Blue Runnings

Race Reviews, GPX files and more from North-East England

Riverside Amblings

on 24 May 2015

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My intention was to get up and go for a run as far as I could manage on the towpaths along the River Wey, taking advantage of the fact that my Dad had agreed to pick me up from wherever I happened to end up, and hoping to be able to get some double figure miles in. The thing that got in the way, was the weather. My logic was, make hay while the sun shines not too hotly. 08:15 in the morning, having been out about 5 minutes, and already I was dry-mouthed, sweaty and too hot – and desperate to make it to the river side where there might be a chance of shade. It’s the first time in ages I’ve needed a drink or a walking break in a less than 5km distance – and I don’t normally take water even for a 10km anymore.

The water in itself was a necessary nuisance at the start – I also don’t normally take anything at all with me if I can help it other than my watch, or I take my small waistband thing for races to put my keys and phone in, sometimes dextrose tablets. Expecting to do a longer distance, I’d taken my bigger one with the water bottle holder – and with a full bottle of water, a bigger phone than normal, and three gel sachets in it felt really heavy compared with how I remember – and was bouncing like crazy as I tried to jog along, it was not doing my stomach any favours! I got it clamped around my waist securely finally about the 2km mark, and once my water bottle was half empty it was ok.

I’d taken 3 SiS gel sachets intending to take them at 4, 7 and 10 miles in the hopes that they’d magically make me able to go further without being really tired – either genuinely working or as a placebo effect, I don’t really care! I was that hot and demoralised I broke into the first sachet at about the 4km mark – much earlier than I was intending, and tried a lemon and lime one. It was horrible. It was like non-sour lemon flavoured calpol and the texture was really cloying. I managed 2 mouthfuls and it was all I could do to keep it down. Rinsed my mouth out with water and carried on with the other half of the tube stuffed into my belt pack in the hopes of finding a bin somewhere. I don’t know if the different flavours are different in terms of texture etc., but I have no real interest in finding out…that’s me off gels I think. I had some dextrose tablets around the 6km mark after a short walking break (and attempting to catch a bathing birdie on camera but it was too far away) and felt much much better than I did after the gel – so I think I’ll stick to munching them, they’re much cheaper too and not really impacted by temperature.

The route I was taking along the river was very very pretty, and as a walk it would have been lovely, but as a run in the humid sunshine it was not pleasant. I ended up walking much more than I have in months, and I don’t know if it was my trainers or the residual sandblasting from the Pier to Pier, but by 8km I was getting blisters on my feet again and was about ready to pack it in. I wasn’t beating myself up about it too much after I remembered that I have all this week off at home, so I’m going to try another long run on a weekday along the Derwent Walk, which is shaded for much of its length. I just tried to enjoy the gorgeous viewed and at least get past the 10km marker before I got picked up, footsore and very pongy! Not good company in a tiny Nissan Micra…sorry Dad!

My total route when I hit the river was from Bowers Lock at the bottom of this map stretch (I had an extra 2km to get from my parents house to here), to Walsham Gates at the ‘you are here’ arrow. It’s a lovely stretch of the country and I saw many birdies and critters as I pootled along. One day I shall take a canal boat along it…

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I’ve not been down as far as Walsham Gates before, and it was very very pretty there – have recommended it to my Mum for her walking group!

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There’s a big weir, and I saw my first grey wagtail (which have a lot of yellow on them, go figure), and several pretty damsel flies 🙂

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Not my finest run all in all, and I came in at 1hr 16mins for the 10km, which is my slowest time in a very long time, but it’s all miles to the trainers. I’m dreading this half marathon now – I hope it’s cool out so I can at least attempt to run it, I’m hoping I get a decent long run this week which will really boost my confidence. I don’t know how I’m going to cope in the summer proper – I may have to start running with my hydration pack or something…

I’d like to try this route again, without the blisters and the muggy British summer heat, as it really is gorgeous, but will have to settle with my hobble walk-jogging for now – and do better next time!

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