Monday, 14 September 2009

Day 142 - testing out the ankle

Type - Steady run

Distance - 5.27 miles

Time - 40 minutes 0 seconds

It was with mounting trepidation and a slight sense of foreboding that I put on my accumulated running gear. The usual light shorts, breathable, synthetic top, pocket wrist band, cotton sweat band, stop watch, double-lined Hilly socks and Brooks trainers joined by an ankle support for my still slightly swollen and still oddly coloured left ankle. I am not sure it was sensible to run. I probably should have taken it easier, perhaps a gentle jog. But, as this blog has already demonstrated, I just ain't a gentle jog kinda guy.

But I restricted myself to planning out a five mile run, and decided to take it easy. I set off, heading down Lordship Park on the extended loop that would bring me back onto the corner of Stoke Newington Church Street and Green Lanes two miles into the run (map). I started off fine, slowly warming up into nice, long and even strides without any pain in my ankle or legs. I veered off on to Bouverie Road and Defoe Road and then got a little bit lost. It didn't take long to get back into familiar territory, and I continued on Stoke Newington Church Street. The only problem with a navigation failure is that you lose confidence in your mile markers - had I done more or less than the planned route?

As I headed down Petherton Road the last light from a receding and suddenly Autumnal sun dappled the tree tops with a spray of burning gold, made more brilliant by the flickering street lights that cast down their searing orange light on the pavement. I was making sure to watch the pavement, wary of uneven slabs or curbs that might sent my ankle collapsing to the ground.

This was my first run into the night - a sign of the wintry training to come. Since starting running I have only had light evenings, with the long summer days stretching way past my usual running times. But it won't be long before daylight running is forgotten for five months, especially when he clocks go back at the end of October. Fortunately I quite like it - it adds to the pleasant anonymity, quietens down the streets and, perhaps more importantly, is a perfect way of ensuring cooler temperatures.

The run was going well as I crossed over to climb Highbury Hill. Whilst this is not the steepest or longest of climbs, it is enough of an incline to be more than noticeable and adds a nice challenege to the usual run. I picked up speed coming down the hill and maintained a solid and manageable speed all round Arsenal and back onto the Blackstock Road. I finished with a flying sprint to try and get in under 40 minutes for the five miles, almost desperate to hit eight minute miles. I hit the stop watch somewhat improbably but exactly on 40 minutes 0 seconds.

It was a tough, but very satisfying. run. I got back and eventually plotted the revised route on Gmaps to see whether I had actually done less than five miles. It came in at 5.27 miles, which made the 40 minute time seem marvellous (slightly over 7.5 minute miles).

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