It took me about 25 minutes this morning to walk quasi-normally. In fact, Kim and Karen were laughing at me half the afternoon and all evening yesterday as I hobbled around.
And yet my run with Mark yesterday was not particularly out-of-the-ordinary.
The missing link is my playing tennis on Saturday. At the risk of sounding smug, I am pretty good at hitting a tennis ball, as was evidenced by the three that I hit not merely outside the court fence (I hit loads of those), but over the hedgerow as well and into Rachel & David’s neighbour’s garden.
No, tennis is not my game, but I thoroughly enjoyed trying, despite falling over twice… one of which even tested my ability to roll to order. And when Rachel went off to tend to dinner and Kim went with her, I was left playing solo against both David and Pauline, which meant that I had to run around the court at double time!
All of which counted for only a poor excuse yesterday morning – although to be fair, at that stage my legs had not yet seized up.
So the run started with Mark just after 9am at Jack & Jill with the aim of doing our (increasingly) normal 14-mile route, but with the likelihood that we would bump into Cliff running in the opposite direction from Falmer. This we did on Streat Hill and it was great to see Andy and Paula (on her bike) too.
After a quick discussion we decided to follow Cliff’s nose, which took us down past Streathill Farm to St. Mary’s Farm, then east in an off-piste manner in order to pick up the path that then took us to the top of Waterpit Hill. Here we parted again, after a quick team photo, Mark and I running up the hill towards Blackcap.
Alas for my legs, rather than run straight back to the cars, Mark insisted on putting a couple of extra loops in, the first being to take the South Downs Way down the long hill of our normal route, albeit only as far as the first (double) gate… and back again. The back-again bit was made more interesting by our swimming against a tide of death-wish cyclists, presumably on a race… and sadly having little thought for the local farmer and his sheep as they were not closing the gates behind them. I say death-wish, as they were scooting past us on a narrow, uneven path at 20+mph, with inches to spare.
When we reached the top of the hill, Mark’s second loop was to take us to the top of Blackcap and back, before we finally headed for home.
Somewhere between Streathill Farm and the Beacon, the combination of tennis and long run reached my head and the internal (and then external) voices started up, with their suggestions that I stop running and start walking instead. I think I managed to overcome them as far as the Beacon road, but then I did actually walk for a while, at least as far as the top of the next hill, before I got moving again.
I had one more short walk, but otherwise managed to keep going to the top of Home Hill where a cyclist thankfully asked us for directions… I was very happy for the conversation to continue longer than was really required (actually, until someone else walked up who actually knew the answer!) and managed to regain sufficient energy to finish the run.
Between Cliff’s off-piste stage and my inability to recognise which field boundary Mark and I ran down the hill to, I’m actually uncertain how far the run was… between 13.3 and 14 miles is my best guess… I’m going to call it 13.5 miles for simplicity. The time was 2.28 which makes the average speed about 5.5mph… about right given the number of chat stops and my slow return pace.
It was a great run and a really fun weekend and judging from the effect on my legs after playing just a bit of tennis followed by a pretty normal run, it shows how right Cliff is… I need to find a regular circuit training class to attend!