Sunday, 22 January 2012

Up, Up and Away!

I decided to vary my route this morning, as variety is the spice of life and it can become very boring just panting past the same old scenes all the time. I also decided that, since it is Sunday and therefore nice and quiet and relatively traffic-free, I would run a route that involves running alongside some major roads – not something I would enjoy during the week with all the nose-to-tail commuters in their smelly, choking fumes alongside as companions on the journey.

The weather is cool, but not cold, and there is a light breeze, thankfully much lighter than yesterday’s strong, fence-flattening winds! I don’t mind much weather, but strong, gusting winds can knock you this way and that and sap your energy, making a run into a battle with the elements. Some people find that invigorating, but not I! The first mile or so is my usual run through the park. This is the section when I start to get warmed up, my heart and lungs up to speed and my muscles working. Even after nearly 30 years and countless runs I still find the very start of a run difficult. There’s a short, moderately uphill stretch right at the start, and this where I have to get everything woken up and working – a downhill section just wouldn’t do it, so my house is well-positioned in that respect!

Hills are at the forefront of my mind this morning, as I know what lies ahead. This is a route I have run many times in the past, but not for some time now – possibly since early last summer. I spend the first mile through the deserted park mentally preparing for what lies ahead – the relentless climb from the park to the Common, a large area of woodland and parkland just outside the centre of the city. As I leave the park I note the details on my GPS: 1.03 miles covered. I will note them again when I reach the summit. I don’t mind running up hills at all, as much of my early running was in a very hilly city that bordered on even hillier countryside – hills were unavoidable so I learned to love them. There’s no point in hating hills if you can’t avoid them, and I always think to myself that they involve different muscles, so the ‘flat’ muscles get a bit of a rest on the way up. You can probably tell that I’m not medically-trained!

Up then, then up again, a slightly flatter stretch then up and up until I can see the crossroads right at the top and they draw closer until I am upon them. I glance down at my Garmin – 2.79 miles, so a climb of 1.76 miles accomplished in just short of 16 minutes. Not bad at all! And now I’m at the Common, away from the roads and through the woods, lovely and peaceful and surprisingly free of spaniels. Well, it is still relatively early for a Sunday, although later than I would run during the week. Actually, to be able to see clearly where I am heading is still a bit of a novelty, as I’m used to the half-light of pre-dawn in recent runs.

It’s pretty much all downhill from here, or flat. There are quite a few runners around, of varying abilities. One young man streaks past me and shrinks into the distance, and I think to myself that he is probably thirty years my junior, has never broken his femur in a race, and probably doesn’t have diabetes to contend with – this helps me justify the disparity in our relative speeds. Oh, and he probably hasn’t just run uphill for nearly two miles. I try hard, but can’t think of any more excuses why he has become an ever-decreasing dot in the distance!

Being familiar with the route, I know that it is going to take me much further than my recent training runs, and I am starting to tire as I glance down and see that I am now 4.5 miles into the run. I’m still quite a way from home, but I’m leaving the Common now and on my way back – a different route, more direct, and either flat or downhill all the way. Happily, my legs are not too jarred by the impact of running downhill, so I manage to get back in one piece and fit to run another day (probably a Tuesday, and probably this week!). In all I have covered 6.24 miles in around 63 minutes, which in metric equates to 10 kilometres! Not bad, given that I was finding 3.5 miles so challenging around ten days ago! I’m also interested to see that, for the first time since starting this blog, my blood glucose levels are actually lower than when I set off. This confirms previous findings that I can run for around 5 miles before needing any extra carbohydrate. This is something I will need to bear in mind and monitor as my training runs get longer.

On the fundraising front, things are a little slower, although I have many pledges of donations before the month is out, so it will be nice when they come in – I may even approach my revised target of £500!

Time               1hr 3 mins 24 secs
Distance        6.24 miles
Pace               10:10 per mile
BG before      8.4 mmol/l
BG after         6.3 mmol/l

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