I’m back up in North Wales this weekend, celebrating my mum’s birthday. I won’t say how old, but it is a big one! So Saturday’s long run was much like a trot down memory lane, as I ran along many of the paths, and past the beaches and fields that swallowed up hundreds of hours of my childhood. It couldn’t have been a better day for it, the sun was out and there wasn’t a breath of wind.
Last time I ran round Holyhead mountain I got absolutely battered by the fierce sea wind and I certainly wouldn’t have contemplated running on the breakwater (pics from the blog), but today it was idyllic and lots of people were there taking walks, or fishing. One couple had even set up a BBQ next to their fishing lines, the whiff of which was pretty intoxicating given I had only a bottle of water and four liquorice all-sorts to sustain me. You can read all about Britain’s longest breakwater and lighthouse here…
All this good vibe was slightly undone when I saw another runner, one of those proper ones, speeding onto the breakwater as I ran off. Not only was he amongst the tiny minority of people for whom the move to a skin-tight Wales shirt was actually a good idea, he was also moving at serious pace. Shuffling along in my jacket and my woolly hat, I felt a bit like Compo in the presence of Daley Thompson. He even left a fresh smell of shower gel in his trail. How is that even possible?
Since last week’s long run, which so successfully obliterated both my legs, I’ve only been out of one 5 mile run. And I only managed 10 miles this weekend, instead of the scheduled 16. I can still feel something like a knot in my right calf and there’s soreness in the left too. That’s all the bad news. The good news is I’ve seen my friend the osteopath who is happy that my calf muscles are ok, and is sure I just cramped up last week, which makes sense. Also, on the plus side, given how busy it has been this week (and how much my legs ached), I probably wouldn’t have done any running at all last year. 15 miles is 15 miles too few for this week’s schedule. But, it is still 15 miles more than none. There’s also the fact that I burned 1500 calories during the afternoon, which set me up very nicely for eating my own body weight of excellent food at the Lobster Pot for the birthday dinner.
Today’s vital statistics
Run: 10.4 miles in 1hr30m
Spotted: Walkers, runners, cyclists and fishermen enjoying Holyhead’s afternoon sun; the tennis courts where I played out my childhood post-Wimbledon dreams (it was a week of fun in between football and cricket); the town’s park where every contour remains the same and burned into my brain; the rambling road to the quarry which I used to walk with a giant copy of Britain’s Birds under one arm – and the long, snaking breakwater sliding into the Irish Sea, protecting the town from the crashing waves, and evil conger eels.