Last week was an awful week concerning running. I was resting on Monday due to achey kneecaps from the weekend before. Then I eased back into exercise with a gentle 30 minute cross training session on Tuesday... Then I got a stomach bug and couldn't run until Sunday.
On Sunday I decided to do a tentative 6 mile run instead of the 7.5 miles on my 10k training plan. I didn't want to strain my knees again, and I wasn't sure if I were totally over the stomach bug. It was a beautiful late autumn day with a gentle wind, bright sunlight and blue skies overhead. I found a long, straight run along a disused railway line near my parent's home with a gentle ascent for the whole length of it. I planned a basic 3 miles out-and-back.
I passed dog walkers, walking walkers going down the track as it stretched out through the village where I grew up and beyond. I passed where my friend used to live and the farm where another friend used to keep her horses. I passed the lane you take down to a rocky inlet which has the best rockpools in the north of England, although not the best fossil-hunting - that honour belongs to another rocky cove further north of where my parents live. I passed a cafe where my mother and I once waited an hour for sandwiches and never went back again. I passed new houses creeping into the fields as the village has slowly expanded. I caught my first glimpse of the North Sea, blue-grey in the autumn sun. I passed one of my favourite pubs, which is conveniently located 100m from the track. I passed wooded valleys and rolling green fields.
At 3 miles - the point where I should have turned back - I felt great and decided to go the extra 0.75 of a mile that would expand the run into 7.5 miles. I stopped at 3.75 miles next to a house that was directly adjacent to the track. It was a former railway station. This was the end point of the bi-annual sponsored walk my secondary school used to do. Every other year the whole school would walk along the railway track from the town the school was in to this station. I stopped in the sunshine to catch my breath then turned back for my parents house.
I felt wonderful.