Back in the early days of this blog, and in the early days of my exercise renaissance, I was casting my eye around the local area, thinking about where to run. At the time I came to the conclusion that running in Okehampton was a bad idea.
The town sits on the edge of Dartmoor and slopes happily up to meet the moor. From the town centre every direction takes you upwards, apart from a solitary road meandering north alongside the Okement river. As a runner this means that you are forever running up or down a hill.
Except that, near the top of the hill where Mrs RB and I live, there is a cycle track running along an old railway line. This means that it’s reasonably flat (it’s actually slightly uphill on the way out, downhill on the way back) and it afforded me the luxury of being able to get back into running on a fairly level surface.
But that was then. Days where the sun hung around lazily in the evening sky. Warm evenings filled with birdsong (and midges!). This is now. Cold, dark days where the sun disappears a good hour or so before I leave the office. And the cycle track is dark. Pitch black. I managed a few cycle rides along it during the 5×50 Challenge and that tended to scare me. Running along it does not appeal.
So, for my second run of Janathon, my second run since the autumn, I found myself careering downwards from our lofty perch on the side of a hill. Weeeeeeeeee!
After a loop around the town centre I circled back up from the river and began the climb back up the hill again. Puffing and panting and slowing significantly as the hill progressed, I made my way back up the hill to home. As I gathered my breath at the top of the hill, I considered how glad I was that the cycle track is there. Starting out last year, I’m not sure that I would have had the ability to build up the distance without having that path to use. The hill was hard enough today, but I hate to think what my body would have made of it in the early part of my road to better fitness.
And to finish off today, I have given yesterday’s stick man another outing. This time he is working his way towards home along the elevation profile of the route, as mapped on Daily Mile.
It’s back to the pool tomorrow morning and then a busy weekend. I’m not quite sure where the exercise will fit in over Saturday and Sunday, but I’m sure I’ll be able to squeeze them in somewhere.