Yay, time for the hobbit harriers to reconvene. I do wonder if anyone out there has been googling ‘hobbit’ and ended up at my blogsite. That would be really annoying wouldn’t it? Sorry about that.
Anyway, it being Tuesday, communications having been furtively exchanged and once again we hobbits buddied up for a running rendezvous.
The plan was to go for a long slow route. I wanted to check out bits of the Round Sheffield Run (my absolutely favourite race of the running calendar – though on reflection, as I’ve only run in about half a dozen organised events in my whole life that might not be such an amazing endorsement, but trust me, it is fun!). When I last went out with Cheetah Buddy we decided against taking the route down to the Limb Valley from the Norfolk Arms because we thought it might be beyond muddy, and we were wet enough already. Well, one of us was, (mostly me). Today then, the objective was to check out those parts of the Round Sheffield Way and see what the trails brought us.
It was fun to meet up again, we chatted quite a lot. Some might say more chatting than running went on, but I say it is important to concentrate on breathing when you run, and anyway, if you can talk and run it shows you are actually really fit. We will start with improving our chatting, and then we can add in the running bit later, once we’re more established in walking and talking simultaneously. Also, without wishing to sound defensive, a lot of what we talked about was running related. In particular, the importance of a good sports bra and the difficulty of finding one. Even more difficult is being parted from a good bra once it is past its prime, because of the fear factor that you’ll never be able to build another relationship as good as this ever again. We actually spent quite some time debating the perils of ill-fitting bras and contingency plans to prevent blistering. Remarkable results can be achieved with strategically positioned soft felt apparently, something to think about. We also had a bit of a confessional about the dilemma of spending an absolute fortune on running shoes, only to find out after a couple of weeks that they really aren’t quite right. We’ve all done it, hung onto trainers, willing them to suddenly be comfy next time we wear them, wondering how it is possible that they were fine in the shop, on the treadmill, round the house – and yet on real mud and roads suddenly the rub and blister and pinch, and just aren’t fit for purpose. If you are me, you remove them, put them somewhere where they are in constant sight, an ongoing reproach of your poor purchasing decision and a silent rebuke to you for having stupid hobbit plate feet. After a bit, you try again, same result. Blisters. It seems criminal that these lovingly fitted trainers just wont squelch on, and in your heart of hearts you know that it’s too late to return them, best to just get them out of your life. Like ending a toxic relationship, you will only really appreciate how dire it has been when you experience the relief of letting them go. Fortunately, there are increasing options for unwanted but good condition shoes. As well as the obvious charity shops, or offering to other members of our very own running club, there are now better options too. There is a charity a mile in her shoes, which takes good quality kit, and uses it as part of a volunteer led initiative to get women affected by homelessness up and running. I wish I’d known about them the first time I had to jettison some expensive hardly worn trail shoes, they ended up at Oxfam, I’m sure whoever got them was pleased by the bargain, but I’d rather they’d gone to a runner. For tatty shoes I now know some running shops will recycle them too, though I’m not quite sure what happens to them. Still, the point is (top tip even) it just isn’t worth hanging on to shoes that don’t fit. You can’t wear them, and if you do, you’ll regret it. Much better to let go, and free up the physical and mental space for a new better fitting pair. Yes, it is like burning money, but once the money is burnt, it isn’t going to magically reconstitute, you have to learn to move on.
Anyway, after being distracted by earnest conversation, now and again we loped on upwards. We weren’t in especially agile form. In any case it was way too slippery for running in many parts, and quite undulating. Emerging at the top of the valley, we jogged past the Alpaca place (brrrr it was cold up there, the wind shoots through you) and found the footpath down to the Limb Valley. It was lovely to do a route I’ve not trod in ages, but in truth it was way too wet to do any actual running, we were skidding about all over the place. We did manage to pause for our very own photo shoot though, got to get our priorities right after all!
We decided there wasn’t time to go down to Whirlow Hall, so instead took a stile and ran past a field of curious horses, through the mist, and out back onto Ringinglow Road. More footpaths took us a zig zag route in the general direction back to where we started. It was good fun exploring, but ridiculously slippery.
We seemed to be constantly battling with some pretty steep up and down bits. We raided our memory banks for running techniques. hobbit buddy believed she’d heard a mantra about ‘chimping downhill’ and ‘tiger uphill’. Short little steps and an upright posture going down, more attacking going up, I think. Essentially, it became apparent neither of us really knew what this meant. However, undeterred, clearly the idea necessitated a great many animal impressions as we experimented with the general concept. This included mimicking ape-like gaits down hill (more effective than you might think) and making roaring tiger impressions that were more fun to aim at each other what with using hands as attacking claws and needing to work on our vocals and everything, rather than to try using actually running up any hills.
An unfortunate side-effect of making our own entertainment in this way was that we inevitably lost concentration and slid about even more than we had to begin with. I managed to stay on my feet (new trail shoes with thicker grips perhaps?) but my partner did a pretty good tumble, though disappointingly this was onto her knees rather than an actual slide on her rump. Lots of mud though, so that was good.
We made it back in good spirits. We didn’t go as far as we’d hoped, but we had a lot of fun charging about the countryside, and maybe it’s best to finish whilst we still wanted to do some more. Can’t wait to get back out there again. This is going to be grand, than you hobbit buddy! Now if we could just find a way to perfect our selfies…