For a few weeks I've been wanting to get off the road because I just had a feeling, and that was all, that running on trails and country paths must in some ways be better than pounding the pavement. When I used to run some years ago, the only respite from the roadside was my circuits around the local park. But recently, something inside was telling me that off the road held something different. I didn't know what but I just had the feeling it did. I bought the trail shoes, Inov-8 BareGrip 200's, a few weeks ago so that I could try the off-road experience whenever I could. Well, this morning was my first time. And what an experience!
It was something like 6.50 a.m. when I set off - a beautiful sunny morning, blue sky and cool with the sun just risen. I'd decided to try and run some footpaths just a few miles away from home in the local countryside. For those of you who know it, I ran from Parbold Hill to Ashurst Beacon and back across the Douglas Valley. You can see the map and route I took here: My Route
My abiding impression is this: Sun, blue sky, nettled, scratched, wet feet, muddied and sheep pooh; pheasants took flight squawking furiously as I approached; sheep and cattle wondered what this idiot was doing so early in a morning, disturbing their breakfast; slanting sun making fields full of jewels as it reflected off the dew; solitude, peace and fresh, unpolluted air. When I could run I ran, when I had to walk, I walked. My time was slow but I didn't care, I was drinking in the whole thing. It was GLORIOUS, heaven on earth!
Although I was running most of the time I carried my camera (it's only very small) and took photographs. It was a good excuse to stop and get my breath back as well. I'm not the world's best photographer but I've included one or two here so you can see how beautiful a morning it was.
I did just over 10k in all, the furthest I've 'run' for about 5 years. It took me 1hr. 45mins. I'm tired and stiff now but what the heck it was worth it. And it made all the months of dieting, and slowly getting back walking and then into running again worth every moment. Days like these don't come along often but when they do it makes it all worthwhile
It's just like what Haruki Murakami wrote and which I quoted a few days ago. It might seem a pretty pointless thing to do, running through the countryside, but it's what happens in the heart that matters and only the one who does it really knows.
|Long shadows over fields as the sun rises|
|The way to Life is narrow and few there are that find it (the start)|
|Early morning sun over the Douglas Valley - my destination on the horizon|
|Early morning sun rising on the sheep|
|And wooded paths|
|Leeds-Liverpool Canal side by side with........|
|The river Douglas|
|Cows wondering 'what on earth' so early|
|Bejewelled fields, light and shade|
|Ashurst's Beacon - half way (or thereabouts) destination|
|From the summit - Wind farm off the Lancashire coast|
|And looking over Liverpool to the mountains of Wales|
|Even on country paths!|
|Somebody has to go to work!|
|The last bit of trail|
|Yes, I walked this bit, Parbold Hill summit round the corner|
|A last look back at where I'd been - the Beacon just visible on the horizon and the sun has disappeared|
|Happy trail runner!!!|
|Not so happy socks and trail shoes!|