Now sometimes improvements in your running are hard to come by even when you try really hard and sometimes they just happen quite unexpectedly when you aren't trying hard at all.
Yesterday fell into the latter category.
It was another glorious day but with the weather forecast being dire for the rest of the week I decided that I would head out at lunchtime through the fields on one of my favourite 7 mile routes. As a footpath warden for the Parish it gives me an ideal opportunity to check the stiles etc en-route whilst enjoying the glorious countryside.
As I headed off I felt strong but wasn't paying any attention to my pace as it does me good to just run for the love of it every so often. The route heads along the lane for just over a mile and then goes down a cinder farm track in Bodiam. I glanced at my watch at the 2 mile mark and was surprised to see it said 19 minutes as I'd already negotiated a couple of short, sharp hills.
Onwards and upwards across 4 stiles and 2 overgrown fields where I had to do high stepping in order to avoid the clumps of grass! I noticed that the Red Indian man was performing some sort of ritual outside his caravan. The first time I saw him walking along the lane in full headdress I thought he was going to a fancy dress party but he wasn't and he's the genuine article. He always looks peaceful and content with his simple life in the corner of a field.
I managed the descent through the first orchard without slipping (I have been known to slide down the hill on my bum in the winter months - and not by choice!) and then up the other side. Then a ploughed field which wasn't too bad yet as the weather has been dry. In the wetter periods a ploughed field is jolly hard work as our land is on clay and you end up with huge clods of it attached to your shoes.
I ran past the churchyard in Salehurst with sheep grazing and stopped to look at them for a few seconds. Then it was more hummocky grass for about a mile followed by a sharp climb on mown grass through another orchard. That one was tricky as there were still lots of apples on the ground and I kept slipping on them. The final stretch is a gentle climb through the woods followed by 1/2 mile on the lane and when I reached our gates I checked my watch and could hardly believe my eyes - I'd done it 7 minutes faster than usual and I hadn't pushed at all!
It's moments like that which make all the hard work worthwhile.
A morning sky for a change.
I love seeing the mist hanging in the valley like that and that lovely pinkish glow on the horizon.
There's a light frost on the field too.
Back to the sunsets.
Lazy clouds sitting atop the hills!
Another morning shot as I liked the way the rising sun was illuminating the golden leaves at the back of the house.
I really must take some photos of my knitting projects but I keep forgetting as I have so much on the go at the moment!