Yet another long run and a need to try new routes near me very nearly left me injured.
It all began with the need to do a 15 mile recovery run. Fair enough, i thought, I’ll just do my usual route over the bridge and back which should be about there and if i have to tag something on the end to make the distance up then so be it.
But then my mind started to wander based upon the facts that a) the weather was lovely and b) that route had a large portion in the middle that could bore you to tears. Then one of my ideas popped into my head as I remembered that the cycle track along the foreshore had reopened after maintenance work and so not only would this provide me with the potential chance to run nearly half the route back home with some relatively new scenery but also on a fairly level path that was traffic free.
With a renewed vigour and mild excitement about the prospect of a little adventure down a new route (because that’s what my life has become through this training) i set off in the baking heat with not a cloud in the sky. I reached the halfway point and not long after turning around my watch showed ‘8 miles’, i figured the slightly flatter, straighter route home would mean that i should still be around the 15 mile mark so carried on unperturbed. I crossed the bridge for the second time, marvelling in its engineering magnificence as always, and had a plan for how i was going to get down to the foreshore but realised that this would add an extra bit of mileage and climbing onto my run that i could’ve done without as i was starting to feel the heat now that i was 9 miles in. Another idea entered my head and i remembered seeing an entrance to the park area under the bridge earlier in the run and figured that i could use this as a shortcut to keep me on track without making things worse.
How wrong was i!?
I passed through the entrance and suddenly realised that the long, winding route down would actually take me in the opposite direction that i wished to go so i quickly looked around and saw that there was a beaten path through the woods in the right direction. “Bingo” i thought as i started along that route until it quickly turned into a downhill scramble on a much steeper gradient than i had anticipated, so much so that i had to direct my speedy descent towards a tree and throw my arm around it to stop me so that i could reassess my next move. This harsh braking left me with a pulled pec for the remaineder of the run which was a right laugh but not as much as the next bit of the descent which involved me climbing down a 10′ rock face, sliding down an embarkment on my arse before having to quickly stand up and use the momentum to jump a ditch and scramble up the other side with my knees jarred, aching and scratched to buggery! I managed to compose myself and found my way to the start of the foreshore path which was very scenic and pleasant but exposed to the sun and heat which just added to my growing fatigue and general homeless person appearance. Ah well, at least this path was going to take me all the way home nearly with just a little incline as i neared my house.
No, wrong again.
About 3 miles from home it quickly became apparent that the path had reached a point where it was only passable at low water (which it was now) if you were willing to walk across the muddy bank and negotiate all the rocks. Clearly this was not ideal for running on so i had to turn around and take the high water route which immediately filled me with dread as i knew exactly where it went and meant that all the incline I’d tried to avoid over the last few miles was now compounded into the hill that stood before me.
I pressed on, having to walk and swear at myself a few times as nearly all my drink had gone along with my gels, my knees were still killing me along with my pec and forearm that was scratched to hell from grabbing the tree. I’d underestimated the mileage (it ended up being a little over 16 miles) and my timing was shot to shit as a result of the park fiasco.
I eventually made it home exhausted with a mental note to research my routes better in future so that this sort of thing doesn’t happen again as the risk of injury so close to the big day is not worth taking.