Butterflies on the long run

Long runs in sunshine are such a treat and so I bounded down river towards Chorlton Water Park all smiles – until the business of breathing and pouring with sweat kicked in.

Our side of the river is the road less travelled – due to the fact it doesn’t give easy access to Didsbury, no doubt – and so it is a bit overgrown by this time of year. Not that I’m complaining, there’s something rather exciting about being lost in head-high wild flowers at times.

Coming back I saw three butterflies dancing along the hedgerow. Seeing wildlife is always uplifting, but not making me run any faster.

I do suffer from Fotherington-Thomas tendencies. I’ve never actually said ‘hello birds, hello sky’ but I think it. And I want to enjoy the moment of watching these brown and yellow butterflies skimming the grasses, weaving through each other’s paths, expressing what seems to me to be a natural joy that I should get from running.

And so I covered just under five miles in an hour meaning I’m plodding on at  about 5mph. Not exactly gazelle stuff, though it’s worth considering I’m running off-road and those butterflies are distracting, honestly!

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The loneliness of the long distance runner

All right, running for an hour isn’t really long distance running, but for me running an hour is a long run. It’s my longest run of the week and it’s also my longest run to date, so feeling supersonic today, all glowy and choosing to ignore my aching thighs.

So would I say using a personal trainer helps you run faster after this morning? Well it’s certainly impacting on my stamina. And I didn’t feel like my lungs were going to explode at any point, and I knew I could do the hilly bits AND I didn’t wheeze.

I am, pretty much, cock-a-hoop.

Of course now I should really start measuring my progress with more than a standard wrist watch. Harry said you can get a sports watch with a heart rate monitor for a pretty decent price these days so I’ll check that out soon. Because it’s now dark when I set out at 5.20am and I can only see what my watch says if I’m under a lamppost. Not ideal.

I did wonder where everyone was this morning as I jogged through the empty streets trying not to think about 28 Days Later. I usually see people going off to work or waiting for buses but I didn’t see a soul until I passed a blind woman at a bus stop in Didsbury at about 5.50am when it was getting light enough to run around the park.

Wooded areas are all a bit too Blair Witch for me unless it’s daylight, but again no one about and it was only as I headed up for home, past the river, that I saw a car parked by its path. I assumed it was a dog walker parked up, but as I passed it became apparent there were two people in the car, in the one seat. Let’s just call it ‘courting’.

So I’m not the only riser in my neck of the woods!