This week has been a strange one. I've had a couple of truly great short runs and some great gym sessions but for some reason don't feel satisfied.
We keep getting our estate agents ringing with the "O.M.G THERE IS A MAJOR PROBLEM!" Half hour later when someone finally listens to Emma; it's a silly mistake. We have both had a ton of hospital appointments and the constant back and forth is getting to me more then usual. And..... My garmin died.
So sod it! Sunday comes I'm blocking all calls on my phone and going to do something really really silly!
Im going to run the first half of the Thames path.
I did have a proper bucket list run on wed. Running in a full on Thunder and lightning Storm. Massive five kilometer personal best too!!
We had a couple of hospital appointments that day, so was really tight on time. We got back home after the first appointment and the rain had stopped. I got changed and rushed over to Dorney.
I know! driving somewhere to run, total dick move. I didn't want to get stuck miles away if it was going to rain again.
The second I parked up the heavens opened! I only had an hour including picking Em up so Sod it. It was still warm.
Because of the puddles I opened my stride right up and focused a few meters ahead. For the first few mins I was really struggling to get my breathing controlled and had a real battle with my head. Then I just fell into a rhythm.
I would love to lie and say the rain slowed me down. That I'm even quicker.
The truth is. It spurred me on. It was freaking amazing! The atmosphere was electric and the rain an increadble way to cool down! Being in a bit of a huff because I only had enough time for one loop helped too.
I had no idea of my pace as my beloved garmin is in for repairs. When I stopped and checked my phone I almost dropped it! I was a min under my all time best. I managed a 23.32 5k! Definitely stopping for Creme eggs on the way home.
I've got a few bits of new kit this week too. A saloman s-lab running vest, Black diamond carbon poles and a load of cliff bars to try.
It looks like it's going to be a beautiful day and I'm planning to loose myself for most of the day.
The plan is, Emma drops me off at putney bridge for my unofficial start hopefully mid morning. Then I'm going to follow the river and pig out on cliff bars and flap jacks.
New hydration vest and walking poles, Clif bars have long since disappeared.
Emma has been having a few problems with stress headaches the last few days. It's taken a little longer then hoped to get her up and about. So iv'e got a small change of plans.
I don't want Em traveling too far today, so I'm going to run to Eton and pick up the Thames Path there. Hopefully I'll make it to Henley. Then either get the train back or if Em is feeling better; meet her there and feed the swans at the river.
Apart from a 5k last year I've not done any trail running. So this is going to be fun!
I set off for Eton and I already don't like my shoes. I've got a real obsession with equiptment. I've spent a fortune on anything that might make things a tiny little bit easier. Honestly i've got more trainers then most WAGs.
The reason i'm always skint.
The heal and lack of drop has my achillies feeling tender. I really want some distance and time on feet today. As long as I keep the speed down and stride short its not a problem.
Wow! Windsor has always been a "happy place" for me. Me and Em often go down the riverside to feed the swans and ducks. It's stunning. Hitting that trail and heading towards Dorney is unreal. It's wonderfully isolated. No roads or traffic for miles even the Air felt cleaner.
(/content/images/2016/05/DSC_0175.JPG) Baby swans on the river!
I took my first wrong turn. Instead of following the (very small) signs i've ended up the wrong side of Dorney on a trail last used by the romans! Too stupid to turn back I ploddered on. A ton of pot holes and a steep angle pushing me towards the river kept things intresting. Not sure if my ankles would agree.
A little further on the most Stunning/obscene homes adorn both sides of the river. The sort of buildings a major lottery win wouldn't pay for. The Thames Path literally cuts right through the gardens; seperating the mini warfs and boats from the rest of the garden.
One of the increadible gardens cut in half by the Thames path. CEO or drug barron?
Just as my mind started to really wonder; "what must you do for a living to afford such incredible homes?"
Next thing I was at maidenhead. Another wrong turn had me on the wrong side of the river. reminder to self! print out a map!!!
Running around the perimeter of Maidenhead takes you down a soft canopied trail and really lets your ankles recover. The sun was blistering so it was really good to be in the shade a little.
Eventually I started to pass a few boat clubs as you get closer to Marlow. Unfortunatly this meant weaving in and out of groups of people enjoying slowly strolling. Fortunately this did mean Ice cream vans!
The worlds greatest bottle of coke and a solero slowed me right down for the next 20 mins. sweaty and out of breath; I got some real dodgy looks as I quickly Walked, stumbled between familys on the narrow paths.
At this point I decided to give the racing poles a go. Iv'e been told I need to practice with them as much as possible.
Wow I see why so many races don't allow these. They take a little getting used to but they make a huge diffrence to tired legs. I wasn't running fast at all but they really help you keep moving.
I quickly ended up In the middle of nowhere again. Travelling from one lock to another. The trees thick and green. Little cafes at the locks give me a chance to fill my bottles and buy more ice lollies. For fuelling purposes, honest.
A little further on, around the 35km point; Things really started to slow down. I was inside the grounds of a huge stately home and struggling. Deer, geese and big signs warning you to stay on the path were everywhere.
Out of nowhere a woman about my age came gliding past me. We were miles away from any town. She was keeping a great pace, making easy work of the incline and uneven ground.
Seeing her chew up the distance really lifted my spirits and spurred me to pick up the pace again. I let her get out of view then started to run again
Emma texted me to say she was bored and feeling better, so had driven to Henley to wait for me. Now I really had to pull my finger out. She would have pepsi and I was totally out of fluids.
The last few miles became a bit of a blur. The trail became a lovely arrow stright path following the river past rowing clubs and picnic areas heading into Henley.
I crossed over Henley bridge and back down on to the river front to find Emma waiting for me. Looking a lot more alert and relaxed then she has been for days.
42km Had taken just over five hours. I had taken my time, really enjoyed the day and stopped off at pretty much every ice cream store/van I passed. It's a stunning route with plenty of sights to keep your mind occupied.
We had a little walk along the river together, it was a stunning day after all.
I had blood blisters on two of my toes. my big toe nail is split and my right Achilles is twice as thick as the other. So I walked bearfoot. I have a really good excuse to buy some new shoes tomorrow!
New shoes!!!! Just in time for the Windsor trail half ;-)