Saturday 31st March 2012 – A river runs through it

A change of route

Saturday again, my favourite day of the week. My ‘long run’ day.

I’d been checking out some alternative routes lately, although I was quite happy to pound the pavements, I needed to do something different. Something to keep me on my toes, as it were.

We’re fortunate enough to live out in he sticks, and being a sensible chap, I have always stuck to running along the roads, especially in the dark mornings, always crossed the road on a zebra crossing, never talk to strangers blah blah blah!

Across the fields there is a River, this river runs, as you would expect, for many miles. We’ve walked along parts of it on many occasions, mainly in the summer. It had never once occurred to me that I could run along the tow path.

Off to get some fresh air!

I had worked out a route that took me along the road for a couple of miles, down to the river, then run along that for 4.5 miles which would lead me into Chelmsford town, then up past the prison, around Springfield, through Beaulieu Park, then back over the A12 and towards home.

I reckoned between 14 and 15 miles.

The first couple of miles were down hill, it was lovely, the sun was just beginning to rise, the birds were singing and I had a good feeling about this run.

Whilst running along the river, I tried on several occasions to kick myself repeatedly. Why? Well for not running this route before, that’s why.

It was stunning, the water was tranquil apart from the odd coot or duck paddling across it, the air was fresh…it was quite very close to perfection. Seriously, why had I not run along here before? I passed locks and old lock keeper’s houses, I ran past horses and cows eating the early morning dew covered grass, old gunner huts strewn across the fields. It was so much nicer than running along pavements.

The only down side was the ground, it was hard, cracked and uneven, tree roots threatened to trip me every now and then, and it affected my pace and stride. I was running slower, and the undulated ground made me more cautious.

Back on the road.

The river led me into Chelmsford town center, back on tarmac and pavements, my slower pace along the river meant I had conserved some energy, which was handy because the run up Springfield Road was a killer, my calves were aching.

By the time I reached mile 10 I had picked up pace a little, and was running at about 8:30min miles, although it seemed as if my legs were on auto pilot, it felt as if I had no control over them!

The uphill run between miles 12 and 13 almost finished me off. I have a mental issue with this hill. It nearly beats me on every occasion.

Happily I completed a refreshing 14.6 mile run in approx 2 hours 15 minutes, not a record breaker by any shot. But very enjoyable none the less.

Here’s the route!

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