The Birthday Run 2011

I always had trouble knowing what kind of shape I was in at any given time and be able to predict performance. Three weeks ago we went down to Weston to run the Prom 5 miler. Its a flat course out and back twice. It was raining so the numbers were down a little. I set out too fast and by halfway was struggling and slowing with oxygen debt. However I hung in and finished with what turned out to be a (recent) pb with 37:43.

I didnt run for almost 2 weeks after this and then I decided I wanted a long run and began thinking about where to go. With my birthday coming up I decided running to Penrhiwfer in the Rhondda Valley would be a challenge. I planned to leave very early in the morningestimating it would take 15 hours or so as I wasnt rushing. With one thing and another my birthday rolled around and I still had not left. I got up at 7 thinking I could pack and be out by 8 giving me a good chance to get there this side of midnight. However the Faff Factor dug in and as it rained most of the morning so getting ready was a challenge in itself. Finally at 11:35 I was closing the door and on my way. It had stopped raining and the clouds were breaking up. One thing that did concern me was the weight of my backpack. Not sure of my plans, I included the kitchen sink and I weighed the pack at 10 kg. Not having run with that kind of weight before I did not know how it would go. I had been running home from work with 2-3 kilos but 10 is another matter.
Google maps indicated it was about 53 miles to Penrhiwfer which I estimated could take 15 hours or so as I wasnt in a rush. By the time I left it was 11:30 and the morning rain had stopped. Bythe time I got to Aust it had cleared up and the sun was shining – it was a beautiful day.
However the weight of the pack had slowed my pace and it was starting to get uncomfortable. After a meditation on the Sri Chinmoy Peace Blossom Bridge I made my away across the Severn and into Wales.
That section to Newport was hard going and it was 8 oclock before my largely walking pace saw me arrive at the Train Station where I decided to catch the train to my destination so I wouldnt arrive in the middle of the night. The route I took looks pretty close to 50 km so there was a mile or so of walking at the other end that made me feel able to say I had run 51 km on my birthday. My first Birthday Run.

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