Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Day 195 - neither rain nor sleet nor gloom of night

Type - Steady run

Distance - 9.2 miles

Time - 1 hour 6 minutes 14 seconds

It is still mild in London as we creep towards winter. Whilst the sunny evening runs are long consigned to memory, there is, as yet, no need to swaddle in winter running clothes. Is there ever a need to swaddle in winter running clothes? I expect this statement of bombastic hubris will come back to bite me when I buy the base layer and the tights to fend off frozen nights. But for now, shorts and t-shirt still cut it.

But whilst the temperature was mild everything else about tonight's run was viciously inclement. The heavens had opened with a torrential downpour that sent shallow streams running down the gutters and edges of roads. Thick, heavy rain that drips onto your face with such intensity that you might just drown standing up.

Still, I was going to get wet one way or the other - from sweat or rain. So I plunged into the night streets. I had planned a run of about 9 miles, heading down towards Chelsea and back. I was running from work, so had the first mile largely down hill towards the Embankment. It is not a perfect start, because it makes you run faster than you should for an opening warm up. And the price you pay for downward acceleration is a tough climb at the end when you are watching the final time.

The water starts to drip thickly from my scalp, mixing with whatever chemicals are in my hair and in the air and stinging my eyes. I might have to seriously consider getting a sweat band if I can stand to look like such an 80s reject. The stinging in my eyes is a perennial problem, and I can't imagine it would be much fun running the marathon in those conditions.

I make the half way point just past the Chelsea Hospital in good time. If I just equal that time then I will finish at just under 7.5 minute miles. If I manage negative splits then all the better.

The route back is tougher - shoes squelching, absolutely soaked through. My t-shirt clings irritatingly to my body and the only part that isn't affected is my lower body because I was sensible enough to get the Skins. Otherwise that would have chaffed like hell.

But I manage to pick up the pace. The wind is behind me on the way back. I hadn't really thought about the difference the wind can make. Obviously on the bike it is a really noticeable factor. But even on the road, it makes a difference. I am running at a fair pace now, as much in desperation to get back to the office and to the shower.

The last mile burns, heading up hill from the Embankment back to Chancery Lane. But I manage it in 1 hour 6 minutes 14 seconds. I plot the route afterwards and am pretty pleased to discover it was a 9.2 mile run.

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