Looking out of the window at 10h00, all I saw was dark grey clouds and drizzle. Not the most inviting weather for a long run, has to be said. But I’d committed myself to it, and eaten half a ton of (amazing) Chinese food the night before, so I had to burn some serious calories – at that point, running seemed as good an option as anything else.
After a breakfast of yoghurt (with chopped strawberries and a drizzle of honey) and poached egg on toast, I headed out. It started off ok, with the rain staying quite light and the temperatures quite mild. I headed up from West Molesey to Hampton Court, where I crossed the bridge and made my way to Bushy Park. I had set off a little faster than I meant to, at around a 10-minute pace .. For some reason I found it quite hard to pace myself today! I took a quick pitstop at the loos, and then begun doing laps around the park. It’s a gorgeous place to run, though the weather meant the paths were full of puddles, and there was lots of mud:
(This is the state of my trainers AFTER torrential rain cleaned them off. They’re still soaking wet).
Having slacked on my mid-week training (it’s becoming a real habit that I should probably break) my legs were quite lazy today, and I took a few miles to really get into it. I’m so used to running on pavements that the varied terrain in the park was quite a challenge – I definitely had to work harder! It was great for my joints though, and a previous niggle in my left knee didn’t flare up once. The shin pain started up a couple miles in, but a slight adjustment to my posture made it go away. Score!
I took a gel at mile 5, and started to quite enjoy the run – the rain eased off, and the sun (just about) made an appearance for a little while. My Uncle caught up to me on his bike just after 8 miles, which meant I got to take my mind off the aches and have a nice chat – which also helped me pace myself properly. The path took us quite close to a big group of stags, which was pretty cool! It was all going really well until 9 miles in, when I suddenly got a sharp pain in my right knee. I’m thinking this was related to my right hip, as the muscles around my hip and upper/outer thigh have been really tight since my last long run. From then on I had to take occasional walking breaks .. The pain would ease off to a dull ache for a while, which was great, but occasionally the sharp pain would come back. Only briefly, but still.
(You can see where the pain kicked in!)
We decided to give ourselves a change of scenery and headed out of the park and along the toe path, past Hampton Court (what an amazing view!) and back to the bridge. Whilst I’d had a bit of a break from the rain for a few miles, by the time we got to the toe path the rain had really picked up again – for nearly 2 miles it was absolutely torrential, and the wind picked up too – horizontal rain is SO not fun. I tried to take a gel at mile 10, and had to open it with my teeth because my hands had gone numb (yes, whilst I remembered my hat, I thought that the weather wasn’t bad enough for gloves. Note to self: Never underestimate the crappiness of English weather. Ever.) but it gave me a little boost which helped me to dig deep and push past the knee pain.
We got back to the bridge and I sprinted up and over, and it felt great to take longer strides and stretch out my legs. At the end of the bridge my Uncle went on ahead and I slowed down to a comfortable (well, comfortable when compared to a sprint) jog. The rain began to ease a little but given that I was already soaked and absolutely freezing, it didn’t really help! I sped up again for the last hundred meters or so, and then hobbled back to the flat.