Thursday, 13 July 2017

Running Through A Harvest Landscape





I've clocked up 31 miles in my legs in the last five days. Sunday's half marathon in the heat was followed by a 6 mile interval training run at Club on Monday, a 5 mile club race through the woods last night and a 7.5 mile cross country run with M and the dogs this morning.

I didn't enjoy the 5 mile club race last night. I good a good time and knocked twenty places off my race position but I really don't like running myself ragged at the top of my pace to snatch a good result. It's not why I run. Give me a long run that I can train for, get my teeth in to, something over 10 miles that I can plug away at and I'm happy as anything. Ask me to effectively sprint 5 miles and do reasonably well against a field of other runners and I'm not.

After race chat with club members ran along the lines of the fast pace stuff being good training for the longer runs, but only if you want to improve on your times, and races never getting easier because you're always chasing a PB. I just don't think that's me. My favourite races to date have been the ones where I felt I ran technically well and enjoyed it. The race time and position hasn't been top of my agenda. 
I'd like to be running half marathons in under two hours, and I think I'll get there next year, but it's the distance I really love, and the feeling of having accomplished something.

All good learning.

This morning we set off with the dogs for an early run across the fields and over the Chalk. I haven't been that way for weeks because the fields have been impassible, heavy with crops, and the edges haven't been much better, and I've missed it. But the harvest is in full swing now. The Rape fields have been cut and the ground swept clean of the plants so those fields were easier to run through than they have been in weeks. Wheat and Barley aren't ready yet so there we were reliant on paths cut through them. They were scratchy and I've come home with legs scratched, stung and bruised. All part of the fun. 


the giant chocolate mousse hill thick with wheat


I ended up run/ walking and Ted was Very Concerned that I shouldn't get left behind. Initially he came back for me every few minutes, after a while he just stayed with me and Led The Way to make sure I didn't vanish....





He was Quite Glad I was going slowly as it gave him the opportunity to have the odd lie down in the shade along the way...


Pop, meanwhile, raced off ahead with her Dad and then disgraced herself by disappearing first in long grass and then into the woods and not coming smartly back when called. As a result, Teddy was allowed to run along the lanes sans lead, while Pop found herself bound to M's hand on a very short lead indeed! Ted was pleased. Poppy was not!

Natural hazards along the way included.... Badger Hole...


Wild Parsnip (deadly poisonous roots)...


And some places where the path completely disappeared into a thicket of nettles, brambles, docks, thistles and other plants typical of the British Summer....


But it was a Lovely Run and I felt joyful to be back out in the fields that I love. I ran slowly, walked when I needed to and enjoyed every minute. There is something to be said for checking back in with what makes you happy every now and then, because it is easy to get swept up in the general whizz bang stuff of life and lose sight of what brings you peace in the face of other people's (kindly meant) views, advice and opinions.

At the end of the run, back at the car, both the dogs were Very Pleased Indeed to find their new portable water bottles worked and (better still) were full of water...


It was lovely to be back out running over the Land with them (and M too, of course!). 

Hope you're all well? 

CT :o)

34 comments:

  1. I love typical English Summers in the countryside. I should get out in it more.

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    1. There's nothing quite like late July in the countryside.

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  2. Beautiful photos - just look at the sky in that top one; just heavenly. Poor old Poppy being kept on a short lead; I hope Ted managed not to be too smug :O) . My running has taken a back seat recently to swimming and yoga. I'm not sure that running is good for my back - not the running itself, but the fact that when I'm running, I don't swim or do yoga as much and I think my back needs them. Your run looks so lovely though that I might dust off my trainers at the weekend. Hugs to T and P. xx

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    1. Ted kept his grin low-key! I think the secret with any exercise is to enjoy it. Do what makes you happy. There's nothing to stop you having the odd run now and then if you feel you want to while concentrating on your yoga and swimming if that's what is working best for you xx

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    2. Hi Veggie Mum.... yoga is just the best!
      I do it everyday and a class once a week! Best thing for backs, body, mind & soul!
      Xx

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    3. I agree- it's done wonders for my back too xx

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  3. Looks like another lovely run. I am such a slow runner that I'm not too bothered about the serious end of things (i.e. times!). I would like to get my HM under 2 hours 30, but the main thing for me is to enjoy it - I too just love running in the countryside, walking from time to time, and just soaking up the calm...

