It can be funny with running. Sometimes you get into a run of consecutive days of getting out. Other times you suddenly find you’ve not been out for a couple of weeks.

A combination of a stinking cold and a family bereavement meant that I came into this weekend having not run in two weeks. Unsurprisingly I was getting itchy feet!

Therefore on Saturday morning it was time to head back to parkrun. It had actually been even longer since I had been on the start line. The last 4 weeks had seen other commitments take precedence. This coupled with the illness meant I wasn’t really sure what to expect time wise. After a comfortable first couple of km, I started to feel the lethargy kick in so slowed a bit. I stopped my watch on a time I had finished the course in twice before. But the official time came through 1s slower, nicely filling a hole in my Stopwatch Bingo!

One of the other problems with two weeks out is that I’ve started to bank a bit of a deficit vs my target of hitting 1000km in a year. The same thing happened last year and I never caught up. Today I really needed to put in a longer run.

With my kids on their Easter holidays and my wife taking them to spend some with her sister, I had plenty of time. But where to run? Ever since I ran the cycle path back from Grafham Water a few weeks ago, I wanted to make use of it again. The problem was that there and back was going to be a bit too far whilst managing liquids as I don’t currently have a running bladder. However, at the same time a 14km lap didn’t seem quite far enough!

I’ve got a bit obsessed with reading about ultras the last couple of weeks having come across the Barkley Marathons. Therefore I wanted to work on my overall stamina. So I made the call to jump on my bike there, run the lap then cycle back.

Now the problem is I am mot much of a cyclist! My bike has probably sat unused for 18 months in the garage. I needed to dig it out and make sure it worked first. It was about 14km up to the lake along the National Cycle Network Route 12. This blog best describes the route very well but it’s definitely not one for road bikes. Fortunately my hybrid was fine although it was a bit of a bone shaker at times.

45mins later it was time for stage 2 of my challenge as I headed off to run round the lake. I quickly got an appreciation for triathletes as I could barely run in a straight line for the first couple of km. I’ve done this run a couple of times before and the first half was fine. However, the second half saw my legs really start to go and by the end I felt like I was almost walking! Not great for times but perfect for practising the mental side of meeting going when energy has gone. I’m sure that will come in useful as and when I finally enter my first marathon. It’s a good thing that I could stop at the end right?

A foggy day at Grafham Water

The one fortunate thing was that the way home was more downhill than up. Whilst not Yorkshire type hills, anything I could free wheel down was a blessing! Finally 3 and a bit hours later I was home and an afternoon on the sofa beckoned.

I am sure tomorrow I’ll be aching loads but I am pleased for doing this. Looking at the total distance of around 42km, it was my very own marathon! Like many runs I am sure next time I do it it will feel a bit easier. If nothing else I might have practised a bit more on my bike!

Have you done any interesting outings this weekend?

By Mike

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