Saturday mornings are usually about the weekly long run. With winter forecast this weekend, we were hoping for a scenic one.
Early Saturday morning LSRs
It’s a funny thing, getting up at 7am on a Satuday morning, looking forward to it and it not being the start of a holiday. It has become a tradition that the training Long Slow Run (LSR) is done first thing on a Saturday. Mostly as this frees up the weekend to do all the other weekendy things. It doesn’t sit there ominously on the calendar spelling out misery one tries to avoid.
When marathon training season comes along, these LSRs get progressively longer. Although that won’t impact me too much as I’ve decided to avoid putting my body through that cycle again in the hope I may spend at least some of 2018 uninjured.
We have a useful trail on our doorstep. The Middlewood Way used to be a rail link between Marple and Macclesfield until its closure in the 1960s following the Beeching Report. So now it is a relatively flat and off-road 10 mile route to be enjoyed by walkers, runners, cyclists, horses and a variety of combinations of the above.
Whilst the Middlewood Way is flat and traffic free, it’s also a tad boring. It is nice to be able to run somewhere that’s tree-lined throughout, but after a large number of very similar miles, the heart yearns for something to happen.
Which is what happened today.
White out in Lyme Park
We had planned a hilly route, simply because we knew it was going to snow. And running on snowy hills is very good for the soul. The LSR started out as normal along the Middlewood Way, but upon reaching Higher Poynton, we left the trail and headed up into Lyme Park.
While it was icy underfoot on the trail, it only really started to snow with some purpose as we climbed up into Lyme Park. By the time we reached The Knott, we couldn’t see it. A complete white-out! We went cross-country over the stiles between the tracks which were hidden under the snow and continued in an upward elevation.
The Park was eerily quiet. No sign of the parkrun which should have been going the same way as us. Although given the ice underfoot on the Gritstone Trail, it was clear that someone had taken a very sensible decision to either cancel or change the route (Lyme has a ‘winter’ route for this reason).
It was only as we ran up Cage Hill that we saw the yellow vests of parkrun marshals and the confirmation that it was Winter Route Rules. If you can’t do that in December, when can you?!
We ran down the hill towards admissions and soon enough we met the parkrun head on, many of whom probably wondering how we’d got so far ahead of them! Then it was out of the Park via a trail I’ve not used before. It turns out that it joins another trail I have used, which at least helped me piece together the route in my head. I do enjoy it when someone else chooses the route; makes such a pleasant change!
A rail crossing, multiple bridges and stiles later and we met the canal and then back to the Middlewood Way and to the car.
Here’s the route. Today is the 40th day of my run streak.