It’s been a busy old day and I have literally only just sat down so I’m going to keep this very brief. We set off for the New Forest early this morning. Commando had his first eighteen mile training run and I was just going for a wander for three hours. Eighteen miles is a long way to walk, never mind run and things were looking set for a fairly dull day when we started out.
There was heavy rain during the night so, from my point of view, I wasn’t sure what the ground would be like. In the past I’ve had some very muddy walks in the forest. At least this time I was prepared, I had my waterproof hiking boots and my wind proof waterproof coat, not to mention my bright pink hat, just in case. Commando was all done up in his running gear complete with three water bottles, two on his belt and one in his hand. He wore gloves and wrist bands for wiping the inevitable sweat from his eyes.
“Do I look stupid?” he asked me, “because I feel a bit daft with all this.”
“You’re asking the wrong person,” I said, “I’m the one with the bright pink hat, blue rucksack and pink and black coat. I gave up worrying about looking stupid years ago and so should you. Besides you look fine.” I’m not convinced he believed me, but still. When you’re running for that kind of distance what you look like is the least of your problems.
Typically, when we got to Lyndhurst, the sun had come out and the rain from last night meant it was sticky and humid. Humidity is not a runner’s friend, or a walker’s for that matter. Some more rain would have been nice as long as it wasn’t a torrential downpour like last night. I’d never have told Commando, but I was worried about him running such a distance in those conditions.
So we set off, Commando on the road route, me across White Moor. The plan was to meet back at the car park in about three hours. The ground was pretty wet and spongy underfoot as I walked across the grass towards the sand dune. At least the wet sand was easier to climb than when it was dry, there was no slipping and sliding. Looking at the sky rain seemed unlikely, blue sky and white fluffy clouds ahead and the same behind. In fact we had three hundred and sixty degree blue sky and white fluffy clouds.
At the top of the hill I met my first ponies. They were more interested in grazing than bothering me so I walked past unmolested. Not long after this a rider galloped past on the path, making me quite pleased I’d chosen the dune, grass option. Somehow I didn’t fancy coming face to face with a galloping pony and rider on the narrow sandy track although, not long after this, I had no choice but to rejoin the track because this was where the alternative options ran out.
Almost at once I could see the going was going to be tough. There were some rather large puddles. A family were coming towards me going in the opposite direction, a mother, father, baby and little girl. The little girl squealed excitedly when she spotted the big puddle and came running towards it and me. She was wearing pink flowery wellies and obviously wanted to try them out. My boots may have been waterproof but I am long past the age where splashing through a muddy puddle seems like a fun idea. I moved quickly to get past before I became a victim of her puddle splashing.
The fifteen mile mud fest with Care For a Walk back in the spring sprang to mind. I’d almost lost a shoe in the mud back then and parts of the route I would be walking today (as long as i didn’t get lost) were some of the muddiest bits of that walk. Negotiating mud that bad when I was alone didn’t seem like a good idea. At least Commando would probably be safe from mud on the road but, after walking for less than a mile id had to stash my coat in my rucksack and even without it I was hot and sweaty, how would he be getting on running?
The answer to that will have to wait because right now I am going to have a look at my photos.