Squelch, slap, squelch, slap.
The Border track is soft underfoot, and provides a range of sounds not heard on the usually dry trails upon which I run.
After having stayed in Beechmont for four of the last seven days, sampling some of the beautiful tracks around Binna Burra (Dave's Creek, Lower Bellbird, Gwongoorool Pool), seeing some great sights (Egg Rock, Ships' Stern, and a bunch of waterfalls), and picking up eleven leeches; we decided to go for a longer outing.
Dad and Benno would walk the half mara from O'Reilly's to Binna Burra, but I was racking my brains to figure out the best way to get in a long-run at the same time, without inconveniencing anyone with awkward pick-up times. Best option ended up being to run over to Binna Burra, and then back to Dad and Benno, finishing up with a walk from where they were to Binna Burra again; the out, half-back, and out again.
Setting out with confidence and a new pair of shoes (Salomon XT Wings) both courtesy of the race at Wild Horse the weekend before, I was thinking that I could get there in sub-2, maybe 1:50. Hopes were quickly dashed, as I got to 10km in just over and hour, and started to deteriorate thereafter. It was a combo of the heavy shoes, a 5.8km race the day before (underwhelming PW of 21:59, by the way), and the ridiculous(ly awesome) amount of mud. Despite those minor details, squelching through the forest with sheer drops and sweeping views on either side was incredibly fun. The single-track makes you feel like you're flying all the time, evading leeches and shrugging off the mud. After ten k, however, it felt alot more like crap, with a serious bonk to keep me honest. As a result, the turnaround came in 2:07, right on 6 minute kms. Could have ended the run there happily, but knew it would be a dick move, as Dad and Benno would be wondering where I was. Back we go. Blood sugar then proceeded to plummet even lower, culminating in an embarassing stumble into a creek in front of a group of hikers. Meh, who cares. It ended in an agonizing run/crawl up the hill to the Mount Merino turnoff, just before which, I ran into Dad and Benno. Relief! - about 3:15 for 30.5km with 300-400m of vertical That was not smooth by any means, but it was still a great run. From there, Dad power-walked us back to Binna Burra, where we removed our 1kg shoes, took some great photos, and met up with Paula (who, in an incredible effort, had spent about four hours in a car, half of which driving, for our sakes! Very grateful).
It was a great way to end a great trip into the Hinterland.