"It's a treat being a runner, out in the world by yourself with not a soul to make you bad-tempered or tell you what to do." - Allan Sillitoe

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Darlington Hills (Saturday), Bridges (Sunday)

Headed out early Saturday to meet up with Sugar and Sas for a run in the hills at Darlington. Gave myself plenty of time to get there and was probably 2km away when I took the wrong option at a roundabout. As a result, got myself lost and rather frustrated as a combination of my deteriorating eyesight (getting my first pair of old man reading glasses this week), poor light and a small print map book made it very difficult to work out not only where I was but where I had gone wrong and how to get back.

Luckily Sugar had given me his phone number so I was able to ring and tell him my predicament. When I finally got there we set out at 6.45am, about 15 minutes later than scheduled. Very thankful that they waited for me as I was really keen and my optimism was well and truly rewarded with a very enjoyable run.

First half hour was pretty much gentle downhills and flat before we got on to the heritage trail proper and headed upwards. I found this second half hour pretty challenging as we were going at a reasonable pace, uphill on a gravel trail as well as a bit of headwind. Was tempted to tuck in behind at one stage until Sugar pointed out that as a newbie I was supposed to be upfront taking the wind for the others!! After exactly an hour, we had a welcome (for me anyway) stop for drink and a gel.

I felt much more comfortable on the remainder of the run. Still some pretty good uphills but we were now running in the shade on the road where the traction was much better. Unfortunately, Sugar was struggling a bit with his calf and also it seems a bit of a virus he has picked up so our pace may have been a bit slower than earlier. Not sure, but I certainly felt like I had a bit of a "second wind" and was able to converse a bit more than earlier. Felt great at the end of what was a top morning. Quick stop at the famed "Carbo Inn" (Darlington Bakery) for an iced coffee and some pastry before I sadly had rush off to pick up Sammie from her dancing lesson.

Found everyone to be a very welcoming group and really enjoyed the run and the company. Hope to get out there again in the coming weeks and expect to find the 30km+ runs pretty heavy going but very beneficial.

Total running time was about 1 hour 48 minutes. Sugar has the run as 23.4km @4.39 pace which is good for a hilly run. Definitely need to get more hills in before Boston and know what to expect out in the hills from now on (and more importantly how to get there!)

Took it very easy for remainder of the day. Lay down for a 20 minute power nap which turned into a 45 minute sleep ... no mean feat with two kids running amok.

Wasn't sure what to do today (Sunday) so ended up basically substituting the run I would have done yesterday if I was doing my long run today, if that makes sense. 12.73km in 55.40 (4.22/km) which is quicker than I planned to go or thought I would feel comfortable doing. Felt good though and knew I had a rest day on Monday so wasn't too concerned at pushing on. Need to spend more time running at around my marathon pace anyway so this fits in with that.

Legs feel strong and my shoes are perfect at the moment. Am tempted to start breaking in my other pair of 2130s and start using these ones less and keep them for Boston as they feel superb, a noticeable improvement on my last pair. Might take the new ones out a couple of times to see what they are like before I decide for good. Have also considered getting some lighter weight shoes for Boston (Asics DS Trainers or Adidas Tempo) but at the moment am thinking that I don't want to change anything when things are going so well.

Mileage back up again next week, but with my previous long run having moved to last Monday, this supposed recovery week has ended up being around 110km anyway so won't be much to crank it up with two medium long mid week runs.

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