hit the road again tonight. my first long run for a long time.
running is a good thing, lots of time to think, and every hill gives you an opportunity to push yourself further.
before i left home, i had to have the pre run poo. much like the pre surf poo but this one is more important, as the vibrations and pounding from the road have a way of emptying you out. so , while i was having my pre run poo i read a few more pages of my book.
was very cold tonight, i put in my fleece, gloves and hat. the days are still warm but the nights get real cold. by 6.30 the sun is gone and the skies are clear, plenty of stars and the moon was in its last stage before being full.
at the bottom of the garden, i start my warm up. a few of the locals drive past and wonder what the hell is going on, i have reflectors on my fleece and on my running shoes too. most of them dont even venture out when it is cold, i wonder what they think as they try to see what i am all about, in the middle of nowhere , freezing cold in a bright yellow fleece.
stretches and warm up but i sam still feeling the cold. check my watch is working, have to time this run. the watch was free with a subscritpion to ´mens health´probably nearly three years ago now, batteries are almost flat.
the neighbours return from walking their dogs, they and the dogs must be looking at me thinking what the hell is goign on as i start my watch and head off into the dark. the road is lit only by the moon. as i leave the house the local dogs start to bark, i tease them and blow them kisses as i run by, still running uphill away from the house. as i get to the top i can see in the distance the xmas lights of vila do bispo, i take a little comfort in the fact that what i am looking at is one quarter distance of my run tonight. i wonder if i can make it all the way to rapo and back again, a full four miles. i keep thinking of points along the way if i need to stop ot rest or walk. the run into vila do bispo is downhill, i free wheel to make it as easy as i can.
at vila, i have covered 1 mile, the roads are deserted, the glimmer of blue and yellow xmas lights are all over the roundabouts. the road heads uphill to the next roundabout, lit exactly the same.
stars are bright in the sky, no cloud cover and no-one on the streets. i head the wrong way along the exit ramp and onto the main road to raposeira, still feeling good and confident that i can complete the run but the road heads uphill again. i can feel the muscles in the backs of my legs begining to ache but i am certain in my mind i will make the distance.
as i crest the hill, i can see the lights of rapo in the distance, my turning point is waiting, right outside of work and exactly two miles from home – half distance.
as i turn and head for home, i meet an old boy, a walking stick in each hand, hobbling to the village centre, i wonder how long it will take him to get there and also wonder if i keep running, will i still be mobile at his age? as i pass, i offer a polite ´boa noite´and he returns the favour. wierd isnt it, in the middle of the evening, pitch black, different generations pass in the night without fear but both with enough thought to say good evening to each other.
i made it half way and still feeling good but it is now an uphill lug out of rapo, i start to think that running the hills is less strenuous than cycling each day.
at the top of the hill i can see the xmas lights of vila do bispo again, far in the distance is my three quarter mark but i have one more hill to climb before i get there. i push hard into the village, up hill , knowing that the run to the third mile marker is down hill. as i reach the roundabout, i smile, i have made it to three miles. the last mile will be the hardest, most of it will be uphill. i listen to the sound of my feet on the cold tarmac, the right foot seems to say ´walk´the left foot says ´dont´as they strike the floor, dont walk, dont walk, as i start the final accent.i am muttering this to myself on the first section of the hill, a long slow gradient, before a sharp rise, then a plateau before the final sharp rise, dont walk dont walk – made it to the top of the hill, the dogs are barking way befor ei can hear them, i hardly have the breath to tease them and blow them kisses, but i do – shit, i hope they dont slip their leashes now, i dont have much strength left.
i start to freewheel again, downhill for the last 50 metres, the moon still showing me the way and in the distance, i see my finishing post. with my gloves, i cant reach the stop button on my watch, i frantically rip the right glove off and cross the line………..
two minutes later i have my breath back and my heart rate is only a minute behind. i have been running for 35 minutes.
my reward – all you can eat in the dromedario for 7euros, three glasses of water, a coffee in the bubble, two more waters, a whiskey and starsky and hutch