It wasn't rain. It wasn't drizzle. It was a combination of the two - rizzle. If it had been misty, then it would have been mizzle. Alas, today it was rizzle.
Mrs Dan drew back the curtains at 10am and said "Yuck! Miserable day." She wasn't wrong. The finest rain I had ever seen fell gently and my first concern was "Will the hair look a nightmare?". Once I'd realised that that wasn't worth worrying about, I donned my outfit for todays 12K - electric blue lycra leggings and fluorescent yellow top. This, combined with my black/blue/yellow Asics Nimbus shoes, made for a running outfit, fit for a KING!
I'd planned my route yesterday. I'd mentally broken it down into 7 sections and I imagined myself doing the entire route successfully. I decided to fill my running bottle with half water and half Gatorade - an orange flavoured disgusting concoction I'd got in my goodie bag at last weeks Turks Head 10K, so that I'd have some sort of "fuel" mid run. So on a glass of cranberry juice and three dates I set off out the front door into the fine rizzle and started my warm up walk.
The conditions were in fact pretty damned good for running. The temperature was bearable and the rizzle kept me cool. I started Section 1 by pressing Gertie Garmin on my wrist - and I was off! Reached Richmond Lock and climbed the steep steps and jogged across the footbridge to the other side. My Asics Plan stated that todays run was to be "comfortable", so I ran as slowly as I could. I wanted to enjoy this run and not shoot my bolt too soon (so to speak!). My destination for the start of section 2 was Nightingale Lane - the biggest hill in SW London (I'm almost sure that it is!). I'd used this hill last summer for my hill training and I wondered if my legs would remember it? Ahhhh....here it comes....
I started the long hill climb slowly. This hill is a bitch. It has two sections - one which is really steep and leg shreddingly hard - the other, which you can't see until you round the bend half way up, is almost a sheer rock face. Luckily I'd brought my crampons, grappling hooks and plenty of rope to aid my quest........of course I'm kidding,but I wanted you to get a flavour of how steep this muthaf****r of a hill really is. Section 2 was about to begin.....
I reached the summit completely bushed and took a walk break for 60 seconds. It was here that I discovered how repulsive Gatorade is (even diluted), as I took a swig from my bottle. Nevertheless, it gave me the impetus to carry one. Section 3 - the reverse half of the Richmond Parkrun route.
Section 3 went really well because it is mostly downhill. It's a bit sneaky this, because it looks flat but it is in fact a gentle downhill. On the parkrun, you run it the opposite way and it's now that I realise why this section is SO HARD! I passed a "Runners Village" of the Capital Runners 10K who were out in the park today and headed towards the 6K marker - which would be Section 4.
Gertie squealed, alerting me to the fact that I'd reached the halfway mark. Feeling good - legs, hips and breathing. THANK YOU GOD! This next bit was the penance for the recent downhill easy bit I'd just done, in that the majority of it would be a long slow uphill. Ugh! Not to be dispirited, I put on a gritty determined smile and ran / jogged slowly along. A very very old man was coming towards me. He was decked out in running gear and had a "Capital Runners 10K" sign on his shirt . He was really doing a brisk walk rather than running but he hadn't yet reached the 9K marker. His head was down but he looked determined. "Not far now!" I said as I passed him. He didn't reply, but I imagined his head thinking something like "P**s off you patronising t*at"!!!
I was about to reach the entrance to the park where I'd come in earlier. But there was a hazard! A mad mother with double buggy had decided to stop RIGHT IN THE GATEWAY ENTRANCE!! She was attending to her child, completely oblivious to the fact that she was blocking the entrance, not just for me, but for everybody! "COMING THROUGH" I yelled, by way of warning the lunatic that she should get the **ck out of the way. She just about cleared the gate as I passed, but I still had to do a wiggly move to get round her. I grumbled and made some sort of annoyed response like "That's it! Block the way for everyone....". Grrrrr.....I was annoyed with her!
Section 5 - all downhill towards Richmond Bridge. Lovely. I reached the Thames Path (section 6) and plodded onwards. The 10K squeal squeaked out of my watch and I looked at my time - 64 minutes - a good 5 minutes slower than last week for the Turks Head 10K, but todays run was ; a) longer and b) more hilly!
I'd reached the road by 10.7K and headed down some side roads (Section 7). 11K squeaked. Only one more to go and it was here that my brain started to doubt my ability. I dunno what it is, but whenever I'm approaching the final bit of a run, I mentally begin to collapse and slow down!! The last K was frightful. Hard and desperate. I was hungry. I wanted a jacuzzi. i wanted to just bloody finish!
12K SQUEAL from Gertie Garmin! An awe inspiring Royal time of 1'17'27 - HOORAY!!! I had done it, but man was I tired now. But I have to say that 98% of it was very manageable and enjoyable. It was only the last bit which made me feel crap but I soon got over that!
After my jacuzzi I made some pasta and vegetables - enough for 5 people - and ate the entire plateful!!! Then I went and caught Oscar the cat in our garden, who refuses to come in during the summer. Mad cat that he is. But we miss him and wanted him to spend a bit of qualadee time with him as he sleeps on the sofa, making the most incredible shapes! When he's passed right out he does these amazing long "goalkeeper saving a penalty" stretches and just stays in that position for ages!
Sorry. I bloody love cats.
Anyway readers, thanks for putting up with my drivel. Don't ever give up when you're out there. The feeling you get once you've accomplished your goal - is worth everything!