Day 48–Following A Black Line

I wanted to try a new route for my long run this morning, so last night I went to Garmin Connect and went about plotting a route. After a couple of attempts I settled on a 22 mile course that took me southwest of Grantham utilising roads I’ve mostly not been on before.

This morning and after initially thinking I’d have to endure a 6:30am start it was decided the best way to utilise the day with work and stuff was for me to head out when the baby was having her morning nap. So at 11 and after two attempts to upload my course to the Garmin I headed out.

Within a few minutes of running it was apparent I was somewhat dehydrated, a nagging feeling of thirst that peaked around eight miles into the run before subsiding somewhat, only to return in the closing stages. Too late to return I carried on, legs pretty stiff for the first few miles, especially as the route was upwards for much of the first three miles.

Like yesterday it was a gloriously sunny day with only a few clouds in the sky. But also like yesterday it was windy – perhaps windier than yesterday and it was going to be a headwind for the opening half of the run. On rolling roads with the odd short sharp undulation it was a case of digging in as best I could as the wind battered me relentlessly on the exposed roads surrounded by farmland. At least the roads were quiet, the occasional car and groups of cyclists the only company.

At halfway I reached Sproxton and with a sharp left I was faced with a stiff climb and the stiff wind now blowing behind me. Once I hit the top of the hill I began to fly; the miles that were outside seven minutes in the first half of the run were now comfortably under seven minutes and edging closer to 06:30. After a couple of miles that were gently downhill the terrain became far more undulating, and on the Grantham Road – now deserted but showing all the signs of being a road of some significance, there were a couple of steep climbs that numbed the legs.

All the while I was religiously following the little black line on the Garmin, telling me exactly where I should be running and reminding me (All too frequently thanks to a little bug on the 910XT) that I was inches off course and then back on course. Another quirk of this flagship Garmin device is that when you are using the watch to guide you on a course, it is prone to infuriating delays in actually deciding which way you should be heading and even, on occasion, completely turning the device off whilst running. What makes this more galling is that the old faithful 305 had no problems with courses – a device that celebrates its tenth birthday next year and in some ways, like this, is superior to the best Garmin currently offers.

Moaning over, and I was running fairly well, with just the pelvis aching a bit and the top of the right foot aching where the tongue on the frees irritates (A shame as in every other respect these are my favourite trainers). At the end of the Grantham Road and when the Garmin finally refreshed itself to decide I should head straight over the main road and onto a dirt track which had signs quite clearly stating not suitable for motors. There was a certain irony then when on this mile long or so deeply pot holed track three cars passed me, the same number that had passed in the last seven miles.

Leaving the dirt track and I was on the road to Little Ponton, one I’m now very familiar with. I put the Garmin out of its misery and stopped the course mapping, which finally gave me a chance to look at the regular pages of data I have scrolling whilst running. It told me I was averaging 07:02 so I had a little work to do to achieve my target of breaking seven minute miling over the final four miles.

I was thirsty and tiring but the lure of the sub seven willed me on, made much easier once I was down the final steep hill (Which was really painful on the foot) and running through town. I came home having notched up 22.1 miles averaging 06:58 per mile. It meant I’d run 82 miles for the week, which is half a mile down on my record week set the week before Christmas last year. Not bad for one that I had intended to be a step down week.

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