Yesterday I accidentally ran 24½ miles.
Well, not entirely accidentally. It started with an invitation to Sunday lunch from my old friend, @redjules. Her family live in mid-Sussex, about 14 miles from my house. I decided to run there and posted a parcel of clothes ahead of me so I could change when I arrived.
The problem was picking a route that looked safe and that I could follow without a map. By now I was too excited about the run to mind that my new course was about half as long again as the original distance. Another couple of miles were added by the inaccuracies of my route-planning software. But, despite the hard work, it was an amazing run, and an amazing Sunday lunch.
I started by heading to Brighton beach where the last few people were celebrating Pride. I don't know how people could still be looking so fresh at 9am – I can only assume they had taken an early night so that they could start clubbing again first thing in the morning. I headed west to Shoreham where I picked up the Adur river and turned North into Sussex.
According to wikipedia, the Adur's name is a relatively recent one, recalling a Roman fort that was thought to be nearby, but that it turned out wasn't. But the river's name makes me thing of the Basque concept of Adur. Back when I worked in Madrid, a Basque colleague told me about this: everything that exists has a name, and everything that has a name exists. Adur is a force that connects objects with their representations.
The Adur led me to Henfield, the village where I grew up for about 12 years. I've only returned a couple of times since leaving Uni, and it's always strange to be back. The roads look so small and narrow. Despite knowing the place incredibly well, I feel like a stranger there. It's as if my memories of the place happened to someone else entirely.
After 17.5 miles I switched to run/walking – I mostly wanted to test that could stay moving for 4 hours rather than do a fast run. Despite this lack of effort, by the end I was about 10 minutes ahead of my pace in April's Brighton marathon. I want to cut off about 25 minutes from my time when I do the Nottingham marathon in September and this suggests that I can do it.
Of course, such a long run so near the event is not a great idea, but I don't seem to have suffered any significant ill effects (although my legs ache a little).
At the end of the run I was rewarded with a lovely lunch from Jules and her family. Afterwards we sat in the back garden, serenaded by an Elvis impersonator a few doors down. He even sung my favourite Elvis number 'Sweet Caroline'. It was the perfect way to recover from the exercise.