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Mud. Glorious mud.

Like the oft quoted “Eskimos have 52 different words for snow”, I think that the people from the Benfleet Running Club, let’s call them ‘Benfleetians’, might have a similar number for mud.

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Last Sunday I ran the Benfleet 15 and I experienced more mud, and different types of mud, than I ever have before. There was sandy mud, clayey mud, silty mud, watery mud (very different to muddy water of which there was also lots), gravelly mud, muddy gravel, rocky mud, slippery mud (the kind that prevents you going uphill), slidey mud (the kind that leaves you sliding sideways down a hill), grassy mud, sticky mud, slurpy mud, shoe-sucking mud, and best of all, muddy mud – that kind of mud that sticks to anything it touches but also soaks through the smallest gaps to fill all the space between your toes. It was mudding awesome! 15 miles of mud-infused hilly trail running overlooking the Thames estuary. What’s not to like?

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It felt great to be racing again, and importantly I finished in pretty good shape. It was a slow and steady race (‘turtle’ being my new nickname), however only having what I would term ‘normal’ soreness afterwards is a big mental boost, showing me that my calf is healed and that with sensible increases in training volume, maintenance of my stretch and strength routine and some good old fashioned healthy eating and rest, I should be OK for Ragnar in two weeks.

Muddy happy!

Muddy happy!

Two. Weeks. Until. Ragnar. Gulp…

Happy running everyone!

Bernie

Get Going, Get Running!

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Bernie returns…

Well I’m back. I think. I’ve had a long break from the blog, a winter vacation after Christmas, and I’ve also returned from injury!

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On the weekend I did two runs. First off was a 5k easy jog to test the calf as part of my run/swim combo. It all went well, with no soreness at the strain site. Everywhere else though – rubbish! As my first run since being injured (and recovering from a bout of bronchitis) it was quite slow, however I really noticed how much of my conditioning I have lost in 4 weeks. Even with some bike riding, swimming and a week’s hard skiing in the Alps to try and keep up the fitness it’s just not the same as running…

On Sunday I had bit of soreness but nothing too bad, so after some stretching and calf raises to test the injury I decided I could do my planned 10k. I took it easy and ran it like a LSD run. I’ve had to learn the hard way over the years how important it is to come back slowly, so I’m making sure to take it easy this time around. Re-injuring my calf by trying to eke out a few seconds of pace would be to repeat previous mistakes stupid. I have a race on Sunday, the Benfleet 15, however I’m only 51/49 for running at this point. I always planned to take this race pretty easy, but even going easy it’ll be a serious test. I need to get a couple more runs under the belt this week before deciding if I’ll race on Sunday. Here’s hoping the calf is good to go!

Happy running everyone!

Bernie

Get Going, Get Running!

On Facebook? ‘Like’ my Facebook page and keep up with my day-to-day happenings, hints, tips and shares
Want to see what/where/how I’m training? View or ‘connect’ with me on my Garmin profile to see what’s been going on
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Gear review : ASICS Gel-FujiElite trail racer

Slurp, squelch, slide…fall. Bugger. It’s muddy out on the trails at the moment and even the hard packed gravel trails have become impassable for my road shoes. Time to get some trail shoes!

ASICS UK came to my rescue and sent me a media sample of the ASICS Gel-FujiElite trail racers to test and review. The FujiElite is a new release and is part of their ‘speed’ range of shoes featuring a racing last. I’ve now done over 100km in them, ranging from 5km races at my local Parkrun to 20+km training runs and have found them to be much more multipurpose than just the ‘racing’ tag-line they are marketed with.

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A low drop (6mm) racing shoe for trail, with a host of features made for trail

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Running recap, and : Still learning from my mistakes…

Life has been hectic lately, but I’m still getting some running in. It doesn’t resemble my marathon training plan that much, but at least I’m still running. More than I’ve been blogging at any rate…

Another thing I’ve noted is that I’m still learning. Unfortunately, largely through making mistakes…
Since my last post I’ve managed to keep up my ‘two-for-Tuesday‘ workout of hard run (usually hill sprints) followed by Yoga. I really like this combo – a hard run after my rest day, followed by an hour of enforced stretching and core work. I’m the first to admit it, I don’t stretch or do enough core work, so yoga is a good way for me to get in a flexibility and core workout.

