nothing to do other than finish.

In one part we ran through rye grass up to my knees, then waist and then skimming my (short) shoulders. Horses corralled at the paddock at the end of this stretch were spooked and galloping frantically from one end of their enclosure to another. Just before the start of the climb up Mt Majura, I had to stop and walk, something I’ve never done in a race before. I was overcome with an overwhelming nausea, faintness and chills. The PRB insisted once more on staying with me, although I didn’t feel that I would pick up too soon. Occasional attempts at slow jogging after this were quickly terminated. We resumed walking. At one point I was icily cold – I asked the PRB to feel my hands which looked white and bloated to my gunky eyes. He helped my trying to warm them and I attempted to stop my teeth chattering. So cold . . . .

There was a big silver lining in this enforced break however; with so much recent rain and warmer conditions, not only did the hills shine with an emerald glow, but there were masses of wild flowers everywhere. Nowhere was so blessed with masses of wildflowers though as the slopes of Mt Majura, where meadows of massed colours carpeted the sides of the narrow track. Without the constant need to check ones footfall from running, we could really enjoy the spring bounty.

David Baldwin was manning the last drink station at the top of Mt Majura (824m), we advised him that we thought that we were last, and with a sealed road down to the finish to go, I was able to jog, slowly, for the first time in around 45 minutes. Despite a long downhill stretch, no land speed records were broken, but it was able to carry me though to the recently mown strip of paddock parallel to the busy roadway and up (it seemed up!) to the finish line among the young Pinot Noir Vines. The vineyard owner handed us each a bottle of 2002 vintage Pinot, with a great smile and ‘well done’, although I didn’t feel like I had done well, nor much able to smile. Lots of water later, I headed down to the parked car, where I faded further and only focussed on getting home.

Brief note while Blogger is up!


I'm very well, very busy and very slow!

Blogger hasn't let me post when I've been able in the last few days, so this is just to let you know that I'm alive and kicking very hard!

Swim a bit (no faster than 3 minutes per 100m), run a bit (5 minute / km pace even when on the track), cycle a bit for transportation.

More later.

November off to a good start



Second day of the month, feeling good. Time to bring Plan E to the fore.

Primarily because of the good weather (26-27°C), I decided to resume using my bike for transport whenever possible. I rode out to the BBQ Stakes at Woden today, conscious that I would be very slow after last nights effort. Enjoyed the cycle, out on the bike path and arrived in plenty of time today. On registering, saw Bob’s friend and very talented Triathlete, Shell, who had recently started to work locally and was there for her first Stakes. Despite my protests, she left off my handicap (she did a formal brick session that morning, and was doing a run Time Trial that night), wanting an easy run. Perhaps because we were chatting, but I got around the course feeling more comfortable than during the Cross Country the previous night, with frequent spitting, but more regular breathing. At 31:17 for 6km, it is not good, but a slight improvement in time from the previous week when I was feeling shocking and trying hard.

Although I had thought about cycling home through the trails of Stromlo, my still uncut hair was driving me nuts. Changed my plans and rode along the Deakin Yarralumla Shores route to Civic to plead my case for another appointment. Thankfully, I was able to weasel my way in for Friday lunchtime – a successful outcome. I will be so relieved when it is thinner.

Having had perhaps the greatest night sweat in my life last night – four loads of washing – I didn’t think that I should ‘dive in at the deep end’ and go to the Bilby’s Swim Squad that night, although thought that I should test the waters. I suggested to Bob that I go along with him to the pool that night, but just swim and do a little to start with while he did the squad. All agreed, we spent Wednesday evening at the pool, which was a little like running central. I was interrupted (my foot was pulled at the turn) by those seeking to start the Females in Training (FIT) squad in my lane, and then the PRB, Aki, Rabbot and Roy B. were there were I got out at the conclusion of a 30 minute 1,000m. I got cold quickly though, and found my new secret weapon; breathing deeply in the steam room. I had been using the steam room to warm up for a while, but I found that if once I had returned to something resembling warm-bloodedness I took deep, controlled breaths it cleared my sinus’ and helped considerably. I had a couple of sessions of this and feel so much better!

I couldn’t find Aki and the PRB when I got out, and Bob’s squad was still going, so I did a few more laps, once again interrupted after 350m, this time by Bob who needed to go home. I steamed my nasal passages while he changed and I was smitten. A little bit of swimming and a bit of cycling for transportation everyday makes Carolyne a happy girl, and feeling very virtuous!

