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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Easy like Sunday morning!

Yesterday morning (a grim looking Sunday morning) saw me head out on the trails as night was just giving way to day. 'I have struggled to juggle' summarises my life as of late. The motivation has not been there, the avalanche of everyday life and onset of dark evenings have made early nights with a book more preferable to getting out the headlamp and tearing up some dirt.

But this little jaunt favoured me quite positively and definitely trended towards NEVER having such an extensive trail sabbatical ever again. I decided to take a westward bound trail towards Versailles as the climbs there are meandering and sheltered to begin with. The first thing I noticed once hopping from road to trail (roughly 5 minutes) was how utterly compacted the forest floor was. After months of the trees scattering their leaves this multi coloured carpet, an Autumn-Winter jigsaw of iridescence, coerced me unhurriedly up through a winding and foggy track. The ascent itself was remarkable in its quietness as usually this part of the trail is a hikers paradise.

Regarding clothing I was pretty happy with my layers from the start. I opted not for a jacket but arm warmers, t-shirt and under shirt, compression sleeves and the vital tool of traction the Speedcross 2. Now, I have never been much of a gear junkie and was always the first to disregard certain products as 'gimmicks' but, having switched over to a specialist trail running company I now see the error of my short sightedness. Firstly, having spent the amount time (and winters) I have running trails on road shoes is akin to giving a person a pair of skis and telling them to try and run a Marathon with them. It doesn't compute. But that was not my thinking back in previous summers as crisp leaves crinkled underfoot and single track trails were littered with nothing more than ferns and pine. All in all it never demanded anything technical from my footwear. It was the beginning of last years winter though that taught me otherwise, knees were scarred, elbows bruised and palms grazed from slipping and stumbling. "I think I need to investigate some off piste shoes" was my first thought and since the change over its been bliss.

(the sun tailing me back down from the descent)

(unparalleled grip)

(bath time)

My confidence in scrambling up inclines and hammering downhill has been bolstered by educating myself in the ways of the trail and this run underlined the importance of not only having confidence in ones own ability, but also the assurance of using the right gear to optimise the experience.

I am looking forward to leaving many foot prints on the snow this winter and embracing the chilly mornings. The hours spent meandering through the hills may seem harsh when the alarm goes off at a ridiculous hour, but returning home caked in mud from head to to far outweighs it.

See you round the bend,


(Stats: 1:17, 14km, elevation gain.... no idea)


  1. Hey Mally
    Great to hear you're getting out on the trails. You can't beat them, and so much more interesting than pounding the pavements (bores the arse off me!).

    Having decent trail kit will help with the confidence on those tricky sections, as that's what it's all about. Too many people are scared of falling on the downs that they tense up and do trip - starting a downward mental spiral for downhill trails. For me being relaxed and alert, with eyes like saucers whilst blasting down a hill is the most exhilarating part of trail running. I just concentrate on landing my feet softly and keeping the legs turning over quickly. So far I've not had any major stacks (tough wood) just the odd slip and bounce off a tree, but then that's part of the fun. Far less dangerous than cycling or playing rugby.

    Keep at it my friend and enjoy yourself,

  2. Wise words Andy,

    How you feeling since the 100?

    Was blasting down the trails again this morning and hit a major slope, slippy as hell and just dug my heels in. Pure joy it is and reminds me of running down sand dunes as a kid, going so fast I though I'd fall over.

    Catch you out there someday mate.



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Running for Pearl

This blog is dedicated to my daughter Pearl who was diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) in August 2009. My goal is to raise funds and awareness by doing what I love....Running.