I ran 19 miles yesterday. Well, I walked a bit, had a couple of stops, but mostly I ran. I also took a few photographs as I went along just so I could share them with you. Not because i wanted a rest, of course not.
The route I took went along a disused railway line which is now a cycle path that links Chippenham to Calne. My turnaround point was Black Dog Halt, complete with platform and beautiful gates. My son used to be train mad when he was little, my parents live very close by, and it was always a good day if they took him up there.
I used the platform to lean against and do some stretches, then turned around and ran back home.
Back home after a shower and a change, I loaded up a tray with lunch and retired to the sofa. Even Big Cat joined me – a rare treat.
I needed a long run, set off without a planned route, and ended up running a half marathon today. I ran where I felt like it, incorporated parts of routes run by my running club, stopped to find a geocache, failed to resist a set of steps I’d never noticed before, and took lots of photos.
Best bit of this run though was running through town and having an old man say in his broad Wiltshire accent “Oi loike your daps*!”
Yes -I’m not surprised. I like them too.
* if you’re not familiar with this Westcountry word, ‘daps’ are what people from the north west would call ‘pumps’, and other people would call plimsolls. Caused no end of confusion first time I had to buy some for my daughter.
Ah yes – the famous Leonard Cohen song. ‘Like a Bird on the Wire.’ Famous throughout the world, like many such classics this song has many people trying to record their own, unique version; to stamp their own personality onto it. (Yes, I am thinking of Jennifer Saunders as Edina Monsoon in ‘Ab Fab’ at this point).
However I think the lovely village where I live might have out done itself, and Edina Monsoon, this time. Forget “Like a Bird on the Wire”, I give you “Like a Duck on the Hedge”.
It was cold, I needed a long run but was feeling uninspired, so I tried to distract myself from the process of running by listening to music (through one earbud) and by having a good look around as I ran.
First up, thrown into a hedge, I can only imagine by a hipster who’d just heard that brown corduroy trousers had gone out of anti-fashion 15 minutes ago.
Secondly, whilst pounding the streets of middle England I spotted this. It’s health and safety gone mad, I tell you.
When time is short, you have to squeeze in runs when you can. Last Sunday was a long run – 10 miles- which felt more like half marathon training should do. Twelve hour working days meant no more running in the week until Saturday. Obviously I needed to make this run count, so I opted for hill repeats. Leaving family* and visiting in-laws in bed, I grimly set off.
A 20% slope is tough, but as it’s only short I felt the need to run up it three times. It was hard work, I had to walk bits, but I did it. I took several selfies for the blog, and was thinking ofanything interesting to say, and failing dismally. It was only later when I was looking at the photos I saw the selfie below. Taken accidentally, unposed, I love it. Wonder if I can take more accidentally?
*I should add (before he does) that my husband was out on a 100 mile cycle ride, but everyone else was still asleep.
How can one run contain two such differing emotions – success, and embarrassment? Surely one would preclude the other?
Well the success is easy. When you’re running and a man walking the other way tells you the path ahead is closed but you keep on going, it’s a success. When you reach this sign on the path :-
and you decide to carry on to see where the problem is, it’s a success. Despite this, it can still look like your run is going to be a failure when you reach the bridge that is being rebuilt and orange safety netting is completely closing the footpath. However if you then ask the man fixing the bridge how you can get around and he pulls the safety netting to one side and says you can come through as long as you’re careful, then that’s a success!
Now for the embarrassment. It was very foggy today, and most people seemed to have decided to stay indoors. Running along the canal that’s in the process of being renovated and which is normally busy with dog walkers, tourists and cyclists, I was surprised to find it was practically empty.
On my way back up to town as I came to the one bridge on thepath, I ran under the bridge and couldn’t resist making loud “woo woo” noises to hear the echos. They were great echos, but as I came out from the bridge I came face to face with a man and his two dogs. Any hopes that maybe he hadn’t heard me were shattered when he sniggered and said
“Bet you didn’t think there was anyone here!”
I will leave you to imagine how red my face was as I slunk off. At least I gave him something to smile about.