Last Friday, I was in hospital having long awaited minor surgery under a general anesthetic. Hopefully, this will resolve some of the health issues I've had with low iron levels and tiredness etc. Anyway, as a result I was off work "recovering" all last week although to be honest, there wasn't much pain, I just felt very, very tired. I managed the speed session at running club on Tuesday but since then, I've been struggling to crawl out of bed in the mornings much before 10 o'clock. Lazy cow
This morning was different as I'd decided I wanted to join some friends from running club for their usual Sunday morning run into Ironbridge and back. So I set my alarm and was up bright and early. Actually, I was up early but I wasn't bright, I had a hangover ! Still, by 9 o'clock, I was out of the door and doing my warm-up walk/jog down to our meeting point at Blists Hill. There were five ladies and 73 year old Jim, a former marathon runner who I think is probably faster than all of us but he likes the company. He's a good advert for running as he doesn't look his age at all.
Usually, we would head downhill into Ironbridge but because of the recent bad weather we suspected some parts of the route might be a bit treacherous so we decided to head up the Silkin Way towards the town park instead. The Silkin Way is a footpath/cycle path and leads through trees and woodland with the river nearby so it's a lovely route. I sometimes cycle to work and early in the morning you get to see rabbits and squirrels and a variety of birds. There are dinosaurs too but I'll get to that later....
The downside to taking this route is that it is almost all uphill for more than three miles and I have to admit that I found it a bit of a struggle and had to take a few short walk breaks, although this was partly because Jim set off at the front and i was trying to match his pace and I wouldn't usually start off that quickly. He makes it looks so easy as well - he's quite long legged and has quite an economical running style that looks as if he's barely broken out of a walk. In fairness, all I really wanted was to curl up in a ball and sleep off my hangover but it would have been wrong to waste such a beautiful, sunny day.
A kindly dog walker warned us of floods ahead but we carried on anyway. We soon found the flood. There's a bridge over the footpath and the water was covering the path all the way through the tunnel and was probably 20-30 metres across. We stepped carefully around it to take a detour over the bridge then back down the other side to rejoin the footpath. There were plenty more puddles to come and my friends carefully ran around them but for some reason I felt the urge to run through them and sped up and ran straight through the middle, although I waited until everyone had passed them so I didn't splash anyone.
Gosh, that felt good. Cold and wet and muddy but GOOD ! So good, in fact, that I felt the need to speed up and run through the middle of every puddle in sight. I ran and jumped until I ran out of puddles and breath, then waited for my friends, gasping for breath and with a big, stupid grin plastered all over my face and mud plastered all over my legs.
I think they suspected me of madness.
We carried on running to the town park and past the dinosaurs. Yes, there really are dinosaurs to be seen in Telford Town Park. They are part of a kids theme park called Wonderland but you can see them through the fence, looking out at you through the trees, as you run or cycle along the Silkin Way.
We looped round and rejoined the path for the run back. This, of course, is now mainly downhill. I'll swear that splashing in the puddles had given me a boost as I was running better now - or perhaps I just take a long time to warm up, I usually find the second half of a run the most comfortable.
When we got back to the flood I decided to treat myself and run through it. No-one wanted to join me - they took the sensible detour. I ran into the middle of the flood - wonderful ! It was quite deep, not up to my knees but with the splashing I was soaked to mid-thigh. I got halfway through and decided I should probably be a bit more cautious as there might be hidden potholes. As I waded out of the tunnel there was still another 10-12 metres of water to get through. I stopped to let another reckless runner pass me and a cyclist came through from the other direction - I think he was enjoying himself as much as I was. I ran out the other side and waited, dripping, for my friends.
I think they had now decided I must be insane. I pointed out that my shoes looked cleaner than theirs, which had been through the mud while avoiding puddles.
The rest of the run was lovely, sunshine, autumn leaves, a squirrel, lots of friendly dog walkers and good company. One little dog tried to join us and ran alongside us for a while - she was a Shih Tzu and looked so sweet bouncing happily along. Her owner wanted to keep her though.
I felt really happy and satisfied when we got back to our starting point and even better when I realised we'd done over 8 miles ! Sometimes I think it's a shame I live on a hill - there's such a steep slope back home from Blists Hill and my calves really started to feel the ache then. I treated them to a soak in a hot bath and I'm now sitting in my compression socks while my beloved cooks the Sunday lunch - I think I've earned my pork crackling
What a lovely way to start the day !