New shoes yesterday. Inov8 mudclaw 330s. To test them out we went out late on (c.7.45pm) to the carpark near Threipmuir reservoir to run the course of the Red Moss Revolution race which I ran last summer and was most taken with. It covers a little of pretty much all terrain so a great testing ground for new shoes and has long stretches of easy running where you can get the pace up.
It was great to suddenly be on misty moorland after short ago leaving Leith where the Friday nighters were already working themselves up to a crescendo of binging, vomiting, shouting and fighting. Up on the hillside the larks were giving their endless breathy running commentary, the cuckoos were calling, marsh birds were beeping (curlews), things scuttled into the undergrowth.
My legs were stiff and sore to start with. Right knee was hurting and my left foot. It takes a while of shuffling real slow to get these wrinkles ironed out. Soon though it was all starting to come together.
The first part of the Red Moss is relentlessly uphill. It goes up the road, inbetween the trees and then up the Drove road before turning left onto Hare Hill. Hare Hill can be extremely wet and marshy but its been really dry lately and there was a pretty good path for most of it. We only encountered extreme wetness on occasion. I must say I always feel a bit of panic when I hit those really marshy bits. As a child I was regaled with stories of people sinking without a trace into marshes and I wonder if its ever happened up Hare Hill? Anyway, the new mudclaws were light and agile on the grassy ascent to Hare Hill, coped admirable with the heathery, bumpy wetness on the hill and then were superbly grippy on the steep fall to the Green Cleugh.
Neither of us wanted to get our nice shoes irretrievably dirty in the oily waters of the Cleugh so we tiptoed along the wall that runs through it.
The next part, after the initial steep rise onto the side of Black Hill is some of the best off road running I've ever come across. Its a peaty, rocky path (but not too rocky) that runs downhill for the best part of a mile and even I in my cautious slowness can get up a good speed and rhythm on this section. In its current dry condition it is next to perfect. The course then crosses the edge of the reservoir and turns back along sandy paths that then go into scented pine woods and emerge onto rocky paths that take you pretty much all the way back to the start. We somehow went wrong on the way back and took a turn down a very nice path along the edge of some woods, which I suspect probably leads back down to Balerno by the number of dog walkers we were encountering. Realising we were heading off in completely the wrong direction we reluctantly turned around and then easily found the proper way.
The course was as good as I remembered it. Perfect for people like me that like a bit of road and a bit of trail and a bit of hill. My mudclaws were absolutely perfect, didn't hurt my blackened and tender toenails or my oversensitive right heel but gave all the grip I'd expect from Walshes and more.
I'll try to attach the course as recorded by my Garmin when I ran the race last year.