Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Balyang Sanctuary parkrun

Lately, I've been thinking more about cycling again - mainly because of the weak hamstring/glute coupling problem I've developed in over the past few months. It's a problem I didn't have last year, and started to think that it was because I was cycling regularly then and not now. So I decided I was going to make my way to Westefolds parkrun by bike on the weekend.

Naturally, it was raining. However, it wasn't particularly cold so I headed out on the bike in the drizzle. While I wear cycling glasses most of the time to protect my autoimmune-affected dry eyes when I wear contact lenses, they were more of a hindrance to my vision with them rather than without. At least I was able to stick them into my helmet and look semi-pro for a bit. Only semi, because flat-bar. Wearing my cycling cap would have helped, but I'm still not finding wearing caps under my helmet that comfortable. Live and learn.

It didn't take long for me to realise just how much conditioning I had lost in the many months off the bike. The short drag on Blackburn Road after crossing the freeway was always a good test of how I was feeling when I was a bit more bike fit. On Saturday, it was a reminder of how much strength I had lost. My glutes were burning, and it was a clear sign that I need to spend more time on the bike!


While I had initially planned to head to Shepparton the week after Albury Wodonga parkrun, I was starting to feel a bit pooped thanks to a Sjögren's flare (or "flair" as they like to say in some forums... grrr), so I headed to Balyang Sanctuary parkrun instead.

Hello Balyang Sanctuary parkrun!

My hamstring was feeling better than the previous week, so I took it fairly easy on the course. I think I would have struggled anyway if I had been run-fit and tried to set a good time as the Balyang Sanctuary parkrun course is a bit bumpier than I expected! I knew it wasn't flat and not as bumpy as Westerfolds, but the grade of some of the bumps was greater than anticipated. Although it doesn't matter when you're trying to just cruise around the course.

While the vertical scale is distorted, you can see that the bumps become progressively worse the further you move away from the start - and being an out-and-back course means that you get to do them twice! Geelong really isn't that far for me, so I am looking forward to coming back and giving their parkrun a proper go.

It's a beautiful course on a shared path along the eastern/north/Geelong-side of the Barwon River. The route is leafy and well-loved by the local community (there were plenty of non-parkrunners on the course), and is tarmac - which is my favourite sealed surface to run on.

It's not your eyes, I think I was so fatigued at this point that I didn't really have the patience to set up my glorified point-and-shoot properly.

Although I did a slightly better job of snapping the BackPedalers, probably because they actively engaged with me and tried to pose! I've sent the images to one of the admins of their closed Facebook group, but as we're not Facebook friends I know that the message has gone unseen into the rarely noticed "Other" folder.

Lots of community action on the other side of the Barwon.

There is plenty of parking in the area, and toilets too. The parkrun meets at an undercover area, so there's plenty of space for the parkrun volunteers to set up, and for you to store extra clothing and drink bottles during the run without worrying about them getting wet or getting in the way of the volunteers. There are also plenty of other spots to run around in the area - so I'll have to explore them when I come back. So many reasons to get my hamstrings and glutes sorted and firing properly!

Finally, don't forget that there are no scheduled parkrun events on ANZAC Day! Although there will be an 8am Freedom Run at Westerfolds parkrun - and perhaps others too, but Westerfolds is the only one I actively know about.


  1. Great report, keep em coming! I hope the cycling assists those muscle weaknesses.

    1. Thanks! We've been having fairly crappy and rainy days when I've planned to go out on the bike, so I haven't been riding since last week... !!!

  2. You're close to the QOM on that one - you need to get bike fit again!

    1. I used to be second on that list until a proper cyclist moved to the area and stole all the QOMs, including a few of mine. :) But I suspect getting a road bike would help my rankings too—heck, I have a dynamo hub on the front!

  3. It was great to meet you when you came to Balyang - always good to put faces to cyber-names! And I'm glad you enjoyed our course. It's one of my favourite places to run, whether it's parkrun time or not :)

    1. Agree! It's nice to be able to say that I actually met you, rather than say that I know you from the internet. :) Balyang Sanctuary is lovely - you're lucky to have such a great course and great place to run (and ride) nearby!