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Wednesday 26 December 2012

Week 1, Day 6: Mud, hills and MASSIVE bacon sarnies!! 7 miles slow 9 min/mile

Training Session: Week 1, Day 6 …

Goal: 7 miles slow in 9 minute miles

Actual: 8 miles slow, with hills, mud and bacon sarnies in 12 minute miles. In my defence … Elevation Gain: 1,375 ft

I didn’t know what to expect from this run although I’d been told it might be a little bit hilly. However, I’d been promised a bacon sandwich at the end so naturally this being the important part of that conversation I’d forgotten about the hills.

We drove through Birmingham and arrived at Clent Hills. The first sign that we might have a bit of a rolling course was the vertical lane to the car park … and as we passed a gap in the hedge and a stile we saw Birmingham

The trails were mainly leaf covered dirt, but due to the recent rains there was a lot of soft ground and boggy parts. There was also a portion completely underwater. We all got a bit suspicious when we passed by 3 horses coming the other way and they had wet stomachs …

My new trail shoes are currently being withheld until Christmas (despite my pleas, sulking and toddler tantrums) so I was in road shoes with YakTrax on them which are like rubber bands you slip over the shoes with metal springs on them and a strap across the mid-foot. They worked really, really well – I definitely wouldn’t have been able to run this course on standard road shoes without some serious falls!

We met at the café and started on an undulating trail with soft ground covered with leaves and a sharp downhill with muddy parts. We stopped at the bottom of the hill to allow everyone to start again as a group and the quicker runners doubled back. We started up a steep, dragging uphill on a trail with soft crumbling ground – I was very glad I’d worn the additional grips on my shoes.

By the time we reached the top of the hill, my quads were grumbling at me but the view was amazing!

However, after the drag up the hill it was time for payback – a fantastic downhill and a chance to stretch my legs out. These paths were more grassy and sandy and not so boggy so it was lovely to fly down them. The only trouble was that the speed increased and by the time I spotted the main road at the bottom I wasn’t sure I’d be able to put the brakes on in time. I had visions of flying through the pub window taking the Christmas tree with me and landing on the bar. Hopefully with a pint in one hand and a festive pork pie in the other. But it wasn’t to be. I managed to stop in time and we all headed back up the hill via a sharply angled lane.
This was a small hill, but with more stretching in front. I was having a great run, but when I checked my Garmin I was horrified to realise we hadn’t even made it to the 3 mile mark. I was sure my legs were telling me it was at least 4 or 5 miles. Might be time for more regular hill training …

A small downhill and we moved towards another hill via a small muddy track so we all moved into single file and ran up it. It was muddy and everyone had wet feet but we all chatted the whole way – even if it was only to shout “Wheeeeee!!”” on the downhills – and it made a tough hill run a LOT of fun.

We went through a couple of kissing gates and into a muddy field marked with the cloven prints of sheep. The trainers had definitely changed colour by now and were a fetching shade of poo brown. As we ran through more and more mud they were definitely getting heavier too.

We moved onto short springy grass and the area felt moor-like and as though we had moved areas and were running through the North of England rather than somewhere outside Birmingham.

It was nice to run on and the downhill was long and fast. The ground became boggier underfoot and we were all liberally splattered with mud but it was a lot of fun running a course like this in a group. We stopped regularly to allow everyone to regroup and so people could run at their own speeds.

We were still moving downhill and all of a sudden we turned to the right and were running down what appeared to be a streambed. There were a couple of inches of running water but no space on the narrow trail to move out of the water. At least the trainers were getting a wash. We got to the bottom of the path and onto a muddy and potholed lane. We were passed by 3 horses and riders who laughed as they saw us and said “You’re going to need wellies …” We smiled and waved back, but Dave said “Hang on. Why did those horses have wet stomachs?” We ran down the steep lane and around the corner and the road was completely flooded. Well … we were already wet. Seemed a shame not to take advantage of the chance to run through a great big puddle.

We got to the bottom and a sharp right took us up the final uphill past some pretty cottages and onto a mushy trail … which was blocked by a fallen tree. A couple of options … being vertically challenged I took the ‘under’ option and back onto the muddy trail. My shoes were getting heavier and browner with every step. Finally made it to the top of the hill and the soft grass and from there a short downhill on lanes and back to the car park.

And quite possibly the largest and most delicious bacon sandwich EVER. Trust me, this picture doesn’t do it justice.

This session was supposed 7 miles in 9 minute miles, but Steve Smythe agreed that I could join a hill run with the Warwick Wasps over the Clent Hills. It was definitely a good hill run but due to the terrain and steep uphills I didn’t complete this at the correct speed.

Garmin Info Here

1 comment:

  1. That's not running that's mountaineering lol loved the thought of you and the pub window :)