Mush!

I’ve had a few exciting adventures lately – well, not that exciting – but fun.  The first was courtesy of a gift from Cat, which involved the both of us trekking to Tewkesbury for an overnight stay before getting up to head to Croft Farm to do some Husky Mushing with the awesome Arctic Quest.  Being very much a dog person it was brilliant to become a temporary member of Vickie and Chantelle’s pack of mostly-Huskies.

Returning to base after the middle run - with rain and hail starting to fall

After an initial meet-and-greet with their six dogs, in hierarchy order so as not to trigger any power struggles within the group, we got to grips with the rig with just two dogs hooked up.  They’re really well trained – but do need to know they can’t ‘take the piss’ so you need to encourage them to spur them on, but they take it pretty steady on the first run, then back again – it was quite exhilarating despite the leisurely pace.  As the heavens opened we retreated for surprisingly tasty boil-in-the-bag food that had been cooking over the campfire.

The Huskies in the hail, from left to right we have Nakuk, Koda, Minx, Willow and Mckinnley - alpha female Dashka had sensibly retired to the van at this point!

A brief respite in the blustery conditions allowed us to take to the ‘main run’ – a practice run this time with three dogs down two sides of a field and back.  Much faster and much more fun.  As the heavens opened again we went into ‘time trial’ mode – Cat with three dogs, fatter me with four – we went for a lap of the field in spite of their being ‘something dead’ on the third straight.  Both of us managed to mush our way round in a time that Vickie possibly charitably described as ‘outstanding’ – 1:40 something for Cat, 1:30 something for me (with the extra dog).

It was apparently their first instance of completing the timed lap in fairly substantial hail though, so if you liken it to Top Gear it was very much a ‘wet lap’ that we did, we have also been party to what Vickie coined ‘Extreme Mushing’ – awesome!

Such a great experience – I’d really recommend it, one of those “Aah, if I didn’t have bills to pay, wouldn’t that be a great way to live?” moments.  You should definitely book on to the experience.  Just learning about the different roles and personalities of the pack were great, and how to deal with those different types of dog as you were spurring them on to run for you.  Plus McKinnley and Nanuk were amongst the cutest hounds I’ve encountered (they all were, in fairness!), and I’m lucky to have experienced many of those over the last few years!

The other ‘adventure’ or perhaps more simply just a reminisce.  As part of project ‘be less of a fatty’ I decided to go for a run after work, this is quite an alien concept to me, but given the recent success in losing some weight through utilising apps and suchlike, I wondered if a run-tracking app might motivate me.  Being a short-burst-football type of person finding a sustained running pace was tricky, then I got a bit distracted when tackling what I’d figured out to be a scenic spot for a run because it was also an old childhood haunt.

The long abandoned Mapperley Railway Tunnel which is oddly still accessible (although from childhood memory is backfilled a mile or two from the opening)

So rather than dutifully running around the nature reserve a trigger from the past found me scrabbling around looking for the old railway cutting that would lead to the Mapperley Railway tunnel.  As you can see from the snap, it wasn’t ideal conditions underfoot but it was amusing to find it, the last time I was there – probably some twenty or more years ago – it seemed so much bigger!  I resisted the urge to go exploring inside, it doesn’t look in great condition!  This seeking rather ruined my running time on the app!

Heading back a slightly different route it was amazing to note how much of the old Gedling Colliery site has been cleared (unless I bimbled past it oblivious!) – my memories of the area were very much a recently vacated industrial area, it’s now very much reclaimed by nature, which is nice, lots of rabbits and birds clearly feel comfortable enough to have settled only to be disturbed by the occasional ‘runner’ and some dog walkers.  The old rubbish tip was the last thing I encountered, now cleared but for the odd discarded tyre.  Strange how things can be so familiar, but so different!

Either way, spending all last week seriously cutting down my calorie intake has seen me shift around half a stone if the ropey scales in our bathroom are to be believed.  Tonight’s run-combined-with-walk-and-explore should have shifted nearly 500 calories, which is more than I had for lunch.  Going ‘off route’ and doing a lot of wandering around and doubling-back has rather confused the Nike+ app I was using, although it’s done a pretty good job of keeping track of my movements.

If I am to take up running more often though I’m going to have to get better at pacing myself, I was tiring ever so quickly!  Still, back onto the familiar territory of football tomorrow, I know where I am with football, even if it’s still a struggle having had a lot less fuel than I’m used to!

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