37.3k re-exploring Yarra Bend Park

Today I set out to do 35k as my last long run before tapering for the Bruny Island Ultra. Unlike last weekend, I had a set course in mind so I knew the distance would be correct. Straight out with this mindset, I wasn’t having as much fun as I should. I was thinking maybe I’m not cut out for racing? By that I mean, training for racing. But then I thought, what if all my long runs contained impromptu sections and it just so happened that they were good distances to maintain a decent base for races? I think that is the way to go.

The plan was to head down the streets to Johnson St, Collingwood (or thereabouts), then hop on the Main Yarra Trail for the uphill slog home. What actually happened was I went down the streets to Fairfield, hopped on the trails to the Kew Boathouse, and found this trail in Yarra Bend Park that my partner and I once walked years ago. It’s a great trail and I highly recommend exploring it. Basically, once you are at the Kew Boathouse, head east/upstream along a path that says it’s an 850m loop. Yes, I know, boring! But after a couple of 100 metres, you find that there is a single trail path that you can take straight ahead, while the boring path loops around. There is a sign saying no mtbs which I thought was rather funny, as I would expect that most people using the trail to be mtb riders. I did not see a single soul on the trail. Some of it was quite rough and some careful walking was required. Excuse the crap quality phone camera.

I checked the map and the trails isn’t all in the Melways. You can follow the river the whole way, rather than go up to Yarra Blvd like the map suggests. You can’t miss where the Botanical Gardens bats were relocated. There is one point where they are just everywhere.

I headed home along the usual Main Yarra Trail, up Banyule River (or is that Banyule drain?), and finished with the dreaded Greensborough Hwy hill. I do feel like I am regaining some fitness even though I was so exhausted by the end. I really haven’t felt that drained in a while, although it could also be due to having trouble getting out of bed. Once I got home I stuffed my face with fruit, had some gastrolyte, a coffee, then went back to sleep.

Today I wore the Nike Frees but took out the large heel lifts and replaced them with the medium ones. Not a bright idea for a long run, but runners with injuries are not known for doing bright things. I could feel my achillies almost the whole way, although as my feet were closer to the ground I did feel much more stable on the uneven trail sections. Unfortunately I think I will have to use the large heel lifts at Bruny. Bruny is not technical, but it would be nice to be closer to the ground.

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