The Relaxed Tortoise vs The Hattered Hare

This morning I decided that I would take Murphy hound through the woods for a quick 3 mile trail run before work. After a summer of churned up trails and huge timber lorries trundling past me it was great to see that the warning signs had been removed meaning they had finished working the forest. Not that I’m complaining about them working the area; as they had heavy equipment they had to make sure that the tracks were well maintained and they’ve left behind some graded roads where the ground used to hold any rainfall and turn to mud. After yesterday’s rain I was expecting to see mush, so imagine my joy at running across gravel!

I had a not so good 3 miles on Sunday. I think I was hattered trying to fit everything into a busy day and maybe wasn’t in the best frame of mind for running. I ran far too fast too soon and paid the price. Today I was happy and relaxed and ready to run a steady pace. I can never match my road running pace off road. Imagine my surprise, on hearing my 1 mile time announced, that I was running slightly faster than I was on Sunday. Maybe running relaxed is the answer; if I try to run fast I just get all tight and wound up! Dismiss the thought and there’s the pace I want! I managed one mile in 11 minutes, pretty good for me off-road.

Just as I had been getting ready to set off (unhooking the dog from his lead, putting the lead across me, checking I still had his “sweets” to ensure that I wouldn’t be chasing after him to come back when we’d finished and starting my tracking app) a guy ran out of the woods with his Collie. He would have been in his 70s I guess. We shouted greetings to each other and went off in opposite directions. As I hit 1 mile I realised that he had done one of my 3 mile routes as I met him joining my trail. I followed him for a while (catching him up too!) before I went down one of the new trails created by the logging trucks. It’s been a long time since I’ve managed to get a 3 mile run out of the woods and getting to 1.5 miles was a great feeling. I hit 2 miles in just over 21 minutes, still maintaining a good off-road pace.

Coming back is always tough. From my house I’m largely running downhill towards the shore; going home inevitably I’m running uphill all the way back! I struggled a bit to maintain my pace, but maintain it I did. I hit 3 miles in just over 33 minutes and that was with 1 minutes walk breaks every 4 minutes.

That more than makes up for Sunday’s run! An off-road 3.1 miles in 34 minutes is pretty good for me. I’ll take that, especially with next week’s 10k road race looming.

And the motto for today? Thanks to good ol’ Aesop it is “Slow and steady wins the race“. Remind me of that next week please!!!

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