Run 6km
Cycle 32km
Swim 1,350m

Feeling Very Happy!


This is most curious, although I feel pretty damn good at the moment.

Another mega hyper night sweats on Monday night, leaving me drained, groggy and feeling pretty terrible for the morning. Bob had gone for a cycle, and suggested when he got home that we go for a picnic when he got home. Not showered or dressed, he thought we should go straight away, and with the bulk of the country caught up in cup fever we were confident that it would be pretty quiet. Still with a shocking ear ache and bad eyes, we dropped by the local Turkish Pide House for a warm loaf of turkish bread and a small container of houmous and tabouli. We then drove down to Uriarra Crossing and sat by the river on the eastern side.

The river gurgled, there was birdsong from innumerable species, and the weather was fine. Although a kilometre or two off the 'main' Uriarra Road which carries very little traffic, at late lunchtime on Melbourne Cup Day, there was none. I didn't have much houmous or tabouli because of the fibre content, but I really enjoyed having something solid to eat. Feeling so delicate, I didn't think that there was much danger of doing much activity too soon.

Then an amazing thing happened; I began to feel better and better. The sharp ear pain and sinus pain ameliorated, which might have been due to the Panadeine Forte I had popped on leaving home. But this couldn't explain it all. We wrapped up our rubbish and returned to the car to put on shoes and grab hats and went for a walk along the river. We didn't get too far, heading south, but there was a carpet of wildflowers for much of the way; Canberra violets, vivid egg yellow native poppies and much more.

In the other direction we came across a board indicating the Murrumbidgee River Walk, a 6km return walk along the river bank. Although heavily overgrown, it was signposted and we found our way to the roadway where we lost the trail. Not to be walked this time, we must return to find the trail!

Feeling so much better (fresh air?), we left just as the 3 o'clock news started, and reluctantly switched over from Radio National to the local ABC at the conclusion of the news to hear the final 1,200m of the Melbourne Cup. The result surprised us both. Feeling better, I decided to give the ACT Cross Country Club's first twilight run of the Spring Series a go, albeit slowly. Changing the flat tyre on my bike, Bob and I rode down (separately), me arriving as people were lining up to start. With the PRB's help, I changed my shoes, took off the layer of cycling clothes and was there for the start. Peter and I ran together as usual, me holding him back, and although only a flat 5k, I found the going pretty tough. My legs were fine, but breathing was difficult, and I attempted to hide the pipe reverberating wheeze which I felt compelled to make.
We crossed the line in 24:09, and it took me some time to recover. Water helped! I was pleased with my legs, but concerned about how hard I found a slow, short run. Thank heavens to daylight saving, Bob and I did cycle home together. I felt great up until my bath, where I submerged my head. After that the sinus pain was once again immeasurably bad, and I was quite deaf in my right ear. I couldn't work this out. More Forte to get to sleep, and again when I woke to change the bedclothes during the night. Not feeling so optimistic - my doc doesn't work on Wednesday, so I would have to wait. Very frustrating.

About me

  • Six Foot Track 45k 11 March 2006
  • Entered!!!
  • Backpacking Laos & Vietnam 14 March to 26 April 2006
  • Flights Booked

  • Long Course Tri 2k/83k/20k 12 February 2006
  • Sri Chinmoy Long Course Tri 2.2k/80k/20k 6 March
  • Backpacking Laos & Vietnam 14 March to 26 April 2006
  • Thailand Temple Run 21k 19 March 2006

