Yes, I know, I’m a bit slow with this one. On Saturday I was too busy getting-together, yesterday I was too busy running and today my internet connection was up the spout.
On Saturday, I ventured north of the river with the boys to meet this lot:
I think the correct term for a slightly anonymous group of running bloggers might be ‘a huddle’. So here they are, huddling. I had intending running, but it all seemed a bit of a mad rush in reality and we got there just as the runners headed off into the park, so we chatted, got to know new folk and waited for the fashionably late Cathy and Shaun. It was mild, and Hector was suitably entertained by Audiofuel Sean:
Once the running runners had returned and caught their collective breath, the now present Cathy awarded Gary with his prize for being the winner of Janathon 2011. This man ran 450 miles in one month. I thought we ought to donate our pizzas and pasta to him, he needed it more than us.
And what a pizza! I am not known for being a slow eater, it’s just not in my nature to take my time when there’s food in front of me, but I was well and truly defeated by this gargantuan feast. I tried, I really did. Maybe it was because I was still a bit moved by Cathy’s response to our thank you presents, I hadn’t expected real tears! The response to Travelling Hopefully’s call out for donations to a virtual yet real whip-round was tremendous, which just goes to show how much people enjoyed the experience and felt a sense of respect and gratefulness to a the lady who kept all the plates spinning.
I had imagined that a pizza of such enormity could keep me running for a week, but it wasn’t to be. My schedule said I should stretch my legs with a sixteen miler, so off I headed on Sunday morning with the intention of running to Greenwich, through the foot-tunnel and along the Thames on the Isle of Dogs. As I neared the foot-tunnel, I thought: ‘What if it’s shut?’ and, of course, it was. I just headed east and followed the river. Into the wind. I do feel a real thrill running along the Thames, and now it’s just a couple of miles away, but this run had its ups and downs, both in terms of my energy levels and the views on offer.
Quite quickly I was venturing out of tourist Greenwich and caught sight of my young student self through the window of the Cutty Sark Tavern, knocking back a few beers on a Friday night and eating a gigantic bag of chips on the night bus home. I was then quickly sent on a detour away from the river, due to yet more building work. Why build more apartments when nobody is living in the existing ones? Now the path took a rather grim turn, with high fences topped with barbed wire and gritty industrial scenes with rock-crushers and telescopic handlers (I so wish I could carry my camera on these runs, I know a small boy who would love to see this). I had decided to run with music, which is unusual on such a long run, but I wanted to see if it gave me a different/better experience. I did feel slightly vulnerable on these bleaker paths, but was lifted as the path opened up to the water and ‘Valerie’ came on: ‘Well Sometimes I Go Out, By Myself, And I Look Across The Water’ – just perfect! I was leaping along, yachts from the Greenwich Yacht Club sailing alongside me, and I smiled a huge smile.
I continued the meander northwards and around the Dome, passing lots of runners along the way, the majority of them smiling and saying hello – for a change – and passed one runner amongst a group that I recognised, but can’t place him. I think he is maybe an actor, or maybe an MP, or maybe an actor who plays an MP, I don’t know. And, to my left, was the biggest shopping trolley graveyard I have ever seen, all the more reason to carry my camera sometime. I soon realised that my run would take me along to the Thames Barrier, which excited me, it always looks so splendid in films and on TV, with a speed boat crashing across the water, with some dramatic chase taking place. Erm, I will say it was mildly exciting as I approached with my head ducked to avoid getting my eyes whipped by my hair and the heavy grey sky hanging above. I will return on a brighter day. Here, I turned for home.
Looking back on this run I can see what went wrong: I left the house without water because I couldn’t find anything suitable to put it in (I didn’t think Hector’s frog bottle with straw was a good idea at the time) and didn’t drink anything until I returned through Greenwich and stopped to buy some water at Boots, wasting five minutes waiting in a queue. I didn’t have any gels with me, and after this stop, I felt really, really tired. I knew already that I wouldn’t make it to the full sixteen miles, but decided this was ok and I should just learn from the experience for next weekend. I don’t think my legs have ever felt so heavy on a training run, but I simply couldn’t do a loop of the park to make it up, so hauled myself up and over the footbridge and landed on the doorstep in a little heap.
Time: 2 hours 37 minutes 54 seconds
Distance: 14.70 miles
Average Pace: 10.44
Best Pace: 6.34