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  trailrunning > trailrunning blog > 29.07.2012

29.07.2012 – 33km / 2:36:45 Coulsdon South round trip x3
     33km trailrun in 2:36:45 - My normal tactic for trailruns is to choose a 15-20km route and then attack it with total disregard for pacing. Today I decided to venture slightly further, 33km to be exact, so needed instil some form of discipline into the run. I chose three 11km laps of one of my favourite circuits, Coulsdon South round trip.
     The weather here in the UK today was vaguely schizophrenic. Wild thunderstorms and torrential rain followed by mild, sunny intervals. As I began the run I wondered how long it would be before I was soaking wet… 2 minutes was the answer, as a violent downpour soaked me completely. This would remain my default condition for the remainder of the run as heavy rain sporadically dropped down upon my soaked torso.
The rain had an interesting effect on the trails. Soon I was sploshing playfully along mud paths, avoiding nascent bubbling streams and sliding down grassy slopes with no control whatsoever over my footing or speed. This was brilliant fun! The fields however, were another proposition. There are several mud paths across large fields during this run and normally they are an absolute pleasure to go flying up or down. Today, due to the rain, the clay ridden / muddy paths on the fields paradoxically became sticky and unbelievably slippery at the same time. A thick layer of mud would build up under the sole of my shoes and then my progress would become ponderous and gruelling. Similar to a dream in which you are trying to run but just can’t move. After the first circuit I approached this ‘field section’ with ominous apprehension. A Venus fly trap ready to suck me in and ruin the frivolous, carefree fun I was having on the rest of the route…
     Progress over the first 22km was easy. I chose a respectable but not overly challenging speed and just cruised, cheerfully saying hello to any people or horses I encountered along the way. As I began the third lap I was intrigued to see how it would feel in the last 10km. It has been a long time since I last ran over 30km… The answer was – I felt great. Super-great in fact! My core felt rock solid, my stride was compact and efficient and posture upright.
     With about 5km to go there was another torrential downpour. As this ended the summer sun’s rays poured victoriously through just as I was running alongside a grassy field. This created a mysterious thick mist as the water from the downpour started to evaporate. It was a wonderful moment. I half expected a unicorn to come running out of the fairytale mist towards me. I cruised to the end. It felt quite effortless, wonderful and right to be out in nature. This was a nice way to end the run…

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