Saturday, 25 January 2014

A longish run home

Since last weekend I have been worried about my achilles. It was sore enough to stop me running after kids doing DoE in the way I usually do and I concentrated on stretches and core exercises in the week instead of running. I needed to test it out and I really wanted a run. Bob was handing over some orienteering gear and then planning a run so I got him to go a bit early and drop me off at Fell Foot.
I ambled up the lane and onto the hill. It is a desperate start and just gets steeper. After 5 minutes my calves were screaming and I had to stop. After 10 minutes I was almost in tears. I rested and plodded on. Once I hit the green road that contours the summit of Parlic I felt better and ran. It was calm and warm but looked a bit threatening. As I jogged up Fairnsnape the cloud got thicker but it stayed dry. I was glad I knew the way as I couldn't see far and the light was wierd. I stopped for a quick photo at the summit cairn and my camera blew off in the wind. So much for there being no wind today.
Poor light and low cloud at 9.45am
Fortunately no harm done and I tried again. I was trying out my RF prize of an Ultimate Direction running vest. It felt strange when I first put it on but I was becoming used to it. I like having the bottle holder pockets and it made access to my map and camera very easy. I was less keen on the water in the bottle sloshing up and down but maybe it will remind me to drink more often. I knew the next section would see me with wet feet at the least and buried in a bog at worst. I stayed clean until the big fence corner but did get muddy as I headed down to Fiensdale Head. It was almost a relief to hit the flagstones and run without mud spraying everywhere. As I dropped a bit the cloud cleared and I did wonder if I should stay on the tops. Common sense prevailed and I decided that hoping to meet up with Bob to get a lift back was too risky so I stuck to my plan.
Not sure I like / approve of the flagstones
I made very good time to Hazlehurst and my legs seemed to have got used to the idea of running by now. The lane to Bleasdale Tower was fast but the next fields were very wet and boggy.  I made a mistake at the next farm by trying to run from map memory and a parallel error had me cursing the lack of path in the woods. After 25 minutes of jungle warfare I arrived at a huge stream junction, checked the map and realised my mistake. Oh well. The promised path now materialsied and I shot off to Brock Mill. I didn't need a map from now as I just had to follow the river west downstream. The path got a bit busy by the car park at Brock Bottoms but although the paths were muddy it was good running all the way to Walmsley bridge. From here the land changed to crop fields but they were well drained. The path near Brock Side had a warning about adders but I did not see any. It felt strange running through stacks of expensive Land Rovers at the Brock garage but I trotted off keen to leave the A6 and get onto the canal tow path. The forecast rain had now arrived and I was getting wet. Worse the wind was getting up and I was running into a headwind. Parts of the tow path were a joy but inexplicably other sections quickly turned into swamps.  By Moons Marina I had had enough. I was soaked and caked in mud. I considered phoning Bob to see if he was en route back home but resisted.  After another mile I could leave the canal and head through Woodplumpton and onto paths that would take me home. The canal does an enormous westward loop here and I just could not face ploughing through more mud.  I did not see Bob on my short section of road so just got on with making progress to home.  Although I had stopped to put my cag on I was even getting chilled. Keep plodding...... I passed another runner and we exchanged comments about being mad and then the rain almost stopped, just as I got close to our estate. Still not a bad morning with well over 20 miles covered despite the energy sapping mud. Sadly sitting here now my achilles is sore again.
Trying out the UD running vest

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