Still in the Fens of Lincolnshire, I was out fairly early for a planned long run. In various incarnations, this run has been run on the last Sunday before Christmas for around the last seven years. A six mile dead straight road heading to Coningsby before finding another six mile long dead straight road to Gypsey Bridge. Interspersed with other straight roads and you have yourself a 23.5 mile long run.
The other USP of this run is that the entire run takes place at or around sea level with barely a noticeable change in elevation to be found – this despite passing through two hamlets that proclaim to sit on top of hills.
From the off and aside from some initial alarmingly green strings of snot barely ejected from the nostrils, it was apparent that body and legs were feeling noticeably more healthy than in previous days. There was very little of the run when I had a direct tailwind but much of the first half had a slightly favourable cross wind, so I deliberately eased back on the pace.
Coningsby is over halfway and after a welcome pit stop, I picked up the effort a touch on the way back, keeping the pace consistent or slightly faster despite the wind increasingly blowing more directly into the face. The flat straight nature of the run began to take its toll with several tendons and muscles in the legs aching from the repetitive strain.
At 20 miles there was a tough mile into a direct headwind before thankfully the final turn saw me back to having a crosswind, which allowed me to log the fastest mile of the run and indeed the week in the final mile.
Some considerable coughing later once stopped and it was time to drive back, having run over 82 miles for the week. Quietly and with not a lot of pace, I’d logged my biggest mileage week ever. Week one successfully accomplished.
Time: 02:51:24. Distance: 23.39 miles. Pace: 07:19.
With both my running clubs holding their Christmas parties on the Friday night I was probably one of the few to be in any fit state to head out for a run on the Saturday morning. The reason I wasn’t at either party was I’d rocked the night away at the gloriously over the top Witham & Blues American diner near Boston. An appropriately portioned three course meal washed down with some un-American, but pleasingly pleasant, cider (some equals a little too much, but thankfully not enough to cause any real damage).
The morning run was a drive to the bizarrely named Anton’s Gowt, where I ran up and down the River Witham footpath, reclaimed from a former train line to make a flat straight path from Langrick to Boston.
First I headed right to Langrick, slow, a little stiff, and slowed by a stiff crosswind. The wind here in the Fens is nearly always a factor in the run and the quicker bits were generally when I found a little shelter from the relentless battering of breeze.
Once at Langrick it was a U-turn and a four mile or so run to Boston. Once there it was an about turn back to Anton’s Gowt via a loop of the Witham Country Park, a title far grander than the reality of what is a bit of flat land and a path. At Anton’s Gowt it was a bit more of an out-and-back to bring the mileage up to a nice round ten. No real pace in the run but more miles in the bank.
Distance: 10:02 miles. Time: 1:16:11. Pace: 07:36.
The first mile or so of this run was a tortuous affair. The legs were stiff, hips sore, still full of cold, treacherous underfoot with plenty of ice after the rain the evening before. After three or so miles I’d settled into a slow but steady rhythm.
I thought I could get an extra couple of miles or so so in, so I proceeded to run multiple laps of Dysart Park, which soon became a little tedious as it is only around 400 meters long. After a couple of miles of going round and round in circles, I headed back home, thankfully with much of the I’ve now melted. The run done, miles logged, onto rest before hopefully plenty of miles over the weekend.
Miles: 8.01. Time: 1:01:28. Pace: 07:40.
Now becoming a running club tradition up and down the land, a tour of Grantham taking in the best/worst in Xmas lights displays in an 8 mile or so loop. The hands down winner had to be the astonishing display on Belton Lane – complete with taped Christmas Carols and just about every conceivable light and ornament imaginable.
As for the run itself – 4.3 miles before meeting up with the club – made plenty harder by the unwelcome addition of some icy cold rain and a bitter wind, which left me sodden and chilled to the bone. I spent much of the next 4 miles trying desperately to warm my hands, which led me to resort to putting them down my tights. This proved pleasingly successful.
Not a particularly quick run but surprisingly tiring, and a couple of ankle twists en route which left me hobbling a touch in the evening. Still a pleasant run nonetheless.
Distance: 14.68 mile. Time: 2:01:31. Pace: 8:17.
At some ungodly hour in the in the night, head feeling like it was going to explode, body roasting yet feeling cold, I wondered what on earth was happening to me. I have up trying to sleep and headed to the sofa downstairs, where after an hour or so of wishing the pain away I finally got a few hours decent sleep.
I probably shouldn’t have run today, but running is a terrible addiction, so I compromised and went on what was a very steady 6.2 miles I the same route I took on Monday, albeit harder today with the wind strengthening and the head still fairly fuzzy. It was somewhat slower than Monday, but still well within eight minute miling, a pace I was struggling to make on slow runs as recently June this year.
I made it back with seemingly little damage done. I look forward to running though not feeling quite so generally rubbish.
Distance: 6.2 miles. Time: 47:48. Pace 7:43.