Thursday, 27 August 2009

Great South Run – 58 days to go!

After being a little disappointed at my last run, I was feeling nervous about today’s excursion. When I woke the sky was grey and overcast, which was promising. We runners like the sunny weather as much as anyone except when we are out running! Ideal distance running weather is grey, cloudy, with a light breeze and possibly even a sprinkle of drizzly rain. Unfortunately, that type of weather rarely actually happens, despite Britain’s reputation – generally there is some factor that will upset the balance somewhere, like a strong gusting wind or pouring rain, hailstones, snow, sleet, or perhaps hot, blinding sunshine. Today, despite early appearances, it seemed I was in for a bit of the latter as the Sun began to break through the cloudy veil within minutes of leaving the house. Thankfully, because of the hour and the direction of my run, I wasn’t running directly into the glare, which eased things a little. I quickly became very hot though and debated through the first mile just how far I should run. Should I try and increase my pace and run a shorter route? Or stick it out and run at a more leisurely pace and put more distance in the training bank?

The tide was out, unlike the other day when the water had virtually lapped across the path, and there were broad, ugly mudflats exposed with clumps of brown seaweed drying slowly in the brightening sunshine. A group of about twenty swans were gathered by the jetty, pruning and preening, and leaving fluffy white feathers scattered around that stood out against the murky mud. I always try to keep to the side of the path away from the riverbank, but sometimes, as now, people force you to move closer to the edge, oblivious it seems to your presence and letting their yappy little dogs dodge and weave around your ankles without even a glance. I like dogs, but dislike those lazy leads some dog owners use that allow the dog to remain on leash, yet wander far beyond their owners on telescopic tethers that form hazardous tripwires across the path of unwary runners.

Coming to a potential turning point, I decide to continue out, beyond the weir and into the part of the park where fishermen flank the path. A few more dog walkers amble slowly by – westies, pugs, jack russells – all small dogs it appears this morning. Looking at their owners I decide that this is because they are more manageable and cheaper to maintain as pets for their elderly companions. On the whole, I like small dogs. We had a lovely part-corgi called Tiny, who always looked like a puppy – even when she was 18 years old!

As I reach the bridge and make my turn, my legs are beginning to protest a little. I so want to get back to the state I was in when I felt strong and fast on a run. It will come, I’m sure. I already feel an improvement in pace this morning, and hope that I will be able to maintain it to the end. Here, scattered alongside the path, are the dry, fallen branches blown down by the strong, whipping winds of yesterday. No doubt these are the older branches, less able to withstand the storms than their erstwhile neighbours, strengthened by the sinew and sap of youth.

It’s hot now, and my breathing is more laboured, and I hope for a little rest at the road crossing – alas, not to be! I have to continue straight across and upward, until finally reaching the downhill stretch to home.
Overall, it was a good run. Of a similar length to my last run, but my pace improved by over 25 seconds a mile. This may not sound a lot, and I’m still running quite slowly, but it’s an improvement so I’m happy with that, and actually the whole run has taken me two minutes less than the same distance previously. I may not achieve the six or seven minute mile pace I used to enjoy, but if I can get to around 8 minute 30 pace, I will be more than happy!

Thursday August 25th, 2009
3.66 miles
35’ 10”
Blood glucose before (1.5 hour)
Blood glucose after


  1. Keep up the good work. Personally I'm not a small dog fan, I prefer big dogs since they like long walks and small dogs always seem more vicious.

  2. Dreich, you're absolutely right - my dog terrorised everyone but family! When I'm out running the big dogs look more daunting, but it's the small dogs that usually come and have a snap.