Time to hit the trail

I’ve been running for a few months now and have got to the stage where I can run up to about ten miles without exhausting myself too completely. I try to do a mixture of short, intense sessions and longer, slow runs. And I do as much of my running as I can off road. But as my runs get more ambitious, I’m learning more about what it means to be a runner.

Take last week, for example. I set out on Monday afternoon for a nice six mile trot up onto the ridge to the south of town, along the top and then back down again. It was a sunny day and I enjoyed the trek out across the fields. I’d never ventured into this neck of the woods before, so had taken the precaution of bringing a map with me. This came in handy as I navigated the tracks across to the next town and then up towards the ridge.

The hill up to the ridge was pretty steep and took in some rather rough terrain. But I was soon at the top enjoying the fantastic view. The photos here are looking out across the valley where I live. In the bottom one, you can even just see the sea in the distance.

I had a very pleasant run along the ridge. However, the climb up the hill had tired me out quite a bit so I have to admit to slowing down to a walk from time to time. The terrain was rough at the start, but after a mile or so smoothed out somewhat into a rough road hemmed in by rather large (and rather posh) houses. All very impressive.

After about three miles on the ridge, it was time to head downhill and back towards town. The bridleway I followed was quite rough and more than a little muddy, so it wasn’t really much easier running down the hill than it had been running up. But I was still feeling pretty chipper and enjoying the exercise and fresh air.

When I got home, though, things took a slightly different turn. The moment I wandered in through the garden gate, I started to feel a bit sick. And by the time I’d had a drink, taken a shower and headed out to take the dog for a walk, I really felt rather rotten. Luckily, after I’d walked the dog, had another drink, eaten a little and loafed around on the settee for a while I felt quite a lot better. But I did, if I’m honest, give myself a little scare.

Thinking back over my run, I brought this state of affairs entirely upon myself. I went out on a long-ish (for me, at least) hilly run in the middle of the afternoon on a very warm day. I hadn’t eaten much in the previous few hours. And I didn’t take anything to drink with me. In short, I was a bit of a muppet. But I did have a really great run. And I learned some valuable lessons along the way.

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