Increasing the pace a little

This afternoon I had been repairing the chain and replacing the saddle on my wife’s old bicycle when I realized that the sun was setting and I had not yet been for a run. The scarcely perceptible sliver of a new moon had already set about 10 minutes previously, and there was little cloud cover to reflect the distant city lights back to earth, so it was clear that it would be very dark very soon. If I wanted an off-road run I would have to set out immediately. I pulled on light-weight shorts and a long sleeved top but didn’t have time to locate gloves or any other warmer running gear. As I rounded the corner of the house a blast of arctic air from the north east made me wonder whether I should turn back and put on something warmer. However, I didn’t want to waste the final moments of daylight.  As I headed westwards toward the river I was able to warm up a bit before turning north eastwards again when I joined the riverside path. At this point I was partially protected by the steep escarpment on my right, but nonetheless, it was clear that today’s run would have to be a little faster than my recent runs. I built up the pace steadily to about half-marathon pace and then maintained that tempo. It was an invigorating experience after a week of very easy paced running. Once I had turned for home with the wind behind me, I started to build up a healthy sweat. By this stage the last vestiges of light were disappearing, though the river surface was still silvery grey and the path was easy to follow until the point where it leaves the river bank and passes through a dense clump of trees. Even in full daylight the path here is scarcely visible beneath a thick layer of decaying autumn leaves, and I was reliant on my familiarity with the location of every tree trunk to navigate safely until the path once again emerged on the river bank. I was breathing quite deeply but unable to check my pace because I didn’t have a watch – and could not have read it even if I had been wearing it. Though only about 8Km, it was a very satisfying run.

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