So it might have taken my an hour and a half but with that little 6 miler I have equalled December’s total distance. So I am definitely making progress. This morning’s run was an A-B run with a purpose. Kath’s mum was buying us breakfast at Salts Mill. Kath said she wanted to run there and I quite liked the idea but was worried about how my legs would hold up. After yesterday’s relative success I thought it was worth a shot as long as I left myself plenty of time. I set off at 7.30am and Kath set off shortly after me going a slightly longer route. It was still pretty dark so I opted for running the first stretch on the road rather than canal towpath.
I was running 30/30 seconds intervals and that seemed ok. I wouldn’t call it pain free completely but it was all ok. I was a little worried at about 2.5 miles and at 2.75 decided to walk a little and avoid running up the slope to the canal at Crossflatts and then dodging puddles in the run up to the top of 5 Rise Locks. At the stop I stopped and stretched for a minute or two before walking down the slope. Then I picked up the run/walk again
I actually seemed to settle in more after my walk and stretch and the 6 miles seemed completely doable. It was a little bit of a balance because I actually felt pretty good and kept thinking I could run a bit faster or skip a walk break but whenever I tried my left calf and my right foot quickly pulled me back for a reality check. I next stopped for a quick selfie as I crossed the canal just past Dowley Gap Locks. As I took the selfie I saw Kath in the distance and decided not to wait for her but let her catch up with me. She did as we had just over a mile to go.
The last mile was actually quite nice. My calf was fine and I was now confident that my feet would hold up too. We got to the end and got to the Salts gate just as they opened it so we could go through for breakfast. As we sat down my right foot started really hurting and it took a little while to ease. So, Sunday morning run, breakfast of avocado and eggs on toast and good coffee and a look at a good bookshop. What more could you want?
The Dopey training miles are ramping up and with that my anxiety levels about whether this might just have been a really stupid idea. But today was one of those outings that reminded me that it actually doesn’t matter. If I don’t finish Dopey, I don’t finish Dopey. None of this is really what it’s about. It’s about the time out there, enjoying the autumn colours, the air and the things that I would otherwise just not get the chance to see. If I don’t finish Dopey I will, of course, be gutted but I will nonetheless have runs like today. Runs that I probably would not have done had it not been for Dopey training.
I didn’t want to go out this morning. I was sleepy, still tired from a silly week, sleep deprived and a little anxious generally. 8.5 miles also seemed like quite a long way. But then we got sorted and set off. I couldn’t back out or postpone because we’d agreed to meet Kath’s mum for breakfast at Salts Mill. I didn’t really like the idea of having to get there roughly by an agreed time but there we were. We set off on the start of our sheep loop at 2 minute runs and 30 seconds walk. I felt sluggish but to be fair I was still waking up really.
The first mile came and it was all fine. A little through the second we saw 3 deer skip off into the distance on the former golf course. They are so graceful and gorgeous. Then we dropped onto the canal towpath – home for the next 6 ish miles. The autumn leaves had come off the trees in last night’s winds and the November morning sun was shining onto the water creating a playful mystery of light, colours and silver nothingness. And there it was: movement, a flash of orange and a streak of metallic blue. The kingfisher (well a kingfisher) was with us. We played tag with it for over a mile and on one stretch stopped to walk. I was probably close enough to take a picture but it just never occurred to me. I just watched it as it once again took off and flew straight down the middle of the canal until it disappeared into the sunlight. I realised I was smiling.
My achilles felt tight. It was making my feet feel odd. So we had an extra walk through the next running interval and then it all felt better so we continued the normal intervals. I had a little mental wobble shortly after we left the kingfisher behind (or it left us, who knows) but then we were through half way. Kath saw movement to our left. Another three deer (definitely different ones) hopped over the wall into a field of startled sheep. we stopped briefly to watch them. I was smiling again.
When we were nearly at 5 miles I realised that there was no mental battle. I was just doing it. Slowly and happily doing it. A little further along – probably somewhere in mile 7 – I had another longer walk to try and relax my feet and then we ran/walked the rest to Salts Mill. I asked Kath for help because I was suddenly concerned I wouldn’t make it. Silly of course, I had less than a mile to go and I did of course make it, comfortably. It was a good run! Breakfast was good too as was the leisurely wander round the bookshop.
In fact it has been a good day, afternoon nap and all!
The marathon training plan had a 4 mile walk yesterday and a 10 mile walk today. I was quite looking forward to both of these because walking isn’t scary – I can walk. The 4 miles yesterday we did once Kath had finished work and we fed the sheep on the way – it was just a nice little walk really even though neither of us could really be bothered. We just walked round in almost, but not quite, grumpy silence and ticked it off.
Today we had the 10 miles to do. We walked the 5 ish miles to Saltaire, had lunch and looked round Salts Mill (I bought a pair of shorts!) and then walked back. It’s probably a bit more than 10 miles door to door because the 5 miles were measured from the canal rather than from home when we ran it I think. It was drizzly on the way there but on the way back it was raining quite heavily for most of the way and we got soaked to our knickers. Still, it was nice to be out.
Walking doesn’t help with my depression/anxiety in the same way running does. Running gives me clarity and headspace that I am very conscious of, walking just helps me not think about anything at all. It’s probably at least as valuable because I suspect it is just letting my brain do its thing to get itself better. I noticed that after a little while surrounded by people I was overwhelmed by noise and busy-ness in my head. I was desperate to get back onto the near deserted canal towpath.
It was a good day for seeing birds along the canal. We saw a kingfisher early on and then a kestrel a bit further on. There were lots of ducks, geese and a few swans on the canal and we also saw some gulls. There were the usual blackbirds and blue tits, a few chaffinches and great tits but we also saw goldfinches and long tail tits. I do like them, they’re like little darts whizzing around and they always sound cheerful
It was good to get home and get into a warm bath and thaw out. It is funny how perception of distance changes – walking to Saltaire used to feel like a really really long way. Today walking there and back didn’t feel like such a big deal really. I was ready to be home with about a mile to go but that was just because I was soaked and getting quite cold. We’ve had a lovely tea of pasta with feta cheese, avocado and chorizo and are now both resting and drinking stupid amounts of water ready for our 23 mile training run tomorrow. I’d rather not think about that too much…