Summary: A gentle week with an effort at the end

Monday – I thought I’d do a recovery run after the Bumble Bimble trail race the day before (see my report here). Turns out that trail running on technical downhills and mud isn’t made better by some road running. Claire was very very patient with me – I think I had an actual sit-down in the park at one point!

3.4 miles, 13 mins per mile

Wednesday – Nothing WAS hurt as such but I decided my ankles were still protesting too much to do yoga. So I didn’t.

Thursday – A nicer run along the same route as Thursday with Sonya. Almost the same route but much more comfortable. Phew!

3.5 miles, 12:14 mins per mile

Friday – I managed Claire yoga, hooray! Just what I needed and saw my friends who I’d alarmed by leaving the class last week on Wednesday when everything cramped up.

Saturday – Running club parkrun takeover and I did barcode scanning using the new app (a bit tricky in the bright sunlight). It was so warm that I could have run down and not got cold standing around. This was my 125th parkrun volunteering stint! We were on the alternative route away from the main park as there was cricket parking and a food festival happening there. It was good to catch up with friends before and after and I walked there and back to make my 10,000 steps for the day.

Sunny parkrun off they go!

Sunday – Bernice and I took a road trip (thanks for doing the driving, Bernice) to the Ridgeway to practise on some of the paths we’re going to experience in July on the Race to the Stones. It was a 90 minute drive down once she’d collected me. Early breakfast for me but Matthew had gone birdwatching so the timing worked well.

Road trip, Birmingham to North Wessex Downs

We decided to run one way for an hour, then back to the car, then along the other way for 45 minutes and back, as Bernice had 3 hour 30 running on her plan. This worked really well as we could leave some things in the car and know we were back there in the middle. Very reassuring!

The paths were much MUCH better than in the Bimble Bumble. We had rutted chalk, flat chalk, some road surface, some grass and some bare earth with stones or plain. Lots of elevation (1000 ft in the bit we did: my last marathon was 982 ft in total) and these surfaces could be up, down or flat, but I think we covered most of what we were going to get. Some pics from me and Bernice:

These wayposts were all along the Ridgeway, making it easy to find your way even without the event signage. (photo by Bernice)

Rutted chalk trails, Bernice going downhill

Rutted chalk, Liz by Bernice.

Happy ladies (honestly!) on the trails

Amazing far view with a beautiful poppy field

A nice lady we met took this pic of us. Everyone on the trail was so friendly and lovely!

Liz on a stile looking like one of those 1030s adverts for hiking (maybe). I was regarding something I thought was Wayland’s Smithy but wasn’t.

We actually went over this stile and off piste which was very exciting, and saw a trail of people so made it over the grass to Uffington Castle, a Neolithic hill fort, and then down the grass to get a view of the White Horse of Uffington.

A side note: I’ve been wary of the White Horse and Wayland’s Smithy since being unnerved by a TV series as a child and even reading the book didn’t help. The Smithy comes up in Susan Cooper’s “Dark is Rising” sequence too. But actually up close it’s all benign and it’s such a privilege to be standing in such an ancient place – a Neolithic landscape, the Ridgeway having been used continuously since those times. Amazing.

Just about seen: the White Horse of Uffington – a chalk figure (it’s in the middle going over the brow of the hill)


Strava view showing the Horse and where we were before we dropped down

Once we’d looked at the Horse we were back at the car, so swapped bottles, I had half a banana and Bernice had some peanut butter sandwiches, we noted the ice cream van for later then set off the other way. For this and the previous segment we were going in the direction of the actual race, so it was great to gather the terrain.

Along more of an earth track for 45 minutes – here at the turning point.

It was getting more and more humid and I amused Bernice by pointing out that I was running in a miasma of my own sweat.

We diverted to Wayland’s Smithy on the way back – much more of a sacred grove than the alarming place I’d had in mind (it’s a former Neolithic burial mound, now open to the sky)!

Wayland’s Smithy

… and we were back! We had a picnic overlooking the valley: so beautiful.

Picnic time! (by Bernice)

The view from our lunch

The ice cream van had GONE when we got back but returned as we were lunching; rude not to, right –

Lollies! By Bernice

This was such a great idea, we both feel really reassured that the surfaces were OK – I think you could do it in road shoes but I felt more safe in my Saucony Peregrines with their rubbery soles. We both feel we can do it now and got 14 miles in so would have  been almost half way! We both felt we could have carried on, and that’s with coming into it tired rather than rested and tapered.

14 miles, 15:15 mins per mile

Miles this week: 20.9 Miles this year: 537.3 (for 1,000 miles in the year I need 500 by the end of this month)

weekly-run-down-final-300x300The Weekly Run Down is run by two wonderful running women and joined by lots of other inspirational women. Kim’s weekly wrap is here and Deborah’s is here.