In the coming weeks I need to run miles . . . and miles . . . and miles.
It’s hard to run any great distance from home because of the hills and hairpins but there is a great stretch of road out of the village which lends itself to repeats; Roger uses it a lot for speed training, sprinting up and jogging back down several times. It’s almost straight (very rare round here) and exactly one kilometre long but the tricky thing is that it is a steady climb which is steeper than it looks and try as I might, I just haven’t been able to run it all in one go without a recovery walk. Until this week that is, when I finally cracked the Hill From Hell and felt so pleased that at last I must be making some kind of progress. All I need to be able to do is run backwards and forwards ten times and the half marathon is in the bag. Ha ha! 🙂
I have gained a problem though, in the shape of my new little friend, Roy. He is a five month-old border collie pup with a huge zest for life and a fatal attraction to the neon orange laces on my running shoes.
If I run into the village and turn round by the bar, I have to run past his house twice and he invariably dognaps me, winds himself between my feet and attaches himself to my laces. He is adorable so I have to forgive him and usually his lovely lady owner is around to extract him from my feet and allow me to carry on. Today, however, there was no sign of her and I was worried about him being out on the road – even though it is very quiet – plus he had me in a puppy jawlock which made moving impossible. Nothing for it but to hop-wriggle-shuffle to the front door, Roy firmly in tow, and ring the bell for help. After a quick chat and giggle, the young pup was removed and I was ready to tackle that hill again when I was asked to stop and wait and then presented with the most beautiful cabbage to take home. What a lovely, generous gesture. Our neighbours are all such kind people, we are very blessed.
However . . . picture my situation for a moment, dear reader. There I was, halfway through an eight kilometre (five mile) run during which I was attempting to make it up that wretched Hill From Hell not once but twice when suddenly I found myself to be the proud new owner of an enormous cabbage. (It really is enormous, too, weighing in at 2.3kg, or 5lb in old money – I kid you not, I have seen smaller babies.) What is a person to do? I certainly wasn’t going to refuse it, that would have been churlish and anyway, I love cabbage and our summer ‘Greyhound’ (how appropriate is that name to this story?!) aren’t quite ready to eat yet. I could have simply walked home from the village taking the shortest route which would probably have been the most sensible plan but I didn’t want to cut my run short (blimey, what is happening to me?) and anyway, I wasn’t sure my coach would consider a heavy cabbage enough of an excuse not to be racking up the miles. In fact, part of me is slightly suspicious that maybe he has had a word in the village and this is just the first of several challenges to come; if Antonio asks me to carry one of his sheep, I shall know something is afoot. Anyway, back to the cabbage and there was only one thing for it: I tucked it under my arm like a giant rugby ball and trotted off up the H F H, trying not to make any forward passes as I went.
Did I manage to run all the way again, despite my handicap? Well actually, yes I did, and that’s the good news. The bad news is that now of course, the locals don’t just see me as the eccentric Englishwoman on the hill who talks to her cabbages but who now takes them for a run as well. 🙂