How wonderful it was to awake to glorious blue skies, warm sunshine and a gentle breeze! I’ve gotten so used to opening the blinds on running days just to be greeted by rain or wind or snow or all of those at once! I had planned to run in the afternoon, once all my chores were done, but as I’m used to seeing the weather here suddenly change, I opted to run in the morning.
I was down to run 7 miles, my longest run for the 10k training I’m doing; from here on in I’m on shorter distances. As I’ve said before planning routes here isn’t easy. The roads are widely spaced and there are no ‘blocks’ to run around. I have to sit down and plan overlapping routes to get mileage in or run there and back, which I hate doing. I sat and planned a route around the neighbouring village (which is less than a mile away) that criss-crossed the main road. I took one last look at the route and set off.
I’d copied the route to my Garmin and had the compass pointing me in the right direction. All was well for the first mile or so and I was pleased to hit mile one in under 10 minutes. Once I reached a T-junction I turned left and started running up to the main road. Then I started hearing beeps from my watch and, on looking down, saw the ‘off course’ message. What had gone wrong? I was sure that was the right way. I stopped and tried to remember the route. With all the changes I’d made in planning maybe I’d decided to turn right at the T and run to the next village? I turned round and ran back to where I’d come and passed the end of the T. A few metres further on the watch beeped again! “Off course” it said – arghh!! What was going on? Either I was right first time or this time! I stopped again and tried to run the route in my head, realising only then that I needed to go under the railway line twice and that I could only do that it I followed my original route! Turning tail I ran back up towards the main road. With all the pluttering around, and with no thanks to Gary Garmin, I’d put extra distance on and lost time.
I finished the first loop strong and was happy to start loop two. I tried to replan my route in my head to compensate for the extra mileage and decided to take a longer outward route and a shorter inward one. I went back through the village and when I got to the T junction I didn’t hesitate to turn left! A couple of times I had to take to the grass verge as vehicles came down the narrow lanes, again losing a bit of time as I waited for them to pass. If I take to the verge too soon I can be left waiting for ages, but if I’m too late the vehicles just creep forward and seem to slow me down even more!
At the end of mile 6 a lady was walking her two dogs down the lane, a Jack Russell and a black Lab. As I ran closer the Jack came running down to me and I had no choice but to stop. He was friendly enough, but too many tales of runners being bitten by dogs has made me wary of running towards them. Out of social courtesy I had to stop and chat to the elderly lady walking them. I find it difficult to just carry on, especially with older people who often want nothing more than a chat. It’s difficult, but I’d rather be friendly than fast!
I had a mile left to do and figured that a straight run up the main road would be enough. It’s a long, long hill, but it’s rewarding reaching the top and seeing my own village once I do reach the top. After the crest there’s a short downhill run into the village. I stopped just after the pub, allowing me a good cool down walk.
I did 7.01 miles in 77:54 mins, giving me an 11:07 min mile pace, which was OK. I had hoped to do 10 min mile pace in readiness for my 10k coming up in a few weeks, but with all the stops and turning around I guess that wasn’t meant to be. That’s fine though, I can live with that.
If you want a laugh follow this link and press play!