Yesterday I set out to do a 6 mile/10K run along the Thames path. After a week of 5 mile runs I was confident, but a slight hangover meant that I missed the dawn run and it wasn't until after lunch that I had a window. It wasn't a wasted morning though, as I picked up a bargain from Mountain Warehouse in Witney, a bum-bag with 2 water bottles for a tenner:
I had to smile when I bought it, as not only did the assistant shout "do we have any fanny packs?" (our US cousins may want to check out the UK usage) when I asked for the already amusingly-monikered bum-bag, but the correct name, waist bag sounds a little colostomic to me (reminiscent of Monty Python - "Snivelling Little Rat-Faced Watson's just as bad"
Anyway I am very pleased with my purchase as it is roomy enough to take a large flask of coffee, my lightweight coat and some emergency rations with plenty of room to spare.
I had already placated the dog with an earlier walk so I snuck out the back on my bike and was soon down at the river. I stashed my thermos and waste bag as I wasn't keen on running with it for the very first time on a 10K attempt. Also my planned route was going past 2 locks and a pub so there would be plenty of oppurtunities to rehydrate (locks usually have taps for boaters to replenish their water).
It was quite warm as the sun came out as I set off and all was going well. I reached the first
lock (Radcot) and even managed to go through the gate without feeling like a plonker. It was at this point that I made a crucial error. It turns out that the Thames path isn't well sign-posted so instead of following the line of the river I merrily set off along the access road for the lock, assuming that at some point I would see signage. About a mile later I realised that I was not on the path and so called up maps on my phone. I found that I was near Thrupp (the sound that a ruler makes when twanged against a desk) and so set off on a route that I hoped would bring me back towards the river. Unfortunately when I closed the maps app that caused Endomondo to crash, so I ran on unaware that I was no longer tracking my time or distance.
After three quarters of a mile (as I calculated later) I became suspicious that Robo-Laura
hadn't given me a lap time and looked at my phone, bugger. I restarted Endmondo and carried on through a little hamlet that I had never heard of and joined a bridleway. I had a bit of a shock as I was running behind a rather plush house with a giant chess set when I suddenly felt a cold nose nuzzle my hand and found that I had been joined by a friendly golden retriever. He paced me for a few hundred yards until I came to a gate. Beyond the gate the bridleway became a quagmire and having had enough of mud and reckoning that I had done 3 miles by then I turned back and was escorted off the premises by my new friend.
When I got back to my bag I was very hot and sweaty so I drank a whole bottle of water, then had a coffee and a granola bar, boy did that taste good. I did some rough calculations of my total distance and was annoyed that although I had run my furthest distance yet, at 5.8 miles I was tantalisingly short of my 10K. Bloody technology, bloody poor sense of direction.
After a 15 minute rest I decided to ride home via a slightly longer route to make up for my shortfall and I was happy to see that even after my longest run I was still able to manage a 8.5 mile bike ride. Also I had managed to burn a total of ~1400 calories which meant that I had paid off my calorie overdraft from Friday night's curry, so the day wasn't a total wipe-out, even if I had missed the actual river!
One day I plan to have a weekend run that doesn't involve, mud, cows or getting lost.