I am reliving the 10 glorious days I just spent with my family – near and extended – in England. While I usually visit England for 3 or more weeks at a time, 10 days was the longest we could take the boys out of school. Funny thing is, we did more in 10 days than we usually do in 21. When you have limited time you spend it wisely. I find I’m like that in my training, too. Give me all day to get it done and I mess around wasting time and putting it off, but if I have a small window of time I’m much more productive.
In England I ran (almost) every day. The mornings were chilly but mostly rain-free. I didn’t stress about pace or mileage, I just set off and ran, comfortably at first and then picking up the pace when I had warmed up. I ran from 3 – 7 miles but really didn’t worry about distance. I ran up hills and through mud with my sister (the first time we’ve ever run together!) in the pouring rain. I stopped to take pictures and enjoy the beautiful countryside of England. The countryside I grew up in but have only come to appreciate in recent years.
At the beginning of my run I pass through this graveyard. The church, Old St. Peters, is from the 12th Century and is no longer in use. It has been replaced by a much newer church…built in 1866.
Shortly after passing the church I turn down a country lane with just a couple of houses on it.
One of the houses is the magnificent Marsh Court, which is at the end of this long driveway. Last time I was in England there were rumors that Johnny Depp had bought the house. I made sure I ran past plenty of times. The rumors turned out to be untrue, but I wonder if the posts, which weren’t there before, had to be added because of curious people driving up the driveway to get a closer look…
I have to stay alert on this run. Not just because of the giant potholes along the side but because the speed limit is 60mph (standard for English country roads except when they pass through a village where the speed limit is 30mph) and I have to be prepared to jump to the side if a car comes along. Thankfully on most of my runs I saw one car at most. The busiest day by far was Sunday when the bikers and cars were competing for space!
I have been running this road for at least 15 years and I swear this is the same horse that was there the first time I ran it. He/she always trots over to say hello.
It’s hard to show the perspective of this giant hill. It goes on and on forever, but the view from the top is worth it every time:
From here I turn right to make my run a loop. I run down a hill and can then choose from three different routes:
The center route is my favorite because I get to cross the river. The top and bottom routes are part of the Test Way, a footpath that travels through Hampshire. If I turn left, it’s a 7 mile run. Straight is 6.5 miles, and right is 5.5 miles. So I select depending on how much time I have.
There are two certainties, whichever route I pick; 1. It will be beautiful. 2. My shoes will be covered in mud, even when it hasn’t rained for weeks and apparently there is a “drought.”
It isn’t until I go back that I realize how much I miss running in England. My England.