NDW50 Wk3: Exploring the NDW because I didn’t feel like w*rking on a Monday… (wc 28.11.16)

Monday morning wasn’t happening. You know those days when you could sit at your desk for hours but yet wouldn’t achieve a single thing? Yep, that. So at about midday I thought sod it, pulled on my running kit, filled a bottle with some Tailwind, grabbed a couple of snacks, packed my bag, jumped in the car & 45 minutes later I was at Reigate Viewpoint & hitting the NDW…

North Downs Way

A couple of weeks earlier I’d done the same & headed westwards towards Box Hill. Today I headed to the east.  The first couple of miles were familiar from the North Downs Way half I’d run in July (ya’know, the one where I was fourth lady… What! Have I not mentioned that before…?).

I was planning about ten miles, out & back. I hate running out & backs & much prefer a lopped run or going ‘somewhere’ but that causes a few problems when you’ve left your car at the ‘starting point’.

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I crossed the M25. I always find this a bizarre concept (not as bizarre as when I crossed it after running from Croydon, that felt immense!) & the route crossed a duel carriageway. There was a section here I was convinced I’d gone wrong as there was far too much road. I thought the NDW was trail. Then we turned a corner, a narrow track that opened up to this…

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This. This is what I wanted. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, there was a hilly trail in front of me & I could see for miles. I’d hit my happy place.

I realised I wasn’t far off Caterham Viewpoint. I’d run there from the opposite direction in the summer, the temptation was too great to hook up different runs so I carried on meaning my turnaround point was about six miles rather than the planned five.

I turned & headed back.

Timed my run perfectly to catch sunset back at Reigate Viewpoint. Timed my run badly as the cafe selling coffee & cake closed as I admired said sunset… But lets ignore the lack of coffee, look at that pretty sunset!

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When I first started exploring further afield off-road trails back in June I would get hideously lost. Every, Single. Time. I would study the maps for ages, write down detailed instructions & still get lost. My most impressive was when I was aiming for Edenbridge & ended up in Mersham. 20 miles away. (I still don’t know how…)

The more I am running off-road the more confident I am becoming about finding routes but also knowing where to look for sign posts. Some of my early mistakes were simply missing signposts. I’ve now done two runs along the NDW & navigated successfully both times which gives me a bit more confidence as I look to go further.

12.4 miles, 1:58:00, 9:26 min/mile, 972ft elevation. I’m VERY pleased with the pace over that distance & with that elevation gain.

And the new Hoka’s? They passed their first challenge. Felt comfortable on my feet. Dealt with the terrain & mud well. They’re purple which is always a winner. So far I like them.

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Surrey Ladies XC Match 2, Mitcham Common

The concept of XC on Mitcham Common just makes me giggle. Having been born on a farm, spent my childhood in rural Suffolk & my adult years in South London I don’t tend to think of Mitcham as being ‘country.

Turns out Mitcham Common is actually quite nice. And a little hilly. This was my first Surrey League race & only my second ever XC. I’m never going to be the fastest at these races as there are so many top club runners but it was great fun to run in such a competitive field.  Hard work. A two lap course, with a few hills. Pleased with my overall result, though would have liked to have dipped under 8:00 min/mile.

3.6 miles (race advertised as 6km, I’m learning XC doesn’t do standard distances), 29:05 (official time 29:13), 8:04 min/mil, 218th out of 399 runners.

https://surreyleague.org/sll/race/129/

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And which stupid idiot thought it would be a good idea to cycle to the race, forgetting that she was also have to cycle home afterwards…

28.3 miles for the week with approximately 1,000ft elevation gain. Other runs included a misty recovery run around South Norwood Lake & the Wednesday night club run.

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Author: photogirlruns

Photographer. Runner. Green. Vegetarian & proud to run on plants. This is a personal blog as I embark on a slightly crazy running adventure...

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