I had a long run planned for the Bank Holiday today. 17k. And I knew I had to do it because Millsie-J and Anniemurph were counting on me - and I love a virtual challenge. The route was planned in my head last night before falling asleep, although I had my doubts that it was going to be long enough (and it wasn't!). This morning I lay in bed thinking "blimey, am I going to run all that? It's so far" and then in a very small voice "I don't want to". But what's a Bank Holiday for if not for running? So the gremlins were banished with a firm "17k, not one metre less, don't even THINK about entering my thoughts until 16.5 k are done!". They looked chastened and went back to bed.
So armed with my super dooper, all-singing, all-dancing new running watch I set out in the sunshine, 12 degrees C and an icy east wind (which was great later on!). Off over the fields up to the bendy trees where I was faced with a huge herd of sheep, heading for new grazing grounds. I seem to remember I met them on May 1 last year aswell! So a slight change of route to avoid ploughing through my woolly friends and then up towards the quiet roads around Schleissheim's castle. Very few cars but plenty of in-line skaters, cyclists and walkers enjoying the sunshine. The castle grounds were beautiful, and I peered wistfully at the newly-reopened beer garden, but plodded on, now back round in a loop past the airfield. This used to be the main Munich airfield during a not very pleasant time in Germany's history, but now it is used by the German museum to harbour historic aircraft. And they fly there aswell, as do Zeppelins and gliders. The Zeppelin was tied up waiting for its next excursion over Munich, the real hard-liner aeroplane spotters were already sitting in yet another beer garden right on the edge of the airfield, beer glasses raised as they waited for the next oldtimer to fly over their heads. Not for me though, I still had about 8k to go. 8k, gulp (a gremlin peeped out briefly from under the bedclothes, but was glared down). Then it was back into the woods, overtaking walkers, negotiating a few low branches (some of the trees had really been damaged by the heavy, wet snow we had last Friday. Their branches had been pulled really low, some had even broken off).
At 12 k I stopped for a drink and a very squishy banana. The benches were taken, one lady was lying on one, leaving no room for knackered runners, so I demonstratively plonked myself on the ground. Runners like me are bendy and flexible, we don't need benches, old cyclists do - that was the message I was trying to send! It was also a time to re-plan my route. I was about 3.5 k from home but needed another 5k if I was going to meet my own challenge. The extra loop had to be built in soon, there was no way I was getting too close to home with miles to go, the gremlins would be out of bed like a shot - and there was a real chance they would win. The extra loop took me past the sheep again, now penned in enjoying the grass among the bendy trees. There were even a few goats in there. I didn't see the shepherd, but he wanders over the heath and grasslands to the north of Munich all summer with his sheep. Sleeping in a caravan for half a year - I wonder if his dogs are allowed in?
By now I'm on the home straight and counting off the metres. The gremlins are jabbering from the trees, but they know they've lost. There is NO WAY I'm giving up so close to home. If they hadn't been so lazy and come with me they would have had a few real chances, but not now.
So now I have 17k under my belt. It was a slow run, I'm running with a heart-rate monitor at the moment, which tells me all sorts of things that I didn't know. At some point I will get to a half-marathon, but I can't ever see me finding the time to do a marathon. Not unless I get a lot speedier.