Today I had a lovely little run/walk at Bolton Abbey and by ‘little’ I mean 10 miles. Nothing happened, nothing at all. No drama, no struggle, no serious tiredness, no pain… So that wasn’t necessarily expected. Long runs often mean some kind of drama and this one came after a 45 minute run on Thursday and a 4 mile run yesterday. So let me tell you about just how uneventful this run was.
We got to Bolton Abbey at 9am, had a pee, set off separately – I wanted to run 1 minute, walk 1 minute to make sure it was nice and easy and I have enough left for tomorrow. Kath did her own thing and I watched her disappear up the slope, got distracted by something and then couldn’t see her anymore. I didn’t know if she’d gone the top or bottom way. I just kept plodding along in the rain, passed a red spaniel with its humans and it said hi and bye. I got to mile 1 and then mile 2 and saw Kath at the other side of the river and jumped up and down and waved but she didn’t see me. I crossed over Barden Bridge and saw two blokes with a black dog which was excited to come through the gate into the field with me.
Mile 3 came and went and then mile 4 and I was happily running a minute and walking a minute. I briefly stopped at mile 5 to take a half way picture and plodded on. A little after that I met another red spaniel, a baby spaniel (with her humans) who had trouble keeping her excitement under control. I plodded on, mile 6, past the Abbey and up through the grounds and then back down the other side down through the field and into the car park, along the car park and towards the Cavendish Pavilion. There was a split second where I wondered whether maybe the 7ish miles I’d done was enough and the temptation of a steaming cup of coffee was real but I quickly turned right across the bridge to tackle the aqueduct loop the ‘wrong way round’.
7 miles. I was just about to walk up the steep long section that usually terrifies me running down it the other way, when I saw Kath coming down it. We had a quick chat and on I went. I wasn’t strictly sticking to the 1 minute/1 minute anymore now. I walked a little more of the uphill and ran more of the downhill rather than taking the intervals where they fell. 8 miles. Then pretty much 8.5 miles as I reached the aqueduct and crossed over – and on I went. I was getting a little tired now but it was all still very comfortable.
I met a couple more dogs and their humans, 9 miles. I stopped for a picture with Rudolph and plodded on. I tried to text Kath to ask her to order me a bacon sarnie so I wouldn’t miss the breakfast serving time but I had no signal. I counted down the Advent Calendar Christmas trees as I passed them and weaved my way round small people and their obnoxious parents who seemed to fill the entire path with prams, bags and swinging limbs. I could see Santa’s grotto. 10 miles. I sped up. I had just a few minutes before breakfast would end. I made eye contact with an elf outside the grotto who tried to stop a family from stepping out of the grotto and into my path but failed and I nearly mowed down ‘grandma’ who seemed to take my ‘excuse me’ as her cue to step further into my path and fling her arms out. We did a slightly awkward little dance and I was through. Just a few more steps and I was done. Tailwind rebuild recovery and a bacon sarnie together with a huge cup of coffee seemed like a suitable way to celebrate a good run
So how are we doing with the Dopey simulation? Well it has all been about the rain – the run today was mostly in the rain. The run last night was all in the rain – it was a plod but I got out after a day of 6 hours of teaching and the best part of 10 hours at work. Thursday I actually managed to get out when it wasn’t raining. Kath and I happily plodded our sheep loop and just as we got back it poured it down. So there we are, it’s going well. The big one is tomorrow. 20 miles. I’m mildly terrified but also looking forward to it. See you on the other side.
Run. I was having a run. No that sounds wrong. I was running. Well sort of. I was out there putting one foot in front of the other at varying paces. It looked like it was going to be another of those days where it just doesn’t happen. I have a ton of marking to do – the kind that takes forever because it’s formative so needs even more detailed feedback, we went out for lunch and that took longer than we wanted it to and the weather – urgh.
Anyway, I had ordered some new trainers ridiculously reduced – some Inov8 Roclite 305 gore-tex ones for under 50 quid. I mean it would have been rude not to. So I set myself a target of 5 more essays and then I could/had to go run. I put long pants on – yep time for big girl pants, too cold for 3/4 now I reckon – a long-sleeved top, my rain jacket and then because light was fading fast, a bright neon yellow t-shirt over the top. I looked a right plonker but I wasn’t about to be cold! Then I put the new shoes on and set off.
I can’t really do a proper review because it was only a short plod and I walked the uneven, muddy, trail-y bit because I couldn’t really see where I was putting my feet and my ankles were quite stiff and I am terrified of injuring myself. But – why the hell did nobody tell me about gore-tex trainers before? I had so much fun not avoiding puddles and splish sploshing around that I started searching puddles out to jump into them – and I still have dry socks. I can do puddles and have dry feet. It’s magic! I never had gore-tex trainers before. Getting some somehow always felt like a step too far – they’re for proper runners. I don’t really go anywhere where I need them, or for long enough that wet feet really matter… so the complete crap would go in my head. I tried some once and they felt really tight and inflexible compared to the non gore-tex version so I presumed they were all like that. I was wrong. Love these. Bring on the puddles!
I have spent much of the night listening to the wind and rain. At just before 6am we gave up on sleep and instead studied the weather forecast and radar pictures. There is a weather warning in force for this area for wind and rain and the forecast radar looked wet indeed. So we decided that being out in this weather for several hours wasn’t a good plan. It did say that the rain would clear by midday and give way to showers but that would still mean running for 2.5 ish hours in heavy rain and then still have another 2.5 ish hours to go – possibly in showers and definitly in a biting, strong wind. Going later doesn’t work either because we’d run out of daylight. No 23 miles for us today.
At this point I really need to get to the start line without injury and without any major setbacks. Getting a cold because of being soaked and cold for 5 hours would be a major setback and sustaining an injury because of slipping on the mud would be a disaster. So the plan is to do a 23 mile run on whatever day looks more favourable next weekend. Thinking about it we should probably have prioritised the run over the walk this weekend – we would have been wet but it was probably doable yesterday…
The thing is, I am oddly calm about the distance. I walked 10 miles yesterday and I feel no different today than if I hadn’t walked at all. No tightness or soreness, not even in my right calf muscle. 26.2 miles will be fine – it will be slow and it will be tough and I’m sure there will be times along the way where I just want to stop but it will be fine. How slow exactly it will be might well depend on the weather over the next few weeks and how much confidence I can get from a couple more long runs – or not
I was perfectly happy with the decision we made but now it has cleared a little and I am second guessing. Maybe we should have got organised to go… although just as a type that it’s started persisting it down again..
I feel like I’m wimping out but I also feel like that might be a sensible sort of wimping out.