Warning, as ever… for those that know me, it has been a while… for those that don’t know me… read if you wish, and be warned for the future😊
It really has been a while…a slow building back up after a long spell on the IC, mentoring duties, small runner in training demanding full time attention, and my Black Dog lurking around for a while, have all meant I have neglected my running rambles. Well… time to get that sorted.
Sunday…my very favourite run day… and despite the best intentions of Storm Brian, I did get out this morning and I did run. Oh, yes, I ran 😊
I was, for me, late heading out, as the last, half-hearted, but peevish gusts echoed around, and a heavy downpour threatened to stop play. So, leaving at 8.30, after a solid warm up and some exercises for my calf, I headed out and towards the village. Travelling in the opposite direction from the town I walked, briskly; I was bundled up this morning... warm hat, not cap, and a lightweight jacket. The wind was chill as I cleared the hedges and began my run. This morning, knowing this was to be a longer run, a 7K, (part of a programme I am on); I had a plan… run down the hill towards the village and then turn and run back up the hill…hopefully this would slow me down a tad, as I do have a slight tendency to start quickly when I have a longer run! I feel it may be excitement!
Leaves crunching underfoot...hips and haws, rosy and full-bellied in the hedgerow, the distant mountains hidden by the morning mists and the sheep already breakfasted, and wandering to pastures new. The wind was behind me as I headed towards the turning point, but, running back uphill was slow. The wind, now in my face as, making the brow of the hill… the delight of running along and down the other side of the hill into the town was before me. However, the wind at the top of the hill was very, very strong... my plan to slow-start was working... without me even trying… and battling against the elements was hard. I ran down, slowly towards the town… the bay, below me, calm as a mill pond, compared with the huge, heaving and rolling seas of yesterday. No, Lowry figures on the shore, no cars on the road…no hustle or bustle and an echoing, strange silence after the unrelenting barrage of sounds of yesterday.
I am still building up towards the point where I was, before I, and the injury Couch became close friends… and I am, as you would expect, taking it slowly and steadily. I do take my own advice, and, listening to my body, a slight twinge in my calf caused me to slow down even more and just pull back gently. The B and Bs and the small hotels on the way into town are still open, half-term has begun…and those tantalising smells… warm toast, fresh coffee and grilled bacon drifted towards me as I ran. Below and to the left, the Castle standing proud on its mound... two flags flying bravely in the wind… and the craggy rocks, below stark and sharp, and bereft of the white-foamed, battering of the high tides.
The grey hotel, renovation nearly complete, is still not open for business, but will, I expect be fully booked next season. Onward, very slowly and a very quick glance at my Garmin shows that the first Kilometre was as slow as I intended. I found also, that any kind of toxic ten, was not in evidence. Breathing steadily, and evenly, as I turned up another slight incline that detours from the main road. Round along, past the bungalows and houses here, commanding a wonderful view over lower roof tops, and the most glorious of skies, a backdrop for the bay. Down past the Memorial Hall, a quick glance at the notice board and on and up the next small hill to the next turn.
The big white hotel here, has many cars parked outside, and a peek into the large windows shows the breakfast room with full tables, hedonistic holidaymakers and again those smells of Sunday satisfaction. Down on to the main street, shops closed, a man with a van, and a coach, waiting for loading, outside the old hotel. I was aware of my running now, relaxing my shoulders, shaking out my hands a little, and feeling the beginning of that most comfortable of paces.
As I have moved along this running journey, the feeling may come sooner or later, this morning it was sooner… along by the bungalows which always appear to be inhabited, solely by the over eighties; late sleepers this morning, maybe the broken night of the storm has taken its toll. I run by and along the road, towards the turn for the sea. Down past the tennis courts and, still, the only person I have seen is the man in the van; landing lightly, and yes, trying to kiss the ground with my feet, because it really does work; no effort running now as, on a whim, I take a new route, off to the left towards the mound that lies east of the castle. Through an apparently deserted estate, of bungalows and houses, with their silent occupants, and back through a small pathway, which leads me around the back of them and around again. No worries…I need to make up my distance 😊
Down to Marine Terrace and back out towards the coastal path, the holiday apartments in the three storey houses, the B and Bs the small hotels, all clearly doing well as I move along, faster now (yes, I did say faster), and out onto the coastal path before turning and heading homeward. I was in a wonderful rhythm now, the legs carrying me and not having really to think about it...just being careful, as I run down the steps to the lower promenade, passing a man walking a Pug dog… I would have liked to have stopped and taken a photo, (one for you, poppypug ), but I needed to carry on and back up the other steps, along and then, up another hill towards Castle Square. The little mid-terrace house is still for sale here, through the square and down Castle Street, past the Castle Bakery, holiday lets now… past the best Chip shop in Criccieth and along Tanygrisiau Terrace.
The lady from one of the terraced houses, is coming out of her gate, she often shouts a cheery greeting to me, she smiles and waits for me to pass; smart as a new pin this morning, Sunday best and chapel pressed… heading for the Sunday service I thought. I carry on running and for the first time in an age, it is as if I am floating along. I decide to retrace my steps and head back along that road and down Beach bank…past the Lifeboat station, past the Green and along the Esplanade.
Looking across the Bay, the sun is making its presence felt, crepuscular rays hitting the sea with a silvery shimmer, the far hills of the Harlech Dome, sullen and brooding, under a lifting mist; their secrets exposed to a brightening world. A group of folks on the shore, buckets, big buckets and spades, and large plastic bags, a clean-up party, heading out, hale and hearty, calling and laughing, to remove the flotsam and jetsam brought in, on those angry waves. A quick look tells me I have not far to go, so a very quick photo stop seems reasonable. Taking the opportunity also, to take off my jacket; hat had been removed en-route. Just by sheer chance the clouds part and I take the picture… moving on, now, body and feet light, despite the thought of the hill that takes me home, and that last kilometre. Up past the smart restaurant, over the level crossing and up the hill.
Slow and steady now, my legs still going strong, but I am still wary of putting too much strain on the calf… one or two cars now, another runner coming down the hill, calls, “Good Morning”, as I head up, and up, back to where I started from. I complete my cool down walk, slowly and with real pleasure… this was, one of, ‘those’ runs… where I found my happy pace… my mind is cleared, my body tingling, and my heart is light.
7K done… satisfied😊
Some folk are struggling a bit now, worrying about runs, speed and distance; please, try not to.
Just enjoy this great running journey, take it gently, look around, learn about running, and yourself, embrace every single moment.
It comes... whatever you want… if you go, at your own pace, in your own time…it comes.