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Monday, 4 June 2012

Breaking through 500km

I have taken advantage of this long weekend to continue to rack up the miles for Challenge 1000. I knew at the end of last week that I was close to passing through 500km and I was eager to get this done.
After a nice stretchy, core strengthening session of Pilates and a Spinning class on Friday night I felt rejuvenated. I was feeling a longish run on a route that I had not done before.

Back in the early winter months I ran from Bisham to Henley along the Thames Path. I wanted to carry on from this. Going from Henley to Sonning and back. The evening was quite nice and by the time we got to Henley most people out Jubi-drinking were tucked away in Ye Olde Pube :-)
As we ran away from Henley we had to zig zag the last few crowds of people coming back from walking, after a while we were out further than anyone wished to walk and it became nice a quiet. The Thames path then meanders away from the river and leads you past some very nice houses at the back of Shiplake. One house even had it's own model railway station and miles of train track around the grounds of their house. Someone with money and a childlike sense of spending it, I liked it!

Model Train Station
Unfortunately I did not see a little train going round which was a shame, but still it was an interesting thing to run past. I felt like a giant!

Then from model railway to real railway. Soon after the model railway I had my first experience of running across a level crossing at Shiplake Station.
Shiplake Station
The path then goes back round to joining the river, again past some lovely houses. On approaching the river there was a very pretty lock that appeared to have some 'Glamping' tents around it.
Shiplake Lock
Once passing through lovely green fields, past some very sweet little cows, and following the path very close to the water edge itself the next sight see was the back of Shiplake College where we ran through their marina.
Shiplake College
From then on it was more narrow paths close to river to Sonning. Where, I have to say, has a lovely little bridge that I really  like.

Sonning Bridge

Over the bridge
I had a quick squeeze of energy gel, as at this point I was halfway at around 9km, and there was all the way back to go again. It was starting to get darker and rain was threatening. However it was quite a warm evening so a little bit of rain was more than welcome.

I then got my head down and headed back for Henley. By the time I arrived I was drenched from the pouring rain and pretty worn out. It was 9.30pm and nearly dark - time to get home and eat some dinner!

I am happy to say that this run took me through 500km. Tired, wet and sleepy I made it through.

On Sunday night I opened up an OS map of Chiltern Hills North and wondered where I could run that I hadn't before. I came across the Grand Union Canal paths. The canal goes from London to Birmingham, stretching for 220km.

So on Monday, after doing some much needed house cleaning it was time to run again. The route I followed went from Marsworth Reservoir, through Bulbourne to just past Tring Station and then turning back back again to make it up to around 10km. So not too taxing distance wise, and apart from paths up and down bridges, fairly flat.

Marsworth Reservoir
The weather was temperamental, cold in the breeze and pretty warm in the sunshine. However I escaped any rain. There were plenty of people about to begin with, getting less as we came further out of the main areas away from car parks and pubs. There were a series of many locks to see.  
Lock heading from Marsworth
There was also an Ironworks alongside the canal at Bulbourne,the Hammer and Tongs Ironworks  established in 1988, it was used for Midsomer Murders in the episode called The King's Crystal. I am keen on Midsomer Murders, especially when John Nettles was DCI Barnaby. 
Ironworks at Bulbourne

I ran on until I reached 5km, to turn back to complete the final 5km for the day. Unfortunately on this run I was not feeling my best, I had suffered from bad diarrhoea on Sunday night and Monday morning, so running this route on a Monday afternoon was not comfortable and as you can imagine I was pretty dehydrated.

I now plan to rest for this evening and get ready for my 5th motor circuit run at Rockingham Speedway on Wednesday. I plan to be speedy!

Thank you again to all who have sponsored me for Challenge 1000 in aid of Child Bereavement Charity and Cancer Research UK. Putting effort and passion into raising money for two charities very close to my heart  has been such an amazing experience so far. I am glad to have people backing me :-)

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