Although the blogging has been somewhat quiet of late, the training has been ticking along quite nicely and dare I say it, I have remained injury free, despite ramping up my mileage over the last couple of months.
The recovery from the ‘exertion’ of the Edinburgh Marathon was surprisingly lengthy it was 2-3 weeks at least before I was getting my pace back to what I would consider ‘normal’. The problem here is that it has also been getting warmer – yes, I know that for those of you in the south of France, the southern states of the USA and Australia, to name but a few, ‘warm’ is not a term that you would associate with the move of a thermometer in a positive direction into the lower 20°C territory, but the UK weather, after a very mild winter, has stayed pretty mild until recently, with only the odd day here and there to remind us that the yellow globe in the sky provides all of the life-giving energy to our humble existance – indeed, sales of sun-cream in the UK have no doubt suffered in 2014 until recently.
This time last week I was revelling in the joy of the North Downs after snow had blanketed the countryside during the previous 36 hours, and I found myself in the still beauty of the English countryside in the reflected torchlight of the pre-dawn hours.
This morning, the weather had become mild enough that the snow had disappeared and the precipitation falling from the skies was once again the more familiar liquid variety. This had been happening for the last 24 hours at least and I laid in bed for some time, just after 5am this morning, contemplating the noise which the volume of water cascading down the gutter implied was falling from the heavens.
Eventually I got up and tried to decide what to do, as I’d arranged to run with Tim and John. I was a few seconds away from sending a cancellation text when I changed my mind and checked the forecast. The deluge was due reduce by 7am and stop around 8am, so there was still hope.
I delayed my exit as long as I could by procrastinating over which clothes to wear, but by 6:30 I was out the door, and thankfully the forecast was, for once, entirely accurate. The last few drizzles of rain were dying out and by the time I got to John’s in Merrow around 7am, it had stopped completely although there was still a lot of standing water to dodge around.
John had just taken his dog, Ollie, out and returned at the same time as I arrived. As he was putting his faithful cocker spaniel back in the house, I took the opportunity to take off a layer of clothing having vastly underestimated how cold it was, and we then set off for Tim’s.
John had apparently done some speed work yesterday; 1km intervals, and was more fatigued than previous weeks, so our average pace was slow – of which I was quite glad 🙂 and we made our way through the damp streets towards Tim’s to meet him as well.
We took the long route through the University of Surrey campus grounds to do the final kilometre to Raymond Crescent. When we got there though, Tim explained he was not feeling 100%, probably related to something he had eaten the previous night and wouldn’t be running, so after chatting for a few moments, we wished him well and went on our way.
John was by this stage adamant that he should not be doing much more than running back home, so we found a different route cutting through the estates to the north-west of the town not quite as far as Worplesdon or Jacob’s Well, but not quite a direct route either and eventually we popped out at the northern point of the river Wey navigation, where it slices underneath the A3 as both make their way to London.
We agreed to go our separate ways when opposite the Spectrum leisure centre and I made my way across the wide expanse of grass that is Stoke Park, which hosts Guildford answer to Glastonbury during the summer months, but today was merely host to the remaining snow, compacted into giant snowballs, which had been rolled up the previous week, but which by now were looking decidedly the worse for wear.
Only 14 miles or so of streets covered, but a good run with a pack and John and good preparation for next week, when I have my first official Ultramarathon race, the Thames Trot, in nearly two and a half years, although if the forecasts are right again next week, I’ll probably be swimming rather than running along the Thames.