“I came across a fallen tree…”

Teri and Justin climbing over a tree on our way to Royal Victoria Country Park

Today was my second long run of my marathon training. I had originally planned to incorporate it with a CC6 (cross-country race), but the weather here has been horrendous. I thought it might be very hard to force myself to run 9 or so miles home from a race whilst wet and muddy. Also, I would have had to take a change of shoes as my trail shoes would not be comfortable on the road. Instead, I agreed to meet Teri and Justin at 7:45am. We decided to run through some parks in town, across the Itchen Bridge and along to coastal path to Royal Victoria Country Park and back. I knew that would be around 20km.

Teri is training for her first marathon. She is doing the London Marathon the week after I do Brighton and she’s raising money for Friends of PICU (Southampton’s Paediatric Intensive Care Unit)

We took the first 5km at a steady pace, before pausing on the top of the Itchen Bridge for some photos. I made an effort to take more photos than usual on our run, as I rarely take a phone/camera out.

Teri, Justin and I at the top of the Itchen Bridge
Teri, Justin and I at the top of the Itchen Bridge

I’m not really a fan of selfies. I always manage to give myself multiple chins in them! My lovely sister also pointed out that I look bald, but I really do have hair!!! Anyway, the running conditions were perfect. After weeks of rain and strong winds, it remained dry for our entire run and even on top of the bridge, there wasn’t even a gentle breeze. Also, despite the industrial surroundings, it was quite a beautiful run.

The sky over Woolston
The sky over Woolston
View from the Itchen Bridge
Skies like this make the early morning starts feel worthwhile

We carried on over the bridge, down the steps and into Weston, before following the footpath along Weston Shore.

Beautiful view of the sky from Weston Shore
Beautiful view of the sky from Weston Shore
Beautiful view of the sky from Weston Shore
It was a beautiful morning to be running.

There were quite a few dog-walkers out enjoying the break in the weather, and one older chap with Wellington boots on warned us that it was wet underfoot ahead. We thanked him and carried on, assuming that the ground might be a little bit muddy. How wrong we were! Water was flowing down the adjacent road and then right across the path and onto the beach. There was no way that we could vault the river, so we had to go through it. It was a little disappointing that we had covered 8km with dry feet and had to squelch from this point onwards. As we were moving quickly and the air was still, we quickly dried out and warmed up again.

Further on, we found that the path was indeed quite muddy and there were some obstacles to negotiate. I let Teri and Justin run on, whilst I got out my phone to take some pictures of them traversing the fallen tree.

Teri, Justin and a fallen tree
“I came across a fallen tree…” © Keane

It was a surprisingly large tree with a distinct fork so that there were two large branches – one that they went under and another that they climbed over.

Teri and Justin climbing over a tree
Which way now? Under then over!
Teri and Justin climbing over a tree
Teri showing off her talent as an outdoor sports model

I then put my phone away and caught up with them for the last part of the run to Royal Victoria Country Park. It is a particularly scenic park. I forgot to get my camera out again, so, unfortunately, I don’t have any photos to share. I’ve run there a few times before as it’s the setting for Netley Abbey parkrun. It also is the location of an RR10 (cross-country race for local clubs). After looping around the park, we headed back towards the Itchen Bridge the same way we came.

Teri had been joking with Justin that whenever she runs with me, we always see someone who I know. I think this is probably because I’ve been quite visible at parkrun for the last few years. Also, I know quite a few people through my running club. Anyway, true to form, as we were running through Woolston on the way back to the bridge, we saw John (one of my fellow parkrun Run Directors) running towards us. I think he’s training for another marathon and it looked like he was going pretty fast.

I started tiring as we got to the bridge, so although Teri was able to motivate me to run up the steps, I had to walk for a little bit. We then ran back over the bridge and took a slightly different route back to the start through another park.

Overall, I did 22km, so I fulfilled my distance goal. My recent cold and sinusitis have really taken it out of me as I felt exhausted. I failed to run at my long slow run pace (I was 30s/km too slow). For full details of my run, look on Garmin Connect: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/424857264 or Strava: http://www.strava.com/activities/104152032

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