  • Customs 5k Fridays
  • BBQ Stakes  6k Wednesdays
  • Tour de Mountain 19k 18 December
  • 1:55:02 Results
  • Cross Country Summer Series 5k Tuesdays in November
  • Cool Runners Six Foot Track Slow Jog/Walk 46k 25-27 November
  • Wonderful!!
  • Sri Chimnoy Triple Tri Relay 20 November
  • 1:55:38 1:04:53 1:22:55 Results Report Photos
  • Tour de Femme 20k Fun Ride 13 November
  • 40:40ish
  • Bonshaw Cup 6.4k 16 November
  • 30:30ish
  • Hartley Lifecare Fun Run 5k 17 November
  • Belconnen Fun Run 6k 12 November
  • 28:38ish
  • Mt Majura Vineyard Two Peaks Classic 26k 5 November
  • Last! 3:08:00 Results Report
  • Wagga Tri-ants Duathlon 10k/40k/5k 30 October
  • Scratching
  • Bulls Head Challenge 27k 23 October
  • 2:20:49 Results
  • Weston Creek Fun Run 6k 16 October
  • 32:02 Results Results
  • Fitzroy Falls 42k & 10k 15 October
  • Results
  • Orroral Valley 20k 9 October
  • 1:52:44 Results
  • Sri Chinmoy 10k 3 October
  • 0:50:14 Results
  • Duathlon Championships 10k/40k/5k 23 September
  • 3:09:07 Results
  • Canberra Times 10k 18 September
  • 0:45:30 CR TE AM!
  • Sydney Marathon 11 September 3:47:13
  • ACTVAC Half Marathon 21.1k 28 August
  • Entered DNS
  • Black Mtn UpDown GutBuster 5.2k 16 August 0:33:38
  • Results
  • Mt Wilson to Bilpin Bush Run 35k 20 August 3:15:14
  • Results
  • City to Surf 14k 14 August 64:17
  • Bush Capital Mtn Runs 25k 30 July  
  • 2:17:09 Results
  • Shoalhaven King of the Mtn 32k 17 July
  • 2:53:15 Results
  • Sri Chinmoy Off Road Duathlon 3.3k/23k/7.7k 2 July 2:40:29
  • Results
  • Woodford to Glenbrook  25k 26 June DNF Injured Results
  • Terry Fox 10k 19 June 46:59
  • Results
  • Aust Mtn Running Champs9k 18 June 1:06:33
  • Results
  • ACTVAC Monthly Handicap 9k Farrer Ridge 29 May 0:46:05
  • ACT Mtn Running Champs  9k 28 May 1:06:50
  • Results
  • SMH Half Marathon 22 May 1:41:56 (1:40:50)
  • Results
  • ABS Fun Run 7.3k 19 May 0:34:45
  • Results
  • Canberra Half Marathon 15 May injured Results
  • Sri Chimnoy 10k 8 May 0:47:55
  • Results
  • Nail Can Hill Run  1 May 56:23
  • Results
  • Newcastle Duathlon  24 April 2:45:39.2
  • Results
  • Canberra Marathon  10 April 3:47:56
  • Results
  • Women & Girls 5k 3 April 22:53
  • Results
  • Sri Chimnoy 10k 28 March 47:56
  • Results
  • Weston Creek Half Marathon 13 March 1:43:23
  • Results
  • Sri Chimnoy Long Course Tri 6 March 5:30:35
  • Results
  • Hobart International Triathlon 20 February 2:52:05

  • Canberra Capital Triathlon 30 January 3:01:43
  • Results
  • Medibank Private Australia Day8k 26 January 38:39
  • Results
  • Lorne Pier to Pub Swim 1.2k 8 January 22:12
  • Results
  • Lorne Mountain to Surf 8k 7 January 0:37.56
  • Results

    moon phases

  • 5k 20:11 Cairns 2000
  • 10k 43:49 Moruya
  • City to Surf 1:02:57 2000
  • Half Marathon 1:33:50 Steamboat 2000
  • Marathon 3:47:56 Canberra 2005
    Chip Time (3:47:13) Sydney 2005

  • Kilometres Run
    January 212
    February 199
    March 214
    April 201
    May 188
    June 182
    July 255
    August 246
    September 155
    October 159
    November 200
    December 62
    Year to Date 2,267

    Last posts

  • 2006 Blog now active
  • Happy Old 2005!
  • Duck to Cloud City
  • 2005 - A Retrospective / 2006 - A Prospective
  • Yuletide - Improves!
  • Yuletide - Continues!
  • Yuletide - A Retrospective
  • Revenge of the Sinusitis
  • Tasting by the Lake
  • Happy Anniversary Darling!

  • Days Sick
    January 10
    February 10
    March 10
    April 4
    May 7
    June 8
    July 9
    August 11
    September 11
    October 11
    November 9
    December Lots. ?15

    Distance Swum
    February 17,400m
    October 3,800m
    November 4,150m
    December .
    Distance Cycled
    November 120km
    December 297 km