Politics, tulips, Stromlo, cyclists, crazy science museums…. Yep, you guessed it- hello
Canberra! For the next 5 weeks, the Nation’s Capital is where I’ll call home. Embarking
on a physiotherapy clinical placement at The Canberra Hospital is exciting and a little
bit scary. For someone who demands a lot from her body, I am fascinated to discover
how it all works…and incidentally, what happens when it doesn’t quite work.

So it is the eve of the last weekend in August. A weekend which for the past 9 years
has meant the same routine for me and a lot of the distance running community.
Tonight I would ordinarily be consuming a pasta meal, laying out my uniform and
spikes ready and tossing nervously in bed. Ready for race day at National XC.
Instead I am sitting in the hospital library, drinking instant coffee and poring over
research articles on evidence-based practice in cardiopulmonary physio. Needless to
say, I feel a little out of place!

After a few flat months of training, I decided not to put myself through the pressure
of this event. It was not an easy decision as it is arguably my favourite race of the
year, not just for the competition but also for the chance to catch up with old friends
and experience somewhere new. But I didn’t feel at all ready and I know I would’ve
been disappointed in my performance.

After a week in the Capital, I am slowly beginning to get my bearings. Although the
morning air still takes my breath away a little and I am permanently attached to my
merino gloves, the late winter weather has been surprisingly kind. I love coming home
to a hot shower with my skin icy but cheeks all flushed. Bike paths connect the city
like winding arteries, cross crossing major roads and waterways. I’ve even ventured
along some off-road trails and discovered some decent hills.

I’ve been lucky enough to have entered a very welcoming running community down
here and I am excited about meeting up for some group training over the weekend.
One of my favourite things about running is its capacity to link people across the

The past month has brought some lovely experiences of this running community. I
enjoyed trying out the new Blackbutt Parkrun in Newcastle, where you are lucky to
find a single flat metre in the entire course! I raced the inaugural Tamworth Half
Marathon and spent the morning soaking up the sun watching the Dash for Cash. And
most recently, I’ve been flattered by the effort of the Canberra girls to contact me
with an invitation to go training.

I’m sure tomorrow will hold plenty of thrills and spills for all competitors taking on
themselves, the course and their rivals. I wish the best of luck to everyone battling out
one of the greatest events of the year.