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Saturday, 14 April 2012

Boathouses, Gertrude Jekyll, Banjo Day and Speed Running on the Greensand Way

Last SaturdayShatteredayBanjoday  we thought we would mix up the training a bit by doing some 'speed running' for a set amount of time. So instead of running 'for 18 miles' we would run for 3 hours and see how far we got.  We also decided to run without heavy backpacks to speed up our time.

I then forgot all of this and was ready and willing with a full backpack on in the morning when Claire re -reminded me of what we had talked about less than 24 hours previously.

Winkworth Arboretum sign

We thought we would keep the trail interesting by taking a route through Winkworth Arboretum and running north through Thornecombe Street village before meeting up with the Greensand Way just north of Gatestreet Farm (where the jesus igloo is)

Its always the case that when you live right near something you take it for granted. I've only been through Winkworth Arboretum once before and didn't realise that you don't have to pay to run through it as long as you stay on the main footpath. It's a very famous national trust treasure designed by Gertrude Jekyll (not of drinky potion / go crazy fame) with an ornamental lake and amazing colours a;; year round but particularly in Autumn.

Claire sitting in the Boathouse at Winkworth Arboretum

After stopping off at the boathouse to enjoy the view we pushed on round the lake and said hi to Andrew Hall (coronation street and butterflies fame)  the actor as we both crossed the bridge in opposite directions.

Claire running up a very big hill near Thornecombe Street

As the path linked up with the Greensand Way after about 3 miles of running I took the opportunity to do some Smeeing (smile with a tree) .

Lee Smeeing (smile with a tree) on the Greensand Way

We then settled into a speedy cruise towards the hills in the distance that we could see we were heading for. These are Winterfold Heath , Holmbury Hill and Pitch Hill.  Its really great to see how the seasons change the Greensand Way, when we started running these routes it was cold and snowy but as we ran on Saturday there were daffodils and Bluebells out and a tractor ploughing the field ready for summer crops. Blue skies even poked through occasionally.

Bluebells in the Hurtwood on the Greensand Way

Claire races a tractor on the Greensand Way near Shamley Green

We pushed on and started the ascent up on to Winterfold Heath. We were running for exactly 3 hours so we would have to turn back at 90 minutes. This turned out to be enough to get us to the summit and car park at Winterfold Heath.  At the halfway time mark we stopped to enjoy the view for about 5 minutes and ate some jelly babies. We had run 8.2 miles according to Science and we found the climb waaaaaay easier without the 10kgs rucksack on ( it was like having someone giving you a little push all the way up)

Lee eating Jelly babies on the Greensand Way on Winterfold Heath

Every time we run along Winterfold Heath its cold. Really cold. It's a classic 'get me off this god forsaken hill' territory. Just standing around for 5 minutes and I was freezing cold when we started running back to Winkworth. I manned up and borrowed Claires pink and black gloves (this was a rare occasion when there were no gloves just lying around on the Greensand Way for us to use)

Lee wearing manly pink and black gloves descending Winterfold Heath on the Greensand Way

We took the same diversion on the way back towards Winkworth Arboretum and crossed a field filled with Sheep and Lambs. We also saw a Peregrin Falcon or Buzzard in the same field (i get excited about all things that fly) . We walked up the hill so as not to startle the sheep and got a great photo.

Sheep on a hill near the Greensand Way near Rowe Barn Farm
As we got back into Thornecombe Street (which is such a typical beautiful Surrey hamlet) I played Nigel to Claires Tyra and I directed her in a phonebooth photoshoot of 'Smoothing' - Smiling with your booth.

Claire 'Smoothing' Smiling with your booth

ANTM cycle 10 winner - Thanks for believing in my Tyra

Running back into Winkworth from the other direction we were treated to a beautiful view of the boathouse by the lake.

The Boathouse and Lake at Winkworth Arboretum

I have come to learn that all scouts and guides mutually attract (its like a law of physics) so I was unsurprised when Claire bumped into a friendly group of Scouts she knew who were directing parking in the car park at Winkworth. This marked the end of our 3 hour run and we had covered around 17 miles.

Scouts in the Car Park at Winkworth Arboretum

Saturdays run was great because we ran for time not distance and we ran for speed not endurance (by not wearing our full rucksack weight) taking a slightly different route made the run more interesting and made me realise there are many many more paths Ive yet to explore even within 3 or 4 miles of my house. All of them beautiful.

We have been mixing up the training a lot in the last 3 weeks using our free gym membership with Charterhouse we got for marshalling the sport relief mile. We've been doing lots of different classes, and learnt lots of new stuff, something we will blog about soon. In the meantime here's a taster pic of us busting some Zumba moves in the mirror on the run in this blog .

Lee and Claire Zumba moves on the Greensand Way

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