“10 miles at marathon effort on trail. As flat a piece of trail as you can find and drill it out.”
Trail doesn’t come much flatter than towpath, and Country to Capital is on Saturday (eek!) so I thought I’d head to Uxbridge for a last minute spot of Grand Union Canal recceing.
It went quite well. After the high winds and heavy rain of the last couple of days, I was pleasantly surprised to find blue skies, sunshine and wind that barely qualified as a breeze and I knew enough of that section of path to have a few marker points to break up the run. There was the bridge where I got a sweaty hug from world famous ultra-running author James Adams*, the lock where I saw Danny Kendall streak past me in hot pursuit of Ed Catmur**, the bridge across to West Drayton train station, and of course the luscious*** Hamborough Tavern.
I didn’t miss the left hand turn onto the Paddington Arm of the canal, I didn’t fall into the water and I just about managed to maintain marathon effort for the 10 miles. I say just about. As it’s faster than my base pace, I have to concentrate to maintain it. So every time I started to enjoy the scenery, I drifted off the pace. Oooh, pretty narrow boat. Oh, need to speed up. Oooh, fearless, non-scampering moorhens. Oh, need to speed up. Oooh, picturesque lock. Oh, need to speed up.
10 miles at marathon effort, another section of the route recced, blue skies, sunshine and nostalgia. Not a bad day at all.
* At last year’s Country to Capital.
** Also at last year’s Country to Capital. It wasn’t some bizarre mating ritual that I stumbled upon.
*** One of the most prized volunteering spots of the whole Grand Union Canal Race.