The previous week life got in the way of my running schedule and I ended up with a very light mileage week managing just 15.5 miles over three sessions. Decided I needed to do better and this week got of for a lap of Richmond Park late Monday afternoon, 5 miles in Thames Ditton with the Tuesday night Stragglers group, seven plus on Thursday with the Stragglers in Richmond Park, Kingston Park run on Saturday and 14 miles in Bushy and Richmond parks today, making a total of 37.2 miles recording in my Marathon Training Diary. And in a way all of the runs were enjoyable, although i am not sure everyone in the group on Thursday would agree with me! We were running a loop form the Ham gate to the Ballet school and had dropped down the long hill to Sheen Cross and turned left up Sawyers hill to the Richmond Gate, Everyone had been saying what a pleasant run it was. It was one of those evenings in Richmond park where the sky was covered in cloud, but visibility is really good. It is reckoned to be because the whole park is surrounded with roads with street lights and the light reflects back off the low cloud base. Anyway all good until we got into the climb, which is pretty significant. It started to rain and before long the rain was lashing down on us in cold hard drops. As we came over a crest the wind hit us head on and drove the deluge into our faces. The next part of the run was a real challenge, but we made it to the top and exited the park to take Star and Garter hill back to Petersham. I don’t think I can remember getting completely soaked to the skin like that on a run, but found it strangely satisfying to be out there in the elements!
Today was a real contrast, running in bright sunshine on what felt like a spring day, Richmond park was absolutely packed with runners, many of whom are probably in training for Half or full marathons. We must have the highest per capita runners stats in the country in South West London.
Aside from training I have been busy with preparations with my own race, the Hampton Court Half, which is now just five weeks away. I cycled the complete course yesterday with Dave Olsen, making some final checks on the route and the positioning of the water stations etc. All looking good, although we do need the rain to stop and let some areas dry out. The half mile section through the woods leading to Weston Green is pretty muddy, but runnable. However the Thames is so full that one section of Barge walk was flooded and we cycled about 100 years through shallow water. Once again it could be run but only if you don’t mind an extended water jump and very wet feet! However we have had exceptional rain fall and there has got to be a very high probability that conditions will have improved by the 23rd of February.
One pleasing development this week is that we have had over 50 students at Esher College (which is our race HQ) sign up to help with the organisation. This will enable us to give really good support to the runners in terms of car parks, baggage, water stations and marshaling and enable us to use our experienced marshals at the key areas on the course. All in all, a very good week!