Katy...ish

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Forest of Dean 10k

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Or, for a possibly more official name, "Skechers Performance 10k Trail Run".  Who knows.

I'm sure I've mentioned many times before how much I love the Forest of Dean.  This run was on fireroads and decent forest paths, and on a warm sunny day that meant no mud on my shoes.  Lovely.  There were around 200 runners (plus others doing 5k/1k), and a choice of medal colours.  I went for the one that didn't involve any pink...

Starting at the Speech House field, the route headed to Mallard's Pike.  Downhill!  I also started off too fast (not a surprise).

medal and ice cream
Well deserved ice cream, and some bling

Once over the lake, we started on what seemed to be a never ending hill.  I tried my best to keep going, but I ended up walking a few times.

There were two water stations, at about 3.5 and 7km ish.  Turns out I can't drink from a plastic cup and keep moving, even if I slow down - which is not ideal.  If I take water on a normal run I've got one of those stupid 'hole in the middle' running flasks, or more recently a soft bottle which is much easier to deal with (also good for rucksack side pockets, bike jersey, ski jacket, etc etc)

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running the sculpture trail

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As previously mentioned, I've got a 10k coming up.  The majority of my "training" runs have been on flat pavement, so last weekend I decided I should probably at least pretend to acclimatise a bit.

I decided to pop over to the Forest of Deand and run the Sculpture Trail.  I could have made a route out of any amount of fire roads, but chose this route because it's signposted, I know it well, and it has two newish artworks I hadn't seen yet (which I could use as a convenient excuse to stop and get my breath back!)

One thing I had forgotten is that it starts with a steep slope up to where Place used to be.  Not the nicest, especially given that the first km or two of any of my runs is very much "urgh I hate running why I am doing this I might just stop and give up". So that went well - but I plodded on and eventually things improved.

The first of the new-ish sculptures you reach is "Yasasin".  I'm not really sure how to describe it. An abstract arrangement of white wood? A weird climbing frame?

yasasin

The other new installation made a lot more sense to me.  Called "Coal Measure Giants", it's inspired by the mining history of the area. 

coal measure giants

If I'd had more energy I might have thought about sprinting the 300m between the two parts of it, but nope.  Did I mention how I'd forgotten what hills are like to run up?

The sculpture trail itself comes in at about 8.5km.  I then did a couple of laps of Beechenhurst car park to bring the distance up to 10km, and also to try and improve my average pace.  Moving time: 1:05.  Total time: 1:10.  Feeling fairly confident about my race now.  Maybe it won't be sub-1hr, but it should be somewhere close. Fingers crossed.

April

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Where did April go?  It seems to have been one of those months where I feel I haven't done anything interesting, but I have been busy generally doing stuff.

Isn't it great having light evenings again?  And nice weather at weekends for long dog walks with pub lunches.  I'm not quite so keen on the yellow fields, as they tend to signify the start of sneezing season - I'm a couple of weeks into this year's pile of antihistamines, with the worst incident so far being on a National Express coach last weekend.  Bit random.

yellow fields

At some point during my usual winter SAD/laziness/apathy, I entered a few events to give myself something to focus on:

That idea has sort of worked.  I'm back into a running routine, though it's not quite the twice a week I was intending.  Maybe 3 times a fortnight.  My road bike has been cleaned and ridden a few times, and it has a shiny new road bike friend in the garage so I'm looking forward to a lot more of that (am I jealous that it wasn't me getting a new bike? maaaaybe)

Speaking of bikes and light evenings... Can't beat a bit of golden hour during a two hour after work ride. mmm

sunset over fields in Elmore

Bring it on, May.