Goal: 11 miles at 8 - 8:30 min/mile
Actual: 11.3 miles at 8 min/mile ... in 2 parts
Sunday afternoon and it had been driving rain and blowing a gale all day. I knew that at some point I would have to get out in it and run. For at least an hour and a half. Luckily Little Sis was around and I could guilt trip her into coming for a run in the rain too. Misery loves company. Or at least, I feel less miserable when there’s someone else as dripping wet as me.
I’d chosen a route that followed the cycle paths from Weymouth to Portland. The path was a disused railway line which cuts through the centre of the streets, but which was self-contained and looked scenic and secluded. Perfect for a Sunday afternoon run even if the rain was coming down horizontally.
I planned to start at the train station next to Weymouth Harbour, run to Portland via the causeway which is Chesil Beach and then back again. I’d originally wanted to add a loop of Portland on the end but I’d decided to save that for another day when I would be in less danger of being blown off a sheer cliff edge by gale force winds.
When I got to Weymouth, the weather wasn’t too bad at all. The first mile or so was uphill to an old stone railway bridge and then it was a gentle downhill for what felt like 2 miles. The old railway line was high above the town so I could look down on the roofs of houses and across to the harbour. And see the ruined castle at on the hill at Sandsfoot and the masts of fishing boats.
There was a gentle slope down to Chesil Beach which passed lines of rowing boats in a small harbour and finished conveniently outside a pub … but I didn’t stop. To get to Portland I ran along the grassy track on the causeway along the left of the road for a while but the path was flooded and marshy so in the interests of dry feet I changed to the pavements.
The rain had been drizzling fairly lightly but steadily, but with the wind at my back and sunshine from over the top of the pebbled beach on my right, it was good to run. I looked to the left out across the causeway and towards Weymouth and a rainbow arced high into the sky. Because of where I was running with the sun on my right my shadow stretched out long across the road and to the exact centre of the rainbow. It was a perfect running moment.
It was such a nice run that I’d struggled to keep the pace down to the 8 – 8.30 minute mile … and when I got to Portland and turned around I realised why. I’d been running downhill, with the wind at my back practically the whole way. The way back was a rude wake up call and with the rain driving into my face and the wind blowing against me as I came back up the hill, I edged back into the correct pacing zone.
I passed a few runners, all looking fairly damp and windswept and lots of dog walkers all of whom seemed to own Springer Spaniels which were running around with something in their mouths and looking wet. It’s the Springer Spaniel law that they must not pass water without leaping into it. Well, that’s what they tell their owners anyway.
I got to the top of the hill and enjoyed the run back down to the harbour which had been my starting point. I decide to add some more miles onto the run by going around Radipole Lake which has a nice cycle path around the edge. It’s flat and streetlit although it’s a bit boring with only a road up a high verge to the left and high reeds and a fence on the right. I only had 4 miles or so to make up so I thought I’d go this way and take advantage of a traffic free route.
3 miles to go. I crossed the final bridge and came out onto a dimly lit car park. I timed the traffic lights just right and managed to cross the road without slowing too much. Onto the pavement and past a petrol station and … the same two cyclists.
The cyclist who had ridden me off the path was now on the left and as they came towards me he cycled straight at me with his right arm out blocking my path. I leapt aside into the brick wall on my left and narrowly avoided having tyre tracks up my face and turned around to say something when I witnessed him go full tilt into the phone box behind me.
There was a big crash and he hit it full on. He stood up briefly and then fell over onto his bike and onto the bike of his friend who had pulled up beside him and he had a seizure. I ran back to check on him as he was on top of both of the bikes and I was worried he was going to cut himself on the gears, but his friend was adamant we shouldn’t move him even off of the bikes. Luckily a lady came over who had witnessed it and who was happy to take charge. I handed over my gloves and buff to put under his head to cushion him and to stem the bleeding. An ambulance arrived very quickly – thank goodness for big towns and that was the end of that. Buff was binned due to the blood on it and it was time to run on.
I wasn’t sure whether he had a seizure because he had bumped his head so hard or whether him cycling into me was part of his seizure. Think it might be time for me to have a first aid course as next time there might not be a lady around to take charge.
There was 2.5 miles still to go but I decided that it was probably time to have a coffee and catch up with my sister who had been waiting in a pub on her own for me to finish my run. Granted there are much worse places to wait. I ran the last bit to the pub a bit too quick but just made it into my allotted pace. It’s amazing the incentive a pub can give.
I had a coffee and a coke at the pub and gave Little Sis the praise that her new 10k PB deserved (Under an hour! Woo woo!!) and dried out a bit. I decided I couldn’t leave 2.5 miles undone (I was under the impression that Steve Marathon Coach might count waiting for an ambulance as an unscheduled rest and didn’t want to risk the wrath ) so did a couple of laps along the promenade and back to the car to make it up to 13.26.
Distance: 11.3 miles
Pace: Avg pace 8 min/mile
Distance: 10.5 miles
Pace: Avg pace 8 min/mile
Distance: 2.76 miles
Pace: Avg pace 7:55 min/mile