I took four whole weeks off and then two bringing it back slowly. This past week I needed to get out and recce the North Downs Way 2012 100 mile course. My intention has always been to put on point to point races where possible and whilst the 2011 course made sense in our first year, out and back is going to inevitably become slightly less of an attraction than point to point in the long term. My plan is therefore to leave our starting point where it is, in Farnham at the western origin of the NDW trail, but send runners on to a finishing point another 50 miles further east. I needed to see for myself that the NDW continued to be as varied and scenic as that first 50 miles and I am happy to report that in every way, it is.
On Tuesday I ran the stretch from Knockholt to Cuxton and was amazed at a couple of the short sharp climbs back out of villages, where the trail drops in to say hello before exiting back into solid English countryside. The climb out of Oxted in particular lasts only a mile or so but will be enough to get runners breathing hard. The stretch around Holly Hill is simply beautiful. Thursday I went back and ran from Cuxton across the Medway Bridge and on to Hollingbourne. The stretch I had been most concerned about from Cuxton across the Medway Bridge turned out to be a relatively uninteresting but very fast and flat 2 mile stretch. It is somewhat offset by the 4 mile steady climb back up the other side however.
|NDW100 2012 ridge miles 60 - 69 as seen from mile 73|
The scenery and terrain around Detling and beyond is superb, the views out across to the South and West are truly stunning but in 30 degree heat, it was seriously hard work for someone lacking a little in the fitness department. I power hiked long stretches and took my time marking off the maps and taking photos.
|Past Detling Village mile 83 NDW100 2012|
My shin has felt shaky this last couple of days but the pain is from shin splints down around the ankle area which a physio session and sports massage will help with tomorrow. As long as the fracture area remains strong and the bone doesn't start with the dull ache again then I'll continue with the mileage.
Monday: 8 miles 1:05
Tuesday: 17.2 miles 3:17
Wednesday: 5 miles 0:45
Thursday: 18.3 miles 3:31
Friday: 15.9 miles 2:41
Saturday: 5 miles 0:55
Sunday: 14.2 miles 2:03
Total: 83.6 miles 14:18 +9000ft
I have entered a bunch of late season marathons and short ultras starting in late October to try to keep things ticking along but I doubt at any point my mileage will grow beyond that of this week. They are all very slow miles on trails but I can already feel the small benefits creeping in. I would like to think I have time now for a consistent 2 hour daily run exactly like tonight's, covering off about 14/ 15 miles. As winter sets in, some of the trails are going to get harder to negotiate but right now they are a joy to run.
Very excited about finally getting my hands on a pair of Hoka One One Bondi B's later this week. They should give my shin the break and the active recovery period it still needs.