I guess God even smiles on Great Britain's weather once in a while, as a series of nice warm days have graced our shores during the long Easter weekend. What better way to enjoy it than with a long run in the countryside. The British Walking Federation came through for me with a 42k walk, and even allowed me to get my volksmarching book stamped for the first time in a couple of years. Before the walk even started, I was already feeling comfortably warm in just a T-shirt, and wondering if I should change into shorts (I did). It was a small crowd of walkers that set off, and soon I was running alone in the sunshine.
It was almost a shock to find out that no map and compass were needed on the route, as the route description and colored tape markers made getting around the course a breeze. My year in England must have corrupted me, with all this map and compass work, because I felt too light and easy, running around without all the perephenalia usually required on a walk, such as full waterproofs, map, first aid kit, and emergency blanket. Anyway, in shorts, T-shirt and a tiny backpack, I was as light as I have ever been on an English run. How quickly I forget that I did several thousand kilometers of volksmarches in Germany, without ever carrying a pack, using a map, or getting a route description. Amazing that I almost never got lost just following the route markers!
The route was pretty flat, given that this IVV event was in Barnburgh just north of Rotherham. The course took us through brilliantly blooming fields of yellow mustard seed, woods filled with blankets of bluebells, and flowering trees with petals gently flying off in the breeze. Not that there was much of a breeze, as the air felt very still and light. I'm sure most of the participants were actually wishing for a breeze, to cool us down, instead of cursing the wind and the cold. The sun never stopped shining, and the temperature kept creeping higher, until readings of 26C/80F were bandied around. That's very hot to be out running around in, especially without acclimating first. And it's still April?!?!
By the time I hit 20 miles, I was having trouble digesting enough water to cool myself down. I could feel it sloshing in my stomach but not going anywhere. So I slowed down a little (ok, I walked), enjoyed the scenery, and poured water over my head at the next checkpoint. But it was still a hot, long few miles back to the start hall. Luckily we went through another shady forest with bluebells everywhere, and it distracted me from the pain of running overheated. Thanks to the organizers in the White Cross Walkers BWF Club, after arriving back at The Coach and Horses, I soon had a glass of ice-water in my hand, munching a Cadbury Egg, and recovered nicely. Later I was quite happy sitting on a picnic table enjoying the afternoon and munching on a tasty plate of pies 'n peas.
I am going to try and remember this weather for the rest of the summer when it goes back to being cold, windy, rainy, and generally miserable. At least I had one nice day :) Ok, well this spring I'm willing to admit that we've had quite a few!
Flickr photos are here