Monthly Run Review – September 2015   3 comments

September 2015 run chart

This is the first of the monthly updates after 7½ months of weeklies.  Most recent previous weekly update, here and the following monthly one (October), here.

It was an eventful running month as I used my remaining holiday allotment (more than 3 weeks to burn by the end of the month) to keep my edge after the big race.  The first half of the month was all UK but all over the South and near-West.  Then, there were two weeks in the States.  The next several months will be much more concise.

The month started with 4 days rest and recuperation after my Ridgeway Challenge survival which resulted in a badly inflamed talofibular tendon swollen the size of two fingers (but not full-blown tendinitis, more like a sprain or even a repetitive stress injury). A pressure bandage and immobilisation boot/brace helped as did some ibuprofen gel frequently rubbed into the area; ice packs a few times a day as well.  I finally gave it a test run on the 4th and it was fine but every other complaint I had during the race screamed for further attention (pain in left IT band and right plantar fascia, sore hamstrings and quads, couple of lost toenails…the usual).

2015-09-03 immobilised ankle day 4

After four days off I had a bit of a run streak working my way up from a puny 3.4 miler after work Friday to XXX on Tuesday plus G-Hads on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Monday’s commuter run to work was especially interesting, serendipity-wise: I had just lucked into a Keith Moon spotting in a film I was watching Sunday having just commented that Monday was the anniversary of his passing.  The movie revolved around, in part, the main characters working in an amusement park and as I emerged from the meadows I was faced with the St. Giles Fair’s annual emergence:

2015-09-07 St Giles Fair

 

I took a couple of days off the middle of the second week and rode to Heathrow with Jackie (she was travelling ahead of me to the States). She’s been applying for positions at some of the London universities and if one were to come through we would need to move somewhere convenient for me to commute and that we could afford. Ruislip, Hayes, and Uxbridge are top contenders but I decided to focus on Ruislip for this intitial scouting run. But, starting at Hounslow West tube stop I decided to see a bit of the landscape directly in the flight paths of LHR:

 

Hounslow Tube Station

 

Hounslow looks like it was once a fine town but the houses generally seem in a state of disrepair. I really liked this art deco garage across from the Army barracks on Beaver Lane, though.

 

Deco garage Hounslow

Moving north toward Ruislip, the area improves in noise first and then, just past Southall, starts to look fairly civilised…even ‘nice.’ Around RAF Northolt, there is a fine memorial garden to the Polish airmen that died during World War 2, and moving toward Ruislip I spotted the Bondage and Discipline Newsstand.

 

Polish Airmen Memorial

Who has been a naughty boy?  I guess reading the Sun is punishment enough:

B & D Newstand Ruislip

And, there was beer. Pub stops included:
The Earl Haig, Hounslow
The Three Horseshoes, Southall
The Black Bull, Ruislip
JJ Moons, Ruislip, and then on the second run (for the sake of the G-Had) there was
The Edinboro Castle, Camden, and
The Sheephaven Bay, Mornington Crescent

2015-09-08 london runs

Left, Hounslow to Ruislip. Right, G-Had from Baker Street to Mornington Crescent

 

The second day off was devoted, in the first instance, to Dismaland but in the 6-8 miles I walked around Weston-super-Mare I seemed to have developed a blister on a toe and a possible stress fracture, both in my right foot which was swollen as badly as it had been at the end of the Ridgeway Challenge. But, there was more running to do as another great G-Had target was hashing that evening in Portishead, a town with a spectacular coastal path on the edge of a steep ridge and at least three decent pubs to take refuge within (the Windmill at the coast, and the Poacher across, more or less, from the Plough back in the town). The run here was gorgeous but did nothing for the foot injury and I limited the next day to walking.

 

Wilts and Berks Canal bridge Abingdon

Friday the 11th, I went to Abingdon to run a loop out to Drayton but the targeted pub, the Wheatsheaf, was not open.  The run itself was pleasant, though, following the Thames and then cutting through an active quarry (gravel, so not too exciting).  The Red Lion in Drayton was open, though, and once refreshed I was able to make it back to Abingdon where the evening led to more pubbing.

I mentioned the Tidworth fiasco of the 12th of September in its own write up, here.  That was really the low point of the first half of the month although the Welcome Stranger 80% of the way through the run was a highlight of the Endless Pub Crawl.  At 19.4 miles, this was the longest run, save for the Ridgeway, I had done in a month, too.

 

South end of Endless Street

With the hand swollen from the Tidworth disaster and tendinitis flaring in right plantar fascia, right talofibular tendon, and both IT bands I did more walking than running the 13th (but still logging close to 7 miles) in and around Salisbury.  The pubs are written up elsewhere (start with Deacon’s and follow links backward if interested) but I got a little extra tourism in, as well.  For instance, one of the shortest streets in the city is Endless.  Another interesting find was this plaque on the Debenham’s department store (they call their dining room the Blue Boar and I’m tempted to see if I can get a beer in there my next visit to town):

2015-09-13 Debenhams Salisbury Blue Boar plaque

I had another short jaunt toward Wantage after my last day of work then up the next day to Bath for the Two Tunnels run which was published earlier.

The England section of the runs summed out at 86.2 miles over 11 of 16 days, with 3 of the rest days involving recovery from the Ridgeway run.  The US trip involved 2 days of travel on either end plus one day of travel to (and watching) the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Festival as well as other days off so I only got 7 of the remaining 14 days in and most of those were short days resulting in 36.3 miles and 122.5 on the month…the least in a year.

Bristol run

The Bristol run, above, on the morning after the festival was in the dark which helped me find a quiet place to smoke some pot which, in turn, made me paranoid about taking the rental car across a state line not authorized in the rental agreement: State Street is the state line and I was carrying the car keys — I know the GPS was in the car but weed is a funny drug.  I wound up making a loop with a flat top then laughing at myself and cutting the effort short.

Another good one was the Freedumb run the day Jackie’s nieces and half-sister showed up near the end of the visit.  I smoked up the last of the pot and thought a bit about the previous 2 weeks with the soccer fields nearby in mind.  All I could think of was stupid Americans and their obsession with “Freedom” without understanding the word in even the most abstract way:

2015-09-27 freedumb run

My last run gave me the first squashy possum of the trip.  There was a time when there’d be three-to-five a day on a stretch of road like the ones I jogged:

2015-09-28 possum on dunlap highway

The t-shirt retirements that I used to map had fallen to the wayside but I had some ready to go.  Oddly enough, one of them was planned for Debra because she likes Native American crap (and it was my original 30 Pack Marathon shirt) then she asked if I was still doing the t-shirt retirements by leaving them for people to find.  Hence, on our trip out of the States I slipped these beauties (the Stroud Half Marathon and the Pewsey Half Marathon both from 2013) behind the bedding in our room at her place:

3 shirts dumped at Debra's

Back on the horse next month.  Don’t-Stop-Tober for October.

 

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