Running, it’s a funny old game

Yesterday lunchtime I took a long lunch break and went for my first outdoor run of the year. There were a few issues around it, but it was still the best run I’ve had this year, maybe not in pace, but certainly in enjoyment levels.

So it started with me leaving my desk 10 minutes late due to some work issue that needed my immediate attention, there’s a lot of those these days! I get to the changing room and start to get changed, I look in my bag for running socks, are they there? Of course not, just two pairs, not one pair, but two pairs of smart dress socks in there. Bugger! I opt to leave the dress socks in the bag and go running in the comedy Danger Mouse socks one of the kids bought me a few years ago that I happen to be wearing, not ideal, but what you going to do eh? Google grief Penfold!

I eventually get out the door, it’s now already 12:27, I should already be out pounding the pavement at this point, I should have been out the door 10 minutes ago if I’m going to get the 10 mile long run I skipped at the weekend for what ever demotivated excuse I could find at the time! Nothing is going to plan so far so why should it.

The run itself was nice, it was quite chilly out but also calm and bright, I’d forgotten my sun glasses naturally, those would have been nice to have. +1 to the list of rungs that should have made this a terrible run.

I head of down to the coastline to trudge along part of the Marathon route, I’ll be seeing a lot of these segments over the coming months. I navigate the beach section and head round the bluff to the concrete works, one of my favourite structures, I love the patina effect all over its structure.

Bedhampton Wharf Cement Works

There’s something about it that fascinates me.

At this stage I start thinking about how flattering the treadmill in the work gym is, I’m roughly a mile in and I’m feeling really slow. This is only a guesstimate as my phone is in my pocket, I’ve got no watch on today.

I plod on past and head along to Farlington marsh via the path that runs along the motorway, there are other runners on this route. I catch up slowly with 2 fellas running a very similar pace to me and hang back, not wanting to commit to overtaking them just yet, last thing I want to do is put in the effort to pass them only having to stop a bit further on and have them pass me.

Looking to my left the harbour is calm and there are a load of ducks swimming out. Whilst I’m out on solo training runs I always see things I like to snap a picture of so I stop to take a quick picture.

The Harbour

Runkeeper tells me I’m about 25 minutes into my run and I’m about 3.5km in. Having snapped my picture and confirmed that I am indeed running much slower than on the treadmill I stuff my phone back in my pocket and work on catching up with the two guys I’d tucked in behind earlier. Something to focus on, it doesn’t take too long either, I catch up with them and eventually over take them, greeting them as I pass. The pressure is now on to maintain the pace I’d set to get passed them. Pushing onwards to the gate, the turning point, it feels further away than I remember it, ha! I get there and slow to walk between it and the kissing gate to get on to the Marsh. My real goal.

I love running around the edge of the Marsh, it’s so tranquil, the harbour on one side, the bird infested marshland the other. It’s a wildlife preserve and rightly so. It’s a nice quiet zone in this densely populated and industrialised area. The trail path that runs around its edge is a combination of grass, mud, gravel and dirt, you have to keep a wary eye on your footing whilst trying to take in the scenery.

I had another moment where I had to stop and take a picture. On review, post run, it’s one of the better snaps I’ve taken whilst out and about, I’m so happy with how it came out I’m going to put it in canvas.

Breaking through

The sunlight breaking through the clouds was breath taking, lucky I stopped seeing as I was short of breath anyway! I’m about 7.5km in at this point. I continue on round the edge, slip sliding as I go in the mud, which is slowing me down further. I pass a few bird watchers on the way, almost going arse over tit in front of one elderly couple.

Further round the route I can see across the harbour my starting point. I’m so lucky to have access to this area of natural beauty right on my doorstep as it were.

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The rest of the route is pretty uneventful, I can feel myself slowing and make a decision to cut the run short and not make the full 16km distance up, I’ve run out of time so take the direct approach back to the offices. I get back there with no drama, slightly short of 12km so I pace up and down a bit to get to the 12km point, this has taken me 1:21, very slow but a good base to work on. It’s almost 2pm so I need to get in and get showered quick.

I get in the building and find the changing room my clothes are in closed to the public, wonderful. Looking on the sign it’s due to be cleaned at 2pm but they’ve started 10 minutes early, great. I shout in through the door to see if I can at least collect my clothes, no bothers, I can, but I whack my head in the process of ducking under the barrier tape across the door.

I walk around to the other end of the building towards the other set of showers I know of, praying that they are open. Success, they are! I strip out of my very sweaty gear and get in the shower. It’s cold, not freezing cold, but not what I’d describe as luke warm, not even close, marvellous. I grin and bear it, it’s good for you and I need to be quick anyway.

Having washed all the mud from my legs and sweat from my body I get out, only to find that the towel I’d brought with me was in fact a hand towel, idiot. I mop up what I can with this tiny bit of cloth, get dressed and head back to work, somewhat later than I should be.

All those things out together should have made this run less enjoyable, but I returned to my desk buzzing about 7.5 miles and buzzing about the snaps I’d taken. It’s a funny old game this running lark, but I do like it.

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