08 February 2010

They shoot horses, don't they?

Nottingham - where I stayed the night to be here to present a seminar today - seemed to offer excellent running routes, and I had plotted out a run from my hotel, along the canal towpath, across the Trent and along the south bank (heading east) past Notts Forest's ground and into what looked like open parkland. And, apart from the darkness which was a little unnerving along the towpath on the way out, it seemed to live up to the promise. I passed few other runners on the way out: as I doubled back under the river bridge a female runner passed over my head, but didn't catch me - she must have gone the other way.

On the riverside I had football stadia on both sides of the river and the cricket ground just behind me, with a row of boathouses to my left. A man was getting out of his car by one of them: "You're brave, in shorts" he called to me - I assured him it was fine once you got going. Then I passed the Environment Agency office - ideally placed, it seemed to me, to test the efficacy of their own flood defences.

I took it easy, but even so - inevitably, I suppose - I got a cramping feeling in my right calf which turned out to be more like a strain. Equally inevitably, it was nearly three miles out, just before I reached that pleasant-looking open space. Nothing for it but to turn round and retrace my steps.

I managed to run, slowly, most of the way back: 5.63 miles, in about 55 minutes. Very gentle, overall, and I only hope I haven't done serious damage to my calf. The whole purpose of running today was to ensure I was prepared for the race on Friday ...

Back at the hotel (the Strathdon, in Derby Road, which I'd recommend to anyone seeking a good-value place) a member of staff asked me if I'd been for a jog. Lucky for him I was in a good mood, so I just corrected him rather than killing him on the spot.

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