Thursday, May 14, 2015

Point Cook parkrun

The weather we've been having in Melbourne this week has not made going out for a run all that much fun. While I typically went out for a run whenever I felt like it, I am now trying to coordinate my running with other people. It's been an interesting experience as the most organised of those runs is also the hardest (trail running in the Dandenongs) and so I really need my weekday runs to contribute to base fitness in a way that the hilly trail runs can't as I'm the slowest in that group and so it's more of a threshold effort, and anaerobic in parts!

Meet the elevation profile of a "cruisy" run with the Dandenong Trail Runners. Note my heart rate. No Maffetone training here!
Image via SportTracks.

My weekdays runs this week were a bit hit-miss. I wanted to head out yesterday with a new running buddy, but it was raining heavily in the morning. In hindsight we might have been fine if we met up at 7am - although I would have been hit with hailstones on the way home. It's something I've encountered when on the bike and wasn't a problem, but I don't typically wear a helmet when running.

This evening I met up with my other running buddy for our laps around Gardiners Creek Reserve, which is a very easy flat 3km loop (although we run in the opposite direction to that Strava segment). I had planned to turn up a little earlier to squeeze in a couple of laps of the bumpy "Box Hill South loop" so that I could get a little bit of climbing into my legs, but had to run an errand beforehand and I only managed one sneaky solo loop. However, after one lap of Gardiners Creek Reserve and discussing the bumpy loop we headed that way instead of a second flat loop. It was a bit too dark after that to repeat it, but I am happy with my net run of 8.6km and 84m. It's not enough to assist me with the Dandenongs runs (Saturday was 10.8km and 472m!), but it's better than last week's 6.2km and 23m for the same run!

After the travel to faraway parkruns (or not, if I consider that weekend that I didn't go to Inverloch parkrun), I was looking forward to shorter trips in the car. While I enjoy my car-time as I get to catch up on podcasts and sing crappy songs to the top of my lungs, it does take a lot of time and concentration (which is perhaps the most tiring thing of all).

First, there are no photos from this day as I fell during a run the day before and my right shoulder copped most of the momentum. I suspect my goalkeeping training kicked in as my body decided to go with the momentum, stretch out and land on my side. The upside of this was no damage to my palms or risk of a wrist break as I didn't use my hands to break my fall (although I picked up three very small knicks on my left thumb and right pinky). The downside was the 4cm diameter circle of skin that was rubbed raw on my right shoulder and the soreness from absorbing all that momentum. I was also lucky that it was a cold day and so the shoulder was clothed - so I didn't get any nasty footpath/road debris in the wound. It still hurt a LOT in the shower, but at least I didn't have to scrub it clean.

The point is, my shoulder was too sore to comfortably lift my upper arm so I didn't bother bringing the camera. Actually, any movement was painful despite the dressed wound so when I made a comment about time to brave taking my jumper off I was misunderstood to be complaining about the chilly weather that morning!

Aeroplane arms was painful - and I couldn't even do them properly.
Image from Point Cook parkrun's Facebook page.

On first impressions, Point Cook parkrun is a flat course. This is true for about 4km, upon which you then realise that the finish line is actually a climb! It's not much, but it's enough to work tired legs. There's also a small kicker about 20m from the finish line in case you have anything left in the legs. And I have no complaints about the positioning of the turn-around point, it's in a flat section so it's not too difficult to get back to pace after slowing.

The satellite imagery may be a bit out of date, but the elevation is mostly correct.
Image via SportTracks.

The course is mostly concrete, which I don't personally love to run on, and there is very little shelter out on the course—it's an advantage of going on a parkrun tourism binge during a calm autumn period! Make sure you bring a hat and sunglasses if you drop by during summer or on a hot day (and suncream if you're very sensitive - the sun may not be that harsh at 8am but all I think about is how reflective concrete can be), and save some strength for any headwinds on windy days.

Amenities at Point Cook parkrun are fantastic with plenty of parking due to its location at a local sporting complex, along with an undercover area for barcode scanning, sorting and bag storage. There are also toilets at the undercover area, and a COFFEE VAN! It would have to be the most perfect parkrun I have been to... at least for a calm autumn morning.


  1. Love the photo although not good to hear about your fall - take it easy out there! Haven't done Point Cook yet - it's definitely on the list though. Shall try before the warm weather hits!

    1. Well I saw the photographer and the arms went up automatically, and then I realised how much it hurt but kept them up until the photographer was done. Well 'ard I am. :P

      There are a few "exposed" courses, so it's best to visit them now to guess what they'd be like when it warms up.

  2. You look like you're having as tough a time as Alberto Contador, lifting your arm.
    I have the perfect course for a parkrun, but it's point to point - a gentle downhill or flat from Fadden Pines to Lake Tuggers. Even better with an easterly wind ;-)

    1. Hahaha - he's just bluffing as to how bad that shoulder is! As for the perfect parkrun course—I think you need at least couple of bumps to make the course interesting!