First Trail Run

First Trail Run

With the Great Trail Run in Keswick only five weeks away, I had to finally make some kind of gesture towards doing some preparation. I'd looked into trail shoes - do I get Goretex ones that keep the water out? But they also keep any water in? Do I need gaiters to keep little stones from getting into my shoes? What about a hydration backpack? Wait a minute - isn't this all getting a bit seriously silly? It's only a run!

There's a pair of hills around five miles from home - the East and West Lomonds. We used to take the kids to the East Lomond when they were young, but I've never been to the other peak. You can drive quite far up the East - to a point where some radio masts are located. You know, the things that will tell us if we're under attack by missiles? It overlooks the beautiful village of Falkland and its Palace (from the days of the Stuart Kings).

Over the next few weeks I'll be building up to run between the two hills and back - about 8 miles. But for my first trail, I set off from the East Lomond and headed for the half-way point; the car park at Craigmeade. The outward track took me along the tops of fields, with the top of the hill to my right. A gradual climb, but nothing too severe. The surface? Mostly OK with just a few stony or muddy bits. The approach to the half way point went steeply down hill which was good - but I guess I knew this meant it would go steeply uphill on the return ticket ...

And so it was. The half way was about 3.2km into the run, and my time was 15 mins something. Not bad. So to the return. Yes, the steep uphill. Surprisingly, I was able to run almost right through it. Just a wee walk for the last & steepest 100m or so. Picked up again and set off for the summit. I knew from my reading that it's OK to walk the steepest gradients & I was glad of that. The last bit to the top was exceptionally steep and was probably more suited to mountain goats. But I dutifully followed the little path and got to the top.

WAYHAY! Stopped for a minute to record the event on camera, then headed back down to my waiting car. The downhill was less steep, but still rocky & with loads of ruts, so I was taking care to avoid twisting an ankle. It was also at this point that the backs of my legs started to ache. I hadn't had this before but guessed it was like the start-up pains that we all experienced in the early weeks of C25K. Not an injury, just working a new set of muscles. Sitting at home now, they are fine. I guess this is why we need to prepare for new activities, and it'll become easier quite quickly.

And so it ended. A bit sweaty, yesterday's hair cut blown to bits by the wind. But not tired or even out of breath.

Nike+ tracked the run at 6.14km in 38:47. That's over a minute per km slower than yesterday's Parkrun. But considering it's a trail, and that there were some really steep bits, I'm very happy. If I can build up my distance over the next month, I might be able to do the 11km run at Keswick in the 90 mins I put on my entry.

You know what? Two weeks ago I thought I'd be walking most of the route. From my experiences since then, I know I'm going to do this!

23 Replies

  • Well done Malcy!! Your doing brilliantly and it sounds like such a fun way to do a run, must keep your mind occupied. I am sure you will do your trail in the 90 minutes you put down. After all you have been putting in all the hard work for it and still have 5 weeks to work on speed. Good luck but most of all enjoy!!

  • Well done. Sounds like great preparation, but what's more, it sounds like you really enjoyed it. Not for the fainthearted, but you weren't even tired or out of breath! Seriously impressive!

  • Looks great. Hope you didn't get hit by some of the squalls we've had in Edinburgh.

    Walked the Lomonds many years ago so I'm impressed at you running them.

  • It was pretty windy - tough on the outward sector but it fairly pushed me home!

  • Lovely route. I last walked the Lomonds back in October. I parked in Falkland and walked up East Lomond .... I reckon you might have finished your run by the time I'd done that first 1k :-)

  • What a beautiful picture, and what a good achievement! Your time seems excellent to me, and I am positive that you will run the GTR in Keswick in 5 weeks. We know you can do it, Malcy - we'll all be cheering you on :)

  • Just wondering which pom poms to wear (:->)

  • Oh, I'll give you some new ones for that, don't you worry! (But I might thread them on a string through your sleeves :D )

  • I really loved that comment, Annie - made me laugh out loud! :D

  • Lovely trail run, Malcy. Well done on your first trail running adventure. It's years since I walked up East Lomond, but from checking the map I see those contour lines are pretty close together around Creagmead. Glad to hear you enjoyed the run.

  • A change is as good as a rest ...

    Do you think I need to invest in proper trail shoes? I seemed comfortable enough today but obviously have never run in the Lake District and have no real idea.

  • It depends on the ground surface as much as anything. I do a lot of my off-road running in my road shoes when on forest tracks and gravel paths. I've recently bought trail shoes and I got Innov8s as they are what my hill-running son uses and what a lot of walkers use for a walking trail shoe.

    However, after I'd got them, my sport physio made a blanket statement "Physios don't like Innov8s". Hmm... that's because they have minimal cushioning/support.

    I've used them for my local forest where I'm running on soft, wet, muddy ground (so muddy that my heel got stuck in the mud one day) and they've been fine. You can use them for short road sections too, but the shop assistant says she wouldn't do 10 miles of road running or hard trails in them. I tried about 3 km each way to/from another wood one day and had no problems at all.

  • Thanks - that's interesting.

    Looking at videos from last year, the route is half well packed gravel paths and half grass/earth. It had rained the night before and that left quite a lot of water to run through. I don't fancy the idea of wet feet - I think that's the main reason I would get a fresh pair ... I like Nike and they do a trail shoe with Gore-Tex - not sure I want to (can justify or afford) £70 for what might be a single run ..

    I'll wait until nearer the time and see if I can get an inkling about the likely conditions. If it's dry, I think my road shoes should be fine.

  • I don't bother trying to keep my feet dry; the Innov8s are not lined Even if my feet get wet in the first five minutes of a run, they never get cold when running.

    I have Goretex-lined trail walking shoes as I think for long days in the hills it's more important to have dry feet. But to be honest, sometimes it's such a faff trying to leap over puddles, etc that I'm often relieved when I do eventually go over the tops and my feet get wet. Then I can just march straight through the puddles.

  • I usually run in merrel trail gloves which are a bare foot shoe, they get soaked all the time but dry out very quickly, they are so tight I have never had a stone get into them.

    I ran in my old shoes this weekend and had to take them off 3 times to empty out stones, I had forgotten how annoying it is to get something in your shoe.

    I also find oddly, I quite running uphill when I am outside, I find it easier than running downhill.

  • Thanks for that George. I hate hills ... but have come to accept them (:->)

  • That should have said "like" running up hill.

    I usually run outside I have a few wooded paths near my house, but I always have to finish them with an uphill run.

    I run half on, half off road usually, I actually aim for puddles if I have gotten too muddy to wash my shoes on the move.

  • What a lovely place to run, looks and sounds idealic, great time too :-)

    Ps, what happend to my little running man and gold star? I feel unduly stripped :-(

  • I changed the algorithm to fit a request by one of the members and maybe that has upset your result. It now runs on whether you have done 35Km over the last 7 days with gold start for 5Km x the number of days into the challenge. Can you tell me your 5x50 name? Then I can have a look and fiddle the results (:->)

  • Oh dear I thought I was flagging a little :-( I've obviously done under 35k in a week!! Boo.

    But thank you :-) my little running man and gold star are back, I feel complete again, must try harder x

    Your a star x

  • Really interesting run report, Malcy. I'm going to enjoy following your progress towards the Keswick run - very adventurous! :)

    By the way - have you got a photo for the 5x50 group pic? (See other blog.) :)

  • Lovely photo :) Sounds like a lovely change to my city run and a great start to your trail running!

  • Am seriously impressed with running up that hill, walked it years ago and remember it as a climb

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