home      my running story      races from the beginning      talk to me       product reviews      

Monday 14 January 2013

Week 4, Day 7: Mittens on a string and an old blind collie

Week 4, Day 7

Goal: 14 miles at 8:30 min/mile
Actual: 14 miles at 8:13 min/mile

I was looking forward to this run as I was going to get to do it in daylight. If I was really lucky I might see some trees, a hedge or even (gasp!) a rabbit. All I normally see on my runs are car headlights, black pavements and orange sodium lights.

It was a fresh morning – read: flipping freezing – and the grass was stiff and crunchy under my trainers. I’d already had the debate with myself – no gloves; sore, cold, blue hands for first 2 miles or gloves; warm hands for first 2 miles and then hot hands and nowhere to put gloves. I’d had the brilliant idea of regressing back to primary school and tying mittens onto bits of string and threading them through my jacket sleeves, but lacking any string or the time to get creative, I decided on gloves and hot hands.

I’d had to stop briefly after the first mile when I realised I’d forgotten to programme the Garmin for an average speed so I did that as quickly as possible and then set off again with the correct settings. I’d decided I was going to try and get the pacing a bit closer to the 8:30 than last time so I wanted to make sure I had it all set up ok. 

After the 1st mile, the route takes me onto a disused railway line, which this morning was gorgeous! The puddles were all lined with ice and the grass on the verges was frosty and still. There was a bit of mist lingering and everything felt very quiet and peaceful. There were a few dog walkers about, but it felt as though I had the whole path to myself!

There were a few boggy moments on the path. Unfortunately, the puddles were icy enough to be slippery to a carelessly placed foot, but not frozen enough to take my weight as I found out when I tried to dash over a wet section. Cue one wet foot.

I had to take this alternative route that someone had thoughtfully set out:

After mile 4, I had a brief mile or so along the pavements, then it was back onto a trail past a few farms. I thought I might have problems when I came up to a farm and an old black and white collie stood in the middle of the path barking ferociously. I carried on running without changing my pace to see what he would do … and he just stood in the middle of the path barking down the trail past me as I went around him. I think maybe he was a bit blind and a bit deaf and although he was sure there was a runner there somewhere .. he wasn’t quite sure where. Like an old man who couldn’t quite remember where he left his glasses …

I crossed a road, then I was back onto footpaths and heading around the edge of Draycote Water. My end destination was a pub on the canal which should be about 13 miles from my starting point (Anyone would think I PLANNED these things …) so I had about a mile to add in somewhere. I added the extra distance in along the edge of Draycote Water as it was flat and scenic.

There were lots and lots of runners going around Draycote Water today. All wearing the same expressions of determination and stubbornness – giving up their Sunday morning lie-ins for the chance to pant around the edge of a reservoir. In fact, there were so many I would have thought it was a race if they were not all going different directions.

After Draycote Water, I headed back out onto Cycle Path 41 which took me along the Blue Lias line which is another disused railway line. It’s flat and fairly straight and the footpath is smooth and gravelled. There are lovely views and it’s pretty and nice to run on. I had about 2.5 miles to run on this and I always enjoy this part of the route.

I’d forgotten to bring any water with me today – usually on runs over 12 miles I carry a standard 0.5l spring water bottle then I can bin it if it gets irritating, but today although I’d set the bottle out ready, it was sitting on the side in the kitchen about 12 miles away. I thought I might struggle without having a drink but I didn’t and in fact didn’t feel particularly thirsty. 

I listen to audiobooks on long runs if they’re off road sometimes and if it’s a good one sometimes when I run the route again, it’ll remind me of the book. This part of the route reminded me of Whispers Underground which I’d been listening to last autumn when I was just over halfway through a 22 mile run in preparation for Liverpool Marathon. 

I miscalculated the distance and unfortunately was still about 2 miles from the pub when I hit the 14 mile point … a rookie error. But it will give me inspiration for a 16 mile run which I’m sure will come up at some point.


Time: 1:55:27 
Distance: 14.06 miles
Average pace:  8:13 min/mile

(The run is showing as 2 parts on Garmin Connect as I stopped the Garmin after 1 mile and changed it to ‘average speed’ as I’d forgotten to do this before I’d started)


  1. Great run and I love the thought of mittens on a string could be a new accessory get onto the dragons imediately !!!

  2. I'm on it!! No stealing my revenue and making your own mittens on string now! I'm patenting the idea!! ;)