Monday, August 15, 2016

126 Miles

One of the best things about having a month in Oxford was all the running time I got to have. Mostly cool, clear weather - much better than the Oklahoma humid heat I'm running in right now. July was good timing because I was starting my marathon training plan. It was a good kickstart of getting into the habit of steadily increasing my weekly mileage and long runs. Like last year, Myron was usually up for running so I had some accountability to get up early and get my miles in before lectures and research most days. We started the first weekend with a 10-mile run near my favorite Oxford neighborhood Jericho and out to the meadow along the river.

Because of the ample running time I got last year, and I knew there were several runners in the group, a group of us planned to run a race in the nearby town of Adderbury. The second Sunday was a fun day: group traveling, race, and a meal together. Four of us ran the half marathon, one ran the 5K, and one ran the 10K.

Our Meeting Spot*
Mark was awesome! He booked a van for us to rent, and he drove it. With April navigating, we got to the race in plenty of time!

Road Trip!
Adderbury was a cute little English town. I enjoyed walking through it (and running through part of it at the end).

Typical cute English street

One Spire
I had decided to approach this race as just fun, not to worry about the time. I knew within the first couple miles that was a good decision when I reached this:

That's right. There was a line to jump a fence. It turns out the route goes through several patches of private property so I ended up jumping several fences and gates.

The race was described as a trail run. 

Yep, that was a correct description.

I'm so glad Erin took pictures along the race. She got some great shots.

There were maybe 3-5 miles total that were along a main road. 
The rest was usually through forest areas and fields. 
Beautiful fields.

Paths like this had you basically running through the stalks. There was one point, I jumped the gate and the race marshall pointed in the direction I was supposed to run. 
There was no path. 
I asked him, "Over there?" 
So I ran in that direction until I found some runners up ahead of me. 

It was pretty hilly. We would call one of the hills I ran up a mountain here in Oklahoma.

Check out the elevation gain.
I enjoyed the run and was glad I got to run a race in England!

I was really thankful I had friends to join me for the race.

Erin, Mark, Myron, April, me, and Dennis
Some kindly Adderburian (or someone at the race) recommended a great place to eat over in a nearby town so we headed there after the race. 

We weren't disappointed. Great ambience and yummy food!

I'm liking the training plan I am using so far. Now of course, ask me that after my race in October. For now, I am liking the built-in recovery weeks. I have a smaller distance for my long run every fourth week. I had a short 8-mile run to do the following weekend after the race which worked out well. We had a group tour all day on Saturday, and I took a day to rest and work a little on Sunday. It was easy to squeeze in a smallish long run that weekend.

Eleven of us traveled to Amsterdam together the next weekend. There weren't any races going on (I looked), but Myron and I got a 12-mile run in Saturday morning.

Before we set out, we asked the hotel concierge of a good 12-mile route. The next five minutes of her explaining the proposed route was lost on me. All I kept hearing her say was, "So, you just keep running along the canal..." See the map above? Amsterdam is all canals. I had no idea what canal she was talking about. Thankfully, for two directionally-challenged folks, we found a 6-mile route that went around the main part of town and through the industrial area.

It was a direct path with pretty trees on both sides most of the time. Despite a little motorized bike traffic, it was pretty quiet.

Had to stop and pose by the modern Dutch windmills.

Part of the route was through the town by the serene canals and picturesque Amsterdam homes.

My favorite doors in Amsterdam.

I counted it as a win that we didn't have to use Google Maps to get us back to the hotel.

A tad tired after 12 miles.
The weather in Amsterdam reminded me of mild Oklahoma summers: overcast skies and humid. It was definitely warmer than England in July.

Got another shorter run the next morning.
Once my last week in Oxford arrived, I was pretty mindful that my English morning runs were numbered. I was soaking up the beautiful runs along the Thames and fully enjoying the cool mornings.

Myron organized some speed work for April and I one day. After warming up, April and I ran ten uphill sprint repeats.

It was fun to stretch my legs and have something different to do even though the hill wasn't too steep.

My last run in Oxford was a long run. I was scheduled for 14 miles; it was my first time ever to run longer than the half marathon distance.

It began with a south run through town past Christ Church 
and along part of the Thames I had never ran. 

Then ended up circling back up north along the water towards Port Meadow...

...ran by the Old Nunnery one last time...

...and ended in Jericho.

It was a perfect way to end a month of a lot of running. 
Approximately 126 miles of a lot of running.

*Many of these pictures were taken by other BTC peeps. Thankful for easy access to steal share photos!

1 comment:

MadsMommy1014 said...

I love reading your blog and getting to experience places and adventures through you!! Keep up the great work!!