Off road and out of the comfort zone

So I plotted out this 24k trail run around Mt Coot-tha Forest reserve a few weeks ago. I'm not going to lie. The very thought of it frightened the crap out of me.

Yesterday though, I packed up my Camelbak (otherwise known as my running handbag) and did it.

It wasn't without some trepidation. Trail running doesn't come naturally to me and I knew this course wasn't just fire trails. I knew there was some technical trails along the way that I would not feel comfortable running. I knew that I wasn't quite sure what I was going to do about this.

I was also ridiculously scared of getting lost in the bush. I not only saved a copy of my planned route to my phone, I painstakingly wrote out my directions.

(This picture is post run and even though I covered it with adhesive plastic contact, it got a bit wrecked from the moisture. I guess that happens when you shove your directions down your top. But it did also rain.)

I don't know whether I look scared, or excited, or what at the beginning of the run. Maybe just focused?

I tried to implement the advice T-Bone gave me. If you're reading this T-Bone, here's a run down of my first serious offroad run.

I did not run up or down this:

The lady in the picture who was walking up gave me sage advice not to, and further to stick to the outside of the track where there isn't as much gravel. I heeded her advice. She had walking poles. She is clearly more experienced than I.

I did however run down this:

And up something that looked like this from the other side too.

I still don't know whether, according to my planned route, I was meant to go up this:

But halfway up I decided it was a hiding to nowhere so turned around and reassessed.

I still got through nearly 24.5ks so I obviously didn't take too many short cuts. Maybe this pile of rock actually wasn't on my planned route after all? I've compared my actual Garmin route to my planned route on Map My Run, to the actual maps of Mt Coot-tha Reserve. I'm still not sure.

One thing I'm sure of is I need to do something about my ankle strength, particularly my right ankle, the one I've sprained a few times. By the time I got to the end of my run, I felt less stable and this is not a good thing.

I am sore today, but highly satisfied that bit by bit I am successfully pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone. I will persevere with the single track because I know I need to if I'm to successfully pursue my long term ultrarunning goals.

Out of my comfort zone indeed.

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