Monday, 14 July 2014

A cure for Man Flu and the Lost Worlds of Kuringai

A cure for Man Flu and the Lost Worlds of Kuringai

After a busy week of travelling, I began to feel the beginnings of the dreaded MAN FLU.  As the lovely Cait travelled back and forth from laundry to clothesline with baskets of washing, I barely had the strength to make a coffee.  I was reduced to lying on the couch reading and surfing the internet.  The following link outlines some of the dangers of man flu.

However, as I lay wan and pale, I stumbled across a link to a run called "The Lost Worlds of Ku Ring Gai".  mmmmm. Intriguing.  All those ups and downs.  I have been avoiding hills of any kind since running in the Blue Mountains in May, and I knew I needed to get back on that horse.

However, I was suffering from the beginnings of man flu. Was it safe to push myself ?  The results could be tragic.  I could be couch bound forever.  It also meant getting up in the cold and dark when it is common knowledge that the effects of man flu are possibly at their worst.  Setting my alarm for 5 am, I decided to put my body on the line for science to see whether running 50km could cure man flu. 

The alarm rang at 5am, but the man flu laid me low until 5.30.  I had planned to set of by 6, but I needed to down two coffees to raise my caffeine levels to a safe level for physical activity.

Finally, at 6.47, clad in several layers of polypropelene, I was finally ready.  The sun, shivering in the cold, was just peeping out from under its doona as I began trotting along.

sunrise over Mt Kuring-gai

The first few km were as cold as expected, but a little sun soon warmed things up.  I was adding extra distance by running to Berowra, but it was a lovely morning to be out and about.  I arrived at the Community Hall at Berowra, then set off for the Ruined Castle along the fire trails.  No one else was around, and I had the world to myself.

Naa Badu Lookout

I arrived at Berowra Waters, filled my bottles, then strolled down to meet the ferry right on cue.  No waiting.  Brilliant.

I set myself to run the hill up from the ferry without stopping, so I put my little legs into low gear, and off I went.  Thousands of tiny steps later, dripping in sweat, I turned into Chilcott Rd.  Nothing like a good slog up a hill to let you know you're alive.

The last time I ran this stretch to The Ruined Castle it was 8 am New Years Day, I had been drinking, dancing, and partying to the wee hours, it was already well on the way to 30 plus degrees, and I hadn't brought  enough food or water.  So not surprisingly, I suddenly arrived at a front yard with a pair of large dogs eager (growling and barking ferociously) to make my acquaintance, but no trail in sight.  Where the hell was I ? It seemed my memory was playing tricks.  No trail, but oh goody, look at that big hole those two big dogs have just run through and are now hurtling towards me barking and growling.  Time to crouch down and prepare to either be chewed or licked to death.  Here they come...and its going to be...death by licking.  All good.  Grumpy dog owner finally appears to drag his pooches off the sweaty runner man and inform him that there is no trail (with a tone suggesting he would like me to bugger off and he was a bit disappointed his hounds from hell were being so friendly).  Very disappointing.  I had set off on my run happy to be flexible, but I really wanted to get to the ruins if nothing else - but where were they ?

Suddenly I saw a friendly fella walking a small dog.  I trotted back towards him, and his tiny pooch also wanted to eat me, but whilst hiding safely behind his owner (he looked like a cotton bud on a piece of string).  This time I got a nice chat, a local history lesson, and instructions to the right road to run down (McCullums).  I wasn't lost so much as slightly misplaced.  Quick back track 200 metres, a trot down McCullums, and there was the trail.  A few km down to the hill, the views up and down Berowra Creek began to open up, and there were were the ruins.

views to Berowra Waters

looking up Berowra Creek

The Ruined Castle

steps from the ruins down to Calabash Bay and Berowra Waters

After a bit of wandering about and exploring, it was time to head back.  First I had to remove all my warm gear.  One of the benefits of a long run on your own is that you are free to strip down to your undies and dry off a bit.  Heaven.  Thank goodness no bushwalkers suddenly appeared.  Awkward to explain.

The GPS had the distance at about 24km so far.  A  direct return home made 48km.  A full "Lost Worlds of Kuringai" run was looking a bit ambitious about now due to time constraints, not enough nutrition; and despite being a lunatic, I am not completely mad (yet).  Starting from home added just a tad too much distance.  Running the sums in my head had completing the full run at about 70km and about 10 hours of running.  Bugger that.  I just want to cure my man flu, not kill myself.  Time to head home.

Back up the hill from the ruins, then a tro down to the ferry dodging the traffic.  A nice rest in the sun on the way across, a refill of the bottles before a big left turn at the ferry to head up "Kokoda" to Berowra via Turner's Rd.  

Kokoda can either be tackled as a slow slog, or a fast scramble using all fours.  Today was a fast scramble.  However, reaching the top, the kms were beginning to hit the legs. Hitting Turner Road I did have the pleasure of a short rest and a front yard chat with a young Deveney about fairy traps and how to best catch them whilst his Dad and I compared beards.  Then it was time to finish this sucker.

Training is a funny beast.  Sometimes it's lots of happy huffy puffy to keep generally fit and healthy.  Sometimes it's training targeted at a specific area.  I have a longer event coming up soon, and I was targeting "sucky".  That sucky feeling of pushing along when everything is just "sucky" but you just have to gut it out to finish.  By the time I hit Berowra, I was definitely entering the "sucky" zone - and by my best estimate I had a good 10km of sucky training to get back home.  I was not at all disappointed.  It was a truly memorably sucky 10km sucky road slog.  Brilliant.  It totally sucked.  

Hitting my street, the GPS clicked over to 50km.  My wayward wanderings had added enough distance to round things off nicely.  A nice long run, the day was still young, and it seemed like my man flu had been crushed. I had found a cure. Next time I feel the symptoms coming on, I will have to get up before the sun and run around like a crazy man for about 6 1/2 hours.  Worked a treat.


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