Goal: 13 miles
Actual: 7 miles
Drove all the way to Weymouth for this one and had decided on a lovely route from the old Harbour all the way to Portland and back. It should be peaceful and calm, barring incidents with ducks or cyclists.
It was absolutely freezing. I had appropriated a buff which was hanging around (Thanks RunningForChocolate) and was doing my best impression of a turtle peering out of its shell. The Mr was swathed in running gear with only his eyes showing looking like a chav ninja. Or someone who had been mummified using only Sports Direct.
Passed the place where the cyclist had run me off the path last time ... nothing. Had visions of a tearful now-recovered cyclist presenting me with my well-washed buff and apologies for his behaviour last time. Nothing.
Ran up the first incline ... and up ... and up! Looking down onto the athletics track far below on the right and down onto the roofs of houses and across to the harbour on the left, gleaming blue between the chimneys. Looking up to an old stone railway bridge. Last time I’d done this run I had been listening to Neil Gaiman’s Stardust and running it again between the high overgrown banks and Victorian stonework., the route still seemed slightly magical and enchanted.
Starting running downhill towards the Old Castle and Portland and a pain started behind my right knee. A new pain. Just what I didn’t want in taper and in the final few days before the marathon ... Ran on for a while to see if it would ease but I could feel it with every step.
Decision time. I was on a route that didn’t allow cars and if I ran on for the next mile and the pain got worse I would have to hobble the way back I’d come – or hop! - without any hope of a taxi or any other form of transport other than Shanks’ Pony. A one-legged Shanks’ Pony.
Turned around and headed back. Stopped for a stretch, walked for a few metres and stretched and ran on. It wasn’t a sharp ‘I’ve pulled something’ pain but sharp enough for me not to want to add miles onto this run.
Ran back around Radipole Lake. The evening was drawing in now but it was peaceful with the occasional bird noise and the rustling noise the reeds made as the wind blew. Then with a clatter a heron rose from its hiding place among the reeds and flapped ponderously away. I’d managed a leap of shock that felt gazelle-like (but which probably looked like a zombie-lurch) but had somehow managed to avoid falling into the lake.
I do love Weymouth, even in the winter and despite the cold wind, it was a clear evening. However, maybe it was because of the first glimpse of sunshine, or maybe people had been out eating chips but I’d never quite realised just how ratty Weymouth is. Running around Radipole Lake ... saw a rat. Then onto the Rockwell Path ... more rats! I know it’s a port and had been one of the first outbreaks of Black Death ... but running around there I felt like the Pied Pier ... or maybe it was just because my feet just smelled of cheese.
I had a quick run along the promenade and passed a fun fair set up by the Theatre. A sign propped up outside told revellers that the fun fair would run until 7th April ... a thrill ran through me. This time next week the marathon would be finished. Whatever the outcome, it would have been decided and finished. Unless everything went horribly wrong, I’d probably still be wearing my Paris Marathon Medal and be the proud owner of a new PB ... and a Boston Qualifier.