I had a choice: I could go left and run a familiar flat route along the canal, or I could turn right and run up to Hampstead Heath, have a bit of variety and take in some beautiful scenery. I ummed and ahhed as my Garmin struggled to find a signal (about 8 minutes) and decided on the latter. Oh, they really should put the word ‘Hill’ in bold in the A-Z, I simply don’t pay attention! When I asked Edward what he thought, he said I would feel better if I did the Heath run, a sense of achievement (as if running eighteen miles wasn’t an achievement in itself!), and he was right. I went for a t-shirt on this run, but had very cold hands for the first hour or so, but it seemed wrong to wear gloves in this sunshine. Things soon hotted up when I took on the hills: Crouch End Hill, across a bit, then up Highgate Hill. I’m not saying I found it easy, but I didn’t feel half-dead at the top, full of energy actually. To reach the Heath is a five and a half mile run in itself, so I only needed to pootle around the wilderness for about seven miles before tackling the hills in reverse 🙂
I have been visiting Hampstead Heath for a few years now, but I can still get lost there, and kept surprising myself by ending up in odd places and having to loop around a different way, all very interesting and distracting, just what you need on such a long run. There were a few points though where I was just going up and up and up, I even had to bend over at the top of one hill and get my breath back (yes, I know it’s probably better to stay upright to catch your breath, but it felt nice to be upside down). It was pretty busy around the Heath, lots of family walks, Mums linking arms with their children, that sort of thing, lots of dog walkers and loads of runners. The seven or so miles of the Heath went pretty quickly, such rapid changes in direction and interesting terrain really does help the time pass quicker, then it was off down the hill…after I had run up a hill to Highgate Village again. Phew!
Today’s run was fuelled by Tesco’s own brand Jelly Babies, and I must say they are as good as M&S, but not quite as soft and the flavours are less exciting. I allowed myself one or two at the high-up bridge that passes over the road up from Archway (I think it’s the beginning of the A1 or something) where you get an amazing view of London. Chew, chew, ooh, ooh. Then off down to Crouch End again. As I passed the swimming pool I was joined by a man with a rucksac. ‘Please don’t start talking to me’ I thought. ‘What are you taining for?’ he asked, ‘London’ said I. It turns out he is also running the London Marathon so I asked if he had done his long run and he said he doesn’t do long runs. How odd! He said he runs about five miles every day but doesn’t do long runs! AND he reckons he’ll finish in about four hours. Jeez. After surprising myself at being able to hold a conversation at about mile fourteen, I said goodbye then promptly twisted my ankle. It made me swear. For some reason I kept running: I reasoned that if I started walking I would hobble and that would make it worse but if I kept running it might ‘right itself’. It bloody hurt though then, after a while, the other ankle started hurting in sympathy. I guess this is just what happens at this stage in such a long run.
As I neared home I realised I needed to keep going for another half a mile or so, so ran towards the swimming pool, hoping to bump into Edward and Hector. There they were, all tall, Hector up on Edward’s shoulders, shouting ‘Mummy! 18 miles!’, lovely. I must say, this run did completely knacker me, and I am putting it down to the hills, this should mean that the flat London course should be a doddle 😉 A shower and recovery drink were followed by a Mother’s Day brunch (with extra beans for mummy) and more tea and then another.
Time: 2 hours 57 minutes 32 seconds
Distance: 18.02 miles
Average Pace: 9.51
Best Pace: 7.35
This morning I had to force myself out of the door, it’s windy out there and I felt like staying inside. We made it down to the canal though and saw our weekly collection of dredger diggers, tug boats and dumper trucks and had a little play in the playground. This weather is a bit deceptive and I really should have worn gloves – my hands are only just thawing out – but didn’t so stood around in the playground frantically trying to get warm. I did find this run hard, especially when we were running into that biting wind, and my knees were still feeling it from Sunday.
Time: 47 minutes 23 seconds
Distance: 4.48 miles
Average Pace: 10.35
Best Pace: 8.13
And here are some stats for a run last Wednesday:
Time: 49 minutes 30 seconds
Distance: 4.76 miles
Average Pace: 10.24