26th February 2018
Back into the Chilterns, this time for the 3rd Sunday long run in our marathon training series. We're getting into serious miles now.
The conditions were as good as you ask for in February; chilly wind, bright sunshine and defrosting trails. We started with a gradual climb along the ridgeway path up to Tring Park where the views didn’t disappoint, we'd slipped out to 7:14min/km pace but this didn’t matter as we conserved energy to pull it back on the descents and flat tow paths of the Grand Union.
We headed down into the park following some of the local Parkrun route, which I encourage people to come and experience as they put on a good show. We then slipped our way up the trails alongside the A41 and a small descent past some curious horses led us into the Grand Union canal tow path and the first of our three reservoirs. First up was Wilstone, a bracing wind halfway round meant we didn't hang about on this one. Approaching the halfway point our pace had ramped up to 6:30min/km meaning we had reached 12k in 1 hour 18 mins, not too bad for 200m of climbing.
A quick refuel and chat with a curious walker (who was quite interested in why we where putting ourselves though this) and it was onwards past the many hikers we saw out on the beautiful trails. Heading towards Tringford and Bulbourne reservoirs, we made our way around the lake and as the water lapped against the side for a moment I thought I was on holiday. We turned the corner and it was back on paths, whizzing down the canal taking in the long boats and passers by, reaching the half marathon point in about 2 hours.
From this point it got tough. We could smell the coffee from Brownlow cafe, the problem was it was 3 miles and 100m of climbing away. We made our way across the golf course, through the farm towards the promised land. With 800 meters to go it was all uphill at about 7/8%, a mix of power walking, running and shuffling meant we reached Bridgewater Monument and some much deserved food in 2 hours and a half.
Today was the toughest in terms of mileage and terrain but we are all stronger for it and there where a lot of smiles at the end.
See you all again soon.