Friday, 21 January 2011

The Emperor's New Claws...














Last week at the cross-country I noticed that my beloved Inov8 mudclaws  were getting really uncomfortable. I could feel the individual studs pressing up through the bottom of my feet. I'd had them 2 years and got a lot of use out of them, so, thinking they might be a contributing factor to my iffy heel I ordered a new pair from Pete Bland. (Very good service - if you have to order on-line you could do worse.)

Ordinarily I'd go to Run and Become because I love them but I couldn't get there during the week plus I'm skint and Pete Bland was offering a good price so I ordered on-line. I was kind of hoping they'd arrive today (ordered on Wednesday) but there was no sign of them mid-morning so I rationalised I'd probably be better off with an easy run round the park to shake some of the kinks out from Wednesday night training.
Then just after midday the buzzer went and it was the postie with some new shoes for me. I immediately had to think it was a nice day to get out in the Pentlands. Maybe I'd go and test my heel out on something flattish like the Red Moss Revolution course...Peter is running in the Devil's Burden tomorrow and had a ton of things to do so I set out myself, somewhat late, to the Red Moss car park.

In contrast to my old Mudclaws, the new ones were spongy, warm and supportive. (They also still smell nice. Bonus.) My heel was a bit creaky jogging down the tarmac to the 1st hill but then so was the rest of me. It was very still and silent up in the hills and the ground was frozen underfoot making for great running. It took a wee while for my legs to loosen off but then I started to enjoy it.
On the way up I decided I'd extend the run so that rather than turn left at Hare Hill I'd continue up the Drove Road and then up onto West Kip, and from there take the route from the Carnethy 5 down to the Howe and  re-join the course of the RMR from there. As I crested West Kip I saw that there was thick cloud creeping up the valley and coming for me! This combined with the fact the sun was getting kind of low made me feel a bit anxious as I took some quick photos. I took a moment to take  in the scenery and then set off back down.

I had been confidently telling others that the course of the Carnethy 5 is "very runnable" from West Kip to the foot of Carnethy. Ahaha  fool! I had forgotten how relative this description is. Sure, compared to high-stepping up through deep heather its "runnable" but its still a tussocky, slippery horror. My heel was behaving very well however which put me in a  good mood and I kind of enjoyed the bumpy ride to the bottom. Then it did indeed get more runnable and I had an enjoyable stretch out nearly to the Howe. As I teetered down the last steep drop off the side of the path to cross the river I remembered chatting to a guy at the Run of the Mill race who broke his ankle putting his foot in a hole just at this point. "Luckily" there were 1st aiders with a stretcher near by so he didn't have to walk far!

The run down the side of Black Hill is getting increasingly rutted and pitted and isn't as much fun as it used to be. Still its nicely downhill. By the time I got to the bottom my funny foot was getting a bit grumpy so I was pleased there was just a mile or two to go. I was rewarded for setting out so late by some pretty sunset scenes over the re-freezing reservoirs. It was spooky in the woods mind you and I was careful to keep a good pace going so I could get back to the car before dark...

Lovely to get out in the hills again. Its been too long.

2 comments:

karinsmiles said...

I've entered Carnethy 5 for the first time and you're doing nothing to dispel my fears ;) Some of the Pentlands paths are becoming a real mess - you didn't get your nice new mudclaws muddy did you?

Yak Hunter said...

Mudclaws still pretty spotless - although I don't really know how, the road along beside the reservoirs at the Balerno side is a real mess.
Carnethy is a hoot! You will enjoy it. Hopefully it'll be a bit softer under foot by then...