Mental note #1: Stretch more. Like everyday, not just after a run.

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Trail Running : a good way to clear your head and make new friends…

What do you do if a horse is standing in the middle of the trail you’re running on? Stop to pat it and take photos of course! While at the same time keeping it from stealing your energy drink…

Today my girlfriend and I were up in Doncaster for the funeral of her grandfather who sadly passed away last week. Needless to say it has been an emotional week for my girlfriend and in some respects I’ve experienced some of the ‘overflow’. However, there is nothing like a run to clear your head and get some focus, so this morning I went out for a 12km trail run.

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Last night we stayed with my girlfriend’s aunt and uncle at their house in Sprotbrough, right on the banks of the River Don. This gave me the means and excuse to head out off the tarmac and onto the trail along the river this morning. I didn’t have a map, but I’d looked on Google maps before I went out to get an idea of distance and route and headed out. Of course, the first thing I did after getting onto the trail was take a wrong turn at a fork which resulted in me crossing over the A1 on a footbridge and ending up in a field if beets. However, I could see the river half a mile away so followed the tractor marks through the beets to the river.

Not much of a designated trail, but a trail nonetheless. And no, I don't know if they're really beets, they just looked like it to me...

Not much of a designated trail, but a trail nonetheless. And no, I don’t know if they’re really beets, they just looked like it to me…

After a ‘delicate’ negotiation of a barbed wire fence I was on the riverside track and headed off. A few wrong turnings and a backtrack or two and I found myself popping out back at the top of the field of beets! I’d made myself a little 4km trail circuit!

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If you wish to see the run for ‘real’ – clicking on the Image will take you to the Garmin Player

Now knowing the ‘right’ route I skipped back over the A1 footbridge, took the correct turning at the fork and found the stairs down to the river (much better than risking the barbed wire fence again) and headed back out on the trail. On the second circuit I was able to keep a tempo pace up because a) I knew the route and b) I wasn’t stopping every 5 minutes to take a photo of beets, cows, ducks or whatever. Until the horse of course (of course…)

I know these are cows, not a horse. Cows don't really do much do they...

I know these are cows, not a horse. Cows don’t really do much do they…

I had just entered a new field and had run around the corner to find a horse grazing in the middle of the track. He looked up as I approached, but didn’t seem concerned about me, so I kept approaching and slowed to a walk. Seeing that the horse was friendly, and pretty much ambivalent about my presence I went up to it and gave it a pat on the head and a scratch on the neck. This was fine until he smelled my energy drink. I had spilled some on my hand and he could obviously smell the sugar! Suddenly he was pushing and shoving with outstretched neck and lips puckering for my bottle. Greedy little bugger! Anyway, in this merry little dance we’d managed to turn around and I found myself on the other side of him, with an empty track in front of me. Seizing this opportunity I bid ‘adieu’ to Mr Ed and went on my way with an extra photo for the blog and horse saliva all over my arm!

Mr Ed, before he found out I had an energy drink with me...

Mr Ed, before he found out I had an energy drink with me…

The rest of the run was pretty uneventful. A bridge, some cows, some people walking their dogs, a lock, and 2km at threshold pace to finish off the run. I returned back to the house to find everyone had risen and breakfast was being prepared. I made excuses for a quick shower because, lets face it, no one deserves to sit next to a smelly sweaty runner at breakfast. Especially not one with horse spit down one arm and mulberry stains across his white (stupid choice for a trail run) tech shirt!

Disused rail bridge over the River Don

Disused rail bridge over the River Don

I’m starting to think the idea of a trail marathon is a good idea. Does anyone do trail races, and if so, what do you love about them?

A small p.s. – I found my 2XU calf guards really useful for my trail run. They stopped most things from scratching my shins, including mulberry bushes. But not stinging nettles. Definitely not stinging nettles…

Happy running everyone!

Bernie

Get Going, Get Running!

On Facebook? ‘Like’ my Facebook page and keep up with my day-to-day happenings, hints, tips and shares
Want to see what/where/how I’m training? View or ‘connect’ with me on my Garmin profile to see what’s been going on
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