Running Week in Review: 5 July 2015   5 comments

Last week here, and

Next week here

2015-07-05 week run chart


After the refreshingly short mileage the previous week, this week ended on 72.8 miles (and 4 new pubs).  Additionally, I ended June on 236 miles for the month and a modest 1233 for the first half of the year…2000 miles looks easy this year, for a change especially with the Thanksgiving to New Year run streak at the end.

Late for the bus Tuesday, I GPS recorded the dash downhill (0.8 miles) then another 7.9 on regular commute into work from Appleton/Besselsleigh.  In between, I suffered from stinking fuckers (they have body odour like rancid chip fat and it lingers, as well) which is frustrating because they seem to be well-groomed and, although I shower before bed, my hair on morning run-days looks like I slept in the park so when these foul folk take a seat and B.O. up the place (funking out everything for three or four rows fore and aft) it looks like I’m the one who has never heard of soap.  Filthy assholes (both figuratively and literally).


Wednesday was the hottest day on record for July in Britain so I had to go out for a run in the furnace.  Worried that I had become soft over the years in this cold, damp land (I don’t even wear a jacket unless it is single digits ºC any more), I stripped to the essentials of running kit: actual running shorts instead of the usual sweats, a tank top to show the pale and flabby arms, and the shoes I can’t seem to wear down…nowt else.  Then, I loaded a backpack with flour (but no water) and headed out toward Beckley to wreak G-Had on a hash.


2015-07-01 NoGo G-Had vs OH3 at Beckley


But, the G-Had was not to be.  Harder men than me were setting the Oxford HHH trail as the temperatures soared later in the afternoon so my efforts were relegated to just enjoying the hills, woodland, and fields I traversed.  I soaked in the warmth and revelled in the humidity and fell over and twisted my ankle in a furrow and fell off a bridge into some overgrowth covering the edge of the bridge and the cow shite runoff below.  An awesome run, I think.

Bridge of Sighs

Bridge of Sighs

Thursday brought a little rain and a cooler day and a desire to run by the waters so I left work, crossed Port Meadow and headed up the Thames to Wolvercote, across to the Oxford Canal and down to Summertown then out Marston Ferry Road to do the River Cherwell down to the University Parks, again.  Coming in at just over 8.5 miles mapped manually, I reckon the GPS would have given me a few extra feet on this run but the battery was flat.


2015-07-02 Thames-Canal-Cherwell loop


A few months ago, a friend at work (not many of those, mind) and I got into a discussion of Bloomsday, one of my bucket list holiday events (although I have participated in an event in Athens, Georgia, the one in Dublin, Ireland would be extra special).  He post-doc’ed in Dublin and knew of most of the sites although he never actually did the day itself; on his way to Berlin he stopped off in Dublin for a visit just before this years events.  When he returned to the lab Friday and dropped me off this little treat, some lemon soap from Sweny’s (one of the stops on the Bloomsday circuit):

Bloomsday gift sm

Saturday’s long run was longer than planned but other than the last few miles it went off without a hitch. My plan was to swing past a few pubs not yet ticked off the list then back to Marlborough by 1:30 to catch the bus and maybe pick up a few things in the market but the colour cartridge on my printer is fading and the spotty ink that made it to paper got wet in the high grass and nettles along the way so when I reached a cross-road about a mile from Ramsbury (and only about 5 from Marlborough) that kids had rearranged the signage for I made a command decision to go the wrong way entirely and wound up in Chilton Foliat.

2015-07-04 Lambourn and Ramsbury run map

Not a big deal, this detour, but instead of 24 planned miles I wound up with a little over 28.  If you follow the path on the map, point A is the M4 Double Helix pedestrian and bike flyover (below), point B the now closed Malt Shovel, point C the Hare just before I trudged off-road through briars then up the M4 soft verge, and point D the Crown and Wanker where I sat with a pint of cider awaiting the bus home.

2015-07-04 Lambourn and Ramsbury run double helix

As mentioned, 14.1 miles into the run I finally reached the first pub of the day, the Malt Shovel which was not only closed but one step away from shuttered.  This was awful as I timed the trip to arrive when this once early-licensed tap house should have been unlocking its doors.  Not for nothing, though, the villages that are the Lambourns are full of racehorses and dozens were out and more paddocked all along the mile or so into and couple or so out-of-town.

Malt Shovel (closed) Upper Lambourn

The Hare, in Lambourn Woodlands, was the next stop on this journey and it was as unremarkable as I expected (and then some).  My misfortune/miscalculation that landed me in Chilton Foliat wasn’t a great loss nor at all a great surprise (this shit happens all the time);  I continued on to Ramsbury just because the bus connections were better there and then stretched out along the River Kennet  before cooling my aching feet in the waters.

By the time the bus came, my muscle spasms had subsided so that by Sunday morning I was ready to head out again.  My original plan for the week was to tick off two pubs on Saturday and two more on Sunday with a run from Devizes to Chippenham via Melksham but with one in the hole, I decided to try to make a Devizes/Melksham loop work with a couple of quick noon pints to round out the numbers.  Turns out, there was also a hash to crash and the day was better than hoped for.

The run out of Devizes was pretty bog standard: down the Caen Hill Locks and out past Sells Green to a permissive path, into Melksham and over to the West End Inn (which I contacted ahead to make sure they were serving at 11).  I lingered there with the Pig and Whistle in mind, only a mile away and even considered walking there but thought it might be fun to explore the town.  That’s how I found the King’s Arms open and accommodating, just trotting by.

Then, upon leaving the Pig and Whistle, I spotted a crowd of fatties out in the middle of nowhere waddling along.  Could it be?  I mean, I had flour in the backpack, but this was just too much a coincidence to hope for.  And, yet, as I saw them turn off the path onto another I also spied the trail markings of the North Wilts Hash House Harriers…ka-ching!  The G-Had was on as I got out my map and determined where I thought they might go then ran through the trail markings they had to follow to get where they were when I spotted them.  A little maneuvering and I was between these wankers and the faster walkers ahead of them and could start to redirect this straggling bunch.  It almost made me late for the bus back home but that would have been totally worth it.  As I dashed back toward Devizes, 4½ miles away, I ran right through another pack of these half-wits. . . golden.

2015-07-05 Devizes Melksham run route




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