Blue Runnings

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

Pondering Wandering

on 3 June 2016

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I took all my kit with me this morning so that I could go to the gym after work as P’s on dayshift and finishes several hours after me, and the gym always seems to be quieter and therefore cooler on a Friday as most people don’t seem to start their weekend with a workout! I got to the end of the workday and decided I couldn’t be bothered as I will be running both days this weekend, and I would go for a nice gentle walk along the river and kill some time before I had to pick P up. Many things occurred to me on my wander, and I will share a few of them here.

When J and I went to Hadrian’s wall on Monday, I noticed one of the walkers wearing exercise capris, which is probably a very comfortable option but one that never occurs to me. My running has snuck into many aspects of my life, but wearing running bottoms for anything other than exercise sessions just doesn’t fit in my brain for some reason. I took some of my running t-shirts with me to Ireland when I went on a hiking holiday with S hoping they’d help keep me cool, but I took light weight hiking trousers with roll-ups or zip-offs to keep my legs cool. They’re also what I default to for general day-to-day wear if it’s too warm for jeans or I’m feeling too ‘loungy’ for jeans. I see people walking in what I think of as ‘running trousers/capris’ and trainers all the time, but I’ve just never done it myself – I always have hiking boots and loose trousers. Today, I ventured out in my capris…I wasn’t going to wear my heavy-duty work trousers with their weight-laden pockets and steelie boots!

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I left the car, started walking off thinking it was nice and cool, then ended up going back to the car to get a jacket – while it probably still would have been just a touch on the warm side for running, it was going to be cool for walking. Dressing for walking requires conscious thought now evidently! I had my GPS watch on, a hand-grip bottle from a race, my retired running trainers which I use for general wear and gym stuff, my bracelet with mini pouch with change incase I wanted to pop into the Boathouse for a lemonade…pretty much the same stuff I wear when out for a run.

I headed off up the back of the Spetchells – my ‘short’ route when I’m running, intending to then drop onto the main pathway and head on up towards Wylam (my medium route) and Newburn (mega-long route). It wasn’t until I noticed it had taken me 25 minutes to reach the end of the Spetchells, which normally takes me about 12 minutes that I clocked how much faster I travel when I’m jogging, and I’m no speed record breaker. It took me an hour to reach the road bridge at Wylam – normally it’s 25 minutes-ish.

When I was about halfway between Prudhoe and Wylam, P texted me saying he hadn’t realised I was going for a ‘long’ walk. I hadn’t thought of it that way, I had come about 2 miles in that time and that to me when running is a short distance. Somewhere along the way my perception of ‘long’ has moved from time spent doing an activity to distance travelled regardless of how long it takes to get there. This works for jogging, but when you’re moving at the slower walking pace, you can be out a long time without actually necessarily travelling very far.

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I saw more by walking this route which I have run many times and even dabbled with cycling once or twice than I normally do when passing. The flowers were out, the green was starting to cover the flood debris from last winter, though there’s still an alarming amount piled up around the place. There was one point on the way back where I looked up on a long stretch through the trees, and didn’t actually recognise what I could see ahead of me – I probably look down or get distracted by something to one side at about the same place as I did on this occasion, but by the time I look up again I’m past that point. It was a little disconcerting. I watched the fish ripples in the river, found the chaffinch who was singing at me from the tree, didn’t get bothered by too many flies and pondered all the things.

My ‘short’ walk took me 5.25 miles – not a distance I haven’t covered many times before – and just under 2 hours. I think that counts as a long walk by anyone who’s not a hiker’s standards, and I must admit by the last half mile or so I could feel the long repeated activity in my legs and back, and when I did finally make it back to the car I was wondering how one does a ‘cool-down walk’ when one has been walking…and settled for just stretching on the kerb instead. I think for another week or so, I’m going to keep my exercise sessions below an hour as I’m still building up after my throat/chest infection of debilitating doom – regardless of the exercise intensity!

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