Another long run this Sunday, out from home after a lazy lie-in, and up onto the hills. There was intermittent walking in the woods, where the clayey mud remained, for slipping at this point in time could be catastrophic to a slowly healing broken arm. However, most of the trails were dry, and the leaf litter soft and grippy beneath my feet.
Once up top on open hillsides, the dry paths allowed a steady consistent period of running. It was easy running too, with the elevation gained all in the initial climb lost steadily plodding on side-skirting bridlways, without too much effort and much time to just soak up the hazy views and warmth of a proper spring day.
I hadn't set out with any intentions, but soon realised I was heading the right direction to encounter the Sunday MTB group at the British Camp Cafe, and, sure enough, we converged, along with Del, another injured rider who had walked over to meet the guys. It was great catching up with everyone, drinking coffee in the sun.
After an hour sat around, it was time to head home. Initially the legs were tight, but they eventually loosened up again and I took it easy, running the lower paths until picking a descent to Colwall. A period of careful walking followed, for the downhill remained very muddy and the falling risk too high. So I stuck to walking the undergrowth edges until it leveled and I could again feel safe to increase the speed.
Calf muscles had different ideas, and I looked at the distance. 9.9 km! Close to the longest distance I had ever done in the VFFs, and a good way from home. Still, my mind was very much taken off the cramping legs by being on new footpaths, running alongside babbling brooks, bone dry fields and finding a route over the railway by the station.
The last 2 kms to home were tough, but, with sheer-bluddy-mindedness, I pushed on finishing with a total distance of 14 km. 14 km of barefoot style, front foot landing, pattering that, just six weeks ago, I would have imagined would take months to complete. Of course it was slow, there was walking round the mud, coffee and even photo taking, but who cares? I am just grateful to have been out and about and exploring and am looking forward to a time when I can run all day in the same way as I can ride. Right now the limiting factors are my calves, but they are getting stronger. Hopefully the summer can be filled with epic day adventures, either by bike, or by foot.