Charged around to make time for a run and then it was the slowest 5K I’ve done so far … ha ha … made me laugh 🙂 Still, it’s all for a great cause !!
It’s surprising how you speed up when you realise the battery is running out on your garmin. I hit my first target of £50 today so I’m looking at £100 next 🙂 I’ve been surprised that my legs are coping with the number of tarmac miles. The cycle commute to work does help free them up !!
I’m pondering on a longer run at the weekend now that my legs are starting to get used to daily miles. It’s all going very well. 31.6 miles in total ….. that’s my smileage !!
More street running, building up to my first long steady run.
I decided to head out into the countryside today with two of my trail running friends, Paul and Nikki. Our distance, well, if it was day 13 then 13 miles seemed appropriate. This distance also conveniently fits as a half marathon. My chosen route was the first half of Second Wind Running’s Spring marathon. It’s a varied run with hills, mud, woodland and with it being located within the Queen Elizabeth Country Park (QECP) there’s easy car parking and a tea room to reward yourself with, at the end.
Paul and I have run this a number of times but Nikki had only run sections. The sunrise had just about appeared on our arrival and conditions looked perfect with no rain forecasted and a chill in the air.
QECP has a number of trails that crisscross the 1,400 acres, not least of which, the South Downs Way. Just off the A3 and three miles from Petersfield QECP is also only a 25 minute drive from us. The park is also within the East Hampshire Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). You’d think it had been there “for ever” but in fact most of the Beech trees were planted in the 1930’s.
Talking of AONB’s, Paul and Nikki were in fine form, banter wise, as we set off up the initial steep climb out of the park and alongside the A3. There was much talk of upcoming races and the R.E.D. initiative Nikki and I are supporting. So, for us to stop running after 3 miles to take a look at the new adventure trail that’s being built, “well”, it must have been impressive. There were 20 or so obstacle course type wooden structures that will be opened soon and Paul videoed a few of them.
As we dropped down towards the bottom of QECP, where they hold the parkrun, Nikki (not for the first time) mentioned she’d have liked to of run the 5K, however, we’ll save that for another day and I think I won her over in the end with 13 miles of varied trail.
We even ran past the parkrun start before another of the steep hills that helped make up 2,111 feet of elevation on our run. Nikki’s strategy of fast hiking/walking on some of the hills was almost as effective as a slow running pace. The advantage of a long striding hill walk is that it also stretches out/loosens up your muscles, so that’s something to consider.
Just in case it sounds like all we did was run up hill, I liked this photo of us descending.
We joined the SDW and then pealed off to head down towards Chalton. The conditions underfoot were actually quite reasonable and in no time we were approaching 10 miles.
Our route passed various countryside views of open fields and wooded sections which will be more apparent in Paul’s video, which I’ll add to this blog depending on when he has time to edit it.
I haven’t run with Nikki for a while and it was noticeable that on the steeper sections she would let out a Michael Jackson style “whoo” I found this quite amusing until she told me she has breathing issues so …. note to self … never make assumptions.
Heading back from Chalton another of our trail running friends Dean passed us along the long drag that follows the Staunton Way back towards the parkrun area. This photo from Nikki and mine below sum up why we trail run on a Saturday morning 🙂 Both Paul and Nikki showed that off road running requires strength as well as running fitness.
As we approached the QECP centre I couldn’t resist free wheeling down the last hill after all the inclines !! We then decided to treat ourselves to a refreshing cup of tea after our 13 miles and 2,100 feet of elevation. Some of the parkrunners were still chatting in the tearoom so it was great to see Joanna and Dwayne that we know.
I have to say the staff were very cheery and welcoming in both the café and on the help desk where Paul and Nikki organised their car parking passes for the year ahead. Paul often compares himself to either Brad Pitt or George Clooney and the lady on the desk said she could see the likeness …… now that’s customer service 🙂 !!
After a great mornings running and laughter I was reminded of the phrase I’ve used before in blogs, “you only really start running when you’ve forgotten that you are running”. This sense of freedom and enjoyment comes with running in the countryside with friends. Today was one of those days. Many thanks to my running pals Paul and Nikki.
PS If you’d like to sponsor me for RED January and Mental Health that would be fantastic, I’ve reached £130 so far, here’s the
PS Day 14 ….. 5 miles = 60 for the 14 days 🙂