i’ve had a bit of a thing for long runs this week, and last night I decided to tackle what would be my biggest run in the UK to date, and most likely the longest distance I’m going to run here until the London Marathon in April.
The route came to mind as we came back from the circus yesterday – and was based on a couple of things; my first ever fun run, and a route I was very familiar with and fond of travelling on my motorbike (across a bit of countryside, with a few nice bends and straight sections).
My first ever fun “run” was not the Fremantle 10km in 2012, as I have been saying, I actually took part in a Carnival fun run about 26 years ago. It was a bit of a fundraiser for the carnival club if memory serves me correctly, started in a pub, and involved a fair amount of alcohol. I ran a total of zero metres on that day – we walked it. But it WAS back at a time when I was still making sporadic efforts to address my lack of fitness (unsuccessfully, obviously).
So in some ways running that route (in reverse) had a bit of meaning attached to it. The return loop was simply a familiar route that I knew would give me some decent distance, a big hill to climb and a sense of achievement.
I planned to set off early, so when I woke at 2am I got up and had some porridge and toast. I actually set off just over 2 hours after I finished eating. There were two things I hadn’t planned for – the wild, wet and woolly conditions, and the fact it was still pitch black when I found myself running on flooded country roads, in the middle of nowhere, running into a headwind and driving rain – and avoiding oncoming traffic with full-beam headlamps engaged. cars tend to speed along that section, and stick fairly tight to the left-hand side – so avoiding being knocked over involved picking my way through rainwater and soggy muddy verges.
To be honest, it was the hairiest few kilometres I have ever run, and I was relieved when I reached the safety of the village of Woolavington, with it’s street lighting and pavements!
Bit before hitting that hairy section, I ran about 13km from Bridgwater to Highbridge – very comfortably despite the conditions. That was helped by the fact that the rain was mostly behind me. I did curse when a truck drove past, got too close to the left-hand side of the dual carriageway, causing me to be hit by a mini tidal wave of displaced puddle!
The run continued to be pleasant and enjoyable right up to the hairy section between East Huntspill and Woolavington. After that my legs started to feel very jelly-like, and the run started to become a little like hard work.
That said, with the sky getting lighter, and the wind dropping a little, I still managed to enjoy things as I ran across from one side of town to the other. A shortcut along the canal to my parents’ place was a bit of a mistake – lots of surface water. But by then my shoes and socks were already soaked (from running in the dark in the middle of nowhere) so it didn’t really matter!
All up it took me 4 hours 33 minutes and 54 seconds, and I covered 30.77km. Unfortunately the GPS signal wa slost between 10km and 11km so I had to manually edit the total distance on the Garmin website. MayMyRun’s map creation tool came to the rescue and I was able to get a more accurate distance (the Garmin had it as 18km!)