Blue Runnings

Race Reviews, GPX files and more from North-East England

Flower Power and Dublin Prep

on 28 June 2015


I’m heading off to Dublin for a walking weekend on Thursday night, and last time I wore my hiking boots out they were hurting the balls of my feet after about 3-4 miles, even after I’d changed my socks from one pair of thick walking ones to two pairs of normal ‘day’ socks. We’ll be covering distances of between 6 and 14 miles over the weekend and the last thing I need is to be starting with a pair of boots that I know give me bother after only a few miles. I wear them day to day and they’re no problem, but I’m not hitting the mileage all in one go pootling round the shops.

They don’t give me blisters or anything, it’s just after a while I start to feel the weave of my sock pushing into the ball of my foot, like I’ve trampled any cushioning in the shoes into submission and the next most squishy thing available is me! Rather than take the pot-luck and expense of another pair of hiking boots – I’d bought these ones to replace a pair I found gave me blisters on longer walks – I decided to try replacing the insoles with some more padded ones. X has specially moulded insoles for hers and they were what I had in mind when I headed to the sports shop. Instead of getting the specially moulded ones, I ended up getting a pair of Karrimor XLite Active Airr’s, which will obviously mean a lot to everyone. They’re basically maximum cushioning insoles so I thought I’d give them a try before paying twice the price for the £30 moulded ones, and giving them a try meant taking them for a several mile stomp before I’m stuck in the mountains with no phone signal and no shops and sore feet!

I’m not kidding about the no phone signal. This is where we’re going.

phone signal map

You see that green patch where it says Wicklow Mountains National Park? We’re starting at Glendalough and crossing that back towards Dublin. Phone signal? Essentially none according to that. If I stand on top of a tower of rocks on one leg with a paper boat on my head and a teapot under one arm there’s a slim chance I’ll be able to send a text.

We’ll come back to my weekend prep, let’s get back on that walk 🙂 I left at six when P was leaving for nightshift, and just headed off into Consett towards some of the routes I cover with Run England. I needed to cover a minimum distance of three miles overall, ideally four to be a bit more confident in my shoes, but I didn’t have to rush about at a great old place, so I bimbled along, pausing whenever it so took my fancy to do so, and even stopping to smell the roses at one point. I’d taken my camera and there were so many lovely flowers out that I basically travelled from bush to bush taking pictures. There were some fantastic ones in people’s gardens but I thought taking pictures over fences was a bit creepy so I stuck with the hedgerows! I did try to get some pictures of some busy bees, but between their very short time at each flower, my slow focusing camera and very gusty winds I was not very successful at getting more than a fuzzy black and orange blur most of the time!

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What did I achieve from this apart from some pretty pictures? Well, I got home without sore feet! Just scraped into 5 miles. The balls of my feet hurt when I took my boots off and put them straight onto the hard floor, but not while walking, and the seam of my socks was starting to rub my little toes nearer the end. I was talking to my sister, who did Nijmegen and nearly made it back in one piece, and she recommended zinc oxide tape as it doesn’t tend to come unstuck in sweaty conditions, so I’ve got some of that coming to take with me – it may help my socks stop weaving into the balls of my feet if I find this arises again too.

I’m on what feels like a pretty tight space allowance for the weekend as I’m only taking cabin luggage – and as it’s a local flight the limits are tighter than they are for further afield.

bag allowance

I’m on the 7kg, backpack size limit for Aer Lingus Regional. A backpack was what I was intending to take anyway, but I have no idea where I’m going to sit against that weight limit at the moment. I made up a list of clothes, toiletries, miscellaneous gadgetry and then optional extras – and these are what will be getting cut if the weights too high, both for the airline and for me carrying it all around the mountains. If I don’t need it, it’s staying here! Any remaining space will be filled with socks, and I might cram some food in there somewhere – breakfast is currently our only guarenteed meal of the day…

I thought I was off to a good start – found a bag and the only things it looked like I was missing was a waterproof rucksack cover and a sunhat – I have a visor but I wanted something that would cover my whole head if I’m potentially out in the sun all day. I added to this list some new light weight and compact waterproofs as my trousers are pretty hardcore heavy duty ones, and I either have a bulky walking coat – no for travelling with – or my running one, which is fine for showers but I’m dubious as to how it will stand up against a downpour if we hit one. Pete then pointed out that he thought the bag I’d dug out was broken somehow. Had another look, couldn’t see anything, looked again – one of the shoulder straps was knotted as the adjustor and pivot point had snapped – not the best if you’re carrying it all weekend. I have no idea why we were storing a broken bag, I don’t think we’re likely to be that desperate that we’re fishing for broken bags. So, new bag got added to the list.

I did muse over getting one of these just for my own amusement, they’re so twee, but then moved on and found a proper one 🙂 This was my final order – I shall be the prettiest rain queen in my purple waterproofs – I can also now guarantee that being equipped for both sun and rain, it will now be grey and muggy for the whole weekend 🙂


Just need my new bag to get here and then I can cram it full of things and faff about weights and space! I’ve very foolishly filled my week before Dublin – cycling Monday, Run England Tuesday, a 10k race event on Wednesday, a return trip to Manchester with work on Thursday…and then I’m straight to the airport to fly out on Thursday night! Will see how I get on, I might have to give Run England a miss to get sorted but we shall see 🙂



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