Back To The North Downs Way
As my first “serious” training run for the EUT, as well as in order to make a start on my trail running goal for the year, today I headed out to the North Downs Way for a medium-effort 18 miles with a friend. It’s only an hour from leaving my flat to get to Redhill, so we ran from there to Box hill, largely following the route for the North Downs Way Marathon that I did last summer. It rained all day yesterday and so the trail was exceptionally muddy, but that made it infinitely more fun, as well as giving my joints a well-needed break from being pounded against tarmac. It was an absolutely glorious day, blazing sun and blue skies, and running amongst the trees I really felt like I’d found my own little piece of heaven. A few times I even felt borderline euphoric, and let out a couple of cries of joy after crushing some big downhills.
It was perfect training too - I finally got to do some meaningful elevation, I spent over 4 hours on my feet, I practiced race day nutrition, including mashed potato wraps for the first time which are to die for after you’ve been running for a couple of hours. It gave me confidence in some areas and highlighted some others that I need to work on, but it was exactly what coach ordered.
The main point though, is not how great it was for training. It was how much I loved the experience, how in the moment I felt, and how happy it made me. I can’t wait to go again soon.