King of Islands

For the Labour Day long weekend in March we made a repeat trip with our running friends to a great little island between mainland Australia and Tasmania called King Island.  It's a quirky little place with a population just over 1000 known for its beef, cheese, and suicidal wallabies.  It takes just over 50 minutes on a 10-seater plane to travel back in time to this funny little island.

Our little group filled up the plane
We went for the King Island Imperial 20, a 32-k run across the island.  Phil and some of our group did the solo 32k run and the rest of us did 8k legs as part of a relay team.  Last year it was the longest run I'd ever done.  This year it was a piece of cake.  Or rather cheese.  While I have no intentions of ever running 32k by myself, it's nice to know that I can easily run an 8k coming off being sick.  Who knows, there might even be a 10k race in my future.

The group (minus Bruce)
This long weekend was basically the last hurrah of summer.  We took advantage of the beautiful weather and beach house location to stroll along the water and enjoy those last rays of sun.  The boys dropped lines in the water, and between the stingrays managed to catch a squid.  It was pretty tasty fried up that night and made for great bait for some other tasty creatures.
We also went for a drive to the South side of the island to explore the Calcified Forrest.  A thirty minute drive on a dirt road and a 15 minute hike took us to this strange little spot where 6,000 years ago the sand formed casts around the trees.  Many, many years of wind and rain washed the plants and topsoil away to leave a peculiar site that makes you realise how insignificant you really are in the grand scheme of things.
Calcified Forrest
The morning of the race was overcast and cool making for a nice pleasant run, and of course the goodie bags full of cheese at the finish were more than welcome.  Nap time followed, and then it was time for the big celebration dinner.  This was the 20th year for the race, and so they celebrated with a black tie event (held in a gym with orange and black halloween-like decorations, because nothing says classy like halloween decorations!).  I think our group scrubbed up pretty well.
Our prom picture
We were on the late afternoon flight out the following day, so we took advantage of the morning to enjoy a beautiful beach on the Northeast side of the island.  Clean sand, clear, turquoise water, warm sun, and no people = the reason I love Australia beaches so much.  We had a nice time strolling in the water collecting abalone shells.  I even found a starfish sitting in the surf!

It was a very relaxing weekend, definitely needed before the chaos of Phil's parents' visit and the Ironman.  But you'll just have to wait for those stories, I'm not that caught up yet!


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