Monday, 26 July 2010

Trail Running in the Black Forest

I'm no runner. 

Up until February this year, running was not something I did regularly, except for trains. I could appreciate that I'd probably like it - the freedom of it - but I was rubbish at it. However, Christmas and life conspired to make my pants just that little bit tighter than I wanted and I got started. I am lucky and unlucky - I work in London (unlucky) but live sufficiently far out that I am in the Surrey countryside but sufficiently close that the commute is about an hour (lucky) so I have some downland countryside at my back garden gate. Thus, running is actually very pleasant (but uphill, so hard work). I hated it to begin with but persevered - now I can do 5km in 26mins. Yes, yes, I know this is not world-record time, but I'm a beginner so cut me some slack, eh?

So it was, on our European 'van tour this July (posts to come), I got some time in the Black Forest. Didn't know this, but the Black Forest is about 1000m up so there's some good hills there with some good views. It's not hillwalking by any stretch as we were camped in Unterkirnach which is 800m up, but I went for a long walk in the forest anyway. I'd planned on 20km but about 10mins into it, I just started running. It just seemed like a good idea. I had shorts, trail running shoes (Innov8 Terroc 330's, as I used for the Cabane de Moiry) and a t-shirt with a 10 litre Osprey Solo with a windshirt, water and grub in it.

Clearly I did not run all the way - it's just over a half-marathon I think - but I did 20km in less than 2.5hrs. If I'd walked, at my usual pace of 5km/h, it'd have taken me 4hrs. There was about 400m of ascent along the whole trail as well. Navigation is easy as the route is signposted in places and there are trailmarkers on the trees at reasonable intervals so I could run without getting lost. It's an odd feeling, running through a forest on a fresh, sunny day. I confess to being rather taken by it and I did it again in the Eifel region of Germany, again in a forest, about 3 days later.



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