Mud and Guts

Not that I’m panicking or anything but 10 weeks today I will be attempting my 2nd marathon.  Oh dear, it is all becoming a bit too real – again.  So, I guess time to get down to the business of training.  I have been doing some, which is a good thing!  In fact I have what I would loosely describe as a schedule which I’ve been loosely following.

So today I headed out with Ann (Abz1903), Shona (Holburnmum) and Maz (Maz Heeps) for a 10 mile trail run.  With having done both Peterhead and Dundee Half Marathons in the last few weeks, I fancied getting out there in nature rather than pounding the pavements, but I knew that trail was not an easy option.  Although I love running trails I find them difficult and tire much quicker.  Also we have had a lot of rain recently, so they would be muddy, so out came the trail shoes for their longest run 🙂

I pretty much chose the route and decided that we were running from Hazlehead park to Countesswells woods and back again, but had pretty much no idea how to do that (I’m normally pretty directionally challenged and get lost easily), however thankfully my partners in crime today had more of a clue.  The rain had thankfully stopped and we decided to go for a downhill start, which in my book is always good 🙂

Thankfully the navigation was pretty easy (we followed signs), so we managed to find out way to Countesswells which took us on trails I never knew existed.  Thankfully Countesswells is also well signposted, and I know the red trail pretty well which was handy and we stopped around half way to admire the view, take selfies, have a breather etc which resulted in the following photographs:

Promoting running, Fetch and jogscotland :)
Promoting running, Fetch and jogscotland 🙂
This is what we look like from the front.
This is what we look like from the front.
The Countesswells Trails.
The Countesswells Trails.

We didn’t see any deer this time, but there was a buzzard flying about.

Once we had reached Hazlehead again, we decided to go a different way, so off we trotted, past 2 abandoned shopping trollies (how did they get there?).  This trail was a little less defined, and pretty muddy.  We’d all been fairly careful on the way out so that our feet didn’t get too wet, but now as we were starting to tire, none of that mattered any more.

The style of running we were now doing can only be best described as charging through mud and puddles with only the occasional tiptoeing around.  Finally we emerged from the woods, by a main road, which we had to cross, then we plodded on back towards Hazlehead until we could head down to the Den of Maidencraig.  This was our next interesting experience.

The route we took was narrow and in the beginning there is no way you could run it.  The excessive rain meant that we were actually walking through a small stream until we reached the main path.  This was also pretty undulating, which made it hard work.

Moving on up!
Moving on up!

Once we had reached the main path it was not too far until we were back towards civilisation.  Here we took stock of the shoe mud situation:

Which one of us has the muddiest shoes?
Which one of us has the muddiest shoes?

It seemed a shame to move off the trails, so we found a grass path used by dog walkers that continues on, so we headed off again.  This path was not as muddy, but it was very wet.  I did wonder if we would manage to clean our shoes, but there was still some mud for us to run through so this was a bit of a lost cause.

By this time I was getting pretty tired, but the excellent company and chat kept me going onwards, and soon I had 9 miles on my Garmin.  Only a mile to go, so we ended up emerging out on to Kings Gate then heading back towards the park.  To make sure we got the required mileage in, we ran up the road a little and took the path behind Hazlehead Primary on to the running track, where we were inspired to try a sprint finish to catch the ice cream van that was heading towards the car park.

Thankfully it did stop in the car park and just before we reached the end of the track that familiar beep which was the autolap on my Garmin, telling me that we’d reached our target of 10 miles sounded.

So, it had to be done.  There was nothing else for it.  Ice cream 🙂

Nom, nom, nom :)
Nom, nom, nom 🙂

Whilst we refueled I assessed the state of my legs.  Turns out they were pretty muddy!

That will wash off no bother!
That will wash off no bother!

Thankfully Shona had some baby wipes, so the most of the mud was removed and then we headed our separate ways.  Thanks so much for your company today ladies.  It was a total blast.

Still a bit daunted by the task in hand, but I think next weeks scheduled 16 miler might actually be easier!  Now all I need to do is come up with a route.

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