So, after the cancellation of Oakley and then another race I’d spotted, it was time to come up with a route around my parents in Grantham……
My mum has been talking about how bad the snow has been all year, and this weekend we understood why – they get loads up there!
On Saturday we, with the help of gmap pedometer, google maps, and the good old OS maps for contours, came up with a 20mile route that was relatively flat (there’s some nasty hills around where they live) and with pavements (mostly)
A 3mile loop up to a village called Barrowby and then down into Grantham and out to Ancaster and back to Belton was the plan (not going all the way home meant I could run down the big hill, but avoid going back up it……)
My parents and bf agreed to be my mobile water station/cheering squad so I didn’t have to worry about finding water or carrying it with me!
After sorting out the ‘what to wear’ dilemma – long legs, a hat, a vest, a fleece and my fluorescent T shirt for safety (my mum insists – and quite right she is too!) my dad cleared the driveway of snow and I set off!
Did I mention the snow? Proper several inches of it! Thankfully the roads were quiet so I could mostly run on them as they were clear of snow, but where the roads were busy it was on the pavements and at one point clearing my own path running with high knees! I saw 3 other people out on the entire run (apart from the bit through the town centre) we all said a cheery hello with a look that acknowledged we were indeed crazy to be out on a day like that!
The run wasn’t too bad on the first loop to Barrowby and back – I say this upon reflection, but at the time it was chilly in more exposed parts and snow drifting out of the fields and onto the footpath and road – used to cycle this route almost every day of my school holidays to see my best friend from school
My first water stop was at 3 miles about 2 minutes from my parents house and there they were to meet me huddled in the warmth of the car with the Sunday papers! I had a quick bit of water, reported on the weather – cold and windy, conditions snowy and the fact that my right foot had been plunged into a puddle of melted snow and was a bit soggy……
Off into Grantham town, always like going into town to see what’s changed and this time not much, but the pavements were like an ice rink, running and getting no where I was back on the road whenever there wasn’t a car!
Then soon enough headed out of town towards some v pretty villages. 6 miles was just before getting to the villages and by where one of my school friends used to live and the hospital where my mum used to work. There they were again water at the ready having stopped to buy new wiper blades on the way!! Weather – cold but less wind, conditions snowy/icy and foot still a bit soggy……
Then off out through Manthorpe and Belton – past some highland cattle, through more snow drifts and on to Barkston – home of another school friend. At the far end of the village – mile 9!!!!
Mile 9 was the start of me admitting I was not enjoying the run so, had jumped into another puddle – both feet this time – and the wind blowing the snow off the fields was not fun – running through a mist of snow in cold winds is not fun – having 2 wet feet is not fun
Regardless I carried on, into uncharted territory for me (no school friends had been visited on my bike further than this!) Here the villages ended and the countryside changed into lovely open fields, perfect for the wind to blow down across them and onto me, or as the roads curved round turn into a head wind and I was running straight into it and felt like I was getting no where……..
I’d been eating Clif Shot Bloks on my way around – had to laugh though as I ate the one as I neared 12 miles – it had gone solid in the cold! Took a while for it to warm up and back to its jelly-like state!
By mile 12 I was suffering, I was tired from all the wind and battling against it – when it dropped and the sun peaked out it was lovely but that didn’t last for more than 30seconds. I’d also found another massive puddle to jump into – such a good job it was in the middle of nowhere, I may have uttered a few rude words….. The rubbing on my right arch was back and I was obviously running differently as then my left knee joined in.
It was here I declared my intention to at least make it to 15miles if I couldn’t make it to 20 – what the London Marathon people say you should be able to ‘comfortably’ run 1 month before race day….. The next bit of the run was out and back to the railway bridge at Ancaster (where one of the patients that I see in the Lupus clinic lives it turns out!) so my parents got to stay in the same spot (they bought some eggs while I was gone – somewhere on the side of the road apparently – I’m convinced they had more fun than me on this trip!)
As I turned the corner on the road leading to the railway bridge I could see it in the distance, big fluorescent stripes at the top of it – it seemed far closer than I’d thought it would be so that cheered me up and it being in a village meant it was more sheltered, but as I crossed the road to the ‘melted’ side of the street the bridge disappeared and was gone for so long I wondered if I’d hallucinated it….. thankfully it eventually came back into view and the sun came out!! I took a photo as proof I’d got here and turned back…..
But then sure enough the sun went, the wind returned and to join in with my other pains my calves were starting to cramp. I’d spotted a little footpath sign on my way into the village and another by a church and figured the 2 must meet so in an effort to distract myself I took the footpath instead of sticking to the main road, turned out I was right and it led around the back of the church where I paused to stretch out my calves – I was working on the assumption that if anywhere was going to be of help in sorting my ailing body out, short of going into the church, this was the place to try it. So leaning on the church yard wall I stretched and to no avail….. the sun did briefly come out and I did see some lovely snowdrops!!
It was pretty much from here that I’d decided enough was enough, I’d tried my best, but the weather had beaten me, my legs were shot and I ran/hobbled/walked my way back towards the car and my cheering squad – I called my bf, phone on silent, my dad, phone at home, my mum – picked up – they were coming to get me!
I had a little cry as I saw the car, was bundled into it with a warm blanket, randomly wondered if they had any crisps – thought the salt would fix my legs but had to wait until we were home before I got that!!!
I’d love to say ‘never again’ but it’s all got to happen again this weekend, but soon the marathon will be here and I’m determined to enjoy it!!
The rest of the day involved sitting in front of a fire with a dog battling for ‘her spot’ in front of it, eating Jamie’s 5 hour lamb – amazing, before driving home to London for a jolly good sleep