Sunday, 11 February 2018
Seven Miles Over The Trails With Pop And M.
I was looking forward to a lie-in this morning. It was the first day in ages we hadn't had to be up early for work, a race or a course, so of course I woke up at 7. We ate breakfast while pouring over the OS maps trying to decide on a nice place to go running. In the end we settled on a 7.5 mile route we've done before that starts at Broughton village, runs across country to Houghton, goes over the river and through the Bossington estate, loops along the old railway track from Stockbridge to Romsey and then pares off across country again past some ancient barrows to track over the river, past a farm, up a lane and then down through ancient woodland and back round into Broughton.
It was a beautiful morning, all sunshine and cold, clear air. Ted was left at home with a bone and didn't even notice us leaving, while Pop was jumping up and down like a loon, so desperate was she not to be left behind.
The first mile of the run contains a sizeable hill. I'd spent yesterday at a Run Leadership course where we learnt about the three types of breathing athletes need to do in order to train effectively for racing- Alactic: no breathing, just 100m of pure eyes-out sprint a la Mr Bolt, Lactate: 10 seconds to 3 mins of efforts which produces lactic acid and during which you can only manage 2-3 word sentences, and Aerobic where you can chat away comfortably for hours while breathing normally (this is endurance runners' pace). This morning's early hill was definitely in the Lactate band. I managed to keep running to the top but could only gasp out the odd word in reply to my husband's happy chat as he trotted easily up it. Pop too zoomed on ahead making it look easy. It certainly woke me up and the next three miles passed at a happy easy chatty pace, possibly as a result of working a bit harder on the first hill.
Four miles in and all was going well. I've kept off the trails since I started back in Jan (Doc's advice was to stay on flat tarmac) but felt now the time had come to try my knee out on some more testing ground and it was holding up well. Pop was having a grand old time on the bridges, watching coots bobbing about on the water below.
The land had that clean, cold, neat, stark feel it has in early February.
Pop, who was running on ahead then stopping to sniff interesting things before zooming on again before we caught up, didn't seem to notice Ted wasn't with her. At the farm she was mildly interested in the cows but gave them a wide berth, especially (thank goodness) the two enormous bulls!
The track out of the farm was muddy, so I sensibly walked while M and Pop whooshed on ahead...
Everything was holding up well. My knee tends to feel a bit stiff about 5k in to my runs at present, but it doesn't get worse and it stops aching when I stop running. Next there was another long hill out of the fields and up the lane, a steady incline up on to The Chalk. I ran all of it, feeling pleased with myself. The views from the top were lovely, looking out towards Danebury and towards Salisbury Plain.
The way lay along the lane for a bit before turning right down into the woods, which in spring are full of bluebells. Today, the yew was letting go of spoors. Every time the breeze blew it gusted off the tree in great billows of smokey breath. Pop had disappeared, haring down the track with M close on her tail. I took it more sedately and after a few minutes saw Pop coming racing back up the track looking for me. Usually Ted's job, perhaps she was taking on the responsibility of checking on mum in his absence :o)
Down out of the woods it was another half mile across the fields, over stiles and back along the lane to the rookery and the car. 12k in the bag, which is a little over 7.5 miles. No knee pain afterwards, I'll take that. It may be time to start looking for some half marathons....
Hope you're all having a lovely weekend,