Week 1, Day 3 …
Session: 6 miles at 9:30 minute/mile.
Actual: 6.91 miles at 10:14 minute/mile
I decided to use this opportunity for a longer slow run to get a bit of cross-country in. Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.
I’d also managed to persuade a work friend to come along for a run. I’d mentioned it might be a bit muddy in one place but we should be ok with road shoes … I suspect I may not be allowed to forget this rather inaccurate description.
I wasn’t sure how easy I’d find running at a pace quite a bit slower than usual, so thought I’d use the trails as a way of naturally slowing my pace. As it was very wet and dark, we’d be using headtorches and we’d need to watch our footing more than usual.
We started off running from work and did a lap of the local park which had firm, gravel paths some of which were waterlogged … not a good sign. We ran from the path onto a muddy footpath crossing a field which was very slippery as the ground was firm but with mud and water over the top. Had a few ‘Bambi on the Ice’ moments but made it through this with no problems and we were back onto pavements for a couple of hundred metres before we crossed onto a dirt trail and up into a field where the path disappeared under a pool of water.
Well … this was supposed to be a cross country run. We took a deep breath and splashed through hoping that the path would appear on the other side. Through the water and across a ploughed field with a slippery muddy path. A quick trip over a piece of exposed wire I didn’t notice in the light from the headtorch and we were onto waterlogged grassy tracks and into the woods.
We were thoroughly wet now and the squelching noises from our trainers frightened off any wildlife we might otherwise have seen. These paths weren’t too bad as although there was too much water and the paths were too rough to get any speed up, there wasn’t much danger of slipping over.
We started down a steep downhill and became aware that we were now running through a new river about an inch deep which cascaded around our feet as we ran. The ground was very muddy and we both slipped several times but managed to somehow stay upright. It was great fun though! We’d got to the point where we were unlikely to get any wetter and it was fun just to run with hardly any light in the woods!
We got to several parts which were just too boggy and waterlogged to run and we had to pick our way carefully around these. The steep uphill had several new rivers running crossways over the path and the ground was too muddy and slippery to run on this part. It wasn’t worth risking an injury and as we didn’t have a time limit, we took it fairly carefully.
We reached the top of the hill and the view opened up with the orange lights of Brackmills and Northampton laid out below us.
The path was very muddy now and as I took the opportunity to speed up a bit on the downhills, my legs slipped and I landed straight in a puddle of mud. The mud splashed up around me and I ended up with a stripe across my face. Very fetching.
I slowed down a bit but the path was treacherous and I kept sliding. I was hearing muttered swearing from behind me as my fellow runner slid around and several stifled laughs as I perfected my impression of a duck landing on an icy pond. However, I stayed mainly upright. Until I got cocky and sped up again – slip! Back in the mud. I wouldn’t have minded but instead of being a gentleman and catching me on the way down, my fellow runner gracefully hurdled me as I slipped over in front of him.
After a bit more slipping and sliding around we finally made it to a park where the firm gravel paths were a relief after all of the sliding around. Not so much fun, but a lot less chance of falling over again! Back over the pavements to my office and a hot shower.
… And my work Christmas party, where I could eat far more mince pies than was sensible, safe in the knowledge that I’d had a nice muddy run and earned them!