If you know a British person in real life, you will know that 90% of conversations will start with a comment about the weather. Partly it’s small-talk, partly it’s an opening gambit to build the conversation on and partly it’s a genuine national obsession with the weather. The weather has been one of the biggest challenges for us, these past few weeks as British People again. The first week was mainly bright sunshine and blue skies. This second week, however, has not been so much fun.
Autumn started on Monday. Literally, just started. We woke up on the first day of the Dude’s new school year and the sky was grey, it was chilly, there was fog everywhere and the leaves had started turning overnight. I love Autumn and am super-excited for my first decent Autumn for seven years. But the weather all week has been depressing. Grey skies, chilliness and rain, on and off, all week. I’m learning again all about layering – you basically need all your clothes, all the time. Short sleeves for hot moments, jumpers/sweaters for cooler moments, sunglasses for the sunshine, umbrellas for the showers. Bearing in mind we STILL only have the clothes we’ve been travelling in since May 2nd, it’s a little challenging.
Talking of clothes…this week I finally retired my ancient, 700-mile Salomons, which served me so well on our epic summer trip. My regular running shoes are in a box in storage till we get our house, so I found some of a previous model cheaply online. These are gloriously neon and putting them on felt like old times. I’m in love.
Anyway. This week, I started my training for the Avebury 8 at the end of November. It was a little…humbling.
Tuesday saw a very pleasant 6-miler along the country lanes – I ran at about 6pm and it’s already getting dusky enough that I think I need reflective clothing (currently in our crate) as the cars do zip along the little lanes and I feel a little vulnerable.
On Thursday, I did my first actual workout for seven months – hill repeats. It’s hilly where my parents live – not Crested Butte style hills, but shorter, gentler hills that still get your heart-rate up significantly. I ran through the village to the lanes around Milston and did 6 repeats up a hill. There were two farmers half way up, leaning on Landrovers and putting the world to rights. They were mildly intrigued by me running up and down their hill and were very encouraging. It was kind of lovely. But the repeats were tough and a reminder of how out of racing shape I’ve become.
On Friday, I had a fairly free day (the joys of being in limbo for a month). I planned to do my long run but it decided to chuck it down with rain, so I switched it and did 4 miles with some speed-work. 9 reps (oops) of 0.1 mile on a country lane with a very VERY slight uphill. I averaged 7.40 pace. Got to start somewhere, I guess! I got wet on the way home.
On Saturday, I did parkrun Salisbury with the boys. Salisbury is a big park run, with over 400 people running in the sunshine. The course isn’t easy – yes it’s flat, but it’s 3 laps of the park and you run on path (slightly slippy from the rain) and grass (also slippy) with several tight corners. It was definitely the jolliest parkrun I’ve ever done – the volunteers were wonderful. Each corner had a name-sign (‘Bog Bend’ near the loos was my favourite), there was music, a bubble machine, flowers and super-enthusiastic volunteers cheering. Lovely. We ran it together as a family, except when I had to dash into the loos on the first lap. I ran hard to catch them and then we ambled to the finish in a slow, cheerful 32 minutes. My half-mile of running fast to catch the boys was not as effortless as I would like. I have work to do.
On Sunday, I was up early to do my long run whilst it was dry. I ran 9 miles on the lanes and pavements of the villages in the area. It was foggy at the start, then a little clearer, but the cool temperatures actually made it quite pleasant to run. 9 steady miles averaging 10 min miles.
So there we are. My first week training. 29 miles in the bank. Lots to do. Motivated.
In terms of life, this week, as I mentioned, the Dude started school. Because we’re not yet in our house, we’ve got a 20-mile each-way commute but his new school is lovely. It’s tiny (he’s child 101), and super-friendly. I’ve already identified one mum who’s a runner and she’s invited me to run with her and her friends once we’re moved into the area, so that was very encouraging. Our crate from the US has safely arrived and has been stored in the garage of our new house. We’re now just waiting to get a move-in date! I think we’re going to be happy there.
Okay. Week Two…I’m coming for you!