In a pool there is little to see; swimming in open water tears away the blinkers, and suddenly you have a world of visual stimulus, just as you do when out on your bike or running through the countryside.
The perfect swim anywhere you could choose would be in a tropical sea, from beach out to an island and back, looking down as you stroke to see stingrays. Swimming there, surrounded by fish, warm salt water keeping you buoyant, you are alone with your thoughts yet entirely happy with them. There is nothing to compare with that.
Ran my 2nd Half, and only the fourth 10 mile+ run, of the year on 26th July, at Down Tow Up Flow (DTUF) half marathon. Raghs had discovered this race, and when she decided not to run it, I signed up instead1.
DTUF is a point to point race, run on the Thames towpath between Marlow and Windsor. The route alternates each year between Down-Tow (Marlow-Windsor) and Up-Flow (Windsor-Marlow). This year it was running as the river flows, from Marlow to Windsor.
Edinburgh was the best place to get started on ‘running as a tourist’, and now Exmoor coast provided the next opportunity.
We had rented a large house for a long weekend, and drove in on Thursday after work to make most of the 3 days. Despite late arrival, the night was spent drinking and playing games, and the sky was already turning bright by the time I went to bed. Running was no where on the cards.
Yet, when I woke up 4 hours later, and saw the view from our window, I knew what I had to do. Running vest, shorts, water belt, shoes on, and off we went – I and my best running buddy, Chewie.
I rode the 12Km Bandra ‘cyclothon‘ – an organised ride, on closed roads, through streets of Bandra.
I didn’t own a cycle back then. I hadn’t even thought of riding that cyclothon, let alone going and buying myself a cycle. The idea was all Girish‘s, supported by Mehul, Amit and a few others on twitter1. We signed up – Raghi borrowed a bike from her friend, Simran, and Girish offered to lend me one of his old bikes.
We, Girish and I, didn’t know each other that well back then. We may have met once or twice, and had chatted on twitter for 6 months or so. And despite just that feeble connection, he didn’t just encourage us to sign up for the event, but also offered to lend his bike.
I loved the cyclothon. It was just 12 Km, mostly through narrow, potholed streets of Bandra. Yet, I thoroughly enjoyed it (as did Raghi, I suspect). It’d been 9 years since I’d last ridden a (my) cycle, and that small event brought back flood of memories of cycling.
Running while on a vacation has been high on my plans ever since I finished the couch-to-5K program in early 2013. I’ve carried along my running shoes to 2 Lake District vacations, one vacation in Scotland, and on 2 trips to India. Yet, for various reasons – primarily because I became overwhelmingly lazy once on vacation – I never got running, and the shoes came back unsoiled.
Edinburgh, my favourite city in the UK outside London, was just the perfect place to finally get started.
Of all the blogs and books that I’ve read about running – and I read an unhealthy amount – no one ever talks about this one thing – shitting on a run.
If we were to go by books, blogs and public discussions, it’d seem this just doesn’t happen. Ever.
Yet, I’ve heard people softly admitting about having to do it. I know people who’ve done it, and lived to tell about it. And, for the first time, on a 20K off-road run last Saturday, I had to do it. Since, no one else publicly writes about it, I am.
Fred Whitton isn’t far now, just 2 weekends left in between. Training has been going well, almost. Had planned to ride 2 big rides in April – one with lots of ascent, and the other long in distance.
Rode the first one on 12th. Joined Andy, Nick and Damian for the Leith Hill Octopus, and followed it up with 3 reps of Box Hill to make up some more climbing metres. Combined with the ride home, over Ranmore Common, Greendene, and the home climb, the climb totalled up to just over 3000m of ascent. Item one: checked.