Testing new Nathan Intensity pack at Toolangi Forest

I had yesterday morning free so went out to Toolangi Forest for a short trail run. This was also a good opportunity to test out my new Nathan Intensity pack, which is the women’s version of the HPL20.

Nathan Intensity Women's Hydration Pack

This pack is soooo comfortable I can’t believe it beats my Camelbak! The bladder is easy to fill up and so easy to seal without air to stop the water sloshing. The shoulder straps are so soft and comfortable and do not need to be adjusted tight. As with my other Nathan pack, this one doesn’t bounce at all! It’s just incredible. It feels so light and I think I’ve found my perfect pack. There’s a pocket on each shoulder strap so you can store your phone/food/supplies and access them easily. There is also a decent amount of storage space in the pack itself and I think it would be possible to do long ultras in this and still carry all the mandatory gear. If I can get my running fitness up, then I will try to get away with just this small pack for the long stuff.

It was such a beautiful day yesterday. It was sunny but there were patches of thick fog in the valleys. I ran up to the top of Mt St Leonard and you can see the fog below in the picture. It looks like I’m in some high altitude above cloud level! Lesson learned though: Be cautious when climbing metal stairs that are iced over if you don’t want to slip over.

Unfortunately my achilles has been giving me grief again. I think it’s because this week and last week I ran some intervals at the track. I go there because I like to push myself to go as fast as I can, but I really can’t run on flat ground. My achilles can handle up hills and down hills but nothing in between. It was so painful still after the initial climb and run back down the hill that I considered getting in the car and driving straight home but I knew there would be more hills I could do.

I hobbled along the Quarry Walking Track to the Wirrawilla Rainforest Walk, then went south back down the Tanglefoot track. The Tanglefoot was so overgrown. The few runnable sections were barely runnable as you still had to clear branches and try to avoid tripping over huge strips of bark. There were so many black cockatoos about. I have never seen so many before! I reckon they were all stripping the bark from the trees. I also saw a couple of lyrebirds for the second time in my life! They are so elusive. I tried to get a picture but they were too quick for me.

After about 8km my achilles seemed to warm up, but I think maybe I just found a way to hobble that was comfortable. All up I did 12.6km. It was pretty short but it took a long time due to the hills and overgrown trees on the Tanglefoot track.

I’ll have to get out there again soon as I saw a small single trail from Mt St Leonard and I think that would take me down to Healesville or the Maroondah Dam. Parks Vic doesn’t have a map of that though, and the DSE maps stop there.

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