It was the sunniest of days. The warmest of the year, here in the South East of our land that we like to call - Britain. I had already decided the night before to do a complete circuit of Richmond Park - all 11K of it, so once I'd swallowed a homemade juice of grapefruit, orange and apple and shoved 6 jelly beans into my pocket I started up the DanMobile and headed off to the park.
I was gonna park in fancy Pembroke Lodge car park, but once I'd got there, the world and his wife were all trying to park in the same place I wanted to! I got stuck in a slowwww one way circuit of the car park and had to admit defeat on exit. I headed of to another one I knew of about 2K away. It too was full. By this time my language got extremely fruity, cursing the people who had dared interrupt my plans with their selfish actions of taking a healthy walk in the park on England warmest day!!
I drove 4K to the next car park. Nowt. So this time I drove OUTSIDE the park itself and found a spot in a quiet residential road in Roehampton, right outside some houses that looked worth about £20 million each!
It was sunny so I had shades on. My outfit today was fairly muted - blue leggings and long sleeved blue top. Gertie Garmin was all set and I was off! There are two killer hills in the park - Black Hill and Devils Hill. The latter has shredded my legs on more than one occasion, going UP the bastard, so I took the decision to head in a direction so that it would be a DOWNWARD situation and Black Hill would be the UP situation.
I was going well and at 3K I stopped at Pembroke Lodge where I had tried to park earlier, and had a drink from the water fountain. I also awarded myself 3 jelly beans and enjoyed their fruity sweetness as they went down. After three mins I was off again. i was feeling fantastic and before long 5K had beeped on Gertie. Black Hill was ahead of me and I considered walking up the f***er, but sheer bloody mindedness told me different. I was gonna "run" up it - and when I say run, I mean making a running motion with my body and attempting to lift my legs with slightly more effort than a walk pace. I did well. Using the front of my feet (the hill training method) I launched myself at it and made the slow climb to the summit successfully. I was SOOOO pleased with my efforts and instead of stopping to get my breath back, I just carried on! What a star I was.
Ahead of me was an overweight male runner who had just down what I'd done, except he was glued to a tree, sweating and breathing loudly as his body got over the shock of Black Hill on the upward direction. I did an internal smug laugh as I ran past him. However, the Gods of Running didn't like that and said "Bad boy Dan! Thou shalt not take the piss out of running folk trying to do their best!" - and as if by punishment, the overweight man suddenly passed me AT SPEED!
"This won't do!" I said to myself and tried to catch up. No chance. This guy may have been heavy, but man he could shift some and was making me look like a pathetic novice!! I quickly banished him from my mind as Devils Hill was ahead of me - but this was gonna be DOWN hill. I heard a strange sound from behind me. It sounded like an animal that had been wounded by a poachers gun and as I tonked along the sound got louder. It was another runner (much older than me dammit!) who was going like a tank - and the noise he was making was horrendous. He sounded in pain, but in fact he was just breathing heavily! He passed me too (the bastard) and strode ahead. But as luck would have it - he suddenly stopped and bent forwards in some sort of runners agony. I ran past, quickly checking he didn't need an ambulance and smiled another smug smile to myself. However - the bloody running Gods saw it and scolded me again! As I approached Devils Hill, wounded animal breathing man shot past me SO FAST and launched himself down the hill. Now folks - this hill is so steep, you gotta take care going down at speed, cos if you lost your footing on the gravel, it'd be an ugly thang. Wounded animal breathing man didn't take such trifles! No sirree...he was legging it like a flippin' cheetah and was soon MILES ahead in the distance. I took the hill as carefully as I could - mincing down the hill rather than actually running. I must have looked ridiculous, but once at the bottom I settled into another steady pace.
At 8K I stopped again for my final jelly beans. Avoiding the horse dung I set off on my final leg back to the car. Still feeling good - breathing and legs were doing great, my mental state was coping with this run very well indeed and at 10K Gertie beeped to tell me that my time was 58'50. That felt good - a sub hour 10K. But there was still a K to go. It went so damned quickly, I can't even remember it!
I drove home and felt pleased I'd gone out and persevered with the parking situation earlier. At one point I was thinking of giving up and going home, but then I would have missed this run.
Hope you all had good running experiences like mine today. Have a great week everyone!