After an unusually long break I’m back running. It’s been five weeks since RTTK and today was just what I needed to get me back “out there”. I decided to returned to my roots !! Some 25 years ago I was running through these woods when I joined Stubbington Green runners and I find myself drawn back here when I need to reconnect with running. This Forestry Commission land is only 15 minutes down the motorway and offers that special feeling that only the woods can give you.
The compacted gravel path on the way to the woods has the added bonus of a short hill before you reach the more natural trails with their mud and puddles from the last couple of days rain. There’s always a stack of logged trees at the top of the hill and it gives you a great focal point to aim for when pushing some hill speed work !!
The weather for todays run was changeable but generally sunny and it certainly brought out the dragonflies and butterflies. I noticed a small sign at the top of the hill which took me by surprise but I pressed on regardless 🙂 There weren’t any gun shot noises thankfully, in fact with so little noise all you could hear were the trees swishing in the breeze.
Once into Botley Wood you soon become conscious of how the previous wide open spaces are now enclosed by the ferns and undergrowth at grown level and the trees above. The rain from last night was also evident whenever the wind blew because I was experiencing random showers of rain water from the leaves above !! There was a certain amount of mud but the one overriding sensation was just how lush everywhere looked.
I met a mountain biker travelling in the opposite direction but that was it as far as contact with civilisation. Stopping to take these photos really makes you appreciate that there’s a whole world away from the office and home life that just exists day by day without hardly any involvement with the outside world. Nature just carries on as it always has and running through it is such a pleasure.
What also struck me was the contrast between old and new, the fallen tree with its circles to count for the time it had stood and then the newly planted trees that were finding their way in the forest.
Today may have only been 55 minutes worth of running/photos but it has reignited my motivation and I’m looking for my next challenge. Coincidentally I saw on Strava that other Fareham Crusaders (my current club) are putting in long runs ahead of the Purbeck Marathon on September 17th. Photos from this challenging coastal run looked great last year so that will be my new found target.
With seven weeks to play with I’m now fired up with a new challenge. Returning to these woods always reminds me of my first club runs and the people that I ran with but most of all it reminds me that running through nature is both a pleasure and a privilege. There’s plenty of room in the woods for the trees, animals and us too, just give it the respect it deserves.
Even the mud looked good !!
Happy running 🙂