I expected this LDWA event to be a straightforward training run, compared to last week’s marathon. I didn’t count upon getting lost a few times (the route was unmarked, and one tree looks pretty much like another), having to run an extra two miles beyond what was expected, and above all…a heinous series of soul-sucking swamps, all along the eastern side of the New Forest; check out the jagged blue line above. I staggered in a full hour beyond what I expected, not my finest performance.
In a few weeks’ time I’m taking part in the Jurassic Coast Challenge*. I think I might wind it back a bit now. Having done a couple of marathons without any training at all, it strikes me that it might be a good idea to now do some actual normal training…run more often, and much less mileage.
*Notwithstanding the usual illness/ injury/ acts of God which interfere with my plans for major events…
Today in the New Forest, I conducted an experiment to see if it was possible to turn up and run a trail marathon despite having only run three miles in the previous four weeks. It turns out that it is possible, as long as you don’t mind an awful lot of pain and aren’t exactly trying to break any course records. It might however have been a bright idea to carry out this experiment on a marathon event not named ‘The Heartbreaker’.
The New Forest is located in Hampshire along the north-west shore of the Solent. It has two distinctions; it is Britain’s newest National Park (as of 2005), and is also Britain’s most boring National Park. The photo above shows the most interesting thing (indeed, only thing) that ever happens in the Forest; horses walk around here and there.
We went cycling in the Forest, but I couldn’t tell you specifically where though, it all looks the same. We did however happen upon Buckler’s Hard. The houses lined up in the photo below are widely spaced apart because two centuries ago, this was a thriving and essential shipyard. Warships were constructed right there in the street for the Nelsonian navy, to do battle with the French (and Portuguese, Americans, other random foreigners, etc). The location was ideal as timber could easily be sourced from the Forest, and the completed hulls easily launched into the Beaulieu River at the bottom of the slope and sailed down into the Solent on the ebb tide.
It’s too cold to go paddling.