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    1. That's why I do it too, that and because I am really starting to love the endurance distances, partly because it's ok to walk sections and partly because they test you. Here's to happy running, however we chose to do it x

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  4. The fields of rippening cereals are great at the moment, ran alongside a beautiful one last night

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    1. It does all look very beautiful. I found a fair few wild plants in the margins too- common fumitory lots of St. John's wort.

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  5. That countryside looks a wonderful place to run. Hope those toes are faring ok? Can just imagine how pleased Ted feels. Bet Poppy will be very good on her next run! B x

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    1. They're well covered in plasters! I have two purple nails and one puce one that's heading for purple now...

      It takes quite a lot to abash Pop, it's her indominitable jack Russel nature :o). Soooo excited about your Parkrun! Xx

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  6. Lovely Ted. What a faithful dog. I think you must stick to the running you love to do which is running through your wild places. It comes through in your writing. With the occasional race thrown in, of course! X

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    1. He is my best boy. Such a poppet.

      I agree- running in the wild is my absolute favourite. It gives me so much. I'm toying with the idea of writing a book about it.... x

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  7. Oh it looks fantastic out there. Summer in the countryside is soaring and beautiful. Glad you had a good run after the less-than-enjoyable race. CJ xx

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    1. Yes it put the balance back. Won't be long before you're running with Bertie!! Xx

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  8. Hey there! Beautiful photos of fields I love! Summer in U.K is the best!
    Any sport should be for enjoyment unless you are a professional athlete! Otherwise the joy is gone and it becomes just another job!
    Very impressive distances! I walk on average 6-8 miles per day but running is not for me! You have done so well and should be proud of what you have achieved! #inspiration!
    Ted and Poppy are fit little dogs! So sweet that Ted checks up on you! Pops is a little devil but she keeps you all on your toes!
    ❤️
    Ps - will email you with our plans for UK Xmas visit! Hopefully we can meet up! X

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    1. Fantastic! It would be great if we could work something out, even if just a coffee xx

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  9. I love Ted he is such a sweety.
    You can just feel that he loves his nice tall person who takes him for runs !
    How can you run with mashed purple toes ? Doesn't that hurt ?
    Take care and be well.

    cheers, parsnip and thehamish

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    1. He is the sweetest dog. Very gentle and loyal. The toes are ok as long as it isn't the day immediately after a race :o).

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  10. You do have some beautiful scenery to run through. Glorious colours. I'm sure you'll get your HM time down to under two hours before much longer. X

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    1. We're very lucky to have access to the land on our doorstep. It's like sighing a big sigh of relief being outdoors! X

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  11. Running is beyond me. It always has been. I'm not sure why. Of course, if you don't practise you won't do well and if you don't do well you won't enjoy running enough to practise. Maybe it's something to do with the shape of our bodies? (I'm not meaning weight.) For even as a child, when my friends were zooming along a chosen route I'd be chugging dejectedly behind. It wasn't that I didn't try. I just never could move fast.

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    1. It's one of those things you need to enjoy to do I think. No point slogging away hating every minute. X

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  12. Lovely course. I think an off-road half marathon is ideal at my advanced age. Not sure about the stiles though. I can't jump down them without risking a bad knee ;). I try and keep supple as much as possible. Swimming now and then included.
    Ciao, G

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    1. The stiles are a pain that really break up the running rhythm, but then we'd be bored if it was too easy :o)

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  13. What a beautiful place to be running in! Glad you enjoyed it and the doggies too, even if it was a bit scratchy!

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  14. Stop racing, it is not the point of running. Do what you want but racing is all about winning but distance running is about covering ground and enjoying yourself. Speed freaks are a danger, on the road in a car of running on a track.

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    1. I think it probably depends on where your strengths lie. Mine, I am beginning to see, are in distance rather than speed.

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  15. Lovely scenery. I miss the chalklands of Hampshire, but can't complain as we have some amazing scenery round here. Do what you enjoy most, I would say. Sounds like the shorter faster runs aren't your thing.

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    1. It is beautiful where you are, but I do love The Chalk. There is nowhere quite like it. Agree about doing what you love best- a simple formula for happiness.

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  16. Oh that looks lovely. One of my very favourite running things is that it feels like you are more in touch with the seasons :-) Love that Ted looks out for you. What an incredible bond you have. xx

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    1. I agree- running outside grounds you in the seasons, you feel them properly. xx

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Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x