I'd got a race the following day, so day 8 of the Flanders adventure called for some tapering .........
At 26 point something miles, today’s run was to be the shortest stage of my journey to Torhout by about 20%. Wayhay! A short day and chance to taper down the mileage ready for the race tomorrow.
In reality it felt a bit like one of those bank holiday weeks. (You know, the ones where you’re looking forward to a short week at work because Monday’s a holiday. But when it arrives it actually seems to take just as long for the weekend to come round again. Or is that just me?).
Anyway, I set off at 9am in a frame of mind to just grind out the miles to Torhout, rather than breaking the day up into a number of sections like in previous days (E.g. run to Gravelines, I’m 1/3 in. Run to Dunkirk, I’m 2/3 done etc.). So after 9 miles today I was thinking ‘grrrrr, still 18 to go’ rather than ‘hurrah, 33% complete’. Not exactly a lesson learnt, more kicking myself for not sticking to the formula.
That said, the run to Torhout was positive in lots of ways. I had the satisfaction that the bulk of the work was now behind me. The scenery was pleasant, despite the flatness. The roads were quiet. The wind was mostly on my back. The temperature was nice. It wasn’t raining. My legs were still working, in a fashion.
My target for the day was to get the running done and find a cold beer and TV in time to watch England v Wales in Euro2016. When I stopped for a short break to eat my lunch (consisting of pack-up liberated from the hotel breakfast buffet) I noted that I’d got almost 3 hours to complete the second half. It was going to be a grind, but time was still on my side.
The next few miles involved quite a lot of turns on poorly signposted lanes, so having to use my mind to navigate helped them slip by quicker. But with 9 miles or so to go I turned into a road that would be dead straight for the next 6 miles. And to make matters worse there were markers every 100 metres counting down the distance to it’s end. That was not helpful, being reminded how slow you’re going 16 time every mile!
I tried various things to pass the time. Counting, humming, whistling and even singing. Not a pretty sound. But hey, did you know that a mile at 10.5 mins / mile pace gets you up to exactly ’30 men went to mow’!
Eventually I turned off the road to infinity and could see a church in the distance. I figured it must be the centre of Torhout and therefore right next to my destination. I looked at the mileage on my watch and saw I had about 3 miles left and 80 mins before kick off. Whoop whoop I had this in the bag.
My spirits lifted, I surged on and was soon trotting into the outskirts of town. About half a mile from the church in the centre I swung a left to head to the north side of town. ‘Where the hell is he going’ you may be thinking. There was method in the madness though, I had to finish today’s run at the start line of tomorrow’s race which is adjacent to the sports stadium.
I soon rounded the last corner to complete the final stage of my 298.01 journey from the National Memorial Arboretum to Torhout. My reception committee were waiting on a park bench. Coo coo both pigeons said, before flying off disinterested.
No time to bathe in the glory though, I had to find that beer and TV. It was harder than I imagined, but I guess most residents of the sleepy town of Torhout on a Thursday afternoon were not as interested in the match as me.
Footie over, refuelling done I’m now relaxing in anticipation of the race tomorrow. However I’m a bit concerned. Perhaps I’ve overdone the training a bit. What do you think?
Miles covered 26:52 (42.67km)
Accumulative mileage 298.01 (479.5km).
Time elapsed: 5:10:45
Time moving: 4:48:44
Elevation gain: 197ft
Average pace: 10:53/mile
Consumption during the run:
– 1 banana
– half a cheese baguette
– 1 litre of Tailwind mix
– half litre of plain water
Beer consumed: 1.5 litres
Goals conceded: 1
Goals scored: 2