Friday 21st February
What a difference a few weeks makes! Several weeks ago I was worried that I might not be able to run a distance again. BUT! Today I managed to run 11.32 miles off road across the Quantocks.
Parking at the Lydeard Hill car park I was surprised to see several cars there already [8:30am] most dog walkers but one a runner, be it with a dog. A brisk wind blew across the valley so I was glad I put on my cycling Gore Wear softshell top. The sun was shining but with showers forecast later I carried a pertex top, not waterproof but would keep the most off in combination with my Gore top. I also decided to use a small ‘Camelback’ well a Salomon pack actually, with a litre of water, some energy bars, gels and my latest trial, marzipan marbles, a recipe from ‘Train Running’ magazine, I was determined not to run out of energy!!.
I finally set off after some light stretching to make sure my calf muscles and Ham strings weren’t tight.
Not following the main track but went over Lydeard Hill my first height gain to 365 metres, the track was muddy, but not wet [if that makes sense] through the gate and along a very muddy track that seems to collect the water at all times of the year, first views towards Hinckley point, the levels, Glastonbury etc. A climb up to Wills Neck [386metres] raised my breathing rate and heart rate level, but I managed to keep it steady. A fabulous 360 degree view from the Trig point on the summit, a chat with an early riser dog walker before a stony descent to Triscombe Stone – by now the ‘sloshing water’ in my camelback starting to irritate, not sure I would run with a Camelback again. A really pleasant undulating ridge track along the beech lined Drove all the way to Crowcombe Park Gate, I had the track to myself, really nice to run on, soft but not too soft and puddles that were easily avoidable – I still had dry feet!
Crowcombe car park was deserted, as I climbed towards [but not to] Hurley Beacon, always a stiff climb on the MTB as the track has a difficult camber that forces you into the stony bottom of the track, no such difficulty running though. The sun continued to shine, but the wind was now a little stronger with a definite chill when you stop, just to remind you that spring is not here yet! Views around were very clear today, so an occasional walk/stop to admire views was welcome, after all that’s why we come to these places. Down to Halsway post, again a quick breather to admire the view down into Halsway and the valley below, along with the distant view of the edge of Exmoor. My next target was Bicknoller post which I was going to use as a turning point, for my return run I had estimated it to be around 5 miles, I wasn’t far out it was 5.6 miles. Splendid views down over Minehead and the Butlins tent, my only company two grazing ponies who carried on munching what little grass there was , refusing to acknowledge my presence even though I wished them 'good morning' several Marzipan marbles, a drink and off again to start my return run. I felt ok, considering I was near to my furthest run since injury, I think the weather was definite help, although I did discover on the turn that I now had more of a head wind. Views continued to unfold, I still had not met anyone since Wills Neck, if fact the only other person I met was an MTB rider as I descended to Crowcombe Park Gate. I decided to revisit Wills Neck on my return, telling myself the hills would do me good, again had the peak to myself. Down and back round Lydeard Hill, returning to the car park, just over 2 hours, not a great time but, I did walk some, stop some, chat some etc. and the aim of the run was to get 10 -12 miles in which I did comfortably with 11.32 miles. How did I feel? Fine, nothing hurt, not too tired, so all in all a great day out and a good achievement, good prospects for the Exe to Axe after all as I can build on the miles it’s only another 8.6 miles and about 2000 ft climbing more than I did today.
The marbles worked well and remarkably I finished with dry feet, good stone hopping round the puddles. Car park was now busy, but no sign of people!
A fabulous run to inspire me, sadly next week is a busy week with Bikeability, so not sure when I will get daylight runs in again L
Sorry no pictures, I didn’t take my camera