It was a sunny Monday morning, and I as I am gradually increasing my distance following time on the injury couch and a couple of weeks with a chest infection I decided it was time to tackle a different route that would take me further into the countryside, in the hope that I would be visually rewarded with some flair and fauna.
The warm out walk started rather slowly. Well actually, it started and stopped a few times as I just didn't seem to be able to get my laces tied at the right level of tightness. Having previously suffered from some humongous blisters, I then end up doing my laces too tight. So about 2 minutes in, I had to stop to allow the circulation to return to my feet: it was either that or risk getting gangrene!!! But after another minute or so, with my feet slipping around in my trainers and my socks making their way north I had to stop again to readjust with a little more tension. I had a feeling that the gremlins were making a reappearance, as my feet still didn't feel comfortable and I was all for calling it a day. It was only after a third stop, yanking up my socks and fiddling with the tongue (the trainers', not mine 😛) that my feet felt snug and ready to run.
As I ran through the wooded glade in the park, my feelings of irritation at my inability to tie my trainers properly at the outset dissipated as a group of 4 goldfinches fluttered out of the branches and across my path. They really are quite beautiful with splashes of red on their heads, golden brown bodies with bright yellow go faster stripes on their wings. They fluttered around effortlessly and somehow this transmitted itself to me and I was soon settling into a steady rhythm, all thoughts of my footwear fluttering away with my feathered friends.
Further along the path some crocuses, that had previously been thwarted by the snow and frost were making a bid for freedom with hues of purple, yellow and white punctuating the grass, a celebration of spring. It was good to be out.
My legs were doing fine as they carried me up the hill towards the bridge over the M1, and I was now encouraged on my way by coal tits and a couple of blue tits searching out food in the bushes. All was looking pretty until I got tot he crest of the hill, and spotted, slap bang across the whole path, a mound of rubble and house rubbish that someone had decided to dispose of. Why..?
Carefully sidestepping round the eyesore, I funnelled my anger at this blot on the landscape into my legs and carried on over the motorway and through the fields towards the first village on my route. Coming out the other side of the village I was rewarded by a beautiful display of daffodils carpeted across the verges. Running in spring can give so many delights and I was glad the gremlins in my laces had failed in their attempt to sabotage my run. It was lovely to be out, and my running became almost effortless.
Running further out into the countryside I became aware of the results of more fly tipping. Several large canisters and a few bulging bin liners were littered in the hedgerows, with a few daffodils trying their hardest to let me know that there was still beauty juxtaposed alongside this ugliness.
And so it continued along my run, seeing the graceful swooping of a buzzard in a field outweighed the aggravation of some dumped carpet; as did passing the time of day with two riders as they moved their horses to one side to allow me passed.
But as I made it down to the main road, I realised that my mind had been so taken up with the sights, good, bad and ugly, that I had run 10km without even thinking about it, and I still had plenty in me to keep going. So it was up the everlasting hill (for about a km) one lap of the little woodland and back into the park, managing to complete another 2 and a half kilometres before stopping for a 5 minute walk home.
It was a lovely run and getting 12.5km under my belt again felt really gratifying.