It's been a while since I did a designated tempo session, so Monday (11/11/13) I went to the school track. Late afternoon, cold and dull, with a piercing north wind blasting in across the lake. An easy 2 kms there, 5 faster kms of 'round and round', another easy-ish 2 home. In my usual unscientific way, I aimed to do the 5 in 'half marathon under 2 hours' tempo. It was getting dark, and I couldn't be bothered to keep putting the light on to check the Garmin, so I just gauged it on how it felt. The 5 were not very consistent (6:09 - this one a bit slow because it included the last 90 metres of the 'getting there'; 5:49; 5:43; 5:27; and 5:20), but I suppose it's inconsistency in the right direction. There was another woman also running round and round, and I think her pace influenced mine; once I overtook her, I evidently speeded up. 9.1 kms altogether, in 59:40.
Not sure what happened to Wednesday, but the next was Friday 15/11/13: another round of the Bireggwald with J, another cold and gloomy late afternoon. Waldrand as far as the ponds, then up a long flight of steps for a change, up over middle hills, along to the hut, and up to Oberrüti. Two rounds of the fig. of 8, down again, to the middle of the woods, and home via the zigzags. 7.8 kms, 1:09:39.
Sunday 17/11/13 Our 'fantasy parkrun' route. Along Waldrand and through the woods to Allmend (exactly 3 kms to here), starting the 'parkrun' outside the restaurant. Alongside the former railway line, passing my place of work at Südpol; then through a small tract of woodland near the riding stables (trying to remember how I did it last time, when the distance worked out exactly), coming out at the back of the car park behind the army centre. This is the only slightly unsatisfactory bit of the route, as it has to negotiate a bicycle shelter, a few yards of pebbles, and a further few yards of car park, before rejoining a proper pedestrian track back to the restaurant - a distance of exactly 2.5 kms. Round again, trying out another route at the far end which crosses the corner of another car park and follows a tarmac road in front of the army building......... but we agreed this was more boring and less picturesque than the woodland alternative. The distance worked out the same, though: 2.5 kms, making the requisite total of 5 kms. (Although we did the parkrun distance, however, we didn't do it at parkrun speed!) Home again through the woods via a different route - up from Waldegg to the main track from Allmend, continuing up it past the hut, and home down the zigzags, for a total of 11.33 kms in 1:35:09. Another very grey afternoon, but a surprisingly enjoyable run.
Wednesday was going to be the next, but with snow predicted, it had to be sacrificed to the annual 'bringing the plants in from the balcony' ceremony. I have two balconies, both full of plants, so this took time. Finally, with the hardier ones wrapped up in fleece and moved against the inside walls, and the non-hardy ones brought inside and found places for, I called it a day. By now it was dark, it was cold, and I was starving, so running got shunted off the agenda in favour of hot tea and my dinner.
And Thursday........... yes, Thursday was horrible. Wet stuff fell all day: sometimes rain, sometimes sleet. By mid-afternoon, it was clear it was not going to improve, so we just put on lots of clothes and got out there. Initially it was not too pleasant: my knees felt very creaky, the cold air made my eyes stream, and my fingers were freezing even with gloves on. This, I thought, is not going to be a very long one............. But once I warmed up (which generally takes about half an hour) it got better. Waldrand, ponds, Vita Parcours, a round of the Finnebahn; then on to the middle of the woods, and up to Oberrüti. There was proper snow up here, settling on the grass and bushes, though not on the paths, which were too wet. It was a seriously gloomy day, and after one round of the fig. of 8, it was clear that darkness was coming on early today, so we went back down into the sleet, took the top path of the Vita Parcours back to the ponds, and made our escape from the woods. We could have turned for home at this point........... but we decided to carry on, having discovered a bizarre satisfaction (enjoyment, even!) in battling the elements. Via the goats and the bus terminus, out onto the road, and down to Sternegg: our next opportunity to turn for home. Nope! - onwards! Gardens path, bit of woodland (still just enough light), over the bridge at Wartegg, and along the road towards the lake. A quick 'good evening' to Wagner, then the right turn along the lakeside; one more small diversion (the long way round the lido, though the direct path across it is now open), but with the rain now getting heavier and beginning to seep unpleasantly through the layers of clothes, home does after all seem a pleasant prospect. 10.5 kms, 1:23:15, somewhere during the course of which I began to recompose a Christmas carol..............!
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