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If you follow me on instagram, you'll have noticed that we've had a new addition to the household recently.  This explains why I seem to have disappeared into some sort of antisocial black hole recently. (sorry friends)

Anyway, meet Tilly!

tilly lying in the grass

She's a 2 year old lurcher, who we are fostering from the Forever Hounds Trust.  Hopefully she'll be staying with us permanently - she has some issues with separation anxiety which we need to address first, but we do seem to be making good progress thanks to being able to work at home, and her settling in and getting used to our routine.

Over the last two and a half weeks she's been on lots of walks, trips to several different pubs, a BBQ, a castle (more on that later), dog training sessions, and we've both taken her out running several times - which she absolutely loves!  Busy busy :)

Bonnie seems to be enjoying having a new friend, even if her snoozing frequently gets interrupted because Tilly wants to play....  Here they have having a rest in the garden after running around after each other.

lying in the garden

Happy dogs!

Forest of Dean 10k


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


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 Dean 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?


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.