After Tuesday's run with Jez I was keen to get back out for some more offroad running. I had originally thought about aiming for 10 miles or so as I had a couple of hours to play with after getting stuck at work on Monday. However I decided to shorten it as I got out of work later than planned on Friday afternoon and I hadn't been intending on riding Thursday.
I wanted to head up onto Great Hill but decided to do it from Tockholes rather than Abbey Village and explore a couple of tracks I had been meaning to for a while. One track headed out through the woods to the Belmont Road and another headed up towards the moor above the sawmill from the Abbeyville Dobermans place.
Through the woods started off ok if a little wet and slippy but soon got quite indistinct and very wet. My shoes and shorts were soaking as there was a lot of long wet grass. The path split and I continued tracking the stream then had a vague memory that the track I wanted didn't (hadn't brought the map). I finally managed to bash my way out to the road, quite a bit further up from where I was supposed to end up. I tried running along the verge for a while but it kept disappearing down a ditch hidden by the grass so for the sake of my ankles I walked as the road was busy until I got to where I was supposed to be.
Up through a smelly farmyard to be confronted by a couple of gates tied together with a weathered knot of Gordian complexity, no chance of undoing it. There was a footpath marker so I was in the rights place...then I heard a noise behind me and an overfriendly collie pup was jumping around. A man came out to call the pup back and told me to climb through the fence inside the barn to the side of the gate. I continued on running for a bit until the field became unrunnable due to big tussocks and cow trodden mud.
The rest of the "track" was pretty vague, a case of spotting styles to head for but very difficult to run due to long uneven grass and littered rocks. I eventually got back onto known stuff and was able to run again. Not worth doing that particular part of the route again.
I wasn't running particularly well, my knees felt heavy due to weights and cycling no doubt. Though I just simply have to lift my feet higher when running offroad and need to build that back up again. It was lovely at the shelter on Great Hill and the descent was pretty dry, even the one step forward two steps back section near the road was mostly runnable.
I picked up the trail that runs parallel to the road at the Slipper Lowe car park, we've taken bikes along at least part of it so I thought it should be pretty runnable. To start with it was, if very, very wet but then it started to get really interesting and boggy. On two occasions I tried to avoid a particularly wet section by heading up on some cambered banking only to slip and fall onto hands and knees in the bog I was trying to avoid, lovely. I'm sure I haven't cycled along this part.
My Wave Harriers were no match for that mud! I have a pair of Inov-8 Mudclaw 330's that I got earlier this year which have seen no action due to mara training, this could be the perfect test track. I eventually realised that I was almost back at Ryal Fold car park, I definitely hadn't cycled this far along. A load of nettles to squeeze past before hitting the main track and over to the car.
6.5 miles at 11mm pace which I think is very generous given the amount of walking, slipping and stumbling at certain points. Have a feeling the Garming stopped recording in some of the woody areas due to my slow progress. Busy day Saturday so will probably not have much chance to do much but I need to stretch my hip flexors, they feel very tight.