Janathon day six: muddy

I had the pleasure of some company on today’s run and was bravely joined by Ginge (I often become quite stroppy with him when we run together and I wouldn’t put with me if I was him). Running with Ginge means that I can do routes that I would be a bit nervy doing on my own (mainly through fields and the lonelier parts of the village) and today was no different. While we were out we toyed with two longer routes; one was a known 7.5 miles, the other an unknown distance (I’ve fallen for mystery tours before, it rarely ends well), but settled for a short (3.5 miles) hilly, mudfest of a run.

First past some sheep fields, saying hello to the occupants and making them flee with the sight of me flailing past them.

Posing sheep

Posing sheep

If you like all things ovine, Jovial Gnome is treating us all to Sheep of the Day on his Janathon blog. I am in sheepy heaven with this and am going to go round and rustle them all into the boot of my Renault Clio at the first opportunity. Technically my sheep are strangers to me, but I shall call them (from left to right) Muriel, Agnes and Maud.

Next up on the nature walk run was a hawk. We tried to sneak up on it but failed miserably although I managed to take a moody Kes-style black and white shot (entirely by chance than design) before it went and sat in a tree where it looked (a) less hawkish and (b) very precarious.

Imagine Brian Glover on a football pitch, stage left.

Imagine Brian Glover on a football pitch, stage left.

That can't be comfy

That can’t be comfy

There were some fabulously squelchy bits to the run. I splashed through these gleefully and oblivious to the fact that I was narrowly avoiding barrelling into Ginge, whilst he cowered in my muddy wake. Ooops.

SAM_2074

Beware indeed…

In which I end up caked in mud to review my new trail shoes

Today’s run wouldn’t win any prizes for speed, but it was bloody good fun! We’re lucky enough to have a lot of fields, woodland and nature reserves round our way, and today seemed like a good opportunity to make my shiny new New Balance trail shoes a little less shiny and new.

I’ve only ever run through the fields when it’s been dry (I don’t think that I went through them at all this summer) and with the company of Ginge (due to fears about a. getting lost and b. men with dishonourable intentions). With the new shoes, the previous night’s rain wasn’t going to be a problem. I took Ginge because he knew where we should go (having spent his formative years climbing trees and causing mischief in these parts) and is excellent company (so you can rest assured that I don’t just take him as a bodyguard/satnav).

Fields.

We have to do about half a mile on the road, to reach the fields and while we both missed the cushioning of our usual trainers, it was surprisingly comfortable. Especially as I had expected to be clattering along like a goat across a tea tray.

Low cloud over Rivington, there's a telly mast under all of that.

As we hit the mud (almost immediately after leaving the pavement), the next adjustment was learning to trust the grip of my shoes. I have never had a problem getting wet or muddy when I run, I just worry about the potential embarassment/A&E attendance involved with falling on my arse. Apart from one incredibly squelchy and slidey bit of field, where it all went a bit Bambi on ice, I felt pretty confident that I was going to stay upright throughout the run.

That way to London

Ginge’s local knowledge took us into one of the nature reserves (where our planned loop was blocked by the presence of great crested newts), across the railway, through some fields, back through a bit of woodland, through some more fields, along a lane, back into the original fields and then home. It was a mix of paths, nearly paths and mud. There were quite a few stops to look at things, a few to marvel at how much more knackered we both felt (Ginge’s official verdict was that 4 miles off road felt like 10 on pavement) and a couple for me to question whether Ginge’s 25 year old mental maps were correct (they were). The running bits in between felt fantastic.

Ginge takes me to the nicest places.......

When we were nearly home, we passed two girls walking their dogs. They were wearing wellies and carefully picking their way through the field, occasionally squealing at the drama of being surrounded by mud. As we splashed past, I overheard one of them say “uuurgh, look at them”, but I think that she was just jealous.

This bridge is deemed a danger to the public. Health and Safety gone mad.

Shoe-wise, my 749s felt comfy and supportive. When I’d tried other shoes on, my ankles had immediately felt precarious but after this first trial I would heartily recommend these to any fellow over-pronator looking for a trail shoe.

Ginge's feet post-run. Note the whiteness of the Gortex clad socks.

Ginge (who’s more of a neutral to under-pronator) also loved his 573s. When we bought them, he was offered versions with or without Gortex and only went for the Gortex because he had no choice (they didn’t have his size in the others). With hindsight, he is extremely happy about this and says they’re really good because you can “run through what you want; the deepest puddle, the muddiest puddle – your feet will be dry, even if they seem as if they shouldn’t be”. Apparently the Gortex sock inside the shoe makes it a bit more snug and takes some getting used to, but it’s definitely worth the extra money. I wouldn’t know…

Compare and contrast the above with my non-Gortexed feet.

I’m struggling to convey the utter joy that I felt in just pelting along, not caring about anything (especially not pace or distance). I felt free and happy and childishly giddy. Even hills didn’t seem so bad. I honestly don’t think that I have ever grinned so much whilst out running.

Marvel at the amazing over pronating lady! Gasp at the fact that she ended up even muddier than this by the end of the run!