The Scribbler

11 July 2010

Good run, good company

Filed under: run — The Scribbler @ 18:21
Tags: ,

The first thing I saw as I pulled into the car park was a runner wearing a red t-shirt with Hayley on the back. It’s my friend Jeff, who is running today in memory of his lovely girlfriend who passed away suddenly and unexpectedly this week. There’s plenty of support for him today in the shape of other North East runners who know each other from races and the Fetch Everyone website. I know many of us has been thinking of him, so it’s good to see him have a cracking run that she would have been so proud of.

Runners on a track

Some of my North East running friends

This run was originally scheduled for January, so today’s sunshine was a pleasant difference, even if the wind threatened to be brutal. The organisers stress that this isn’t a race. There’s no one taking times and numbers. It’s just a nice run in company over a route of varied terrain. A low key start and away we go, over the footpaths and down to the promenade by the Rendezvous Cafe – part and parcel of my regular weekend run.

Last time I ran this route was in November, and then Dave kept me company all the way round. So it was nice to repeat that on a sunny day, matching each other for pace, making sure I didn’t go hooning off and keeping me going for pride’s sake on the last stretch when the legs were tiring.

Down to the beach and across the sands, we fall into the easy rhythm of run and chat, keeping things relaxed and easy. But it does mean I’m still not paying much attention to the route. Up the steps off the beach and towards the lighthouse, and we’re still on familiar ground for me, until we take off down the coastal paths and trails towards Seaton Sluice.

Here the long grasses brush my ankles and the soft dust blows up from the trails as the wind picks up and challenges me to keep both pace and breath. But I’m running strong and easy, just enjoying being out.

Down towards the King’s Arms and along the road, picking up the pace a little on more familiar tarmac. Then off on the trails again towards the water and the Dene. A short burst takes us past a couple of female runners on the narrow paths, but I soon pay for my cockiness as we enter the woods, and I stumble, lose my footing and career down a bank into a tree.

No damage done, save my pride. A couple of scratches to my elbow to match the one I picked up on my leg yesterday. I pick the sticks from my hair and try to get back on the pace. More running, less talking. I bring my breathing back under control and try to smooth out my running style again.

There are small rises here through the shade of the trees and I dig in and push on through most of them, remembering Dave’s son’s advice for hills – little steps and pick your feet up. I nearly baulk again at a style. Man, do I really shuffle me feet so low along the ground? Maybe I’m a bit too keen to keep pushing forward.

But this is a lovely run with a bit of everything. Today the ground is dry, bar a few stubborn puddles that are easily avoided. And the sunshine dapples through the trees as we seem to take a pretty straight route through the Dene.

There are a couple of paths where I’m very glad to have someone beside me who knows the route, as by now the smiling marshalls have petered out, and if we followed the pair just in front of us, we’d have gone the wrong way. But it’s all good, just running on nice trails through the woodland by the stream.

I’m pretty much a flat road runner, so I admit the last steep rise defeats me and I walk it. I have powered up this one on a much muddier day, but that was with a few rest and catch up stops along the way and by now my calves are feeling the effects of the last few miles. Dave, like the gent he is, slows down so I can catch him at the top.

I barely acknowledge the watch. I think in all I register a beep for 3 and then 6 miles. I notice the 6 mile pace is around 9.20 and I try to push on down the long wide stretch that will take us to the finish. But that last mile is tough. I’m hot and I’m flaking and losing my focus. Just breathe, keep it smooth, don’t let the niggles get to your head.

My niggly right shoulder rears its ugly painful head again. I know there’s not far to go, and I can run this off. Keep stretching out, get more from each pace, relax.

We pass a group out walking, enjoying this sunny day as much as we are, along the seemingly endless long stretch back to the clubhouse. Where’s the tunnel, the underpass? It appears suddenly and that’s the last I remember of my neck niggle.

I’d been warned before the start about the long run to the bottom of the track, so I was ready for it. But I was also thinking that I wasn’t sure if I did have a sprint finish in me after all.

Even so, with the clubhouse and finish in site, we’ve shifted up a gear and once on the track my old sprinter sense tackes over. Stick to the white line on the inside. It’s less than 300m. I decide to see if I can push it at 100.

Boom! Power down and we’re off. And suddenly there’s another gear and another. Arms pumping, no longer thinking about breathing, who says this isn’t a race? We power over the line 1 hr 07 mins 32 secs. The distance, by my Garmin is 7.49 miles.

Into the clubhouse for refreshments and cake and catching up with fellow runners and new friends – that’s my kind of run!

Stats: 7.49 miles 1 hr 07 mins 32 secs
Mile splits:
1. 08.32
2. 09.05
3. 08.56
4. 09.13
5. 09.11
6. 09:20
7: 08.58
8. 04.13 (0.49 miles)


1 Comment »

  1. What a great run – I know some of that route from walking near matthew’s family’s house. A great read as ever. Xxx


    Comment by Katie — 11 July 2010 @ 19:58 | Reply

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