Long Runs in Unfamiliar Territory

Running the day after having run the day before isn’t something I often do, but as it was such a nice day yesterday I just felt that I should get my long run out of the way.

That’s not quite what I mean; I enjoy my long runs, even though I find them challenging. What I really mean is that the weather here in The Lakes has been so changeable that running when it’s good is a total plus! I’d actually forgotten that I’d run the day before. What I did remember was that we’d walked a good 5 miles around Kendal with the dogs and that my hips were still feeling it. The 2.5 miles I’d done with Grant was nothing in comparison. The different muscle groups used for walking and me being quite unused to long distance walking meant that I was a bit sore. Following my 10k training app again Jeff Galloway told me that I had almost 9 miles to do, including warm up and cool down walks.

I don’t know this area at all. Plotting a route wasn’t easy as our map wasn’t detailed enough so I resorted to using online maps and getting an idea of what roads went where, although I didn’t have the facility to print anything out. I decided to run north from the campsite, along the path as far as it went and then turn back and head into Kendal.

I was totally unprepared. I had bought a sports drink, but it was a low calorie one and I hadn’t anything remotely sugary to help my energy towards the end of the 9 miles. Just before I headed out I grabbed a pound coin and popped it in my back pocket. At least I could buy something.

Running north turned out to be a bit of a disaster; the path running alongside the A6 lasted maybe a quarter of a mile tops before taking a turn into a lovely little church high on a hill. Oh well! I turned round and headed back past the campsite entrance and towards Kendal. I ran the first mile in 9:41.

Once I was in the town things started to slow down. I’ve never really run in a town before, certainly not during the day. There were cars, vans and people everywhere to avoid. I found myself dodging pedestrians, dogs on leads and stopping to cross roads. I tried to keep to quieter routes, but it was going home time for many shoppers and workers. I ran the second mile in 10:17 and the third in 10:52. The views along the river were lovely and I stopped to take a photo at one point, just to prove how nice running in the town was, despite the millions of people and traffic getting in my way! Well hundreds maybe…

I ran up into the town centre, passing by all the shops I’d seen the day before. It was still quite busy in the centre despite it being late afternoon. On the way down from the town centre I ran past a Holland and Barrett and quickly hit pause as I went inside to find some jelly babies! I eventually found some Dextrose tablets for 75p (remember I’d only taken £1 with me) and handed over my somewhat sweaty coin with apologies to the assistant. For some bizarre reason I felt that I needed to tell him that I had another 4 miles to run, maybe excusing myself for coming in mid-run! I must stop doing that! I feel daft as soon as I open my mouth! Mile 4 – 10:47.

Once I’d come off the High Street I had no idea which way to go. I carried on along the main road following my nose, realising that the path I’d chosen was running parallel to the A6. Eventually, on a walk break, I asked a lady if I could cut through onto the Shap Road. She gave me a really complicated route that I had no hope of remembering especially as it would take me through an industrial estate. We then got chatting (eventually I remembered to turn off my timer!) and she asked me if I was training for anything. When I told her that I was working up to running the Great North Run it turned out that she has herself run in the GNR in her twenties. I explained, as she wasn’t that much older than me, that I hadn’t been running for long, just a couple of years. I said I needed to cover another 4 miles that day which put a totally new complexion on the route she recommended. She said that there were some lovely routes roundabout but to get me across to the A6 I should go via Burneside. With vague instructions I thanked her and headed off. Mile 5 – 12:12

I hadn’t gone far before I had to stop and check my Maps app, just to see that I was on the right road. I was. I had been told that the route was quite, and I quote, “uppydowny”. Understatement! The first hill, before I’d even reached Burneside village, had me walking. It wasn’t the last hill to do that! At least I was still running on paths.

Once I reached Burneside I had to cross the road and turn right. My friend had described this as a cut through that could be a bit of a Rat Race and that I would have to run on the road. There ws a path part way along the road though and I used that until it suddenly disappeared into a housing estate, leaving me to climb a wall to get onto the road! I crossed over to see if the path continued on the other side, but it didn’t. The dilemma of an unknown route! Mile 6 – 11:20.

The cut across was quite a nice road, even though it was definitely on the large side of being uppy and downy! It wound its way around farms and homesteads, over rivers and across towards the main road. As I reached the main road, after climbing a double hill, Mr Galloway said that i had 2 miles to go. As I hadn’t switched on the iphone GPS I didn’t know how accurate this was or exactly how far I actually had to run, my only issue with the app. Planning a route isn’t easy when you don’t now how far you need to cover. Mile 7 – 11:23

I could see the pretty little church on the hill ahead of me; I’d come out above the campsite with at least a mile to go. I’d been popping Dextrose tabs for the last couple of miles and I was starting to tire with all the stops, starts and hills. I decided to run down past the campsite entrance to Morrisons and back. That should just about do the mileage I needed. The wind was against me again, but by then I felt as if I was barely running! Mile 8 – 11:19

As I reached Morrison’s Jeff told me that I was on the last mile. I knew that that included a cool down walk so running back up to the campsite was my last half a mile. I turned and started back up. I was tired out. The A6 is a busy road and the further you get out the faster the traffic comes at you. I’d just picked up my pace when a lorry sped by and the gust of wind that followed it blew my running cap clean off my head, taking my earphones with it! I slowed down to sort both out before finishing my last 0.41 mile in 11:40 pace.

I completed my 8:41 miles in 1:32:38, giving me 11.00/mi pace overall. I had hoped to get under 11 minute mile pace, in fact I had hoped to crack 10 min/mi, but with all the stopping and starting that running an unknown route brought I should be happy with what I achieved. I am. Honest I am!

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