I’m very pleased to announce that my new camera arrived the other day (still no sign of the old one…). I’m rather pleased with it – it’s a little bigger than the old one but is easy to use and still fits nicely in a pocket. I took it out today for a little adventure.
You’d be forgiven for thinking I hadn’t done much running lately. After all, I’ve not written about running since we did the Race for Life back in June. But, rest assured, there is plenty of running going on around here.
Today I’ve been out on the Tissington Trail. It’s an old railway line that runs for 13 miles through the peak district, and has the two big advantages of beautiful scenery and being flat.
In the run up to my first marathon in 2012, I did all of my long runs along the Sheffield and Tinsley canal. It’s hilly where I live, and while I didn’t mind doing my shorter runs on hills, for the long ones I felt I needed an easier gradient, and the canal is the only flat stretch I could reach without getting in the car.
It worked, but goodness me it was dull. I like canals, but it turns out I don’t like doing the same monotonous flat run over and over again.
So this year I’ve been doing things a bit differently.
I’ve done all my shorter runs near home, of course, but I’ve varied the long ones. For my 11 mile run I went to Ladybower reservoir, which was flat enough, but on a grey day I felt very shut in by the trees and the surrounding hills. When it was time to do 13 miles, I ran along the Monsall Trail, another old railway line with quite spectacular scenery and lots of long, dark gloomy tunnels to add to the excitement.
For 15 miles, I didn’t have the car, and so I planned a route straight from the house, which took in a long, uphill stretch of road, but which also had plenty of scenery. It was good to be home as soon as I’d finished, but it reminded me that hills and roads are not what I love on a long run.
This week was much prettier, and I very much enjoyed watching the sky change as I ran.
It was quiet on the trail. A few groups of cyclists whizzed past, and a ranger in a van, but otherwise it was just me and the wildlife – I saw a large dragonfly, a flock of goldfinches, and a hare in a nearby field.
I planned to run 17 miles today, but that meant turning round after 8.5, and at that point I was feeling so good that I carried on to 9 miles, meaning I did 18 overall, in just a smigeon under four hours. Not speedy (I’ll never be speedy) but quite respectable for me, and I still felt (relatively!) good at the end, which bodes well for the race.
What’s next? A couple of weeks of less mileage, and then one last big run (20 miles!) before the race. The furthest I ran before the last marathon was 18 miles, so I’m hoping an extra long run will do me good (rather than just wear me out).
I’m quite looking forward to trying somewhere new for that long run, although this time I’ll try to make sure it isn’t an hour’s drive to get home – anyone watching me get out of the car after today’s escapades would have thought I was 90 years old…