Hitting the trails – my introduction to Saddleback

I was lucky enough to explore a new trail in the holidays in the You Yangs which is virtually in my backyard. So I was actually lucky in a couple of ways – firstly, that’s it’s so close and secondly, that I had an awesome running buddy, Jill, who wasn’t put off by crappy weather forecasts.

I’d been lying in bed for a few hours, listening to the howling wind and occasional bursts of rain, thinking “Surely she’ll cancel” or more like “I hope she’ll cancel”. I had checked my phone multiple times, just in case. With 5 minutes until my alarm was due to go off, it was obvious that she was a lot tougher than I was and wasn’t going to cancel, wind or no wind so I had to do my ‘toughen up’ self talk and get out of bed.

By the time we got to the car park, I was so glad she’d ignored the weather as it was absolutely perfect – cold, crisp, a very light breeze and no rain. Weather to scare off the school holiday crowds but perfect for running in. We headed down the Branding Yard trail until we reached the bottom then we paused as we stared up at our goal – The Saddleback. It didn’t look too terrible – just a rather long hill. The fact I couldn’t see the top wasn’t scaring me. Much.

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Not a huge hill but big enough

We set off at a very gentle run. And it wasn’t long before I had to walk. And then, after not much longer, I needed to stop, turn around and take in the view (while I gasped for breath). This was indeed an impressive hill.

I lost track of how many times I had to stop but, ultimately, I didn’t care as we made it to the top. I very much felt like it was the start of a journey – my first ascent and that I’d do it faster next time. And regardless of how tough it was, it was absolutely beautiful, surrounded by stunning landscape and even escorted briefly by a trio of kangaroos bounding along with us.

We then took a much easier track back around to the car park, a trail which was much more compatible with breathing and talking while running. Soon enough, we were back at the car with 5km having been ticked off and feeling absolutely on top of the world.

It’s funny how, after just going for a little run, you spend the rest of the day feeling like you can conquer the world.


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