I went out and ran, about 10 mins after posting the last post. Writing the fears our helped.
It was an easy ~11 mile run on one of my regular circuits—Mount, Sandy lane, Loseley park, Artington, Shalford, town bridge, riverside and return through Sandy lane. I changed the return loop today to double over the Artington—Loseley section.
The run started well when I met my favourite doggo Toby on the warmup lap. He was busy sniffing something in the woods but came running as soon as I sat down and called him. Checked with his guy about cricket; he didn’t look too happy. Met Toby again on the lap return. He refused to leave the path and go with his guy. Waited for me in the middle of the path, tail wagging furiously. I love that kid :D
Running form was really good, and legs were feeling nice after last night’s stretching and foam rolling. Didn’t feel a thing in the back.
I saw a way marker for the Pilgrim marathon—out local trail marathon—on the Sandy lane. That’s the return route. I didn’t see any runners so thought it must be late. When I reached Loseley park, I saw a steady stream of runners returning. Turns out they’d reversed the route this year to celebrate an anniversary run.
The next section, all the way to Shalford, was fun. I cheered and encouraged all the runners. Most said a nice thanks. Some just smiled. Some grimaced… but that was really a smile that came out as a grimace after 18 miles on sandy, hilly trails. I understand their suffering; I’d run this race as my first marathon ago years ago.
The section from Shalford to town bridge was fast and normal. Didn’t meet any runners, dogs, or dog runners, or runner dogs, or any other interesting thing. It was nice though—mostly in shade, good running form, only gently rolling except for the Ferry lane.
Oh I did meet a cat. It was at the top of the Ferry lane climb. That’s my usual breather spot. Just as I stopped, this cat came to me, meowing and rubbing herself on my legs. I squatted and gave it a few rubs. It instantly wrapped herself between my feet and started arching for the rubs. She wasn’t happy when I said goodbye and started on the run again.
Ran from near the town bridge to St. Catherine’s docks on the riverside. First bit had a strong sweet smell of MJ. Next bit was full of young couples holding hands and walking on the riverside. The final bit was the best.
Met a young man carrying a little dog. The dog had decided it was tired after some running around, and was making dad carry it back. Reminded me of the days when Chewie used to pull that trick on me :)
This one was just 13 weeks old—only his second week out into the wild, wonderful world. No wonder he went bonkers and emptied himself.
It was also funny hearing about him from both the guy and his partner. Even though he was carrying him, she seemed to be way more excited about the puppy. (Again reminded me of our situation, where I got the dog and took care of it, but R sounded like she was the one bonkers about him)
The final section back from St. Catherine’s to home was hard. I was getting thirsty and tired. The lovely ladies at the Pilgrim marathon feed-station at Loseley park offered me water and cookies. I didn’t take the cookies, but water was more than welcome. We chatted a bit about the new route, the weather, and the runners. A mile later, I met the final (on my route) set of Pilgrim marshals. They remembered me from my run out—brown guy running around in Surrey countryside while loudly cheering all those runners. They cheered me on my way back over the stiles and up towards the Sandy lane. Taking the Artington route instead of Sandy lane had been a good decision!
It was on Sandy lane that my legs finally started giving up. It may have been the heat. But I guess it was also the realisation that all I’d eaten all morning was a peanut butter toast. (Though with enough peanut butter to feed a small family in Eros). The run up the steep Compton down was a killer. Probably the first time this year I had to take a break on that climb.
I managed to finish with a small first gate loop to take it close to 11 miles. Even on that, I couldn’t manage my usual sprint over the last 300m.
Despite the slow, painful finish, it was a good, happy run. Toby, Pilgrim runners, the cat, the 13wo puppy, and all the Pilgrim volunteers made it great. Even the golden retriever who teased me with his confusing mix of barks and tail wagging approaches helped. Glad I went out :)