2010 got off to a very good start for me as I got togged up in my super fantastic Mizuno thermal running tights and top and went to meet some other folks for a morning run in the woods. The run started at only quarter of an hour before noon, and I arrived ten minutes late (ugh, really really hate that, another carried over resolution from last year failed already) but I think it still counts as a bright eyed and bushy tailed New Year’s Day morning run.
The group’s original plan was to hit up the Whitewater Centre, but rain had closed the trails there so it was down South Tryon to McDowell Nature Reserve to run instead. I hadn’t been there before but I wish I’d discovered it sooner. I’d come across it online before when I was scouting out possible off road running locations but the trails had been listed as very short and I wasn’t confident enough to be able to string them together on my own to make a decent run without getting hopelessly confused. With a guide leading the way I didn’t have to worry about that though and could just focus on following the leaders and trying to get my legs moving. It was pretty ugly. I huffed and puffed, I think I either had had far too many rum balls over Christmas, the cold was really getting to my lungs, or I was still suffering the chesty effects of staying in a cat house a few days prior. Maybe all three of the above. It seemed to take forever to get warmed up, the lungs not feeling clogged, and the legs working. Concentrating on new and unfamiliar trails was tough too. It was a lot of single track and with the chilly weather had the potential to be quite icy under the leaves in places. It was quite challenging underfoot as there were a lot of very exposed roots to navigate and it was essential to really mind one’s footing.
I was really glad when after we’d done one round through the park that several others decided to head on in for a second go over. I was definitely up for adding on some miles, and had only just reached the point where I’d felt comfortable and in better stride when we’d climbed a hill and our cars had popped back into view. The second loop felt a lot more relaxed too as I had more of an idea of what terrain to expect and was somewhat less cautious.
So much so that today when Bill suggested that we wrap the kids up all snug and take them out on a hike to get some fresh air and exercise I decided that McDowell would be a good destination. We strapped Bea into the hod and tried to entice a very reluctant Sam down the Kingfisher trail. He is like his daddy and does not do well with the cold or wind. I’m not sure what has happened to the stoic Brit in him. He would amble down the path a little way with coaxing and then yell “I AM VERY VERY COLD! IT’S COLD! I DO NOT LIKE THE COLD!” and go no further until I carried him for a bit. We did a little bit of running together, until he tripped, falling flat on his front, and the complaints turned into full on crying and screaming with anguish and tears running down his face.
We did have some lovely moments investigating holes in trees and looking for dinosaur footprints. Daddy found the best ones (deer and some other animals had crossed the muddy path before us) while mine didn’t quite pass muster as they were really only footprint shaped leaves.
Dinosaur Sam then charged along the paths snarling, growling and roaring until he remembered he was cold and miserable and needed carrying again.
The trails took us right along beside a river and it was so cold that the very edges of the water where it touched the bank were just like Swansea Bay. Unfortunately we couldn’t get down close enough for Sam to poke the ice with a big stick, but he wanted to. He was intrigued. We did get to jump on some frozen puddles along the pathway, and show him how the leaves and twigs were embedded in the frozen water.
Speaking of frozen, it was pretty cold. Sam wasn’t making that bit up. Up on Daddy’s back Bea looked pretty frozen herself as she rode around in her little blue puddle jumper and her hands stuck straight up in the air, concerned expression on face. She did rather resemble a popsicle.
For a while Sam and I lost Daddy and Bea as we lingered on a wooden bridge and tossed sticks into the water to watch them swirl along with the gentle current. Bill had got, I think, I little concerned about our little frozen lollipop girl and had hurried onwards back to the car to warm her back up.
All in all we did have a really good time out. McDowell Nature Reserve got a big thumbs up and we’ll definitely go back there in better weather. We managed a very slow 1.29 mile walk today though (yup, wore my beloved Garmin!), most of which I did with Sam either on my back or wrapped around my front!
Not so much fun is the fact that I am sitting typing this on an unmade bed as I wait for the tumble dryer to finish so I can pull the laundry forward because Sam ran into our room this afternoon and dumped my mug of coffee all over our bedding. *deep breaths*