The Scribbler

13 November 2009

Autumn early morning run

Filed under: run — The Scribbler @ 23:32
Tags: ,

7am and I’m at work. But not because I’m putting the hours in. Because I’ve been invited out for a run.

There’s a core group of runners at work who I’ve gradually got to know. People who’ve asked after my progress, offered advice and generally done that runners thing of sharing the experience. And last week one of the speediest said he’d include me on the email for their regular Friday morning run.

I haven’t run this early in the morning for a while. And getting kit on, work clothes sorted, lunch packed and out the door to hit North Park for 7am was a bit of a challenge. A hardy group in assorted hats, jackets, gloves and running gear assembled by the back door ready for the off as the light started to filter through.

Off and running in the quiet morning stillness. Down the familiar road from the office, with barely a car passing by and away into the unknown.

I kept to the back, knowing there were seasoned runners and a particularly speedy half-marathoner ahead. But the leading group were just about always in sight as we took off through the woodland trails. It felt good to be out in the early morning light. The air not too cold, but fresh and clean through my lungs.

I listened to the banter. Brief snatches of conversation in the semi-darkness, a welcoming distraction from the tight feeling in my calf muscles until my legs warmed up and I found my rhythm.

The route was unfamiliar, a nice mixture of trail paths, softer underfoot than tarmac and concrete pavements, but with muddy patches and puddles to test your concentration.

I ran alongside Robin, who’d insisted on his email that he could only do slow. But his pace was better than he hinted. And I was keeping it steady and comfortable. running my own way. Comfortable in my own zone.

A couple of times one of the faster runners turned back to check we were okay and as the leading group started to break away, Steve came back to run with us and make sure we didn’t lose our way on the bridlepaths along the network of fields and under the airport flightpath.

Steve’s a proper canny lad. Can talk running till the cows come home. And he pushes himself and works really hard at it, but he enjoys it too. We’ve shared some long emails on the subject and he’s been brilliant with advice and encouragement. So it was nice to run with him, particularly as I know he could go a lot faster.

For once, it was nice to run with a group, and not in a race. I think I’ve got to the stage now where I can run my own pace and not worry too much what everyone around me is doing. I found my groove and stayed there.

A couple of times I felt the concentration or the mental focus slip, and felt it was tough. But it only seemed to last for a few paces, and I’d be back in the groove again. I focused on stretching out the stride and breathing easy.

This was an off the clock run. The pace dropped off on a couple of inclines and as we turned back towards work we slowed to a walk a couple of times to pass some horse riders and an excitable dog. But really it was not about targets, or pressure. Just enjoying a fair autumn morning with fine company and feeling comfortable in my own skin.

Give me a run like that anyday. If the weather holds fair I’ll be out again same time next week.

Splits (km):
1. 5:21
2. 5.28
3. 5:35
4. 5.34
5. 5.28
6. 5.32
5. 5.44
6. 5.59
7. 6.03
8. 6.23
9. 6.31
10. 1.48

Around 7.35 miles in just over an hour.

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