Muddy trail musings

Posted on: 13 Jan 2021

Morning all, hope you’re all safe and well.

So, blog 2 of 2021 – trying to rediscover that habit of regularity.

Running has started to pick up a bit this week.  We have a work-based Strava group set up now, and some inter-office rivalry has already started around which office can run the most miles in January.  It’s clear that I need to start moving up through the gears a bit to help propel Briz up this league table (let’s face it, they’re top of the rugby – and the less said about Glaws the better – and so they ought to aim for the peak here too).  There are some great distances being logged all around; within the element of competition there is of course a more serious message; getting out and about (safely etc…) is I would say even more key than normal.

And so to my efforts over the last few days.

Saturday I had a fab old time out with Dave.  We had agreed that we’d go out for a trail half, and what fun it was (in the main; there was one slight sense of humour failure when we were shin deep in mud churned up by cows – it was one of those times when you have to focus completely on just keeping the shoes on your feet as the suction of the mud pulls them down!).

We ran away from Hawkesbury down the Monarch Way to Kilcot; it’s a route that is much more runnable down into the valley than the Cotswold Way – I guess that befits a regal trail!  Then the Cotswold Way up the back of Blackquarries Hill; first time in a while I’ve done that climb – it’s certainly one that belies the adage about absence and fondness!

Some flattish stuff through the wonderful Newark Park and then a drop down through the Ozleworth Valley – this is where the mud suction was out and about in all its sucky glory! There’s then a climb (well, it wouldn’t be the Cotswolds without that word being mentioned frequently!) up to Tresham.

From there, it’s the most wonderous descent down the Monarch (sensing a theme here; Cotswold up, Monarch down!) back to Kilcot – it’s the run that I would take someone on if they wanted to know why I love trail running so much; for someone as ungainly as me, it’s a fun drop as it’s a gentle gradient and firm underfoot.  Slip anchor!  Back up through the Coombes and home; splendid, splendid.

Sunday I did a standard circuit up to Highfields and then through Roach Lane into the Badminton estate.  It was funny to see the effect of the cold on His Grace’s swans – they were isolated in a patch of water in the middle of the lake, surrounded by ice.  It was less funny I have to say to see how many cars were parked up; groups of four were out walking, clearly having driven for their exercise.  Two broken rules don’t make a right in my opinion.  So, I was slightly grumpy I have to saw, all the while thinking how lucky I am to be able to run so freely out of the front door and straight into splendid isolation…       

..and that’s how I felt on yesterday’s run too.  I jumped out of the Landy at Boxwell when it was en route to the stables.  It’s a 7 mile jaunt home on The Monarch (with that descent out of Tresham again!).  On the way I trialled running with our GoPro.  I have lots of ideas milling around in my head about writing, blogging and the like at the mo. 

Christopher Hitchens wrote that “everyone has a book in them, and in most places that’s where it should stay.”  Well, I have some ideas about the former – it’d of course focus on running, and I am thinking of The Cotswold Way at the mo; let’s face it, I know it well enough!  Whether attempting the former will prove the latter part of his quote as well….time will tell!

Anyway, the GoPro worked well enough; I had it on a chest-mounted harness, but on reviewing the footage can see that it’s not stable enough really (and I am hardly Usain Bolt when it comes to speed!) and so I need to give it some more thought if I am going to go visual as well as written.

For now, well for now it’s always nice to have something to think about as I clock up this year’s miles; I’ll have to go some to best last year (just shy of 1900), and they’re not going to run themselves!

On a yard, one and all.

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