I’d struggled with motivation for running recently, but had enjoyed the last run. It had been gentle and relaxed and maybe that was what was best in this warm weather. I needed a run at lunchtime and briefly considered doing my intervals at the gym, but the thought of running on a treadmill like a hamster running on a wheel was soul sapping, so I decided on a trail run. I’ve got a lovely one that loops around the golf course, down to Delapre Abbey, around a lake and under the trees and back into Brackmills.
I headed out in my shorts and vest top ... and immediately felt over-dressed. The phone helpfully informed me that it was 30 degrees but I didn’t need to be told. I already knew that it was weather better suited to sitting in the garden with my feet up on a chair with a glass of wine in my hand and a floppy hat on my head. I consoled myself with t he thought that if I get this run done NOW then this evening I will have deserved my glass of wine and silly hat. Using alcohol and a ‘nice sit down’ as my motivation, I ran on.
I passed another runner who looked like he was struggling with the heat. He had a bit of a zombie shuffle going on and didn’t look entirely happy to be out in the sunshine. He managed a bit of a wave at me but it just intensified the ‘zombie in search of brains’ look. I waved back but kept my distance, consoled by the thought that he’d go hungry if he tried to eat my brains. I was quite sure after a couple of miles in this heat, I’d be perfecting my own zombie look.
I ran over the A45 – smug that I was running and the people below were stuck in cars - and up past the golf course, all in the hot sunshine. It was nice to be warm but the top of my head felt as though it was melting. However, the woods loomed in front of me – a deep, dark, shadowy haven. As soon as I got under the shade of the trees, it was easier to enjoy the run and I could appreciate the dim coolness.
This is one of my favourite sections to run. It’s all uphill, but the path is small and twisty and loops between towering trees. In Autumn the path is hidden beneath crunchy leaves, but today the sunlight slanted through the trees and the path was dry and smooth and good to run on. My Garmin gets very confused under all of these trees and it has given me a .31 mile distance differences the last 2 times I’ve run the route. This run is for fun though – it’s too hilly and bumpy and twisty to ever be a speedy route. As I move along the trail I startle a squirrel which runs across the path and up the trunk of a tree on my right.
As I come out of the trees and onto the lane towards Delapre Abbey, I’m back in the hot sunshine so I distract myself by watching the tents and marquees being set up. It’s preparation for the Northampton music festival and people in hi-viz jackets are busy at work organising, directing and driving vehicles around. I run past, enjoying running in the sunshine rather than working hard and sweating in heavy clothes.
Past the Abbey, past the walled garden and under an avenue of trees. All of a sudden out into the sunshine and into the middle of a group of teenagers lying around the lake in swimming shorts and bikinis. The braver are swimming despite the blue-green algae warnings. I’m not sure what the effects of algae poisoning are. Maybe they’ll emerge like the 3 eyed fish in the Simpsons. A mutant super-teenager with zits the size of molehills and moods like thunderstorms. But with a cape.
I like living in the midlands, but I miss the sea and being able to visit it whenever I want to like I could in Dorset where I grew up. It feels like I’m currently living in the belly button of England – as far from the sea as it’s possible to be. In this warm weather I miss the sea and all the nice things associated with it. Ice cream and sandy towels and relaxing with friends and a glass of wine on a warm evening in a pub beer garden, with the sound of the sea in the background.
Running around the cool water of the lake – the urge to jump in is almost irresistible. I feel so warm and the sunshine is so hot on my skin. I wonder if I was a Labrador in a previous life as the urge to stick my tongue out and pant is almost overwhelming. It would make sense. My love of running, having to have the windows down in the car and an inability to resist pinching a piece of whatever food is sitting on the kitchen top. I draw the line at eating Pedigree Chum though. Even if it will give me a glossy coat.
Electric blue dragonflies are hovering over the banks and the brown and orange butterflies flutter around dreamily. Everything seems prettier in the sunshine – even the parts of the trail which are all rutted and still slightly boggy aren’t the trainer sucking perils they are in the winter.
It’s getting warmer and I didn’t bring a water bottle with me, knowing that it’s only a 5 mile route but I’m getting thirsty now. I subdue my inner zombie and stick to the shadier sections and before I know it I’m back at work. I enjoy my shower and lunch, but can smile inwardly all afternoon as I know I’ve got a glass of wine, a floppy hat and a ‘nice sit down’ waiting for me at home. And I deserve them.