5 miles done! (and an adventure with cows)

5 miles done! (and an adventure with cows)

Woke up at 7:30 for my run along the river Thames. First item on the agenda was fuelling, so I had a banana and a glass of milk. Item number 2 was placating the dog so I walked her up to the field and let her commune with nature. It was a lovely frosty morning with a bit of a nip in the air so when her ablutions were over and I dropped her off at home, I grabbed my new Aldi jacket and gloves (£9.99 and £2.99!) fired up endomondo and set off.

Today was a day of firsts, as after half a mile I ran out of pavement and had to run on the road for the first time ever. I was very glad of my new fluorescent yellow jacket as as I approached the river things got misty and I had a couple of blind bends to negotiate.

I managed to not get run over and after a mile or so I reached the pub and bridge where I could join the Thames path. I ran a red light (what are the rules for runners?) managed to open a gate (1st of many) without looking too daft and hit the path. I had timed things just right as my arrival coincided with a swarm of fishermen arriving for a competition and if I had been a few minutes later I would have been stuck behind a slowly moving convoy of anglers hauling their all-terrain shopping trolleys full of rods, maggots and Thermos flasks.

The river was beautiful as always and the going underfoot good. I clocked 2 miles in just under 21 minutes so my pacing was OK. I entered a field full of cows, but I wasn't too worried as they are used to fishermen, dog-walkers and boaters. However one cow that was standing on the path was not like the others. As I lumbered towards him I noted the ring in his nose and the fact that he was roughly the size of a transit van. However he seemed friendly enough so I greeted him with a cheery morning and made a slight detour.

Un-gored I soon reached Radcot Lock and I was ready to cross Old Man Bridge. It looked so beautiful I decided to take a picture whilst running (another first). Trying to get perfect shot I almost missed my third first of the day, the cattle grid. I'm still not sure how I managed to run across a slippery grid whilst taking a photo without breaking my ankle, but somehow I did (see attached photo).

As I crossed the bridge I realised how it got its name as it was so slippy I had to slow to a snails pace and use both hands. As I left the bridge I joined a field full of...

...bullocks!

The footpath through the field would have taken me right through the middle of a herd of about fifty teenage bulls, so I took a less beefy path around the perimeter. However one young gun obviously took offence to me and started running towards me shaking his head and bellowing, so I had no choice but to take a short cut through a flooded section of the field towards the gate

I shall never forget the invigorating feeling of icy water shooting up the leg of my shorts or the adrenaline rush of being chased by someone's Sunday roast (ironically I have been vegetarian for 30 years). The water got to about a foot deep so I slowed to quick wade. Looking back I saw that bully boy was not keen freezing his hooves off and was content to show off along the shore line.

I reached the gate without further bovine botheration, climbed over it and I was now safely back on my usual running route. Other than my frozen feet I was feeling a little warm so I shed my gloves and jacket and settled down to the home run. 4 miles popped up at around 44 minutes, so even with gates, bridges and wading I was keeping up a reasonable pace.

The last mile was easier than I thought it would be and I even tried to up the pace a little for the last half mile. I was ready to stop when I heard robo-Laura (the endomondo lady) intone 5 miles, but I was within a 100 yds of my regular finishing line so I pushed on to achieve 5.07 miles in 55 minutes 34 seconds.

Woo-hoo! my first 5 mile run (8K for the metroids), all done without Laura holding my leash.

For my final first of the day I bumped into one of my mates in the village walking his dog. He looked at me and asked "have you been running?". As I was dressing in my C25K top, with soaking shorts, muddy running shoes and a fluorescent jacket around my waist I could only answer "yes". So I guess that I have officially come out of the closet as a runner too.

5 Replies

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  • 8K :O I am really impressed, I'm still happy to hit 5.

    Sounds like one of those runs when the actual running ends up secondary to everything else that's going on - makes for an interesting life and I'm sure the time just whizzed by :-D

    What a good job you left the dog at home, just imagine what could have happened...

    Great blog!

  • Great blog! What an eventful run - sounds so much fun! I chuckled at the bit with the anglers! And what a distance, don't think I could keep going anywhere near that long yet.

    Seems I'm not a million miles away from you, I'm in Kidlington. There are some lovely places to run round here too. I feel quite lucky.

  • It sounds like a great run and it's a brilliant blog, Mattaitch. I don't think I'd have had the nerve to say a polite "Morning!" to a bull. And as for crossing a field full of bullocks? No thanks. I was born and brought up on a farm and am very familiar with such animals, but I've been chased by cows when walking in the past couple of years and am very wary of them now.

    I, too, arrived back in the village today with mud splattered up my legs and soaking wet feet, but I managed to avoid meeting any neighbours. I deliberately ran early-ish so I'd be home before the church-goers started arriving at the Free Kirk I pass, all dressed up in their 'Sunday best'.

    Good for you fuelling before going out (I forgot.)

  • I was in 2 minds as to whether cross that field, but I decided to go ahead as a lot of Anglers use that right of way to get to the river so I expected the bullocks to be more mellow.

    However they are essentially moody teenagers full of hormones and hating the world, so I guess running through their territory dressed like a rave daffodil was always a bit risky.

    I guess I need to run longer so I can cross the river further down or try going upstream and pick up a different route back home.

  • Sounds like quite an adventure. Trouble with cattle is they are the nosiest creatures on the planet. They'd probably never seen anything like you before (and let's face it being a cow is a fairly dull existence) and decided to have a good look! Great run though and a fab blog! I can only dream of running 5 miles. :-)

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