First of all a quick hello to my new followers. I have absolutely no idea why you would want to follow my tales of self-mockery and woe, but you are very welcome. There is fat-free cake in the tin and a large canteen of black coffee on the stove. Help yourselves.

Since my last post I have been indulging myself with a few woodland runs. I’m not a huge fan of trudging along the roadside; it can be boring, slightly dangerous and not much good for my self-esteem. There have been times when I’ve been running on the road when I just wanted to stop and cry. I don’t know why. I think I’m maybe too hard on myself there, expect far too much and leave myself feeling deflated. On the trails it’s so very different.

On the trails I am surrounded by trees, cosseted against prying eyes, able to run without care. I run along looking at the trees, the flowers, sometimes the wildlife and feel free. The weather doesn’t even bother me. It can be lashing down or icy cold and I still enjoy the whole getting back to nature thing. It’s invigorating and, yes, it can be a tougher run, but it never feels like that. It  feels easier, freer, more stimulating. When you run on the road you can get lulled into a dreamlike trance, plonking one foot in front of the other ad infinitum. On the trails if you do that you’re liable to sprain, twist or break something. The ground literally keeps you on your toes, where you are supposed to be!

Of course my pace is slower, but (and this is the biggy) IT’S ALLOWED TO BE! How liberating is that? You get a harder workout, especially for your core, and you get to go slower! And not much slower really either. My pace on the road tends to hover around the 10 minute mile mark. I’d like it to be faster, but it’s not. Not yet. On the trails it’s between 10 and 11 minutes, not much different really. The only problem I have is that without getting in the car and driving to a park our local woodland only gives me a maximum of 3 miles providing I run there and back. I suppose I could run it twice, but I’ve never felt that I’ve wanted to.

Murphy, my Jack Russell, usually comes with me – which is an added bonus. I don’t like running him on the road. He’s a bit daft, tends to pull on the lead and stop right in front of me! I’m also wary of him hurting his feet on the tarmac. On the trails the ground is more forgiving and he will usually run at my heel after he’s checked the undergrowth for rabbits and the like. I enjoy his company and he loves to run.

We went out before work on Thursday morning. I only had half an hour to spare so opted to do just a couple of miles. With the walk to the woods and back that would be my 30 minutes slot used up. It was gorgeous; a sunny and warm morning, just delightful really. I ran happy and didn’t stop until  reached the turnaround point where I stopped for a few minutes to take photos. I thought I had the auto-stop turned on Runmeter (my Garmin was flat when I went for it so I made do with my back up GPS running apps) but I didn’t, so I probably ran a little faster than I’m giving myself credit for.

Today I convinced my husband to join me first thing. He was all for having a bacon sandwich, getting a few jobs done and then going running, just before we headed out to Carlisle. I know him well enough to know that the less important things (in his world) get squeezed out and that if we left the run until almost bus time, we wouldn’t be going at all! With the promise of a bacon roll in his head we set off at around 9am, not early but early enough for Sunday!

It was much colder than on Thursday and much, much windier. The sunshine was hidden behind some grey looking clouds, threatening rain. We left the dogs behind, much to their chagrin and headed out. My husband much prefers to run on the road. He finds running on the trails much harder than me. That said he set a good pace and ran for a mile without stopping, completing that in 10:46. At the turnaround we stopped to catch our breath. I was just saying that we hadn’t seen any deer when one crossed the path ahead of us! That is what running trails is all about. The return is always harder as it’s pretty much all up hill. With a few husband-determined walk breaks we did the last mile in 11:27, nothing to be sniffed at.

The jobs are all getting done and we’ve both got stacks of energy left. When we’d finished running my husband turned to me and said that he felt as if he could do it again and that is exactly how I always feel after a trail run. It’s fun. Full stop!

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