« Trailrunning, travelling alone
Tuesday August 6 2019

Mount Stewart, run the trails

Finally I dared to subscribe for a trail since I moved to North Ireland. Last year I started trail running and did 3 trails in Holland.

After 4 month of getting used to this very new and for me challenging land for running I planned a trail. Around mount Steward is a beautiful forest in which I had walked. Most races here are on the road and I just want to be in nature and enjoy myself. So I selected Mt Steward, run the trails of 10 k. Still some road and a lot of very rocky paths and of course some hills!

For me this was going to be test. First of all if I could complete the whole 10 k. Secondly how far away I was time-wise from my trails in Holland. Lastly, could I stick to my “barefoot” running technique?

After an afternoon filled with rain it cleared up in the evening. Some 500 runners gathered for a 10 k and a half marathon. Of we went, I positioned myself at the back of the pack. First some bits of

road slowly climbing on long hills. I had switched on my metronome on 180 to keep me centred. Most of the first half turned out to be a mind game! Going uphill – no pushing just hang back, small steps, just lift my leg, no pushing. When I pass someone I need to remind myself to stay quiet in my pace. When

I am passed I need to remind myself not to tag along going to fast. Because going downhill is the toughest for my body I take does bits to relax into, going slow. 1k mark in 10 min = nice. 2k mark in 10 min = nice. 3k mark in 10 min = nice. 4k mark in 10 min = great. 5k mark in 8 min = wow. 6k mark, where is the promised water point – my rest point? There, at 6,2k water and rest, for I have done great! From here some really rough stony path show up and some more shorter hills, my feet are complaining so I take it easy and do some walking. But keep on running because it looks like my time will be really good. Somewhere I have accidently switches of my Strava, what a pity! But this is a chipped run!

I finish this 10 k in 1:21 min.! Faster than ever and not really tired. The following days no real stiffness. I kept to my barefoot running skills and this combined with the trainings with the Ward Park Runners here in Bangor set me up for this fantastic trail!