That title sums up this mornings 16 mile run in a sentence. In short, I walked the uphill, ran the flat and downhill except for the last mile which I mostly walked. And I did my first and hopefully last al fresco poo. Have I caught your interest?
The morning started with a run to the end of the road with my aqua rucksack, then a run home after deciding I didn’t like it. Seriously constricting and it jumped around all over the place. Sort of reminded me of my last outing with a rucksack… (thanks to Almas friend Dave for this illustration)
After I swapped my rucksack for my suicide bomber belt*, I headed off for my run. I had a vague route in my head, but I was in the mood to see where the road took me, and boy was it a good un! I went off the beaten track (quite literally) and saw some wonderful things. Freshly sown fields with flocks of birds nicking the seeds (despite the cut out of a red kite attached to a pole by a string and swining around), baby grouse and mummy grouse were charging around and I even saw a peacock in a tree (I heard him before I saw him). Squirrels were scampering in the undergrowth whilst being chased by rabbits, and there was a whole field of pigs foraging and gruffling** for food. The best sight though, was a herd of wild deer. As my footsteps are as light as a feather*** I got quite close (about 25 feet) before they scarpered up the hill, their white pom pom tails all bounding away from me in unison.
That was all in the first 6 miles, whilst the sun was shining and I was bouncing along feeling full of the joys of spring. I started to feel a bit fatigued (I had, rather stupidly, not eaten before my run) so I took a gel. Mile 7 was mostly a hill which I walked up (that’s my new long run strategy – walk uphill, run flat and downhill) and when I started running again my stomach started to bubble and grumble. At the top of the hill was a long ridge; the wind was blowing and it started to rain, but I tried to stay positive. I plodded on, maintaining a 12m 30 pace and feeling more and more in need of a loo. I was miles away from anywhere so started looking for for a spot off the road I could go as I really didn’t want to do a Paula. A mile on I found somewhere suitable – a dense little copse right by the road but fairly secluded.
Picture me, if you will, in my bright yellow Meningitis Trust running top, thinking that I am completely hidden behind one branch and 15 leaves. I hadn’t seen another soul for 30 minutes then, just as I dropped my kecks, from nowhere appear 3 cars, 2 horseback riders, 4 male cyclists and 2 other runners. I felt like I was in my own version of The Truman Show where every time Jim Carreys character tries to leave his house loads of traffic and people appear from thin air. I froze, thinking if I didn’t move they wouldn’t be able to see me, because of course, bright yellow tops are rendered invisible by non-movement. I think it worked.****
Al fresco is a funny story to tell but not a nice experience, but at least I will remember not to take a gel on an empty stomach again.
The rest of the run passed by in a blur of grass, roads, huffing and puffing. The huffing and puffing got louder and louder and my field of vision shrunk from the beautiful vista I was running through, to 5 or at most 10 feet in front of my feet. It became a battle of wills between my brain and my body and for the last 2 miles my body won – as I did a sort of stumbling walk/run/walk to home. When I got to my front door, I struggled to get my key out of my pocket and only felt human again after a bottle of chocolate yazoo, a cold bath and a cup of tea. Note to self – EAT before running 16 miles!
Despite the hills, the wind, the rain, the trip to the bushes and the stumbling last 2 miles, I feel suprisingly good about todays run. For the majority of it I was in a positive state of mind, it was a lovely route which with some tweaks could be cut to 10 miles or increased to 18-20 (next weeks aim) and I enjoyed it. I am really looking forward to next Sunday when Alma is making the trip up here to join me for my run – if anyone else can get to Luton Airport Parkway for 8.30 – 9am on Sunday morning and wants to join us (12m 30s pm pace) you are more than welcome. There may even be a pub lunch afterwards with BEER and CHIPS!
*I am not really a suicide bomber, it’s just a belt with a pocket, and hooks for gels and two water bottles so it looks like the sort of belt a suicide bomber might wear as I expect they would need a lot of places to put things.
**That may not be a word but as abrdaypus has made up words today, and she has an Oxford education I thought it would be OK for me to too!
***I may be lying about that.
****Possibly another lie as I’m sure it was only 2 cars but one came back for a second look.