The Incredible Shrinking Woman

Days 606 to 617 – The Best Laid Plans 29 September 2009

Back from Cornwall, back at my desk, and back to normality (with something of a bump).  We had an amazing holiday, with wonderful weather and all the fresh air a townie like me could possibly hope for.  I was so inspired by how fantastic it all was that I even went swimming in the sea (without a wetsuit!) and boy, did that blow the cobwebs away.

However, as predicted in my previous post, we ate, and drank, and ate, and drank, then ate and drank some more.  I realised pretty early on that any hope of sticking to a low-fat, low-carb regime was going to be in vain.  Even if I had managed to avoid the cream teas, cornish pasties and heaven knows what else, the cider and red wine would’ve put paid to my efforts.  Once again I was reminded of how straightforward life is when you’re on lighter life … total abstinence removes the need to make decisions about food.  You simply don’t eat it.  Clearly that comes with its own challenges, but there are no grey areas.

What I did do was stick religiously to my training.  I ran 2 very bramble-y and nettle-y miles from our cottage to the beach and back again on Saturday (which included an unintentional detour into a scarily boggy estuary … I don’t recommend running on quicksand, ladies and gents).  It was the first morning of the holiday, and I knew that I really had to get out there before the devil on my shoulder started muttering about not bothering.  It was definitely worth it.  Knowing I needed to do a long run on Sunday I plotted a big loop from our cottage (in Crantock) that looked like it would be a decent length.  It turned out to be just shy of 6 miles (via Cubert, for those of you who know the area) and was fabulous … despite the horrendous hills!  It really brought home to me just how flat London is (well, South London certainly) and, even though my poor old knees probably don’t agree, it was good for me to do it.  There was a long, steep hill on the last 2 mile stretch and I was sorely tempted to slow to a walk, but then encountered a family walking their dogs and made it to the top of the hill on pride alone.  Besides, a pink-faced, sweaty runner in the full kit complete with a high-visibility jacket is just about acceptable … but if you’re walking?!  I think not.

I did half of the same run on Tuesday, and repeated the whole thing on Thursday.  I reckon I achieved 16 miles in total while I was there and, given the amount of red wine swilling around my system, that was no mean feat.  Conveniently my friends had their 18 month old son with them, so I had an early morning alarm call to help get me out of bed while pretty much everyone else slept in.

On Sunday I managed to squeeze in a 4.5 mile effort from Crystal Palace to Clapham via Brockwell Park (always a pleasure) which went some of the way towards compensating for the delicious lunch that our friends cooked for us afterwards.  One of them has run the London marathon twice already, is hoping to secure a place for the third time, and has quite an infectious passion for running.  I need to spend time with more people like her over the coming months … my friends are already muttering darkly about a change in the weather and I know it’s going to get harder to go out as the nights draw in.

Tonight I’m running home.  I’ve not done that since I injured my back running home in May.  Even though I’ve completed much longer distances than that since then, I need to shake the superstition that I’ll hurt myself again on this route.  Stupid, I know, but here’s hoping that nothing goes ‘ping’ this time!

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