In the trees…

Two posts in 24 hours? What’s going on? I’ve been running, that’s what…

I went out an did my first proper trail run this afternoon.  I didn’t break any records or run any further or faster than I have so far, but there was hills, trees and mud, plenty of it.  It’s a really nice way to finish off my first proper week of running, getting out in the mud and leaves and putting in some effort.

I’m lucky to have canal fields (ridge and furrow), woodland and (small) hills on my doorstep.  The five minute walk there is a good warm up and gets my legs moving, and the ridge and furrow is a lovely start to the run.  They undulate up and down with two foot drops and rises, getting you used to different terrain and levels.  Once you get over the canal bridge, you’re into the woods, which is where the fun really begins.

The woods were planted in 2000, so are pretty well established, but not dense enough to get lost in.  Trees are planted in regular rows with a few clear (muddy) paths between them.  I’ve cycled through them before, the twisting singletrack is great fun on two wheels.  Guess what?  It’s great fun on to feet too.  You go uphill on a clear path on the way out, trees lining each side.  It’s not a steep incline, but the mud makes it fun. A quick breather (!) for a selfie at the top, then nip across the grass, blast through a big puddle, and you’re weaving back down the slope.  This side is more fun, as you have to pick through the trees at the start, then follow the path as it snakes down through the woods.  Great fun blasting through mud and over roots. It’s made realise how much I love my shoes and running ‘wild’.  I definitely made the right choice picking trail running.

So, I got out breath, didn’t run for that long and got muddy feet. But I loved it, and plan on being back next week to do it all over again, but faster. Get muddy!

Picking my way back down through the trees.
Picking my way back down through the trees.
View from the top of the trail
View from the top of the trail

Muddy Hell

I have a new obsession. Trail Running.

I’m not incredibly fit, but try to eat sensibly, not drink too much booze, quit smoking ages ago and love being outdoors.  I cycle sometimes, and love all forms of cycling.  I plan on skateboarding again in the new year too.  I do tend to go for more unconventional sports, so running off-road, in mud, wind and rain seems like a logical choice. Plus it keeps me away from computer screens…

Over the last year, I’ve had a couple of false starts with running.  It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while now.  When I see someone else running I think ‘I want to do that.’  I’ve never been able to stick at a routine with running until now.  Going out early in the cold, damp and dark suits me.  It gets me up and out and away from the lure of the web.  I’m a week in and am hooked.  Being in Essex and having a day of networking and exhibitions ahead of me didn’t stop me.  I just got up, slung my kit on and got out there.

It’s a lovely feeling being outside early when no-one else is about.  Just you and the elements.  I love the fact I have to sneak through a gap in the hedge to get into my local park as the gates aren’t open at six in the morning.  A little act of rebellion and anarchy.  I did jump a bit when a dog burst out of the woods, another early riser out and about.

I’m writing about running here, as it’s a wonderful way to use time offline.  Great for thinking, clearing your head, planning your day, tuning in, dropping off, whatever suits… I love the way your brain just zones out and focuses purely on running after a while.  So I’m not going to enter the Olympics or win any medals, but I love the feeling running trails give you.  I might race next year, but to enjoy myself, that’s why I’m doing it. To enjoy myself and stay offline.  See you on the trails…