Continuing my strategy of uploading images before writing, so there’s something to see..
I was a little concerned before starting today’s run as I woke up with a still niggling pain in my right heel, which was very tender. I wondered whether I would even be able to run. However, after walking on it a little, masssaging and stretching it, it seemed to calm down. I also decided to wear my spare running shoes, that are a little worn, but very spongy, so good cushioning for my heel…
Today’s run couldn’t have been more different from yesterday’s- It’s amazing what a combination of cooler weather, more shade and easier ground can do. I also definitely made the right decision with the change of shoes. For the first mile and a half I was making up for lost ground, after finishing short of my intended stop point yesterday. This part was easy-going on a level, smooth path, so it didn’t take too long. I was also in a better frame of mind to appreciate the distinctive Oxford University college boat club buildings on the other side of the river, despite the sense of privilege they connote.
This section coming out of Oxford kept me close to the edge of the river, through very green areas, nature reserves and meadows and even onto and through a kind of island close to Sandford on Thames. Back on the river bank proper, the path continued as part of the Oxford Green Belt Way, so more green paths, and meadows to run through. These were surprisingly soft and not too uneven, so they felt relatively easy to run on. A few small bridges here and there made it possible to cross over small tributaries.
It wasn’t until half way at around mile 7, that there was a short detour around a boating community and through some woods, that took me to Abingdon Lock, where I had to cross over to the other side. Initially, this was quite open, with people enjoying river activities in the still warmth of the day and glimpses of sunshine. It did feel quite muggy, but an intermittent soft breeze and less direct sun, made the run feel all the more manageable. I was still stopping to take a photograph to upload to the tracking app every mile, and also to take sips of fluid and bites of energy bars. I’m not good at eating when I’m running, but it’s important to maintain energy levels and hydration.
By mile 10 I was heading for Culham and on the home straight. I knew I would be crossing under a railway bridge at about mile 12, and from there it would only be a couple of miles to my destination. Just before that I had seen a signpost indicating 3 miles to Clifton Hampden, but as usual, when you’re approaching the end of a run, it always seems further than it is. The path continued close to the river, through more green space, though it was set back a little from the river, to give space to the shrubs and plants growing on its banks.
Reaching Clifton lock, at around 13 .5 miles, told me I wasn’t far from my destination. In fact, the view of the beautiful bridge at Clifton Hampton sat at my horizon line and guided me to the end of the run.
It was only 1.15pm and I was amazed at how smooth this journey had been. I wouldn’t say, easy, but the best run yet.